Sugar, Spice and Vitamins

Two weeks ago, I published a guest post on problogger, probably the most popular site on the planet about blogging. My guest post got 91 comments, and luckily all of them were favorable. Pity that the compliments for writing style were directed to
Darren, the owner of the problogger site.

Oh well, let's just say Darren's got the most readers, but I have the smartest ones. 🙂

As usual, I repost the article on my own site, for the sake of completeness. Here it is…

There are many ways to build a popular blog, and each blog author
has his own ideas on topics and style of writing. In this post I will
tell you about my personal recipe for blogs. I call it sugar, spice & vitamins.

The vitamins are the blog posts that are important for regular readers.
They are about becoming a better manager, making life more joyful,
having a less stressful job, or learning all there is to know about
guinea pigs, motorcycles, Britney Spears, or miniature villages made of
toothpicks. In short, the vitamin posts are the essential ingredients for your blog to build and grow around a certain theme or niche. My own blog is aimed at software development managers (probably a smaller niche than miniature villages made of toothpicks). So my “vitamin posts” have topics like How to Select a Fine Technical Manager and To Motivate People… Balance Your Practices.

But how do I get people to consume vitamins?

Well, just imagine that you’re trying to interest consumers in
eating savory pies. Waving at people with healthy carrots and sticks of
celery will probably not be received with much enthusiasm. People might care about vitamins, but what really gets them motivated is usually something else…

People might say they are interested in your important blog posts, but it’s easier to get their attention with sugar posts. Your blog should have just the right amount of sugar to get people interested. The sugar in your blog are the posts that make people’s mouths water from pure delight. You write these posts with the sole purpose of making your blog easier to consume. Some of my “sugar posts” were Top 100 Best Books for Managers, Leaders & Humans and Top 100 Blogs for Developers.

But why always the number 100 in these posts?

Because 100 is bigger than 25. And bigger than 50. And it’s the first number to require no less than three digits. The posts I mentioned here have been huge
traffic generators for my blog. I believe that list size and traffic
volume have a non-linear relationship. A top 100 list doesn’t give you
four times as much traffic as a top 25 list. It gives you ten times as much! (I even created an article called How to Create a Top Blog List, so that you can enjoy similar results for your blog.)

You can think of other and better ways of attracting new readers. But remember! We’re talking about sugar posts here.
They only exist to attract new consumers and to make them digest the
vitamins as well. Go easy on the sugar! You don’t want your blog to
turn into a cotton candy machine.

may notice that vitamins and sugar will not be sufficient to keep
people interested for long. You need a finishing touch. Something to
spruce up your endless stream of healthy and sweet content. I call this
last ingredient the spice posts. The spices give your
blog flavor and personality. These are the blog posts that can trigger
heated debates. Everyone likes sugar, and nobody dislikes vitamins. But
it’s the spices that will have people talking about you. Some of my
“spiced posts” were Thank You, Stupid Americans and Professionalism = Knowledge First, Experience Last.

But won't these posts scare away my readers?

Yes, some of them perhaps. I’ve written posts that made people
laugh, scream and cry. Figuratively speaking of course. (And some of
their replies made me laugh, scream and cry.) It’s the spices
that will divide your readers. Some people will hate them. But many
will come back for more, because they won’t find those particular
flavors anywhere else.

Sugar, Spice & Vitamins
I attribute the strong growth of my blog to my sugar, spice & vitamins recipe. The sugar attracts new readers, the vitamins keep everyone healthy, and the spices make it all the more interesting.

So… have you figured out what kind of post this is?

(picture by FredArmitage)

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