10 Ways to a Successful Blog

After spending the past three months reading through countless blogs I have developed a pretty good idea of what makes a great post. There have similarities between the blogs I have thoroughly enjoyed versus the ones I have skimmed. Below I have listed the 10 ways I believe lead to a “top post.”

#1 Comment

Commenting builds relationships and gives feedback. This includes both posting comments on other blogs and reading the comments on your own. Posting comments on others will incentivize those bloggers to read your posts. If you develop a habit of leaving a question at the end of every blog you will find an increase in comments. These comments will allow you to read into your audience to better write your future posts.

#2 Attractive Design

Make it pretty. Improving the appearance of your blog will help it gain popularity. WordPress.com has many template themes that will improve the way your blog looks. You can constantly update this but try to stick with something simple and catchy.

#3 Hyperlinks

Your readers want information. If you use hyperlinks you can make it easy for your readers to learn more without detracting from what you have to say. These links will both establish credibility and prove your sources. Remember to be thoughtful in the website you use since these opinions will shine through to yours as well.

#4 Promote

Advertise yourself. Put your blog link up on your Twitter and Facebook to get as much traffic as possible. Your friends will share with their friends and your readers will grow exponentially. Having your blog address in your profile biographies doesn’t hurt either.

#5 Gravatar Image

Put your face to your opinions. This specific feature is on wordpress.com but similar features are on all social media platforms. Pictures help the reader make a connection with you and make your presence more established.

#6 Catchy Title

Draw people in. The tile of you blog is what is going to get the reader to click on your post. A catchy introduction will also grab the reader’s attention and get them to continue reading. Great titles often use compelling numbers or appealing adjectives. Brainstorm a few different titles before settling on the most fitting.

#7 Pictures

Give you reader something to look at. Images will enhance your blog post in many ways. An image at the beginning (maybe after the catchy intro) will further grab the reader’s attention. Images can also add additional information to your text. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand worlds. Pictures should be used to break up long blocks of text to keep it interesting for the reader. Remember to include sources for these images if necessary!

#8 Format

Use short, grouped paragraphs. Break up the content of your post so the reader is not overwhelmed by long blocks of text. Add headers or bullets to make it easy for the reader to skim. You can also use formatting functions like bold and italics to emphasize how you feel.

#9 Tagging

Keywords reach more people. Tagging specific words that are relevant or summarize your post will allow interested readers to quickly find it. The easier your blog is to find, the less hassle potential readers will have. This allows you to optimize your post to gain the most readers.

#10 Consistency

Give your followers what they expect. Be consistent with your content, usage, and methods. Your followers will like you for your opinions. Make sure to be consistent with your usage. If you blog every day, blog every day. If you blog every three months, blog every three months. Lastly, enjoy what you blog about. It will make your posts so much more interesting.

 

There you go, what would you add?

What Boston College Needs

How does a student get involved at a school with few student groups and no sororities? The biggest difference I found coming to Boston College from a large university was the lack of diversity in student groups and no sign of greek life. The student groups here range from lacrosse to a mathematics society: http://www.bc.edu/a-z/clubs.html. It seems you need to have a specific interest to fit in with a group. The process of starting a new group is even tricky and hard to come by.

The University of Minnesota on the other hand is completely opposite: http://sua.umn.edu/groups/directory/index.php?group_by=name. There is a group for everything. Not even going into the endless sororities and fraternities as well as a group for every nationality (even as specific as Korea’s island Dokdo), the school has the most unheard of groups to make your college experience one to remember. Some of the more out there include:

  • Minnesota Quidditch: yes… I’ve seen them practice with their broomsticks…
  • Campus People Watchers: as if you’ve never seen something interesting on the quad between classes
  • KinkyU: BC probably wouldn’t go for
  • Outdoor Club: literally… their principal activity is to go outside
  • The High Five Guys: they were definitely the most cheerful people to see on campus
  • U Students Like Good Food: who isn’t always hungry?

The list goes on and on. This gives university students a chance to go out and meet people at their school with the same interests. Now, I understand that Boston College is significantly smaller than the Big Ten schools. But that doesn’t mean students shouldn’t be allowed to explore creativity and meet new people.

Boston College needs to add to their array of on-campus student organizations. Students should be able to easily add groups if others are interested. This would make BC an easier place to go out and explore yourself.

The Front Page of the Internet

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Reddit is a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of either a link or a text. The website is known for its open nature and diverse user community that generate its content– which includes everything from serious articles to silly memes. It was founded in June 2005 just up the road in Medford, Massachusetts by two 22 year old University of Virginia graduates. As of May 2013, the site had almost 70 million unique users from 180 countries. According to Google Ad Planner’s estimate, the average Reddit user is male (59%), 25-34 years of age, and is connecting from the United States.

Reddit’s community is so prevalent they have developed their own sort of language. The content is either upvoted (liked) or downvoted (disliked) which adjusts its placement on the page to be more visible on top or less visible pushed to the bottom. This creates the original posters “karma” which is a type of score. The users yearly anniversary of when they became a Redditor is called their cake day. A lurker is someone like myself who uses the website frequently but does not post my own content. Reddit Gold is a way to pay for the site which I will explain later. A throwaway account is made by a Redditor who is posting something embarrassing or personal and wants to keep their identity anonymous/separate from their normal account. TL;DR is a quick summary at the end of longer posts. Most importantly, subreddits are smaller Reddit communities based on a specific topic.

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This sort of language is very common among social media. Think about all the common terms that exist today that were unheard of (or had totally different meaning) ten years ago. Back when only birds tweeted and poking was just weird..well that still is.

Subreddits are symbolized by reddit.com/r/< insert topic>. The subreddit that has made Reddit most famous is AMA- also known as Ask Me Anything. This is where a user posts what they are (IamA) and others use the comment system to ask questions in which the original poster answers directly. A number of notable individuals have participated in AMAs. During his 2012 campaign, President Obama created one that is still the highest rated on the site. The increased traffic on that day brought down many parts of the website. Other notable individuals include Madonna, Bill Gates, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. You don’t have to be famous either– interesting will gain attention as well. Other popular AMAs include IamA homeless man, rocket scientist, or have tourrets.

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Here is an example of the BC Subreddit so you can see what Redditors consider to be BC’s top content.

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Reddit Gold is their premium membership program that includes extra features to make the experience better with special benefits. Reddit takes no payment but instead you pay for the “gold” then give it to a worth post/comment. Reddit hopes in turn this helps the program worth subscribing to. However, the site has not yet been profitable. These benefits include:

  • Highlights new comments
  • Remembers links you’ve visited
  • Coupons to different Reddit affiliates
  • Notifications when you’re mentioned in comments
  • More content per page
  • Saves comments
  • Turns off ads

Reddit has a lot of untapped potential and will continue to become more prevalent as it gains users. As of now, it is a great way to explore the internet and of course, waste time.

Go check it out– www.reddit.com

Jaden Smith & Follower Power

Aside from learning about multiple social media platforms and how they’re used, this class has also made me much more aware of the importance of publicity. Throughout lectures, it is often mentioned how everything you put online is available for anyone and everyone to see. I feel at 21 years old I (almost) fully understand this concept and am careful what I say online—even if it’s only to 132 Twitter followers. But what if I was constantly in the public eye? What if social media would have been around when I was younger? It’s hard to say if I would have been so careful or even realized who was reading my everyday thoughts and opinions. I actually feel quite lucky that I don’t have the opportunity to scroll back to see how naïve I probably was.

Today, many children of celebrities have Twitter accounts with thousands of followers. Relating to my last blog, many of these children have been sheltered their entire lives with very different experiences than the average child. A good example of this is Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. As a talented kid, he has been given multiple opportunities through his parents to earn his own success. This has led to him becoming an icon to many young people.

Jaden’s Twitter account currently has over 4.6 million followers. Just from a quick glance, most of these are young, impressionable teenagers around his age of 15. With all of these followers, Jaden only follows one person. Bob Marley—who was dead long before Twitter even existed. I think that in itself says a lot about his Twitter account. Like many other teens, Jaden takes to Twitter to confess his beliefs and attitudes. With this many followers and fans, he has the ability to make an impression. Personally, I think these impressions are displaying the epitome of delusional youth.

It should be noted that there are actually great messages in the sea of crazy on his page. I very much agree with tweets such as:

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These are both great messages to send to today’s youths. In these examples, he is using his “follower power” to get a positive message across and maybe make an impact. I couldn’t agree more that children today should be playing outside rather than playing on their phones and that trying new things builds character.

As he continuously capitalizes every word, Jaden’s tweets have been on the verge of crazy:

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Now I’m all for encouraging kids to develop and voice their opinions but a lot of these tweets are ridiculous. I’m not a parent but I also think with this much public attention, his parents would be monitoring his social media. I feel at 15 he should be more careful about the image he portrays online since this will impact his reputation and career in the future. But then again, maybe all this publicity from these tweets is helping his popularity.

I cannot help but feel slightly bad for him because kids usually do not know any better. I don’t mean to bash the ideas of a teenage boy because he deserves years to make his mistakes and learn lessons just like everyone else. It’s just a shame that the technology social media provides allows these messages to spread to so many others.

What do you think?

https://twitter.com/officialjaden