There are many ways to create an effective blog that will attract and maintain a decent readership. The easiest way to view this topic is to imagine that your blog is a newspaper, with all of the issues that come with it. It needs fresh content, insightful information, powerful images, grabs their attention, and balances the need for advertising with the readers’ desire to not be inundated with ads.
#1 Keep Fresh Content
By regularly updating your blog, you will be telling readers that you care enough about the site to keep it well-maintained. It is vital that you post regularly, as it will allow prospective readers the ability to schedule a visit to your site on a regular basis.
A good way to make sure of this is to create a buffer. A typical blog will have between two weeks and a month’s worth of blog posts waiting to be published at any time. It is not uncommon for established bloggers to have streams of blog posts – the first being the regular sort that he tacks on the end of the list and the second being random posts that address current news topics. This allows the writer the flexibility of being able to take time off, and not have to worry about the site.
#2 Insightful Information Will Gain the Reader’s Trust
High quality, well-sourced information goes a long way to helping build the reader’s trust in the site. Remember – a site that is well-respected will convince readers to return for multiple visits. The best way to do this is to verify the veracity of all information you wish to discuss, and to run the article through a service like Copyscape.
Even if you type the article yourself, verifying that it is not similar to anything else already published can make the difference when trying to establish credibility. And remember – Wikipedia is not a valid source!
#3 Powerful Images Will Cement the Article in Memory
A good image that you have the license to use can help bring the point of your article home. By regularly including visual images with your articles, you are helping readers visually grasp what you are telling them.
Since most memories are triggered by visual objects, it is vital to take advantage of this, and allow the world to serve as advertising for your blog. For instance, if you write a series of blog posts on apple pies, then having pictures of plenty of fresh fruit will help remind the reader of your blog while he or she is at the store.
#4 A Good Headline Will Do Wonders
In journalism, there is a concept known as the reverse pyramid. It is taught to freshman journalism majors and forms one of the central tenets of the field. Readers rarely go over the whole article, instead focusing on the first couple of paragraphs. The headline is the first thing they notice, and determines if they even read the first paragraph.
Headline design is such a contentious topic that there are degree programs designed solely to help writers and editors create this effective teaser and introduction. Every word and syllable must be carefully thought out, since it sets the tone for how the reader will approach the whole piece.
#5 Only Have a Few Advertisements
No one likes having to wade through a large number of advertisements to reach content. The general rule of thumb is that for every advertisement that blocks content, you will lose a fifth of your readers. Try to keep advertisements to the side, and make sure that they are relevant to the site.
These five guidelines will not guarantee success. However, they will help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls to strike writers wading into these shark-infested waters.