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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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7 Secrets You MUST Know To Give Your Blog The Edge

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Although these tips may sound common sense to some, for others it isn’t (hence the secret)… If blog owners implemented these 7 tips, their blog would certainly have an edge over the competition – The funny thing is, so many blogs don’t!

Here is a list of 7 things you can do to give your blog more of an edge… These are based on my observations and personal experience of dealing with blogs on a daily basis.

  • Format your text - This is my biggest tip. The amount of blogs that I see with huge chunks of text is amazing. People on the internet do not read paragraphs, they read in sentences. Try to keep your paragraphs down to 3-4 lines tops. Use headings, sub headings and bullet points.
  • Tell your reader the whole article in the first two sentences - This is another huge tip. People will decide if they want to read your article based on the opening two sentences. Ensure you make your opening paragraph a killer and of course, the headline.
  • Always use quality images in your posts. An image will invite people to read your article so ensure it is not a crappy one… make it relevant to the post. Try to use a consistent image style / size for your blog posts so people know what to expect. Separate long articles with images. I use the free stock sites sxc.hu and compfight for my images (ensure creative commons is on).
  • Put more time into your post. If you spend an hour crafting a post, why can’t you spend another 15 minutes spicing it up? Add relevant images and links throughout your post. Proof read at least 4 times.
  • Give back to your readers. Hold competitions and giveaways. Offer prizes and give link love. Don’t offer crappy prizes like ‘advertise on my site’ – give something of value and ensure that they want it. For example, my latest book giveaway. Look at the prizes you give away as investments, not costs.
  • Get onto as many blog rolls as possible – Ask blogs in your niche if you would like to do an exchange. Tell them what you have to offer and ask kindly. On that note would you like to be added to my blog roll? Use the form on that page if you would like to be considered for addition to my blog roll.
  • Do to others as you would like done to you – I like this tip because it is so true. Ensure you reply to every comment and email. Link to other sites and articles just as you would like done to you. This applies to all aspects of blogging and life in general.
  • Give more than expected – I wonder how many of you noticed that I gave you 8 tips, not 7? If you give your readers more than they expect they will always be pleased. Remember the saying “Under Promise, Over Deliver.”

I could go on forever but Daniel from Daily Blog Tips has already listed 101 more blog tips that you should implement. You may also like to read about how to boost your search engine rankings.

What else would you add?

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67 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Preston Lee Reply

    Excellent post. This one is definitely going places. Thanks so much for the great tips! I found them very useful as I am trying to find my space in the blogosphere myself.

    I enjoyed it most of all because you practice what you preach. Loved the image, opening paragraph, bullet points, links, extras, etc.

    Thanks again, Jacob, for a great article! Keep up the great work.

  • Preston Lee Reply

    Well, not sure if there is a glitch with the comments section of this article, but I’ve posted two now and haven’t seen either surface…

    Great post, Jacob. Thanks for showing us what you know and implementing it in the post itself. I loved the article header image, bullet points, links, etc.

    Thanks again.

  • Adam Reply

    Dugg! I found a new stock photo site, and I DEFINITELY need to make my paragraphs shorter. Too much technical / academic writing is getting in the way!

  • Mitternacht Reply

    I have three other tips: content, content, content.
    With all the blogs around many seem to be only “variations on the same theme” so if you really want to give your blog the edge, focus on producing original, unique content, with ideas and opinions that truly belong to you.

  • Angie Bowen Reply

    Great tips, thanks! I know there are a few things here that we need to improve on.

  • Daniel Richard Reply

    Looks like I’ve got more things to do now after reading these tips! Haha. Oh yeah, I only proof-read my stuff like 3 times before publishing it. And prolly should start giving out more link love and get a blog roll done up. :)

  • Paul Davis Reply

    Nice tips. Very useful to me, as I just started my blog.

    Thanks!

  • Rob Reply

    I give our readers at Arbenting more than they expect…like about 8 lines per paragraph! :p lol

    seriously, nice post.

  • RaSh Reply

    Really nice list!

    I especially agree with the first point. It’s annoying to read a huge page filled with text and only text.

    Been trying to follow your tips. Covered most of them in my new post :)

    Keep Blogging!

  • Bram Van der Sype Reply

    Now this is a mighty fine post. I must honestly admit that they were secrets to me. I will most certainly follow them! Starting this afternoon/this weekend I’m gonna update some of my posts!

  • Laurel Reply

    Get rid of any music that plays on your blog. Sorry pet peeve of mine.

  • Steve Reply

    Good tips Jacob, writing consistently quality posts does require all the above, although we try very hard, we struggle to tick all these boxes. Thanks for setting the bar nice and high, we will try harder.

  • Kostandinos Reply

    Great, concise post… especially for those of us starting out (or getting ready to). Planning is so important in just about everything we do as designers. It’s a given and implied; this should be the starting point of all starting points. I couldn’t agree more with you on stressing proofreading. So many times I read posts and catch errors and then think how this diminishes credibility of the author and community. Giving back, giving more… going above and beyond… and blog rolls stood out the most to me as the quickest ways to improve. Thanks!

    Good luck with your give away bash! :)

  • Paul Reply

    Great job Jacob. I think it’s important to break things up as you’d want your viewers attention for as long as possible without overwhelming them. Again, another great article.

  • Matt Reply

    Great article, short and to the point. I would have to say that letting your readers know what the article is going to be about plays a huge role in how many people will actually read what you write. Jakob Nielsen does a great job with this on his site, when he has a “summary” section at the top. Excellent idea.

  • George - LogoDesign.org Reply

    Great post, although I do have to say that the post header image is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in quite a while..

  • Soh Reply

    Great tips, thanks for a good read to start my day :-)

  • Dave Reply

    Good advice! I agree with most of what you said. I think the quality images one is a good tip, but unless your a “photo” base blog, anything over a few hundred kb’s should be avoided, many of the shared hosting servers don’t appreciate too large of files :)

  • Jannie Reply

    I would add check out ways to increase your SEO and do it. That was point #2 of 19 in a fantastic piece that Barbara at Blogging Without A Blog posted the other day. (The 19 which I have printed out and taped on the wall beside my computer.)

    Here is a link to that post.

    http://bloggingwithoutablog.com/when-the-green-eyed-monster-strikes-in-blogosphere/

    And, from me: Vary the length of your paragraphs. One sentence ones can be fun, for point emphasis.

  • Sean Reply

    Nice tips, but considering the image one… I actually found the image to this post disturbing…

    Maybe I’m strange, but seeing knives close to eyes makes me cringe.

  • Cristhian Bedon Reply

    This is a great post Jacob, one again you hit the nails on the head.

  • mathias Reply

    Nice post, I’ll try to follow your tips on my new blog.

    Thx

  • Roy Nottage Reply

    Great list and tips. I thought it was just me that didn’t like reading paragraphs online, so I have been flooding some of my paragraphs! Though I always make sure to break it up a bit with images.

    Responding to reader comments is half the fun! Though admittedly I don’t get that many…

  • diarworld Reply

    Good thighs! I hope, you will not be against if I translate this article into Russian language and I will lay out on the blog?

  • Phil Gerbyshak Reply

    Great tips, especially the one on giving back to your readers. If you’re not giving something folks want, your blog is not going to be great.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Preston,
    You’re welcome, even if it was a disturbing image but hey, it was eye catching (excusing the pun) :P

    I also had a look in the spam comments but didn’t any of your comments however are showing here?

    Adam,
    Thank you for the Digg.

    Mitternacht,
    Thanks for your further tips, content is always a must but I don’t believe in the saying content is king, there are so many other elements that have to work together to be successful.

    Daniel,
    No one is perfect but proof reading is a must… even after 5-6 times you still passover mistakes. Sometimes it takes another persons perspective to pick up on it.

    Angie, Paul, Steve, Soh, Mathias, Phil
    You’re welcome!

    Rob,
    Haha, well hope this post will help you out!

    Rash,
    Had a look at your new blog post, I also use the beach theme!

    Bram,
    No longer secrets! Good luck with updating your posts.

    Laurel,
    I am not a fan of automatic music playing either.

    Kostandinos,
    I usually do proof reading 4-5 times however I still miss things and I agree it does diminish the credibility of the author.

    Matt,
    Yeah Jakob’s method also works. The first paragraph is also quite important in terms of SEO.

    George, Sean
    Like I said to Preston, it is eye catching ;) … but yes, disturbing also.

    Dave,
    A starter image usually is less than 100kb so it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Jannie,
    Thanks for the link and your tips.

    Roy,
    Sometimes replying to user comments gets a bit tedious especially on ones that get over 30 comments. Under that, is usually OK though.

    Diarworld,
    No worries, go for it.

  • venkat Reply

    All are very useful tips,all have to accept the fact that content is the king,keep writing Google will find you.

  • Ralph Reply

    Some aspects are great for me to think about my own blog-concept. Ralph

  • Andrew Conlan Reply

    Haha like the fact you gave 8 rather than seven nice touch, I’ll have to start doing that

  • Bryan Reply

    Alternative title for entry: “How Blogging is Different from Writing”

  • Lawrence Anderson Reply

    Awesome article Jacob. I bookmarked this one to help me with my new blog :-)

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    Two questions for you…I though you were using retweets there for a while. Why did you take that down? Second question is about pingbacks and trackbacks. You approve of all the trackbacks but not the tweets. What about pingbacks? Should we or should we not? I hear all kinds of things, but your ranking seems to suggest approving at least trackbacks doesn’t cause damage…

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Douglas,
    I was using retweets but I opted for a cleaner look with the Share button which has Twitter as an option. As for the trackbacks most of them are automatic, I try not to get spam / scrapper sites into the trackbacks but it is inevitable. What do you mean about approving tweets?

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    Hey Jacob: You aren’t supposed to ask me what I mean by by trackbacks or pingbacks :) I’m not sure what the difference is. The way my WordPress is set up, I have to approve whatever you call them – pingbacks, trackbacks, tweet notifications – one at a time. Yes, a lot of them are lame scraper sites and lame spam comments. I see you have the trackbacks approved, but I don’t see any of the “this post was twitted by” I see a lot of in my comment inbox. I delete all except if a tweeter happens to be a tad famous. I deleted my Smashing Magazine one by mistake :( but I’m not sure if that really matters for SEO…it probably did though.

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    Woops…I was going to ask you about retweet as opposed to tweet. The Share This only does tweets, which in my limited grasp of tweeting at the moment, appear to be different that retweets. Or is that not the case? For instance, I read today that retweets can cause old posts to take on new life occasionally. But perhaps there is no difference between tweet and retweet and I’m thinking too hard about it…

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Douglas, there is no real difference between retweet or tweet.

    Tweet simply means to send a message. Retweet means the same but you are RE tweeting it, ie. someone has already tweeted it so you are passing it along. That’s my understanding anyway.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    PS. Re the Twitter feedback, most of them go in my spam box so I just leave them there. If you figure out if they are good or bad for SEO, please do let me know!

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    The only ones I would bother to keep are ones I know are famous, if not for the SEO at least for the street cred. Which is why I’m bummed I deleted my SmashingMag tweet :(.

  • Nick Hudson Reply

    Thanks for this post, it was really helpful in giving me things to consider for the design of my blog (still in progress). I like how you added an extra tip in there, pretty clever.

  • Tim Reply

    You are big! Your tips are the key for the golden blog! And the greatest thing that i’ve read here is that, unique content, with our own ideas and opinions that belong to us , is the most important thing to do in blogging. I wish you big succes!

  • Logo Reviews Reply

    You are really humble Jacob. That very clearly shows in your approach, from sharing the link love to holding contests. Everything counts!

    Thank you friend.

  • SEO Junkies Reply

    ‘Practice what you preach’, an old adage that clearly reflects in every sentence in your post. What I truly admire is that though I’ve read loads on effective blogging, none goes close to this in terms of simple and applicable blogging suggestions. Also from your post to the comments, I know throughout my experience here that I am dealing with a human and not with a computer, the personal touch is impeccable and if this post can draw so much attention from us bloggers then well there is no better way to prove the ingenuity of the suggested tips.

  • Globeview Reply

    Good article, you might also have a list of what you absolutely not in a blog article should mention.

  • Edwin Soobramoney Reply

    After completing my studies, I still felt I didnt know enough about design and then i came across your blog and it was truly inspiring and lead me to start reading other blogs and in turn have greatly increased my knowledge of design perhaps even more than i had learned at college. It also inspired me to try my hand at blogging and thanks to great articles like this, I continue to have sleepless nights haha.

    A real heartfelt thanks Jacob

  • Kenny Reply

    Neat post! Very helpful tips.


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