Blogging has been proven and advised to attract large quantities of visitors, readers and, possibly, customers. Whatever your reason to blog is, follow these proven techniques from the experts to become a successful blogger.
Put plenty of effort in your blog
Most beginner bloggers think that blogging is easy. It is, on the surface. However, you may want to know that:
- it takes time and effort to produce posts
- it takes time to get noticed
- it takes time to learn new things in your industry and about your site, such as how to manage your blog, for example
But most importantly, the more you put in your blog in terms of time and efforts, the better it becomes and the more popular it becomes with time. If you just sit and wait, it won't help :)
Be an expert in your field
To actually provide value to your readers, you need to know what you are talking about. For that, you can either learn things yourself or, if you are already a professional, provide absolutely useful tips for your readers.
Know your audience
Being in the expert in your field, you are likely to know
- what your readers want to know most
- know what words they use
- what problems they have
- and how you can help solve their problems
If you don't, you'd rather learn all the points above before writing. All this will help you create better and more useful content for your audience.
Whatever you do, the time will pass anyway. So if you want to achieve something, you gotta do it now, not later.
If you are slow, you may as well forget the interesting idea you had and you'll become overrun with the new issues before you can write about it.
If anything, save an idea or a post draft for future use.
Write a lot
If you want plenty of unique, quality content for your blog to get visitors and links to get more visitors, you need to start now and write a lot.
You don't have to publish often, but you need to write often to use your time effectively and create better posts. In my experience, writing a post for at least two days increases its quality a lot. A week is better.
Save post drafts
As you write a lot and jot dow your ideas, you will sometimes find that you don't have more thoughts to add to the post. Save it, but don't publish it. Saving drafts is useful, because:
- you will need less efforts to continue the post on the same idea
- you will have a post to publish, when you are booked or don't have any ideas what to write about
- you can create really great posts over a matter of weeks or even months, as you contribute to them as you can
As you can see, carefully organizing your writing and publishing schedule can help you not only produce better, more useful posts, but to provide a consitent flow of reading material for your readers.
Write unique posts
Of course, if you think that some subject is not well covered, you can build an awesome resource (hopefully, timeless) to attract a large number of visitors.
Write researched, useful posts
Admittedly, post formatting becomes ultimately important here, so you need to use short sentences/paragraphs, lists and subheadings to make things easy to read.
I find that a well researched, thoughtful (and useful) post is much more interesting to the public. It also gets much more traffic and links, but that's another story.
Write concise posts
Interchanging concise posts with large posts will give:
- you time to create other researched posts
- you a chance to share a quick tip/thought
- your readers a chance to read something different
This will help your readers read what you have written, bookmark, share or link to your posts.
For example, posts that:
- are lists
- only have images (or just plenty of them)
tend to do good with the people, because they can be easily absorbed and shared.
Write in simple language
If you want your people to understand what you are writing, you need to use the simplest language you can write in. This will help people read and understand the article, so they could share it.
Online, people can't see each other and they can only trust by what they read. If you address your readers as you address friends, they will become to know you better and start trusting you, which will turn them into more loyal readers.
Write great titles
Title is the first thing your readers read and it may be the only thing, if the title isn't compelling enough. Stick to the title writing formulas to craft mind-blowing headlines.
Write naturally, for the people
Though some may say that you need to write for the search engines to get search engine ranking, this is largely false.
You can write as you want, for the people, because:
- if you know your audience, you already their needs
- you already know the words they use
- you use the words naturally in the posts and that's what the search engines try to identify and value most
- most importantlt, your posts will be read by live people and you want them to keep reading, instead of closing the window
- by using a variety of words, you may find hidden traffic sources the keyword research tools keep quiet about
Format your posts
If you want your posts to be read to the end, you not only need to write for your readers, but format the text in short paragraphs, sentences, bullet lists and subheadings.
Link to your other posts
You want your readers to read all the posts on your blog. For this, you need to link to the posts from the one you are writing now: it will not only get you more readership, but will also help your blog to rank well with the search engines (use call to action and relevant words in the link text).
Link to external resources
If you link to
- various researches, studies and benchmarks
- useful blog posts, articles or forum threads
- other useful sites, tools, etc
you not only show a broader perspective to your readers and help them understand your point of view from the linked to articles, but you also provide them with quality content they can read.
Once your audience starts reading the posts, articles or visiting sites you link to, the people will be grateful for more useful information and websites.
Aim to help other people
Though people often read blogs for fun or entertainment, mostly, they have a problem to solve. Identify the problem and help your readers solve it. That's how your posts will become useful.
Read other blogs
By reading related blogs, you will find:
- more topics to write about
- more posts to link to
- more people to talk to
- a place to comment on and get some interested readers/subscribers
All this will help you provide better content, have more people to share or bounce off your ideas.
Socialize with people
As you read blogs, you'll find more people that write about what interests you and your readers. You can talk about the subject in the post comments and most likely, the blog author will come to your blog and comment, too.
If your content is good enough, these blog owners will link to you, too.
Establish an authority
By doing all of the above, you get noticed among the people in your industry and establish your authority. This will
- help your ideas spread
- get you more interesting things to work on
- and to know more interesting people in your field
Since visibility and authority is your most valuable asset (along with trust), you can later build something more useful and interesting on it, using your readership to promote/test/improve your new venture.
Make it easy to share
If you want your ideas and posts to spread, you may want to have the following in mind:
No one "sends" an idea unless:
they understand it they want it to spread they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits
No one "gets" an idea unless:
the first impression demands further investigation they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time
So, basically, besides having useful posts, you may want to make it really easy to share your stories.
Additionally, you can use various social bookmarking buttons, like the ones you see under this post, to remind people to bookmark the post and share it with others on the sites they frequent. Needless to say, the sites need to be targeted at your audience (such as Sphinn for Internet marketers, for example).
Participate in social sites that interest you
If you want to:
- be on the edge of your industry news
- read plenty of interesting stuff
- meet lots of people with similar interests
then you need to take part in the social sites that match your blog topic. For example, for bloggers (Internet marketers, SEOs, web designers, usability professionals, etc), you can try:
- Sphinn (Search Engine Marketing)
- PlugIM (Internet Marketing)
- del.icio.us (General, active in most topics)
- Tweako (Web developers, mostly, but suitable for related topics)
- Dzone (Web developers)
- you only get to view sites that match your interests
- you can meet other people with similar interests
- you can get visitors to your website, if someone stumbles your website
As you take part in the social networks, more and more people, whose interests match yours and the topic of your blog, start visiting your blog. They may very well add your posts to the social networks, because they like it and know you from the social site (you are online friends, remember?)
Note: participating in social networks, because it is fun, is vastly different from submitting all of your stories to the site. The best way to socialize is to contribute useful posts and articles that you find around the web.
Share your own stories
If you truly think that your post is worth sharing (you should get the feeling about a great post, if not, improve it), you may want to
- share it with the people you know in the industry
- submit to relevant social bookmarking sites using descriptive and interesting titles and descriptions - or ask someone with a high profile to do it(though Digg doesn't like self-promotion)
Note: this only works if your post is astounding, like the post about the titles linked to above. Only do what you feel right, otherwise you'll ruin your reputation by spamming your friends, industry experts and social sites.
For example, if you have a post about blogging, you can catch the train with the 31 Days Group Writing Project (that only runs in August) at ProBlogger and submit your post to the project.
Have an easy to read and use blog
How easily your readers read and navigate around your blog can really help your visitors read your posts. For example, you can:
- name your categories using words that relate to your visitors
- have clear, distinct categories
- offer related posts for your posts
- make your text readable, as well have a readable font (Verdana 10pt works nicely, as on this blog)
- link to your older posts
- use a descriptive call to action in link text
- reduce clutter on your blog (only leave the most necessary plugins on, such as related, recent posts and social bookmarking buttons
Your site may have other interesting features to keep your readers happy:
- 10 Weblog Design Mistakes from Jacob Nielsen
- Blog Usability Interview with Kim Krause Berg on SEO Book
- 20 Blog Usability Tips
- Does Your Website Have Friendly Features? (from Chris Garrett)
- Blog Usability Study (PDF)
Knowing all the important moments in mind will help you start building a greater blog from the beginning, bringing you well deserved readers, recognition and, possibly, profit.