The Virtue of Value when you Build a Better Blog

This entry is part 24 of the series Build a Better Blog

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Does your blog contain content of value? Would your readers miss out if they didn’t read a particular post? You may remember that in the introduction to this series, we saw there were many different reasons why you might want to blog. We’ve been especially zeroing in on two of these.

If you are a writer, we’ve looked at many ways you can build a better blog.

If you’re not a writer, we’ve looked at ways to better keep in touch with your friends and family.

Today, we come to V in the A to Z challenge, and we’re looking at

V is for Value

Today, we’re looking at ways to add value to your blog no matter who you are writing for. Some of these points will surprise you. Others will be duplicates of statements made earlier. Still others will be ones you’re already using. But I trust you will benefit if you work through the list that follows.

  • Don’t hold the best until last!

    • Post valuable information at the top. Of course, you won’t post anything that is not good, right? But see that you hook your reader from the beginning with ideas of value they may not have thought of, or of family news they may not know about.
    • That doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep posting good points throughout. But don’t start off tame.
BLOGGERS! Don't hold the best of your post until last. Your reader may never get there. Click To Tweet
  • People love lists. 

    • Create un-ordered lists where you use bullets, or ordered lists where you number or letter each point.
    • Why? Because they are easier to follow, and they are easy to glance back at to reread a specific point.
    • Your reader can check the points off as they work through the list, and keep track of those they want to remember.
  • Start each point of your list with a punchy sentence

    • …or a phrase which you can highlight in bold or another colour. This makes your list stand out, and also makes it easy to scan for the reader who is in a hurry—and who isn’t? She (or he) can scan down the list and stop when she notices something of value that catches her interest.
    • Why would you want to encourage your reader to scan instead of read properly? Because few people go to blogs to read in depth. By encouraging them to scan, you are hoping they’ll spot something that really draws them in, and they’ll go back and read what they’ve missed.
  • Look for, or create, infographics, unique images or video clips.

    • People are visual learners. Use illustrations to help them visualise the point you’re making. In addition to finding suitable images or learning tools, try your hand at making your own.
    • Add a watermark if you produce something you’re proud of. Then people can duplicate it, but you will still retain the credit. This is something I never remember, and afterwards I kick myself. I’m happy for people to reuse my images, but I don’t like people passing of my work as their own.
  • Seek to help and encourage your readers.

    • Everyone needs encouragement, and that includes bloggers—whether they are fellow writers, avid book readers, or family members.
    • Different groups of people require different forms of encouragement, so seek to make your points relevant for their specific needs.
  • Keep your content geared at your target audience.

    • This follows closely on the previous point. If you are providing a Family Blog, don’t tell them how to improve their writing!
    • If you are aiming at novelists, don’t talk about taking better baby photographs!
    • An article based on getting better sleep would apply to both categories, but with a different slant.
    • This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get side-tracked when it comes to blogging. Make sure your reader receives something of value in every post.
  • Use your own words.

    • When you find something you believe will be of value to your reader, do not copy other people’s material. Do not think, ‘It’s on the web so it’s free’. That could land you in a legal battle, and you don’t want to go there!
    • Remember, there is no copyright on ideas, only on their presentation. So if you see some helpful points on another blog, by all means express their suggestions but in your own words.
    • If you use all their points, even if it’s all presented in your own words, it is only good manners to give them credit and a back link to their site. This will not decrease your authority on the subject. To the contrary, readers will see you as honest and prepared to acknowledge other experts.
  • Pass on instructions that you have already tried.

    • There is a commonly worded expression which is put in different words but means the same. “The best mother is the one who has never had children.” Tell them how to do things you have already tried.
    • If you haven’t experienced something for yourself, be honest. Say “according to” and state your source. Then if it doesn’t work out, they can’t hold you responsible.
  • Share tools or articles that have helped you with your readers

    • Give your readers links so they can download programs of value to them.
    • The more they get from your blog, the more they will want to return.
    • If you have a freeebie (like a free .pdf document, or a chapter of a book you’ve written) they’ll love you all the more.
  • Give your readers links to other articles on your site

    • These are called back links or incoming links, and will help your SEO ranking.
    • Don’t presume your visitors will read your entire site, or even if they have, that they remember it all. Heck, I don’t remember everything I’ve covered on my own site! I often have to do a search to see if I’ve covered something before. 
BLOGGERS! We all love a good story well told. Use stories in your blog. Click To Tweet
  • Share stories.

    • It probably goes back to bedtime when we were little children, but most of us love a story.
    • If you plan to include a video clip, try to introduce it with a story so they understand why they are watching.
  • Show yourself to be human. 

    • Have you slipped up and missed out some key point? Make a joke out of it when you make corrections.
  • Add a Call-to Action. 

    • This could be another article to read, or software to download.
    • It could be as simple as a question to which you ask them to answer Yes, No, Sometimes, or Never.
    • Better still, try to end with a question to encourage them to leave a comment which others will enjoy.
  • Keep your blog posts organised.

    • So many blogs simply follow one after the other. If they have an archive, it is done in dates, working backwards.
    • Plan to have your post publish in your blog and under its category. So this post appears under my blog (varied topics) but also under blogging.
    • I spend too much valuable time writingz my blog posts to have them lost in the dust of antiquity! So do you!
    • Once a series is complete, change the order of the posts in the menu to appear in the order in which they have been written.
  • Invite qualified outsiders to contribute guest posts.

    • If you do this, you stand to have their followers also coming to read the guest’s post and hopefully they’ll like what they see and stick around.
Bloggers! Love your readers. Focus your posts on their needs and desires. Click To Tweet
  • Love Your Readers.

    • Focus on the readers you have rather than those you wish you had.
    • Write articles with value, ask them questions and respond to their comments.
    • Follow their links and be sure to leave a comment (with your own link, for their visitors to follow back to your URL.)
  • Conduct Online Interviews. 

    • These are always popular. Offer to interview authors of new books that your readers will enjoy.
    • If you’re doing a family blog, how about an interview of the new mom and dad? (Caution! For this one, don’t put them under pressure.  🙂 Maybe rather interview the new grandmother!)
    • Ask your interviewee in advance, then send them a list of questions. Tell them to feel free to add, subtract or edit the questions. Stress that they are only a guideline.

Build a Better BlogI hope that in this long list there is at least one thing that you plan to try out.

Please share it with us in the comment section, and please leave a live link in your comment and I will visit your site.

FURTHER POSTS TO READ:

  • N is for Nuggets and News
  • O is for Ongoing Opportunities
  • P is for Plan with Purpose
  • Q is for Quest for Quality
  • R is Regarding Research
  • S is for SEO Strategy
  • T is for Tempting Titles
  • U is for Understanding URLs

 

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Special offer on Kindle Publishing Made Easy, a hands-on course. Expires end April. #atozchallenge Click To Tweet

 

About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

28 comments on “The Virtue of Value when you Build a Better Blog

    • Hi Andrea,
      Well if it’s the ego talking, let’s listen. 🙂 It’s good to think of our blogs as truly valuable to those who visit. Have a great weekend! Yay for Yesterday as you Build a Better Blog #atozchallenge

    • Yes, video is a field I know very little about. I have a couple that I’ve done for my first book, but I need to learn a lot more about it.

  1. Shirley, a variety of good points for building valuable content within a blog post. I’m a scanner and looking for tidbits to lure me in like a fish to take the bait. In fact, I’m using some of these pointers in a post I created for next week. The one thing with this year’s A2Z go around is I’m taking more seriously the approach of applying what I’ve learned from others and myself. Let’s hope these things stick! Thanks for visiting yesterday! Happy a2zing!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “V” (Violin & Victorian Women)

    • Yes Cathy, I scan and then pounce on information that draws me in. So I like lots of headers to guide me through the post. Enjoyed your violin picture today!

  2. All very excellent points!

    Blogging can be very hard work sometimes, but there is a method to it for those who wish to make something of it. 🙂

    • Hi Vanessa. Yes, it can be hard work, but it is SO rewarding to read through the finished article, not to mention reading comments left by satisfied readers. Thanks for visiting.

  3. This certainly is a valuable post. I’m afraid that I need to learn to do many of the things on your list. I’m not sure how to add value. In fact, sometimes I wonder why I blog!

    • Hi Claire, good to see you. I think we all wonder why we blog at times, but the more we do it, the more proficient we become, and it can be SO rewarding! You can’t possibly introduce all I’ve suggested during this month, but pick one thing and work on improving that. Then move on to the next. Gradually your blog will improve and you’ll see people paying attention. All the best!

  4. You keep giving me such great ideas, Shirley. This time, here is my action plan – I am going to interview my friend who designs and sells Tagua for a future blog post. I introduced her in my post today. She has such amazingly great things to say about the poor rural communities where her workers harvest and carve her art.

    During this month, I had been contemplating exactly where to go from here, so to speak, once the A to Z is done. I finally decided that I am going to write a weekly post each Monday. Now, I think I will incorporate a monthly or bimonthly interview. Perhaps just periodically. Need to think it over a bit.

    Thank you again! I really enjoy your posts and look forward to them.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Vegetable Ivory – Tagua

    • So good to hear from you again Emily. This sounds like a great plan. I also intend to blog once a week so I can get back to my writing. I’m also getting back to my other blog which has been very quiet this year.

  5. I generally try to do all these things in one form or another and it has developed over time. I used labels and Linkedwithin to point others to similar posts of interest. I’ve also decided and started with #AtoZChallenge to preface each blog title with a label that will clue my readers in on what to expect: Life, Faith, Caneyhead or I Saw It On Facebook. I had never considered interviewing someone about a life event. This is something I’d like to try….assuming I find a willing participant.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    • You’ll find authors are usually keen to be interviewed esp if they have a new book out. It’s a way for them to get news of the book out. Have a great evening Barbara.

  6. Wow Shirley that was a bucketload of information. I know that I’m doing some of it, but certainly not all – you’ve given me a bit to think about and it’s nice to know that lists resonate – I find that my “5 Things Friday” posts always have a lot of views – I guess because people can read them quickly and enjoy them.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    • Hi Leanne, I must look for your 5 things Friday posts. That’s a great idea. I’m about to start visiting blogs now. I haven’t got to any today. It’s been one of those days – and I’ve been writing on X which took some creativity! As with Hilary (the post just before this I think) I often see you on other blogs when I’m visiting and wish I could say “Hi!”

  7. Hi Shirley – great content as usual and pertinent to your subject – which you know well. I just got started writing … didn’t know I could write! – but to my amazement found my voice and my content happily draws readers back and new ones in … so I’m happy – but certainly there are some housekeeping jobs I need to do with the blog … which you’ve highlighted. I definitely feel the need to give value – on occasions I’ve ‘bashed’ something together and posted and then got – that’s an amazing post .. such is life I guess! Cheers and I thank you for these really helpful posts … Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/v-is-for-vaynol-cattle.html

    • Hi Hilary. Thanks for your faithfulness in visiting each day! I keep spotting you on other blogs that I visit and want to wave my hand and say, “Hi, I’m here too!” Yes, I really thought folk would freak when they saw all I’d written on U for URLs – but I couldn’t figure out what to leave out. Yet I got a stack of thank yous and how much the post helped them. So strange. It’s also encouraging. Off to start visiting blogs around the world, including yours. I haven’t had a chance to do anything apart from writing today. I’m working a couple of days ahead, so I was working on X. That was fun. And I think Y and Z will be even more fun!

  8. I do quite a few interviews or guest posts on my blog. Sometimes I get a student to interview their favourite author, and I publish it. The publishers are usually quite happy with that. I don’t do giveaways for them, because I don’t get a lot of takers, but I have done a few blog tours. I don’t publish press releases because I think my readers deserve better, and I’d like them to hear from the author him or herself in their own words – how and why they started writing or wrote that particular book, what research they had to do, perhaps, what was behind some parts of it. You’ll find a link to a recent interview on the side of my blog – a fascinating interview with the author of a novel which is about a bull dancer in ancient Crete. Who could have told me but the author that she knows about bulls because of 20 years on a dairy farm? A press release wouldn’t have!

    • Hi Sue. That’s very interesting. I shall make a point of looking for the interview with the author who wrote about a bull dancer. Yes, I’ve done a few interviews with authors and quite a number of book reviews. After this challenge, I am interviewing the protagonist in a book I’ve just read. That’s the first time I’ve done that, but I love the idea. I may ask around for someone to interview my characters. It’s a very different approach to a book review!

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