Thursday, July 13, 2006

16 aspects of blog visitability

You created a blog and posted a few items, some text, maybe some photos, art, video, or music mp3s of your band.

By what measurements can one predict if a blog will be attractive to others, so that you get visits and comments?

How can you know if your blog is visitable? Well, there are some guaranteed, tried and true items that must ring true, if you want people to visit your blog.

Key Elements of Blog Visitability

(1) Blog Title: Relevant, memorable, and original.

(2) Blog Content: Rich, relevant, and immediately or futuristically useful.

(3) Blog Design: Immediate impact of visual aspects creates an impression of professional, serious, innovative, or whatever credibility and qualities you wish to convey to first time readers.

(4) Blog Tagline: Brief description of contents, statement of purpose, or funny slogan.

(5) Post Frequency: You must post at least once a week, preferably once a day. Group and team blogs should post a few, if not several, times per day. Depending on topic and user needs. People don't feel comfortable visiting what appears to be an abandoned blog. It's like stumbling into a cemetary or morgue. Brrrrr. [shivers]

(6) Post Variety: People get tired of reading the same old crap about your dining habits, love life problems, opinions on trivial matters, or favorite movie scars. Use surprise, uncharacteristic tones, more photos, more text, quotes, running commentary, or whatever it takes to add spice and unexpected tangents to your blog.

(7) Blog Friendliness: As manifested in quick, courteous responses to comments, within the topic thread (and not just summarizing posts), and your general tone of voice in postings. Display a photo of yourself. Humanize your blog with audio or video posts. Let them hear you and see you. But not too much! Careful with that axe, Eugene!

(8) Post Redundancy: It won't hurt to recycle some photos, audio, video, text. Your brand new readers may not comb through your precious archives as much as you'd like to think they would. Don't just regurgitate text, but take an already posted topic and re-work it into a new post.

(9) Blogger Passion: If you're really excited, intense, in-depth, or expansive about a topic or activity, you'll attract readers. Maintain that enthusiasm, coupled with a burning desire to share your know-how or products, and you'll retain readership.

(10) Blogospheric Interactivity: Circulate through the blogosphere, and post comments at other blogs, if you want to attract attention and gain readership. Usually a blogger will reciprocate if you leave a comment at his or her blog.

(11) Blog Language: Use appropriate style and vocabulary. If you're a business blogger, refrain from using certain vulgar, sexual, or amateurish language. If you're a comedy blogger, refrain from using scholarly language. If your mom and dad read your blog, refrain from using words they will spank and ground you into hamburger for. Don't use lots of buzzwords and trendy bells and whistles, unless you want to be known as an unimaginative, know-nothing consultant.

(12) Blogospheric Controversy: Check the blog trackers like Technorati to see what's being hotly debated in the blog realm. Then do posts on your opinions, experiences, or insights in that topic area. Challenge or reinforce the prevailing wisdom. Find faults in the opposing side's position and aguments.

(13) Added Value Items: Consider putting video (your own or YouTube or Google Video), audio, podcasts, music mp3s, art, photography, games, relevant links, custom search engines, PDF downloads, e-books, and other functionalities into your blog. Blogs that are nothing but text are going to vanish or be ignored pretty soon, in many cases. People are looking for full service entertainment and multi-functional information zones.

(14) Benefit Orientation: Think constantly of how you can benefit your readers with how-to articles, insights, tips, lessons, tutorials, anecdotes, quotes, and other helpful items. Don't just keep gushing up tons of trivial personal, or hard sell promotional, text.

(15) Automatic Blog Update Notification/Subscription: Provide email alerts or RSS/Atom syndication for your readers, to let them know you have fresh, new content, as soon as you post it.

(16) Exoblog Interactivity: Communicate with readers outside the confines of the blog. Let them email you. Mail them gifts. Sell them things they need or like. Go to blog conferences. Conduct blog related seminars.

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