The prolific Phillip Lenssen has leveraged his Googleblogoscope experience to create an extremely useful diagnostic quiz for assessing if you’ve written a linkable blog post (how likely it is that other bloggers will link to your blog post). He advises that
Linkability shouldn’t be your main goal when blogging, but it’s a good indicator of how approachable and interesting your writing is.
Some of his key points that I find useful to remember are:
- Make sure you write something original, and not just a few sentences. Write about what you know.
- A small illustrative or explanatory image can go a long way to improve your post. This is great advice that I have yet to follow. I am continually impressed by Dave Pollard’s ability to express his business insights in graphics:
- Blog daily. I still struggle with this, but I am discovering that forcing myself to write every day, even if I don’t get is finished enough to post, forces me to clarify my thinking on an issue, which is valuable in itself.
- Re-read and revise for clarity and offer a perspective for someone new to a topic.
The best thing about the http://www.howlinkable.com/ quiz is that it prioritizes it’s advice to offer the top ten add suggestions for improvement; once you have addressed the basics you see more. Also, not everything you can check off will improve your score (something Fleming Funch overlooked); sometimes you need stop doing something to improve. My current linkability is 45% and I need to blog daily, use more illustrative examples and images, and add my photo to my about page to get it to 54%.
One suggestion that Lenssen didn’t make directly that I think is a useful perspective comes from Useful Saheli S.R. Datta’s article “7 Habits of Highly Effective Blogger”
Think of your blog as database, not a newspaper-like collection of dispatches. your archived posts should be easy to find through Google and Technorati, so cite authors and publications by name, and use tags, categories, and keywords consistently.
Here is a list of the questions courtesy of Fleming Funch, for clarity I have added “[Negative]” to those practices that detract:
- My post title includes a pun [Negative]
- My post title includes more than 10 words
- I start off by explaining the post’s core idea
- My post contains more than 3 paragraphs of my own writing
- I spell-checked my post
- The post’s idea was “sleeping” inside my head for several weeks before I wrote it down
- I was the first to report on this (as far as I know)
- This post might have profound implications for a company, celebrity, or politician
- This post might have profound implications for my readers
- This post is in-tune with the overall topic of my blog
- I illustrated my post with screenshots, drawings, or clip art
- I end the post with a “bang”
- I use the Creative Commons license to share my content
- I emailed friends to let them know about my article
- I validated my blog’s HTML after posting
- I use a standard blog template
- I read my own post for clarity at least twice
- I use links, bold/ italics, or lists
- I’m blogging daily
- My blog is read by many people
- My post is English
- I’m reporting on first-hand experiences
- The subject I’m writing about is close to my heart
- My post includes a video, audio file or ZIP download
- Readers can comment on my post
- I submitted the post to Digg
- I submitted the post to Metafilter
- I submitted the post to Boing Boing
- I sent the post to a mainstream news source
- My post is above 250 KB (including images) [Negative]
- I checked my blog’s appearance in at least 2 browsers
- I include a large ad on top of the main content [Negative]
- My ad colors resemble my main content [Negative]
- I decrease the font-size quite a bit to make the layout look better [Negative]
- I’m citing my sources and delivering proof for what I say
- I’m using affiliate links inside my post’s content [Negative]
- My post might be considered controversial by many
- Some parts of my post make people laugh
- My server is fast to deliver pages, even under heavy traffic
- My full name is included at the beginning or end of the post
- My “About” page is linked in the navigation
- My “About” page includes my bio and photo
- I’m checking my blog statistics every few days
- I consider myself an expert on this post’s topic
- My page includes animated ads [Negative]
- My page includes an ad that pops up or is overlaid on the content [Negative]
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