Ask any seasoned blogger and he will tell you one irrefutable fact – building a successful blog takes time. But there are certainly ways in which you can speed the process up.
There are established bloggers who can launch a site into relative success in just a few short weeks. Take Corbett Barr’s new blog, Expert Enough, as a example. It only launched in October 2011, but attracted over 30,000 visitors in January 2012:
That is impressive growth by anyone’s standards. But Corbett had a massive advantage – he had done it all before. He had the connections and the knowhow required to launch a successful blog in a relatively short space of time. We are not all in Corbett’s position.
But there is no point in complaining about how some people just have it better. After all, Corbett started with zero visitors to his first blog, just like everyone else. He may be further down the line than you in terms of expertise and connections, but there is no reason to say that you cannot achieve the same, given time.
The Two Key Principles of Successful Blog Building
At the most basic level, there are two key ingredients to creating a successful blog – execution, and time. The quality of your execution will have a direct impact on your blog’s potential for success, and the passing of time will allow the execution to take effect.
Breaking the execution down further, there are three broad categories of execution that you must target – content, design, and marketing. Today, we are going to talk about content. Or to be more specific, how you can become a must-read blogger.
Let’s get down to it!
The first thing you must do with your content is engage the reader. This starts with your headline and excerpt. Make no mistake – when it comes to producing must-read content, the most important piece of the puzzle by far is your headline and excerpt.
Let’s put it this way – your post headlines are going to be read a damn sight more than the actual posts. One of the best ways in which you can attract more readers is to craft more engaging headlines. Convert headline skimmers to post readers.
To be frank, if the rest of your content stinks but you have a great headline, at least you’re giving people a chance to judge. If your headline and excerpt stinks, you’ve lost the battle before it has even begun.
This point leads directly on from the first one. If you craft masterful headlines and excerpts that whip up curiosity in a reader’s mind, you must ensure that you deliver on your promise.
Making promises in your headline that you don’t deliver on in your content is one of the easiest ways to damage your reputation. Although creating compelling headlines is key to producing a must-read blog, you should not get in above your head.
So never make a promise in your headline and/or excerpt that you cannot fulfill. Whilst it can be very tempting to craft wildly hyperbolic statements that will generate huge numbers of clicks, you are going to irritate a whole lot of people in doing so. They won’t be coming back, and they won’t be sharing your content. Furthermore, they probably won’t hesitate to trash your name elsewhere in the blogosphere.
Always deliver on your promises.
3. Be Passionate
This is something that we don’t see often enough in the blogosphere – people being themselves. People being racy, controversial, arrogant, ambitious, excitable, naive, fallible, or any combination. It is your character and your passion that will set you apart from the crowd.
Here’s the thing – blogs that are written like textbooks rarely convert well. If you don’t seem excited about what you are writing, the visitor can only assume that what you are writing is not that interesting. And it doesn’t take much of a prompt to discourage someone from reading a blog post.
If you want to create content that people will read through to the end, you need to make it plainly obvious how passionate you are about the subject at hand. This is a great way of bringing “fringe” visitors – people who are undecided about the subject you cover – into play. If a fringe visitor hits your site, they’re going to need to see something pretty compelling to convince them to stay. If your blog oozes passion about your niche, it takes a very uncurious mind not to want to know more.
Your visitors need direction – so do not be afraid to give it to them. This does not have to be done in an overbearing manner – you just need to project a sense of confidence. Don’t be afraid to speak in an authoritative manner – because if your blog is to succeed, you will need to be thought of as an authority.
If you feel that you are not in a position to dominate, you must employ the old strategy of “faking it until you make it”. A blog’s exposure will grow in line with people’s perception of your value as an authority figure. That fact brings us straight onto the next and final point.
5. Have An Opinion
Blogging is not for fence-sitters.
If you have got something to say, don’t be afraid to say it. Even if you think that you might be wrong. If you want to fast-track your blog’s exposure to the masses, you will need to get used to passionate debate.
There will be people who disagree with your position, and it will be down to you to stand up for yourself. The more debate you whip up, and the more you involve people with your blog, the quicker word will spread.
So don’t be afraid to have an opinion. The blogger that goes along with the status quo melts into the background.
Don’t Force It
Above you have the 5 steps that you can employ in order to become a must-read blogger. But you must consider all of the above points with one thing in mind – you shouldn’t force it. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
When you build a blog around a fictional character, or a caricature of yourself, the pressure of keeping up appearances will quickly become too much. Focus on what makes you interesting and unique – what makes you stand out from the crowd – and weave that into your content. The rest will follow.