So why am I, Prism, writing this post? I don’t have 200+ readers, but I do know what I look for in blogs. Keep in mind that a blog is mainly for you, but I mean, it is nice to know that you’re not speaking to a crowd of zero. Here is a list of some things I like and don’t like seeing, and what others may like too.
1. Make your blog look appealing.
I often go for the blogs that look well-kept and fresh, as a blog’s appearance is what a reader’s first impression is. Go for designs that match YOU or your blog’s title/topic.
Remove or delete sidebars icons and others things that are too old, like contest buttons or promotional advertisements. Don’t keep an old poll on your blog for a long time, unless it’s for a reason. Mix in new things from time to time.
Make it pleasant for your eyes, and then see what your audience will think. After all, it is your blog. For the gals, try avoiding being waaay too girly if you’re going for the all-audience blog.
2. Don’t make your blog too busy.
There are several blogs that I have trouble navigating. There are way too much icons, polls, awards, and it seems that the meat of the whole blog, the posts, are buried.
Remember, awards, polls, and icons are nice, but the main point of the blog is your posts. I also don’t recommend putting a music playlist on your blog. I usually listen to the radio or my mp3 player while on the computer, so I don’t want sounds to collide. If you want your music on your blog, put it under a setting where the reader can turn it on, not automatic.
Don’t make it seem as if your blog exists just for awards or advertisement.
3. One blog only.
This rule varies, and when I mean one blog only, I mean one blog that belongs only to you. It’s hard going to a person’s profile page and seeing a whole list of blogs, and not knowing where to go. If you have topical blogs, like one devoted to your pet parakeet, one about your photography, and one about your music, be sure that it is made known. In your bio I suggest pointing your reader to various places so they won’t be confused as to which is your main blog. (By main, I mean the one you post in the most. An idle blog isn’t very fun!) I really prefer a variety of posts in one blog, and that is why I am saying, “One blog only!”
4. Go visit others!
A good thing to do is go visit blogs, and tell them what you think. Obviously, don’t say stuff like, “You call this writing?!”, “Stick to a diary!”, or “This stinks!”.
If you like a blog, tell the author so! They’ll really appreciate it, and most times they’ll come see your blog to discover what kind of people are reading. If you leave comments on huge blogs (be sure it’s for the right reasons) you’ll be more apt to gain readers. If the blog has regular readers, they might go, “Hmmm. They’re new. Wonder what kind of blog they own!”
5. Good post titles!
Alrighty. You’ve got the look, and a person in now following your blog. They’ll have your blog in a list of other blogs they are following, so you have to be sure your titles stand out. Instead of “What I Did at School Today” try “You’ll Never Guess What Happened!” or “I Hope I Never Dissect a Frog Again!”. Go for unique.
6. Variety Rocks!
I LOVE seeing blogs with a ton of different stuff. I mean, the blogger talks about bumpy roads one moment, then they’re chatting away about their soccer team flubs. Unless you blog is topical, be sure it has as much variety as you can handle.
7. Short is good!
Okay, so you’re writing on a computer, not in a book. (Well, duh) Readers are bound to see things differently. Some may not have much time to spend on the computer due to time constraints or rules.
As I said in my last rule, use variety. Long posts once in a while are cool, but it might be better to use compact, to the point posts. This is a rule that I struggle with. I adore writing, so a lot of my posts end up being long. (Like, ironically, this one!)
If it’s long, summarize each paragraph by one single sentence or saying, so it’ll be okay for a reader to skim through to decide whether or not they want to read.
Use the “Enter” key a lot when writing fiction or recounting something, so your post won’t look like a word-blur.
8. Be your own person.
Though this post is about having success in getting a popular blog, please don’t take this as an encouragement to go after popularity. It’s nice to be admired and loved by “followers” or “readers”, but be sure it’s because of you, not a fake person. The funny thing about blogging, is that it often brings out another side of the author. I’m pretty bubbly in real life, but I can’t talk as well as I write and I’m sort of shy. (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Prism? Shy? That doesn’t seem right…)
Don’t be something your not, because the reason people will follow your blog is because they like you, or the message you’re trying to get out.
9. Safety First!
There is a limit in being yourself. I recommend not giving out ANY personal info. to people you have just met on the internet. Don’t post pictures, names, or places without parental permission if you are a minor. Older than that? Think things through. It’s like going to a huge bulletin board in New York City and tacking up all your info. Anyone could see it.
10. Have a B-L-A-S-T!
Write about what you would want to read. Don’t feel obligated to write all of the time! It’s you site, and it’s not school, where you have to have assignments and turn them in on time. Blogging is a great way to discipline yourself, but I think it was created to express yourself.
In conclusion, unless you’re getting paid to write, or it’s a requirement of someone/something, just have fun!