The most successful bloggers always ask, “What is a good blog?” Here’s a summary of the best tips from professional bloggers and Google gurus, to show you what a good blog is.
On my article about starting a business blog, a reader said:
“I like this article about starting a blog, but I don’t want to start a business blog. My goal is to start a health blog. My question is, what makes a blog good? How do I start a good health blog?”
I’ve been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC) through Facebook, and have been visiting several blogs a day. I didn’t realize how many thousands of blogs exist – and how many of them are good blogs. Of course, for every good blog I read a couple of “bad” blogs.
After I describe (more than) ten tips from pro bloggers and Google gurus, I list resources for good blogs.
Let’s do it!
10 Tips From the Best Bloggers
An important thing to remember when you’re starting a blog is that everyone has a different answer to the question, “what is a good blog?” What I think is a good blog may not be what you think is a good blog – and the beauty of blogging is that you get to decide what makes your blog good!
But, there are some overall tips for creating a blog that will be successful and popular…
A good blog is updated regularly
“Some people still forget that publishing regularly is, essentially, your main task as a blogger. If you don’t publish regularly, people will lose track of what’s going on with your blog, or even forget about you completely, which is not good for business. If, at some point, you get distracted and don’t publish a post for a longer while, just return to your everyday blogging like nothing ever happened.” – from 7 Signs You are Not a Good Blogger.
A good blog has long posts (?)
This is a tip from a professional blogger that is new to me:
“I didn’t realize content length affects traffic until I started to write really detailed posts. It wasn’t because I was trying to game Google or any social site, but it was because I wanted to write content that helps you. And I couldn’t figure out how to do that without writing really detailed content. The beautiful part about writing detailed content is that it ranks higher on Google. If you look at the results page on page one of Google, each site on average will have at least 2000 words of content. That just shows that Google really sees content as king. Just make sure you don’t fill your posts with fluff to reach the 2000 word content. Always write for users and never for search engines. It just happens that people prefer detailed content with actionable steps and it’s hard to do that in a few hundred words.” – from 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My First Blog.
I’m not sure I agree with this tip for what makes a good blog. I’ve clicked on hundreds of links from Google search engine, and found blog posts that are less than 100 words long. Not sure what to make of this tip.
A good blog follows Google’s quality guidelines
When I asked Google Webmaster “what is a good blog?”, I found this answer: A good blog “makes pages primarily for users, not for search engines, doesn’t deceive users, and avoids tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” – from Google Webmaster Guidelines.
This tip from Google webmaster is actually four tips in one! See how short and sweet Google is? This argues against long blog posts when you’re wondering “what is a good blog?”
A good blog is neat and clean
“The theme is your blog’s design, or how it looks. You need to love your theme because if you want to start a good blog, you’ll be looking at it almost every day! It should load quickly, run smoothly, and be simple and well laid-out. You can choose from hundreds of free themes for WordPress.org; I bought my theme from Solostream’s Premium WordPress Themes. If you buy a theme from a professional blogger, programmer or designer, he or she may be available for tweaks. And, many theme creators have a forum or even a comments section on their blogs to help with problems.” – from Want to Blog, But Don’t Know Where to Start? 5 Tips for Newbies.
Good blogs have a voice
“Who wrote this? What is their name? What can I figure out about who they are that they have never overtly told me? What’s their personality like and what do they have to contribute – even when it’s “just” curation. What tics and foibles fascinate make me about this blog and the person who makes it? Most importantly: what obsesses this person?” – from What Makes for a Good Blog?
Good blogs don’t try to sell readers too much stuff
Professional bloggers – like me – have to include advertisements and sales pitches, because we have to support ourselves as bloggers! But we have to balance making money blogging with offering readers good information.
One of my favorite blogs is ArtsyShark, even though I’m not an artist. Carolyn Edlund has found the perfect balance between being businesslike and professional, friendly and engaging, and informative and helpful. And I’m sure she makes money blogging! I love following her on Twitter ( @ArtsyShark).
Here’s how I earned almost $60,000 from my blogs in 2012:
75 Tips for Making Money Blogging.
Good bloggers know their audience
This is another tip on what makes a good blog that is new to me – it’s from the ArtsyShark website:
“A good website caters to its target audience. It’s also important to have your target audience in mind when planning your website’s design and architecture. Who buys your artwork now? Who might buy your artwork? Why do they buy your artwork? What are the demographics? What are the most important factors when designing a website for them to use?” – from Top 10 Mistakes Artists Make When Building a Website.
A good blog invites comments
“An important aspect of blogs is that they feature the writing of the blogger as well as the comments of readers. When you visit a blog, you often find a comment link under the text of each blog posting. Clicking that link enables you to read comments from other people and submit your own. Usually bloggers make their own comments in the posts on their site, but sometimes a blogger adds a response in the comment section because it’s a more direct way to address someone else’s comment.” – from Writing a Good Blog.
Do good blogs have long posts?
I keep thinking about Neil Patel’s statement that what makes a good blog is long posts…I agree that Google says “content is king”, which supports his argument that good blog posts are long. After all, a blog post’s length may mean there is more – and more helpful – information or the reader.
But, alas, length does not always dictate quality! Just because a blog post is 2,000 words long doesn’t mean it’s a good one. That’s why quotations or quotes are so popular: they pack a ton of information and meaning into a single sentence. Brevity is the soul of wit, Shakespeare said.
Do you want your blog to be a source of income? Read 10 Tips for Setting and Achieving Your Career Goals.
Resources for a Better Blog
SEO Made Simple: Strategies for Dominating the World’s Largest Search Engine by Michael H. Fleischner – because good blogs need to be found by readers!
How to Start a Blog that People Will Read by Mike Omar – sounds like I need to get this book! All bloggers do.
The Blogger’s Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks for Parent Bloggers, Wordsmiths and Enthusiasts by Lexie Lane and Becky McNeer – a book loved by its readers
What do you think about long posts? Do they contribute to whatever magic makes a good blog?