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Friday, October 16, 2009

QUALITY & UNIQUENESS

There are many things you can do to produce content that really have no direct relationship to the quality of your blog, and you should consider pursuing them. However, nothing will turn a blog into a success like high quality content.
Good content creates a readership. Those repeat visitors can be the lifeblood of a successful blog. Additionally, other people who operate blogs notice good content and web sites and they will often link back to your quality posts. This creates a direct traffic stream from those links, as well as adding to your total cache of backlinks, which can help in search engine results.

People will come back to a site they know provides grade-A information or that touches them in some way. Humor sites that are not funny do not get repeat visitors. Sites about technological advances that contain inaccuracies do not develop a readership. Blogs that are littered with grammatical and spelling errors seldom generate massive traffic.
Effective writing is key to a successful blog. It is beyond the scope of this ebook to outline what makes a writer entertaining or informative. Most of us, fortunately, have an idea of what separates the good from the bad. Writing effectively may take more time and effort than simply spewing forth a few posts to your blog, but the end result is worth the extra energy.
In addition to writing well, you should strive to produce unique content that will distinguish your blog from others. This includes choosing topics that are interesting, opinions that are compelling, and doing whatever else is necessary to capture and hold a reader’s interest. You need to give people a reason to choose your blog over others in the same field. You must provide them with something they cannot get elsewhere.
This raises the subject of re-blogging. Re-blogging occurs when a blogger provides a synopsis of what someone else has written (perhaps even with an excerpt) and then adds a small amount of personal commentary. Re-blogging can be effective in two circumstances. If your blog is operating primarily as a news aggregator and a means of providing readers with an edited compendium of potential items of interest, it is a natural fit. Second, if your commentary somehow illuminates or provides an interesting twist to the original content it can also be effective. Too often, however, reblogging is nothing more than repetition of what could be found elsewhere and fails to impress readers.
Instead of relying upon re-blogging, a successful blogger will generally try to stay on top of his or her chosen field and will become the initial source of exciting information and opinion. It is fine to share the remarkable work of others--making sure that information gets out to everyone is one of the great things you can do with a blog--but it is even better if you can make yourself into a primary source of quality, unique content.

SUBJECT MATTER

Blogs that tackle a specific and limited range of concerns generally tend to outdraw those with a more scattered approach. Blogging within a particular niche is usually the best way to experience success. However, there are limits to specificity. If one chooses a subject area that is too limited, the potentiality for high-volume traffic is reduced. Alternatively, if one opts to blog in a well-covered subject matter they risk getting lost in the shuffle and not finding a regular readership.
There is no secret formula that will yield the perfect niche for your blog. There are, however, some guidelines you can follow when selecting a blog topic that will help lead you to a choice that has good traffic potential.

First, remember that you will be revisiting, updating, tweaking and researching the topic of your blog for as long as you decide to maintain it. Thus, it makes a great deal of sense to choose a subject matter in which you have a keen interest and a developed knowledge base. You may discover that there are a lot of people looking for information on widgets and that there are few great sources for that information online. However, if you don’t know a lot about widgets and find them a complete bore, you will probably have a hard time maintaining the site over the long run.
Second, remember that there are two different factors you must consider when trying to choose a topic with real traffic potential. You will want to write about something in which others are interested. There must be a group of people out there who are regularly looking for information on your topic. That is a necessary factor. However, you must also consider how many other sources of information are out there already. It can be very tough to break out in a competitive field.
You can get an idea of the competition and interest levels by using any of a number of freely available online tools. One tool I have found to be invaluable and easy to use is Nichebot at http://www.nichebot.com. It operates almost like a search engine: you type in the word or string in which you are interested and it then supplies you with a breakdown of how many people are searching for that phrase (and related phrases) every month. It then provides you with an indication of how many sites online contain the words in your search phrase. It even goes so far as to express the ratio of sites to searchers, making determinations of a niche’s viability relatively simple. Nichebot offers some additional tools that can make subject selection easier.
Ideally, you will find a hot topic with little competition. However, that is far easier said than done! One could spend days plugging possible subjects into Nichebot without finding a wildly underserved group of searchers for a topic in which the blogger has an interest. However, it does a great job of letting one know what they might be up against in terms of competition and occasionally you can discover some very interesting gaps in the information market.
Third, remember that although finding an underserved niche will make your life easier, it is not necessarily a requirement for success. There are some people who will tell you that operating in a competitive sector is great. After all, you know in advance that there are hordes of potential visitors on a hot topic. All you have to do is give them a reason to come to you instead of others. That is, of course, easier said than done. However, if you are up for a challenge and believe you can offer something that will truly separate you from the rest; you may consider blogging in a competitive field.