Why bother to blog?
There are so many blogs, it’s an impossible task for just one person to sample a mere 1% of them.
Most bloggers know that only a small number of blogs get read, but many bloggers are dreamers, and like to think that, one day, their blog will become famous.
They are deluding themselves. Unless they have a clear point of view about a topic which interests or involves large numbers of people, they’ll be ignored.
If you’re going to get yourself noticed, you are going to need interesting and relevant content, a search engine optimisation strategy, and frequent updates.
Have a look at Serious Eats. This US fast food site looks like a full-scale website, has a secure area, allows plenty of comments and contributions, reviews and recommends cholesterol-enhancing restaurants, is regularly updated with tons of greasy content splattered with ketchup and dripping with mayonnaise, has an online shop, and is bursting with calorie-laden recipes. Yum! People love the site, and with good reason.
But it’s a blog. And it runs on WordPress.
So how has it got to where it has?
Well, Google has helped a little. About a year ago, Google started to tell people that it was going to pay much less attention to meta-tags. The reason was that we’d all been cheating, loading tags in our sites’ HTML but not including any of the words or phrases on the actual pages which a site visitor can see without going to Page Source.
For the future, content, relevance and frequency are going to be very important. The reason for this is that Google’s aim is to get a person using its search engine to the most relevant web page faster than anyone else. So the googlebot‘s behaviour has been changed.
Websites are now crawled by the bot much more frequently than previously. Is this a live site? Or a dead one? When was it last updated? And is it frequently updated? Does it have relevant content for which people are searching? Do site visitors recommend it to their colleagues, and do they attach inbound links?
All of these parameters are ideal for active and relevant blogs. If you’re an active blogger, you’ll be aware that relevant and regularly updated blogs, especially on commercial sites, are part of search engine optimisation because they almost exactly represent the profile for which the googlebot is searching.
And this is to be encouraged. None of us want to be directed to an abandoned and irrelevant site.
So, if you are writing a blog, either for yourself or for a client, both of which I do, have a clear objective and strategy:
- Why am I writing this blog?
- Who do I want to read it?
- What should I write to gain their readership?
- Have I got the resources to write a lot, over a period of time, about my chosen topic? And do I have the time to do so?
- How can I market the blog?
- And what do I want my readers to do once they’ve read the blog?
I currently write this blog, and I also write one for Computer Precision. For both blogs, I can answer all the questions above. A long-standing friend and former work colleague of mine at Leo Burnett is now just beginning to think about blogs for his own company. His first blog reads smoothly, like a magazine article, but I have no idea what he wants me, the reader, to do.
So, for the avoidance of doubt, if you have read and enjoyed this blog, and if you think your own blog lacks both focus and content, please get in touch.
The next post will look at categories of blog, and suggest the ones which might be most useful to you.