What Kind Of Blogger Are You?
Blogging, (writing in an online website log), springs from a range of motives. Yours may be to share information; to build your business profile as an expert in your field; to provide advice and support or simply to feel happy. People blog to feel connected and to express things in a way they cannot do, in spoken form.
Publishing a blog allows us to reach out to people we know and those we don’t, with ideas, views, comments and our reactions to circumstances and events. In reaching out, we invite contact by way of comments from those who read our writing. In Nana’s Blog we tend to write about things that are quirky and a bit off the beaten track – without having to be too serious or as in depth as we are when we write our premium stories. It’s pretty important to be able to engage parents and grandparents with the stories we write for free, to engage them as potential future subscribers for Stories My Nana Tells.
For Love or Money?
Blogging has also become a recognised way of earning money, by writing product reviews and articles for which the blogger is paid or given product for payment in kind. Money is also earned by either income generated by advertising, like Google Adwords on the blogger’s site or the owner being paid to place banner advertisements on their blog.
Since that kind of blogging is done purely for money, having a good network is critical to being able to generate income (cash or kind) for the blogger. The blog, once written, is shared as widely as possible to ensure the best possible readership. As in many online businesses, it is usually a few really “top” bloggers who earn large amounts of money, but many more earn enough to regularly contribute to their household income and provide additional financial security.
Getting the word out
All good bloggers will use a sharing application and have automatic or selective online share posting facility set up to share links to their content with as many as one hundred other sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Stumbled Upon, Hotmail, Squidoo, Posterous, LinkedIn, MySpace and Ning and many other sites. The choice of platform used for the blog is likely to also influence the choice of sharing software as well.
On WordPress, the most popular sharing software programmes are ShareThis, Get Social, Add This, SexyBookmarks (part of Shareaholic, which I use myself) and Socialize. The value of sharing software is that it allows a blog post to be shared directly from the blog itself, by creating a link which, when clicked, brings the reader back to the blog. An initial connection is set up between your blog (which can be part of your website) and the other platforms to which you want your blog articles to be linked.
Rather than creating individual passwords for them all, most will allow you to create a connection using OAuth, (Open Authority) which confirms your permission to connect the sharing software to your site, by getting an online token from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo! Pulse or Google Buzz. When that is done, you can easily use those services without having to log in to them individually again and again. Even Disqus, the Google gateway to Blogger for comments, has relented and accepts OAuth from Twitter and Facebook, instead of insisting on you having your own account and password.
Success in 96 secs
What makes a blog successful? Readership! Regardless of the quality of content, no blog can be counted as successful unless it garners readers. Similarly, the topics of the blog will have great relevance in attracting readers.
Quality content will bring them back over and over again – it will be the topic that attracts them first.
Depending on the topic and your own propensity for discourse (meaning, do you like to rabbit on and on), a blog post for online reading is best structured around 500 – 600 words. Less than 250 are not likely to be judged as having worthwhile content and more than 1,000 gives a visual appearance of being burdensome.
Industry research indicates your average reader will spend 96 seconds on your blog. If that doesn’t sound very long, think about how long three 30 sec adverts on TV last! That seems like forever! In fact, the average adult reading speed is around 250 to 300 words per minute and even at 400 wpm, reading can be done with full comprehension. So, in 96 secs, you can engage your blog readers with around 500 words and hold their attention to the end of the post.
If you engage your reader, what is your reward? Comments!
Blogs with comments rank well in the search engines and encourage others to read them, too. This broadens your networking through your blog. It’s important to invite comments, if that is what you want. A reader may not be sure if you want a direct response, unless you clearly say so.
If you share your blog posts on Social Media platforms, be prepared to accept comments there on the link as being as valid as those left on the blog post itself. We are very happy for comments and shares to be done through our Facebook page or by RT on Twitter at @nanastories
Grandparents need good stuff for children online; parents who supervise homework or home school their children and teachers are always looking for stories for kids and good websites for children. They will use Facebook and Twitter as well as search engines, like Google and Yahoo, to source reliable and engaging material for online reading from websites. If you have good links to share, please do it!
One of the great advantages of sharing on Social Media is that you can repost the link at different times on different days, until you find the best times and audiences for your writing.
If you ask your readers to take action, make sure you ask them to let you know how it worked out. Some WILL return to comment. Of course, it is critical you guard against spam and until your blog generates so many comments it is unmanageable, you must reply to all comments promptly.
The ultimate aim of your blogging is up to you. Whether it is to earn money from advertising and writing reviews; to achieve credibility as an expert in your field, to share information of value for the sheer joy of it or to add to the marking effect of your own business, your blogging needs to have a point.
Why do you blog? Reward us and leave a comment or share us with your friends. If you do, we would love for you to tell us about it.
(c) Lesley Dewar July 2012 to current