Blogging is a great way to be social online, to extend your influence and to build community. Most of you already know these things. But we're all busy people and this is a rapidly evolving sphere. So the following question is nearly always pertinent and worth revisiting: Are you using your blog most effectively? To build a blog that people flock to is tough. Even a blog with solid, authoritative content can still not have a loyal following. One must consider how to bring new readers in. The following five blogging practices can help keep your little soapbox on the radar.

5 Smart Blogging Practices

# Stick to your posting schedule: If you set a posting schedule, stick to it. The best posting schedule seems to be a daily post at least (150 words +) and a weekly long post (650 words +). This is a minimum that works well. The public likes new, fresh content regularly. # Get involved in other blogs in your niche: Comment frequently and get noticed on trafficked blogs in your sector. # Use Google Alerts to keep you in the loop: Google Alerts will alert you when niche related blogs you follow post new content. Arriving early helps you participate in the core of the conversation. Google's alert granularities evolve as does the nomenclature in most sectors. Make sure your alerts are relevant and up to date. Expand them. Refine them. # Leverage FeedBurner (Google) services: Are you up on the full scope of what FB can do for you? Are you pinging all the top services? Are you serving a consolidated SmartFeed (tm) that works across devices and clients? Are you building an email subscription base? Make sure you've squeezed the last drops of utility from this free service and that you're tracking new features as they arrive. (Note: Not many new features are arriving now, but once the Google backend integration is done, rest assured that they will be.) # Deliver concise, consumable content: Tight, high value content and Top X lists are great ways to reel in traffic. The public and the search engines love high impact content. As part of this, it's a good idea to periodically publish Top X lists which summarize useful lessons learned from your real world experience and/or testing. Focus on consumable value. It makes the blogosphere a better place and will attract links.

Getting Noticed is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

As a blogger you have certain expectations to meet. In particular, you have to be an authority in your niche (or better yet micro-niche). You have to sound like you know what you are talking about and prove that you have valuable information to share with people. This first and foremost means original content. Whatever you do, do not start a splog (spam blog), where you are simply stealing content from others to post yourself. Aim to build quality original content. Then learn how to use web analytics to measure what is working and what is building your community. Refine your topics and formats over time. Rinse, repeat and broadcast, consistently.