After a few results were added because the question was interpreted as “What does M3 need?”, the poll revealed what you really want to hear about when it comes to making your blog bigger or better. Did your answers match the top three results?
Some of the novel answers in other applied to things M3 needs: MORE HUGS! and A little love from your friends! The rest of the answers were inventive as well:
- A block button
- A proofreader
- All of the Above
The things you felt like your blogs needed the least comprised 29% of the total answers. From least to most:
- Search engines
- Niche (tied with)
- A writer
- An editor (tied with)
The top three answers took more of the vote than these five and the other answers combined.
In third place was focus. Pardon the pun, but…we need to put focus into perspective.
Many people consider niche blogging to be the best of focus. Obviously, you did not choose niche as the type of focus you wanted. The reason for that is very simple.
Niche blogging gets a bad reputation from spammers. Blogs which repeat the same message over and over again through recycled (sometimes merely repeated) material go through readers like squirrels do birdseed. Why? No one wants to read the same thing repeated, especially when you are reading a sales pitch.
The other problem with niche blogging is precisely how many creative ways are there to discuss waffles? The majority of the survey takers are terrifically creative M3 Readers. Focused blogging is a far cry from niche blogging.
Focus without the rut? Serial posts. The adoption of themes, not unlike the idea behind A to Z, gives a blog focus without sentencing it to a niche. Readers return to see what is next, knowing they have a good shot at something they already enjoy or something closely enough related to it to pique their interest.
Rather than hone in on something minute, choose a bigger category. Waffles get boring after a while, but breakfast is quite enjoyable and broad enough to provide additional fodder before the boring tipping point. Look at the whole map.
Blogging without commenters is very much like talking to oneself. One of the biggest joys of blogging is the feedback the readers provide. So, how do you get more comments?
Do not say it all.
In the quest for informative posts, we fall prey to wanting to say everything there is to say about a subject. This presents two problems:
- The reader has nothing more to contribute.
- The posts are abominably long.
Some posts are just naturally longer than others, but when you supply all of the information, you tend to intimidate your audience who would like to be accepted as a knowledgeable participant. Intentionally leaving out a portion of or detail about the subject swings the door open wide for audience participation.
Yes, you are an authority on your subject. Your readers know that…it is why they are here. Just, for a moment, consider something:
You do not know everything.
Yes, yes, I know this may come as a shock, but there you have it. Ask your readers for their opinion or their expertise. Open yourself up to learning something. Visitors read comments (so they are not just repeating something someone else said) and may well learn something from another commenter.
This is where conversations are born in the comments, and ideas for subsequent posts are successfully mined.
Part One: If you do not comment on anyone else’s blog, chances are good you will not have many people feeding back on your posts. Warning: This is not permission to beat yourself up for not visiting the blogs of everyone who comments on your blog. Why not?
Frankly, there are some bloggers whose topics will be of no interest to you, but the reciprocal is not true. It does not mean the other blog is not worthwhile, it merely is a topic which is not your personal Earl Grey. Your blog may well be the other blogger’s green ginseng every morning.
Part Two: Do you like talking to yourself? Commenters do not like it either. Acknowledge they took the time to comment on your post by responding. Warning: This is not a requirement for you to comment to all comments…it is perfectly fine for your commenter to get the last word.
Ever had a spam comment on your web log? Before blogging became a profession, it was a personal space where you could write your thoughts, ideas and dreams. In days gone by, such a place was hidden in a drawer with a lock on the cover and a small brass key. The web log was a diary.
Today, web log has been shortened to blog and serves many more purposes than merely being a diary. Another change is…you never wanted anyone to actually read your diary. How do you morph your content to be ready for the masses? Let’s just cover the basics.
Mechanics: How many times have we laughed and pointed at the inhabitants of the stupidest inbox in the blogosphere? One of the things we snicker about is the command of the language. Present blogs in a readable, relatively error-free environment. Yes, we do all make typos.
Readability: Not everyone in the audience is an Ivy League graduate, but it is not necessary to dumb it down, either. If you are not sure if a post is easy to understand, invite a friend to read it.
Presentation: Wonderful words written in scribble are just scribble. Blend your background and font in a way which is pleasing to more eyes than just yours. Ask someone if it is difficult to read the combination of fonts, color and design.
Shiny Things: Do not be overly surprised when commenters want to talk about the bells and whistles on your pages. Many people are distracted by shiny things. Keep them to a minimum where the reading happens or incorporate them into your subject.
The blogosphere is a place where things happen. Views change. Education expands. Enlightenment radiates. Creativity explodes. Make your blog a place readers like to come.
Thank you for participating in the poll. Please vote on the weird-o-meter search terms. Our next look into blogging will be about the role search terms play. What is the thing you hate most about other blogs? (Feel free to hate something on M3!)
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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