Thursday, February 12, 2009

9 Useful Tips for Bloggers: How to Stand Out from the Crowd

Well, you have a blog now and want your voice to be heard out loud? So does everyone else. It’s no surprise to see that the blogsphere is getting more and more crowded. Proof? Technorati recorded that 7,200 new blogs were established per hour in 2006. I'm sure the figures have increased exponentially since then.

As such, it's impossible for a blogger to achieve success by modeling what others are doing. In fact, being different is now the key to success. There are of course,tons of good ways to make your blog stand out from the crowd. Here, I compile a list of 9 crucial ways to do just that. I hope it helps.

1. Choose a unique topic

Yes, it’s not easy to select a unique topic to blog about. However, being unique is a good way to stand out from the rest. Even if you can't find a unique subject, viewing an old topic from a different point of view is good enough. Think about EduBlogs.org – there are thousands of free blogging platforms, but by focusing their services on teachers and students, their blogging service stand out from the rest, and hence is remarkably successful.

2. Write in-depth content

Don’t just brush over a topic. There are too many “me too” blogs that write short postd in a hurry. These blog posts are so brief that it hardly delivers any value to the readers. Writing in-depth posts earns you creditability in your niche. It encourages people to read further; subscribe; and even link to you. All in all, writing in-depth posts helps your blog to stand out from the rest (who are too lazy to do their research).

3. Build a blog with a professional design platform

Stop using that free blog templates that are used by other 7,809 bloggers (yes I'm fully aware that this blog using a free platform; ie, blogger)). It’s boring to stumble thru tons of blog with the similar designs and layouts. It doesn’t take a huge effort to create a special blog designs. Spend some time (or money) to get your blog template customized, ensuring that it is unique and user-friendly. Every blogger should be aware that visual impressions count and you should enhance your blog design from time to time.

4. Write eye-catching headlines

A good headline attracts readers -- and encourages them to read further. As mentioned by Brian of CopyBlogger.com, 8 out of 10 readers will bypass your main content and read headlines only. This shows the importance of blog headlines. Polishing your copywriting skills is a must if you wish to stand out from the rest and increase your blog readership.

5. Write list posts and sub headlines

Readers don’t read thru everything; they browse and the Internet. I tend to scroll down and scan thru before I read a blog post every time. Constructing your post in lists and with sub headlines simply improves the readability of your blog. It helps readers to learn what your blog post is about and encourages prospective readers to read in detail.

6. Optimize your blog for search engines

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something every blogger should learn. Making correct usage of your header tags; building incoming links; and writing with SEO in mind is crucial to increasing your blog visibility.

7. Build your blog on its own domain

While starting a blog on blogger or WordPress is good because it's free, you are actually missing a lot by not hosting your blog on its own domain. A blog with its own domain/hosting enjoys better advantages in term of branding and web marketing. It doesn’t have the amateur image like a free WordPress blog, and it comes with better flexibility in term of web functionality.

Finally, it’s cheap and easy to host a blog on its own domain. A shared hosting normally cost $5 - $10 per month, In case you need help with hosting, read my web hosting review.

8. Show your personality

Revealing more about yourself is important to gain trust from your readers. It is, in fact, crucial to stay in touch closely with your loyal readers as this encourages feedback from your readers. Furthermore, readers tend to recommend your blogs to friends and families when they feel respected by you.

Build an ‘About’ page, connect to your readers via Facebook and MySpace; contact readers who leave comments. These are the basic ways to extend yourself to readers.

9. It’s okay to have a fight

Sparking a debate and starting a fight on controversial topics is a good way to increase your blog visibility. By speaking with a different voice, you stand out from the rest. Of course I am not telling you to be controversial just for the sake of controversy.

What I mean is is okay to stand by your beliefs, even if that means sparking controversy. After all, you get buried in the crowd if there are too many ‘Me Too’ postings on your blog.

Bonus Tip 10. Blog with consistency

Bloggers are often stimulated when they first start their blogs. After the initial thrill wears off, their postings tend to become more sporadic, until they finally stop altogether.

To succeed and stand out from the rest, you will need to be disciplined enough to blog consistently. As a reader, I am rather skeptical towards blogs that seldom gets updated. Posting regularly builds trust among your readers; and increases your creditability.

About the Author: This guest post is brought to you by Jerry of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry inspects and reviews web hosting services based on his own usage and experience. You can read more about his work at his blog.

Submit a guest post! Hope you enjoyed this one.

Yuwanda (Wanna know what I'm up to? Check me out on Twitter)
Contact: info *at* InkwellEditorial.com
P.S.: Where are all the freelance writing jobs? Find out in the 2008-2009 Freelance Writing Jobs Report
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1 comment:

Jennifer said...

These are great tips. I have recently restarted my blog after a failed attempt a few months ago. I am going to try and implement some of these tips.