Ever wondered why some blogs manage to get thousands of readers while others struggle to get by with a few dozen? Building a blog is a long process that requires patience and persistence, not to mention a number of other elements that go into the mix.
While creating great content is important, it is not the only thing that will ultimately define your success. According to an estimate, there are over 300 million blogs on the internet today. So how do you make yours stand out?
Here’s a list of things that separates professional bloggers from amateurs.
Know your audience
Everyone uses this phrase all the time, but no one ever really explains how it can be done. Knowing your audience is by far the most important activity you can spend time on. In business, knowing your audience is the prerequisite to success. So what does the phrase even mean?
If your business makes dresses that are short and colorful, who do you think should be your target market? Young girls between the ages of 15-25 years, obviously. Similarly, targeting your market is bound to yield bigger, better results. Instead of spending time, energy and money on everyone, it makes more sense to expend resources on people with a higher likelihood of purchasing your products. Of course, there’s nothing wrong if people outside of your target persona buy your products.
To know more on how to identify your target market and serve them better, here’s the complete guide by Neil Patel and Aaron Aguis.
Write fascinating headlines
Blogs that cut it have headlines that are catchy, captivating and gripping. Such headlines naturally get a bigger number of clicks too. Professional bloggers understand that great headlines are important, and spend a good amount of time creating them.
On the other hand, writing a headline does not mean it should mislead readers. A headline that says something about healthful natural diets to help with weight loss, and its body paragraphs plunge into supplement foods is a bad idea. A good headline is one that allows readers to accurately guess the subject of the blog.
Use imagery to your advantage
What happens when you visit a website or blog that has thousands of words of text, with no break, paragraph, comma or images? Are you inspired to read further or pushed away – forced to look for similar content elsewhere?
This is what readers feel when they end up opening a blog without images – they feel uninspired and unmotivated to read further. Unless the subject a reader is looking for is so unique that he can’t find it elsewhere (highly improbable), a reader is bound to tune out.
This is why using images, artwork and photographs in your blogs is so important. For instance, if I see blocs of text in my Facebook feed, I don’t bother reading them. But as I scroll down, my eye catches colors, a vibrant photo; and I’m compelled to stop and read. I also happen to share such posts with my social circle more often.
Having said this, many bloggers wrongly believe that they can use all images available online. Friends, by doing this you could get yourself in big trouble. Most of the images on the web are copyrighted. So, if you want to use them, you have to either take permission from their artist or the website that hosts them. On the other hand, there are a number of places where you can get images without worrying about copyright infringement. You can try Creative Commons or Wikimedia Commons for pictures that range from sports to beauty, arts, science, humanities, music and more.
Consistency is key to attracting and retaining audience. Consistency here means regulating and scheduling your content so readers know when to expect a new post.
Some people advise that you should publish something every day. I beg to differ. While you should write daily, publishing a piece every day is not important as long as you are following a timetable.
For example you are setting up your photography website. For this purpose there are some technical aspects of SEO for photographers that you need to consider. You’ll also need to consider the structure of your site before you start adding content.
An article that gives you concrete, interesting, useful and fully developed ideas, but comes out once a week is better than incomplete, non-coherent ideas published in a hurry on a daily basis. Better to go narrow and deep, than wide and superficial.
Here are some powerful techniques by Michael Hyatt that will help you blog consistently, especially when you are short on time.
How ‘original’ is acceptable in the blogosphere?
Should I give you some shocking news now? It’s good to be original, but its dangerous territory and going too deep could mean losing traffic.
Let’s say one day you get an idea that really excites you. You feel that you are on to something big. A little search on Google shows that no one else has written about it. So, you decide this is your time to win the crowd. You go ahead and write a wonderful post. Then wait. And wait. And wait but nothing happens. If there’s a topic that no one is writing about, it is very likely that no one is searching or reading about it.
A more sensible approach is to find a new angle in subjects related to your niche that interest people, and net readers. This article by Henneke Duistermaat ‘The sin of originality‘ says it perfectly.
Use social media fervently
Do we agree that social media is the new ‘it’ thing? All the youngsters (even the oldies) hang out there now. What will happen if we don’t float or share our blog on social media? This simply means that thousands of people (possibly more!) in our circles and those of our friends will not get to hear about our latest ideas.
And that’s bad.
While many bloggers (especially the one-man teams) are stretched thin between writing, providing miscellaneous services to their clients, and looking after product production etc, it might not be possible for them to share blogs multiple times over the week, and cater perfectly the multiple types of audiences across all the major social platforms. This activity alone can literally take entire days, not leaving room for much else.
Here’s a detailed guide by Neil Patel on using social media to your blog’s advantage.
Solid writing skills – show some personality
When writing blogs, make sure you give readers a glimpse of your personality. Excellent writing skills are essential, but so is the ‘personal’ touch. If your work becomes too monotonous or mechanical, or delves too deeply into the technical aspect of a product or service, it is likely to discourage people from reading further. This also poses a big risk of losing your readership. An important thing to remember here is that human beings are fascinated by stories. Even the shock and awe tactic works pretty well!
Here’s an article by Hubspot that gives away nine wonderful tips that will help make your articles interesting!
Another important thing is to research your subject really well, to give value to your readers for their time. A post that teaches people something new and benefits them in some way is bound to get more hits than those that just fill pages and pages with words.
Love what you do, and do what you love. Learn along the way and enjoy every bit of the low and the high. There is no way you won’t succeed. This wisdom holds true for blogging, as it does for everything else in life.
Wish you the very best of luck for future endeavors!