And why Witness This deserves a blog award …
VOTING for the SA Blog Awards 2010 clicks off in September and there is bound to be some stiff competition. One’s main instinct is to vote for the blog(s) that you enjoy most and perhaps read the most often; but there are a few questions voters should ask before casting and determining who the winners will be this year.
1. Number of Authors
It’s a lot easier for a blog to gain rank and readership when there are several people behind its content creation. Blogs that publish fresh articles several times daily are bound to get more attention than those that only publish once or twice a week. Google Caffeine also smiles favourably on blogs that update more frequently – further increasing rank and attention. So take into account how many authors each blog has before voting.
2. Ads and monetisation
Some blogs are purely in it for the money, which is usually evident by the number of ads a blog displays as well as the nature of the content. One should question what a blogger’s intentions are before voting. Are they trying to sell you something or promote certain things or do they freely offer information or something of interest or entertainment value? Is there a good balance between the number of adverts on display and useful info that is freely available?
3. Success within a single year
Most blogs work hard to gain rank and popularity, but a steady soaring up the ranks is indicative of the author(s) dedication and persistence. Assess how well a blog has done in a single year and whether or not it is still improving and likely to soar to even greater heights. Compare or ask what a specific blog’s rank / readership was a year ago with what it is now and use these stats as a measure of its success before voting.
4. Awards and Recognition
Ask if any of the blogs being voted for achieved any awards in the past. Did they snatch up a SA blog award (or awards) last year, and if not, were they a runner-up? Has their content being published elsewhere – perhaps in print publications or on other websites? Have any of the blogs won any other competitions or perhaps had a mention on popular, non-blog websites?
5. Free Design
Custom blog designs don’t come cheap, but kudos to the ones who spent 20k for a professional to zoosh up their blog. Although design is an all-important aspect of any blog, consider whether or not bloggers have made the most of a free blog template, or perhaps designed their own template themselves before voting. Flashiness and bling are great at catching attention but not nearly as important as content. Don’t be put off by blogs that make use of free templates, and remember that there is a whole separate category for the bling blogs.
6. Valuable Online Resource
Several blogs are becoming more popular than mainstream websites by virtue of the material they offer. News websites, for example, offer information daily but tend to build up an archive of outdated and irrelevant material. Dedicated bloggers will cull the content that no longer serves some kind of purpose, and will work to build a valuable online resource that readers can keep coming back to and make use of. Assess older entries on blogs that you are keen on voting for.
7. Interaction with Readers
Interaction is a key feature of a successful blog. Comments show that readers have engaged with the content and the best comments offer something of extra value. Responding to comments (on the part of the author) shows that the blogger cares about what people think and have to say about their articles. The best posts are often ones that get some sort of discussion or argument going where everyone feels free to throw in their 2cents without fear of ridicule.
Why Witness This deserves a SA Blog Award:
- I am the sole author of this blog and manage to publish three times weekly.
- This blog was only recently monetised and refuses to ruin its integrity with casino or bling ads.
- All articles that are no longer relevant or offer something of value are purged off this blog on a regular basis.
- Every comment is responded to asap and responding to readers/subscribers via email is a regular occurrence.
- Witness This started off with a free WordPress template but has since managed to get a free, new design from a family member.
- Roughly 40% of my articles have been published in a South African newspaper and last year one particular post won me a Foozi Foozball table valued at R12 000!
- In less than a year Witness This has managed to gain a top-ten spot on MyScoop and a top-hundred spot on Afrigator with an average of 30 000 unique visitors a month.
I hate self-promotion … but if you are sold and feel that this blog deserves a SA blog award please do nominate it by clicking on the Blog Award badge up top. Otherwise I hope that some of these voting tips and questions will be put to good use when voting for the best of the best blogs this year. All the best of luck to the finalists!
- 2010 SA BLOG AWARDS: Categories, Casters and Criteria