We’re doing our best to sift through the piles and piles of user-generated content that you all work so hard to produce and we’re certainly working to improve the system. While we make improvements, here are some tips that can help your blog catch the community’s attention and gain some much-earned exposure.
While we love reading the content the community has been dishing out since the site was born back in November, it’s just as important to put a face (or an avatar at least) to the articles we see being produced. If you haven’t already, be sure to take some time to add information about yourself to your profile, filling out your gadget haves and wants, and whatever else compels you. A profile picture – even if it’s not a picture of yourself – helps to grab a reader’s attention and shows us that you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Remember, it’s the little things that can often go the furthest.
The first thing people are going to see is your article’s title. A title should very briefly describe to the reader what your article is about. Clever titles may take some time to refine so before you hit that publish button, reread your article and ask yourself if the title matches what you’re trying to say. Ultimately, a title is an attention-grabbing, super short summary that can be the difference between someone diving in or passing it by.
I can’t find one article that would be better off as plain ‘ol text. It’s boring and it makes the piece seem longer than it actually is. Mix it up by throwing in some images or a YouTube/Vimeo video that add a little something to the overall appearance of an article. Image formatting can be a little tricky – perhaps we’ll run through a tutorial sometime this week – but taking the time to make sure everything is visually stimulating for the reader says a lot about the author. Don’t forget to update your blog’s banner and if you’re not a fan of advertisements, block out the ad with a simple image that matches the dimensions and grayscale around it.
It’s hard to stress how important grammar is to an article. If this list were in order of importance, you can bet grammar would fill numbers one through five. Before you hit the publish button, try to read through your article to find any wonky sentences or ideas that aren’t conveyed exactly how you expected. Reading aloud might help you catch these errors as it requires you to slow down and listen to what you’ve put into words. Grammar perfection includes a swift article skim for spelling errors, incorrect uses of homophones (they’re/there/their), capitalization errors, punctuation mistakes, paragraph formatting, and the like. While we can’t always demand 100% perfection (heck, even we miss the mark sometimes), an article littered with grammatical errors distracts the reader from digesting your ideas.
Once an article disappears from the front-page ‘featured’ section, it’s much harder to stumble upon. We’re aware that we’ve got room for improvements with our user blog filtering and we hope to have a fix sooner rather than later. To help find articles to feature, we sometimes rely on Twitter’s search function for users that share their work via Twitter. Including “TechnoBuffalo” in your tweet along with an article’s title not only catches the attention of anyone who searches, but may also pull in new visitors that remained dormant as followers.
Bam! If you haven’t been seeing your articles featured and you’re wondering why, try working in a few of these tips and see if your results differ. As long as the community continues to produce content, we’ll do our best to expose your great ideas. If you’ve got any suggestions for us or other users, be sure to drop a line in the comments.