How To Be a Good Blogger

From Sheila Ann Manuel Coggins, Your Guide to Web Logs.

12 Tips and Ideas On Becoming a Better Blogger

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a good blogger? Have you thought about how you can be noticed in the ever-growing world of weblogs?

I asked these questions to some bloggers and blog readers in my personal blog. And in the process, I ended up with the weblog entry, On Becoming a Good Blogger, which is the basis of this article. Fellow bloggers Kim and Lei also shared their thoughts on the matter. And, based on blogosphere discussions, observations, feedback, and personal preferences, here are some tips and ideas on what it takes to be a good blogger…

1) A good blogger blogs regularly. Some say 3 to 5 times a week is a good number. Others work on a daily routine. Overall, once a week is probably considered the minimum amount.

2) A good blogger should have a distinct voice/personality. You can tell if that person is just copying something or just recycling content. While aggregated blogs are okay in some cases, blogs that show that the blogger is a real person help to distinguish one blog from millions of others. This brings us to item #3.

3) A good blogger should be conversational. “I know I’ve found a good blogger when I feel like I just had a conversation with that person from reading a post,” wrote Kim. Much like having a friend or a trusted colleague. Even if the blogger is trying to sell something, he or she shouldn’t sound like a salesperson.

4) A good blogger should have good content. Thought-provoking, entertaining, funny, intense, informational, inspirational, deep… Whatever the style or the subject matter, good content is bound to touch and to reach out to the right audience.

5) A good blogger takes the time to respond to comments (or emails, messages, etc.). While this may not always be feasible on an individual basis, especially for bigger blogs, it’s always good to acknowledge your readers in some way. Individual responses make it personal. But, if that’s not possible, a “mass response” via another blog entry or comment can show your readers that you do pay attention — and that you do read and appreciate their comments.

6) A good blogger knows how to come up with great subject lines. With masses of information swirling around us, a good subject helps to get things to stand out and be noticed. For example, which one are you more likely to click, a subject line that says: “What I Did Today.” Or, one that says: “The Amazing Breakfast and TV Marathon Day”? If you ask me, I’d go for the latter.

7) A good blogger takes time to pay attention to spelling and grammar rules. The writing doesn’t have to be perfect and typo-free all the time. Even experts and professionals make mistakes. But, if a blogger doesn’t try to do a better job at expressing oneself in writing, somehow the message gets lost in the muddle of writings that LooK likE thIS alL tHe tIMe… or LIKE THIS… I’m sure you get the idea.

8) A good blogger learns how to be brave. Blogging can be very scary business. It’s terrifying to “put yourself out there.” Even if you’re not writing about personal stuff, words are very personal things. Someone can criticize what you write, disagree with your views, or simply say that you’re just a nutter on the loose with a blog. If you’re being real, then these things can hurt sometimes. And, even if no one’s slagging you… The constant need to do what you need to do as a blogger needs bravery too.

9) A good blogger is tenacious/resilient. There are a lot of challenges in the blogosphere: how to learn the technology, how to “work the web”, how to find – and keep – readers, how to get listed in search engines and directories, how to keep up with news, how to come up with content… and so on and so forth. That’s why bloggers need to develop tenacity/resilience.

10) A good blogger practices blogging ethics/etiquette. Accept mistakes and own up to them, don’t copy-paste complete blog entries and articles in to your own blogs (that’s stealing), among other things. (Also See: Top 10 Weblog Ethics and Etiquette Tips)

11) A good blogger knows how to maintain good relationships online. It’s more than just responding to comments and emails. It’s more than just linking, cross-linking, promoting and cross-promoting fellow bloggers. It’s about knowing when to assert yourself and when to back down. It’s about following up on your word and keeping your promises. It’s about not snubbing “the little people” just because you feel that you won’t get anything from them. It’s about respect and responsibility.

12) A good blogger knows how to have fun. Smile. Laugh. Take a break. Relax. And, if needed, a good blogger knows how to walk away from blogging every once in a while.

What about you? What do you think makes a good blogger? Share your thoughts in our forum.

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