Personal Blog characteristics: Eight features you cannot ignore
There are a million blogs with many popping up everyday. But you don’t read them all, forget reading, you don’t even notice most of them. So what is it that makes a few of them stand out from the rest – apart from the SEO that can get an occasional random click. We discussed different types of blogs and blog objectives earlier. But all these objectives – selling, customer support, information sharing – are secondary. Secondary, because these objectives cannot be achieved unless the blog has a dedicated readership. To achieve these objectives you must first have a loyal, targeted readership. Let us look at typical features different types of blogs and try to find a common thread to see the anatomy of successful blogs.
However, before we move on to evaluating some of the successful or most read blogs on the net, let us revisit our blog classification and what readers and writers hope to gain from the blogs.
- Creative channel
- Path to becoming a published author
- To entertain people
- Connect with writer’s experience
- Leisure reading
- Share practical knowledge and skills
- Influence the way people think
- To network
- To make money
- Establish Authority
- Inspiration, ideas, Information
- Learn from an insider
- Share knowledge and skills within
- Networking among employees
- Motivate people into action
- Influence thinking
- Customer Support
- Image management
- Thought Leadership
- Find solutions
- Learn Tips and tricks
- Learn current news about the product
- Express dissatisfaction
- Share knowledge and skills
- Get Information
- Learn about available resources
Defining a blog as successful is quite tricky, as some readers would prefer to read blogs solely based on the reputation of the author. Others could gauge success based on the Tweets or Likes that the author advertises on the blog. While some might follow blogs of people they know or just have stumbled upon and like the information that the blogger shares. So you understand the challenge of selecting ’successful’ blogs. For the purpose of this post I have selected blogs that are rated high on the Technorati Blog directory. Most of the blogs are maintained by one author, while a couple have multiple authors. I have classified these blogs as personal based on the information shared in the About Me and About the Blog sections. Apart from that, none of the bloggers directly advertise services of any kind or claim to have a business.
Personal Blog Feature 1: Let readers know who you are
The About Me section tells your reader who you are, why you blog, and your passion. Readers come to personal blogs because they want to connect with your story and like what you are writing about. So endear yourself to them and make it personal!
Personal Blog Feature 2: Help people help you
I know this is nothing new, but is reiterated by the top blogs on Technorati. Include social sharing buttons, not just the Follow Me ones. The readers should not be made to search for the share buttons if they like what you have written. As fickle as we are all getting, it is easy to like something at one instant and forget to actually like it after reading the entire post.
Personal Blog Feature 3: Open line of communication
The advantage of blogs over website is that it makes conversation possible. Not just between the author and the reader: that was possible via email before. By allowing comments and nested comments you encourage group communication.
Personal Blog feature 4: Out of sight is out of mind
Even if you just want to share your thoughts or get feedback on your writing style, having loyal readers is important. Let readers know when you post new content. Provide a subscription box and enable a RSS feed.
Personal Blog Feature 5: Life is easy when you know the road
You don’t want a new reader to read one post and be lost on your blog. Although there are no declared standards, familiarity makes life easy. Always provide Top Navigation, Post Categories, Archives, and Sequential Navigation for your readers.
Personal Blog feature 6: Help search engines find you
I am not suggesting that you put dummy text or use repetitive keywords or anything. But if you want readership, the least you can do is display full post text on your blog page.
Personal Blog Feature 7: Entertainment is an inalienable part of blogging
And there is more than one way to do it. Images can not only summarize your posts, but also add humor at times. Images also help you show what you cannot tell. Use images liberally, if you can.
Personal Blog Feature 8: Frequency over schedule
Doesn’t matter if you keep the time and date, but the frequency is important. Avid blog readers visit blogs multiple times a day, so the more frequent your updates, the higher the chance of retaining your readers.
So if you are planning to move your blog to a new platform or starting fresh, these are the features that you don’t want to miss. No matter what your objective, you are serving the reader and reader is the King. Our next post will look at some of the features of blogs by leading organizations. Please let us know your experiences – do you have all these features on your blogs? As a reader, which ones would you miss the most?
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