Build Your Blog’s Traffic and Impact with Resource Posts
Whatever the focus and goals of your site, take some time to create at least a few resource posts. Also called “flagship posts” and “pillar posts”, resource posts are entries in your blog that act as resources for your readers — the kind of stuff they’ll bookmark, email to friends, post to digg and del.icio.us, and generally want to come back to again and again.
Resource posts build traffic and they also help you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, whatever that is. What’s more, they establish goodwill between you and your readership, since resource posts represent at least a little bit of work that you’re offering up to your site’s visitors.
You can expect to put a little more time into a resource post than a usual post,though that depends a little on how careful you are in your blog writing, If you obsess over every line of a short story you’re posting, it could in fact be much easier and quicker to write up a resource post.
So what kind of posts can you consider resource posts? A strong tutorial is a good one, or a list of all the websites you know of that deal with your particular topic, or a list of 40 (or 80, or 107) books in your niche with capsule reviews — anything that gives people a reason to come back and check it out again and again. Here are some more specific ideas:
- Science fiction writers could do a list of 50 trilogies, or 100 books set in the present, or every steampunk novel they know of.
- Children’s book writers could do a list of children’s illustrators who have websites, or 60 books that aren’t racist, or books about rabbits, or a guide to writing dialogue for young readers.
- Travel writers could write 20 tips for taking great vacation photos, a howto on packing light, a list of off-the-beaten-path vacation spots, or a guide to a great museum.
- Literary novelists could do a list of lesser-known novels by Booker finalists, or a post about getting a literary novel published, or a list of 100 French novelists whose work is available in English translation.
- Freelancers could write a series of posts on time tracking, instructions for creating a perfect home office, or a list of 90 free online resources for self-employed workers.
- Fantasy novelists could write a Borgesian list of 50 fantastic creatures in contemporary fasntasy, a guide to another author’s imagined world, or 37 Charles de Lint fansites, or a howto about world-building.
- Poets could compile a list of 100 spoken word albums of poetry read by the original authors, every possible stanza form, or all living poet laureates.
- Textbook writers could create a tutorial for parents and teachers on how to teach a child some topic, list 60 important events that didn’t make it into the history books, or show readers how to do 20 great science experiments.
- Nature writers could introduce every species of American turtle, tell families how to hike safely with their children, or describe 100 sites to see before you die.
- Technology writers can list the best site to get reviews on each of 75 categories of electronics, how to set up a new computer, or review every tech manufacturer’s customer service record.
- Any author could write a list of 100 authors in their field that didn’t deserve their obscurity (or that do deserve obscurity, for that matter — I’m looking at you, Ayn Rand!), 50 writers who are famous for the wrong thing, or their 32 favorite writers’ blogs.
And so on. The idea is to be big, bold, and most of all, truly useful. And opinionated, if necessary — there’s nothing wrong with a little controversy! It will bring new traffic, and people will respect you for taking a position (though it pays to have a tough skin — online anonymity can provoke some pretty hateful responses).