Guest post by John Barbour

People start blogs for all kinds of reasons. Ego. Political comment or agenda. Staying in touch with family and friends. Marketing. Why did you start your blog?

If you want your blog to get read, and your readers to be loyal followers, you had better structure it to their liking. Here are some tips for better blogging and basic blogging advice for anyone who wants to promote a product or service using blogs and RSS.

Write in a conversational tone. Forget what you learned in school, and just write the way you’d speak. Think of yourself as talking to a friend, or writing a letter to a friend when you compose the entries to your blog.

Check your spelling and grammar. In spite of what I just said above, use your spell checker, and a grammar checker if you have it. You’ll have zero credabilatee if you can’t even spell it!

Pick an interesting topic, and stick with it. People don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast, or who broke your heart lately. They read your blog looking for information, and they won’t stick around long unless they perceive you as a credible expert on whatever topic you are writing about.

Stay informed. Especially if your blog is of a business nature, do enough research to be informed of the latest trends and information. If you expect to maintain your credibility, you had better know what you’re talking about. Be prepared to write about the latest developments and hot new trends. Don’t just “rehash” old stuff that has been around forever, and blogged to death.

Be yourself. If you’re naturally funny, or opinionated, many of your readers will love you for it. They want information, but they also want to be entertained. If you can combine the two, you have a ready-made formula for success.

Keep it short. Blog readers aren’t looking to read a novel on your blog. Keep your entries short and to the point. A couple of hundred words is more than enough. If you have more to say, split it into a series of entries, or write it up as an article and post it somewhere, and then link to it from a shorter entry in your blog. By the way, that’s a great way to use natural links to get both links and traffic to a website.

Update frequently, but don’t burn yourself out. Many of the blogs I’ve visited seem to contain a few entries, and then go stagnant for months. Others will have a flurry of entries, and then nothing. In both cases, they’re going to die. You need to update with some regularity, to keep yourreaders coming back. It seems to me that a couple of times per week ought to do it, but I’m not aware of any studies that would back that up. Blog every day, or every hour, and you’ll burn out quickly.

Don’t post nonsense. If you have nothing new to say, keep your fingers off that keyboard! Better to have some really gritty commentary on an irregular basis, than to fill your blog up with fluff and drive away your fans.

Don’t turn your blog into a blatant sales pitch. If you’re using your blog as a marketing vehicle, be subtle about it. People hate the feeling they are being subjected to a sales pitch. You can weave references to your product, or affiliate links, into solid, informative content, which is what people will read your blog looking for. Give them what they want!

Happy Blogging!

John Barbour, Ph.D. is the author of a new blogging guide which teaches people how to promote any product or service online using blogs and RSS.