13 Steps to Building a Better Blog

   Greetings my fellow internet person. It's good to figuratively see you again. As you may well know, I am a relatively successful blogger. Today I would just like to talk for a little bit about how one such as yourself could create a cool blog or in fact build a better blog. Let me take you through thirteen possible ideas for improving your blog. The Doctors (William Hartnell through Peter Capaldi) will be helping. I understand that if you have no interest in Doctor Who or blogging this post is unlikely to appeal to you. Here's a link to another post.

1. Have a clear idea in mind.

   When I started Sick Sentience (which was called When You Give a Slug a Lobotomy) I really knew only one thing. That is that I wanted to have a blog. I didn't really have a clear picture in m head as to how I wanted this blog to be. All I wanted was to write and be read. This was not smart thinking on my part. Yes it should all come down to passion but we need a roadmap if we're going to get anywhere.

  Throughout the early days of this blog there was a massive shift in quality between posts and the focus was completely unclear. We had stuff about cowboys and poetry alongside the general nerdy stuff we are known for. I don't mean to say that this writing was  bad but it definitely wasn't relevant. If you want people to read your blog you have to provide some kind of consistency. Like An Unearthly Child set the stage for all that would follow you must create somethingn which is unique and then more or less stick to the formula. You may deviate occasionally. What's important is that your audience has a clear idea about what they are getting from you.

2. Mix things up a bit.

     When after three years William Hartnell left the role of the Doctor it was Patrick Troughton who was called upon to replace him. You may be wondering how this is relevant to blogging. The answer is simple. As a blogger you have only one fundamental. You must keep your readers interested. While it is certainly important to have some vision for how your blog will always be it is arguably equally important to mix things up every now and then. This could mean doing interviews or posting web comics. This could even mean a new posting schedule. Whatever it is, it should be done in such a way to keep the interest of longtime readers and make your blog more accessible to new ones.

3. Get help.

The internet is a big place. It's hard to get much done without help. While I'm not saying it's impossible to find a large audience without reaching out I can quite confidently say it is improbable. A great tool for any blogger is the internet's ability to connect people. You can use this to your advantage by asking friends to share your blog through social media or even hiring a company to help market your writing. Much like the third Doctor working with UNIT you can greatly benefit from these relationships. After all you don't have a working TARDIS.

4. Be different.

 Tom Baker is to this day consistently at or near the top of lists ranking the Doctors. This is largely because of two facts. These are his long tenure as the Doctor and his Doctor's sheer eccentric charm. A few of the most notable things about this Doctor were his wide eyes, thick curly hair and long and colorful scarf. He marked a major change from the previous three Doctor who (though they were each unique) seemed to be cut out of the same old man cloth.  It's because Tom Baker's weirdness that he is remembered. If you want to gain any kind of following you must be remembered.  To do this you need to find your own unique and use it. When you really stand out in a positive way people will start to take note. Now go grab a jelly baby and get writing.

  5. Be passionate.

 In the multi Doctor short "Time Crash" David Tennant's "tenth" Doctor remarks that Peter Davison's fifth Doctor was the first young Doctor. On the face of it this a simple fact. Davison was the youngest actor to play the Doctor until Matt Smith's casting. But the fifth Doctor didn't just appear young physically. He had a largely youthful and heroic attitude which was very different from those who went before him. This Doctor was about adventure and a love of little beautiful moments. If you're going to stick with your blog and make it better you need to be passionate and dedicated to what you're doing. You can help to grow your readership by posting high quality pieces frequently and if at all possible on a schedule.  If worst come to worst to worst you can just eat your celery and die while the camera focuses in on boobs.

6. Don't...................

    I'm not going to get into the sixth Doctor having a heart of gold or how he's been great in Big Finish of how awesome "Vengeance on Varos" is. It's a well established fact that Colin Baker is the least popular Doctor. The following is a list of things not to do.

1. Don't write posts full of random popular search terms.

2 Don't write a whole post just to tell a stupid joke that isn't very funny.

3 Don't publish stuff that's completely unrelated to  your niche.

4 Don't forget to post for long periods of time.

5 Don't post  many posts that are just about your blog.

6 Don't engage in arguments in your comments section.

7 Don't publish posts that have no meat to them.

7. Keep them interested.

Once you've gotten your readers attention the real challenge is keeping it. Sylvester McCoy took over when Doctor Who was less popular than it had ever been before. His Doctor tried to escape the unpleasant shadow of the Colin Baker years by reintroducing and expanding on the dark mystery of the Doctor. While you don't necessarily need to blow up any planets in order to keep your readers you do need to stay interesting. To do this you've got to provide high quality content which appeals to the people already reading your blog. To do this you should look at your most popular posts and try to produce more of the same ilk while at the same time seeking to retain originality and the element of surprise.

8. Make a strong impression.

    Paul McGann's originally a ninety six minute movie to show what he could do as the Doctor. In the end he would get another seven minutes on screen and countless audio stories to expand his take on the character. Still the public remembers him most for his first appearance. When you're running a blog what you need to remember is that you are not writing a book. Every post you write may be the first post someone reads. You've got to hook them and get them wanting more. You can't rely elements like nostalgia. You have to be fresh and in their face.

 9. Look through old posts.

 The war Doctor was retroactively introduced as the ninth incarnation of the character. His role was ultimately of vital importance. What you can take from this is that sometimes when moving forward it can be helpful to look back. You can edit old post to make them better and share posts which have gained a new relevance due to recent events.

10.  Reaffirm your identity.

  I've mentioned above that you need to stick to a core niche and structure for your blog. When you deviate you should immediately either remove the new material or publish a post which is more what your audience has come to expect. You need to constantly work to create a recognizable "brand."

11. Leave them wanting more.

  The key is to get them hooked, present what you want to tell them and then to rap things up without wasting too many words. This will leave them wanting more and make it more likely for them to return. This works particularly well when you are writing a series of posts.

   12. Be cool.

When I say "cool" I mean it in the social sense. Many large blogs have thriving communities which have grown up around them. In order to help encourage and accelerate this growth you can try to start conversations with your readers and ask that they comment their opinions. It might help to  think of yourself as a very groovy host. Bowties always help.

13. Fix typos.

Nobogy wunts to reed something that disnt make any cents. You should to try to present ideas as clearly as possible. This means spelling things correctly and the correct use of capitalization and punctuation. Everybody makes mistakes. I do so way more than I like to admit. The key is to try to produce typo free posts and then to correct any typos which have made it past publication.

  If you follow all this advice you  may very well have a much more successful blog than I do. I'm a lazy sixteen year old geek.

  Feel free to leave any of your thoughts in the comments and to follow this blog in order to see future posts. You can also like Sick Sentience on Facebook.

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