Starting a blog may seem a little overwhelming for the newbie, but it really isn't that difficult to get up and running. There are many platforms that can help get you started – such as Blogger and WordPress.
Both have helpful templates for you to start with and there are countless videos on YouTube to walk you through the start-up process. The difficult part is attracting readers to your blog on a consistent basis.
Is there a magic pill for success? No, there isn't. It's going to take lots of effort, but with a little perseverance and the right approach you can create a successful blog that will attract readers and keep them coming back for more!
Here are ten tips to help move your blog in the right direction.
1. Create a Strong Social Media Presence
Let's not forget about Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Why not use those personal networks to help get your blog off and running?
A blog is not like a traditional website – it's much more interactive. A successful blog is very much like a mini-community, which is exactly what social media is.
Don't be shy; share your blog posts with your friends each and every time you write a new posts. You're bound to get a few visitors.
2. Get Involved in the Blogging Community
Both communities allow you to share your blog posts, and encourage others to share your posts as well. These are places where bloggers can help other bloggers.
3. Create Quality Content
Seems simple enough, but how many blog posts have you read that left you wondering what exactly the point was? If you write a blog post filled with broken English, poor spelling, and weak arguments how many people do you think will come back to read your next post? You'll want to make it interesting.
Break up your content with headings where appropriate, use pictures to illustrate your points and bullets and lists to spice things up. Remember, there's a heck of a lot of content you’re competing with.
Recognize that your reader’s time is valuable; by including these things you'll make your blog stand out from the average run of the mill blog.
4. Use Pingler to Distribute Posts
Pingler offers a free service that will help you distribute your site to the search engines and News Reader sites.
You simply go to pingler.com, submit the URL of your latest post, and Pingler does the rest! If you want to people to find your posts when performing a Google search, this is a great tool to help you with that.
5. Engage in Reciprocity – Comment on Other Blogs
As we've already suggested a successful blog is a community. A great way to help grow your community is to get involved with others in the blogging community.
Search out a few blogs in your niche and start to leave comments on a regular basis. Make sure your comments contribute something valuable to the discussion though.
Simply writing “great post!” at the end of someone’s blog post is not a valuable contribution. Leave a meaningful comment, based on your own feelings about the post, and you'll be surprised how many people will check out your own blog out of simple curiosity.
6. Post on a Regular Schedule
As a reader you're familiar with their schedule, and you can be confident new reading material will be available when you expect it to be.
Your blog is no different. You don't necessarily have to write posts daily, but you should write on a regular schedule that your readers will become familiar with.
If you don't they won't know when to stop by for the next article, and if you're posting schedule is too erratic eventually they'll give up all together.
7. Clearly Define Your Target Market
You need to develop a niche for your blog and stick to it. If you write about everything on your blog from accounting tips to knitting needles you will find it difficult to develop a regular audience.
If your audience knows what to expect from you on a consistent basis, they'll be able to decide if you're blog is something that really interests them.
Not all of your visitors will want to come back, but if you write good articles, in a clearly defined niche, you'll eventually develop a loyal following.
8. Always Respond to Comments on Your Posts
Blogs are not just your standard run of the mill websites. Traditional websites present static material that you can read and then move on to something else. That's it. There's no opportunity for interaction with the websites author.
Blogs are different. In fact, good blogs become their own little communities. Quite often a successful blog will attract a loyal following of readers that comment on posts on a regular basis.
The author is able to develop a relationship with their followers. If they don't, chances are they won't have too many repeat visitors. If you want to grow your blog make sure you respond to all comments whenever possible.
9. Invite Comments from your Posts
As we mentioned above comments are a big part of the blogging community, but there's more to it than just responding to comments left on your blog. In fact, one of the most frustrating aspects of blogging is figuring out how to get visitors to leave a comment in the first place.
A good way to do this is to actively ask your readers to leave a comment at the end of every blog post. Tell them how much you'd love to hear from them! You'd be surprised how many people are waiting for just such an invitation.
10. Be on the Lookout for Ideas
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of blogging is figuring out what to write about.
Most of us will start out with a lot of ideas, but as you mature as a blogger how do you keep the new material coming?
Always be on the lookout for new ideas. Read other blogs, troll the news for ideas, and be resourceful.
Just remember, you're using this material as an inspiration. Don't just regurgitate what others have already written.
Be original, take that idea and make it your own. Give your readers something unique to read. If you're just repeating what others have already said visitors will soon lose interest in what you have to say.
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