The 4 Point Blogger’s Cheat Sheet

The 4 Point Blogger’s Cheat Sheet is a little guideline to keep you on the right course as you develop your blog into your business.

It will help new bloggers figure out the essential things they need to do to get their blogs rolling forward and picking up some traction

It will help established bloggers be ever mindful of the things they need to do on a daily basis.

There are many ingredients to great blogging.  Here’s my cheat sheet containing what I consider to be the 4 cornerstones to blogging,

Develop Unique Content

Notice I didn’t say “valuable” or “high quality” content.

Of course it needs to be that, too.

But tons of blogs have value and quality… but the trick to standing out in the crowd (where you want to be!) is to develop unique content.

It almost seems like this should go without saying, but I’m going to say it again.

Always develop unique content.

That doesn’t mean “new” content.  That’s next to impossible.

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But even old, re-hashed content can be a huge hit if it is unique.

New… that’s content nobody has ever delivered before.  Forget that.

Unique… that’s content that people enjoy getting from you because it comes from… you.

It’s content with your personal “stamp”… your story, your flavor, your perception.

So, of course…

make sure that whatever you have to say sounds like YOU said it  In fact, make sure you did say it.

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t create content that borrows elements here and there from other blogs, videos or whatever.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be “new.”

But it doesn’t mean that you can’t just copy someone’s material and paste it onto your blog and call it your own.

It’s not.

First of all that’s plagiarism.

Second, it’s duplicate content and will ensure that your posts get terrible page rankings in the search engines.

Third and most important, you lose the opportunity to be you.

You miss out on the chance to brand yourself as someone special and unique in the eyes of your readers.

Once you’ve made that mistake, it’s really hard to develop your own voice later on, because people have pretty much labeled you already.

They’ve identified you as someone who doesn’t have their own voice, someone who just repeats what everyone else is saying just for the sake of having something to say at all.

Develop unique content that brands you .

That’s why you’re blogging to begin with… or should be.

Yes, you can invite guest bloggers from time to time.  But unless your brand is to have a full-blown magazine style blog where you are the editor and not the author, then people come to your blog to engage with YOU, not an endless series of guest bloggers.

Guest bloggers can add a lot to your blog if you feature them occasionally, and engage with them in the post itself through a rather elaborate introduction that addresses the material in the post.

Make your input somewhat of a commentary on the subject to follow.  That way, even though it’s written by a guest author, your readers still get your unique perspective on the issue.

Guest blogging is just one place you’ll need to find a way to to be unique.

Make it a habit every time you put your blogging hat on.

Always look for ways to speak in your own unique voice, and to amplify it until your entire target audience knows…

FIRST… exactly who You are.

Second… what your content is.

Use your story, your humor, your expertise, your inflection, your accent, your… well you get the idea.

Always look for ways to develop unique content in your unique voice which, you know by now… is crucial.

Create A Posting Schedule

Create a posting schedule… and stick to it!

Blog consistently

Blog often.

It doesn’t matter how often you post articles to your blog, as it does that you develop a consistent routine.

And, did I mention… stick to it.

The worst thing to do is to post 3 times one week, and then skip a week, then post once, etc.

Try to develop a consistent delivery rate and, of course… stick to it.

For one thing, search engines rank you higher if you deliver content consistently and over an extended period of time, like 6 months to a year for starters.

They don’t think your blog is as valuable to readers if it has an inconsistent pattern of delivery.  So they rank it lower.

More importantly, though, is that your readers really won’t value content delivered inconsistently.  So they’ll stop looking forward to visiting your blog.

In my experience, bloggers who get all hyped up and decide to post every day or more, burn out.  It’s hard to keep up that level of content delivery unless it’s absolutely the only thing you do and you have a bunch of help doing it.

I blog once a week, but I know very successful bloggers who blog even less.

For the most part, I’d say once a week is minimum in order to hold your followers attention and loyalty.

Two or three times a week is great if you can do it comfortably without burning out, but think hard before you commit to a schedule that is too aggressive.

Because remember, whatever posting schedule you devise… the only way it will work is if you stick to it.

Develop A “CTA” Strategy

Map out the calls to action (CTA’s) your readers must take in order for you to build a business with your blog.

Do they need to subscriber to your email list? or buy an affiliate product, or many of them?  Do they need to join your business opportunity?

Feature frequent calls to action in your posts and on your blog that give people incentive and inspiration to take the CTA’s that you’ve designed for them in your overall blogging strategy.

You want your blog to attract action takers… that is, if you want to build a business with your blog.

No calls to action means no action to take… means no action takers… means no subcribers… means no business.

However…

Promote and advertise very carefully.

Don’t let your blog become a billboard for every banner, anchor text and affiliate link in the world.

Again, Google doesn’t like it.  Your page will suffer rankings for it.

More importantly, your readers don’t want to fight through a sea of ads just to find your content.  If they have to work too hard to find value, they’ll simply click away.

Now please don’t misinterpret this.

I’m not advising that you never advertise.  Do it, but only to add value to the reader experience, not to distract from it.

So, if I’m reading your blog post about healthy juice recipes, I may very well be interested in seeing an inline ad (an ad within the post itself as opposed to being on the sidebar) for a juicer that’s on sale.  But don’t try to get me to a holiday cookie recipe book in the same post.

Make your ads congruent to your message, and to your niche.  They can actually add value to your readers when you do it that way.  Otherwise, they’re just so much distraction and “noise” and readers will ignore them at best, leave your blog and never return at worst.

Oh, one more thing…

People swear by popup ads and the reported statistics say they’ve highly beneficial and I see almost everybody using them.

So I guess it’s just me.

But I hate popup ads.

I’ve never used them and I never intend to (although I never say “never”… lol).

I use display ads (banners and buttons) and click through ads.  Those are ads you see, or links you must click to get the information it offers.

I like the click through process because, even though it lowers the number of people who might subscribe to your list, you get more of the “action taker” sorts that you really need.

If you don’t want to be bothered, you don’t need to click.  If it’s of interest to you, you can click and get more info or opt in or whatever.  I like to leave it up to my readers to decide what they want to see, and if they want to take action.

If I flip out and decide to use popup ads and optin boxes (since I never say “never”)… and I know so many of you do… I would use them sparingly.

And again… make them congruent to your content.

Don’t have an ad for a hosting account pop up while I’m reading a post about video creation technique.

Also, don’t have them pop up all over the place every few seconds.

Finally, please don’t have an optin box popup before I even get to read your post.  I just don’t think that works.

But again, I know I’m in the minority on this point.

Engage

The whole reason for blogging is to build rapport with people interested in your topic or niche.

So remember… first and foremost, engage with people who visit your blog.

When they leave a comment, give a thoughtful reply and then go visit their blog.  Leave a comment on their post, too.  It’s called reciprocity and it’s the cornerstone of building a successful blog.

Now here’s something I find totally annoying and it’s a pretty poor blogging practice.

Many bloggers create a “money site” for a blog.  A money site is one that is purely promotion and nothing else.

It may make some attempts to deliver what looks like valuable content, but it’s pretty clear that the main reason for writing even those “value” posts is to get people to buy something.

There’s nothing wrong with having a money site.  It’s kind of the old school method for selling online.

The problem starts when money site bloggers think “engagement” means leaving really short and pretty pointless comments on high ranking blogs just to place backlinks on popular and authority sites.

What they’re hoping is that people will go to their blog and buy their thing, or that their backlink on the authority blog will help get their money site ranked high on the search engines.

If you have a money site, please don’t do this.  There are so many better ways to market online.

Now, if you really want to try to use blogging methods to drive people to that site, I suggest that, at the very least, you do these two things first…

One, put some truly valuable content on your blog so people can get something other than a sales pitch if they go to your blog.

Second, don’t pretend to engage… just “do” engage on the blogs you visit… seriously!

That means, leave truly thoughtful comments that show you actually read the post and have something to contribute to the discussion other than hoping to drive traffic to your money site.

This advice is for all bloggers, of course, not just those with money sites.

Always advance the discussion when you engage with people who visit your blog,or when you visit theirs.

Anytime you comment on someone’s blog, say something that might benefit anyone reading the comment thread.

Do the same in replies to your readers’ comments on your own blog,

If one of your readers has a question, answer it.

If they differ with your point of view, acknowledge the difference and re-state your position in a little different way.  Maybe it will make more sense to them from a different perspective.

In other words, have a conversation.  Don’t sound like you’re commenting and replying because you have to, but because you love to… I know I love to 🙂

Build relationships and your blog will become a place where people look forward to hanging out.

It’s called a loyal following, and it’s the single biggest asset you can have as a blogger.

This “4 Point Blogger’s Cheat Sheet” doesn’t cover every aspect of blogging, but it’s a good point of reference for new bloggers.  I consider these to be the essential cornerstones to effective blogging.

If you’re a pro blogger, I’m sure you can find value in this too, because truly, we all need to be constantly re-evaluating our progress and our methods of blogging.

I hope this little cheat sheet will help everyone keep on their toes, and make their blogs stand out in the crowd.

Blessings,

-Donna Merrill

PS – If you liked this post, please like, share and comment, thanks!

 

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    1. Kathryn Maclean March 8, 2015
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