Monday, October 26, 2015

Blogging Success is as Easy as ABC - Blogging Basics for Writers, Part 7

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As Easy as ABC
Today I’d like to give you 26 tips for success with your blog. I’m calling this my ABCs of Blogging.

A is for Accessibility—Make sure your blog is easy to find, easy to navigate, and easy to read. And don’t forget to make it accessible to those who are visually impaired

B is for BasicsWhatever you’re doing, make it excellent. That means take time to check for typos and readability, in your posts. Also be sure you’re using giving accurate links. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a link that takes you nowhere.
C is for Connections—Think of your blog as a place where your audience can drop by and have a metaphorical cup of coffee with you. It’s a place for you to connect with on a deeper level. Answer comments and join the conversation. Blogging is not a synonym for lecturing.

D is for Discipline—When you begin a blog, you make a commitment to your audience. You want them to show up regularly and they expect the same for you. They won’t expect perfection—after all life happens to all of us—but they will expect discipline from you.

E is for Energy
E is for Energy—Make sure your posts are full of energy. Use active verbs, vibrant descriptions and always end with a call to action. The action could be as simple as joining the conversation or as challenging as changing the world.

F is for Focus—You cannot be everything to everybody. Pick a focus for your site, but don’t be afraid to refine it based on what you hear from your audience.

G is for Google—Do your homework and know what it takes to rank high in the search engines. This means you need to know about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as well as how to label and tag your blog correctly. And always remember it isn’t content that’s king, it’s GOOD content that rules.

H is for Hearing
H is for Hearing—Pay close attention to the comments your audience leaves. You’ll find great ideas for future blogs, as well as find out what your audience is interested in. Also keep tabs on your analytics. Knowing which posts are your most popular will go a long way to helping you determine the focus for you blog.

I is for Image—There’s a reason behind the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Use images to illustrate every post and to break up the text so it’s easier to read.

J is for Jump Break—This little tool can help your blog load faster and your email notifications run smoother. Not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s a post I wrote that give you everything you need to know about jump breaks

K is for Keeping On—Building an audience for your blog takes time . . . and diligence. Don’t give up too soon. Here’s what to reasonably expect for blog growth

L is for Links— Social Media Links, that is. If someone takes time to visit your blog, make sure they can connect with you on social media as well. Have all your social media links in an easy to see place on your blog header or sidebar.

M is for Mobile
M is for Mobile—Make sure your blog is easy to read on a mobile device and/or tablet. This isn’t just about how it looks, but also the length of posts, size of the text, etc.

N is for Numbers—Remember your worth—and your blog’s worth— is NOT determined by the number of people who visit.

P is for Passion—You may be able to write about something you’re not passionate about for a month or two. But after that, I guarantee you’ll be miserable. So pick something you’re passionate about as a focus for your site.

Q is for Question—Always end your post with a question to help get the conversation started. (Thanks to Jeanne Takenaka for reminding me to include this tip!)

R is for Reputation—In this business (publishing and blogging) reputation is everything. Develop a reputation for excellence and you’ll never lack for work—or for an audience!

S is for Subscribers—Make sure you have a way for people to subscribe to your blog through email and through RSS. Also, be sure you know the difference between blog followers and blog subscribers

T is for Titles—Don’t neglect the titles you choose for your blog posts. Social media is a no man’s land without context. A good rule is to look at your title and ask if someone would know what your post was about just by reading the title.

U is for Understand—Take time to understand the culture of the online universe. This includes etiquette, as well as expectations.  

V is for Value
V is for Value—Give your audience something of value every single time you post. No one has time to waste and your audience is no exception.

W is for Weight—Don’t overload any part of your blog. Keep your sidebars trim and uncluttered. Don’t have too many links within a blog post. The ideal is no more than two to three per 500 words. If you encourage people to click away more than a couple of times, statistics prove they won’t come back. But most of all, don’t weigh down your posts with unnecessary words. Wordiness is never a good thing for a writer, but it’s absolute death to a blogger.

X is for Examine—I try to evaluate my blog two to three times a year. I take a look at my most popular posts, as well as the ones that garnered the most comments. I also try to look at it like a first-time visitor would. Is it easy to navigate? Do the page tab titles make sense? Are my social media links all working correctly.

Y is for Yellow—Not as in cowardly, but the color yellow. Avoid it when you blog. It’s the most unpopular color for use on a blog. It’s also the hardest to see and has the largest variation over devices.

Z is for Zoom In—When you pick a topic for a blog post, zoom in. Don’t try to cover too much at once. Stay laser-focused. Beyond that, zoom in on your word count. Blog posts are almost always shorter than print articles. It’s the nature of the medium.

These are my top tips. I’d love to hear some of yours!

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Blogging isn't a synonym for lecturing, plus other tips from @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Edie, I would add W is for Wordpress. I discourage people from starting with Blogger. If you start with Wordpress, you learn how Wordpress works. If the blog succeeds in building traffic, the blogger will eventually want to host his/her own site. The transition to self-hosting is easy with Wordpress. Blogger, not as easy. With Wordpress you have more flexibility and control. Here's a good summary/comparison of Wordpress vs. Blogger. PS: hope to see you at Midsouth Christian Writers Conference next spring.

  2. Oops. Forgot to put the link to Blogger vs. Wordpress article:

    1. Emily, I appreciate the fact that you took time to comment. But I hate you didn't realize that as a top tier blogger, I always recommend Blogger over the free version of Wordpress (meaning the one that a blogger doesn’t have to pay for self hosting and other fees to set up) when it comes to free sites. It's the site this blog has been built on.

      Beyond that, I recommend bloggers begin on a free site. It's very difficult to figure out what you want until you have some experience with a given endeavor. I always compare it to renting a house before you buy one. If you've never lived in a house, you may think you want one thing, but after living in a large space for a while, you discover something quite different. It just doesn’t make sense to spend money to build something you’re going to have to change.

      We can agree to differ on the aspects of Blogger vs. WordPress, but I will say this, Blogger is more flexible within templates than WordPress. Yes, there are more templates available on WordPress (although free is limited) But there are infinite ways to customize a blog on Blogger, no matter which template you choose. Most importantly, Google isn’t going anywhere and won’t be suddenly abandoning Blogger. They derive a lot of income hosting these free blogs. The blogsites add to Google’s reach, platform and visibility. That particular concern is nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor.

      It's important to remember that it's not the blogging platform that determines the success of a site. It has much more to do with content. Getting caught up in arguing which platform to use can sidetrack us from the importance of generating good content, formatting the text for readability online, keeping a regular schedule, interacting with our audience, and the many other aspects of blogging that lead to success or failure.

      Blessings, E

  3. Great tips as always. Thanks for reminding us of these things more than once. I incorporate all the things I learn from your site into my blog, but I sometimes forget something. It helps that you re-post things for us--like the jump break. I keep forgetting to insert one but I will make myself remember to do it now!

    1. Barbara, thank you! I hesitated to repost this, but really wanted to include it in this series so my readers wouldn't have to go looking for it elsewhere. Blessings, E

  4. Great as usual. I jumped to the article on Visual Impairment too. I'm not technically visually impaired, but as I age, I need larger fonts. Some publications have lost me because of the struggle to read 8-point fonts (offline publications) and it was a waste of money to buy a publication that loves reverses without enough contrast to read--red on an orange background, for example. Back to online, I will keep this article for future reference.

  5. Great as usual. I had more to say but I wrote it all and it was erased. Still enjoyed the article.