“We don’t have time to read. We have enough coursework to study per semester.”
– A response from one of my students back when I was teaching. I used to ask this question to every class on my first lecture. And to be honest, I was always disappointed in the response.
If you want to blog with any ounce of credibility, you need to read. You need to learn to provide references of the authors you follow and to criticize or logically approve of their statements. To learn what professional blogging really is, you must consistently follow other successful bloggers, read their blog posts, and understand the connection of the resources they use to make their blogs look so perfect. Blogging is not just about writing unique content and sharing it in social platforms. This is 2016!—and there are various factors involved in making a blog stand out among others.
How to Search a Blog for Your Keyword
First, decide your topic. Let’s say you want to know how to blog but you have no idea about anything related to blogging. If you searched “blog” or “blogging” in Google, you would end up reading a bunch of unrelated blogs and end up learning nothing. Instead, you should be specific about what you’re trying to achieve with your Google search. A better way to phrase the search before would have been to type “related:[my keyword]” into Google. This is called a search operator, and it changes the way Google performs a search. In this case, you would type “related:how to blog” into Google. You could also put a website after “related” (for example, “related:wpbeginner.com”).
How to Search for a Related Blog or Competitor
By using the “related” search operator, you will find the bloggers who have written guides about blogging tips and tricks, techniques, and anything that tells you about how to blog . You have to check the first 2 pages of Google, or, at most, the first 3 pages. Websites on the first page of Google are usually higher quality than those on pages 2 or 3. Their website or blog is on the top because of the extensive and unique quality of its content, proper images and presentation coupled with sound knowledge of social media marketing, and search engine optimization that has made it stand out among others. Hence, such bloggers must have worked hard on their websites and content before they reached the 1st page of Google.
There are many other ways to find websites related to a certain topic, but the “related” search operator is the fastest and easiest of all of them.
What Do You Need to Check in a Blog?
- Start by reading the “ABOUT” page of the blog. This is what I always do whenever I find a new blog. The about page will give you a gist of WHAT, WHO WHY and WHERE.
- What is their blog about?
- Who are the blog’s owners, founding members, and staff?
- Why does their blog exist in the first place—is it personal, business, or targeting a niche?
- Where does the blog want you to go? Does it link to its top posts, products, or other things worth browsing?
Read the latest posts of the blogger or try using the search bar to find the blog posts about a keyword/topic you’re interested in. You don’t have to read everything; a skim and scan strategy will let you know if this is what you want to read now and for the coming days.
This is the point where you need to decide if you want to subscribe to their blog/newsletter or not. Also, don’t forget to leave a comment to let the blogger know you have read his/her blog. (I particularly enjoy reading women’s blogs).
The Concept of Subscribing to a Blog
Subscribing to a blog is the process of telling the blogger that you want him/her to update you whenever they release a new blog. You can do this by signing up for the blog’s email list (they almost all have one) or by adding the blog to an RSS feed.
You subscribe to a blog because you want to read them again. The eBooks, eCourses, free giveaways, and latest posts are some of the elements that you expect in return to the email you provide. So when you subscribe to a blog, don’t ignore their emails! I repeat: don’t ignore the emails you receive because many bloggers send meaningful content to their subscribers. The least you could is to check what the content is about instead ofjust ignoring the email. It’s not necessary to read every email they send. You can skim and scan through to know if it’s worth reading. And if you change your mind, it’s easy to unsubscribe from a blog.
How to Follow a Blog the Right Way
Subscribing to a blog is the first step of an indirect interaction with the blogger. If you do find a blog worth following, make sure to appreciate the work they had to put in before they could call themselves a “top” or “successful” blogger on their website. If you approach blogs with the proper respect, you will surely learn something from them. I certainly did. And if you find a blog that’s truly praiseworthy, please leave a comment for the blogger. Genuine comments let bloggers know that they are being read and that their painstaking task of writing a comprehensive blog post does not go unappreciated.
But of course, all of this is impossible unless you actually read the blog. The essence of blogging springs from a love of reading. If you are interested in a topic, make it a habit to appreciate the work bloggers do when they write about that topic. So, enjoy the ebb and flow of the words and ideas as you wander through blog after blog.
And if you think you’re ready to start a blog of your own, I have made a complete step by step-by-step guide for newbie bloggers that you can follow. It will help you come up with your own self-hosted (.com, .net, .pk, etc.) blog.