What makes a successful blog
So I’ve been blogging now for a while now and I have recently been thinking, "What makes a successful blog?". To be honest this is a question with endless answers, with many different variations and opinions, however, I thought I would voice my say.
Well as they say content is key, you have to pick a topic from which you have a wide ranging knowledge. If you can find a niche and strive to become an authority on the topic then people will pay attention.
The regularity at which you add content to your blog also provides a key point in determining whether visitor levels grow. Frequently added content will help to drive new visitors to your blog whilst also providing regular readers with a reason to keep coming back.
Research research research
Keep your ear to the ground and finger on the pulse looking for the latest news and technologies. Your users want to find cutting edge articles and if you can’t provide them they will find another site which can.
Now this is something I hear other bloggers mention a lot and to be quite honest I’m not too sure I totally agree, so let me explain. If your articles cause controversy but you believe in everything your writing and feel you can back up your statements then I have no problem with this. This is the start of a debate not a war, however, if your sole aim is to cause controversy with the aim of driving traffic and you can’t substantiate your claims/statements then I believe you will only create a negative long term impact on your blog. Users are not stupid and do not like deliberate and underhand attempts for attention, plus it’s never a good idea to get yourself a bad reputation.
Passion and drive
Your articles must display your passion and drive for your desired topic. Without this your articles will undoubtedly be a less then entertaining read and more than likely provide very little interest to readers.
You may have the best blog in the world but if nobody can find it whats the point?! Consider how you name your articles, the keywords you use within your article content as well as your templates HTML structure to name but a few. Have a look at SEO related sites such as Matt Cutts dot com and SEO Trickster dot com to help increase your SEO knowledge as your blog will directly benefit.
Promote your website and its articles on sites such as Digg, Stumbleupon or reddit. If your article hits the spot and proves popular with readers then expect huge levels of traffic to descend on your blog, whilst obviously raising your profile.
Guest blogging, although it could easily fit into the category above, further helps to raise your profile. Offering articles to popular sites with similar content to your own (making sure you are referenced at the top of the article with a link back to your site) again increases awareness of you and your site, whilst also driving traffic.
It is important to show your readers that you are a human being. By allowing your personality to flow through your articles you can easily endear your readers to you. This can help develop a sense of community and loyalty prompting repeat visits and high levels of commenting. Remember users love an active site with frequent commenting.
How does monetising make a successful blog?! Well I guess it does depend on your ambitions for your blog, although as I’m sure your aware any money you make through schemes such as Google Adsense or the Yahoo! Publisher Network can be directly pushed back into your blog for programs such as Google Adwords or maybe you want to pay a friend to create a fresh design.
Talk to other bloggers and listen to their views and opinions. Not only can this gain you a very vital link if you get on well, but it can also provide you with a very nice topic for you to debate on your blog. A bit of sensible blog rivalry (debating) never hurt anybody and again can gain you some much needed online attention.
Link to other blogs
Link to other blogs can work on many levels; firstly if trackbacks are enabled on the recipient site then you will receive a link back to your site and the possibility of further traffic and secondly, as stated above in the "Network" section, it can provide a topic for debate with other bloggers gaining you valuable attention.
Although many users frown upon "link bait" (articles or content which are "guaranteed" to receive incoming links from other sites) you should never rule it out. Increasing the amount of inbound links to your site will help increase your traffic levels through referrals as well as improve your natural search rankings, whilst also raising the profile of your site.
Encourage repeat visits
From a must have online tool that users just can’t live without to the killer list of resources, it is essential that users have a reason to keep coming back to your site. Without this your site will have a very limited life span. These reasons can also help to provide the required "link bait" as stated above.
Refresh your blog
It is important to visually refresh your blog over time as nobody wants to visit a site that looks like it was built in 1997 so try and keep up with the times. Mixing up the design of your site can also offer further stimulation and greater levels of interaction to users helping to increase repeat visits and the time spent on your site.
Do not rest on your laurels
Finally it is important to remember that no matter how popular your website/blog you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. Doing so means your website can only go in one direction, backwards.
Keep those ideas and enthusiasm flowing and I’m sure you’ll all side step this particular hurdle. Happy blogging!!!