I have about twenty bloggers working for me at any given time. Many new bloggers are often not familiar with the details of blogging software (e.g. the screwy video embed issue with WP) or they don’t know much about the art of blogging (other than writing about the blog’s topic).
Over time I’ve developed a list of ten articles that I send to all my new bloggers as part of their initiation. Today I’ve decided to make one version of that list public in the hopes that new bloggers everywhere can benefit, and maybe we can turn the comment section into a “you forgot this one” list.
Many of these posts overlap in theme, and some even cover the same topic. But reinforcement never hurt anyone.
(these are listed in order of priority)
In my view, headlines are the most important aspect of blogging both from a reader standpoint and an SEO standpoint. Brian Clark has written the authoritative guide to Headline writing, and if you haven’t read it yet, let me just suggest that you should easily be able to double your readership and search traffic just by following his suggestions.
This article is all about creating a long-term vision for becoming an expert blogger. Chris Pearson introduced me to the idea of how a blogger can establish authority with 10 killer posts. In fact, Chris had probably established his authority before he got to 10 (somewhat due to his design skills, I’ll admit). Nonetheless, it’s 100% true that you can enter from under the radar and dominate a niche just by writing long (seriously long), well organized, authoritative articles on your topic. Of course, they need to be good articles. And they need to provide unique analysis and information. And you probably do need to be an expert. But you’d be surprised by how many experts are out there trying to rise above the crowd with short little 300 word newsy posts. Not going to do it.
This is perhaps the one article that will make the biggest immediate difference. Visual display is to blogging like curb-appeal is to real estate. Bloggers should be constantly thinking about the curb-appeal of each article. It really makes a difference.
Here’s an experiment I’ve run several times. Setup a blog. Tell the blogger how to use WordPress. Don’t give any article hints. See what comes out the other end. If your experience is like mine, then you know that most of the time you’ll see two very bad habits form. One, the article titles will not be specific enough (and they’ll be dull). Two, the blogger will develop a one-dimensional article style. To avoid this situation, make sure you read Chris Garrett’s suggestions for 10 Killer Post Ideas.
Liz gives you seven effective ways to build an expert reputation. As a blogger, building a reputation in a specialized niche should always be your goal. Start by following Liz’s methods and you’ll be on the right track.
Getting visitors is not enough. You want your visitors to stick. I don’t know how many times I’ve found one of my blogs the beneficiary of a massive traffic surge, only to find three days later that the surge hadn’t been sticky. A blogger constantly looking to convert visitors into regular readers. Darren Rowse’s classic post gives you the essentials for building a long-term relationship with your new visitors.
Catching and keeping your reader’s attention is critical, especially for realing in new readers. Brian Clark gives us five of the best ways to get your readers to bite from the very beginning.
Nick Wilson’s article rocked my world when I first read it. Just as in the academic discipline of Logic there are “forms of argument” The Art of Linkbaiting helped to define “forms of blogging.” What’s most impressive is that it gives the blogger a way to be very intentional about her content. “What purpose does this post serve in the overall scheme of my blog? Will it help attract a sticky readership?” While not all blog posts need to be linkbait, blogging should be about giving the reader what the reader wants. And in the end that’s all that linkbait is about. Be the first or the best at giving the reader what she wants, and you’re golden.
The worst thing you can do is give a new blogger false hopes. DebNg provides a completely accurate and sobering look at the reality of problogging. This is the first article that I show to all of my potential bloggers before they even get started. False hope is the number one killer of new bloggers aged 15 to 85.
Ok. Here’s my little contribution to the list. Once a blogger has gotten the hang of writing quality, linkable content, it’s time to add those little things that can take a blog to the next level.
Bonus: Why Live Blog Stats Matter