Everything you’ve heard is true.
The Internet has grown to mind-boggling proportions. The Atlantic online reports, “In 1994, for example, there were fewer than 3,000 websites online. By 2014, there were more than 1 billion. That represents a 33 million percent increase in 20 years. That’s nuts!”
Nuts is right! But, not all that glitters is gold. A good many of those websites are dead. They sit there and do nothing and are neglected by their originators.
Truth be told, a good many of those ‘websites’ are really blogs. The definition of blog is varying and not for this post, but let’s all agree, not all bloggers live in their parent’s basement. Personally, I don’t know any bloggers who live in their parent’s basement. Do you?
We are bloggers. We are pet bloggers. We do not live in someone’s basement; most of us live in homes of our own, whether that be a single-family house or an apartment. We are adults with careers and a devoted love of animals. Pets in particular.
As such, many of us (including myself) have spent a good many years perfecting our writing and our blogs. Our goal is professional journalism. We write for a purpose.
How many of us make it on to an “expert” list, though? I used to … years ago. In my Lipsticking days, I was routinely added to lists like this – Email Subject Line Secrets and even lists like this 100 Best Websites for Writers.
How do you get on expert lists? What makes a blog worthy of being part of an expert list?
- It’s focused. The writer knows who she is and writes accordingly. Her blog readers know what she’s about and expect to see the topic covered well, almost every day.
- It’s current. The writer adds content daily. He might add content several times a day. He brings value to his readers with every word he writes.
- It’s well designed. Yes, you will be judged by your cover. Blogs are a part of a visual medium. People love the web because it has great photos and videos. Your blog must keep up with the times and display content in photos and videos, along with words.
- It’s part of the social web. If you’re not participating in other social avenues–Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are the darlings of the web these days–you are not keeping up and folks will lose interest in you. Pick two social channels beyond your blog to get expertise in and use them well. Dabble in the others so you have an appearance but make a strong showing in the two you love the most.
- The content is relevant and interesting. You can’t be one or the other, you must be both. If you’re merely relevant, I’m bored after the first paragraph. If you’re merely interesting, I’m bored after the first few posts. If you’re both, you’ve hooked me for life.
- The content cites sources. Good sources. Sources are a funny thing, however. Sometimes, the source you’ve trusted for years, turns out to be less than reliable. Sometimes, the source you’ve cited only looks good on paper; it really isn’t because it hasn’t done its homework. Do your homework. Cite more than one source when necessary and make sure every source you cite is worth sharing.
- The content is engaging. Blogs with a good many comments are attractive to list builders. When people chat on your blog, especially if they’re chatting to each other, people pay attention. The blog is recognized as important. It also serves to attract list builders because they want appreciate readers the way kids appreciate cotton candy.
- The content stands the test of time. Not every post can be “evergreen”… content that stands the test of time and is not outdated after just a few weeks or months. But, some of your content should be evergreen. Be aware of the SEO qualities that make evergreen content.
- The blog has some expert lists of its own. Oh yeah. It’s called “if I put you on my expert list, will you put me on yours?” Mind you, all the other items listed her qualify the lists, first. They aren’t just tit for tat.
- The blog has good navigation and shows its professionalism in both design, quality, value, and consistency. In other words, combine all nine that have come before this bullet point and you have it.
Expert lists grow your visibility and your respect. Sometimes, an expert list comes from a conference you attended. See you in June at the 8th BlogPaws Social Media Marketing and Educational Conference in Phoenix, AZ. As the Internet grows, so will the need for expert commentary. You can be part of that commentary if you’re purposeful.
Best advice ever? Always be in learning mode. That’s how experts are recognized – they are folks who know stuff, but are always learning new stuff.
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at Yvonne@blogpaws.com.
Image: Fabulous ferrets courtesy of Snotface Ferret