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How to Create a Blog that People Want to Read

Bee an attractive blogger

What is the difference between a popular blog and an ignored one?

This is a surprisingly complicated question to answer.

Great content is a given.

No, that’s not where it ends. It is not as simple as “content is king”, no matter how many times that nugget is repeated. There are thousands of well written blogs out there with little or no traffic.

So promotion needs to be added to the mix.

Sometimes it is seemingly small things. On occasion tips and tweaks I suggest in my blog critiques make for big differences.

Structure, usability and architecture come into play. A good foundation to allow the content to shine and breathe.

I have a theory though. All of the vital ingredients are not the cause of the popularity, but the key symptoms.

Popular blogs are powerfully tailored to their audience.

Think of the flowers that attract bees to pollinate them. They take advantage of the bees own selfish motivations and needs to get something they need. To have the best chance of success they create a compelling environment, the right visual, attractive scent. It’s the perfect win-win. Bee and flower go away happy.

How are you getting to know the particular needs and desires of your audience so that you can create the perfect experience for your bees?

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Comments

  1. Heh. It’s nice to see our conversation with Imran sparked a blog post, Chris. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have to agree with you. Good content is only a portion of what is important. And so is promotion. Without one or the other, you’re not going to succeed. And promotion can mean so many different things. From writing comments on other blogs to full blown marketing campaigns.

  2. Heh. It’s nice to see our conversation with Imran sparked a blog post, Chris. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have to agree with you. Good content is only a portion of what is important. And so is promotion. Without one or the other, you’re not going to succeed. And promotion can mean so many different things. From writing comments on other blogs to full blown marketing campaigns.

  3. Well to be fair the attendees of WordCamp UK will recognize it too. It’s a conversation I have had a lot, just today I realized not on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Well to be fair the attendees of WordCamp UK will recognize it too. It’s a conversation I have had a lot, just today I realized not on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. With so many blogs out there, we need a strong focus in order to get our content noticed.

    I started by looking for a topic that there is actually demand for, and that hasn’t been done to death. I chose to publish “blogging and website tips”, but made a point to be more specific, i.e. leaving out the jargon. Where relevant I have explained what the jargon actually means.

    Even saying that content is king is not the whole story. It helps if you know your topic intimately and can present the information in a compelling way. People come to read content, but you need to be a good writer to make your content worth reading. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

  6. With so many blogs out there, we need a strong focus in order to get our content noticed.

    I started by looking for a topic that there is actually demand for, and that hasn’t been done to death. I chose to publish “blogging and website tips”, but made a point to be more specific, i.e. leaving out the jargon. Where relevant I have explained what the jargon actually means.

    Even saying that content is king is not the whole story. It helps if you know your topic intimately and can present the information in a compelling way. People come to read content, but you need to be a good writer to make your content worth reading. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

  7. interesting, I think that you hit the nail on the head with suiting the needs of the reader, they are wanting something from you usually for free or next to no money. This is a great point to be made, I mean the main reason I come here is because you have information that is valuable to me, that why I subscribe and comment regularly.

    What I would love to see you cover is getting then involve in the community because 80% of readers will not comment on your blog. Its a sad fact, not really fact because I don’t know the exact percentage but you get where I’m coming from.

    Another great post there.

  8. interesting, I think that you hit the nail on the head with suiting the needs of the reader, they are wanting something from you usually for free or next to no money. This is a great point to be made, I mean the main reason I come here is because you have information that is valuable to me, that why I subscribe and comment regularly.

    What I would love to see you cover is getting then involve in the community because 80% of readers will not comment on your blog. Its a sad fact, not really fact because I don’t know the exact percentage but you get where I’m coming from.

    Another great post there.

  9. “There are thousands of well written blogs out there with little or no traffic.”

    “So promotion needs to be added to the mix.”

    True, but if they keep at it the long tail eventually will catch up and they’ll get noticed. I didn’t do much to promote my site and someone ran across a post they liked, put it to Digg, it made page one, and I was promoted without doing anything. Maybe I was lucky.

    “Structure, usability and architecture come into play. A good foundation to allow the content to shine and breathe.”

    Not always true. I have seen poorly designed sites get a TON of traffic. I do agree that all of these things are vital and will give you the best chances for success, but I’ve seen some absolutely atrociously designed sites get 5 figure subscriber counts. I think Darren even had a post about this awhile ago.

    BTW Chris, featured your site in my 25 great designs post here:
    http://thefuturebuzz.com/2008/07/30/25-examples-of-clean-effective-and-beautiful-web-design/

    I do love the design of your site, definitely will keep this in mind when I pay someone to give me a pro design instead of template.

  10. “There are thousands of well written blogs out there with little or no traffic.”

    “So promotion needs to be added to the mix.”

    True, but if they keep at it the long tail eventually will catch up and they’ll get noticed. I didn’t do much to promote my site and someone ran across a post they liked, put it to Digg, it made page one, and I was promoted without doing anything. Maybe I was lucky.

    “Structure, usability and architecture come into play. A good foundation to allow the content to shine and breathe.”

    Not always true. I have seen poorly designed sites get a TON of traffic. I do agree that all of these things are vital and will give you the best chances for success, but I’ve seen some absolutely atrociously designed sites get 5 figure subscriber counts. I think Darren even had a post about this awhile ago.

    BTW Chris, featured your site in my 25 great designs post here:
    http://thefuturebuzz.com/2008/07/30/25-examples-of-clean-effective-and-beautiful-web-design/

    I do love the design of your site, definitely will keep this in mind when I pay someone to give me a pro design instead of template.

  11. I absolutely agree, content is a piece of the pie and it’s really got to be the whole pie to make it ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post.

  12. I absolutely agree, content is a piece of the pie and it’s really got to be the whole pie to make it ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post.

  13. Great post and thank you. I am still discovering how to fix my blogs.

  14. Great post and thank you. I am still discovering how to fix my blogs.

  15. Can’t resist extending your bee metaphor/analogy a bit further, Chris:

    Bees have a strong preference for visiting one type of flower on a foraging trip? They don’t mix their nectar. Similarly, blog visitors on a mission will flit from one blog to another within a niche, seeking a particular type of nectar.

    You could do the dance of the seven veils in front of a blogger on a mission to find an answer to a problem – or wave a rose in front of a bee who’s out to harvest dandelion pollen – and it will do no good. The point being – your blog/flower may not be what the bee/visitor is seeking today, but that could be all changed tomorrow; but not, of course, if you give up and stop blooming.

    Here endeth the extended metaphor. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Can’t resist extending your bee metaphor/analogy a bit further, Chris:

    Bees have a strong preference for visiting one type of flower on a foraging trip? They don’t mix their nectar. Similarly, blog visitors on a mission will flit from one blog to another within a niche, seeking a particular type of nectar.

    You could do the dance of the seven veils in front of a blogger on a mission to find an answer to a problem – or wave a rose in front of a bee who’s out to harvest dandelion pollen – and it will do no good. The point being – your blog/flower may not be what the bee/visitor is seeking today, but that could be all changed tomorrow; but not, of course, if you give up and stop blooming.

    Here endeth the extended metaphor. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I have book marked this great content article. thanks

  18. I have book marked this great content article. thanks

  19. This question, when you’re starting out, can be a very frustrating circle.

    I don’t have readers – how can I know what they want? Once I have readers I obviously have done something write.

    All I can think is try out different things and see what the results are in the various ways of counting (all of which disagree!).

    Any wisdom on this circle I would be very grateful to hear.

  20. This question, when you’re starting out, can be a very frustrating circle.

    I don’t have readers – how can I know what they want? Once I have readers I obviously have done something write.

    All I can think is try out different things and see what the results are in the various ways of counting (all of which disagree!).

    Any wisdom on this circle I would be very grateful to hear.

  21. Chris, I dig the bee metaphor and have to commend rjleaman for the extension of that metaphor:

    “Similarly, blog visitors on a mission will flit from one blog to another within a niche, seeking a particular type of nectar.”

    I feel that’s absolutely true; perfect image to describe it.

  22. Chris, I dig the bee metaphor and have to commend rjleaman for the extension of that metaphor:

    “Similarly, blog visitors on a mission will flit from one blog to another within a niche, seeking a particular type of nectar.”

    I feel that’s absolutely true; perfect image to describe it.