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The 5 Biggest Things I’ve Learned In Four Years Of Blogging

blog-key.jpgThis Sunday, June 13, will mark the fourth anniversary since I started blogging. My first post was called, "It Only Takes A Spark" (here it is on the original blog) which was an attempt to set up the idea of social media (called web 2.0 at the time) as little spark creators. Hence the name microexplosion.

Over the last four years I’ve written over 700 blog posts and have covered a wide spectrum of topics. I marked the day I renewed my interest in Twitter, left WordPress, got mentioned in a blog post by Seth Godin, and announced the births of two of my three children.

If I have learned anything from four years of blogging and the desire to create quality content, I would summarize it all in these five things:

  1. Always Add Value: People’s attention is limited. Even if they like you and what you have to say you’re still competing for their attention agaist a million other things. If they regularly find value in what you create you give youself the best possible chance to get their attention time and time again. Without being valueable you’re just something else they ignore.
  2. Be Consistent: Blogging takes commitment and consistency so stick with a blog post schedule you can actually do. A few years ago I developed the snack and meal approach to blogging. I still abide by this every week.
  3. Comment to Everyone: When I started blogging I didn’t respond to the comments on the blog but now I try to respond to each comment that comes in. I started doing that two years ago and have seen better interactions as a result. It also shows that I value the effort a person made to comment which encourages future comments.
  4. Focus on Stong Titles: This is something else I learned over time. You can look back at my early months of blogging and see that my blog post titles were pretty weak. Eventually I learned that the title is often the only chance you get to hook a reader so you want to summarize the post in the title so the reader knows what you’re going to give them. I discovered that boring but clear post titles got more readers and comments than creative and vague post titles.
  5. Create a Recurring Content Theme: In January, 2007 I started my video of the week series every Friday and have been doing it ever since. The posts are usually funny and rarely have anything to do with social media but have proven to be a way to gain and retain interest in the blog.

So there’s my list of top five lessons about blogging from blogging. I’m curious to hear from other long-time bloggers (someone who’s blogged with consistency for at least a year) about what they have learned along the way.

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