All bloggers have one thing in common: they want their blog to succeed. For most bloggers, success means converting loyal followers.
No matter when or why you started your blog, a few tweaks here and there to your blog and your attitude can change things for the better. Check out our list of seven tips to help you succeed as a blogger.
1. Find a Niche
This little bit of advice has been bouncing around the Internet since the dawn of the first successful blog. Still, a lot of newbie bloggers don’t take this advice to heart, partially because a lot of new bloggers aren’t sure what to blog about and partially because others don’t know what a niche is. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
Niche is defined as, “a specialized but profitable corner of the market.”
What we really mean when we say “find your niche” is to narrow your blog’s focus. Talking about anything and everything that comes to mind is great if you’re writing for yourself, but readers may find that chaotic and difficult to follow. What readers really want is a collection of related and helpful articles on the same topic to help solve a problem or question.
Examples of niches include:
- DIY Home Decor
- Web Design
While it’s true that there are blogs on practically every niche, the key to really being successful and hitting your target audience is to narrow your topic even further. Find a hole in the market and focus on that. This will reduce your competition while making you a go-to expert in your niche.
For example, Blogging Basics 101 started because there were tons of sites with blogging advice for intermediate and advanced bloggers, but there wasn’t a lot of good advice for novice bloggers.
Another example would be if you wanted to start a travel blog. Instead of focusing on travel in general, you might narrow your focus to a single country or city. That way, you become the number one go-to blog for people looking to visit that area.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Self-Promote
Promoting your own project on social media or within your group of friends is intimidating for a lot of people. You don’t want to sound like you are bragging, and you definitely don’t want to come across looking like spam.
If you want to succeed, however, you have to get the word out there, and who better to do that than you? It’s all part of the marketing process, and bloggers have to learn how to use social media and blog commenting functions to market themselves.
Sometimes tooting your own horn isn’t all that bad. The key is to find a balance between self-promotion and humility. Many bloggers and social media enthusiasts suggest using 80 percent of your social comments and shares to promote other people’s works and 20 percent of it promoting your own products and services.
3. Build on What Works
Experimenting is all a part of the process, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Start a new weekly blogging series, try placing ads, or start guest posting.
Use your website statistics and commenting functions to see how readers react to these new ideas. If you’re not seeing any indication of a reaction in your stats, poll your readers to see what they think.
Testing one thing here or there isn’t likely to hurt your blogging practice. Some of these experiments can lead to a huge increase in traffic. The good news is that you can always ditch the ones that don’t work.
4. Perform an “Above the Fold” Test
Above the fold includes the content you see when you first view your blog. It’s anything that you see without scrolling.
Since you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression and help readers find what they’re looking for, you want the most important information above the fold. For instance, people should be able to tell who you are and what you do without scrolling. If it’s not evident in your blogs title, it’s worth adding a tagline. If you want to draw attention to your call-to-action, that should appear above the fold as well.
Not sure how your website performs in this regard? Use the Clue App to set up a free 5-second test. Send the test out to your friends or followers to see which information readers see as most important. Don’t like the results? It’s worth rethinking your website layout.
5. Make Your Blog Sticky
Sticky is a term that means you’re encouraging people to return to or stay on your blog. For example, you might link to a relevant article from your blog’s archives. You can do this within the content, or you can list additional resources at the end of each blog post. The idea is that these links point to your own content and offer readers more in-depth information on the topic or a related subject.
As you do this, people are more likely to stick around and subscribe to your blog. You can also make your blog sticky by inviting readers to subscribe to your blog or by making your RSS feed available with the click of a button.
6. Look for Ways to Extend Your Blog
To get people to stick around and keep coming back, it’s worth extending your reach outside of simple blog posts. This helps you reach more people who enjoy other forms of content and contact, and it keeps your blog from getting boring.
Examples of ways to extend your reach include:
- Hanging around industry forums or social media
- Sending out newsletters
- Starting a podcast series
- Releasing videos
7. Create Quality Content
People have been saying it for years, and the saying still holds true. Content is king.
Without well-written and engaging content, your blog isn’t going to go anywhere. Yes, your blog design and your marketing tactics are important, but they’re practically useless if you don’t have quality content. People may come because of the marketing, but they’ll stay when you deliver content they need.
Pro tip: Creating content users “need” can encompass anything from teaching them something to providing entertainment. While blogging about yourself can have its benefits, you should always be focusing on solving the reader’s problems first (whether they want a good laugh or are looking for advice). Satisfying their needs is what will drive readers to subscribe to your blog.