Top 10 tips for building a better blog (Part 1)

I thought I might do something a bit different today.

Some of you may have noticed the changes and tweaks I’ve been doing to my blog over the last month or so. Well I’ve discovered that I’m really into blogging and I’ve decided that I want to make Scraps of Mind the best blog it can be. With that in mind I have joined a Blog Mentoring Program run by Yaro Starak about a month ago and have been learning heaps from it.

This is mainly targeted at those readers who, like me, are are seeking to develop their blogs and build their readership. I’ve split this post into two halves as it’s a bit lengthier than usual. I hope you enjoy and would really appreciate hearing your views before I post the second part.

Here is the first half of an article by Yaro (reprinted with his approval)

In every bloggers life comes a special day – the day they first launch a new blog. Now unless you went out and purchased someone else’s blog chances are your blog launched with only one very loyal reader – you. Maybe a few days later you received a few hits when you told your sister, father, girlfriend and best friend about your new blog but that’s about as far you went when it comes to finding readers.

Here are the top 10 techniques new bloggers can use to find readers. These are tips specifically for new bloggers, those people who have next-to-no audience at the moment and want to get the ball rolling.

It helps if you work on this list from top to bottom as each technique builds on the previous step to help you create momentum. Eventually once you establish enough momentum you gain what is called “traction”, which is a large enough audience base (about 500 readers a day is good) that you no longer have to work too hard on finding new readers. Instead your current loyal readers do the work for you through word of mouth.

Top 10 Tips (Tips 10 to 6)

10. Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.
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9. Write one new blog post per day minimum. Not every post has to be a pillar, but you should work on getting those five pillars done at the same time as you keep your blog fresh with a daily news or short article style post. The important thing here is to demonstrate to first time visitors that your blog is updated all the time so they feel that if they come back tomorrow they will likely find something new. This causes them to bookmark your site or subscribe to your blog feed.

You don’t have to produce one post per day all the time but it is important you do when your blog is brand new. Once you get traction you still need to keep the fresh content coming but your loyal audience will be more forgiving if you slow down to a few per week instead. The first few months are critical so the more content you can produce at this time the better.

8. Use a proper domain name. If you are serious about blogging be serious about what you call your blog. In order for people to easily spread the word about your blog you need an easily rememberable domain name. People often talk about blogs they like when they are speaking to friends in the real world (that’s the offline world, you remember that place right?) so you need to make it easy for them to spread the word and pass on your URL. Try and get a .com if you can and focus on small easy to remember domains rather than worry about having the correct keywords (of course if you can get great keywords and easy to remember then you’ve done a good job!).

7. Start commenting on other blogs. Once you have your pillar articles and your daily fresh smaller articles your blog is ready to be exposed to the world. One of the best ways to find the right type of reader for your blog is to comment on other people’s blogs. You should aim to comment on blogs focused on a similar niche topic to yours since the readers there will be more likely to be interested in your blog.

Most blog commenting systems allow you to have your name/title linked to your blog when you leave a comment. This is how people find your blog. If you are a prolific commentor and always have something valuable to say then people will be interested to read more of your work and hence click through to visit your blog.

6. Trackback and link to other blogs in your blog posts. A trackback is sort of like a blog conversation. When you write a new article to your blog and it links or references another blogger’s article you can do a trackback to their entry. What this does is leave a truncated summary of your blog post on their blog entry – it’s sort of like your blog telling someone else’s blog that you wrote an article mentioning them. Trackbacks often appear like comments.
This is a good technique because like leaving comments a trackback leaves a link from another blog back to yours for readers to follow, but it also does something very important – it gets the attention of another blogger. The other blogger will come and read your post eager to see what you wrote about them. They may then become a loyal reader of yours or at least monitor you and if you are lucky some time down the road they may do a post linking to your blog bringing in more new readers.

Tips 5 to 1 will be in the follow up post in a few days time.

This article was by Yaro Starak, a professional blogger and my blog mentor. He is the leader of the Blog Mastermind mentoring program designed to teach bloggers how to earn a full time income blogging part time.

To get more information about Blog Mastermind click this link:

Read the rest of this article and the Top 5 tips here.

Other related posts:

Top 10 tips for building a better blog (Part 1)
Keep up to date with your favourite Blogs using RSS
Link up your Blog
Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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Click here to watch The Conversion Blogging Video

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13 Responses to Top 10 tips for building a better blog (Part 1)

  1. Tink July 31, 2007 at 5:49 am #

    Looking forward to the other 5. I’m still trying to figure out the trackback thing. May have to wait for bug to come to town (or we go down) there to actually show it to me; I think I lost some brain cells the lost couple of years.

  2. Hannah July 31, 2007 at 7:59 am #

    Great tips! I have to say #7 is the biggie for me. The others I haven’t worried too much about but I do try to comment on other blogs and make *new* blog friends. This has boosted my readership so much. I’ve gone from having 1 or 2 comments on each post to having around 20. And I know I have many other readers who don’t usually leave a comment.
    Look forward to hearing the other 5 tips!

  3. Antoinette July 31, 2007 at 8:15 am #

    Although I mainly blog for *me*, it’s wonderful to know that there are actually people out there who stop by and read my ramblings :)
    Thing is, I’m a bad blogger and know beforehand that I won’t blog regularly.
    I’d love to read the other tips as well, it’s always handy to have a reference whenever I *do* try to get my blog noticed :)
    Thanks Karen!

  4. Olga July 31, 2007 at 12:52 pm #

    I do not have a blog but I usually leave comments so I guess I should perhaps consider the idea of having a blog. But honestly talking I find easier to comment on other people’s blogs than writing something myself.

    The article was very good and very interesting, not only for the tips, which are good but it makes you think about the way the community of bloggers is being created and the kind of rules that seem to be developing on it. I wonder in which way this things might end up affecting day to day behaviour in people in the way of: would it actually create some kind of new culture? Just getting thick.

    Sorry

    Thanks for the article is very interesting and I hope you will be posting the rest of it. :)

    Best wishes. :O)

  5. karooch July 31, 2007 at 4:44 pm #

    Thank you Tink, Hannah, Antoinette and Olga for your encouragement. I’m finding the whole subject of blogging really interesting but I don’t want to hammer you guys with more about it than you would want to read, given that this is really a Scrapbook oriented blog. I joined the Blog Mastermind Program (see the banner at the top left sidebar) and I’m really enjoying it. I strongly recommend you click on the banner and go and pick up Yaro’s free Blog Profits Blueprint. It’s packed with great blogging tips. And I know that quite a lot of Scrapbookers are interested in turning their hobby into a business and this is something they might consider.

    I’ll post the second half of the article (Top 5 tips) next week.

  6. PacificTonz August 1, 2007 at 6:00 am #

    Hi Karen, Thanks this is great, can’t wait for part two. I will work on this plan with my new blog Pacific Wellness which I am just starting. Your blog is looking amazing – love all the extra features you’ve been able to add with having your own template.

  7. corina August 2, 2007 at 5:34 pm #

    Dear Karen,
    I have to make time to checked all your great posts from the last month! Do not forget,
    when you make new pla

  8. corina August 2, 2007 at 5:36 pm #

    new holliday plans I wanted to say (but I push Enter by mistake), so do not forget that you are always
    welcome in my house.

  9. karooch August 2, 2007 at 6:15 pm #

    Thank you so much for your wonderfully generous offer Corina. This trip (in September) I will be going to Italy and Greece so won’t be able to take you up on your hospitality. But hopefully the next one will see me over the other side of Europe and I’ll certainly look you up.

    If you’re having difficulty keeping up with all your favourite blogs can I suggest you try a RSS account? Just click on the orange button at the top of the page and open a Bloglines account (it’s free).Then you can put all your fave blogs into it and it will let you know whenever there are new posts. It makes life so much easier. I used to use the WordPress Blog Tagger but now I’ve moved all my blogs to Bloglines and life is a lot easier.

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