How To Find Blogging Success
Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on October 12th, 2007
This post has been submitted by Sharon Hurley Hall from Get Paid To Write Online.com. Sharon is the first Freelance Blogger to submit an article to PiggyBankPie.com, and I hope there will be a next time. Enjoy.
When you start a blog, unless you’re writing for yourself, you want to make sure that people will visit it. So how do you do that? If you look at the probloggers, you’ll find that there are some things that they all do to create successful blogs. However, you don’t have to be a pro to get started on this route. Anyone can create a successful blog – here’s how to get started.
Find A Topic
Some blogs make a virtue of never having the same kind of content twice. That can be fun, but many of the most successful blogs have a niche which they stick to most of the time. Darren Rowse writes about being a professional blogger; Lifehacker writes about tools and techniques for improving your life; I write about the business of freelance writing.
There must be something you care about enough to write about it almost every day. It might be something in your own experience (like parenting) or something that helps you to make money (like providing information about a particular disease or condition). You get to choose, but you also have to do some work.
When you decide what you want to blog about, find some keywords that describe your topic. You’ll see the words that I chose in the name of my blog. These are the words that will help people to find your blog.
Once you’ve found a topic to blog about, then stay on topic most of the time. I get the most reads on my blog when I write about something related to freelance writing. Readership is even better if it’s a substantial post of 300 words or more. My take on this is that readers like to get their teeth into a post; giving them just a link to something else is not enough.
Start A Linkfest
That said, part of being focused is linking to other related blogs and blog posts. The key here is to make them ‘related’. I got some of the best hits on my site from pointing my readers to an essay on pay for freelance writers. It’s a topic we all love to think about and discuss, so it was relevant to my readers. Even though my post was short, they still liked it because it was information that they needed.
Make use of the blogroll to link to blogs in your niche that are always worth reading. Sometimes readers will visit those blogs, tell them how they found the blog and unknowingly create another reader for your blog. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. When you link to others, they often link back, as long as you’re relevant to their readers.
Some people post several times a day, every day. That’s great, if you can keep up the pace. I know I can’t. I post around four times a week on my main blog, and less on the others. I think that posting less often leaves more time for people to see my posts. However, I know that others think that posting daily is a better approach.
From readers’ point of view, all that most people want to know is how often to check for updates. If you stick to a schedule then your readers will stick with you. If you update only occasionally, then you are likely to lose readers.
The blogs on your blogroll will usually be blogs that you visit, so while you’re there, why not leave a comment on the latest post? When you comment, don’t forget to leave a link to your blog in the appropriate box. You can even subscribe to the comments thread if the topic is interesting and the site permits it. The more you comment on others’ blogs, the more likely those people are to visit yours and return the favour.
And here’s a point of netiquette – don’t leave people hanging. If they have taken the time to comment on your blog, then respond to their comments. It’s polite – and people will return to your blog if you keep talking to them.
Get The Word Out
Once you’ve got your blog started, you need to make it easy for people to keep up with the content. All blogs have an RSS feed which lists the most recent content, either with excerpts or in full. However, you can make that feed prettier and more useful by opening a Feedburner account and burning your feed. That will allow you to put animated headlines in your email signature, add the feed easily to static web pages, and get nice email and RSS subscription buttons to place on your site.
Feedburner also lets you automatically ping services to tell them that you’ve updated. However, you can also do this manually through services like Pingoat. Add your blog to blog directories, with a description that will make people want to read it. And use the social bookmarking services to highlight your best posts sot that others can see them.
If you do all this, you will soon have a successful blog, at least in terms of getting regular readers and consistent blog traffic. I’ll talk another time about ways that you can make money from your blog.
Sharon Hurley Hall
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