I subscribe to over 300 blogs.
But I definitely don’t read them all. Who has the time?
But I almost never try to clean out my blog reader. Instead, I add a few more blogs to my list every week.
You should too.
Because subscribing to hundreds of blogs makes you a better blogger.
Here is how.
How to Subscribe to a Blog
Subscribe to Blogs in your Areas of Interest
Once you have an account set up in Google Reader, you should start subscribing to blogs.
But don’t just subscribe to random blogs.
Only subscribe to blogs that you actually want to read. They should be blogs on topics that you have a genuine interest in and that you truly want to read.
In other words, only subscribe to blogs that you plan on reading.
But here is the problem: When you subscribe to hundreds of blogs, you get hundreds of blog posts per day in your reader.
Who has time to read all those? I don’t!
And if you do, well, you should probably spend more time writing on your blog than reading the blogs of others…
Reading the Blogs you Subscribed to
But every day, as part of your blogging routine, you should sit down, open up your blog reader, and start reading.
You clearly cannot read every blog post that comes into your reader every day. So what must you do?
You must scan through them.
How are you going to do this?
Well, just as you might flip through a newspaper, or scan over a magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store, you are going to look at the post titles in your blog reader, and decide which ones sound the most interesting, and then click on those to read more.
But don’t just read them…
Watch what you read!
As you do scan through the hundreds of blog post titles, take note of which blog posts you pick to read, and why you picked them.
Do you really ever pick a post with the title “Blog Update 17.” Of course not! Then never, ever, ever should you give your blog post such a title. If you wouldn’t read it, why do you think others will?
And yet, every week in my Google Reader, I see blog posts come through with such titles. Here are some others:
“Books I read this month.” Booooring.
“Random Thoughts on Nothing.” Won’t be reading that.
“I love my dog!” I don’t.
“Check out this cool photo!” No thanks.
As you scan through the blog post titles picking 5 or 10 to read, notice which ones you pick and why. Then start implementing this when you write your own blog post titles.
How Long do you Read?
But beyond this, when you click on a blog post to read it, note how you read it, how much of the post you read before moving on, and whether or not you click on the post to go to the actual site and leave a comment. By watching your own reading habits in all of these areas, you are training yourself on how to write better blog posts.
If you open a blog post because it has an interesting title, but the first sentence or two don’t have anything to do with the title, do you keep reading the post, or just move on? I usually move on.
If you open a blog post, and are confronted with a huge wall of text, without any paragraphs breaks, no subheadings, no images, do you even try to read it? I don’t. I just move on.
When I read a post, and it has a nice image, and is carefully formatted with good paragraph breaks and subheadings, I often read or skim through it until I get bored. Usually this is only 2-3 paragraphs, or about 300 words. Maybe this means that the best blog post length is about 300 words.
When there is a clear question or call to action at the end of the post, or better yet, an offer to get something FREE, I often click through to the actual blog to go leave a comment or get whatever is being offered for free. So use the word “Free” more often, and actually give away valuable stuff…for FREE! And each post should end with a clear call to action, a provocative statement, or compelling question, which causes readers to click over to the post and leave a comment.
Don’t just Read
When you read other blogs, don’t just read. Ask yourself why you are reading this blog. What did they do to get you to read it? What did they do to keep you reading it? What did they do to get you to comment? What did they do to get you to tell others about this post? All of these things you can learn from reading other blog posts, completely apart from the content within the posts themselves.
So, you want to be a better blogger? Subscribe to hundreds of blogs, and then start taking note of which blogs you read.
You might as well start by subscribing to my primary blog: Till He Comes. Do it now, because in the next couple weeks, I’ll be giving away something for FREE!