We’ve been talking for over a week about blogging. So far, it’s been the logistics. Why your blog should live on your site, how to get a domain, how to host a web site, how to design your site, and the need to pick a blogging software package. All of that might take a day or a week or even a month for you to get rolling, depending on how much you already know and whether you need to hire out some of the work.
What comes after that? Months and years of blogging, day in and day out. That brings us to the slogan I’ve quoted numerous times on this blog and in my e-zine. “Content is King.”
If you have great content, people will come to your blog, they’ll read your stuff, and they’ll keep coming back. Why? Because good content is unusual and great content is rare.
That’s where you have the advantage, because . . . you’re a writer. And writers create great content. Let’s define that. Great content has five attributes:
Let’s talk about each of those in turn.
Great content is valuable. There are boatloads of crummy content on the web. Stuff people just threw together because they don’t want to give away their good stuff. Give away your good stuff! Give away your gold!
Great content is unique. If everybody else has your content, then why should anyone come to your site? But if you’re unique, then you’ve got a monopoly. That doesn’t mean you need to have top secret information that nobody else has (although that helps). Maybe your style or your attitude is unique.
Great content is understandable. Duh.
Great content is entertaining. We don’t live in the “Information Age.” That’s a fib foisted by the information people. We live in the “Entertainment Age.” If your content is entertaining, you are nine miles ahead of everyone else.
Great content is free. Like I said, give away your gold. Earn people’s trust by showing that you’ve got the goods. Goods that are valuable, unique, understandable, and entertaining. If you do that, people are happy to buy from you when you’ve got something to sell. You know that’s true, because that’s who you buy from–people you trust.
Put great content on your web site, day after day, year after year. If you do that, you’ll build a reputation (or as some call it, a “brand.”) When it comes time for your book to come out, your market will have found you.
We’ll continue talking about that next week.
Kristi Holl says
Thanks for an understandable and brief description of what defines great content. This is something to print out and post near my keyboard when blogging. I do believe you’re right about “giving away the gold,” although many disagree. I have never bought anything from the sites that give teasers only for their products, but I’ve bought several things from your site and listened to Allison’s branding/marketing teleseminars with you last year. And it all started with reading your snowflake article!
Kristi – could have been me writing that!
Now I just wish I was more entertaining….
It’s not fiction but it is free…http://defendyourself101.ca
Beth Goddard says
I have a mac and i publish my website with iweb. I also have a blog through blogger. I’m considering your suggestion to have my blog on my website. The thing is I’ve had my blog for a while and type in my name and it comes up pretty quickly. If I move it to my website. . .I’m not sure how that would work. My main question is how would I go about hosting my blog on iWEb. I don’t know anything about FTP publishing, hence the move to iWEb. LOL OR could I use the blog on IWeb and publish it to my blogger acount. I’m so confused!!!
Pamela Cosel says
If I can go back to the topic of a few days ago, briefly, about web sites, and share what’s been resolved. You’ll recall I posted a warning about clear communication when using a web designer. While I had been very pleased with what mine did for a design (more than I expected), I wanted to have control of it myself. She’d said she owned my site (I was not happy about that, but didn’t quite realize that up front). She created the site in Flash, which is not the best choice, for a number of reasons, though my site is very attractive, and it would be hard to make many changes. Randy also says search engines don’t do well with Flash sites.
I lived with that the past 2 years, and couldn’t afford to do much in the way of changes. We all know a site shouldn’t sit stagnant (mine was) and Randy gives such good advice here about what to add and how to keep content fresh. At any rate, after the discussion here, I contacted my designer this past week…and she was great, agreeing to copy all my files to a CD and give turn them over to me at no charge. I am so glad.
Now I either have to learn Flash, or entirely redo the site in another program to have it be more manageable by me, which will be worth it, once completed. End result is that I now will have control over my own site, so there is a happy ending! It’s because of Randy’s blog here that I was motivated to see how I could resolve things. Thanks, Randy.
www.carouselcommunications.com (if you’re curious)
Charlotte Babb says
It is amazing how well you can build traffic to a blog just by posting every day, Monday through Friday. My work blog has gone form 68 hits the first month to nearly to over a 1000, during the holidays when there were no new posts and the college was closed for two weeks.
Since I have started back in January, we have had almose 2200 hits. Now, this blog is supposed to drive traffic back to our catalog website so people will register for classes, and my boss wants good information about what is going on at the college, and especially in our division. But the fact that it is hosted at wordpress.com means that there are ascpects I don’t control, and I have no access to our web catalog at all, so I can’t track whether a person who comes through my blog and clicks to the catalog actualy buys something. I also cant’ set up any kind of autoresponder.
It is important to have access and control of your blog.
Sally Ferguson says
How do you hit a nerve that gets comments on a blog? Feedback is nice, but is it the goal? If there is no feedback, does that mean that noone is connecting with your thoughts, or that what you said is so self-explanatory that it needs no further explanation?
I wondered the same thing as Sally. I wonder if Randy would share what his actual hit count is vs the number of posted comments. I bet it’s huge.
I was worried that Gail Martin was going to get lonely and pull her writing blog (www.writingright-martin.blogspot.com) because very little comments being posted…and why the heck not??? It’s full of great writing tips….for free! I started to spread the word about her blog. But she assured me her hit counter – or whatever the techie term for it is – showed plenty of readership. Whew. I didn’t want to lose a good, free thing.
She’s got Randy’s give-away-the-gold thing down. I think the fact that she gives away great writing advice will do nothing but help her while it helps others. She has a new book out that complements her blog content, but there’s no hard sell. You’ll either be interested in it, or not. Like pro wrestling.
We might be surprised to learn how many people come through, get what they want and leave without hanging around to interact. Maybe people are interested in the content but aren’t interested in socializing. That would be helpful to know, as a blog provider.
Rachael M says
Thanks for the blog – it’s great…
After reading your posts about Simpleology, I signed up and have just completed 101. I’m in the process of mapping out my ultimate life, targets, etc. and have a couple of questions about how you did it.
I’ve noticed I can only have ONE short term, mid term, and long term target. Did this really frustrate you? Did you try to ‘get around’ it and add more in each field? Did you decide to go with the flow and truly only pick one target to work on the for whole week.
It’s completely unrealistic to me to only work on one target. There’s a lot more I want to do with my life that isn’t related to that target. Eg, if my goal is to write 15 pages per week of my manuscript, what about my goal to go in a triathlon in six months (as a way of losing weight and getting fit)?
How did you approach this?
I tried reading the forum and a few people had started threads on the same issue. One person suggested choosing an overall ‘umbrella’ key goal that encompasses everything you want to do.
I’m not sure where to go from here…
Rachael M says
sorry for the completely unrelated comment 🙂
With regards to the topic, i don’t really think people worry too much about getting lots of comments if they can see that a lot of people are reading their blog, i know i didn’t. It’s nice to get a comment but i suppose you realise that it’s not that people arent reading it, it’s just that you haven’t pushed a button with them yet.
Beth Goddard says
I think i’ve discovered an answer to my above question of how to get my blog onto my site. It’s called an iFrame! Very easy to do. Now my blog is at both blogspot and at my website. I’m still working on the actual look of my blog, etc. but at least I can promote it on my site now:)
Daan Van der Merwe says
As far as Sally and Camille’s question goes, it is in my opinion simply a matter of personal taste. Outside my office I have two passions: relegion and fiction writing. As for the latter, I enjoy Randy’s website and I’m crazy about the blog, enjoying to post comments.
One of our fellow readers, Gina Conroy, is posting some interesting ideas about Christian religion on her blog. I post comments where I feel that my opinion might be of value to her and her readers.
I also visited the blog of Allison Bottke where she had supplied a link to a sermon preached by a Presbyterian Minister and which I have greatly enjoyed reading.
Which brings me to my point. Allison’s blog is about fun (for which I’m an absolute sucker), faith (which I enjoy), food, family and fashion (which doesn’t intertest me, especially that fashion angle). After all, I can’t see myself as a Boomer Babe! My rugby-addicted, beersoaking buddies will laugh themselves sick!!
Pam Halter says
Can you talk a little on blogs for kids? I know the basics are the same, great content and all, but I’m thinking about when (see, I’m optimistic) my book comes out for middle grade readers. Not only would I want to talk about the book and its characters, plot, etc. but I’d also like to talk to kids who are interested in writing.
Is there anything different I should know about doing that?
By far most of my http://defendyourself101.ca visits are from three visitors in New York:
and the next highest are in Moscow:
These numbers are way too high. It messes up my counts.
Is there any way to be sure they are spam robots or spiders so I don’t ban legitimate people? They are not getting through with spam but they keep pinging me, throwing off my site stats.
I have google ads on some pages and they register far less ‘impressions’ of each ad (times in a day the page they appear on is loaded) giving a more accurate level of activity, I presume. (I’ve actually made $8.07 since I put up their ads!) It would mean that the hits from the isps in NY and Moscow are not being counted as impressions at google…they give me a total of 4,208 impressions only since start up.
I think my counter is a bit useless, perhaps.
I wish I got comment so I could track real people… .