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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?