Ten years ago, blogs were starting to gain some traction. They were no longer considered teenage ranting journals, but were becoming legitimate sources of information. Over time, blogs gained a legitimacy that no one expected. Today, they have become a primary method of exchanging information of all types, and changed the way we engage with one another on a global scale.
Because the definition of what constitutes valuable content has changed, so have the lessons about presenting it. One of the best places to look for lessons on the topic comes from bloggers (or large blogs) who have managed to carve out a measure of success.
You have to be dedicated
Starting a blog takes a lot of effort. Remaining enthusiastic about that blog can seem impossible sometimes. Remember that things don’t happen over night. Most websites don’t start to see real traffic until they have been going for at least a year, often longer. That doesn’t even begin to touch how long and how much work is involved in making it a mainstream name. You have to be ready to pour your heart and soul into things, and don’t let yourself become so discouraged that you give up. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Tech Crunch.
Example: One of my favorite bloggers is Lisa Irby from 2CreateAWebsite. She has been growing your blog for ages and you get to admire her dedication!
Timing is everything
A fair amount of content should be evergreen to keep people coming back based on the same post. But being relevant to the time is crucial, and keeping up with trends and current events is going to help you a lot. See what is trending on social media and in search results. Keep up with the latest and most popular stories. Write about things happening now, and try to get it out early.
Example: Ana from Traffic Generation Cafe does an epic job with creating her timely roundups. They are hot and engaging!
Get the scoop
Rewriting other people’s exclusives is a part of things. But you should try and get your own whenever possible. Whether it is a breaking story or an interview, you can do a lot with a scoop that originated with you.
Consistency is important
Don’t start slacking on your writing. Whoever is contributing, such as yourself, staff, or guest writers, they should be coming regularly. Going weeks or months at a time with no updates can really hurt you, and cause your user base you have built to abandon you. It also looks unprofessional. Does Wired just suddenly stop posting? Of course not, and neither should you. Have an editorial calendar and stick to it.
Example: Read Ivana’s article how she consistently and stubbornly was increasing her effort with ViralContentBuzz until it started working for her!
Don’t build a blog, build a community
One of the best things you can do is foster a sense of community with the people who read your work. Which should be what you aim to do, creating a place for others to communicate with you and one another. Comment sections provide some of this space, but that is only for specific pieces. Forums or Facebook pages provide a better platform, as do Twitter profiles, etc. You can invite people to write to you and use their comments in a post. Maybe hold a tweetchat a couple of times a month. This will create a feeling of loyalty in readers, and keep them coming back.
Examples: Every blog you have ever heard from is a tiny community of its own. A blog can never become popular unless there are people who form its community.
Analytics trump personal feelings
When looking over the data on your blog, you won’t always like what you see. That doesn’t matter…you have to follow by what it says. If a certain type of post you enjoy writing doesn’t work so well, you will need to limit how often you post on that subject, or cut it completely. If a feature you don’t particularly like is well received, stick with it regardless. If you are doing A/B testing and don’t agree with the results, do another test but don’t go against it based on a gut feeling.
Whether it is for your blog itself or its social media pages, having influencers on your side makes a huge difference. Influential writers are especially important, as they are a draw in and of themselves. The more well known you become, the easier it is going to be to lure these influencers to work for you. In the meantime, focus on building a relationship with them.
Helpful reading: 6 Steps to Turn Guest Posting on its Head
Be an authority
No matter what, you need to show that you are an authority on any given topic. When you write your content, focus on portraying that image. Only write high quality content. Try to be helpful. Act professional, but friendly. Be the kind of blogger you would want to read.
Example: Don Sturgill is the perfect example of a modest authority. Read how compelling and professional his writing is.
Have some lessons you think can be taken from successful blogs? Let us know in the comments.
By Jessy Troy
Jessy Troy is the long-time blogger and stay-at-home mom writing on a variety of topics. You can follow me on twitter as @JessyTroy