10 Secrets to a Successful Blog

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Eric Alpin

Blogging isn’t new.  In fact, there are over 50 million blogs in existence.  Some are news related, others deal with sports, finance, or hobbies.  No matter what you’re interested in, there is most likely at least one hundred blogs you could read on your favorite subject.

But, good blogging is quite rare.  Out of the 50 million blogs that exist, very few of them are highly functional sources of information.  Most blogs are just skeptics ranting and raving about a particular topic.  There is no life, no strategy, and no validity in those blogs.  Good, solid blogging is rare so when you encounter it, you’re knocked off your feet.  As the reader, you’re captivated and want more.  You are excited about updates and you peruse through the archives to find useful information that may have been published years ago.  You hand on every word the author types and you can’t get enough.  That is a good blog.

Want to know the kicker about good blogs?  They aren’t too tough to develop.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s no walk in the park to create a successful blog.  A lot of work is needed but it’s not as difficult as a person might think.  Check out these tips for creating a successful blog.

  • Pick a topic and stick to it.  Readers are much more likely to visit your page if you blog about one or two topics compared to dozens.  Most people like consistency rather than change.  Blog readers are no different.
  • Update often.  Many people don’t visit blogs because they aren’t regularly maintained.  Create a schedule of when you will post blog entries and follow it.  Once again, consistency goes a long way.
  • Encourage discussions.  Blogs aren’t solely about you telling your side of the story.  Blogs enable readers to chime in with their thoughts and feelings, too.  Ask questions and create an interactive community.
  • Ask for feedback from readers.  Chances are good that your readers want to see your blog succeed, just like you do; therefore, they won’t be shy to offer their feedback on how you can improve their experience.
  • Post a variety of content.  Readers get bored with text-only entries.  Spice things up by including links to other articles, videos, and slide shows.  The more interactive, the better.
  • Form partnerships with other bloggers.  Instead of developing content on your own, contact other bloggers to see if they would be willing to guest blog on your site.  It’s a great way to form a partnership and to gain exposure.  Don’t forget to return the favor!
  • Create an email subscription list.  Most people don’t have time to look through your site so you want to bring the content to them.  An email subscription list is easy to develop, maintain, and customize.
  • Be candid when posting.  Very few people like to read material that clearly lacks heart, passion, and honesty.  Make sure you’re “shooting straight” with your readers.  They’ll respect you tell them accurate information.
  • Give something away.  Whether it’s a document you created on desert animals or a $25 gift card to Subway, find something to offer your readers.  When you show your appreciation by giving something away, your readers know that you are passionate about your work.  Blog readers love passionate people.
  • Remember that it’s not about you.  It’s about your readers.  When you make decisions about your blog, you should keep in mind that you are serving your readers.  Instead of asking yourself, “Will this make the blog better?” ask, “Will this make my readers happier?”

Successful blogs aren’t created overnight.  In fact, it takes months or years to cultivate a great blog.  But, stick with it.  Continue practicing the ten tips described above and develop your own list of thing that make a successful blog.  The Internet awaits you and what you have to say.  Make the most of it.  Become rare and become great.

If you have any great blogging secrets of your own that aren’t mentioned here, share them with us in the comments section.  We’d love to hear from you!

Eric Alpin

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Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

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  • http://twitter.com/ThBaltimoreChop TheBaltimoreChopBlog

    I don't think anyone uses email subscription anymore. RSS is the way forward, although a lot of people still haven't embraced it yet. Any list on blog building should include tips on how to get your feed out there.

    • joelmarkwitt

      Hi Baltimore Chop Blog,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I couldn't disagree more. I think email is MORE important now than ever. In fact we are building our entire business around email.

      Let's assume that you are speaking to an audience of 100 business people. If you ask for a show of hands… “who in here checked their feedreader or RSS feed this morning?” you might get 15 hands raised. Ask the exact same group of people “Who in here checked their email this morning?” and you'll get almost 100 hands raised.

      Ask yourself this…. what is the ONE THING everyone has to have BEFORE signing up to any social network? ….

      … if you said an email address you'd be right.

      Plus – from a strategy standpoint, social networks come and go – but when you have someone's email you have the ability to give them massive value and build a solid relationship.

      Some of the most successful business people I know are using email. Check out http://bisnow.com – this is a several million dollar business built exclusively with email.

      Back to your original point – you are right that RSS is important. It should also be a strategy for getting people involved in online content.

      Thanks again for your thoughts.

      Joel Mark Witt
      Publisher | FolkMedia.org

      • http://twitter.com/ThBaltimoreChop TheBaltimoreChopBlog

        thanks. Well, what could it hurt. I added an email form. We'll see if people care or not. My theory is that inboxes fill up quickly. Just because someone is subscribed, doesn't necessarily mean they're reading. I delete a lot of emails unopened.

        With RSS on the other hand, I at least scan anything in bold and look at the picture, even if I'm not reading in detail. I can't imagine anyone doing both. I think as RSS catches on, email subscription will decrease in general.

        • joelmarkwitt

          One great thing about email marketing is that you can see who is opening and reading messages. You can also track who is clicking on links. So the metrics for tracking ROI are incredible.

          I haven't figured a way to do that with RSS yet.

          Joel

    • joelmarkwitt

      Great blog by the way…