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If Your Blog were a Magazine… (part 1)


Something I’ve noticed quite interestingly over the past few months is that the best bloggers out there, at least in my opinion, take a very magazine approach to blogging. The print world might be dying, but we do have a ton we can learn from this more traditional form of media. After all, at the end of the day, it’s all about getting your message out there and gaining more subscribers, which are the same goals as magazines.

Some things to consider:


It really ticks me off when a blogger puts no thought into his/her design. That doesn’t mean that I’ll automatically hate you if you have a minimalist look to your blog. Minimalism is a design aesthetic. But you can’t tweak the colors of an out-of-the-box theme? Or add a non-pixalated header? Or make sure that the items on your sidebar actually fit instead of overlapping onto your content? It’s just lazy. I know there are some bloggers out there who have basically given design the middle finger and preach that content is all that matters, but you know what? I don’t read those blogs. Seriously, I don’t. And they point to the fact that ha, I don’t care about design and I still have a million readers per month. Well think how many  more readers you would have if you did care about design, jackass.

Education in a New Way

We always make fun of magazines like Cosmopolitan for essentially repeating the same 100 or so sex tips in every issue, just repackaging it in a different way. This month it’s 101 hot ways to please your man and next month it’s 99 bedroom tricks that will blow his mind and the month after it’s 100 moves that will make him moan…but essentially, almost all of the tips are the same, just repackaged.

But we shouldn’t make fun of Cosmo when we pretty much do the same things as bloggers, just not a well most of the time. Think about the last 10 articles you wrote. How many of them were truly new concepts or ideas? Probably one or two at most. Maybe none. It was information that could be found other places online, maybe even in your own archives, but it was information that your readers needed, so you published it. That’s great – but did you repackage it to make it interesting? So many bloggers out there are boring. It isn’t that they don’t have good ideas about topics that are valuable. They just fail to actually entertain me by presenting the information in a new way.

Subscription Marketing

When you pick up a copy of your favorite magazine at the grocery store, approximately how many subscription cards are inside? Roughly three to four thousand, right? That’s because the magazine knows that if you subscribe, they’ve got you for a year, where as if it is up to you pick up the magazine every month, you’ll likely drop the ball. They also know that you probably won’t fill out the first subscription card that falls out of the pages. Or the second. Or the third. They know that it has to be drilled into someone’s head that they should subscribe if they like the content, mostly because we’re all lazy by nature and think repeatedly “I’ll do it later.”

On some blogs, I have a hard time finding the RSS button. Even more often, I don’t see a email subscription list, or if you do have one, it is hidden. Why – WHY – are your subscription tools not prominent on your sidebar? Heck, I put them at the end of my posts as well. You have to smack readers in the face with what you want them to do sometimes.

As I’m writing this post, I realize that I have a lot more to say about blogging like a magazine than show go into a single post. So, check back later for part 2  of If Your Blog were a Magazine… for some more tips we can take from print media!

Are You Actively Trying to Make Your Blog Suck Less?


At BlogWorld 2010, Scott Hanselman spoke about 32 Ways to Make Your Blog Suck Less. It was a presentation I had missed at the actual event – so thank god for my virtual pass, because this was one of the most entertaining sessions I’ve seen thus far. No smoke blowin’ – I actually laughed out loud at multiple points during the slideshow. Oh, and I learned a few things too.

But the biggest take-away message from this presentation, for me, wasn’t any of the (really good) tips Scott made about sucking less as a blogger. It was simply about the fact that I got half-way through before I actually grabbed a pen and started jotting down some notes for myself.

Let’s face it – bloggers have a tendency to say, “that’s an awesome idea that I need to implement on my blog…later.” We want to be better bloggers, but we get so caught up in day-to-day tasks that we don’t make time to actually use the tips we learn. These could be tips from BlogWorld, but it also applies to tips we read about on our favorite blogs-about-blogs, tips readers give us in comments or via email, or even tips that are mentioned on Twitter.

Let me ask you this: In the past seven days, how have you made your blog better?

If you answer is, “Well, Alli, I wrote some new content.” That isn’t good enough.

My challenge to you is this: Every week, do one thing to make your blog suck less that you’ve been putting off. Maybe that means making a mobile version of your site. Maybe that means getting a better comment system. It could be something small, like adding a twitter button to your sidebar. It could be something big, like launching a product. But every single week do something.

And when you’re reading online or watching Scott’s presentation or whatever and see something that makes you think, “Man, I should really do that on my own blog,” write it down. Start a list of things that you need to do to make your blog suck less. I bet there are way more than 32. One by one, cross them off the list. Like I said, doing even one per week is forward progress. If you have time for more, awesome.

It’s about being active to reach your goals. I think we all get complacent at times, allowing “I’ve been busy” to become an excuse for laziness. But this is your career. If you want to make money as a blogger, you need to start being a mediocre employee and start being the type of employee that deserves a raise. When you do that, your readers will give you that raise.

Blogosphere Roundup – May 14


I pulled together some interesting blog posts and news regarding blogging and social media – all released this week.

Daily Blogging Tips: Buying a Blog
Guest blogger Adam Diver talks about starting his own blog and having purchased an established blog – with each option having their own advantages. The experience of both sites allowed him to reflect on some of the issues bloggers may encounter with both types of blogs, particularly when starting up.
[Read More]

Mashable: Get the Most Out of Offline Networking Events
Learn how to optimize your networking – online and offline.
[Read More]

ProBlogger: If You Had Only One Month Left to Blog….
If you had only one month left before you had to stop doing it or making money from it – how would that impact your blogging?

ReadWriteWeb: Twitter Is Not a Very Social Network
Only 22% of all connections on Twitter are reciprocal. Not very social, is it?
[Read More]

TechCrunch: Facebook And Twitter Are On A Collision Course. And We’re In The Middle.
Twitter and Facebook are becoming more like one another, learn how – with some gratuitous Lost characters thrown in 🙂
[Read More]

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

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