When you start a blog whether or not you succeed in it depends on the foundation you have built from the start. Blogging now is far more than what is used to be – a diary or journal.
Now blogging is a big business and it should be treated as such if you want to have an upper hand against your competitors and win the race.
Blogs vary in quality. There are blogs that you can easily label as poorly written immediately after a short glance while other blogs are simply so good that take your breath away. On the other hand, there are those blogs that are good but seem far away to being great – blogs that simply can’t rise from mediocrity.
Everyone can write something. So, if you are *only* doing the writing part in blog and keep expecting lot in return, then you will be disappointed. There are few things you can do to make your blog unique and stand out from other blogs in blogosphere.
Things to Know Before You Start a Blog?
Poorly Written Content
Being an English Major is not a pre-requisite to becoming a blog or article writer. However, we do have the responsibility of writing grammatically correct content. People visit websites for information and not to get a headache.
Poor grammar and bad grammar are entirely two different things. Poor grammar pertains to bad writing skills habits while bad grammar pertains to the lack of technical knowledge when it comes to writing.
Poor grammar includes writing in a technically-correct yet incoherent way or using the same words and vocabulary over and over again. Bad grammar on the contrary, is the failure to construct technically-correct sentences.
Your writing style may be good or even great but as long as your article has factual errors, nobody will ever make the mistake of reading your articles again. Factual errors are among the most fatal mistakes when writing. Giving the wrong information can be very damaging to your reputation as a writer or expert in your field.
Inadequate research is another probable reason why your writing technique can’t take off. A good rule of thumb is to allocate at least one hour for researching the topic you’re going to cover. This could also be a good way of ensuring that all your statements are based on facts.
Lack of information, too much fluff
Lack of information is often a result of inadequate research. Failure to research will result to insufficiency of the information contained in your article. Needless to say, information is the lifeblood of every successful online article.
Failure to communicate relevant and important information can lead to your failure as an online writer.
Writer not having the backbone
A writer without a backbone is something that irks readers. It’s either black or white. Readers love writers who share their strong opinions or unique and outside-the-box points of view. Take for instance Robert Kiyosaki, he was never afraid to be controversial that’s why he is a bestselling author.
Dull and boring writing style
Dull and boring writing is another reason why blogs and articles get relegated to obscurity. As a writer, it’s essential that you let your imagination fly. Remember, one good attribute of beautifully written article is it entertains and engages readers.
Failure to optimize your article
Failure to optimize your article for search engines is another reason why an article can’t reach viral status. Search Engine Optimization or SEO plays a heavy role in generating traffic and attracting visitors to a website.
For that matter, it’s just appropriate that online writers spend time in researching for keywords and optimizing their articles for better search rankings.
You didn’t edit your article
Proofreading is an important task that most newbie writers seem to take for granted. Proofreading allows you to spot grammar and punctuation mistakes that can distract readers from the main point of your article.
50+ Tips to Make a Successful Blog
Plan your Blog Like you would any Other Business
Like every other business, you plan the kind of business you want to start based on your knowledge and/or skill. Then you find out what is involved in starting such business. Whether or not there is a need for it. Then you want to know if it is profitable or not. Who your competitors are and ways you can make money from the business.
After all this information has been gathered, you would either change your mind about the business because of too much competition or because it is just not profitable enough to worth all the effort that will go into it. But if it profitable, you then write a business plan.
If you didn’t do all the ground work before jumping into the business, you will probably jump out after wasting valuable time and money. These are the kind of planning and maybe a little more that building a successful blog requires before setting up a blog.
Now let’s briefly talk about all the steps involved in planning a blog.
Steps involved in planning a blog
#1 Determine your goal or purpose for the blog
Meaning, why do you want to start a blog? What will it achieve?
Your goal for a blog affects every decision you will make concerning the blog during the planning process, before and after setting up the blog.Some that comes to mind are, will it be a content based blog or just something to promote a product/service or website?
What kind of information will you provide? Will you monetize it? If yes, what monetization models will you like to apply?
#2 Do an Effective Keyword Research
When you have provided clear answers to the questions above and others that will come to mind, it’s time to look deep into the topic you hope to blog about to determine:
1. Whether it has good number of monthly searches.
2. Whether the competition existing for it already is something you can beat.
3. Whether the topic has enough depth to form your site’s overall topic. If it does, then find and note down hundreds of profitable keywords that will form your site’s content. So that each content you write is keyword focused. (a little more on this later).
4. Whether the topic is profitable : That is depending on the monetization models you have in mind, how profitable is your topic with those monetization models?
Write out 3 possible topics that will form your blog’s topic that is well-known to you. Three topics because as you research into the three topics you will most likely realize that one or two has no depth to form your blog’s overall topic.
If you go ahead with a topic with no much depth, after setting up your blog, you will always look for subjects to write on under your topic. And when you don’t find more subjects, the tendencies are, you will start diverting from your blog’s topic just so that you provide content, which will not help your readers. And it will also confuse the search engines as to what your blog is about.
You might also find out that even while the topic has good monthly searches, good depth and an okay competition it is just not good with your major monetization models.
Then you probably will have to decide whether or not monetizing the blog is a primary goal. If it’s not then you can go ahead with such topic. But if it is, then the obvious cause of action will be to drop the topic and look deeper into other topics.
#3 Data to Seek from your Research
Determine the following data before you get started blogging.
1. The monthly searches for your keyword
3. Content depth (all related keywords for that topic)
4. Profitability : Though the profitability of a topic is actually judged after putting all factors together. But here profitability means, how much your topic is worth.
If Adsense is a must for you, then make sure the keyword for your blog’s overall topic and some major related keywords have a Cost Per Click of at least $1 but preferably $2 and above. This information you can easily get from running your keyword in the google free keyword research tool.
If your primary monetization model will be promoting third-party products (affiliate products) then go to clickbank, type in your primary keyword into the search box and click search. See if it brings out ebooks/products for that keyword. If you find good number of products that the cost and percentage commission is okay, then your topic is profitable with that monetization model. If it doesn’t and you really want to use that monetization model, then you know what to do – Look into another topic or find other ways you can monetize the topic.
#4 Compare your data
Compare the data you have for all topics. And make your decision on which is most profitable for you, bearing in mind your goal for the blog.
#5 Buy a domain
This above planning and research is very necessary if you desire a keyword focused, organized and well monetized blog.
When you have concluded your research and are sure of your blog concept keyword, only then should you buy a domain name because your concept keyword must be in your domain name.
Some Benefits of proper planning and researching before the start a blog
- It gives you first hand information of what you are getting involved in.
- When you eventually start a blog, you are focused on providing content not searching for what to write on because you would have already saved up a lot of profitable keywords to last you for 6 months – one year of writing.
- So for each post you want to write, you just go to your keyword list and pick a keyword to write on. And you keep adding to your list of keywords every time you find a new related keyword. You don’t sweat to start a blog only to realize that it can not be monetized.
- You provide focused valuable content to your readers and search engines. Your blog stand out among your competitors’ You know who your competitors are even before setting up your blog.
- When you provide a well-organized focused site that provides great value, you wouldn’t have to tweak your site every time to meet search engines criteria’s.
Alright. You created a blog by installing WordPress/blogger or any other software, installed themes, formatted layouts and fonts, placed ads and started writing. You keep experiencing with themes, ad positions and your writing skills. But, one thing we all forget is how are we going to take our blog to the next level.
#6 Write Unexplored Tutorials
I am keeping the first two points about writing itself. It is why blogs exist. There are thousands of tutorials out there for whatever niche you may have chosen. Hence, writing the same tutorial that is found abundant in the internet is not going to make you unique from others.
Find some way to do something. But that ‘something’ and the ‘some way’ should be new. This way, even though those tutorials are hardly searched your blog gets a unique name for it and since you have ways for hardest and rarest problems people tend to come back looking for even common problems.
#7 Find solutions for Unanswered questions
Similar to the above, try finding solutions for the issues faced by many bloggers and website owners. Most of the bloggers are nowadays techies. Hence, if they are not able to figure out then the question is certainly hard. In that case, whoever gets a solution, let alone it is the best solution, definitely going to get attention and people will subscribe to you.
Additionally, both the above points will give you a increase in the SERP position for the tutorial and solution you figured out, getting more and more attention and visitors.
#8 Organize events locally
Now coming out of writing part, you got to organize events and get togethers locally. There are hundreds of bloggers in your city. Go meet them. Get introduced face-to-face and know them personally.
Try to see if you can arrange for regular meetup of bloggers every month or week. If it is already happening, try to contribute to it. Make useful suggestions if needed. Make sure you get attention wherever you go and your blog gets attention itself.
Contributing and participating in these events, not only help you find new people but also it sparks various new things you can write in your blog. It let you come out of your narrow thinking and explore the unexplored interests.
#9 Organize virtually
If you can’t organize something locally, then go online. Forums and communities are one click away in most places. Create them and engage people to participate. Since everyone can start one, you may or may not get memebers initialy. But who cares. Just give it a shot.
I ahve only recently known this group in Facebook, Bloggers Lounge. Now I regret what was I doing for such long time blogging. This group has some active and intersting bloggers who can help you with anythging. Anytime, some useful discussions going on and you can find solutions for anythging here.
When I saw that, I thought, oh what a simple concept, why doesn’t it strike me. Like these you may come out with new idea and that might help people. And your blog stands out.
#10 Be socially responsible and support some causes
So, you are trying to get attention wherever possible by doing the above things. All the above look selfish and it was obvious that you desperately looking for someways to gain popularity. At the same time you should also be thinking about other people out there, suffering.
Try to be socially responsible, both online and in real life. Try supporting some causes that help to the real people out there and let them come out of there sufferings. Google supports many causes. Agreed it is a big shot but supporting those causes is definitely one of the reason for what it is today. Give back to the society that gave you so much. Thats how Wikipedia has become popular.
So, now its your turn to think of something to contribute to the society and start doing it.
#11 Develop and provide it free
Develop some themes, plugins, extensions whatever you can and give it to people for free. People tend to come to you if they think you can deliver some good stuff, either in writing or by any other means. And in every world, giving free gets lot of attention provided your product is of good quality.
#12 Share the Resources you have
Lets say you bought a hosting with unlimited domain support and you are hosting only two domains in it. There are people out there who can’t afford hosting and still living on some free hosts with load of craps. Just announce that you are gonna share your hosting and give to them for free or at affordable rate.
This way you are encouraging and creating entrepreneurs thereby developing a community for yourself and your bloggers. You or your blog wont be remembered until you have a community for yourself.
#13 Know and help your readers personally
Value your readers, as they say. So, treating readers with respect and courtesy is the ultimate thing every blogger must remember. Going one step beyond, not only value them but also know them personally. They might be facing some issues themselves. Try to listen and them and do the needful
This way you get sincere readers and loyal fans to your blog. Also, you make new friends in the virtual world.
#14 Go print
This may not be affordable for everyone but printing your writings is one effective way to reach out the real people. Lets say you write about Photography and your posts are admired by most of the people, then you should give a try to publish your most admired posts by print.
This way you will reach out to the people who have never visited your blog or who has less knowledge in Internet. Books always make people immortal. In this case, they make your blogs too.
Design Your New Blog
What makes a blog successful? The type of design scheme you choose, the layout of your site, and even the font you choose all influence whether or not readers will bookmark your site and return in the future. These things matter almost as much as the content of your blog. The most interesting blog in the universe will not have return readers if it is full of spam and unappealing graphics. Here are some tips for putting together a winning blog.
#15 Get Familiar With the Basics
Read up on the fundamentals of HTML. There is information on HTML available through the World Wide Web consortium (W3C). You can also check out various online tutorials where you can get hands-on HTML practice. Choose a host that uses FTP (file transfer protocol). FileZilla is a cross-platform FTP client that offers multiple transfer speeds, remote file editing, and IPv6 support—it’s also free and easy to use.
#16 Use a Layout of Your Own That’s Easy to Navigate
Pre-designed layouts are available, but if you want to stand out, you need your blog’s look to match your blog’s tone. Choose a design that is distinctive without being overbearing. Busy backgrounds are okay, but make sure that you use solid colored boxes to display text. Create a custom header with your blog’s logo and leave room for banner space if desired.
Place navigation categories (no more than ten) along the top of your page, below your header. Make sure all outgoing links work; remove those that don’t. Use a 404 error page so that readers can find their way should your links become broken or unavailable.
#17 Make the Pages Easy to Read
Studies by both Bernard and Dyson show that Arial is the font preferred by readers, both online and in print. The discussion of 12 pt. vs 14 pt. seems to be a toss-up; think about your target audience. If you are targeting a younger crowd, 12 pt. Arial is probably a good choice. Bump it to a 14 pt. for the older groups.
#18 Keep the following in mind:
- Dark colored font on a light background is easier for the eyes to take in.
- Using a 600 pixel image in one post and a 250 image in another gives your page a disheveled look—keep it clean by being consistent.
- Solid framing around your images further helps achieve a put-together look.
#19 Stay Dynamic and Let Readers Interact
Decide how often you want to blog and try to stay on schedule. Maintaining regular readership is hard to do if you are only updating twice a month. If you have to keep your posts short, make them as interesting as possible. Provide a comment section as well as social sharing buttons (think Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, or StumbleUpon) so that readers can get the word out when your post is particularly interesting. Don’t forget to add an RSS feed so that readers can subscribe to your blog.
Engaging content, design that makes a statement, and a site that is easy to use—that is what keeps your audience coming back for more.
Make A Good Impression In Your Blog
There are many new blogs entering this blogosphere every day. There is a tough competition going between the bloggers. In order to become a successful blogger, you should have to work much. Now we are going to see the basic thing in blogging. How to make your blog with good impression? I have summarized a few points regarding this. Hope it will be useful for the readers.
We all know about the famous quote “First Impression is the best impression”. Let’s see few points to make our blog more effective.
#20 Customized Theme
This is the first important point all bloggers must do. Select a theme that not irritable to your readers. And customize it with good text color. See that all your links work. Be sure that you don’t have any broken links in your blog.
Choose a title for each article that attracts your readers. If you use an ordinary title, it doesn’t show any impact on the readers. Title should automatically impress the readers to see your blog and read the content. So while choosing a title for a article be specific and unique.
#22 Be a Professional
Try to be professional in each and every thing. Make a unique email-id for your blog. Don’t be usual in this. Try to create it using either with your name or with your domain name. This gives a professional identity. Then try to give necessary details in the about page. And don’t forget to have a contact page in your blog. These tips help your readers to reach you.
#23 Loading Time
Every blogger should concentrate in this. See that your blog doesn’t take much time for loading. This will make readers to move from your blog. Try to have fewer graphics in your blog. This will divert the attention of readers from reading your content.
#24 Promote Well
If a person visiting your blog for the first time, he should get impressed. For that you have to do some steps. Try to add your feedburner count and also the comment count in your blog. This helps them to subscribe to your blog and also inspire them to comment. Also try to display your ranks in google, alexa.
#25 Place Suitable Advertisement
Now a-days every owner keep advertisement in his blog. But we should not place irrelevant ads in your blog. This will create a bad impression. Don’t keep irrelevant ads just for money. Try to keep advertisement regarding your blog content. This makes a difference between a blogger and a successful blogger.
#26 Reduce Load Time
Try to keep less audio and video options in your blog. This will reduce your load time. Don’t keep pop-up windows in your blog. This irritates your reader. Design a logo for your blog and provide quality content. Be consistent and regular. Try to post article regarding current trends. This also increases the traffic of your blog.
So, you have scratched your head and wrote a post in your blog and hit the publish button. You had spent some 4 or 5 hours for collecting the resource and get it all done for publishing. But there are few things you should do after publishing it. I don’t say not doing them can harm your blog but doing them will benefit the hours you spent for writing the article.
After Publishing Your Blog
#27 Share it on Facebook:
I have put this first , since sharing in Facebook is like showing a ad on tv whose audience is the entire world and almost everyone in the world watches it. Facebook is growing like anything and there are high chances that your article go viral, in the next few minutes once you shared in Facebook.
#28 Tweet it:
Twitter, the next growing social network, micro blogging platform, whatever you call, is definitely has its share in the current web. So, this 140 character “follow-me” game has its say once you tweet. But make sure you use twitter effectively.
#29 Bookmark it:
Though the above two steps are almost similar to bookmarking, Facebook and Twitter shares are more efficient than any other. The above statement doesn’t mean other bookmarking sites aren’t worth.
From my personal experience I can see Reddit, Stumble Upon, Digg,Delicious are definitely the top most among other Bookmarking sites. And if you are looking for some blogging community sites, you can’t miss BlogEngage.
#30 Ping it:
Pinging is nothing more than informing the RSS sites to grab your new content so that your followers and subscribers are notified about it. WordPress has it by default, but its better to be safer side (because, I have seen some of posts not showed up in feeds even after 5 hours of publishing).
You can always rely on the service from Ping-o-matic, which can ping your new articles to 20+ sites. Just give it a try and I am sure you will enjoy from it.
#31 Comment in Comment Luv Blogs
This is one of the easiest thing can do(doesn’t mean the above mentioned are harder) after publishing. Have some blogs that use commentLuv plugin. Go there and comment. As simple as that. But make sure you followed the step 4 before this, since commentLuv fetches the post from your feed.
#32 Change your status
The above said points are must,while this and the next are optional. You can change your status in Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger and other IM clients, to the link of your new article. That can help to reach your friends who aren’t in Facebook and those who don’t follow in Twitter.
#34 Change your Signature:
Change your signature to include the new article link. Changing it manually can be tedious task sometimes, particularly if you are posting very frequently. At these times you can rely on the Firefox extension called WiseStamp which has the option to fetch the latest post.
Mind mapping is a brainstorming process that can convert ideas into a graphical chart. The process can help individuals in all industries, but it has specific ways to help a blogger, or other writer.
#35 Get Organized
Successful blogs generally work because the topics have a common theme. A mind map can help you find ways to connect one idea to another.
#36 Track Inspiration
Ideas can come from an event, an interaction, a website, or a photograph. When you use a mind-mapping program, like FreeMind, you can keep track of your inspiration right in the mind map.
#37 Encourage Free Writing
Blogger often have to write and edit posts, but these functions can call on different parts of the brain. Mind mapping gives you a place to free write your thoughts. You can rearrange these ideas and focus on the editing side later.
#38 Find New Ideas
Mind mapping at its most basic form is a brainstorming method. It generates new ideas based off a central thought. You can use it to find new topics for your blog.
#39 Keep Creativity Flowing
A mind map only changes when you make changes. You can save your thought process and pick it back up later. You can restart at the central idea or try to generate new ideas for sub-topics you have already thought about but not expanded upon.
#40 Boost Confidence
When you have a road map to get from point A to point B, you can create your blog post with confidence because you can actually see how the ideas connect.
#41 Structure Concepts
Structure takes organization one step further. Not only can you organize your thoughts so they relate to one another, you can organize the information for each idea. It’s possible to use a mind-mapping program to organize a blog post into headers, paragraphs, and bullet-point lists.
#42 Eliminate the Inner Critic
Have you ever tossed out an idea for a blog post because your inner critic laughed at the concept? Mind mapping allows you to salvage your ideas rather than missing out on an opportunity to post a truly expiring post.
#43 Secure Your Thoughts
Many writers recommend keeping a notebook handy for ideas, but what happens if you lose the notebook? A mind-mapping program puts your data into a digital file, save from your children’s crayons, your tipped over coffee mug, and your scatter brained spouse who tosses random pieces of paper without consulting you first.
#44 Collaborate With Others
Have you ever needed help figuring out how to phrase a thought or finding a way to connect ideas? Sometimes, other bloggers have trouble following your thought process. A mind map solves the communication breakdown because it allows your fellow writer to see the graphical representation of the process.
Using a mind map can be an asset to any blogger who wants to move beyond random posts into a defined and organized blog. Whether you need help with structure or expanding your ideas, you can use the brainstorming method to increase your productivity as a blogger.
Encourage readers to comment on your blog
A blog is in many ways a continuing conversation. Even the best blog on the internet will survive the contest only if it is visited by many readers who actively contribute by commenting.
There are some simple rules which when followed will get comments pouring into your blog.
#45 Be User Friendly
The first thing to remember is that your blog should be user-friendly where readers can comment easily. Many people are lazy to login and therefore wont comment at all.
#46 Be Natural in conversation
The next thing is to be very personal and natural in your approach. Be practical, humble and gracious in your writing and focus on one topic.
#47 Open Ended Discussion
Leaving the discussion open-ended is a good tactic as it will create room for discussion. Some bloggers also ask questions in a manner of inviting comments. You should also set boundaries to avoid spam comments and clashes among people who comment.
#48 Dealing with Criticisms
Constructive criticism should be dealt decently without taking a defensive approach. Never forget that almost all readers are practical people. They are all looking to find something useful in what they read. Try to focus on some common problems and provide simple, workable solutions.
When you finally start receiving comments, you as the blogger should acknowledge and interact. This is very important especially during the initial period as readers will be happy to see that their comments are welcomed and valued. Do not make it a one to one conversation. You may gradually reduce it as your blog grows in popularity but never totally brush off the comments thread.
#50 Reward Comments
It is also a good practice to reward comments with either a ‘good comment’ remark or a highlight. This will encourage both old and new readers to comment with interest. Controversy comes handy in attracting comments but do not use this tool too frequently.
#51 Be original in whatever you do
Along with all these factors, you should not lose focus on the most important aspect of blogging. Valuable, credible, original, practical and natural writing and content is the first qualification of a good blog. This will surely increase your visibility and will attract the attention of more readers.
Write away your mind and enjoy the comments you receive. We would like to see your thoughts and take on this.
In few words, what is required in building a success blog
Proper planning, organizing, on-page optimization, good inter-linking of articles and proper link building is a sure way to build a successful blog.
But the planning must come first for every other thing to follow. Blogging is becoming very competitive and only those who entered with eyes wide opened, making an informed decision after a deep research will succeed.
So, are you prepared well for your blogging career? Let us know your thoughts on comments.
Article Source: novicebloggers.com