Chris Alexander

On Engineering

11 Characteristics of Highly Successful Blogs

3rd March, 2010

Recently I read an interesting post on Marc My Words entitled “11 Characteristics of Highly Successful Blog(ger)s”.

Being a leading evangelist at Microsoft UK, you’d expect him to know a thing or two about blogging, but he does seem overly critical of himself in his evaluation.

In an attempt to see how well I am getting on with this blogging lark - especially since I have been putting considerably more effort into my site - I have filled in my thoughts on my progress.

From one post every few months to almost daily now, I think the site has had a bit of a revolution - and a huge increase in traffic - to show for my effort.

If you have any feedback about what I’ve written, or you agree or disagree, drop it in the comments below.


Consistency of publishing is definitely helping in terms of traffic, users and feedback.

Consistency of topics is something I’ve never been very good at - hopefully this is made up for in my categorisation and tagging of content. However, I am aware the tag and category pages could be considerably better. Maybe that’s something that could be worked on too.


This is something I always try and maintain when I’m writing; quite how successful I am remains to be seen.

There’s no point providing great content if you present it poorly and in a manner that is difficult to understand. I make every effort to ensure posts written late at night are sanity checked before they go out, but I’m well aware sometimes there are sentences and paragraphs - and on a couple of occasions, entire posts - that I’ve looked at after they’ve been published, wondered what I was on about, and re-written.

Grammar and spelling is something I really make sure are right - there’s nothing that annoys me more than poor writing in that way.


Well I try and make sure my post’s content is unique at least. And I think the custom theme goes some way to helping that too. Hopefully I can offer something over what you would find elsewhere.


Haha not really. Often my posts are either short and specific to a particular topic, but I am also well aware sometimes my more philosophical pieces can turn into long winding essays skipping from topic to topic and all over the place.

While I do enjoy writing those, I should probably not do it so much!!


Not entirely certain what this means.

What I write here is my own content and always my own words (unless quoting or a guest author, of course) so hopefully it offers a unique perspective. I also target some posts to a certain audience, but beyond that they are all fairly general.


Not as often as I’d like to be. Several of my posts are comment, many are opinion, and I hope most are informative. I think this is something I would like to do more and will try and dig up something to be analytical about.



Many of my posts are overviews, and give readers a taste of whatever I am writing about, but its rare that I do go into detail. When I do, it turns into a monolithic posts that tends to be difficult to read. Perhaps I should work on more detail but keeping the post succinct.


Most of my posts are designed to be informative; sometimes I will throw in a question in the closing paragraph to give readers something to think about, but not much more than that.

I think this goes hand in hand with being more specific and analytical.


I hope I convey the passion I have for the topics I write about here. If I find the time to write about it, then it must be something I care a lot about, but I’m not sure this always shows in my writing. Perhaps with time and practice - it seems a long time since GCSE English!


In some posts, I aim to provide a clear set of instructions to perform a particular action, but as I said earlier, when I am writing about something new I often provide an overview and leave the instruction to links to other sites.

Maybe this is something I need to work on, as I have been writing wiki pages for a project I’ve been working on recently, and found them to be less than sufficient despite my best efforts working on them


A post can never be well-enough networked. I put particular effort into tagging and categorisation, and trackback wherever possible (on larger sites this can be quite the traffic driver). This post was inspired by a long chain of other posts from the original, though, and I hope it will inspire a few more.