Blogging Tips : How to write a popular blog

blogging tips lifestyle fifty

Why do you get excited about reading some blogs and turn away from others? Which newsletters have you signed up for because you can’t bear the thought of missing out on a single blog post update? These are questions we should keep asking ourselves in the quest to write meaningful, engaging content on our own blogs.

Well it’s bloggie Friday again here on Lifestyle Fifty. Gosh where has the week gone too? But I’m excited it’s Friday because I’m bringing you some super helpful blogging tips from a really well known blogger from America.

Lifestylers if you’re not interested in blogging why not check out another post instead … perhaps try your luck to win a $50 clothing voucher from Millers (I have two to give away, but time is running out). Why not pop over to this post and have a go? Stylish, inexpensive fashion and win a $50 clothing voucher

How to write a popular blog

At the crux of things I’m always being told by my mentors that writing a popular blog is all about being interesting, being ‘chatworthy’, and creating a community keen to engage with you.

It has to do with piquing readers’ interest, grabbing their  attention and then maintaining it by entertaining or educating them about something they didn’t know about or something they were searching for.

So what sets a great blog apart from a mediocre one?

I met one of my favourite travel bloggers Geraldine DeRuiter who writes The Everywhereist at a Problogger event in Queensland last year.

rand fishkin and geraldine deruiter

Geraldine DeRuiter and husband Rand Fishkin at the 2014 ProBlogger event in Queensland. Photo Credit: Olympus AU photobooth

What I love about her blog is that it is subtly informative, often humorous and quite irreverent, and under the umbrella of ‘travel’ covers all sorts of things including topics such as history and art. Her blog has none of the bland diary type ‘we did that and then we did that’ entries you might find in some Travel Blogs, nor does it contain dry fact driven posts about different destinations. No. It’s unique, engaging and she has a great ‘voice’.

When I think about the tribe of Mummy Bloggers several stand out while others fade into nappy valley. At my age I’m not really interested in fact driven posts about baby problems, cracked nipples or how soon after birth you can have sex – but on the other hand I am much more interested (even in aged retrospect) if the blogger takes me on a ride, gives an honest opinion and makes me laugh.

There’s Veggie Mama – she writes as she speaks (some cool urban talk too) and is always entertaining and informative. There’s Style and Shenanigans who writes honestly about style on the homefront and always comes up with interesting suggestions and products. And don’t get me started on Woogsworld – how can you not be sucked into Mrs Woogs personal world where you’ll find yourself laughing, sympathising and raising your hand to stand up for a good cause all at the same time?

In a presentation at  the Problogger Event Geraldine DeRuiter said a great blog is based on love.

“It’s all about love. People don’t love Wikipedia, but they do love certain blogs. Why? Because people like stuff with an opinion.”

Blogging Tips

And the best bloggers convey their opinion with integrity and honesty and show passion for their topic or niche.

Geraldine suggests,and so too does Chris Guillebeau in The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, that we should find the overlap between what we love and what other people want to read, and therein lies the sweet spot.

Geraldine said that her first helpful posts with lots of tips didn’t work so well. She didn’t care for them and they were not enjoyable, so she wrote a story about her and Rand going on a trip and it was received much better by her readers.

I suspect her post was full of interesting facts, humour, self depracation and insight, and was generally heartwarming too.

Tip: “Create evergreen content about what’s happening in your life right now.” Geraldine had bug bits on her ankle and wrote about bug bite relief tips – which became one of her most popular posts.

How to write compelling blog posts

Geraldine put forward a really helpful list for creating a compelling blog some of which I’ve listed below.

  1. Give your audience someone they can connect to. Build a great About Page. She has a bad photo, “Because it sets expectations low!”
  2. Have an opinion. Readers want to know what the person on the About Page feels about things. People will like or dislike you – that’s cool, they don’t really know you.”
  3. Include photos of yourself and others in your posts because you start to create a persona and characters, so we start to see a story emerging and we want to follow along.
  4. Give people a story to follow. Connect them to your story and how you see the world.
  5. It’s hard to be relatable, but one of the ways to do it is to let your guard down. Being imperfect is something people respond to. Our mistakes make amazing stories. “I’ve made a terrible purchase and I thought it was such a good one.”
  6. Talk like you would to your friends. Share stories about yourself. Be transparent. Be Yourself. Don’t tell people you’re like them if you’re not. Be real.
  7. Be the thing you’ve been waiting for.

“If you search for something online and can’t find it – then write about it.” Geraldine had to undergo brain surgery so she wrote about the experience. “Even the ‘not related to travel audience’ became people who read my site because they were interested in my story, as well as people who were searching for information about brain surgery recovery.”

Some of my own Favourite Blogs and why I like them

yTravelBlog – upbeat, inspiring, top photos

Not a Ballerina – gentle, philosophical, interesting

Styling You – tantalizing, easy to follow tips, informative

A Taste of Travel – classy, informative, stylish photos

Get in the Hot Spot – motivating, friendly, well written

Redcliffe Style – humorous, self deprecating, tip driven

Middle Age Mumma – me to you, down to earth, relatable

The Fashionable Mum – great voice, local style tips, actionable advice

Mystery Case – lively, supportive, engaging

Exercise

  1. Write down three words or short phrases which you think describe your blog.
  2. Ask 5 people to describe what they like and don’t like about your own blog. Does this make you want to change anything?

Comment

Who is your favourite blogger? Write down three words or short phrases which explain why you enjoy their blog posts so much and tell us in the comments section so that we can all share them. (I’ll email everyone who comments, and tell them 3 things I love about their own blogs, and (if requested) 3 things I think they might improve on.)

Comments

  1. Hey that’s me! Thank you SO much!

  2. Johanna,

    I enjoyed this post. It is hard to find bloggers who let you completely in to their reals. However, sometimes I think bloggers take you too far!

    I personally don’t read many blogs that are all about the writer’s life. Because if you don’t start reading from the beginning then you find yourself trying to catch up on their back stories before you can read their new posts.

    This doesn’t mean I am against them at all! I just have a personal tendency to like blogs that are more informative or more opinionated than blogs that are about someone’s life.

    I just thought I would drop my 2 cents but I really did like reading this. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Martin, and I totally get that personal preferences with regard to reading blogs are all very different. I also agree some bloggers take me way too far, but that said I like a glimpse into their lives and the way they think. I think a lot of people would agree with you though that they read blogs more for information and opinion. Thanks for your’2 cents’ which is very much appreciated.

  3. Hello Jo!

    What a lovely surprise to find Get In the Hot Spot listed as one of your favourite blogs. I’m honored! Thank you. But always open to suggestions for improvement too 🙂

    Most of the blogs you mention and reasons you like them come down to them being useful which is so important. Failing that the personal element always gets me.

    I love blogs like Lifestyle Fifty, Seana Smith, Penelope Trunk, Edenland and Sarah Wilson because they’re informative, personal and thought-provoking. Those are all very different blogs but they all give me some useful info, create a personal bond and often inspire me to do more research or write more.

    • You are so right about being useful Annabel. I love usefuleness wrapped up with personality and some back story too. And … it’s a pleasure 🙂

  4. How lovely…Thank you for the vote of confidence Jo! Because I’m always plotting and planning the next trip, the blogs I read vary depending on where I’d like to travel to. Blogs I often read: Mr and Mrs Romance…a fun blog with great travel tips.
    Rear View Mirror… Andrea Anastasakis from Rear View Mirror is always on the road in Europe so I love to catch up with her travels. The Culture Map….Shing is a great traveller! She loves the Scandinavian countries which I’d love to visit one day.
    All inspirational and informative!

  5. Thank you for the lovely mention, Jo! I love the three words you chose to describe my blog too, that is exactly what I’m aiming for – phew! The rest on your list are all blogs I enjoy, too.

  6. Hi Jo,
    Great tips and plenty of good advice for we bloggers to take on board.
    Most of the blogs I follow and read fairly regularly are European travel related like the ones Jenny mentioned as this is my passion, too. Dalene and Pete from Hecktic Travels are one couple who share their personal life through their travel experiences really well. Whilst I’m not so sure I want to get quite that personal on my blog, I do enjoy reading about their adventures and daily life.
    Would love your comments on the good and bad of my blog!

  7. I couldn’t pick just three favourites. Woogsworld would definitely be up there though. She’s real, accessible and entertaining. I like the fact she doesn’t get bogged down in self-reflective boring stuff. Plus she’s the sort of person I can see myself being friends with. I guess that’s what it boils down to. Would I want to be friends with the blogger 🙂
    Thanks for that informative post Joh.

  8. I agree whole heartedly with your advice. My 3 favourite blogs (apart from yours) are:
    1. http://www.pinkypoinker.com – hilarious, tells it as it is, quirky, clever and well written
    2. http://www.rednomadz.com – down to earth, humorous, Australiana, interesting and splendid photos
    3. http://www.ytravel.com – great travel blog, factual, informative, Australian and fantastic photos

    • Thanks for those blog additions Kathy … I also like them … I must say if there had bern more time I could have added a lot more to my list … yours included. Next time 🙂

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!