Tuesday, April 5, 2011

7 Tips for Creating a Superior Blog

It takes skill to be a blogger, just as it takes skill to make a God's eye or a clothespin man with googly eyes. The good news is, you can probably coax skill out of you. Having blogged for over three years, with little topical focus and a total of 20 posts, I feel eminently qualified to proffer advice on how to turn YOUR blog from ho-hum….to WHOA, YUM!

1) Find your niche audience. If you’re too broad, no one will want to read you. Case in point: the New York Times. I mean, they’re all over the map. It's pathetic. They have news, opinion, lifestyle, sports, science, food…let’s be professional, folks, and make up your mind! Sheesh.

You’ve got to target your corner of the market. Don’t just have a blog about cheese: blog about fluctuating Taleggio cheese prices. Don’t blog about product label design: blog about the social history of Noxeema label design! The more narrowly you can define your audience, the more likely they will want to hear what you have to say.

2) Treat blogging as a job. It is a job, right? Take it seriously. When people ask you what you do for a living, tell them straight up: “I’m a blogger.” To reinforce the point, quit your real job. The main point of doing this is so haters envy you. They’ll say things like, “You sure are lucky” and “I’d give anything to not have to work three janitorial jobs just to send money to my wife and kids in Ecuador” and “Wow, how are you able to monetize when you only get 15 hits a day?” Don’t answer. Just nod and smirk knowingly. Then finish filling out your EBT application.

3) Post regularly. If your audience has to wait 2 weeks, or even, for certain segments of the SAHM population, 2 hours, to read a new post from you, they’ll lose interest. Ideally you should post every 30 minutes. You’ll have time; this is your job, remember. Don't worry about quality; your reader only wants to feel that they are having an intimate conversation with you so they won't feel guilty masturbating to your avatar.

4) Have an opinion. Don’t just report; decide for your reader! The shriller, the better. Make it so readers can't disagree with you without looking like assholes. For instance: "Face it, Geminis are crazy and difficult to get along with, and if you disagree with me you're obviously a pedophile."

4b) If you don’t have an opinion, make benign statements that no one can disagree with, such as: “Face it, the internet is not going away" or “Face it, some women might as well walk around wearing a sign that says ‘rape me.’”

5) Draw your readers in with a hooky title; one that is misleading and probably even false. Something like: Trendy shark’s blood smoothies all the rage in Williamsburg. Don’t worry, internet users have short attention spans, and by the time your readers realize you’re actually writing an article about the evolution of pie charts, they’ll have forgotten all about your catchy headline.

6) Numbers are also effective at drawing in readers. Promising your reader 8 of something, or 12, or even 3, will set off an anticipatory firing of synapses in your reader’s brain that mimics heroin intoxication. See, numbers remind people of the lottery, and who doesn’t love throwing their money and time away gambling? So offer them something you know you can’t deliver. How about, “8 ways to murder your husband and make it look like suicide,” “7 Things You Never Knew About Eddie Money,” or “101 Ways to Tie a Scarf”? (Also, numbers are used in math, and if people think they're going to be reading about math, they'll feel smart.)

7) Write all your blog posts in list form. People don’t have the time or inclination anymore to read full paragraphs, let alone 1000-word polemics. Write in sentences. Sentence fragments are preferable. Like this. See?