How to Blog Successfully
Blogging began as a way for individual writers to express themselves online, with each early “weblog” being almost like an internet diary. In the Web 2.0 age, it has since developed into one of the most important social media formats on the web. Blogs are now used not just by individuals to express thoughts and ideas or tell stories, but also by businesses to promote their offerings, build brand image, and to engage with customers.
What is a Successful Blog?
The power of blogging comes from its immediacy and its interactivity. A blogger can publish a post about something as soon as it happens, meaning news found on blogs is about as up to the minute as it can get. Most blogs allow readers to comment and get involved in other ways like voting in polls. Essentially, the success of a blog can be judged in two ways – how many people see it, and how many people interact with it.
The other measure of a successful blog is how well regarded it is. How many other blogs are recommending it? How many times does a tweet about a new post get re-tweeted? You should aim for your blog to be respected as an authority on whatever you are writing about, or, if your blog is for comedy or entertainment purposes, as a must read site for people looking for a laugh.
Making Your Blog a Success
To get your blog seen by the most people possible, you need to make sure you are posting regularly about interesting or topical things, and that you are writing in a way that will make the popular search engines place your pages as high up as possible in the results for relevant searches. To do this you need to learn the techniques and methods around search engine optimization (or SEO) and apply them to your writing.
Secondly, you need to allow and encourage commenting and any other interactions from your readers, such as giving them the ability to follow you on social networks like Twitter. This way you can open up a dialog with the people who are reading your site and show that you take their interest seriously.
As a third point, you need to promote your blog. If you already use Twitter, at the very least start tweeting about your blog, and sharing links to any new posts, but if you are really serious set up a new account just for the blog itself, and use it to share not only links, but other thoughts and comments in the same “voice” as your blog. This gives a bit of a value add for your readers as they get that little bit of extra content from you, and also allows you to promote what you are doing as much as you can. You can also consider, once you start becoming popular, having a Facebook Fan Page for your blog, but only do this once you have built up a decent following, it could be counterproductive to have a Fan Page with only you and two of your friends listed as fans.
Measuring Your Blog’s Success
You can generally analyze how successful you blog has become by using analytics tools to see how many hits you have had on each of your posts. These tools, such as the version of Google Analytics you get on Google Blogger blogs, can also tell you things like which search terms people who found your site were using, where they found links to your site on the web (for example you can see, if you use Twitter or Facebook to share links to your blog, how many users each of these is bringing in) and where in the world your readers are located. Sometimes the results can be quite surprising, for example you may find a lot of users coming to your site because of a search term that has nothing to do with what you are actually blogging about, because of a collection of words you just used in your content. It is not just interesting to see this information, it also helps you work out areas where you can make tweaks to get more viewers.