As someone who has been working online for 11 years and has been blogging regularly for the last 5 years, I can tell you from experience that blogging is both very rewarding and a great way of making money online. It takes a lot of hard work to build and grow a successful blog. Today I would like to share with you 11 blogging tips for creating a successful blog.
1. Choose A Topic You Love
Choosing your blog’s topic is your first step though it is also one of the most important. It is vital that you have a passion for the subject you are blogging about. If you love what you are writing about, it will be reflected in the articles you write.
I also strongly encourage you to stick to one topic. The vast majority of top blogs on the web focus on one subject such as Technology, Sports, Fashion or Entertainment. If your blog changes topics frequently you will find it difficult to establish a readership.
2. Research, Research, Research
Successful bloggers don’t get carried away and launch their blog without doing a lot of research and a lot of preparation. Make sure you research every aspect of the blog you are about to launch. Have a look at other blogs in your chosen niche. Why are certain blogs successful and others are not? Can you offer something they can’t? Is there a gap in the market i.e. is there a sub-niche that no other blog writes about exclusively? Researching before launching a blog will prepare you for what lies ahead.
3. Select the Perfect Domain Name
Your domain name should either reflect your blogs topic or be short and brandable (or preferably both!). If you are launching a localised blog then a regional domain extension like .co.za is fine. On most occasions though, a .com domain extension is preferred though .net is a good alternative if the .com version of your domain is taken.
Hyphens are useful if the last letter in your first keyword and first letter in your second keyword match i.e. tennis-show.com would be better than tennisshow.com due to the double s. I don’t recommend using more than one hyphen in any situation though.
4. Decide What Blogging Platform To Use
If you have absolutely no money to invest in your blog, or just want to test the waters first, then it’s worth starting out using a hosted blogging service such as Blogger or WordPress.com. Those who want to take their blog seriously, should use a self hosted script and purchase a hosting package from a company such as HostGator or Hetzner (Linux). One of my top blogging tips is to use the self hosting script from WordPress.org. It’s the easiest to use, has the most features and also has the largest support community for any blogging platform, therefore it is much easier to get help when you’re unsure about how things work.
5. Design Your Blog
The first bite is with the eye. It is important that your blog has a professional looking design. The design shouldn’t be too cluttered and reading your blog posts should be an enjoyable experience with readers. Regardless of how good your content is, a poor design will hinder your traffic and stop people from subscribing to your blog. Make sure your subscription links (RSS, Twitter, Facebook etc) are displayed prominently on your blog sidebar and make it easy for readers to share your content.
6. Launch Your Blog
Once your blog has been designed, you can prepare your blog for launch. If you have some money to invest you can start off with a bang by launching with a fun competition. Your main priority is your content. You should have a few weeks of articles written in advance for your blog. Your initial articles will set the tone for your blog and show readers what they can expect from you and your blog in the future.
7. Content Is King
Good content is at the heart of every successful blog. Ensure your articles are fun, informatitive, useful and relevant. Be aware of how search engines work and how keywords and phrases can affect your incoming search traffic but remember to always write your articles for your readers and not for the search engine robots.
Make a point of subscribing to good blogs and news websites within your niche using an RSS reader such as Netvibes or Google Reader. This will help you stay informed of the latest developments within your niche and help you to stay ahead of the game.
8. Promote Your Blog
The famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams “If you build it, he will come” does not apply to blogging. Good content is what will keep people visiting your website time and time again, however it’s important to get people to your blog in the first place, particularly at the beginning.
Competitions can be useful for promoting a new blog, as is actively commenting on similar blogs and websites (though I don’t recommend spamming!). However, one of the best blogging tips I can give you and one of the most effective way of building a blogs traffic, is by guest posting. By writing articles for free for large high traffic blogs you can get incoming links to your blog. It’s the cheapest and most effective way of getting targeted traffic to your blog.
9. Interact With Your Readers
Connect with your readers. Readers remain loyal to a blog when the owner/authors respond to the comments they write. It not only helps you to get know your readers, it also shows you value their contribution and appreciate them reading your site.
Getting to know your readers is even easier now through social media services such as Twitter or Facebook.
10. Track Your Blogs Success
Analyzing your traffic and blogs performance with Google Analytics will allow you to plan how your blog moves forward. Try and find out what posts are generating the most comments and what posts are getting the most search engine traffic. I don’t recommend tracking your stats on a daily basis. Once a week should be more than sufficient for most bloggers and will help you decide what topics to write for in the future.
11. Monetize Your Blog
If you researched your market before you launched your blog, you should have an idea of how your blog is going to make money. If you didn’t, don’t worry, as any blog that has traffic has the potential to make money. There are a variety of ways to make money through a blog. The most common being text and banner advertising though you can also make more reviewing products and services, charging for premium content and affiliate marketing.
Blogs are also the perfect platform to launch related products and services e.g. membership areas, courses, e-books etc. You are only limited by your own imagination. Making more money will help your blog grow and a percentage can be reinvested back into the blog e.g. hire writers for your blog, have the blog redesigned etc.
I hope you enjoyed this small list of tips to create a killer blog. My advice to you is this. Never become complacent – the harder you work on your blog, the more likely it will become a success. Though it is equally important to enjoy what you do so work out what works for you and what doesn’t.