Blogging is old hat. Online journals like Blog City, Geocities, Live Journal and the original Blogger (pre-Google), paved the way for today's Wordpress, Squarespace, Google's Blogger and CSS.
Despite blogging being around for quite some time, there are still writers and executives of companies out there that are nervous about blogging. They don't know what to say. They don't think anyone will care to read their stuff. They just don't think it's worth the investment.
However, once most bloggers get a whiff of success, i.e. your first thread that reaches over 100 views and gets a slew of comments, they are hooked.
Then, the doldrums of blogging kick in and you find yourself inspiration-less. A combing of your RSS reader provides zippo in the idea department. The news seems to be spinning itself around and around, regurgitating coverage. All of a sudden, you have a blinking cursor staring at you in the face with no end in sight, never mind 600, jam-packed words.
So, what are bloggers to do when the funk hits the fan? How can you be a better blogger?
Explore and Push Your Limits
Get out of your comfort zone. If you write about sports often, try covering politics. Read the Huffington Post or news websites and their political channels. Educate yourself on the topic and start to form opinions around a specific issue. The point here is, by doing actual reporting, you'll challenge yourself to report, and not just simple write. You're readers will respect the effort and you might catch them off guard, which could result in more comments, more engagement and ultimately, more traffic.
Challenge Your Readers
Your readers will get into a funk as well. They will expect the same type of content from you over a period of time. Every once and a while, you need to throw a curve ball at them and lay down a challenge. It could be as easy as baseball trivia or a political debate. The idea here is to get your readers to think and react, not just read.
Re-Read Your Stuff
Don't be afraid to go back your previous posts and re-read them. Were you wrong about a certain point of view? Try admitting your faults and your disenfranchised opinion and see what reaction you get from your readers. You'll be surprised how far a little self-criticism and reflection will go in the eyes of your readers.
Learn From Your Peers
We all want to be the blogger that everyone reads. But sometimes, other bloggers are doing good things that you can learn from. Look at the way they write headlines. The way they leverage post tags and categories. What types of information are they sharing in their sidebar? What are the comments like? How is that specific blogger engaging their readers?
Is Your Site Mobile Ready
If you're like the zillion of other people in the world that are attached to their mobile devices, be sure that your blog is mobile-enabled, i.e. readers can check out your stuff without strange formatting and slow load times. Wordpress does a great job with a mobile enabled feature. If your blog host provider doesn't offer a mobile version — like Squarespace for example — be sure that the design is clean, simple and isn't too bogged down with graphics that might take a long time to load. Lighter designs tend to read nicely on mobile devices just because of the average size of the screen.
What other tips would you add to being a better blogger for your readers?
Article first published as Five Tips to Being a Better Blogger for Your Readers on Technorati.