Does your blog do you enough justice to help you stand above the rest of the crowd? Or has it faded into the background while other bloggers have gone on to become more successful? Chances are pretty good your blog is not reaching its full potential . But what can you do to ensure that your blog stands out and is remembered in the crowded blogosphere? Here are some things you can do to help your blog stand out from the rest.
Many of us fall victim to using the “same old” type of blog template. We use one and love it, but it can quickly become a signature – or worse, a footprint – of every site you do. Sure, the colors might be a bit different, but on the main level, many are pretty darn similar to each other. Getting a custom blog design from a really good blog designer can really make a difference and allow your blog to rise above the others to stand out from all the rest who stuck with “same old”. Yes, it will cost you money, but there are definitely some excellent blog template designers out there that are quite reasonable. Don’t know who to use? Look in the footers or sidebars of some of the blog designs you admire, and see who designed it.
Just like you want to have a distinct look, you want to make sure that look is also good. This means you want to make sure your blockquote indents are clearly indented and separated from the rest of the entry and any bulleted or numbered lists you make are also formatted correctly. You want to make sure anything you bold does actually come across as bolded once you hit publish and that anything you link to actually looks like a link when you hit publish. Because yes, sometimes blog designers do weird things in their blog design to make it esthetically pleasing, but neccessarily user friendly!
Change it up
If you can’t afford a blog designer yet, carefully select one of the freebie templates, looking to make sure it isn’t sponsored by “Texas Holdem Viagra” or “Mortgages and PayDay Loans” and then change it up a bit. Change the colors, alter the header, change the text… all things you can do it make it not as easily recognizable as a popular free template. Yes, even a popular template can trick a visitor into thinking it is a fresh never-before-seen blog template unique to you, simply by changing the color scheme or re-doing the sidebar name images with a different font, without having to do anything with the layout… especially handy for those who aren’t quite comfortable designing a template from the ground up, yet can’t quite afford to use the services of a professional.
Is your logo unique to you? Does it consist of a picture of some sort along with the text of your blog name and/or tag line? If you have a great unique logo – which means you will probably have to pay for one, if you aren’t an expert graphic designer – you can then use the image part of the logo as your brand to use it as favicons, avatars on social sites, and your gravatar. This helps build your brand and makes you stand out, both on your own blog and anywhere else you happen to be. And no, all logos don’t have to have an image. Some logos can be quite successfully done simply with a unique font, especially when done well with colors and layout.
Unique spin on topics
There are definitely times now when it seems just about every type of blog article has been done to death many times over. But if you can make a consistent habit of putting your own unique spin on your blog articles, the difference will be noticeable and your blog will be refreshing to the reader, especially for those used to reading regurgitated blog posts. And having that unique spin can make your blog stand out and get you more subscribers because of that fresh outlook.
Be the devil’s advocate
When there is a hot topic that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to blog about, instead of being a sheep and going along with saying what everyone else is saying, just slightly more in your own words, go ahead and take your stand on the other perspective and be the devil’s advocate. If everyone is blogging about something Google did that has everyone proclaiming “Google is Evil”, then you go and write a blog entry about why everyone should really love Google for doing it… just be sure you have something constructive to say to back up your point of view! But not only will it be sure to get attention as link bait, it can often cause those readers to read your other perspectives on other hot topics too.
A Picture is worth a thousand words
While not all blogs lend themselves well to adding a photo to each entry (such as this one!) some market areas definitely do. If you are talking about the hockey game you watched last night, include the team logo. Were you at an event? Include a photo you took while you were there. Are you talking about laundry? Use a stock photo of a washing machine or clothes drying on a clothesline. Pictures are also great for skimmers who are skimming quickly down through a page of your blog entries – the photos help tell the reader what it is about, allowing them to pick out the ones that are most interesting to them. Some sites use photos fabulously – check out Consumerist to see how they use images, both as thumbnails on their index page where they have blurbs about each entry, and on the blog entries themselves. That said, make sure you have permission to use the photos you do, or you could find a not-so-nice cease and desist in your mailbox.
Make sure your blog is optimized well. This means make sure your titles and permalinks are SEO-friendly, that your blog entries are getting indexed in Google Blog Search, and that you aren’t feeding the bots a ton of duplicate content. Want even more optimization tips? Read 52 easy ways to optimize your blog while on your coffee break.
Make sure you use something like Sociable to make it easy for others to recommend you. If you notice your entry getting Diggs, Sphinns or Stumbles, add those buttons onto those entries too, to encourage votes. Get hooked up on Twitter (more on that here and here).
These are some ideas to help your blog stand out in the crowded blogosphere. What else do you do to stand above the rest?