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25 Blogging Tips for Fresh Bloggers

25 Blogging Tips for Fresh Bloggers

Everybody has a blog, but creating a blog is only the first step to truly reaching your audience. There are plenty of ways to increase your readership and maximize the effectiveness of your posts, so I’ve compiled a list of 25 blogging tips to get people started:

1. Never stop learning.

Every word you write will teach you something new. You will learn as you go; about writing, about specific topics, about the internet, and about yourself.

2. Be genuine.

Let your voice permeate your posts. Write the way you talk. If people who know you read your blog, they should be able to hear you saying the words as they read them, so don’t try to be somebody you’re not. If you aren’t quite sure who you are yet, then you will learn more about yourself through your writing, as long as you are honest.

3. Discover your voice.

Write, write, write. Find out what your goals are and how you plan on achieving them. Recognize the topics about which you enjoy writing, and the problems you would like to solve in the process.

4. Be interesting.

Being unpredictable is the key to being interesting. Surprise your readers. Surprise yourself. Make yourself laugh, make yourself cringeas long as you get some type of reaction out of yourself, you are headed in the right direction. Allow yourself to think of the predictable ideas first, and get them out of your system. Then dive in deeper and pull out the more unique ideas.

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5. Be original.

Even if your topic is not totally unique, present it differently. Think outside of the box. Shoot it from another angle. If you can’t think of something new to say, then at least find a new way to say it.

6. Provide evidence.

If you are going to make an outrageous claim, at least have some facts to back it up. Sure, this is the internet and not everything is true, but you have to establish some credibility if you want people to read and actually appreciate your content. If your post is credible, it is more likely to be referenced by another blogger, which can help bring your site more readers.

7. Make connections to hot topics.

Write about current events and how they relate to you and/or your readers. This way, people will know that you a.) don’t live under a rock, b.) have opinions, and c.) care about something other than your blog. This is an effective way to bring readers to your site, and it is a great opportunity to make your content topical.

8. Write consistently.

You don’t need to write on a specific schedule, but you do want to post regularly so that you stay relevant in your readers’ minds. Depending on the focus of your blog, you might want post two or three times a week, or every day if possible. Also, remain consistent in your writing and try not to contradict yourself.

9. Read constantly.

Try to discover a new blog every day. Take note of the way other bloggers are using tools that are readily available to you, and find sites that intrigue you. If you enjoy reading about a topic, then perhaps you will enjoy writing about it.

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10. Create catchy headlines that aren’t misleading.

You want people to read your blog, but you also want people to read your blog. Be clever but don’t intentionally deceive anybody.

11. Make your posts accessible.

In the literal sense, don’t make them hard to find. If somebody is interested in reading your other posts, make it simple for him/her to access them. In the other sense of the word, try not to alienate any of your potential readers. You may have strong opinions, and that’s fine, but don’t be opinionated.

12. Weave an intricate web of links.

Give credit where credit is due. If another blogger inspires you, then acknowledge the post via pingback/trackback. This is also effective when you refer to your older posts in an article.

13. Incorporate images and videos.

Oh man, people love looking at pictures and stuff. Think about it. Would you rather read a book with only words or a book that has pictures?

14. Mind the length of your posts.

You usually need to write about 300 words for your post to be recognized by a search engine such as Google, so strictly from the SEO standpoint, you should keep that in mind. However, the length of your posts should be directly related to the attention span of your readers and the subject of your writing.

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15. Take risks.

Don’t be afraid to explore new ideas. If you come up with something that makes you a bit uncomfortable, good. Go with it. In fact, run with it. Venture out of your comfort zone and you might end up with an interesting story to tell.

16. Know your limits.

Don’t force anything. You will learn more things once you leave that comfort zone, but if something makes you feel extremely uncomfortable, perhaps there is a reason for it.

17. Use appropriate tags.

Using the right words to tag your posts can be an effective way for organizing topics, and it can also help bring traffic to your blog.

18. Promote yourself.

Share your work on all possible social media platforms to maximize your reach. Share other bloggers’ posts and they might return the favor.

19. Edit your posts.

Intelligent readers won’t pay any mind to your blog if it is polluted with spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Be sure to thoroughly edit each post before it goes public.

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20. Quality > quantity.

Don’t feel pressured to post a piece before it is completely ready. Sure, you want to give people something to read, but you also want it to be worth reading. While more posts will give you a better chance of getting recognized by search engines, you don’t want to sacrifice quality just for a few keywords.

21. Pay attention to feedback.

Allow comments, and read what people have to say about your writing. Maybe they know something you don’t; dialogue is a good thing.

22. Pay no attention to trolls.

If you allow comments, you will inevitably get unnecessary negative criticism. Most of it will be silly, but some people can be mean. Use it as fuel to succeed.

23. Connect with your readers.

Engage with them. Reply to their comments and feedback, and try to gain an understanding of what they enjoy. Don’t be afraid to make them think. They might even inspire your future content.

24. Connect with other bloggers.

Read other blogs for information and inspiration, and create a network of contacts so you can expand your influence.

25. Use lists.

When people see a number at the beginning of a blog post title, they know exactly what they are getting themselves into by clicking on it. It’s finite. Readers also love lists because they can just read each bolded bullet point and skim the article to get the gist. This may not be an effective method of reading, but it is common. For example, some people won’t read this sentence.

Good luck!

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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