Is your blog believable?
By Kristen Carter
Have you ever clicked onto a blog , read a few sentences, and immediately clicked off thinking “Wow, that author had no idea what he or she was blogging about“? Because virtually anyone can post anything on the Internet people are typically very critical about what they read online.
Besides spending my time blogging, I also frequent classrooms at The Ohio State University where I conduct graduate work focused on search engines, SEO, and credibility. As I dive ever deeper into the literature surrounding these topics, I am amazed at the importance scholars place on the concept of Internet credibility.
What is credibility and what does it have to do with blogging? In a nutshell credibility is the perception of believability. If you could travel back in time a few hundred years and have a conversation with a man named Aristotle, he would say that if you want your blog to be believable you need to focus on three things: good character, goodwill, and intelligence. “Good character” refers to the blogger’s moral character. For example, if a certain famous golfer were to begin blogging on his top 10 tips for improving your marriage you probably would not believe him–his character does not align with his words.
“Goodwill” refers to the blogger’s intent toward his or her targeted audience. Have you ever read a blog that you thought was going to provide you with interesting, relevant information, but instead the blog just pushed hard for a sale? You probably left the blog feeling slightly irritated. This is because the blog did not have “Goodwill”–the author did not care about your best interest, instead he or she was only interested in closing the sale. Granted, your blogging goals likely entail increasing your sales. However, if you are trying to sell something you have to focus on making your service or product applicable to your target market. Emphasize how the product or service will help them. Show your readers that you have their best interest at heart. By doing so, they will be more likely to believe what you blog.
The final concept, “intelligence“, does not mean you have to be a genius to be believable, but it does mean you have to give some reason for people to think you know what your blogging about. This can be a short statement about your past experiences or it can be done by citing other experts in the field, and thus showing that you have done your research on the topic you are blogging about.
Overall, while search engine optimization is necessary for people to first find your blog, establishing credibility is also important so that people actually believe what you’re blogging about. So the next time you sit down to compose a blog think of Aristotle and good character, goodwill, and intelligence. By doing so you will likely increase the believability of your blog.
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