Blogging Lesson: Presentation is everything

What you can learn about blogging by watching Season 7 Episode #4 of The Next Food Network Star:

Blogging Lesson: Presentation is everything

The challenge for this episode was to feed the cast and crew of a television show.  The finalists were put into teams and had to make a presentation to a panel of judges and celebrity guests.

Despite the fact that Justin B has the communication skills needed to be the Next Food Network Star – and the expertise necessary to be the Next Food Network Star – he didn’t possess the presentation skills needed to become the Next Food Network Star.

Presentation is everything – whether it’s cooking or blogging.  If your blog is sporting a poor presentation – then your readership will suffer.

The theme you choose for your blog is almost as important as the content you post upon your blog.  The theme determines the presentation of your blog’s content – and if you’re not careful, you could find yourself the next Justin B of the blog universe – someone with the smarts, the skills and the talent to be a blogging star who lacks a professional presentation.

However, the theme you choose for your blog must do more than just impress the human visitors to your blog – it also must impress the mindless robots which crawl and index the web as well.

In the end – you need to achieve the perfect “balance” – between design and function, all playing their assigned role with the relentless beat of the drum of the search engines playing in the background.

This is where The Thesis Theme for WordPress comes in.  Thesis is a blog theme – but it’s it’s not just a blog theme.  It’s much, more than just that.

Thesis is a foundation – a blank slate if you will- for your blog.  I have many clients who have chosen to keep the “minimalistic” look of a plain and undressed Thesis theme.  However, at a moment’s notice – with just a few changes to a few files within a folder inside of Thesis – I can quickly and easily change the look of their blog.

Creating a new ‘look’ for Thesis requires considerable coding skills – and not everyone wants to hire a professional to create a new look for Thesis – which brings us to the latest and greatest “fad” in WordPress blogging – thesis skins!

Thanks to thesis skins – there’s no reason to use a poorly coded theme for your site to create the look you want for your blog.

In the end, Justin B was eliminated because he sounded like a bored waiter instead of a passionate, knowledgeable chef.   If your blog is more than a few dozen posts old – make sure it’s not making a “bored” presentation of your great content with an ugly theme as well.

Secret to Blogging Success – Staying On Track

writinghandsCan you do it?  Can you write two- three- four times a week (or perhaps a day) about a single subject?  Do you have enough passion and even stamina to create blog post after blog post around a central “theme” or topic?

It’s something you must consider as you map your course for blogging success!

I was recently at a blog which claims to be blogging about starting an online business.  I’d been watching via my RSS feeder as the author went through methodically outlining the steps to starting a small business.  So far so good, he was creating great, tightly focused content for his newly launched blog.  “Here’s a blogger who’s destined for blogging success,” I thought.

Then, today I saw the title for his most recent blog post.  It focuses upon his diet which is the result of a myriad of health problems from which he suffers.

WARNING – WARNING -WARNING!  CONTENT DETOUR AHEAD!!!

The blogger I observed above is making a CLASSIC blogging mistake.  He created a blog and jumped on the “blogging about making money online” bandwagon because he thinks THAT is the path to blogging success.

Unfortunately, while his blog posts titles contain essential keywords needed to help his blog do well with the search engines – his posts on “make money online blogging” lack passion and purpose.

However, as I read his current blog post on his current diet where he eschews meats, animal products or cooked foods in search of better health – I saw a spark – a bit of passion around THIS topic as opposed to his previous posts in his series of  “how to make money online blogging.”

Gary Conn has a great post on Make Money Online Writing About Things You Have Passion For where he shares this bit of inspiration and wisdom:

So my advice to you is to really sit back for a minute and figure out a topic that you have a lot of passion for. When you figure that out, apply everything that you have learned while operating a make money online blog and apply these skills to your other blog that covers a topic that you have passion for. If you do, I think soon you’ll see an increase in your month to month earnings.

See, if you find a topic you’re passionate about then creating blog posts will be literally as easy as falling off a log.  It’s when you try to pursue a “profitable” blog niche that you’ll run into trouble.  You’ll not only have trouble creating posts, you’ll have  trouble marketing your blog as well.

Choosing the right topic  – a topic about which you’re passionate about – is the most basic key to blogging success.  When you’re passionate – you’ll find it easy to stay on track – and most importantly – you’ll find your “passion” will be exposed in many if not all of your blog posts.

How to Make a Blog Successful

One of the most popular questions new bloggers ask is “How do I make my blog successful?”

Some elements essential to blog success are easy.  Successful blogs

  • Are structurally sound when it comes to the writing.
  • Are written in a personable and engaging manner.
  • Provide useful information to a well defined audience.
  • Speak directly and respectfully to that well defined audience.
  • Are written in a voice of authenticity and honesty.  (No anonymous bloggers)
  • Are a source of breaking news to their community.

When you build a blog on the foundation above, you’ll discover you start getting links from other websites and blogs. Lots of links.

Of course, there are other elements found in every successful blog.  Successful bloggers credit other bloggers when appropriate.   Also, successful blogs follow a REGULAR posting pattern.   Posting once a week is a bare minimum… three times a week would be even better.

At this point, I should mention that the most successful blogs are using a self hosted WordPress blog.  It’s not as easy to set up as a free blog but in the end, blogging on that platform seems to be a significant key to blogging success.

In the end, a successful blog is more than just the sum of its posts and comments.   Building a successful blog takes planning, time and direction.

Begin your quest by defining your blog goals.  Then, determine your blog’s audience.  Who would want to read your blog?

Writing with your blog’s audience is mind may be the single most important factor in determining how successful your blog will be.