Are you boring?

I don’t mean in a ‘my personality sucks, I need a makeover,’ kind of way. (You’re on your own there.)

I mean, why should we click on your blog posts? Leave a comment. Follow you on social media?

Are you providing interesting content or saying the same words (with a small change in punctuation), or providing the same links over and over again?

Because this hurts you as much as it bores hurts us.

Wait, what?

Yea. See, those silly peeps over at Google have this new crawler/algorithm animal thingy I won’t go too much into cause it hurts my head, but suffice it to see that even if you don’t know what the heck SEO means, they do. New, fresh content rates higher on the evolutionary scale known as Google Search Rankings than not writing a blog at all, or writing about the same thing over and over.

So…without filling your brain with words that will turn it to mush (actually, I’m talking about me), bottom line is: you need to provide fresh new content on a regular basis.

There, now that’s not so difficult, is it?

Yet, people ask me constantly here and over on my RachelintheOC.com, Twitter and Facebook (links over there —->>>>), this question: What do I blog about? I’m stuck. I’ve no idea what my brand is. What should my topics be?

For me, this is a no-brainer. Life itself is a blog topic. In fact, the question: What do I blog about? is now a blog topic you’re reading right here and now (see how I did that? Tricky.).

So, here are a few of my own personal tools to keep my content fresh (both here and at RachelintheOC.com, my author blog):

1. Vision: You must know what you want the vision or tone of your blog to be from the get-go. This can certainly change and grow with you (it’s your blog. Don’t you change and grow?), but to begin, have a clear idea of what you want to see. Some people even have a mission statement or tagline. I suggest your blog reflect your book or business. This includes your graphics, color story, blog schedule, genre, tone…really your overall plan for your blog.

2. Branding: this is probably what you should think longest and hardest about. Is your blog about social media? Then, why are you posting about cookies? (Not that I’m opposed to yummy treats, believe me.) Point is, if you’re confused about your brand, how do you think your reader feels? And most importantly…will they make it back?

Figure out six to twelve words that describe you/your work. This goes such a long way to helping you create content and ideas.

3. Content: While I caution you not to be boring, you must also be consistent. Show up and be interesting! That’s how you develop a readership. Stop showing up, so do your readers. Once weekly works well to start, twice weekly is also good. Anything more and you risk burnout. (I have many friends who blog daily and I love em. But I don’t read em. And they are burnt out and frazzled. If they skip a day, they freak. Ridiculous. Life’s too short.)

And let’s be honest: if you only blog about yourself all the time (unless you’re backpacking through the world with pink ninjas who eat only clouds — which will probably keep us coming back cause face it, that would be kinda awesome), you should look at your keywords and mix it up.

Fresh content. Engagement. Guests. Interviews. Storytelling makes people interested and care.

Ask yourself this: what do you find most interesting when perusing blogs? Do that!

4. Visuals: I recommend using WordPress.org (different than .com because you pay a small monthly fee), simply because the themes are clean and easy, and the plug-ins are fabulous when it comes to upping your SEO/SMO. I’ve used both Blogger and WordPress and while I’m a fan of many Google products, there really is no comparison here.

(I came to WordPress.org kicking and screaming and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just switching increased my Google and Alexa ranking (take a look — fascinating stuff. Who looks at my blog, from where, whether they have kids…all good info!).

I know, crazy, right? If you want specifics about how I did it, email me.)

And promise me here and now: you’ll add your social media buttons. If you don’t, you will kill me. I will die. Do you want me to die? #okwait

And #deargod make it easy for people to comment. If we have to give our first-born pink ninja to leave you a comment, we’re outta there.

5. Topics: This is where it helps to have an editorial calendar. Some folks plan the whole year out. I’m not that anal organized simply because I’m a) more of a pantser and b) would rather blog about issues as I see them arise. However, I do have at least four posts (one month’s worth since I blog weekly) ready to go.

I do like the idea of some planning only because, like math (which I hate), each post will build on previous ones.

Stumped for topics? Ask your Twitter or Facebook followers what they’d like to see you write about. I’ve been asked to discuss StumbleUpon, Digg, and other social media sites and how they impact site hits. And I will. But, as you can see, this post helps to lay the foundation for that one.

This may seem like a basic primer for blogging however; I see so many poorly created/kept blogs by people who should know better. Check your Alexa ranking (the lower the better). If it sucks, you have work to do. For specifics on how to improve stuff, use who I do: @sugarbeatbc aka Bakerview Consulting. She helped me create the site you see here and RachelintheOC.com.

Next week I’ll share more blog tips about creating interesting content and gaining followers. For now, please share your experiences and what you’ve learned!

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