6 Steps To Build A Succesful Blog
(Photo Credit: Jason Gulledge)
It can be very overwhelming when you start looking for information about blogging, especially when you are just getting started. Worse yet, it usually leads to information overload.
In other words, you lay in bed at night and can’t stop thinking about blog post titles, comments to leave, or widgets you should add the second you wake up the following morning.
For this reason, I’m not surprised that the most common question I get is how to (easily) build a successful blog. Unfortunately, there isn’t a blogging easy button that does it automatically.
The good news is that you’re probably already on the right track to building a successful blog. It seems that everyone knows the basics, they just don’t know how to put everything together to create a game plan that can be executed over time. It’s no secret that launching a blog takes a lot of time, sweat, and patience.
So here’s my super simple guide on how to build a successful blog. It started out as a shorter post over at Digital Point but I’ve since added to it:
1. Start A Real Blog
In other words, don’t build a blog that has Google Adsense built in to the navigation bar or tons of crazy looking ad blocks covering up the actual content of your blog. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a great article that I couldn’t finish because of the fact that an ad block was literally over the top of the content (most likely a design issue).
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of room for advertisements. I even recommend adding a few to start, that way your readers won’t freak out later on when you decide to put them everywhere. Just don’t make them the main focus, especially not in the beginning.
As far as platform goes, choose whatever works for you. I’m an avid user of WordPress but there’s plenty of options available.
2. Create Some Amazing Content
If you really want to see some great results, produce some amazing content. This is especially important for your first few posts since these will be the landing page for all of your new readers. If you can suck them in early, you’re already on the right track.
Putting out the content is like wiping the crap out of your eye in the morning. It’s just the beginning.”
- Gary Vaynerchuck
Have something your passionate about? Make it the topic of your blog. Regardless of what it is, make sure you’re actually willing to put in the time to do research and produce great content on a consistent basis. If you can’t think of more than a couple blog posts off the top of your head, you’re probably going to get the dreaded writers block sooner than later.
NOTHING can drive you more crazy than sitting at your computer with a new post started, only to sit there and watch your cursor flash. Trust me, I’ve done it a ton of times.
So my advice is to pick a few topics and then jot down as many post ideas or titles as you possibly can on a real sheet of paper (the tree kind). The more you can come up, the better off you will be.
And that my friends, is just the beginning…
3. Find Your Readers
When you first start your blog, it’s going to be a really quiet place to hang out. It might remind you of those lonely nights you spent in your parents basement back in high school. It’s okay, no one asked me to prom either.
Anyways, It took me months before I was able to get a few comments on my first blog. I couldn’t even convince my friends to leave a few just to keep my motivation up. So the key is to go out and FIND your readers. Don’t hang out on your own blog waiting for someone to come across it by accident.
Find blogs and start leaving comments. And by no means leave short non-relevant spam comments. Instead, go out and find blogs related to yours and leave mind-blowing comments. If you can manage to put together a super thoughtful, engaging, or crazy comment that not only blows the mind of the blogger but also his/her readers, you’ve done it right.
Why? Because they will be VERY curious to see who you are and where the heck you came from. They will click on your name looking for more information and end up on your blog, which is now full of amazing content.
Once you master the process of leaving awesome comments, set a goal on how many comments you want to leave each day and stick to it. If you can stick to your goal and consistently leave great comments, you’re readership will increase like you wouldn’t believe.
4. Write For Other Blogs
Remember when I told you to write some amazing content? I forgot to mention that some of it isn’t even going on your own blog. I know, it’s tough to envision but it needs to be done.
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to build your own blog is by writing for other blogs. Why? Because a lot of bloggers who accept guest posts are more than willing to let you put a short bio (with a link) in the article. That way you’re reaching out to a completely new audience that will more than likely want to read more about you. Plus it’s a great way to start building backlinks to your website.
So spend some time looking over blogs in your niche and see which ones are accepting guest posts. if you don’t see a write for us page, don’t be afraid to fill out contact forms or send direct emails. Most bloggers enjoy getting guest post requests, especially since it means less writing for them.
Just like commenting, you should make a goal to produce X amount of guest posts every week (or month). That way you can start to get your name out there and get yourself known in your niche.
5. Utilize SOCIAL MEDIA
One of the quickest ways to start sharing your content is by utilizing social media. However, the last thing you want to do is start submitting every one of your blog posts to 900 different social networks only to see mediocre results. Just like commenting, it takes some real work to actually get the results you are hoping for.
Instead of spamming your links, become an active member in a few networks and take the time to interact with people. Start building relationships and before you know it you’ll have people sharing your content for you. And don’t forget that it’s a two way game, so don’t be afraid to share other peoples content.
6. Wash, Rinse, and Repeat
Boring isn’t it? There are no secret tactics, methods, or programs that can do this stuff for you. From this point on, you just need to make it habit to repeat steps two through four. Keep producing content on a regular basis, as well as writing for other blogs. Leave tons of great comments on other blogs and stay active in a handful of social networks.
If you stick to these steps, you can build a highly successful blog without spending a dime. Best of all, you’ll be building a legitimate blog that will only grow as time moves on. You won’t have to worry about those black hat methods coming back to haunt you.
It may take some time, but you will look back in a year (or two) and be stoked at the progress you made. It’s important to remember that building the blog is the fun part. It’s no fun if you start out on top.
Have any other tips? Please share them below!