15 Irrefutable Qualities of Successful Blogs
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Do you want a blog that is highly successful? Do you want visitors to flock to your site, readers to leave comments, and advertisers to fill your wallet? I know that I do!
A few years ago blogging was a brand new art. People were wading through dark jungles of unknown territory trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Those first bloggers were pilgrims in a sense paving a way for the rest of us.
15 Irrefutable Qualities of Successful Blogs
We now have the luxury of sitting back and learning from those bloggers who have made it big. I’ve made it my goal to do just that.
- Successful Blogs Are Credible: Anyone with a little bit of time on their hands can publish false information to the internet on a homemade website, a blog or even on mainstream websites like Wikipedia. As a result, people are now less likely to take you serious than ever before. If you want your site to be taken seriously you’re going to have to demonstrate your authority, your accuracy, your objectivity, your currency, and your coverage. For more details about each of these concepts, check out The Litmus Test for Assessing Online Credibility.
- Successful Blogs Have Authentic Authors: If there was a single buzzword to describe the key to success in 2010 and 2011, it would have to be the word authentic. Never before have people been looking for genuine, down-to-earth educators and entertainers to connect with on blogs and social media. As you write your blog, be real with your readers. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Folks have a special disdain for people who live the fake-it-till-you make it lifestyle.
- Successful Blogs Are Entertaining: Regardless of the topic of your blog, you will always enhance your user’s reading experience by conveying your material with a fun, easy-to-read style. Use humor, storytelling and fun graphics to make your site more fun and inviting. The only limitation on this concept is your own imagination. For more about this, check out Ow! Ow! It’s so boring it hurts my head.
- Successful Blogs Have Amazing Designs: Average bloggers tend to fail on this one…a lot. Most people get into blogging because they have a passion to write about something. The majority of bloggers assume that as long as they write about what they love then they will be successful. The problem is that every visitor that hits a less-than-amazing blog ends up leaving before even looking at the first post titles. Many visitors never even makes it far enough to see the ‘amazing’ content that the blogger has put together.
Remember that blogs are like babies. Nobody else thinks yours is as cute as you do. You’d better give your readers a reason to stick around because they aren’t going to do it on their own.
- Successful Blogs Offer A Unique Experience: According to Technorati, a new blog is created every second. There are literally millions and millions of blogs competing for traffic and if you want to succeed then you have to find a way to set yourself apart from the rest! If you want to propel your site to the top then you need to ask yourself these questions:
What do I offer my readers that they can’t get anywhere else?
Are my posts creative and original?
Is my design a popular template or a rarer, more unique layout?
- Successful Blogs Provide Well-Written Content: I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “If you build it…they will come!” Well that’s not exactly true. You not only have to build it, but you have to build it well. Take the time necessary and develop some amazing articles. Before you hit the publish button you need to put your post through the following series of questions:
Are there spelling errors or grammatical mistakes?
Am I staying on topic or do I ramble?
Is my post a comprehensive look at the topic at hand?
Is my post inviting to commenters?
Is my post broken up with sub-headings, bold content, bullet points and quote blocks for post skimmers?
- Successful Blogs Connect With Their Readers: Comments are the life-blood of a successful blog. I believe that comments are vitally important as they are the identifiable marks of the connection between blog authors and blog readers. That’s why I’m willing to do just about anything to get people to break away from being passive readers and become active participants in the conversation at Site Sketch 101. I want to connect with my readers and I want my readers to connect with me. Invite feedback in your posts by asking for thoughts, opinions and even disagreements. Let your readers know that you want their feedback.
- Successful Blogs Provide Simple Connection Options: As people work to connect with the author of a blog, they may wish to take their virtual friendship with a blog owner to the next level by friending them on Twitter or liking their Facebook page. This can only happen if your readers are able to find you on these platforms. Simplify this process by using clear labels or large, easily identifiable buttons to lead your readers to you.
- Successful Blogs Provide Easy Share Options: Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are now being used more than ever by people who wish to share online content with one another. Sharing links on Facebook, liking pages and websites on Facebook, and sharing content across Twitter seem to be the most popular methods of doing this. You can amplify the level of sharing that takes place by making the share options easy to find and use.
- Successful Blogs Offer Easy Subscription Options: RSS and email subscriptions are the absolute best ways to create repeat visitors. These outperform just about any other method that you can think of when trying to get your visitors to come back for more. Make it your goal to get as many people to subscribe as possible to your RSS and email updates. Here’s a few ideas that I practice on Site Sketch 101 and I’ve experienced amazing growth in my subscribers since the start of this blog:
Place large RSS and email icons near the top of each page.
Place subscription options at the end of each post.
Email first time commenters and include a link to your RSS and email subscriptions in the email.
- Successful Blogs Have Optimized Post Footers: If you have a visitor that just read one of your articles and enjoyed it then what would you like for them to do next? Regardless of your answer to that question, optimizing your post footer is the key to achieving it. I have several things that I would like my users to do after reading an article and you can see these options at the bottom of every post at Site Sketch 101. I recommend that you develop something similar to this:
View and read other similar articles.
Subscribe to the RSS or Email updates.
Bookmark or share the article at social bookmarking sites.
Leave a comment.
- Successful Blogs Have Organized Sidebars: This is really one of my pet peeves. It’s also one of those things that really separates the professionals from the amateurs. Amateur bloggers float around the internet looking for ‘cool’ stuff to put in the sidebar of their blog. They end up loading their sidebar up with countdowns, the latest tweets from their dog Fido, their daily astrology fortune and all kinds of other nonsense. Take the time to clean up your sidebar. Get rid of anything that doesn’t support the overall topic of the blog. It’s better to only have a few items that focus on and compliment your content than to have dozens of widgets that distract your users and subtract from your effectiveness.
- Successful Blogs Are Search Engine Optimized: I take the time to create a meta description that is between 100 and 160 characters long on most of the posts at Site Sketch 101. I manually create a few tags that I also use as meta keywords. I use heading tags for post titles and for headings within my titles because Google and other popular search engines use these titles to determine what keyword to list your site under in their index. Google and Yahoo can be your largest source of traffic but you have to let them know what your site is about. Don’t try to spam your meta tags with bogus keywords. Take your time and input what your articles are actually about.
- Successful Blogs Are Easy To Navigate: Most casual web surfers don’t want to have to solve some sort of a puzzle to figure out how to find what they are looking for on your site. Let’s accommodate them by making our site very easy to navigate. Place large links to your categories across the top of your pages. Include a link to the homepage on every page perhaps in the form of a logo so that if a user feels lost they can head to the homepage and start over.
- Successful Blogs Have Effective Headlines: If you haven’t read my article ‘10 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles’ then you should hop over and check it out. Here is an excerpt from that article:
Most bloggers fail to realize that their post titles are the number one advertisements for their articles. Post titles have to put on the gloves and go head-to-head with dozens of other post titles in people’s RSS readers, email accounts and search engines. It’s your job to get your post titles ready to perform like the champs they have the potential to be.
Conclusion – The Law of Multiplication
Do you want to add readers to your blog? Pick any one of these principles and put it to work on your site. You will be amazed at how fast your readers will add up.
Do you want to multiply the number of readers at your blog? Pick any two, three, four or even all of these principles and put them to work for you. When these blog qualities are combined in the same blog then you will begin to see growth like you have never experienced.