Blogging is hard work regardless of whether you’re blogging for yourself or for a business. To consistently do it well and meet your goals requires discipline. Therefore it’s critical to make blogging an integral part of your daily routine.
Here are twelve blog habits to help get you on track.
- Create a strategy for your blog. If you want your blog to be more than a glorified journal, you must have a plan for the type of readers you want to attract and the content they’re interested in consuming.
- Determine blog topics. Based on your blog’s focus, decide which topics you’re going to cover and how frequently. Remember, this schedule isn’t written in stone; it can be modified. To this end, an editorial calendar can be useful since it forces you to write about specific topics on a regular basis.
- Set post frequency. To keep readers coming back, you must publish consistently. This way they know which day(s) you’re publishing and will develop the habit of stopping by to read. It’s better to keep the bar low, especially at first. For example, only commit to posting once or twice a week rather than daily.
- Diversify content formats. Mix up your content format offering to keep it fresh for readers. Use the breadth of social media formats.
- Establish post length. Due to the growth of content companies like Demand Media, whose sweet spot is 350 to 500 word optimized content, I strongly recommend having at least 550 words in a blog post. While on the surface this appears to add pressure for some bloggers, in reality, it puts your posts into another category so that you’re not competing against this highly optimized content.
- Focus on post design. Bear in mind that your blog posts involve more than just the text. Consider the design elements of each post including how the text is laid out and the use of graphic elements. Do you set up each post to lure readers in?
- Build your links. Links are important for search optimization. Plan which core posts you’re going to link to on your blog as well as those that you’re going to link out to. If you’re working on a business blog, link to the relevant product offering to support sales.
- Plan ahead. Since life inevitably throws every blogger curve balls, make sure that you’ve got a few blog posts in your queue in case you need one in a pinch or get a bad case of Blank-Blog-Post-Syndrome. This ensures that you have fresh content on your blog without pulling an all nighter to write a post.
- Get the word out about your blog. Just because you hit the publish button on your blog, doesn’t mean readers are lined up to consume your content. Find ways to get the word out about your blog. Understand that it can take time to build an regular audience. Consider the breadth of options. Don’t over look small things like a call-to-action and a link in your signature file.
- Respond to comments on your blog. Have a policy of responding to comments that require an answer. For example, the comment: “Nice blog post” doesn’t need an answer. The objective is to engage readers in a conversation to show you’re involved.
- Comment on other blogs. Engaging in the conversation on other people’s blogs by leaving comments, encourages them to check out who you are. The goal is to extend the conversation and interest them in finding out more about you. This doesn’t mean just leaving your links in comments on other blogs.
- Cultivate your following. This is also known as building your social media tribe. The idea is to get your social media buddies to participate in the conversation on your blog and to share content with their social networks.
Like any other routine, blog habits take time to become second nature. Further, they need to be practiced regularly.
What habits have you adopted to help your blogging activities? Please add them to this list by leaving a comment below.
Here are some related articles on blogging that you may find useful:
- 7 Points to Create Your Blog’s Voice
- How to Design your Blog
- 29 Reasons you’re not getting blog traffic
- 40 blog metrics
Photo credit: Goldberg via Flickr