A Writer's Guide To: Blogging

This week I'm wrapping up the Writer's Guide series, but don't worry. I have some (hopefully) exciting, (potentially) big plans for this summer. Maybe even a chance to put all these Guide posts into practice (hint, hint).

Let's get our blog on
I intentionally left blogging to the end, because it's what we do. Rather, it's what I do, and I assume because you're here reading this, it's what you do as well. The thing about blogging is that it is super easy to do, but, I've learned, hard to do exceptionally well.

There are lots of tips out there about the wrong and right ways to blog, but these are some of the best ones I found dealing with some of the less frequently discussed aspects.

In regards to how you are going to run your blog, I'm a fan of these 10 commandments to successful blogging from dukeo.com. Ste has lots of good tips, but my favorite are the first two: Define your goal and Have a business plan.

He advises against the easy answer of "I have a blog so I can help other writers learn (fill in the blank)". While we certainly all want to help others with our blog, would we still do it if we weren't also trying to grow our platforms? It's an awful lot of work for something you aren't hoping is going to give you at least some financial return on down the line.

And once you have your real, true goal defined, it's a good idea to have a business plan. You may be thinking that you don't have a book you're trying to sell yet so you don't need a plan. You'd be wrong. If your goal is to grow your platform, having a plan helps to keep you on track so you know that everything you put on your site is working toward achieving that plan.

Inbound Pro digs into the psychology of the blog reader with a list of things readers wish you knew. Hector gives us an inside look at things that readers want from us as bloggers. Before you get nervous, this is simple stuff, like including your picture on the blog so readers know who you are.

We've touched on strategy and content, but we haven't talked about the look of your website. There are tons of great sites out there dealing with how to format your blog and an ideal layout. Here's an article from Reviewz n Tips on how to improve the effectiveness of your sidebar.

I can't remember the last time I thought about or adjusted what's in my sidebar, but you can bet I will now. Daniel has a few suggestions that seem crazy town, like moving your sidebar to the left hand side of the page. However, he provides numbers that back up his claim, and it's hard to argue with numbers.

Another neat tip is a widget to freeze your sidebar so no matter how far down a reader scrolls, a portion of the sidebar will always be visible. Genius.

Now it's your turn. Take a look back at your blog? Are you maximizing its impact? Are you getting as much out of it as you're putting in? If not, time to get to work. If you are, share your best tips with the rest of us in the comment box.