11. Tips to Help You Run a Successful Blog
There are over 100 million blogs online, and they cannot all be successful. Some of the blogs have a good start, and then they simply can no longer cope with their competitors. Some bloggers give up when they face obstacles or might get discouraged by a slow start.
To make sure you stay motivated and you continue optimizing your blog like successful bloggers do, follow these tips:
Have a responsive blog
Almost half of your blog visitors will arrive from mobile devices nowadays. The percentage will increase in the coming years. What it means is that responsive blog design is a must if you want your blog to be successful. You have to publish content that is mobile-friendly, to make sure you offer the same user experience to both desktop and mobile users.
Blog responsiveness is often associated with blog speed as well. A responsive blog is the one that loads fast, so this is another aspect to take into account when thinking about blog responsiveness. Things that might be slowing your blog speed include:
- Image size
- Image format
- Slow server
- Too many plugins
- Coding issues
- Not using browser caching
Consistency in publishing a blog is necessary to maintain your readership. Blogs now have the status newspapers once did. They provide a daily dose of entertainment, fun, news, latest updates, industry news, creative ideas, etc. If someone becomes your regular visitor, that person expects the blog to be regularly updated. After all, why would they visit again if it were not for the new content?
Most marketing experts agree that consistency in publishing is important, but what they do not agree upon is the pace at which you should publish. There is no official recommendation on an ideal publishing pace. However, it is worth reflecting upon one statistic from this book’s chapter 1, where it is stated that companies that publish more content (16+ blog posts per month) get more traffic (3.5x more).
Try to create and publish as frequently as you can. However, try to maintain a bit of predictability so the readers can expect your post. For example, if you go for one post a week, choose a specific day when you publish.
Work on building influence
If you want to become a blogger who is also an influencer, you will need to develop a personalized approach and find new ways to connect with your audience. For starters, create author profiles for each author on your blog. Each author profile should have a picture and additional information.
Other factors that can help you build your influence include:
- Gaining trust among online users
- Providing accurate and up-to-date information
- Publishing regularly and sticking to your niche
- Extending your influence to the social networks
Making contacts is another way to help you run a successful blog. These connections help you find new collaboration opportunities, new ideas or simply get someone to exchange experience about blogging and pitfalls you might come across. Although contacts from your niche are the people you want to focus on, always try to extend your influence. You never know how lucrative these connections might turn out to be.
Start a newsletter
One of the most powerful tools of every blogger is his or her mailing list. This is why you should start a newsletter. It can help you encourage people to apply and stay in touch with you through emails. Offering some exclusive materials and insights is a helpful way to encourage more sign-ups.
Additionally, email marketing can become another medium to monetize your blog, especially if you have a great reputation and influence among your subscribers.
Engage through social networks
Social networks are one of the ways you can increase traffic to your blog. Start by sharing your blog posts on the social media accounts you manage. Each social media post should have text added to it, as well as an image (or a video). These will help you engage your users and encourage them to click on the link to read the full article, which they can find on your blog.
Unlike search engines, where you are likely to reach users who look for specific terms that take them to your content, social networks help with reaching users without them initiating the search. While organic reach on social media has its limitations, and sometimes even those who follow you might not receive your status updates in their news feed, paid reach on social media can always be used as an alternative. With advanced targeting options and engaging CTAs (CTA = Call To Action), boosting the reach of your status updates through paid campaigns can significantly help you increase engagement on social networks and bring traffic to your blog.
Optimize your blog with the right plugins
Plugins are an absolute necessity of any successful blog, as they enhance its performance and add useful features that are not a part of the basic blogging platform. This is why you should explore the plugins available for your blogging platform and install those you will find most helpful for your type of blog.
One thing is important to have in mind. Plugins can, and often do, slow down your blog. Still, they provide some features you cannot live without. The ideal solution is to install only those plugins that you genuinely use. Also, make sure you install new, updated versions of those plugins as soon as they are available.
Consider security before it is too late
Security is an important part of having a blog. You want your content to stay secure and available to online users. The possibility of your blog being hacked always exists, but there are a few things you can do to increase security before that happens.
- Secure the login details
- Hide the information about the version of the CMS you are using
- Backup your website regularly
- Be cautious when installing plugins
- Keep your CMS platform and all the plugins updated
- Get an SSL certificate for your blog
Use catchy titles
Titles can help you a lot with getting organic traffic from the search engines. You should do some research before you decide on a title.
- Determine the focus keyword you want to use
- Explore the search engines to avoid using a title that already exists
- Use online tools to get title ideas and optimize your title
Besides their effect on search engines, blog titles are also the most prominent part when sharing a blog post on social media.
The main purpose of the title is to draw attention, to encourage people to click on the link and start reading the article. Therefore, think about these goals when choosing a title for your next blog article.
Format to enhance readability
How the blog content looks is just as important as the message you convey with it. When the users click on a link to read your article, they will first quickly skim through the text. For them, it is essential that the article is readable. You will achieve this with:
- Bold and italic text
- Short paragraphs
When they skim the text, they can get the gist. In fact, some visitors will be happy with the gist and will not even bother reading the whole thing. However, presenting the content in a reader-friendly way, you increase the chance of people reading it. When you organize information in logical units, i.e., paragraphs, and highlight the most important things, you provide an organized message and provide better reader experience. Those who are reading will be able to keep up with the flow of the text and to remember the key aspects of it.
Proofread all your posts over and over again
Proofreading is an absolute must for all your content, including the about us page, contact page, etc. You want to present content of high quality to your readers, which also means that this content should be free of typos and any mistakes. Errors leave a negative impression because the article might seem written in haste. This kind of attitude does not work well for you and your credibility, because it will seem that you do not care too much about the content you have published, nor do you see it valuable. And if you see it that way, your readers might start too.
You should proofread the content yourself, or hire someone to do that for you. You can even use software that detects minor errors and typos.
Avoid cluttering your blog
Think about how each blog page looks like. First, there is a top part which usually features the main menu, or featured articles. Then there is the article page. You might also have content in the sidebar, in the footer, etc. You can also have a pop-up window, usually with a CTA (CTA = Call To Action).
Although these are all possible places to show off content or even promote some ads, try to avoid cluttering your blog. You want the focus of your readers to be the article they are about to read. Limit the design of the page to only the content that is the most relevant to the readers. For example, you might keep the pop-up that helps you generate emails, but you might want to lose the sidebar ad that hardly gets any clicks. You can test different approaches, and see what works best for you.
Get to know your readers to create better content
When starting out, you will focus on the content you think your audience will find most helpful and most interesting. As you start getting visitors, you will get a chance to know them better which will enable you to create better content. For you to succeed in this, try using several methods:
- Ask your readers how useful that content is. Can it be applied to their business? To their life? Etc. These kind of questions are usually added at the end of the article
- Start interaction with your readers in the comments section, which is usually found below the article, to find out their opinion
- Conduct a survey asking questions that will help you get to know your readers
- Send an email asking subscribers questions directly or asking them to participate in a survey
- Analyze the statistics and detect the articles with the best statistics (the highest conversion rate, the longest session duration, etc.)
The content you create is designed for your readers and for that content to achieve the best performance, it needs to be tailored to appeal to your audience. As much as you think you know what useful content is for your audience, you might be surprised by the results. Also, this is a handy way to get some new ideas, when you have trouble finding new topics to write about. Listening and learning from your target audience is never a bad thing.
Be patient and realistic when setting up goals
You want your blog to be successful. Each blogger does. But not everyone makes it. Not everyone manages to turn blogging into a profitable career. This is why you have to be realistic when starting out. You should not get carried away by examples of bloggers, who made it really fast. Also, do not get discouraged by a slow start.
Instead, when you start a blog, set up goals. Try to be as realistic as possible. Even though it might be difficult for you to foresee what you can expect in a month or two, try to determine some achievements you want to reach. This should all be a part of your blogging strategy. The goals you want to achieve should then be used as a guideline to develop your strategy and use the methods that will help you achieve your goals.
Also, have in mind that it takes time for a blog to start off. Once you hit that live button, there might be days before you see any visits. It takes time for search engines to index the new pages, and even more time to reach page 1 in Google, Bing or one of the other search engines. It takes time for those pages to reach your online users.
Implementing different promotional strategies will help you with spreading the word about your blog and achieving your goals.
Keep an eye on the statistics
Blog statistics provide a glimpse into how your readers are interacting with the content. The information you get this way include the following:
- Data about the readers (location, demographics, etc.)
- Data about the visit (session duration, page viewed per visit, etc.)
- How the visitors interact with the content (which pages they click on, which content they share, download, etc.)
All of these details are helpful to determine what kind of content performs best, as well as how the readers are consuming the content. You might notice that longer posts get more visits, or that shorter posts generate more leads. The idea is to find out more about your blog through the statistics and to use that knowledge to create even better-performing content.