This is a guest post by Michael Cash. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
One of the biggest (and most important) challenges that bloggers face is making their blog stand out from the masses and hit home with a group of readers. From generating the content itself to handling aspects of the blog’s organization and design, it can be difficult to come up with interesting ideas to add that personal touch to your posts.
Provided here are 12 strategies to make your blog more interesting. If you’re having trouble keeping your readers interested in your blog, the answer may be below.
1. Prove to your readers that you know what you’re talking about. Accomplish this with an About Me page, and include your education history, certifications and places where your content has been published.
2. Post a poll or a survey with software such as Blog Poll or Poll Daddy. Allowing your readers to interact with your blog beyond simply reading it can keep their attention. As a bonus, you can learn more about what your readers want to know more about.
3. Consider using SEO services to generate a list of keywords that will not only bring new traffic to your blog, but likely touch on some of the subjects that your regular readers want addressed. You might be surprised at some of the keywords related to your blog that are revealed – some that you may not have ever thought about before.
4. Respond to your readers’ comments. Blog readers like to know that their comments are taken seriously, and the debates you engage in may provide inspiration for future posts.
5. Create catchy titles. Words and phrases such as “how to,” “reasons why,” “lessons,” “secrets,” and “top” catch the reader’s attention because they imply that the information included in your post will be direct, actionable, specific and/or rare.
6. Include images and graphs to illustrate your points. Free charts are available from sites such as MarketingCharts.com and Compete.com. If you need to post an image that you didn’t originally create, be sure to use legally available images from sites such as Flickr and ImageShack that fall under the Creative Commons license.
7. Post your contact information to make your blog more personal. You don’t need to disclose sensitive information such as your phone number, but you can at least list your email address and perhaps your Skype contact name.
8. Link to a relevant Youtube video, or create your own video content. Most Internet users prefer to watch instead of reading. Videos are especially useful for product review blogs, live music blogs and other types of content that demand more than a text explanation.
9. List your sources. Phrases such as “studies show” or “according to some” don’t mean much unless they’re attached to a credible, authoritative source.
10. Include some humor. Even the driest, most rigid, most academic subject matter can benefit from some irony or a light jab. Including humor in your posts reminds the reader that you’re a live human being, not a machine simply spewing facts.
11. Include hashtags in your posts. A hashtag is a # symbol attached to a word of interest, such as #Obama or #Lollapalooza. You can use hashtags to categorize your posts, and make the keywords attached to them easier to follow. For example, your reader could click a word affixed with a hashtag and see all of the other posts on your blog that include that hashtag.
12. Don’t post “walls of text.” Break up your content with white space, headings, subheadings, shorter paragraphs, and bulleted lists. Judiciously using bold text, italics and even colored text can help to emphasize a point. Keep introductions short and pointed, and ensure that your reader knows exactly what to expect from your post after reading the first sentence or two.
This post was contributed by Michael Cash, an expert in SEO and Social Media @ iNetZeal.net