100 Blog Posts – and One Big Blogging Tip for Christmas

Well, I’ve made it, folks – this is the 100th post to be published on this blog – I’ve finally reached my century (if only our cricketers, currently being massacred by the Aussies, could do the same!)

I’ve been racking my brains to think what I should to do to celebrate. Particularly as we’ve also got Christmas and New Year coming up, I thought I should try to do something a bit special. Mmm…

I thought about bombarding you with 100 blogging tips, doing a round-up of some of my most popular posts, or celebrating other bloggers who have helped me get this far.

I do intend to credit some of those bloggers who have helped and inspired me at the end of this post. But before I do that, I’d like to take this opportunity to give you one BIG TIP – the one thing that I think makes a blog post shine. It’s something all those bloggers I’m going to mention exemplify.

And it has something in common with Christmas presents….

Why Blog Posts are Like Christmas Gifts

Christmas gift, Gifts—www.metaphoricalplatypus.com (Flickr.com)

…..because it’s the same thing that distinguishes those really special Christmas gifts from the ones you feel like recycling.

I’m now going to let you in on one of our darkest family secrets. When I was a kid, our wealthiest relatives used to send us the crappiest presents – and I mean crappy. They were so bad, it became a bit of a joke. Every year when they arrived, we’d try to guess what horrors lay beneath the cheap wrapping paper (yes, even the packaging was rubbish!)

But there was a bitter undertone to our laughter. Because what hurt us wasn’t the nature of the gifts themselves. It was the thought – or lack of thought – that had gone into them. It was the fact that those relatives were just going through the motions and didn’t really give a damn.

So – what has this all got to do with blog posts? Well, when it comes to blogging, just as with giving and packaging Christmas gifts, I think it’s often the thought that counts.

What Distinguishes Great Blog Posts – and Great Bloggers – From Poor Ones?

This is a question Sam Adeyinka asked me recently during an interview for his blog – he asked me what I thought was the difference between the greatest blogs and the poor ones. I listed a number of factors in my reply, but then it got me thinking:

Is there ONE thing that distinguishes a great blog, a great blog post or a great blogger, from those that are just average or worse?

I think there is – and I believe all the other good stuff that makes those blogs and bloggers great flows from this single source.

It’s as simple as this – unlike those rich relatives of mine, who didn’t care what they gave us for Christmas,

The greatest bloggers actually give a damn.

Silviu Constantinescu understands this, which is why, in a recent, generous post in which he celebrates bloggers who have inspired him, he refers to them as exceptional bloggers with “wonderful hearts”.

Now maybe you think this is all a bit mushy and sentimental – isn’t it more important that people know what they’re talking about, give you the information you need, have the necessary expertise?

It’s not enough to be nicey, nicey, is it?

No, it isn’t – and all that stuff about being competent and knowledgeable etc. is certainly important – but if your heart’s really in the right place, then you’re sure as hell going to do your damnedest to get all that sorted.

For example…..

  • If you care about your readers, you won’t give half-baked tutorials on things you don’t fully understand yourself.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll make sure your posts are written well, to the best of your ability, and edited and proofread within an inch of their life before you ever hit publish.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll make sure your blog is well designed, so it’s easy on the eye and simple to navigate.
  • If you care about your readers, you won’t fill your blog with distracting banners and flashing adverts that make it difficult for them to enjoy your content.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll take the time and trouble to address those technical issues, like slow loading times, that can affect their experience when they pay you a visit.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll strive to become an expert in your niche, so you can give people the help and information they need.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll try to entertain them while you educate and inform them, because you’ll want them to have a good time. For example, you’ll spend a bit of time searching for great images and videos to make them smile and brighten up their day.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll respond to their comments and queries in a thoughtful and meaningful way.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll pay attention to those little details I’m always banging on about, like making sure they can receive notification of any replies to their own comments without having to jump through hoops.
  • If you care about your readers, you’ll work hard to get to know them and build relationships with them, not just on your own blog, but by visiting and commenting on their blogs and connecting with them on social media.

If you want to be a great blogger, you won’t insult your readers with hastily written posts, published for the sake of it – like those well-heeled relatives of ours, who just gave us any old rubbish for Christmas.

If you want to be  great blogger, you’ll care about your readers enough to take the time and effort to make sure your blog and every post you write is something they’re really going to enjoy, like a beautiful gift, selected and packaged with care.

I’d like to end by offering a very special thank you to the following bloggers, who all most certainly do give a damn, and who have each inspired and encouraged me, in a variety of ways, on my journey. They’re listed alphabetically, to stress there’s no order of importance.

  • Adrienne Smith - blogging engagement superstar and all round wonderful human being, without whose encouragement, advice and support my blog probably wouldn’t be here today. Adrienne’s taught me just about all I know about blogging and it’s largely thanks to her wonderful network that I’ve made so many other great blogging friends.
  • Angela McCall - Angela is a very creative, multi-talented lady – a graphic artist and one of the most thoughtful, generous and enthusiastic bloggers I know.
  • Atish Ranjan - An enthusiastic, knowledgeable blogger, well versed in search engine optimisation (SEO) and information technology. Atish runs several successful blogs and is also active in supporting and encouraging other bloggers.
  • Barry Wells - a generous, self-effacing blogger with a real talent for teaching practical blogging skills. Barry has an inspirational attitude to blogging and life in general, and his encouragement and support have been invaluable.
  • Carolyn Nicander Mohr - anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a technophobe and I just love Carolyn’s blog, in which she keeps us up to date with all the latest technical developments in an entertaining, accessible way that even the likes of me can understand.
  • Corina Ramos - a very special, generous lady blogger, specialising in advice for women trying to make a living by working from home. Corina goes out of her way to support other bloggers, particularly with her “I’m Every Woman Weekly” Friday post, in which she showcases other lady bloggers’ posts.
  • Harleena Singh - one of the most warm-hearted, committed bloggers on the planet. Harleena writes courageous, inspirational posts on her own blog and her detailed, thoughtful comments are legendary.
  • Jeff Goins - Jeff Goins is a professional writer and blogger whose articles about writing and creativity encourage and inspire me in my own writing endeavours.
  • John Paul Aguiar - John Paul is a successful, experienced blogger who provides really helpful, actionable blogging tips wrapped up in accessible, entertaining articles. He also works hard to support and promote other bloggers.
  • Lisa Buben - a friendly, engaging and very smart blogger, who shares her knowledge generously. Lisa’s blog is full of great advice about blogging, including helpful tips about some of the stuff I find it difficult to get my head round, like search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media. If you ever want any advice about Twitter, look no further.
  • Maxwell Ivey - Max is a relatively new blogging friend, in a completely different niche from my own (the amusement industry), but I’ve been very grateful for his encouragement and support, and inspired by the way he’s building up such a successful blog, undeterred by his disability (Max is blind).
  • Mayura de Silva - a blogger with a very unique voice, a heart of gold and a lot of technical expertise, which he shares very generously. Mayura writes great tutorial posts and leaves some fascinating comments, which often make me think – and smile.
  • Sam Adeyinka - an enthusiastic, hard working blogger, with a great sense of humour, Sam also encourages and supports other bloggers.
  • Silviu Constantinescu - another unique blogger, who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Silviu always leaves very thoughtful, interesting comments and writes entertaining and informative posts on his own blog.
  • Sylviane Nuccio - an experienced writer and blogger, who shares her expertise with great generosity and whose own posts and thoughtful comments always inspire and encourage me.
  • Tim Bonner - Tim is a thoughtful, caring blogger who provides up-to-the minute, accessible tips about all that he’s learning on his own blogging journey. Tim’s much braver than I am when it comes to exploring the technical aspects of blogging, and very good at explaining things.

In conclusion, I would like to send out my heartfelt thanks to ALL my readers, and especially to anyone who has ever taken the time and trouble to comment on this blog, share my posts, or connect with me on social media.

I’m not going to try to mention you all by name, but you know who you are. Without you, this blog would be nothing – and I’d probably have abandoned it a long time ago.

Over to you:

  • What do YOU think distinguishes the great bloggers from the also-rans?

If you’d like to help me celebrate my 100th post by leaving a comment below, that would make my day. :)

And please don’t forget to “share” this on your favourite social media platforms, if you think your friends and followers might enjoy it.

I wish you all a very happy, peaceful Christmas. As one of my favourite comedians, Dave Allen, used to say – “may your God go with you.”

Sue Neal :D

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Filed under: Blogging Tips

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