Your blog should work for you on at least several different levels: 1). As a creative outlet for your ideas and energy; 2). As a marketing tool for your brand, whether that brand is personal, educational, business, or a combined blend; 3). As a continuing interaction with others.
Yet so often people create a blog with high expectations, and then get discouraged and neglect their work. Cyberspace is full of abandoned blogs. If you’ve had this experience, don’t despair. Don’t give up on the idea of creating and maintaining a powerhouse blog. Below lists the five fundamentals that will help you turn your blog into a life-changing experience:
Start at the Beginning
Every great blog begins the same way; by obtaining a website/ platform of your own. You secure a domain name and install a platform, such as WordPress. This is very basic, but it’s surprising how many blogger wannabes try to begin their work with other priorities. Successful bloggers begin by using a web hosting company, either dedicated or shared, to get this fundamental work up and running.
A vital part of this beginning is to pick a good domain name (i.e. “www.asitename.com”). Always start by securing your own legal name for a dot-com, if it’s available. It gives you some immediate copyright protection. Start with your full name; it that’s been taken, then start working on variations on your name until you hit on one that is not already in use. It’s also important to stick to the most recognized dot-coms, that is: .com; .net, or .org.
WordPress is one of the easiest platforms to set up your domain and hosting on (although it is shared). No need to hassle with uploading software or files. In most cases you can use a one-click installation.
Content is King
Your blog is all about created content. Your blog must stand out with either brilliant originality or extremely useful and timely information and/or news. After all, the competition is tough and growing; 50 thousand new websites are added to WordPress each day.
Your content needs to be focused and niched down. In other words, avoid generalities and deal with specifics. For instance, if you’re doing a blog on Game of Thrones you’ve got to narrow your focus to one particular aspect or character of the blockbuster show. Instead of a blog that is “All Things Game of Thrones”, you want something like “Love Letters to Tyrion Lannister”. This is how you become a cyber authority; when Tyrion Lannister is Googled, your blog stands a good chance of being the first item displayed. Shun posting anything generic on your blog; SEO doesn’t like generic.
To create killer content always check out what other blogs with similar themes are doing; then go them one better. Get better graphics. Get better information. Use video. Invite more comments by responding to them as soon as possible. Think of yourself as a visitor to your own blog; would what you see make you want to linger, or would it send you away? Get some friends and family to view your blog and encourage them to give you an honest reckoning. Anything that distracts, discourages, or deranges a visitor to your blog should be pulled and reexamined, even if you consider it some of the best work you’ve ever done.
Pick your Passion
Because setting up your blog has become so simple, it can be easy to take the whole process for granted and forget the passion that initially lay behind your desire, your passion, for a quality blog. Your blog should focus on one or more of these ambitions:
- Hobby/Obsession: This is where you will expand on what really interests you/moves you.
- Enhance Your Personal Brand: A blog is an ideal location to nourish your resume and create an online profile that will sparkle when others access it.
- Professional/Business: To share information about your organization by creating the kind of quality content about your products and services that will inevitably increase traffic.
In the long run, your blog is only going to be as good as the passion you put into it; that means maintaining and increasing its quality to the point that you’re getting the traffic, readers, and revenue that you want. This doesn’t mean that your blog has to make you a millionaire overnight, but that it meets the original standards and goals your passion set for it.
Building Your Audience
When your content is good you’ll attract some traffic automatically. Your audience will grow organically as more people learn about your site. This is a slow process that takes patience and belief in yourself. But there are things you can do to speed up the process including writing guest blogs on other sites similar to yours, linking your blog to your Facebook and Twitter account, and all other social media accounts you’re using, and finally, contacting all other sites in your niche-world to leave comments and make offers to share information.
The best part? These growth strategies usually won’t cost you anything but your time.
When You’re Thinking Outside the Box, Think Outside Yourself as Well!
Your blog is an extension of yourself, of your business, of your brand. But always keep in mind that unless you WANT to do a monolog in cyberspace, you’ve got to keep your readers in mind. What do they need from your blog; what do they want? Are you giving it to them — and how do you know if you are or not? Constantly task yourself with the goal of finding out why people are accessing your blog and what it is that keeps bringing them back. WordPress has some simple-to-use apps to keep you informed of reader statistics. Use them to gauge interest in your blog.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, a powerhouse blog isn’t going to just spring up overnight. With careful planning, patience, and a willingness to learn from other bloggers, your site can become everything you want it to be — and more!
Amanda DiSilvestro is the Editor in chief for Plan, Write, GO. She has been writing about all-things digital marketing, both as a ghost writer, guest writer, and blog manager, for over 10 years. Check out her blogging services to learn more!