Yep, it’s that time of year again with the wave of competitive e-drama from 2010 known as the Aniblogosphere Tourney. Since then, the blogosphere landscape has changed significantly with some blogs dying and new ones popping up while others improve. With 2012 being a big year for bloggers, I want to share how people can improve themselves, especially for the newcomers who have yet grasp the joys of blogging and writing good posts. (Image Source)
Throughout my two years and 11 months of blogging, I have gained a lot of experience. Like I have shared in one of my editorials, Anime Blogging is not a popularity contest, but rather a discussion of thoughts and passion about Anime or anything related. If you are in it to become popular, gaining attention or making money, you are not doing it right. People who blog for these reasons only tend to get burned out easily and ultimately put their blogs in multiple hiatuses or let it die. I understand that some people have busy schedules that they blog infrequently, which is completely fine. In addition, bloggers should actively reply to other people’s comments. This will not acknowledge other people’s opinions, but motivate them to make future comments in future posts. Heck, you might come up with ideas for other posts as well.
Second and most important is the content. This aspect gets looked upon heavily since it affects how many readers and comments you get. To catch someone’s attention, one has to write interesting content such as reviews, editorials or episodic posts consisting mostly opinion/analysis. This means that you shouldn’t over summarize the whole episode, write nonsense or post news that was already published on other websites like Anime News Network. Unless you manage to make the synopsis interesting, you will only drown your reader into boredom and they might even skip what you had to say in the process. For most people, this can quickly become a time-consuming and unnecessary task. Instead, focus on the parts of the episode that catch your attention and only add summary to help support your thoughts. You should view these episodic posts as mini editorials, putting more emphasis on your thoughts and analysis rather than just synopsis.
Most importantly, proofread your work before publishing it! Not only glaring grammar and spelling mistakes will turn your readers off, it makes reading a chore. When proofreading, don’t over rely on grammar/spell check. I’m saying that because it won’t catch all the mistakes. Instead, one should read over the post at least twice or have someone else proofread it for you before publishing. By doing this, you can improve your writing while make the reading experience pleasant for your audience.
Although this is mostly cosmetic, appearance and accessibility is the final thing bloggers should give some attention. While this not as heavily weighed on compared to your content, your blog should at least look good, easy to navigate and accessible on all devices, including smartphones. When making your design, you should put some effort into making it such as your theme or the header image/banner so it looks pleasing to the reader. In addition, blogs should include a mobile website or adopt a responsive web design to their existing themes. As smartphones are becoming popular, nobody can ignore this any longer as your audience might view your content or even make a comment on the go. Having owned an iPhone for many years, trying to make comments on other blogs that don’t have a site optimized for mobile became a troublesome task since I have to zoom in and move the page around. Getting mobile ready is simple as installing a plugin like WPTouch and WordPress Mobile Pack along with responsive web design themes such as the default Twenty Eleven Theme. It’s 2012, so you really have no excuse not to implement this (for WordPress.com users, this is automatic).
So, in summary…
- Have Fun Blogging – Just write about what you enjoy and interact with other people. Don’t force yourself to blog just for page views, money or popularity.
- Write Interesting Content – Don’t over summarize (unless you can make it interesting) and avoid posting news or nonsense. (If you want to share news, just do it over Twitter, Google + or Tumblr)
- Proofread your work! – Make sure it sounds right before sharing it to the entire world.
- Be creative and accessible – Don’t make your blog look too generic and/or hard to navigate. Also, include a mobile optimized version of your blog with the ability to view the full site.
I hope all the suggestions I made were useful to everyone, especially the new bloggers who turn one year old this year or already reach this milestone. If you find yourself in the competition, I wish everyone luck and happy blogging!