Often new bloggers start out by writing about what they have to say or share, so blogs can seem egocentric - "it's all about me" . This is not a bad thing, in fact, it's often the heart and soul of blogging. But you can take your blog to the next level by stepping outside of yourself and thinking like one of your readers - what do they want? what do they need? how could my blog help them?
You can still use yourself as the spark for your blog ideas. For example, you may have a minor car accident that gives you the idea for an analogy related to the topic of quality assurance testing. This may be a great idea! But now as you are writing the blog post, think how can I make this useful for people reading my blog? How can I make this not just interesting, but also useful and helpful?
7 ideas for adding useful elements to your blog posts:
1. Create "how tos". These could be step by step instructions, formulas or lists - this is the type of reference material many people find helpful. This may not be appropriate for every blog post you write, but including it when it makes sense can help make a must-read blog.
Example: Ad hoc testing tips
2. Add photos, screen shots, videos, or diagrams when it makes sense to help illustrate and understand the post.
3. Give readers suggestions for application. Let's say you just wrote that blog post about how quality assurance testing is like a car wreck. Now, can you close your blog post with three ideas for how QA testers can avoid that wreck during testing?
Example: Caching in
4. Add references and resources. Do more than just talk about yourself and your thoughts and your experiences. If you share useful resources related to the main topics of your blog, then your blog could become a must-read - one that your readers feel is a valuable source of information. Types of resources you can share include related blog posts (either your own posts or others') or news stories you think would be helpful or interesting and resources you like on this topic. For example, if your blog is all about QA testing, you could share favorite QA testing web sites, twitter feeds, blogs, books, etc.
Example: Trying out Twitter APIs
5. Think about effective formatting and layout. Is your post easy to follow and read?
Example: Criteria for a disciplined agile team
6. Learn from others. Visit your favorite blogs and ask yourself: What makes that blog useful to you? What makes you bookmark it and visit it repeatedly? How could you incorporate some of those elements on your own blog?
7. Spend time on your posts. Write up your draft. Put it aside and come back to it later when you can see with fresh eyes how to make it better. For instance, after I wrote this post and then came back to it, I realized it would be helpful to include examples for the ideas.
In closing, I'd like to encourage you to watch this short video by Darren Rowse at Problogger where he talks about balancing the needs of your reader and yourself: Who does your blog serve? The secret to sustainable blogging
Then ask yourself - who is your reader? Start thinking about how you can serve their needs when you're writing that next blog post.
p.s. Was this blog post useful for you? If it was, would you recommend it or comment on it? I'd like to know if I'm serving your needs! Thanks.