Why are some blogs more successful than others? Where do they get all their followers, page views and visitors? Why do some wonderful writers have so few followers, while others with less well written blogs have so many?
Most new bloggers will google this endlessly, (probably second only to “how can I make money from my blog?). The number one answer they will read is “write good content”.
Well listen up new bloggers. That’s not strictly true.
Content is not what makes a successful blog, although it will make you more successful than others. No, in my opinion what makes a successful blog is the many different things a blogger does before pressing publish, and the efforts they make afterwards “off blog” to promote their post.
What do I mean?
Well firstly imagine you have written a post. Does it have a catchy title, feature photos, and begin with a good opening line or paragraph? Successful bloggers often know what will hook you. Their aim is to ensure, once they attract you to their blog that you will read it.
Having written a post, next on the list is to ensure as many as possible read it. A post that is correctly tagged will receive more traffic. Do you know the tags which are the most popular on wordpress? They are the ones in bigger writing under the “explore tags” category. Tags such as News, Photography, Life and Music. Hover over them and you can read how many new posts have been published using that tag.
Having tagged a post and published many of us think “job done” and therein lies the difference between a blogger with a few followers and one with many.
Having written a post many of us do not actively market it. We don’t get our posts “out there”. Most successful bloggers, having posted, get very very busy “off blog”. They schedule tweets throughout the day. They share on facebook, google+, facebook groups and forums and other ways I, who am not hugely successful, have yet to learn. This sharing can be easily achieved using blog settings on wordpress, it’s just a matter of activating it. However sharing alone is not good enough, it is important to also spend time on social media, engaging with readers and publicising your blog.
For some bloggers, cleverly using key search words (such as my wonderful title for this post, if I do say so myself), can mean they draw traffic from search engines to their blog, for others they attract fellow bloggers by commenting on their blogs and following them. A word of warning here for those who may be new to wordpress. There is such a thing as a “serial liker”. A blogger who “likes” every post in the hope the blogger will visit them. Initially I was upset when I discovered such a thing existed. I felt used. Over time I have learned not to take it so personally, they are just marketing their blog. Although a word of warning, many bloggers strongly disapprove of this method of attracting readers.
Another way of getting to know more bloggers and thereby develop a bigger readership, is to comment on other blogs. Not just a “good post”, or “great writing” type of comment, but a thoughtful comment about the post. It is in this way that I have “met” most of my followers, many who I now consider “friends” albeit ones I will never meet. For myself reading other blogs is my preferred method of “getting myself out there”. I love reading blogs.
Finally if you wish to become a successful blogger you must blog regularly. If you begin your post with the line “Sorry I’ve not been blogging recently”, I and many others will not read on. You do not need to post every day, or three times a day but you do need to post with some regularity. If you are looking to increase views the more often you post the more views you will receive.
I am now blogging just over a year. I have seen many blogs come and go, so I no longer consider myself a new blogger, however I am definitely not overly experienced. I share these points with you as I think it would have been helpful to have known them earlier. One of the most successful bloggers I know swears by the 33% rule. 33% gathering followers, 33% writing, and 33% socialising and interacting. He has thousands of followers and is blogging just over a year.
So, knowing what I know, am I a successful blogger? No. But that is largely down to choice. I now know what I should do to be more successful, it is just that I choose not to do it for various reasons. What you do yourself is up to you, but remember, you went to the trouble of writing that post, if you want readers, go find them, if what you wrote is interesting followers will come.