Larry Brauner

If you were looking for information about the Milky Way or perhaps something more entertaining like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I expect you’re a little disappointed.

This is an article about blogging.

In 2008,  Top 10 Blogging Success Factors and Top Reasons Why I Blog were well received.

The Blogger's GalaxyToday I want to acquaint you with top destinations in the blogging universe — not stars, comets or planets — not beaches or ski resorts — rather, objectives that every serious blogger ought to have — or consider adopting.

The purpose of blogging is to communicate with your readership, but let’s break it down into smaller actionable objectives.

Create Content

Every blog must have content that communicates something to readers. There are an ever increasing number of media in which to communicate besides plain text, such as:

  • Pictures or even slide shows
  • Audio — podcasts, music, etc.
  • Video
  • Charts or PowerPoint presentations
  • Polls, guest books or other engaging widgets
  • Talk radio shows, e.g. BlogTalkRadio, or conference calls, e.g. TalkShoe
  • Blog or website reviews

Choose the media that work best for your personality and subject matter.

When creating your content, be sure to ask these four questions:

  1. Is my content worth reading, viewing or listening to?
    If not, why bother posting it? When you think of good ideas, try and write them down.
  2. Is my content readable or understandable?
    I see too many blogs with bad formatting, spelling, syntax and grammar.
  3. Is my content worth linking to?
    Not every post will gather link love, but it’s something to keep in mind. If the content is good, relevant, well presented and easy to share, there’s a chance that readers will share it.
  4. Is my content search engine friendly?
    It should be, since search engines love blogs. It would be a shame not to take advantage of that.

Generate Traffic

These are my principal sources of blog traffic:

  • Asking friends and followers on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Ning to come read my articles — I was able to generate some traffic right away when I first got started
  • Other blogs and social media sites linking to my blog — takes time, but link building brings visitors and improves standing with the search engines
  • Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing send traffic if content is search engine friendly — and they seem to like blog posts with comments a lot
  • RSS and e-mail subscribers responding to notifications — over time I acquired a loyal readership

Read my past articles, and watch out for Facebook for Bloggers coming soon to a blog near you.

Build a Following

It takes time and substantial effort to acquire a loyal readership. Good relevant content, targeted traffic and an easy way to subscribe will over time yield results. All three factors are essential.

I discourage you from using the register feature of your blog. Registered users are not as good as subscribers. They’re hard to manage and to reach by e-mail.

I use a combination of Feedburner and Aweber to add subscribers, since Feedburner adds Aweber e-mail subscribers into its total count of readers.

My blog is the hub of my social media strategy:

  1. I build a following on social networking sites.
  2. I drive traffic to my blog.
  3. My blog builds relationships and strengthens my credibility.
  4. Readers revisit my blog.
  5. Readers comment on my blog and engage me through online social networking at social networking sites and other means.

Engage Your Readers

You engage your readers by encouraging them to communicate and share their ideas and questions:

  • to comment on your blog posts
  • to connect with you through social networking sites
  • to e-mail you
  • even to phone you!

When your readers communicate with you, you know you’re on the right track.

That’s it for now — the basic outline — but one final note:

If you’re a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, you’ll need to bring your towel and watch out for Vogons, especially Vogons who spam blogs. They’re the worst kind.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web.

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11 Responses to “The Blogger’s Guide to the Galaxy”

  1. Debbie Morgan on August 17th, 2009 11:20 am

    Hi Larry! Thanks for the humor and helpful info too. I haven’t gone to the expense of setting up a blog yet, but I do have a forum on my site that I add to every weekday. It’s not the same thing as a blog, but it’s all I can manage at this point. Deb

  2. killy on August 17th, 2009 11:26 am

    It’s always nice to read your articles. A lot of new information to improve my skills. Thanks Larry.

  3. I.C. Jackson on August 17th, 2009 12:47 pm

    As always Larry, this is timely and helpful!

    Now that I am building my blog arsenal once again, I definitely need tried and true methods for generating traffic and building a following. I have seen this blog rise to the top of it’s niche, so I know for a fact that you know what you’re talking about. Your tips are practical and duplicatible, so anyone who employs them consistently will enjoy fantastic results.

    Thank you for the insight :-)

  4. Marc Chamot on August 17th, 2009 6:25 pm

    Larry! That was a lot of good information about blogging. Love your post. I’ll be rechecking it again and again. Thanks.

  5. Steve on August 18th, 2009 10:52 am

    Larry, you truly have a gift for breaking down that which can seem complicated and making it simple enough for the rest of us to understand. Thanks for the great information. Can you tell me more about your experience with social networking on My Space? I have come to think of it as My Spam, and therefore may have not utilized it as much as I could.

  6. Larry Brauner on August 18th, 2009 1:47 pm

    Steve,

    I don’t recommend that people build a following on MySpace, but if you already have one, connect with them and invite them to visit your blog.

    Everybody should have a set it and forget it profile on MySpace, but to build a network there isn’t an efficient use of time.

    It’s better to focus on Facebook or one of the other popular business networking sites.

  7. Peque on August 18th, 2009 4:00 pm

    […] quienes quieran leerlo en su versión original, he aquí el link hacia el artículo. Si así lo prefieren, les dejamos una versión traducida, […]

  8. isabella on May 11th, 2011 6:55 am

    I have tried Feedburner for RSS feed before but I haven’t tried Aweber. I have to agree that Google is a sure way to get traffic but I am not sure if I could get traffic from yahoo or Bing. And I knew that social networking sites are very effective in generating traffic.

  9. Randy on May 27th, 2011 4:43 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more when you say “My blog is the hub of my social media strategy.” That’s exactly the way I do things.

  10. Tim LaDuke on June 7th, 2011 8:47 pm

    I think Larry hits the on the “Four Pillars” of a successful blog—Content, Traffic, Loyal Readership; and Engage your readings via direct interaction.

    Like anything worthwhile, it takes due diligence over time to build a brand and customer base—blogging is no different. There are no shortcuts or secret formula’s. Thanks Larry for such a well-written, educational article.

  11. Richard on May 11th, 2012 1:55 pm

    All good advice, Larry. Anyone who has read much about blogging might be thinking “This is obvious, isn’t it?”

    But the fact is, these things work. All the latest plugins, fanciest themes and other doodads in the world won’t make a successful blog - these things will.

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