How a Mother Writes a Better Blog

I can’t recall exactly how I first came across Jo Beaufoix’s blog, but ever since I landed on it, it has been on my site list here. Perhaps it has some­thing to do with the fact that she is a writer, or per­haps it is her abil­ity to por­tray life through her writ­ing, but Jo has a knack for mak­ing her audi­ence laugh.

Bounce Rates

Jo Beaufoix’s blog is the most pop­u­lar out­bound link here at Indigo Spot. That may be purely because of the curios­ity fac­tor. I mean, after all, it is a unique name that sticks out in a line-up, but when com­pet­ing with links to sites such as 43 Folders, Daring Fireball, Upstart Blogger, and Zen Habits, it is impres­sive that even my mea­ger traf­fic hits that link the most. And by the most, I mean four times as much as the sec­ond most pop­u­lar link, which is Put Things Off (an awe­some site in its own right, writ­ten by Nick Cernis). 

What’s So Great About It?

Being a per­sonal blog, Jo Beaufoix has the lux­ury of being about every­thing and any­thing and even noth­ing much at all depend­ing on the writer’s mood. Lucky for us, her mood is often witty. If she hadn’t been on the ball, I would have never found the [wikiHow][8] arti­cle on [How to Be Comfortable Showering in Front of People][9]. Sure, the arti­cle is funny on its own. Some peo­ple may even find it prac­ti­cal. I prefer Jo’s per­spec­tive on the sub­ject.

She writes about it in [Wiki-how does it again][10]. I don’t want to ruin the arti­cle by quot­ing the good bits, so here’s a sam­ple to get you started, after which you should really click that link above and read it… and then book­mark her site and sub­scribe to the RSS feed.

Where was I? Oh, right.

Ok. Anyone want to com­ment here? About the bit about show­er­ing in front of oth­ers being nat­u­ral?

Anyone?

Let’s do a quick sur­vey shall we? 

So How Does Any of This Make Her a Better Blogger?

I am so glad you asked. The web is full of sites that tell us [how to write effec­tive blog posts][11],  [the effects of writ­ing well on blog performance][12], [how to get more subscribers][13], and [what to write about to gar­ner more readers][14], but while these are all excel­lent arti­cles on proven tech­niques, there is some­thing more to the for­mula. I pro­pose that the fol­low­ing traits make for a blog that has stick­i­ness and that is just plain bet­ter than the rest. 

  • Quality Writing — Above all things, blog­gers are writ­ers. the web site is sim­ply the medium of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Blogs should strive to provide excel­lent writ­ten con­tent. How do you become a bet­ter writer?
  1. Write.
  2. Write more.
  3. Write even more.
  4. Write even more than that.
  5. Write when you don’t want to.
  6. Write when you do.
  7. Write when you have some­thing to say.
  8. Write when you don’t.
  9. Write every day.
  10. Keep writ­ing.
  • Real Stories — Life is far more inter­est­ing than any­thing we can imag­ine. Fiction writ­ers may have come up with some out­landish con­cepts, but our daily lives sow the seeds of imag­i­na­tion, so keep it real and tell your read­ers a story. Use excerpts from your life to illus­trate your points. People love to hear a good story. It’s even bet­ter of the read­ers can relate to you.
  • Compelling Content — This is dif­fi­cult as the Internet is a huge audi­ence, and you can’t please all of the peo­ple all of the time. However, you don’t have to pull a Henry Ford either (“Any cus­tomer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black”). Keep the con­tent inter­est­ing and the read­ers will come.
  • Open Communication — There are some blog­gers who prefer not to have com­ments enabled on their sites. Even so, they are care­ful to respond cour­te­ously and reg­u­larly to other forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion such as e-mail. If you do host com­ments, it is in your best inter­est to respond to read­ers com­ments and try to address all of them. This builds com­mu­nity and makes read­ers feel at home. I con­sider this a form of grat­i­tude and appre­ci­a­tion to those who deem your site inter­est­ing enough to spend their time on.
  • Regular Updates — Not to harp on it, but if you aren’t writ­ing on your blog, then there is noth­ing to read. If there is noth­ing to read, then there is no rea­son for peo­ple to visit. At times it may seem like nobody stops by and that you are writ­ing for no good rea­son. Hopefully your rea­son for writ­ing isn’t val­i­da­tion from the World Wide Web, because while it may feel good to get “Dugg”, it isn’t a rea­son for being. This trait goes along with “Quality Writing”. If you are writ­ing reg­u­larly, then you are improv­ing two things at once. People will visit on their own time. Just make sure there’s some­thing worth­while for them to see when they do arrive.

Why Should I Care?

A tal­ented pro­fes­sor I know wrote,

Things are inter­est­ing only when they are of con­cern for us. 

My guess is that if you have read this far, then you prob­a­bly do care. About what, exactly, is anyone’s guess. No mat­ter. There is a more impor­tant ques­tion to answer. 

What do you think makes a “bet­ter” blog/blogger?