In the beginning, when you first start blogging, you feel like you're blogging to yourself. You even get your mom and brother to leave comments so it looks like you have people reading your blog.
Eventually, you start getting real feedback, but it's sporadic and lukewarm at best. You dream of writing a popular blog post that will not only make you feel good, but will get you a boat load of traffic – eyeballs looking at your blog and seeing what you're selling.
Creating a popular post for your blog is like showing up at a potluck with the best tasting dish around. Everyone loves your casserole, it's better than everyone else's casserole, people ask you for the recipe, you're seen as a successful cook, and they all want to invite you to their own potlucks. Word of your success travels and opportunities open up before you in ways you never dreamed of.
That's what a popular post can do. People will:
- bookmark your site because of the wow factor of the post,
- many will comment on your blog,
- others will blog about it,
- quite a few will Digg it,
- you'll see a flood of unique traffic,
- your RSS subscribes and opt-ins will soar,
- and the monetizing strategies you have in place will start doing their thing.
So here's what you do:
Write a catchy, witty, attention-grabbing headline. If your title doesn't get their attention, they won't read your post. It's as straightforward as that.
Have a great first paragraph. This is make it or break it for most readers. If it's full of fluff, they're not going to want to read the rest of your piece. This is where you tell them what you're going to tell them and why they need to hear it (what's in it for them.)
You are probably not going to write all of your posts to be popular posts, but when you are aiming to write a grand piece, take your time writing it. Don't rush. Think about it, write it, put it aside, come back and polish it til it shines. Keep your eye out for grammar and spelling errors.
The posts that become popular are the ones that give people what they really, really want to know. So help people, no major strings attached. Give them hot new info, not rehashed ho-hum they can find easily and everywhere. Give them more than they are expecting. Don't be afraid to add some of your own personality or use a personal example when illustrating a point. Also, while you're being so helpful, offer other resources and links in your post.
Linking to other info in your post also has the added benefit of the sites you linked to returning the favor. They could give their blog readers or list subscribers a heads up about your article or even permanently link to it in their sidebar.
Keep your formatting pleasing to the eye. Have a picture, use bullets or numbers, bold subheadings, and break up your paragraphs into smaller chunks.
If you want your readers to rate your post or Digg it – ask them to. If you had them at “hello”, then they'll be happy to comply with your request.
There's certainly no guarantee your post will become popular, but in order to stand a chance you should take a little extra time and thought and write it like a post you would really want to read.