Learning from Other Successful Bloggers - Watch, Listen and Observe !
When I first started on Active Rain less than a year ago, I had no idea what I was doing in terms of blogging and setting up a blog. Today I have more of a good idea thanks to the Active Rain community. In addition, I paid attention and subscribed to many blogs where it was obvious that they were top bloggers and had a lot of information to share. Further, what I found is that many bloggers here on Active Rain are so helpful and informative. One of the bloggers here on Active Rain that has been extremely hepful and informative to us is Bill Gassett. He does not know it, but he is one of our mentors when it comes to blogging for business, SEO and the like. I mention him in a number of posts to give credit where credit is due. Hopefully he does not think we are stalkers !
In any event, Darren at Probloggers Day 4 task was "to spend time watching, listening and observing a successful blog with the goal of letting what you learn help shape your own blogging strategy." Bill graciously agreed for us to write a post on his blog after performing that exercise.
On his main AR blog, he has tremendous content. He has content for consumers, Realtors, other bloggers and so forth. I believe his AR blog is his main blog that links to his other blogs as he has several of them. Due to the great content that he has I can see why he ranks as number 25 in all of Active Rain for number of subscribers !!
In his individual blog posts, Bill knows about link love ! One of the tips I learned from him is to link relevant content to other blogs posts that you have done which is great for SEO. I am not a SEO expert but I know Bill is. So I need to remind myself to continue to have a linking strategy within your blog post. I can also see that Bill knows his keywords quite well as you can analyze pretty much any of his posts and you can see keywords strategically placed throughout the post. However, if you were not looking for them, you probably will not find them as his posts flow well and the keywords are not forced. Speaking of SEO, I think the footer that Bill uses on the bottom of his posts help out a ton as he has both link love and keywords for the towns that he specializes in. It reminds me that I need to get a more professional type footer.
From a design perspective, Bill's photos are crisp and there is plenty of white space in the blog where reading comes natural and easy. His photos on his consumer posts for his listings are numerous and look great. And for other localism content, he has some great fun photos that correlate to his blog subject.
On his main AR blog, he does not have too many widgets on his side bar. For a time, I had way too many ! His Feedburner widget is broken as is mine. I have sent Active Rain a help message twice but they have yet to respond with a solution. (Bill, if you figure this out, please let me know).
From an interative standpoint, Bill gets a ton of comments on his blog posts. Many of his posts will get well over 100 comments. The reason being is that Bill rocks ! But also he is very interactive. Not only does he respond to many of the comments on his own blog but I am see him commmenting on many other blogs as well. The benefit of this is obvious - he is being interactive, engaging and connecting with others. I try to do this as well as much as I can but it gets challenging on those busy days !
On Bill's outside AR blog, www.massrealestatevoice.com , his blog is very clean and crisp with a lot of white space which I like. His indexing at the right is incredible. His tags are relevant and easy to follow. I am thinking that my tags might be all over the place and that might be something I need to update and tighten up a bit. His feedburner widget is above his Listing Router. Matt was saying that probably the Listing Router should come first as that might be the largest call of action but I am not sure how much of a difference that makes.
Lastly, Bill has a number of ways to subscribe to his blog at the bottom of his posts. I still have not figured out how to have a link or button at the bottom of my blog posts to give readers the option to subscribe. I also like the way he has "subscribe in RSS" with the feedburner icon where I just have a plain link.
Well, I did not intend for this blog post to ramble on. There is just a lot one can learn from a top blogger !
Good luck in your improving your blog. Remember to watch, listen and observe how other top blogs operate !
What will you do today to help improve your blog and your blogging skills ?
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I am really excited to be doing this 31 day challenge (see Matt Stigliano's post - 31 Days to Build a Better Blog - Who's in ?). It is not too late to be a part of it. You can join the Active Rain Group "Build a Better Blog" today. Or subscribe to our blog to follow along ! Is just a click away !