Make Your Blog Not Suck
I'm always on the lookout for articles on blogging with tips and tricks for keeping things interesting. It seems like the biggest problems are infrequent or irregular updating or the so-called "noodle posts" where you describe your entire day in painstaking detail. (I've done some noodle posts. I'm sorry!) After a bunch of reading, I have some ideas of what you can do to help keep your blog interesting, updated, and encouraging more participation.
#1 – Post regularly. This doesn't mean you have to be a lean, mean, blogging machine that pumps out daily posts (though that certainly doesn't hurt). It does mean that you should attempt to post on a schedule. Once a week is a good starting point. Once you've got that down, try for 2-3 times a week. As you regularly and consistently add new content, you not only keep existing readers visiting and commenting more often, but you'll also have more content being indexed by search engines. This means more new readers will stumble upon your site and might read more often.
#2 – If you don't have a lot to say, post small. Relate an amusing anecdote from your day, a random thought you had, or short commentary on some big news story. (I think that post about celebrities not wearing undies is one of the most-commented posts on the site now and it was barely a paragraph.) That leaves the discussion somewhat open-ended and encourages folks to say whatever popped into their mind. It also doesn't require a lot of effort on your part, meaning you might actually do it.
#3 – Save posts for a rainy day. If you have the urge to write several posts in a day and some of them aren't time-sensitive, save them for a day when you just don't feel like writing. I do this all the time with drafts in WordPress, especially if I want to start a thought and leave it to be fleshed out later. If you build up a cache of posts, you can keep the appearance of regular updates without actually having to write all of the time.
#4 – Write a series. If you've got a big idea but don't want to write a novel, break it into smaller chunks and do a series. This gives you a reserve of post ideas to draw from when inspiration just won't bite.
#5 – Pictures are your friend. If you have a digital camera, use it. Pictures add a lot of interest to your website and make for easy entries. It also gives you an excuse to setup a photo gallery, another cool feature to keep folks sticking around. As a corrolary, videos are good too. You can just chuck it onto Youtube and then link it from your site. Easy, fast, and you don't foot the bandwidth costs.
#6 – Read other blogs. Leave comments too. You might make some new friends, generate some new traffic, and get some good posting ideas of your own. Services like Google Homepage and Bloglines make it easy to keep track of a lot of blogs at a time.
#7 – Tell a story. Everyone likes amusing anecdotes, even if they're years old. Those kinds of narratives are easy to fall back on when you're out of juice.
So there you have it. Anyone else want to make some suggestions?