Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How to Have a Great Blog and Be a Successful Blogger

When it comes to blogs, quality matters! Every blogger out there is well-aware of this fact, however different people define quality differently. Here are a few important things which every blogger should definitely take into consideration in order to be successful blogger, and have a ‘quality’ blog that gets tons of visits, traffic and social shares.

Do Your Research

In order to have a great blog that kicks some serious ass as far as getting visitors and traffic goes, research will be essential. This includes a multiple number of things, such as doing research on what people in your niche and your potential visitors would want to read, keyword research, jargon/buzzwords research, knowing what kind of posts are popular in your niche, knowing how to craft posts, knowing what style of posts are popular in your niche, and of course, research on your competition – such as how many other people are writing on such topics, and what kind of competition you face from them for the same topic.

Research is essential because it sets up a solid base and a strong foundation for your blog post (and your blog, in general), and allows you to go on to write a good blog post. First and foremost, it provides you with ammunition in the form of a specific topic to write on, or a specific problem to tackle. You can then go on and write an excellent, well-written blog post that people would actually want to read!

Write for Your Readers

A big part of being a successful blogger is having the ability to write for your readers. No one wants to read incessant ramblings about, say, the problems you’re having with your life; it’s not your personal diary. It’s a blog, and it is a place where you should be writing about stuff that people actually want to read.

Try writing useful stuff, provide people with tips, a resource list, advice, assistance/help, how-to’s and other information that will be useful to them. Content that will make them want to bookmark your website, browse it and spending time on it, and of course, share it over Facebook and Twitter.

Offer Something Unique

Original content is the best kind of content out there. Being original and unique will set you apart from others, and give you a competitive advantage. If you can write on something that makes you think ‘I cannot believe no one’s written about this before!’, you probably have winner on your hands!

Always have something inimitable and distinctive in your blogging arsenal; it could be anything, from the topics that you cover, or your writing style, or a sub-niche that is relatively unexplored by other bloggers which you can look to fill, a product that takes a successful idea and makes it better, a service that forces people to question their loyalty to another brand, and so on and so forth.

This is something that is commonly referred to as having a USP, or a Unique Selling Proposition.

Produce Quality Content

A great blog does a great job of consistently churning out quality posts; posts which are thought-provoking, makes its readers think and maybe even change behaviors or the way they do certain things; posts which provide an insight into a specific topic; posts which do a good job of giving their readers up-to-date information, insight and analysis on a wide range of areas; and content which provides solutions to problems, or useful advice.

A classic example would be the excellent website Lifehacker, a website which provides ‘life hacks’ or solutions to everyday problems related to a wide range of topics that almost everyone faces from every field of life.

Furthermore, quality content is relevant, and consists of posts that are grammatically and factually-correct, easy-to-read or skim-through, have memorable titles and content, concise and well-structured sentences, and are informative as well.

Social Media Integration

Social media integration and social networking websites is essential, and a great blog need to be well-integrated with social networking websites such as Facebook, Digg, Stumble Upon, Twitter, Google+ and the like. Having a simple toolbar that has ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘retweet’ or ‘+1’ buttons will encourage readers to share your content on their social profiles, and this is a great way of getting more exposure, and free marketing for your content and your blog.

There are plenty of plugins and tools that allow you to add social icons to your blog, such as ShareThis, which works with a multiple number of platforms as well, including Wordpress, Blogger, Drupal, Joomla, to name a few.

Visually Attractive

A great blog looks great, it’s as simple as that. It should have a good balance between visuals and text, and should use images and other forms of multimedia in a balanced and effective manner (without over-doing it).

A well-designed blog, for instance uses a good theme, has easily-readable text and a legible font, uses multimedia within posts wherever required – especially  where a boring wall of text, data or information can be converted into attractive visuals (such as through infographics), has a well-designed navigation bar and sidebar, etc.

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