Can you believe it?! 2016 is around the corner. I'm so pumped for the new year and ready to make sure my blog is up to snuff. I'm planning on ensuring my blog stands out and I wanted to create a post that helps you create a compelling blog. After all, your blog is a reflection of YOU and with more than 64 million sites how do you stand out from the pack?
1. Create Great Content
It goes without saying that your blog should focus on awesome, compelling content. But what does that even mean? Your blog content should be one (or multiple) of these things:
- Surprising (or controversial)
- Heartwarming or Pulls at the heartstrings
What do all of these emotions do above? They invoke the reader. And that's what I mean by compelling content. Content that you want to read or share. When the content gives you a new way to look at something, a way to solve a problem, or incites a response, it's engaging. It will not only make your content interesting and shareable, it will keep the reader coming back for more.
2. A Simple, Directional Flow
What I mean is that it should be simple to find what I'm looking for. Yes, I want to see pretty pictures and your font should be something the average person can read, but it should be crazy easy. There should be a straightforward flow to your writing. It should be obvious to the reader where to go next or how to follow you. You're giving them direction.
A blog that stands out is a blog that has traffic. So make it easy for viewers to follow. Make the process uncomplicated and painless. If you have a newsletter, have multiple ways for people to access your newsletter.
Here's how our newsletter looks on our sidebar:
Here's how our newsletter looks with a pop up.
3. Engaging Headlines
While great content is important, it's essential that you create a headline that stands out. This is what makes people click on your post and read it, or move along. I know we often just want to hit "publish" and move on, but spend 5 minutes before you post and make sure your blog post title, or headline, is something clickable.
- Surprise – “So, Is Social Media A Lie?”
- Questions – “Is It Okay To Lose Followers?”
- Curiosity gap – “Fear is powerful. So are doughnuts. Here's how 1 woman is using them.” (Elite Daily and Upworthy are MASTERs at this.
- Negatives – “Things You're Doing That Hurt Your Blog”
- How to – “How to Take Better Blog Photos With Your Phone”
- Numbers – “14 Free Fonts For Your Blog” (FYI, the magic number is usually 10!)
- Audience referencing – “Why I'm Reading YOUR Blog”
- Specificity – “Google Analytics Tutorial”
A blogger that always catches my eye with her headlines is Meg from Meg O. On The Go (bonus points for the gorgeous photos!). Here is an image from her most recent post on Bloglovin:
4. Teach Me Something
Do you want readers to stick around forever and ever? Teach them something! We all have abilities that we can show to others, so use them. My background is in social media and marketing. My blog posts center around using my skills and background to offer something new and useful to you.
Here's an example. Sarah is a graphic designer. She has blog posts that teach you how to utilize her graphic design skills to make your blog better. For example, her post on creating a custom post signature is easy to understand and you can implement it, simply.
Wouldn't you stick around for a blogger that shows you something new? Or teaches you a skill you want? Heck yes!
5. It Should Be Something You Love Working On
We tend to do our best work when we care. If you enjoy working on your blog you will keep making it better and better. Yes, it should be all of the above, but it should also be something that you enjoy writing and creating.
For me, blogging is not just a hobby, but also my job, and I can't get enough of it! I am constantly learning and engaging and trying new things with my blog. I created a free webinar on how you can Blog Smarter, Not Harder.
I want to show you how to create an organized blog, with live video demonstration on how to use my favorite blogging tools to streamline the process. Click here to watch the replay.
On to the ONE thing you should never do to make your blog stand out and attract attention:
Not Be Yourself.
I know, I know. That sounds easy, right? But whatever you post about, whatever sponsorship opportunities you take, make sure it makes sense for you. Don't just blog about something because someone else is doing it. Don't just blog about something because it's popular. Blog about what you are passionate about and enjoy. Otherwise it's not going to make you happy, you'll stop caring, and you'll stop gaining readers.
How do you plan to make your blog stand out this year?