I sometimes get emails from newer bloggers asking for tips for building a successful blog. I’m flattered that they consider me a successful blogger with wisdom to impart – I’ve only been blogging for eighteen months, after all! – but I’m glad to share a few things I’ve learned along the way.
First, make sure your blog is easily readable. This may seem like a no brainer, but if your text is too small, or if the colors class, or if the site navigation is confusing, you’re going to have a problem gaining readers.
Next, and I can’t underestimate the importance of this point, write, write, write, and write what you love. If you worry too much about what people want to read, or if you try to force things that don’t come, you won’t enjoy blogging and you won’t come across as, well, you. Seriously. First and foremost, write for yourself.
That said, you should choose a niche of sorts. What sort of blog do you want it to be? What range of topics do you want to cover? You can blog about more than one thing, but if the topics you blog on vary so much that there is no predictable pattern at all, you may have problems gaining readers. Finding a niche and defining your blog is a good thing.
Next, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Sometimes you really need to ignore your stats and just write. It’s important to build up a healthy body of content, and also, the more you write the more chance that something you write will go viral, or at least get passed around and gain you some writers. So just write.And finally, if you want to gain readers you need to network, network, network. How? It’s actually really not all that complicated. See, there are any number of people out there who might like to read what you write, but they won’t if they never find you. So how do you help them find you? First, comment on the blogs you follow, and always make sure that clicking on your name will take someone to your blog. If someone finds one of your comments interesting or informative, the odds are that they will click on your name to find out more about you. Second, link to and/or respond to other bloggers’ posts. This will notify other bloggers of your existence (they will get pingbacks alerting them to your posts), and they may become readers and then link to and/or respond to a future post of yours that they find interesting. Third, do guest posts for other blogs if possible. This will make more people aware of your presence, and may gain you more readers. If you want to do guest posts, my advice would be to find a blog that covers your same content area and regularly posts guest posts and then pitch a post idea.
Anyway, those are a few of the things I’ve learned about blogging over the last year and a half. If you want more, I highly recommend this post of tips by Dan Fincke. And as always, feel free to leave comments offering additional thoughts!