What makes a good blogpost?

I have now been blogging for almost four years, and during that time I think I have learnt a thing or two about what makes a good blog post (and also what doesn't). Here are seven things I believe are important to include if you want to write a blog post that attracts a readership:

The first important feature of a successful blogpost is a good, snappy title. Some of my most visited blogposts have provocative or intriguing titles such as 'Another nail in the coffin' 'Two fingered salute' and 'Web 2.0 Wonderland'. They hold a promise that draws your readers in. Some are wordplays (ala tabloid newspaper style) whilst others simply state what the blogpost will be about.

The second important feature is good content. This content should be well written, easy to read, topical (of interest to your readership, and perhaps tapping into the zeitgeist - the spirit of what is currently happening) and should be informative. Try to find something to write about that informs and educates your readership, or something that makes them think.

Thirdly, controversial content always draws a crowd. Be opinionated if you like, but also try to back up your opinion with evidence if you can. Having said that, I have often been deliberately provocative (playing the devil's advocate role) just to provoke responses in the comments box. If you do get some comments, respond to them - people feel more included. Remember though that blogging is not essay writing, so often you don't have to do much more than speak your mind to attract readers.

Fourthly, adding some good, colourful (or in some cases monochrome) images to illustrate and inform your readership is a good idea. I always try to find one image that is evocative of the topic I'm writing about. It has become a formula for me, and it's expected now. Sometimes posting an odd, or off-beat, or funny image that at first glance has nothing to do with the topic can be a useful ploy too.

Fifth, useful hyperlinks that take readers deeper into the topic or discussion are an attractive feature. Make sure the links are not broken, but only add those links you feel are useful to elaborate or extend the topic for your readers.

Sixth, humour is always a useful addition to a blog post. There are times when you need to be serious in dealing with a topic, but there are also times when you can use humour, wordplay, or even satire to strengthen your blog post, and perhaps also entertain your readers at the same time. It shows you are human too. :-)

Finally, be brief.

Image source (edited)

Creative Commons License
What makes a good blogpost? by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at steve-wheeler.blogspot.com.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Great advice, Steve.

My four "pillars" of blogging are:

1. Be bold,
2. Add something new,
3. Challenge your own content, and
4. Formulate a 1-liner.

I love humour too - it goes a long way.

We're meant to be having fun, after all!
David Hopkins said…
Tim - I like this, thank you kindly one more. I also find that it is important to time the post publishing - get it wrong and it will sit and fester online, get it right and it will get comments and traffic. I find that Monday morning is not good (beginning of the week and RSS or email subscriptions get lost in the weekend noise), as is Friday afternoon (people winding down for the weekend and trying not to find more work to do, hence ignore emails).

All the best, David
Thomas Curtis said…
Hmm I would say the most important thing is persistence, we're all guilty of it, the internet is abound with Orphan Blogs.
Anonymous said…
I agree with David regarding the timing of publishing, but I haven't found the sweet spot.

Any hints?

(And of course, international time zones have a bearing if you have an international audience.)
kobazoki said…
Thanks for the tip! I'm starting my blogpost http://evoire.com/members/shockware2/ and I really need advice on how to start one. once again, thanks!
Anna said…
Thanks for the advice! I'm really new to this and want to get it right. If anyone has time and can be critical, can you take a quick look at my blog and see if I'm doing alright? That would be great, I'll mention you on my blog as well. Thanks,
Anna

www.youmustbemaud.blogspot.com
Anonymous said…
Hi, I found this very helpful as my first blog I started over a year ago became a orphan blog- because I lost my motivation- No one was commenting and I didn't know if anyone even read it. I blog about real life stuff... I didn't really tell many friends because of fear of being judged or criticized but I think overcame that now. I start a new blog- and need tips, advice, and people who comment ;) www.truthfullips.com I'm currently doing as study on detoxing and writing about my experience with a detox cleanse. On my hit tracker I see I am getting hits but still no one is commenting... why?
Steve Wheeler said…
Blogging can be a very lonely activity Jessica. I'm in a very priviledged position because I have a blog that has many readers and many of these tend to comment on it. This has not come to pass overnight though. I had to work hard and persevere with my post writing, and as I did so, I got better at writing. I also began to detect the trends that I could tap into that would keep my audience interested and coming back for more. My advice is to keep on keeping on - keep writing, even if you think there is no-one reading your posts. Eventually people will begin to comment on your posts, and then - reply to them. The dialogue of the blog is always an added bonus.
Anonymous said…
Agree about humour and snappy title. My post 'guilty secret' gets many visitors.. who are probably disappointed with what they find :)
Anonymous said…
D'oh I meant 'guilty confession' :)
Anonymous said…
HOnesty, just be yourself when you're blogging. Don't follow any rules just to be popular. If getting "views" and comments is your main objective when you blogging then that is just not healthy.

For me personally, i blog because it helps me to be creative, expand my self when i'm depressed, when i'm bored.

Heck, i've been blogging for more then 5 years! And i only got 3,000 views max. but i ain't complainin' becuae that ain't me.

Just be yourself and write down anything you desire, not follow some rule that just not being who you are.

"THis above all :to thine ownself be true" William Shakespear.
Loki said…
Good post, i actually followed it for my first blog posting and linked in. Cheers!
Helen said…
Hi Steve
really getting a lot out of this blog spot. I was at your keynote at the eLearning Futures conference 2011 in Unitec and would really have liked to ask for more details on how to assess student blog writing. One of my papers has a blog set up for students and then they were asked to collect four to post as an assignment for me to assess. Really want next semester to assess the blog for how it used images and hyperlinks and how it engaged the readers and encouraged comment.

Am working on a rubric and am finding your what makes a good blogspot useful. Any suggestions from readers most appreciated.
Helen
Lesley Ann said…
Very helpful for a new blogger!
Kelly Cleary said…
Hi Steve,
I am new to blogging and like all of your great suggestions. I will start using them soon, thanks!!
Kelly
Laura Laolagi said…
Thank you for sharing. I am also new on the block and the tips are very helpful for a new blogger like myself.

Popular Posts