10 Characteristics of a
by Stan Smith
Take a step back from your blog for five minutes. We are going to try our
best to evaluate your blog and pinpoint a few areas you can improve.
Specifically, we’ll race through 10 specific characteristics that define a
A spectacular blog in my opinion, is a blog that achieves the publishers
goals. Business blogs deliver customers. Hobby blogs are a trusted
information and feedback resource. Whatever your goal might be, your
blog should be working 24 hours a day to achieve it.
Click here to read the full post
#1 Defined Audience
The most effective blogs zero in on a small and
passionate slice of a larger audience. They know
that smaller, well-defined audiences can be
served with relevant posts that are customized to
the reader’s needs.
Action Step: Describe your audience? Is it too broad?
The Reverse: Sometimes you can slice your audience into a barely
recognizable sliver. Your audience should be small enough to easily target
with highly relevant posts but large enough to accomplish your business and
#2 Consistent Creative
Your readers will arrive at your blog with one
question, “is reading this blog worth my time?” A
poorly organized blog that is difficult to read and
navigate will scare readers off - forever.
Action Step: Are you secretly embarrassed by your blog? Professional
WordPress themes are affordable and will give you a firm foundation to work
The Reverse: There isn’t a situation where an ugly blog design makes sense.
#3 Attention Grabbing Headlines
Headlines are the Welcome Mat for your blog.
They need to be relevant and interesting. Getting
your headlines right is a core discipline of
Action Step: Become a student of great headlines. For the next month,
brainstorm at least 3 headlines for every post you write.
The Reverse: Bait and switch headlines that grab attention but deliver readers
to a post that sucks will kill your blog.
#4 Compelling Post Leads
The first three sentences of your blog have the honor of
setting the stage for the rest of your post. Your post
leads should employ stories, questions, and
provocative statements to engage the reader.
Action Step: Read respected magazines like the New Yorker to see how the
master’s snare readers with amazing leads.
The Reverse: Like headlines, your post leads should maintain the integrity of
the post. They should seduce with truth. Avoid gimmicks that will annoy and
frustrate your reader.
#5 Sexy Bodies
After the lead, readers move into the body of the post.
By this point they should be aching to see how you pay
off the promise in your headline and lead. Satisfy them
by concisely delivering your subject.
Action Step: Outline your posts before you start writing. Write the main
points/arguments/tips you will offer in the body.
The Reverse: Sometimes the subject demands a more thorough approach
than most readers will accept. Carefully consider if your “epic” post is better
served by being converted into an ebook or special report.
#6 Hard Working Calls to Action
How easy is it for your readers to build a relationship
with you? Is it simple to share your posts? Your
readers WANT to help and support you, if you are
delivering helpful, relevant, and interesting information.
Action Step: Select the primary way for building a relationship with your reader.
It can be comments, newsletters, special reports, or anything that delivers value
in exchange for engagement. Now place that call-to-action front and center.
The Reverse: Be bold but tasteful. Twisting your reader’s arm won’t help.
Always offer your call to action after you delivered value.
#7 Lean and Mean Sidebars
You’ve heard me rail against sidebars that resemble
junk drawers. Avoid throwaway plugins, flashing ads,
and widgets. A cluttered sidebar destroys the
professionalism and focus of a blog.
Action Step: Pick 4 items to place in your sidebar. Disciplining yourself to four
items will force you carefully consider what is important for your reader.
The Reverse: I’ve seen blogs that only have one item in their sidebar. I
absolutely love the focus. In this case, the reverse, selecting one or two items
could be an effective strategy.
#8 The Personal Touch
One negative impact of professional themes is that
bloggers are relying on the graphics to communicate
personality. This is a mistake. Blogging is about
creating one-to-one connections.
Action Step: Look for ways to introduce yourself on your blog. You can create
a quick bio and pic for your sidebar or record a video about yourself.
The Reverse: Remember to be tasteful. Too much personality can distract
readers rather than complementing and enriching the experience.
#9 Know Your Business
This next point applies to soloprenuers, small and large
business owners. Your blog is a powerful marketing
asset, but you need a clear business model in order to
use your blog to create customers.
Action Step: Get clear about the role your blog plays in your marketing
strategy. Look at your editorial calendar and decide if your blog is helping your
business. If it isn’t, stop blogging until you’ve thought through your strategy.
The Reverse: There is no flip side to knowing your business. Winging it is one
the most efficient ways to end up in bankruptcy court.
#10 Promote Like a Rockstar
The web is littered with failed blogs that shunned
promotion. Their publishers felt that somehow, the 10
people that visited their blog would magically turn into
100, 1000 or 10,000.
Action Step: Decide on a promotional strategy for your blog - today. Get help if
you need it. Once you have your plan, start implementing it with conviction and
focus. Learn from your mistakes, pivot, and try again.
The Reverse: Can you over promote a blog? No. You can use bad advertising
methods, be intrusive, or a jackass. Never do those things!