Friday, November 24, 2006

How To Supercharge Your Blog And Improve Your Visitor's Experience
B Hopkins

Your blog is your means of expressing yourself to the world. It is a very powerful way of branding yourself and a very effective means of building a relationship with your readers. In order to take advantage of the power of blogging, you should make sure you follow some simple rules that will keep you on the right side of blogging and make both your visitor's and your experinece much more enjoyable.
Be Timely With Your Postings
If you publish a blog called "The Wednesday Afternoon Report", and you start out posting to it every Wednesday afternoon, then your audience will begin to expect a new posting every Wednesday afternoon. You can think of your blog like a newsletter. Consistancy is key. This consistance is what will increase the number of visitors that come back to your blog. Returning visitors gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your readers.
Give Credit to Where Credit is Due
Sometimes the perfect and most timely posting is commenting on a news item, another blog posting, an article, or a web site. This is appropriate to do, but you should give credit and a link to the source document. You can link to the source document from within your post, or link to it as a footnote at the end of your post. If the source document is another blog, you can refer to it through what is known as a trackback link.
Be a Good Networker
Your blog is a good place to spotlight other bloggers. Most blogging software out there allows you to do this through a feature referred to as a blogroll. It is basically a list of links to other bloggers who you like, or other bloggers that are blogging about the same subject as you. This will add value to your visitors experience and give them additional resources to explore.
Structure Your Blog Site Well
Structure your blog so that it is easy to read, and find past postings. Don't put so many graphics that it detracts from what you are trying to say. Highlight relevant postings that you may have made in the past that relate to your current posting. A good way to highlight your past postings is to link to them directly from the blog post, or if they are more general, and relate to many postings, you can list the links to your latest postings to the side, next to your main blog entry.
Another good technique to use with your blog is to separate your postings into categories when it makes sense. That way, visitors can access a more specific group of postings they may be interested in. For an even more robust blog, a search function will allow easy access to your postings, especially when you have quite a few posts.
Keep Your Blog Content Fresh
You will want to set up your blog so the most recent postings are placed at the top, or on the first page, which is like the reverse format of a diary (where the most recent entries are on the last page). Most blogging software today is setup to have the latest postings at the top (or on the front page of the blog) to allow your newest postings to be seen first by your visitors.
Be Consistant and Reliable
The best way to be reliable is to provide content that is true and accurate. Double check your facts and be prepared to back them up. Remember, your blog is a powerful means of branding yourself, and if you keep to the truth, you will build the strength of the words you say in your blog, and magnify the influence you have with your readers. Once you build your word, your recommendations will then truly mean something to your readers.
Respect Privacy
There are many privacy issues that come into play with a blog. If you have a newsletter that your blog readers can subscribe to, you should make sure to respect the privacy of your subscribers and never rent or sell their emails to a third party. You may promote a third party's goods or services to your list, but those emails should never be given to a third party.
Another area where privacy may come into play is within the actual postings themselves. If you refer to someone by name, from your personal life in your postings, you should get permission from that person first. Other potentially sensitive issues, such as partnerships, business dealings and internal company policies should also be considered as being appropriate, before posting these things to your blog.
Give Readers a Reason to Come Back
Blogs that have a personal and human component are more interesting to read than blogs that have no personality. Putting unique and personal experiences in your blog, like how your computer meltdown experience relates to today's posting, add a wonderful new dimension to your blog. Visitors actually want to connect with you and sharing your personal experiences is a great way to connect with them.
Increase the deliverability of your message by being passionate and conveying emotions in your postings. People are emotional beings and connect on an emotional level rather than an intellectual one. Adding emotion to your blog will add an additional way for your readers to connect with you.
Blogging can be a very rewarding experience, a powerful way to connect with your visitors, is very flexible and can be done to fit anyone's style. However, no matter what the style of blogging you choose, certain rules should still be followed to make the reader's experience more enjoyable. You can also learn other techniques to increase reader participation and reader response rate that can make your blog a powerful tool to earn and additional stream of income. Research the many good ebooks available, that cover these techniques in detail.

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