Children who write well at school all share a common feature – their homes are filled with books. Ask any primary school teacher and they’ll tell you they can work out what a child’s home life is like simply from things like how well they read and write. Several research studies have come to the same, solid conclusion – when homes have books in them, children are both better readers and better writers. The best writers in the world tend to have large libraries at home; walls filled with books, shelves groaning under the weight of all that printed paper.
So, it begs the question for people who want to add vibrant, interesting content to their websites – how much do they read? In my discussions with some popular bloggers it turns out there is one common feature they share – they read loads of blogs. Tons of them. Thousands of posts are devoured. It seems the best bloggers in the world probably are the best blog readers in the world too.
If you want your website content to be good, if you want your blog posts to attract readers and if you want to have ideas pouring out of you as to what to write, the best starting place is not with your keyboard under your fingers poised over a blank page ready to write. Rather, you should head off to the lounge, grab a good book and start reading. Or, use something like Netvibes to draw together loads of content and review as much of it as possible. And if that doesn’t work. get yourself a Kindle from Amazon and start downloading books and blogs to read “on the run”. But whatever you do – read. And then when you’ve finished reading, read some more…!
The link between writing and ability is well established. If you want your blog to attract more readers, or if you want your website to get more visitors you probably need more engaging content. In other words it probably needs to be better written. The answer to that is not to learn how to write (though that will help), but rather the real solution lies in reading. Read more and you will write better.
The first step to a successful blog is not worrying about whether you should use WordPress or Blogger. Neither is it getting your knickers in a twist over exactly what to write. The real stepping stone to blogging success is to read other blogs.
I’m often astounded by the number of would-be bloggers who tell me they don’t have the time to read blogs, that they are far too busy to bother themselves with that kind of thing…! What they are really saying is they are far too busy to aim for success. I haven’t yet met a successful author who doesn’t also spend hours and hours reading. Neither have I met a professional blogger who doesn’t spend many hours each week reading other blogs. If you want your blog to succeed, the starting point is reading other blogs. And what could be simpler than that?
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+