Pushing Your Blog to the Top — 10 Ways to Make it Happen

With an average of over 900,000 blog posts being made per 24 hour period, it’s no doubt that it’s easy to fall into the sea of unknown blogging mediocrity. But have you ever noticed how some bloggers meet with almost instant success?

Have you ever been to a blog and immediately felt at home? Have you seen how some blogs become landmarks, places that people refer back to and compare other blogs to? Here are 10 ways to make your blog one of those landmarks.

Blogging is undoubtedly a huge gateway for opportunity. Kayla gave us some terrific ideas of how blogging can help us out in her recent post The Benefits of Running a Blog as a Freelancer (Tips Included), and some great tips on what not to do in 30 Potential Problems with Your Blog. Next step is to make sure you’ve got magnificent content, which you can read more about on Problogger. Then your job is effective marketing, another topic you can learn about on Problogger.

So you have valuable content, you’ve done your marketing, now what? Many bloggers get this far… and then stop. But the leaders keep going and asking, “How do we provide an experience that will make our readers come back again and again? What can we do that will put our blog ahead of the pack?” Let’s look at a few of those special things you can do that will really set your blog apart.

1. Post regularly

It is true that some highly successful blogs get away with publishing very high quality posts at longer intervals. This is the exception, not the rule, however. Until you have brand loyalty, you need to keep a fast pace or readers will become bored and go elsewhere. If internet years are like dog years, a monthly periodical would be published about twice a week. Try to have at least two posts a week; ultimately, it would be great for your subscribers to see a new article in their feed each day.

Post Regularly

2. Pay attention to your image

The image you present online is paramount to the success of your blog. If people visit your site and think they don’t like you (it’s very easy to come off the wrong way), they won’t stay around. Here are three important qualities that you should be presenting in your image:

  • Your professionalism. Showing that you’re serious about your work and that you treat it like business goes a long way towards presenting a responsible and respectable image.
  • Your personality. Express your friendliness and the fact that you are an ordinary person. People don’t like dealing with corporate identities, they like dealing with other people, so mention things they can relate to, and try to make people laugh and feel at ease.
  • Your character. Think about what you would like to see in someone that you were hiring online, then be that person. Go out of your way to be honest, kind and humble. Don’t stretch the truth, or insult others, or brag about yourself. These three are the real biggies, because ignoring these and coming across as seedy, hateful or arrogant will push people away faster than anything else.

Remember, when people can’t see you or hear your voice they’re quicker to judge on the smaller things they can see. Presenting a positive image is probably the most important thing you can do for your blog.Positive Image

3. Push your comfort zone

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with blogging, publishing every so often about the same types of things, not branching out or expanding into new areas. The only way to achieve further success, however, is to keep pushing your comfort zone and expanding your circle of knowledge, skills and contacts. Always be looking for new opportunities and ideas for your blog. Try starting a podcast, or adding user polls, or getting a weekly comic strip. Readers will appreciate the freshness, and it will help your image by painting you as someone who is innovative and modern.

4. Make your site pleasing to read

Once again, some sites get away with ugliness because they have really, really good content. Why even try it? The design of your site subconsciously affects the moods and feelings of your visitors, I’ll guarantee it. Some people will be affected less, some more, but the better the readability and atmosphere of your site, the better the chance that person will come back. Make people feel happy to read your site. Write in a friendly tone, use good web-writing habits, and pay close attention to the mood of your site design. It’s one of those things that cannot be measured in dollars, but it definitely has a huge payback.

Be Pleasing to Read

5. Don’t leave your brand at home

If you’re already leveraging your passion and personality, this shouldn’t be too hard. The idea is that there should be a continuity between you in your everyday life and your brand. If you’re a freelancer, especially, everyone you meet is a contact and a potential client, so you are representing your brand all the time. Have an elevator pitch, and don’t be afraid to mention what you do. Don’t think of blogging as work, think of it as your contribution to the world. When you are out and about, you’ll represent your brand better and be more successful.

6. Wear purple and orange stripy pajamas

Whatever you do, be unique! It’s good to learn from other people’s experiences, but if you spend too much time following you’ll just get stuck in someone else’s shadow. Find something that makes people laugh, find something that’s crazy, however you do it, make yourself memorable. For example Ayush Saran pictures himself in his portfolio as a plastic action figure (accessories include ketchup, a blackberry and the book ‘Bulletproof Ajax’). That’s memorable! Your job is to figure out what is going to make you memorable to others. After you’ve figured this out, write it down and pin it up somewhere. Remind yourself every time you blog what it is that makes your blog special, and you’ll notice that your posts seem to sparkle a bit more. Your readers will, too.

Be Memorable

7. Limit your advertisements

This goes along with making your site pleasing to read. Sometimes bloggers get so excited about the revenue opportunities from their blog that they forget the real reason for their blog- the readers. Advertisements are a great opportunity for supporting a blog, and sometimes they’re even beneficial to the reader. That said, when you have a blog with ads in the header, ads in the sidebar, ads before and after and inside your post, blinking, blinding pop-up ads, you’re telling your readers you don’t really care, you just want money. An overdose of advertisement can be lethal to your credibility. High profile sites (take the Tuts+ network, for example) have discreet advertising that says, “This is a business, we aren’t hurting for money.” Of course, at first you might not be able to make it with only a few banner ads in the sidebar. That’s ok, just remember that you do pay a price for the ads on your blog.

8. Don’t Hog the Credit

Nobody is truly self-made, so when you pretend like you’ve done it all you can push people away. You’ll gain a lot of respect by professionally acknowledging the work of others, be it pictures, icons, or even a concept. Don’t sell yourself short, but realize that by sharing the credit you’ll build a better relationship with the people your recognizing and create a positive image in your readers’ minds of someone who is honest and confident enough not to be jealous of the limelight. Including some genuine appreciation is a wonderful way to keep your self-promotion from sounding like bragging.

9. Radiate passion and enthusiasm

You’ve probably heard this a lot before, but please be sure to blog on something that you are passionate about, and don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm show through your writing. In fact, try to let it show through. First, it’ll be easier to find inspiration for something you’re enthused about and secondly, it will help your readers feel excited about reading your blog. Sometimes a little informality balanced with professionalism can help your posts keep an exciting ring.

Radiate Passion

10. Show a bit of kindness

Take the time to show that you really care about readers, and that you’re trying to help them out and not just make money. This world is hungry for kindness, so even a small act that shows you aren’t in it for yourself will make you stand out above the rest.

Wrapping Up

It’s up to you to find your own unique ways of applying these ideas, but I hope this article has helped get you started. I think every blogger probably knows some areas they can improve, but a lot of times, as in the rest of life, it takes some hard work and sacrifice to make these gains. My encouragement to you is – go ahead and do it! Make your blog the best there is, and most importantly, have fun!
Successful blogging is a big topic, and like spaghetti sauce, probably no two people would share the exact same recipe. So now I ask you, what’s your take on this article? Do you have other tips you would put on this list? And, more importantly, where are you going to go with it from here?

Written By Nick Parsons

Nick is the editor of Webitect and a developer + designer from Houston TX.

19 Comments

  1. Sneh Roy

    September 8th, 2009 at 03:29 am

    Excellent read! Thanks for this wonderful article Nick. This is so so true … do unto others as you would want them to do to you :-)

  2. Doug C.

    September 8th, 2009 at 03:37 am

    You know, it’s funny, but I pretty much have nailed everything you wrote about and I’m still struggling to make my blog work. I tried tutorials, design articles, even started giving away freebies and it’s still sitting there. Right now I’m working out my elevator pitch. Perhaps a good tag line will help me focus on what I’m blogging about.

    I’m definitely wanting to know, “How do we provide an experience that will make our readers come back again and again? What can we do that will put our blog ahead of the pack?”

    When I can figure this out then I’ll be on my way.

  3. Tim Wright

    September 8th, 2009 at 09:33 am

    Very good read, thanks Nick!

  4. Nick Parsons

    September 8th, 2009 at 09:44 am

    @Doug

    I’m glad to hear your thoughts, Doug, and I understand your position. It’s very good that you’re trying different things and not giving up. If you haven’t already, you might try stepping back and taking a really good look at your blog. I’ve noticed that sometimes I get so focused on something that I can’t see the big picture until I step back and look away.

    Specifically, you should make sure you know the goal of your blog, and who your target audience is (I’m not saying you don’t, it’s just good to make sure). After visiting your blog (which is great, by the way) I seemed to pick up that your main goal is to attract people who might be interested in your services. If that is your goal, its very important to know who it is that is going to be interested in your services, and then plan a content strategy around that audience’s needs/desires. For example, if you’re selling to a ‘design illiterate’ audience (business owners who are going to pay you), design related freebies and tutorials are probably not going to interest them. If your target group is designers, and you’re trying to build a name in the design community, however, then freebies and tutorials are a great way to go. After you know your goals, you’ve got to think about what your audience’s goals will be in reading your site.

    Ultimately, you know your goals, audience and business way better than I do, and I certainly don’t mean to be pushy here, these are just a couple things I’ve noticed are very helpful in building an audience. Good luck with your blog!

  5. Logo Bliss

    September 8th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Great post, I think this deserves a RTweet. ! Thanks.

  6. erkasoft

    September 8th, 2009 at 01:27 pm

    nice tips. every blogger should read this.
    thanks.

  7. Jasmin Halkic

    September 8th, 2009 at 03:50 pm

    Very nice post. Thanks for including my website :)

  8. web designer greece

    September 8th, 2009 at 04:52 pm

    i agree on most of the ideas how to run website blog but there are many many other things to do in order to make it popular and attractive. to ctually learn xhtml is fun and can even hook you up for deeper interest in web design and publishing…

    thanks

  9. vikas ghodke

    September 8th, 2009 at 05:34 pm

    Thx for your advice.. i just started blogging so this article helped me

  10. Amber Weinberg

    September 14th, 2009 at 08:56 pm

    Great tips, now that I’ve gone back to being a full-time freelance web developer, i went ahead and started my blog today. These tips will definitely help!

  11. Daniel Stenning-West

    September 15th, 2009 at 07:26 am

    Excellent article, thank you for the tips. I’m planning on launching a new blog shortly so will refer back to this post!

  12. Dan Kelly

    September 22nd, 2009 at 06:33 pm

    Nicely written. I agree with your points, but I think it takes more than that to get it to the top. Look at Lifehacker for instance, they got into that niche and now the gap is pretty much closed. You have to be innovative and resourceful. Look around for unique things to do, that’s what people thrive on.

  13. BigManta

    September 23rd, 2009 at 01:56 pm

    Those are some excellent tips you provided, I especially like the “Wear purple and orange stripy pajamas.” Providing exceptional or extremely useful content is another way to rise to the top – just like you’ve done with your site here and this list.

  14. Bob Othman

    September 27th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Your Comments Splendid tips presented in a very nice, likeable manner. I’m a freelancer myself and i shall keep these tips in mind. Keep up the good work. Many thanks.

  15. Federico Capoano

    September 29th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    The guy in the positive image looks like a NERD.
    :-)

  16. Jodene

    October 2nd, 2009 at 06:32 pm

    I am new when it comes to blogging and creating blogs. However i just created a blog for the first time and is searching for ways on developing it. I need to know how to get visitors to my blog. Could someone please visit my blog and give me some one and one ideas. Visit wwwclick2earn.blogspot.com

  17. Walte Call

    November 15th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Thanx for superb article. But I had trouble navigating past your site as I kept getting 502 bad gateway error. Just thought to let you know.

  18. Paul0v2

    November 15th, 2009 at 02:35 pm

    Hello,
    I’m glad you like the article, unfortunately we having a trouble with the host for the past week, we hoping to get that out of the way by this week.

  19. faraz

    February 23rd, 2011 at 03:22 am

    An excellent post to be read,I just loved the way it is written and explained the simple but most important points.The one which think is the best is to be kind with the readers and fellow bloggers.

What Do You Think?