Blogging for Success: Make Your Blog Stand Out

“Make Your Blog Stand Out” is the first in a series of posts that I’m going to categorise as:

Blogging for Success

It’s aimed at individuals, small business owners, freelancers and home based business people who seek to use their blogging and web presences in order to support and develop their businesses.

It’s one thing to get a shiny new blog, but we recognise that many people new to blogging would like a guiding hand on how to harness it’s power to generate new business, once that virtual opening day ribbon has been cut.

How to Make Your Blog Stand Out

There are millions of blogs out there.

The number of blogs and websites has increased exponentially since I started blogging back in 2004.

Initially when setting up a new blog either for myself or a client, a new blog could expect to be ranked in Alexa at around the 3-4 million mark, these days it’s much more like 24-26 million.

Remember with Alexa, the *lower* your number, the higher your blog is ranked e.g. Facebook is currently number 1, Google is number 2 etc.

That number that you start with, would improve quickly with increased blogging, traffic and good SEO techniques to much better rankings.

Why is it harder to get my blog to rank higher than before?

  1. Increased number of websites in the mix
  2. People are beginning to better understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  3. Search engines like Google and Bing like to move the goalposts, and are constantly developing the criteria they use for rankings and how much traffic they deliver.

However, when you get right down to it, there is always a chance that someone may come across your blog, regardless of where it is ranked, and this is what I want to talk about today.

5 Tips to Make Your Blog Stand Out

Here are five basic things you can do to improve reader retention, just by changing the way you do things.

1. Readability

This is such a basic one, and yet it makes a HUGE difference.

How easy is it for someone to read your blog? Do you make good use of line spacing? Do you frequently use italics and bold to keep it interesting?

Bloggers are notorious “skim-readers” and personally, if I am faced with a big chunk of text, with long paragraphs, it instantly makes my eyes glaze over and I move on.

Blogging is writing, and yet the format of blogging is completely different to traditional writing. For once you can throw everything you learned in high school about paragraphs right out the window.

Keep your sentences short, and to the point. (See what I just did there?)

Anything more than three to four sentences in one paragraph without a line space and you’ve lost me, and about 13 million others.

Make good use of headings, bullet points, bold and italics. It keeps your readers looking at your content. This will make your blog stand out.

 

2. Profile and Objective

Who are you?

If I stumble across a new blog that looks vaguely interesting, what is the first thing I look for?

That “About Me” or “About Us” box that should be sitting at the top right hand side of your side bar. I want to know whose voice I’m hearing.

In this box you should tell me who you are, and why you’re blogging.

Examples:

“Hi, my name is Sandra and I just moved from Australia to the USA. This Summer I met a guy, fell in love, and then he turned up in the same high school as me, and turned out to be someone else completely. This is my story. “

…and you may recognise this one too…

“My name is James T. Kirk, and I Captain the Starship Enterprise. Follow my journey as I seek out brave new worlds, and boldly go where no man has gone before.”

You get the picture? Put people in the picture of why you blog, and you will have found out how to make your blog stand out.

Also – a headshot is a good idea, because people respond to *real* people. If you want to remain relatively anonymous, then give yourself a nickname, and wear sunglasses and a hat in your headshot.

If you’re a small business, then you can substitute the personal touch above, with a little bio on the company, how you started, what you love about what you do and just put readers in the picture of why you exist.

3. Sing Your Praises

If you’ve had any great achievements or awards, you’re absolutely allowed to tell us. There is no such thing as modesty in blog-world. So if you won your local pie eating contest, or a Pulitzer, then your readers want to know.

Sound that trumpet, toot that horn, sing your praises. It’s allowed.

4. Contact Page

It’s one thing having an “About Me” box, a contact page is just as important. Even if you’re an anonymous blogger, at least have a contact page set up to email you to a random gmail account. If you want readers to interact with you then give them a way to contact you that goes beyond the comments box. Make your blog stand out, and let readers be able to communicate with you.

If you don’t have a contact form built into your theme, then you can download numerous plugins to install, or contact us to set one up for you, by purchasing our hourly website support service. (Available on an ad-hoc basis, or on retainer).

5. Consider Your Audience

Consider for a moment, who it is that you’re writing for.

If your blog is about marathon running, routes, times and heart-rates, chances are that blogging about how you chased a 10 mile run with 5 beers and a deluxe family size pizza, it may not go over so well with those readers that you’re trying to reach.

I’m all for “keeping it real” but consider your audience (or your intended audience if you’re just starting out) before announcing it to the world.

Blog readers can be very loyal, and forgive the occasional subject diversion, but if you consistently go to a place that your readers are hesitant to follow, then you run the risk of losing them. Of course the flip side is true of personal blogs, if you’re a personal blogger, who blogs about strife and life, then keep it coming.

So there you have 5 really quick tips  to make your blog stand out, and stay noticed!

If you have found this blog post helpful, please share it with others using the social media medium of your choice!

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2 Comments on "Blogging for Success: Make Your Blog Stand Out"

  1. Gayle says:

    This is EXACTLY the kind of information that I need as a new blogger (http://www.catchlight-imageblog.com)! Since you set up my wonderful blog for me, I have been a little bit at sea as to how exactly to get my blog noticed, but with your help and advice, feel confident that soon I’m going to be right up there, with the best of them!! Thanks Vanessa!

  2. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for your lovely comment Gayle, if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask, and I will do my best to answer them.

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