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5 More Ways to Improve Your Blog

The world of blogging moves really fast. As fast as millions of people can write code, plug-ins and content. About 75,000 new blogs are added everyday. Bear in mind that most of them are of the ilk “My Cat’s Philosophy” and really aren’t readable and provide no value to anyone but the indifferent cat blogging community.

Alright, we all know that our daily routine should include a shower, a shave and maybe even brushing our teeth before we do our daily blog posting. In the world of blogs, content is king, regardless of whether you brush your teeth or not. Hopefully you’ve optimized your blog, the content is valuable and every post is pinging out the RSS world. People are now taking notice.

Here’s 5 more ways you can improve your blog and create value for your company or cause and better the user experience.

Get People to Participate
Help out your content building strategy and your traffic strategy by encouraging people to participate. Here’s some tips:

  • Customize your “Here’s your password” message when they register to post or comment.
  • Give them something for free to get them to register. A “How to PDF” or free MP3 download. Include a link to the file in your “Here’s Your Password” email.
  • Hold a contest, pose a question for the community, encourage them to voice their opinion.
  • Keep People Participating

  • Use a weekly or monthly newsletter to keep them informed.
  • Include an “Email This” and “Print This” function on your blog. Let them share the wealth and encourage their friends to register. Build your database.
  • Include a Bio Pop Up feature that allows blog “members” to share their personality and background. Dagon Design has a neat plug-in for this one.
  • “Partner Up” with a rich media provider such as VoiceAmerica talk radio and add links to rich media content that fits with your blog. For example, if your blog is about health, include links to their website, or ask them if they have a popup player that you could add as a rich media feature to your blog. This begins to make your blog a cross media destination as opposed to just something they can read.
  • Add a tracking feature for your users to be able to follow other users comments on a specific topic or posting. Again Dagon Design has a great plug-in for this one. (Aside – you can get all these free plug-ins at http://www-blog-template-layout.com)
  • Keep the Spam off your Blog
    Once your blog is off and running, pinging out of control and people are participating, it’s important to keep the spam off your blog. Nothing is more annoying to the user than having to sift through non-appropriate content. Dealing with articles and postings “Awaiting Moderation” can become cumbersome, so try to “nip it in the bud” when it comes to every Romanian or Indonesian blog spammer that comes along. If you’re using WordPress the Askimet plug-in works great, it comes with the free 2.0 download, but you’ll need a WordPress API code (free).

    Make Sure Your Bloggers Can Contact You
    Don’t expect everyone of your readers or group to want to post their “personal” comment on your blog. Some people actually still do value their privacy! Make sure there is an easy way for them to contact you directly, especially if you’re answering questions or hoping that someone will ask you for a custom proposal. One more time Dagon Design has a great plug-in for a Contact Form (Formmailer) and it has a visual security code that keeps the spammers away. It’s easy to configure, free and comes ready for WordPress and in a standalone PHP format if you use another blog program.

    Incorporate Your Existing Site
    Regardless of whether you’re running a standalone blog or running one connected to your main site. Make sure that you include hard static links back to your order form, about us, product white papers, contact information, etc. in your blog. It’s not hard to do, put it in the Links section, or add direct links in your header and/or footer. Most blogging software isn’t really ready for shopping carts (although there are some plugins out there in Beta that look promising) but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one. With a little creativity in your header, footer and sidebar you can utilize all of the functionality you currently have on your website, or anyone else’s website.

    Well, that’s it for these 5, 5 more just popped into my head! The blogosphere moves fast, make sure you’re moving smart! As always, make sure you have a clear picture in your mind, or better yet on paper of what your goals are for your blog in terms of Return on Investment, then find the right plug-ins, partners or programmers to help you achieve those goals.

    Happy Blogging!

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