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Help with better posting?

Why is that some posts with really good content don’t get read?

1 Your Posts are TOO Long

Have a look at this post I did a few days ago.

Two words. Information Overload.

I was really excited to do this post actually. It took me about 3 hours to do this. I gathered all the interesting quotes on blogging, organized them. Then I had this great idea of putting them down as a virtual interview. Any blogger would be interested in reading that, right?

Wrong!

Who has time to read all that? It doesn’t look anything like a blog post, but more like a report!

I got carried away and forgot the most important (unwritten) rule for writing a great blog post – one that actually gets read. It needs to be short and sweet. It should not read like a book chapter.

Which sounds more appealing to you?

      4 things you can easily do to start publishing with wordpress

     42 things you can easily do to start publishing with wordpress

I am guessing most people would quickly click and read the first one. Assuming the writer doesn’t ramble too long, it should take a few minutes to read it.

What would you do for the second post. Two things If you are interested in the topic, you might bookmark it to read later when you ‘have time’. Or worse, make a mental note of coming back to it. No points for guessing how many actually manage to keep that promise.

With me so far? Some people strongly suggest making one point per post. I think you can do a few, provided you don’t go overboard with the sub-points you are making.

Secondly, if you think you have lots to say, split your post in few. This keeps the readers happy and also keep them coming back. Happiness all around.:)

2 Your Headlines do NOT Say Anything about the Post    

Headlines are extremely important for a success of a post. You might have spent hours working on a post but if the headline does not alert the reader to what is coming, it simply won’t get read.

One of my post has always been very popular. It always gets many clicks every single day. I suspect the reason adding to the clicks could be the headline?

8 Things you did not know about Pakistani Food.   What do you reckon?

Now look at this one.

Just some book for thought. Ouch!

Bad Bad headline.

Could I be any more obscure? What was I thinking? Would you be inclined to click on a post titled as above? Do you think any of these options might have worked better? (Right off the top of my head)

Perfect gift for someone who should write their life story

Writing an autobiography. An easy guide that motivates you to do just that!

3 Your posts are Not Scannable

When I first started blogging, I would write in the usual way, you know, writing in paragraphs. That’s what our English teacher told us to do and even as adults we don’t dare breaking this rule.

Well blog writing is different and your posts should be screen friendly – if you want people reading them that is.

  • Break up your writing into smaller paragraphs than you usually would. One line is acceptable as a paragraph in blog world.
  • Add headings, bullet points, and bold important bits that you want to attract attention to.
  • Make lists.

All of these make your post easy on the eyes.

So after saying all that, what do you think makes a post really appealing? Are you doing anything differently to when you started blogging? Have you made any changes to your writing style? 

      Subscribe to join my hobby bloggers club – even if you are writing for pleasure, doesn’t mean you can’t be good at it. :)

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What makes one subscribe to a blog?

 
Every blogger wants more readers, and so when this question popped into my mind last night, as I was about to go to bed, I took notice.  As this kind of thing usually happens while I am already half asleep, I was grateful, and promptly jotted down some notes, hopefully like a true blogger!

Anyway, here are my top reasons which make me wanna subscribe to your blog, or not!

All bloggers want MORE subscribers!

 

What’s in a Name?

Apparently everything? If yours has caught my eye, then I am definitely going to click on it to see if your blog lives up to it. The hardest part is getting readers through the door, and guess what? by choosing a great name that is informative, and memorable – that’s done.

Would you check out 17000days, Men with Pens, the Happiness project, or be more with less , just to name a few?

Looks Matter!!

Never underestimate the power of the design, layout, style, arrangement of posts etc etc. In easier words, if your blog does not look professional, it’s not likely that anyone would subscribe. By professional I mean, by first glance people should see that you the author actually care about it enough to make it look presentable. Having clearly defined categories help immensely as well. Keep it simple, keep it professional.

I love the simple, uncluttered feel of Reading for Your Success, Write to Done and Copy Blogger.

Are We On the Same Page?

This needn’t be said. If I have spent a few seconds on the blog, it’s because I am deciding whether the subject matter is of any interest to me. So for instance, even if I have clicked on to a blog, if it’s a news or politics or technology or business, I am not interested, sorry guys. Its nothing personal. If it’s about fashion, celebrities, cooking, sport, sadly, I am not your target reader again. 

I also like to go narrow and go deep, like most readers. I will subscribe to blogs on writing, blogging, personal development, blogs that have quirky content. (Have you seen Lego a day?) Have a look at my blogroll, and you will see what I mean. I am actually updating that and will be sharing my newest finds with you. How is that significant for a blogger? Develop a niche and people will find you if they are interested in the topic you cover.

Every bogger’s dream, readers clicking subscribe.

 

Who Are You Again?

Most people, after spending a few seconds looking at your blog, (which covers the points mentioned above), generally go straight to the ‘about me’ section, and that is why it is soooo important. While this is not a deal breaker, it is actually quite significant.

I like to connect with people I like. And sometimes its a tad difficult when you don’t get to see the person who is behind all the fabulous writing.

A picture is often a sign of the blogger being friendly and open and – putting themselves out there – as they do with their writing. It’s not easy but it helps. Even face hidden kinda is better than no picture. Blog is not an online magazine, nor a portal of useful articles. People want to know you – picture helps a lot.

Checkout Tsh of Simple Mom here, Suzannah of Write it sideways here, and Katie of Momentum Gathering here. Gorgeous people, hence gorgeous blogs. 

Your style? I Like!

I love it when the author regularly replies back to reader comments, makes me feel needed.

I love it even more when once in a blue moon, they check out my blog, and I worship them if they actually read and comment – I know this has got nothing to do with subscribing, but I had to say that. Not sure about you-comment-I-go-over-to-yours-&-comment-back rule, but sure is nice to have big bloggers having a look at ours once eh?

Go on, click on it!

Sell Me Something?

Ok, I think it’s alright if you are offering an ebook for sale. But do I have to hire you as well? I might, except I am having difficulty finding anything of interest navigating through those 37 ads that are currently on your page. I understand blogs as businesses as well, but do you only want me as a potential buyer of your products or can I just enjoy your blog in peace?

Also, please don’t get preachy on me, doesn’t really help. Go here .. naah, can’t be this rude now, can I? heheh

Perfection is Overrated

Yes, good writing is extremely important, and so is content, there is absolutely no doubt about it. But think about it, who do we connect most with in our real life, the person who is perfect in every sense or people who are beautiful and imperfect like the rest of us? Same goes for blogs: I like to see personality, I like to see ooomph, I do not like perfection. Makes me feel ..not very good.

I am trying to figure out the direction of my blog, it is something I want to be able to do for a living eventually, something that combines everything I am passionate about – reading, learning, teaching, writing, blogging, connecting with people. So this is a ‘play’ blog for me, and while I am doing this, things evolve in their own imperfect ways.

If you want to join in the journey, please subscribe. Learn alongside me and keep letting me know that I am doing something right.

It is after 3 months that I am logging in to my blog. 

Yes, I am alive. 

Yes, I went away for an extended holiday to my homeland. Yes, I went with the full intention of logging in as soon as jet lag wore off. Sadly it didn’t happen for me like that, nothing like that all.  

When you click on anything - except your own blog.

I do not know what happened, except that I was literally in a different world. I was in a world where we have maids doing practically everything for us. We have chauffeurs for our cars, we have tons of help in the kitchen – and for everything else imaginable. And no, one doesn’t have to be a millionaire to have all this. In countries like Pakistan, labour is cheap, and is easily available, and rest of the country reaps the benefits. And then I had actually people to talk to – like living things – my gorgeous family members.

So I got lazy.

And this is an understatement! 

To be honest, I did not feel like writing even though this is one of the things I cannot image not doing – ever. I felt out of groove, out of touch with reality. Surely this few weeks at my mum’s house is not real. I did not want to wake up. It was sooo beautiful.

Needless to say, I got back home, to a world of work and chores and responsibilities – and only person to take care of it all. Me. 

My depression wouldn’t go away. I knew there were things to be taken care of. Even the thought of picking up a book – my most favourite activity in the whole world – sent my spiralling in a pool of tears. I was questioning if there was a purpose to it all. I was so sad. You have probably been there, I am sure this happens to all of us once in a while – one doesn’t need a long overdue wonderful visit from family to go through this. For me, this is all too familiar and it’s a cycle. I have to ride it out or it won’t go away. Mercifully, it does, every single time.

My lonely blog screaming for attention!

Are you still with me? Yes this post is all about me, and it’s most probably really boring as well. What the heck, it’s not like I have a professional blog right? I can choose to be a little self –indulgent eh? Plus, I did not know how else to start. After each exhausting day, I was lying down in bed thinking about what to write. After a long leave of absence, I just couldn’t start writing about ‘how to write a killer post’ or ‘six tips to feel good’ or something like that which I am sure are very worthy topics, but don’t seem like ideal ones to a slightly depressed mind. YAY for slightly!

I was scared to look at my blog, fearing all the fellow bloggers to have given up on me. This is a very scary feeling, its not been long since I have become a ‘blogger’ and its no fun without having supportive, kind fellow bloggers who actually take the time out to read but – comment. Hope you are reading this.

Blogging is hard

So… last night I thought, why not write exactly about how I feel. So, that’s precisely what I have done. Didn’t seem too hard. Now if I can only start participating in other blogs, add new bogs that I haven’t gotten to just yet, go back to researching and learning a hundred things to make my blog ‘better’, and pick up a book … I will be alright.

I am sure there are million other things that one does when one is blogging, but they all escape me right now. I am sure they will come to me in time.

Have you ever taken a break from your blog? Did you find it hard to start again? Do share, as I can so relate right now. And I do need the support.

Ever wonder why some people get to be so happy? So far, I have established one thing, happiness is somehow tied to simplicity in life .. the simpler your life is, apparently the happier you are going to be.

I like to think that I am a fairly happy person. It might not have been the case just a year ago but in the last year alone, I have managed to rediscover my self. I was able to achieve all of my goals – and more. Through sheer hard work and determination, and with a positive approach to life.

I started my kids in a great school and daycare, got in my Post Grad diploma of Teaching in a highly prestigious university of my choice.

I changed house, bought new furniture along the way and topped it of with a new SUV a few days ago.

I started my blog that got great exposure when my Blogging Tips post made it to freshly pressed – for four days. YAY! I also got great readers and subscribers, who wouldn’t have found me otherwise. I also found great writers and bloggers to learn from. :) I got some work published on the web, a great start in the world of web writing.

I completed two teaching placements and one year (half) of my teaching degree. Phew! It’s hard to believe I actually survived.

After my parents’ visit from overseas, I am going for a holiday of about 6 weeks with my family. YAYYY :) Leaving on Jan 15, so get in your comments early. :)

So yes I have had a very good year. This brought on a sudden burst of inspiration to write something light-hearted on life and happiness, taking a break from blogging and writing advice. Psst .. it helped to read The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It by David Niven as well.

Here goes

My top tips that are helping me to lead a truly happy life.

Have a Purpose and Meaning in your Life

Set goals in your life and make sure they are in perfect harmony with each other. They are life tyres of your car, they must move in the same direction. If they conflict with each other, you will end up being very stressed out and dissatisfied with your life. 

Invest in Friendships

Life without close, meaningful relationships is meaningless.

You do not have to be a social butterfly, however true friends will make you come alive. Take care of your friends and reap the rewards of belonging.

Friendship beats money, hands down. Tell your friends what they mean to you and make their day, as well as yours. Keep your word. 

A happy life

It Hurts to Compare with Unrealistic Standards

Think of those whose examples are worthy but make sure you stay true to yourself. 

Have realistic expectations. You are a person, not a stereotype. Be comfortable in your own skin.

Be grateful that you are fortunate than many. Accept yourself. Believe in yourself – Just not too much.

Ask for help when you need it and share your problems with your mates.

Every relationship is different, don’t compare yours with your friend’s.

Let your goals evolve or you will get seriously hurt. Do the things you are good at. Money is not the end to all problems. 

Turn off the TV

Excessive tv watching takes you away from life. Your partners and kids literally need to shout to be heard. It makes you lazy and makes you take your relationships for granted. Do not take tv’s view of the world, the picture is tainted. 

Be Open to New Experiences

Life-long learning is the key to life long fun. Get a hobby, be it dance, cooking class, new form of exercise or some course at the university; try something new to stay young and fresh. Volunteer your time in your community. Join a group. Have fun. 

If You are Not Sure, Guess Positively

If somebody is being nice, do they have an agenda or are they a nice person? Are you the type of person who stays positive, or assumes the worst? Try banishing this self-defeating habit and see the profound effect on your life. Check  out positivity blog’s 5 powerful questions that can help make 2011 a fantastic year for you.

Be Happy

Develop a Household Routine

If your life is all over the place, you will dread waking up in the morning. You will be harried, rushed and overly stressed trying to manage your average day. Surround yourself with beautiful things and wonderful smells. Enjoy the ordinary. 

Get a Good Night Sleep

Works wonders. Exercise and get physically active. Its nothing like feeling your best throughout the day. 

Keep Your Family Close

Develop shared interests with your loved ones. 

Be Thankful

Pay attention to your life, you might already have that you really need.

Your definition of success has to be your own. Remember to think good, your life is a success based on your judgement only. Keep perspective, maintain integrity.

  2010 was my happiness project, check out Gretchen Rubin’s site for her book in which she documented her year long happiness project. What has made you particularly happy with yourself the past year? Any major goals, any outstanding achievements? Please share. What are your best tips for being happy?

If you want to get the best of books on; writing, blogging, publishing, personal growth, inspiration, women issues and more, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog & keep talking in comments section. Looking forward to knowing you more. Many thanks. :)

How many times have you started reading a post and your eyes start to glaze over after two sentences..

How many times have you read the words ‘well written content’  while going through posts on blogging and scratched your head – what does it actually mean, you wonder?  

Is ‘Content is King’ web cliché of sorts? Of course, it is, but like all clichés, there is 100% truth behind these over used words.

Content is King

This post was inspired by an old favourite I recently revisited for its good writing tips, titled  ‘English Essentials- The wouldn’t-be-without-it guide to writing well, co authored by Mem Fox, world-famous writer of children’s picture books. The book is geared towards students of English, however the advice applies equally well to writing a great blog post. Here’s is what I walked away with.

How to write Great Blog posts that will leave your Readers wanting MORE

1. Good Writing Keeps the Reader in mind.

Picture one person you are writing for. Imagine them sitting in front of you while you talk to them about your ideas. Ask yourself these questions. Do they appear to be interested in what you have to say? How can you capture and keep their attention?

What questions might they have? Will they get bored if you write too long, or confused if too little. What might they already know?

You cannot write a post to please everybody, different readers require different levels of language and detail. Write for your one ideal reader. Who do you write your posts for?

2. Good Writing Captures Hearts and Minds Early.

Readers on the internet have limited patience. Hook them in quickly before they move on.

Make sure your posts are ‘scannable‘ , meaning, readers should be able to read them quickly and understand what you are telling them about.

Write short paragraphs. My earlier posts resembled a printed article style and have longer paragraphs. Now I am trying to make my posts as scannable and ‘easy on the eyes’ as possible. Am I succeeding?

Blog posts – in the manner of non fiction – can be clearly set out with headings, sub headings, lists and dot points to help your message get across. Do you do this while writing your posts?

Look at your paragraphs, there should be a smooth flow from one to the next.

How to write great blog posts

3. Good Writing has a Voice.

Every blog has a living, breathing person behind it. It shouldn’t sound like it has been written by a robot. It’s a good idea to develop your voice over time which will stay consistent throughout your posts.

When you write, let your personality, your real self shine through. Advises Mem Fox. If you are funny, be funny in your posts, if you are sensitive, then be that. If you are quirky, allow some quirkiness to come forward .. your readers will love you for it.

Your voice tells the readers that you have enjoyed writing something. It shows your passion for what you do.

I follow a person, not a blog. Do you? Checkout Four Steps to finding your ideal writing voice on Copyblogger. Highly fascinating and satisfying read.

4. Good Writing Connects with your Readers.

We learn from good writing. We FEEL when we read. We are bored and unmoved when we read something we don’t like and don’t even finish reading it.

Be imperfect, be yourself. You are constantly evolving and so is your blog. Be human and other humans will love you. Imperfection is a good thing, says Men with Pens.

5. Good Writing is Clear Writing.

If you can’t understand something, don’t blame yourself, blame the writer. Too harsh? Well this is especially true when it comes to writing a blog post. A well written post is only effective when the message is clear. James Chartrand of Mens with Pens has done a fantastic piece on Copyblogger where he says, “Tight, concise, easy-to-read pieces are heaven for readers. Long, complex, convoluted ones are just confusing.”

Unless you are writing an academic essay, stay away from writing to impress. Get rid of long words, pompous sentences and empty padding, says Mem Fox. ‘Aim to express, not to impress.’

Good writing also has well crafted endings. For a blog post, ask your readers a question and invite them to offer their thoughts on what you have written.

6. Good Writing has been Revised.

Make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct. These are good table manners of online world. Incorrect spelling puts your readers in a bad mood. It says ‘I am not serious about my work’. It also helps you to maintain your authority over your topic.

How do you define a well written post? What makes you want to stay and finish one post from start to end? And most importantly, did YOU end up reading this whole thing?  :) Do share.

Update: After revising and proofreading this endlessly, I still found a few errors … hence revising again. My apologies if you read it before I had a chance to do so.

1. I am fine tuning an idea for a niche. I am going to polish it, add few posts with the underlying theme and see how the readers like it.

2. I am going to post three times a week, and space them out evenly. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays might work.

3. I am going to add all the blogs that I have bookmarked to my blogroll. This way people can see which ones I subscribe to and follow regularly.

4. I am going to organize all my blog post ideas. These are all over the place at the moment and I cannot seem to find anything when I need it.

5. I am going to learn more about SEO Search Engine Optimization

6. I am going to look at more widgets to add to my blog.

7. I am going to get my own domain name for my blog – maybe upgrade with word press, just so people know how serious I am about this.

8. I am going to write a free report for new subscribers. I will also mail this report to people who have already subscribed, just to say a special thanks to them. I really do appreciate you guys. :)

9. I am going to network more with other writing blogs and comment more often. I will also query blogs to see if I can guest post for them. Fingers crossed.

10. I am going to learn more about blogging, and share everything with my readers.

So what are your new year’s blogging resolutions? Please share, I would love to know. :)

Best Blogging Tips

As the original post was getting a tad too long, I decided to split into two parts. For the first 4 tips on blogging, check out part 1.

5. Respect your readers

Don’t blog about anything you can’t say to a person’s face. Scott McNulty of The unofficial Apple weblog

Accept criticism with open attitude and see what you can learn from it.

Think about others’ feelings before you post. Your blog is not a license for rudeness.

6. Gain experience from your personal blog

Blogging means different things to different people. Peter Rojas; Engadget. Figure out what are you blogging for.

Before starting a blog, make sure you have more than one thing to say. Make a list of half-dozen or more ideas. Rebecca Lieb. ClickZ

Blogging for free, on your own, may win the attention of paying blogs. Victor Agreda Jr. DIY life

Experience with a personal blog can prepare you for blogging for pay. Deidre Woollard. Luxist.

A personal blog is a better platform for being yourself and communicating honestly, rather than a blog you are paid to write. You admit to your biases rather than hide it. Mary Jo Foley of All about Microsoft.

A blog can support and extend the life of a book. Brad Hill. Weblogs, Inc

The strength of successful blogs is their authenticity. Content and personality are both important.

Blog from your heart. Deborah Peterson of Life in the Fast Lane.

7. Blogging is a learning process

Says Gary Lee of An internet Marketing Website.

Blogging is an ongoing learning experience. Gina Trapani of Lifehacker. It can help you learn more about a particular subject.

8. Increase your readership over time

Be passionate about what you write, it shows.

Write original, thoughtful, well written content and readers will come.

If you want people to come to your blog, you must offer them something of value. Steve Rubel. MicroPersuasion.

Respond to your comments, your readership counts.

Look for opportunities to self promote your blog.

Comment on blogs of high-profile bloggers in your niche area to draw traffic. Kristin Darguzas. ParentDish

Growth does not happen quickly. John Neff. Autoblog.

Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Link to other blogs where appropriate. They might link back. Joel Comm. JoelComm.com

Links from other blogs are more important than SEO, because those links give you the effect of SEO. Robert Scoble. Scobleizer.

Avoid begging for links. Mike Masnick. Techdirt.

Rather than focusing on bringing in traffic, let content guide your blog. Philipp Lenssen Google Blogoscoped

Setting up titles that appeal to both search engines and humans is all the SEO that most blogs read. Brad Hill. Weblogs, Inc

       So, anytips for having a successful blog? More importantly, what is your definition of a successful blog?

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