We’re going to talk about something that’s extinct.
They are not what they used to be any more.
If you read “web logs” and went “huh?”, then you already know what the rest of this piece is about.
If you didn’t bat an eyelid at that prehistoric phrase, you know we’re referring to blogs. What you may not know is the spanking new avatar the humble blog has usurped for itself, going beyond its, well, humble origins.
Take any well-read blog these days and chances are they all have some common kick-ass characteristics.
So, here’s how you create a kick-ass blog.
1. Headline, headline, headline
You’ll probably get all kinds of “scientifically authenticated” formats and templates on the internet for headlines for your blog posts.
Use 6 words and no more. Start with a ‘How to’. Use a number upfront. Don’t use a number upfront. Well, you get the idea.
While these are a good start, they cannot guarantee what will work for you. The only way you’ll ever know is to put it out there, experiment, and see what works and what doesn’t.
Sample this headline from Buffer Social (Alexa Rank: 9,402): These Are the 9 Best Tips We Got on Medium Marketing: 3 Worked, 6 Didn’t
This is a clever li’l headline for one of many reasons – even if you don’t know what Medium Marketing means, you will still click on this post because you want to know which 6 tips didn’t work. As a bonus, you get 3 that did.
No wonder it’s a kick-ass blog.
2. Killer opening
Would you go to a wild western flick that railed on and on for half an hour about why the desolate town got desolate in the first place?
Or would you rather somebody got popped in the first 3 minutes of movie time?
Your blog readers deserve no less.
This Huffington Post blog (Alexa Rank: 5,141) post does it beautifully with a simple yet smartly crafted opening line: Why Single Women Shouldn’t Feel Guilty Of Having ‘Too Much Fun’
Now, if we revealed that opening line, it’s being unfair to Huff.
3. Promise the moon
And deliver on it.
Simply put, pack in so much (useful) content in your post that the reader cannot afford to ignore. Needless to add, your headline’s got to back up your post’s content.
This post by Socially Sorted (Alexa Rank: 119,926) has on offer virtually something for everyone: 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
Don’t be surprised if such posts outpace other posts in eyeballs and viral velocity.
4. Spread yourself thin
And build the thickness.
While the previous point on promising the moon is about a single blog post, this one is about your blog on the whole.
It’s not enough that you write a 100 technical posts about, say, mobile apps, and put your feet up because mobile apps is all you know (geek that you are).
Write about devices that can or cannot support those apps. Write about user experiences with those apps. Write about undocumented uses of those apps in the real world.
Write what you can write about and around mobile apps without coming off as speculative or uninformed.
Here is a blog – Sprout Social (Alexa Rank: 9,021) – that covers practically everything you can or can’t do in the big, bad world of social media.
We had to do 20 page scrolls before we hit the end of the page – that was 20 blog posts, each as different from the next as from the previous, yet all relevant to the blog’s purported readership.
Kick-ass blog? You bet!
5. Caress your reader
No, nothing fishy in there.
Caress your readers’ needs. Talk to them from across the table, not down to them or up at them.
And, they will respond!
Look no further than Neil Patel’s blog (Alexa Rank: 8,650) as an example of this.
The bloke’s the Maria Shariapova of the blogging world (not for being beautiful, but for giving his posts some of the longest, and we mean the longest, legs in the business).
His posts go something like this:
Do you want to know how to get XXXXXXXX views on your website in just Y days? Do what I do. First, create 10 infographics about your business. Infographics, by the way, are one of the most powerful visual elements. Here is a study that compared infographics with other visual elements. In case you don’t know how to create one, here is a list of 20 online tools that can do that for you. Need ideas for creating them? Read this previous post of mine which…
Well, you get the drift. Each post is 10 posts rolled into one.
And, it works. For him, at least!
Point is, you don’t realize you’re reading a very long post. And, that’s because the voice and tone of the post is very earthy and realistic, plus the content is super helpful. As if Neil were sitting across from you and helping you solve things.
6. Get it out quick
Your post content, that is.
You’ve probably got under a second, two tops, before the reader who’s landed on your blog stretches and is on his or her merry way out, never to return again.
A kick-ass blog like Mashable loads in 2.7 seconds flat.
Alexa categorizes that as SLOW.
Gizmodo does 2.3. SLOW.
Lifehacker comes up in 2.2. SLOW, again.
The Huff does 4.5. VERY SLOW.
But these top sites have something that your blog may not – brand recall. So, a reader visiting, say, a Gizmodo or a Mashable may actually wait for the page to load even if it took 10 seconds. Not so your blog.
Also read: Why writing a blog is a great slimming tool
Of course, there are tons of other things you could do to lend your blog more teeth, but the above 6 pointers should get you started.
So, get a killer headline and opening, arm each post to its teeth with tons of useful content, pepper your blog with posts that push the boundaries, build a disarming voice into your blog, and make sure your blog’s quick on the draw.
Now, go get a kick-ass blog for yourself!