This is the last update before launch. I left this entry for the end because the message is more important than the others…but often overlooked. As I mentioned earlier this is the age of socializing. As wonderful as that is, unfortunately there is a lot of “noise” online, content being generated with no real purpose, goal, etc. It’s just “there”. If you’ve had a blog for awhile (let’s say over 6 months), you have no traffic or commenters, yet you’ve submitted your site to Digg, Reddit, etc. and comment on other people’s blogs, why don’t you have a growing audience? It’s time to take an objective look at your blog.
Do you suck?
A lot of people ask themselves this question and respond no simply because he or she felt they worked “hard”.
There is a limited amount of time in a day, meaning there is a limited amount of time people can spend online. Some have more than others but in the end the user/reader has to make a choice on what satisfied them the most (where he or she will spend their time). Obviously, it is not your site. When you submit your site to Digg, Reddit, put a link up on Twitter, slice it in Facebook, etc. and no one is reading – the writing is on the wall. Face it because that is the only way you can improve.
Focus, focus, focus….
I read blogs off and on all day. A good percentage of them ramble. They start off with one point, end up at another, hit others in between and none of the points go together. The only time that will work is when a person is talking about what happened during the day on their personal blog and unless the delivery is good, the entry ends up being incredibly boring.
Think about what you are writing, jot some notes down, but most important make sure you are focused on your topic. Rambling entries tend to be longer than necessary and the reader will not make it to the end of the article.
Speaking of focus…
Many people want to write about whatever they want to write about and trust me, I’ve been in the same position. Let’s look at an example: in World of Warcraft there are toons that have specific purposes (Rogue and Mage for damage, Warrior for tanking, etc.) and there are toons that have the option to play dual roles (Priests can heal as holy or damage as shadow or a Druid can heal, tank or be like a rogue). Matter of fact, this is what Blizzard says on the Druid page:
Strength: Can transform into various animal forms which provide unique abilities
Weakness: Animal forms are not as powerful as their counterpart classes
That is one of the reasons why I couldn’t excel in the game, I wanted to do it all and in the end, ended up not doing very well until I changed my mode of thinking. If you want to write about food, cars, the stars and shoes by all means you have that choice but unless a reader becomes interested in your opinions on those topics, you are competing with sites that are focused on food, cars, the stars and shoes. You can’t possibly compete and that’s why your blog remains dormant. I know, you aren’t trying to compete but as I said above, there is limited time in a day and people are making choices about how they spend their time online.
And some common sense things….
Let’s say you’re talking about sports and the blog has a bunch of flowers on it. Well, unless the person reading your blog likes flowers the flowers would be a deterrent. If you write about design and your design looks like you’re warped back to 1999, then the user will be left with the impression you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you write opinions yet never backup or prove your points it becomes chatter and food for trolls. If your site advertises daily content make it quality daily content or get rid of the daily. Have you titled yourself a diva, king, or heaven help us all, an expert? Those titles mean nothing until your peers bestow them on you.
Is your content management system upgraded with all the security fixes? No? Why? A feature was add you don’t like? Let me get this straight – a new feature is more important than keeping your content safe? Your host can’t keep your site safe if you aren’t willing to cooperate. That’s how serious you’re taking your site/content and you expect anyone to take you seriously as a writer? When you drive you have to take care of the car, when you have a house you have to maintain it – same with your blog. Of course if your site is hacked, don’t whine, moan or complain. You had it coming.
So um…good luck?
Well, that’s it for now. Launch is on Wed, and you have some tools to whip your blog into shape (if necessary) for the next week. For many of these you won’t be able to fix them by May 7th but you should be in good shape for the round in August.
As always, if you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask them.