Traits of Successful Blogs
If you are an aspiring blogger you can learn a lot by studying blogs that have been successful. Once you have identified what makes them successful, you simply need to apply the same principles to your own blog. To make your research easier, we have listed ten traits of successful blogs.
1. Consistent Posting
In order to establish regular, loyal readers, a blog should have new posts added regularly and consistently. Whether you add a post every day, every week, or every month, the schedule should be somewhat predictable for your readers. Most importantly, there should be no long gaps between posts. If readers visit your blog and find that you haven’t added a post in a long time, they will likely assume that you have stopped the blog, and they probably won’t return. Consistent posting helps to develop loyal readers, and loyal readers are more likely to become customers or to lead you to other potential customers.
2. On Topic
Your posts should remain focused on a primary subject. That subject may be rather broad and may contain a number of sub-topics, but completely unrelated posts will turn off readers who are looking for specific information. Personal blogs are the exception, as they often cover any topic of interest to the writer.
3. Connect with the Reader
Blogging has an advantage over traditional article writing in that blogs invite readers to be actively involved with the posts. Encourage your readers to leave comments and questions and follow up on them whenever possible.
Part of the connection for the reader involves knowing a little bit about the writer. The About Page of your blog is your opportunity to help your readers understand your perspective and your business.
Many of your readers will have blogs of their own. By participating on their blogs you can facilitate a better relationship and build loyalty.
4. Action On Other Blogs
Building on the previous point, you should be contributing feedback on other leading blogs. If another blog has the same target audience as yours, leaving valuable feedback can lead to new readers. The easiest way to stay consistent with posting on other blogs is to set up an RSS reader and subscribe to feeds from a number of blogs related to the same subject as yours. Each day scan through the new posts and look for opportunities to add valuable insight or answer questions posted by other readers.
5. Found On Social Media Sites
Sites such as Digg, Delicious, Reddit and Netscape provide tons of traffic to top blogs. These sites all feature articles that their members have recommended. To maximize your chances of reaching the front page of some of these sites, study the articles that have been featured and learn about the audience pf each of these social media sites. Make it easy for your readers to recommend your article by providing links to add to Delicious, Digg and other sites (consider using Add This).
6. Provide Quality, Original Content
Obviously the quality of content is crucial. Original content that can’t be found anywhere else will keep your readers coming back for more, and it will help your search engine ranking.
7. Listed in Blog Directories
Blog directories are a great place to pick up new readers and they also give your blog valuable inbound links, which boost your search engine rankings. Most directories allow blog owners to add their blog for free. Industry-specific blog directories can be especially beneficial. (A list of blog directories and RSS directories can be found on our website).
8. Easy Navigation
Blog readers should also be able to quickly find posts on topics that interest them. Many blogs categorize their posts and then provide links to the categories on the side column, Another good idea is to provide a list of your most popular posts in the side column, providing easy one-click access for readers to your top content. If possible, you should also have a search function to allow visitors to find whatever they want.
9. Link to RSS Feed is Easily Found
Increasing your number of RSS subscribers will increase the number of regular readers. In order to get as many subscribers as possible, you should place a link to your RSS feed (and maybe an icon) where it will easily be seen. Burying the link at the bottom of your pages will mean less people see the link, and less people will subscribe. You can get RSS icons at FeedIcons.com.
In order to know how many people you are reaching and to know the strengths and weaknesses of your blog, you will need access to statistics for analysis. There are several programs that provide these services (Ice Rocket, Sitemeter, AWStats).