Web Hosting

8 Steps to Making Your Blog Successful

When I look back at the early articles I wrote on my first blog I swing between cringing with embarrassment and smiling to myself.

I had no idea how to write for the web.

I wrote for the Corporate world. I’d been in it for more than 20 years and I was great at creating PowerPoints, memos and reports that carefully ensured I never took a controversial position on anything.

Dry, humourless, characterless and perpetually on the fence, there was always a way out of anything I wrote.

Little wonder, then, that my first blog was not a roaring success.

Success is relative. So when you have no readers a day, getting 10 is success. 10,000 readers a day and you’re aiming for 20,000.

So it was interesting to see a question today asking what makes a good blog. One that attracts loyal readers.

The definition of a successful blog will vary depending on its nature.

A blog that’s a reference site – that provides answers to problems – may be wildly successful in terms of visitors but have very few subscribers.

Its bounce rate will be high, because people find it when searching for an answer. If it provides the answer they’ll immediately leave to implement it. If it doesn’t, they’ll leave to keep searching.

In both cases they enter and leave from the same page.

The opposite is a blog that’s a diary, or a news, commentary or gossip site. These blogs can build a fiercely loyal band of followers.

The bounce rate will be much lower and the average visit length much higher than the reference site.

Which one is more successful? Neither (or both).

So before you can say what makes a blog successful you need to establish a) what type of blog you’re building and b) what your criteria for success are.

Is it readers? Money? Length of stay? It doesn’t matter what criteria you choose, as long as you identify how you’re going to measure your success.

8 Steps to Making Your Blog More Successful

So here are 8 steps to making a blog more successful:

  1. Make sure you know who you’re writing it for.
  2. Make sure it’s properly set up and optimized for the search engines.
  3. Make sure the information on your blog is valuable to whoever you’re writing it for.
  4. Let your personality shine through – whatever your personality is.
  5. Take a position. Express your opinion and don’t hedge your bets.
  6. Interact with your readers – ask for comments and personally respond to each one.
  7. Market and promote your blog.
  8. Recognise that there are billions of web pages out there and it will take time and persistence to get yours noticed, so keep at it.

Leave us a comment and tell us what your definition of success for your blog is

Web Hosting

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shirley 16 December, 2009, 2:50 am

    My definition of success for my blog or a blog as a whole is being able to achieve your main reason behind your blog.
    .-= Shirley´s last blog ..SZ Weekly Wrap-Up 1 Of December, 2009 =-.

    • Martin 16 December, 2009, 7:25 am

      Thanks Shirley,

      I think it’s important to define that main reason, though, and make it measurable. If it’s not measurable you won’t know when you’ve achieved success, or what progress you’re making towards it 🙂

      Of course it’s perfectly OK for your success criteria to be simply that it provides you with enjoyment. This wouldn’t be easily measurable, but as long as you’re still enjoying it that would constitute success.

      Thanks for letting us know!

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • thenone 16 December, 2009, 3:39 pm

    i found your tips is quite simple to follow it, anyway it’s a nice article to read.. 🙂
    .-= thenone´s last blog ..Bersediakah Malaysia Membina Pesawat Tempur =-.

  • Shirley 17 December, 2009, 7:08 am

    You’re welcome, Martin :).
    .-= Shirley´s last blog ..12 Reasons Why Contests/Promos Are Necessary For Your Blog Or Business =-.

  • Paul 17 December, 2009, 7:40 am

    What we are all looking for when we write our blogs is an audience, or in web speak traffic. A successful blog in my opinion is one that can generate consistent traffic.

    What we do with the traffic depends on the objective of your blog. If you set up a political blog for example, and your objective is to spread your beliefs and theories to as many people as possible, then the more traffic you can generate, the more successful you will be at spreading your message.

    If the objective of your blog is to make money by either selling your own products or affiliated products, the more traffic you get the more sales you will make.

    Bloggers need traffic like newspapers need readers. Like celebrities need the paparattzi. Ask yourself this question: Would you continue blogging if you knew you would never generate more than ten readers a day?

    Come on be honest, would you?

    I accept that there will always be exceptions. I’m sure there’s blogs somewhere in cyberspace putting forward arguments that the world is flat and the pictures of earth taken from space were constructed by NASA’s special effects department. No doubt, they have six or seven readers who will all interact and reinforce each other’s beliefs. And the blog owner will be happy.

    Some people will argue that they blog because they enjoy it, and they don’t care about traffic. Fair enough, but wouldn’t a diary be easier.

    For the majority of bloggers though, success is measured in traffic. It’s the Holy Grail for bloggers which is why I would add one more essential item to your list of what makes a successful blog, and that is: “A Traffic Generation Plan.”
    I could talk for hours about traffic but I won’t bore you anymore. Nice post. I enjoyed reading it.
    Thanks
    Paul
    .-= Paul´s last blog ..Ebay Research =-.

    • Martin 17 December, 2009, 8:12 am

      Hi Paul,

      Actually, those 8 steps pretty much constitute my traffic generation plan – meaning if you’re successful at implementing them the traffic will come.

      It’s never quick, though, which is why an additional step that I’ve been turning over in my mind for a while is paid advertising for this site.

      I’ve got as far as creating a landing page for it and identifying a few places I could place ads, but I’m still wrestling with the idea. Not sure why I don’t feel comfortable with it, but I don’t 🙂

      Thanks for dropping in!

      Cheers,

      Martin.

      • Paul 17 December, 2009, 3:42 pm

        I used to subscribe to the “build it and they will come” theory when I first started blogging and there is some truth in it but you need more. My own experience is that I got more traffic and much faster when I implemented an aggressive traffic plan. The same goes for my websites. Are you using only wire?
        I’ve thought of using PPC to promote a site but like you have always resisted for some reason. There’s something that doesn’t feel right about promoting a blog with ppc, or is it simply that we’ve all read the same advice and believe blog traffic should be obtained virally?
        If you have some good prominant adds on your site it might pay. It would be an interesting experiment.
        Cheers
        Paul
        .-= Paul´s last blog ..Ebay Research =-.

        • Martin 17 December, 2009, 9:05 pm

          Ah…!

          Interesting you should mention ‘build it and they’ll come’. That worked 10 years ago, but definitely not today. And those steps I set out above certainly don’t constitute a build it and they’ll come approach.

          I wrote an article on ‘build it and they’ll come’ a while ago – you can find it here.

          It includes a few of the steps I mentioned above, and touches on PPC as well.

          I certainly don’t dispute the need for traffic, but traffic in itself isn’t much good to you (if you’re hoping to monetise your blog) unless it’s targetted.

          Un-targetted traffic just eats up your bandwidth.

          I do agree, though, with your thoughts on why bloggers tend to fight shy of PPC. If I’m honest, I’d think I’d failed with my blog if I resorted to PPC to get people to visit it. Crazy, I know – and maybe I should sort my brain out! 🙂

          Cheers,

          Martin.

  • marvin 18 December, 2009, 6:47 am

    Nice reminder. I need it. Specially now I am about to lose my job :).

    Just revived my main blog after it was hacked (moved to a different host also since I suspect it was server side hacking). So I’m planning to start writing “sensible”articles.
    .-= marvin´s last blog ..Breaking Point =-.

    • Martin 18 December, 2009, 6:51 am

      Sorry to hear about your job – but good luck with ramping up your blogging 🙂

      Being terminated earlier in the year was the best thing that’s happened to me for ages.

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Jim Johnson 22 December, 2009, 2:41 pm

    Good ideas. I get a few visits and a high bounce rate. i will take what you say and use it. Jim Johnson Everett-mortgage-on-line

  • Sadekya 22 December, 2009, 10:37 pm

    Its marketing and promoting a blog that is a real effort. More often than not, one carries on a monologue.

  • Jim Johnson 23 December, 2009, 1:56 pm

    All right Martin. How can we make each blog more effective? Everett-mortgage-on-line I have read your site and agree qwith almost all of it.
    .-= Jim Johnson´s last blog ..Everett Mortgage – Homes for Sale Everett =-.

  • Martin 6 February, 2010, 8:33 am

    Hi Dave,

    You’re welcome – but I’m not sure I’d describe blogging as a basic and general subject..!

    Cheers,

    Martin.