Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Be a Better Blogger, Part 2

So we've all jumped into the blogging waters and are wondering where to go from here, right?

Two weeks ago, I shared blogging tips that will help us determine the right blog schedule and content. Today I'd like to dive into more nitty-gritty tips. These are things we can incorporate into our posts to draw in even more readers and to make their experience more enjoyable.

Now before I start, I want to clarify that these are not "must-do's". You can pick and choose from these tips based on your personality and blog style and use what fits.

1) Use pictures. Did you notice how we use a lot of pictures on the Alley? Some people may gloss right over them, but for visual people, they can help create a warm and inviting environment. Not to mention they can hone in on the concept you're trying to convey.

2) Use checklists. Case in point in this post. :) Especially for instructional posts, checklists help make the content easier to read and remember.

3) Highlight or bold important sentences or points. Not only does this drive the concept home, but it's also great for readers who are short on time. If they need to skim, they can easily see the key points and respond.

4) Keep your paragraphs short. Blogs read much different than books, so we have to learn to write them differently. Keeping plenty of white space on the screen makes it easier on the eyes. And it also makes it quicker to read.

5) Keep your post short. There may be the occasional long-winded post that makes perfect sense. But in general, blog readers are very busy people. And they're more likely to return to your blog when they know you'll respect their time and get right to the point.

6) Ask questions at the end. Even though not everyone will respond, you may just draw out someone shy by asking their opinion. And that only serves to build the personal connection that is oh-so-important.

7) Give a sneak peek to your next post. If you plan your posts ahead, this can be a great way to whet your readers' appetites. It also shows that you're thinking intentionally about what you post and gives them a roadmap of what to expect.

8) Above all else, be genuine! I mentioned this in my last post, but it's so important I'm mentioning it again. People can sense phonies from a mile away, and they can also sense when you're blogging for your own purposes. Be genuine in your blogging relationships and show others you care. There's no substitute for it!

So let's get the dialogue going, shall we? :) Do you use any of these tricks on your blog? What other blogging tips have been successful for you?

*Social media photo by jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
**Question photo by Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Sarah Forgrave is a stay-at-home writer-mom who feels blessed to pursue her calling and passion. She writes contemporary romance for the inspirational market and is a regular contributor to the webzine Ungrind.

To learn more about Sarah, visit her personal blog at:
http://www.sarahforgrave.com/blog

12 comments:

Jeanne T said...

So appreciate your tips, Sarah! This post is a keeper for this gal who should get into blogging but is nervous about it. :)

Linda said...

Great tips! Thanks! Always looking for ways to improve my blog. The person who came up with blogs should get some kind of reward.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great tips, Sarah, that I often forget. I need to be a bit better about planning ahead to whet the readers' appetite. I'm a major procrastinator. And I so agree about being genuine. So important.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'm visual and I've found that pictures help me tell the story or pack a punch with whatever I'm talking about. Especially devotions.

The only thing I don't do that you've added is a sneak peek into the next one. The only time I do that is if I have a guest (and sometimes I forget) or if it's a series I'm writing. I need to remember that!

Thanks!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Sarah, loved reading something from you here. So fun!

I went back and read your post from a few weeks ago...loved your thoughts on content. I've been contemplating that one.

And I think I follow almost all of these tips, so that's cool. Like Jessica, I typically don't preview my upcoming posts. I'll have to think on that one.

I also think it's a really great thing to reply back to everyone who comments. Granted, I don't have a boatload so it's not a huge time commitment for me at this point, but I love going back to people's blogs later in the day to see if/how they responded to me. :) It just creates that two-way interaction that helps build those relationships you talk about.

Casey said...

Completely agree with #'s 4&5, very important in this blog crazy world.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Jeanne, So glad it was helpful! :)

Linda, LOL! You're right...I'm sure whoever invented blogs is sitting pretty right now. :)

Julia, I think we all tend to procrastinate. :) I used to do the sneak peek, but I don't do it as much anymore.

Jessica, Great point about a series! That's the perfect spot for a sneak peek. :)

Lindsay, You bring up a great suggestion about the comments! I try to do that whenever possible. Lately my life has been more hectic so I sometimes have to do a more general comment to everyone. But I love responding individually when my schedule allows. :)

Casey, It can be so time-consuming, can't it? I find I'm more likely to revisit blogs that keep it short and sweet. :)

Jennifer K. Hale said...

All great tips, Sarah! Thanks!! :)

Mary Vee said...

Thanks Sarah.
Great ideas to spruce up our blogs and to show consideration of our readers. :)

Sarah Forgrave said...

You're welcome, Jenny and Mary! :)

Beth K. Vogt said...

Excellent tips, Sarah.
The only one I don't do is give a sneak peek of the next blog coming up, but it's a good idea. I like how the Alley Cats give a preview of the coming week's blogs.
I also like Jess's suggestion to utilize photos to make a point.
for me, I'm experimenting with vlogs. Maybe one day I'll be comfortable in front of a camera. For now, I aim to have fun.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Beth, I completely forgot about vlogs. Thank you for mentioning them! They can really make a blog space more personal, can't they?