Posted: 6:27 pm by tom in Blog
In the world of blogging a few names spring to mind when considering a ‘blogging superhero’. In considering what makes a great blog post I thought that I would learn from the best, and use real life case-studies of some of the most popular blog posts that I’ve ever come across.
Shoemoney.com is a hugely popular blog aimed at the blogging/webmaster community. It has over 15,000 RSS subscribers and one of it’s most commented posts is: ‘My Top 10 Worst Ideas to Make Money’. The post basically goes over a few failed business ideas and why they didn’t work. Now, let’s look at just what made the post so popular:
It was funny. Most of the 210 comments were laughing at the hilarious business ideas that were shamefully admitted to. A high % of the comments related directly to the 1. idea which involved a petrol station giving out free gas and internet users shooting paintball guns at the drivers while they filled up their vehicles. Proof that ridiculous can be successful (in some respects at least).
It was real. It wouldn’t be nearly so funny or popular if someone just thought up these crazy ideas for the sake of it. The humor was derived from the fact that these were seriously considered ideas that just flopped.
People learned from the post. Despite some ideas being so ridiculous that nobody could relate to them, several provided valid considerations for starting a website. One idea that involved emailing expecting mothers was cancelled for valid reason:
Finally, the post broke conventions. Pretty much every ‘top 10 tips’ style post will focus on the positives or successes that people have encountered. By subverting this concept and discussing failures your readers are getting something different and will be more drawn to your writing.
“Then a very close friend of the family had a miscarriage about 15 weeks into her pregnancy and told us about how she had signed up for all these baby websites and now they keep emailing her stuff and she breaks down and cries every time…. I just wanted no part of that…”
One of the largest blogs in the world is ProBlogger.net (over 44,000 subscribers). One of their most popular posts is ‘How Bloggers Make Money From Blogs’. The article outlines the various methods that bloggers can use to make money, and received an incredible 523 comments. So what made this post so popular?
Well firstly the title is VERY obvious. It’s important not to be obscure with your post titles. Don’t be afraid to really spell it out for your visitors, as many potential visitors (on Digg/StumbleUpon for example) won’t see past your title unless it’s really obvious and concise. You should be able to sum up your entire article in one brief, catchy sentence.
It’s helpful. Not only does the post go into a LOT of different money making options but it provides a ton of links for useful resources. This is where the true value lies. Try to think of what your readers are expecting/wanting when they see your post title. If your post is about making money blogging, then why not provide them with the means to do so?
It uses real life examples. For example, in discussing donations it links to Jason Kottke’s website explaining how he was able to quit his day job based solely on donations from his generous readers.
It discusses the obvious, and the not so obvious. The obvious topics that your readers are expecting are always worth talking about (in this case affiliate programs and advertising) but it’s always great to bring new ideas to your readers attention. Take a look at what everyone else is writing about and try to think ‘outside of the box’. In this example the post discusses money making areas such as consulting that many bloggers seem to neglect.
Finally, I’m going to look at a post from JohnChow.com, another hugely successful blog. The post I’ll be looking at is ‘Blog Income Report - February 2008′. Let’s see why it’s so popular…
It’s impressive. While I have argued against boasting about your success too much, there are times when it’s justified. When John earned just shy of $30,000 in one month this was one of those times. Earning this much puts John in a very exclusive, if not totally unique position. Just look at this comment to the post: “Wow, I want to be like you,I wish my blog starts to make bigmoney soon!”. Given the plethora of blogging tips and tricks being discussed and repeated everywhere why not set yourself apart from the crowd with proven success? This may not apply to you yet in terms of income, but try to think of ways in which you are different from the average blogger, what sets you apart?
Despite this post essentially being about John’s success, it also raises some very useful points for bloggers. I particularly like the quote: “If I had stuck with AdSense and never tried anything else, this blog would be making about $1,000 per month instead $1,000 per day.”. If people are really looking up to you then you should feel obligated to share tips like this with them. It make seem obvious, but often I’ve only been motivated into actually making changes when I read something like this.
It’s not overly wordy. You don’t want to go on at your readers and risk boring them. In John’s post he lists his various income streams and earnings and then provides a brief summary of the month and a couple of tips. You want to be as concise and clear as possible in your post and not just your post title.
I hope that you found this post helpful, and enjoyed reading about some of my favorite blog posts. Inspiring stuff for sure…