Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What makes a good blog?

image courtesy of Nujalee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you are on Twitter you may have come across 'Twitter chats'. Usually based around a particular theme, hobby, interest or TV program and usually accompanied by their very own 'hashtag' to enable users to follow the conversation.

Tuesday nights see not one but two Twitter chats I like to make an effort to follow - #craftblogclub I have mentioned before, hosted by Emma @livepeachey and #CBUK hosted by Hillary at @craftbloguk 
Both chats are aimed primarily at craft bloggers (although if you are looking to find NEW craft blogs to read then these hashtags are a great place to start), and both are a great source of inspiration and advice.

Last night's #craftblogclub chat was all about Pinterest. You know how much I love Pinterest - it's a great place to store ideas and get inspiration! You can read Emma's round up of that chat here.

#CBUK concentrated on the tricky subject of engaging readers.
The whole point of blogging for most of us is that we are sharing our thoughts, images, ideas, knowledge with the world wide web (does anyone actually still use that term?). In return we like to see that people are interested - whatever people say about not caring about the stats, in the end we want people to visit our blogs, look around, comment and, perhaps most importantly, subscribe, follow and come back another time.

Now I am not one to worry myself too much about keywords and SEO - I like to think I write descriptively enough for searches to find me and I always make sure I use a number of different phrases within each post to ensure that I have covered several search options. For example my tshirt yarn projects posts include phrases like 'tshirt yarn projects' 'tshirt yarn tutorial' 'making tshirt yarn' 'crochet with tshirt yarn' and 'recycling tshirts' - phrases I would hope anyone actively searching for tshirt yarn related blog posts might use.  That said I have had more vistors to those posts via the images I have pinned on pinterest. I know there is room for improvement and I realise I am going to have to take SEO a little more seriously if I am to get more visitors...

But once they are here, how do we keep them here, get them to contribute and better still get them to return?

I don't know if there is a set formula that works - great content obviously is the key. You have to be writing stuff that people WANT to read or else they will just click away. Great images help tremendously, particularly if you also use Pinterest to promote your blog. I have noticed a distinct upturn in visitors via Pinterest over the last few months - never underestimate the power of a beautiful photograph, particularly if it illustrates a tutorial/recipe/how to!

But most importantly you must LOVE what you are doing! If you're not mad keen on your latest blog post how can you expect anyone else to be? Content written because you feel you HAVE to will never be as good as content written that you really love/believe in.  I have always said that when blogging becomes a chore it's time to step back and re-evaluate.

So what do you think makes a good blog?
What makes you hit the 'Subscribe' button? (top of right hand column by the way ;-) )
What makes you want to keep coming back?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

9 comments:

  1. I think it's really important to be yourself in your blog and also not be afraid to laugh at yourself. Being believable is a big pull for me...

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    1. Absolutely - no one is perfect and not everything goes to plan! My post about the 'cake in bread machine' fail still gets fairly regular hits!

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  2. I'm so pleased that the chat got you thinking - that's the whole point :) I work in social media and I currently look after a number of blogs on varying subjects. I think controversy can often help, if you post about something and have an opinion 'put it out there' then people are more inclined to join the debate because you aren't being passive and you'll also encourage less 'aww sweet' or 'lovely' type comments.

    Also I found this post because you added the #cbuk tag - networking by including people in your post who you want to hear from works :)

    PS - Pinterest is one of my biggest traffic sources, well worth the effort to get it right - I'm on it as haptree and I was lucky enough to be asked a few months back to help launch a UK promo of it to encourage more UK bloggers to get on board - if any of your readers are interested I have a community board called Craft Life that can help them get started on Pinterest as it has a few followers now - they just need to email to be included all details are over there :) x Thanks again for joining in last night especially as it was your 2nd of the night! Jilary @craftbloguk xxxx

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    1. ha ha - that should be Hilary - not Jilary!!!

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    2. Thanks Hilary, I have been pinning to your 'Craft life' board for a while and it has generated a fair few hits for this blog not to mention likes and repins of original pin!

      ps - love the typo ;-)

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  3. I think it's also important to write content that people want to share, not just stay and read. Once you've written something that starts getting tweeted, or Facebooked, then you're reaching a far wider audience through word-of-mouth than you ever would through SEO alone.

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    1. You are spot on! Word of mouth is THE best advertising tool both on and offline. I am far more likely to read an unknown/new blog if it is recommended to me by someone... Pinterest has worked well for me in the sense that it sends a lot of traffic my way, particularly for the tutorial/DIY posts but facebook and twitter shares are awesome traffic generators!

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  4. hellooo..Anthea..you Know i love your blog..you are very creative..and id like to give you this award..you need pick up it..on my blog..i hope you like..

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    1. Thank you Noli, that's very sweet! I will collect my award and pass it on to my favourite blogs soon :-) xx
      ps - I used google translate to read your answers to the questions but I'm not sure it was completely accurate lol ;-)

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Thanks for staying this long :) I would love to hear what you have to say. Don't be shy, this could be start of a beautiful friendship!

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