10 Tips for Ensuring Your Blog Gets The Results You Want
A lot more goes into blogging than just throwing up a WordPress site and slapping some content on it. Here are 10 items that your blog must have in order to be effective at getting you the results you want.
1. Visual Appeal
If people land on your blog and think its ugly, they are not going to stay very long. A successful blog will have a great design and be visually appealing to the audience it is intended for. For example, a fitness blog should have a different look and feel from a photography blog. Each serves a different audience and the theme, colors, and layout of your blog should reflect your audience’s needs.
2. Easy Navigation
Most WordPress themes make it easy for your visitors to navigate through your blog. Built-in navigation bars take care of the visual piece of the puzzle, but how you design your menu and what you include on them is up to you. Using keywords your audience will be looking for in the menu and having it organized in a clear and concise way will ensure that your visitors can find both the information they are looking for and the information you want them to see.
3. Consistent and Relevant Content
Once you’ve got people on your site, your blog will stand or fall on the strength of your content. It won’t matter how pretty your blog is if the content you provide is not what your audience is looking for. There are many different types of content you can include — text, video, audio, and infographics are just a few examples — but it all needs to be relevant to your market, and it needs to be posted on a regular basis. Nothing will kill a blog faster than not updating regularly.
4. Focus on Your Audience
When you first start blogging it is very easy to make it all about you. After all, it is your blog.
Don’t do it!
Your blog is not your diary. Its purpose is to serve your audience, and the more you remember that, the more successful your blog will be. Yes, you can, and should, share your experiences but do so in such a way that your readers get something out of it.
5. Basic SEO
The search engine game has changed over the years, and some would way it’s not as important as social media in creating a successful blog, but there are still some basic rules you should follow. A good plug-in such as WordPress SEO will give you the basics that you need to cover your bases with Google and friends.
6. Social Media
It still amazes me that there are blogs out there that don’t have any social sharing buttons on them. A successful blog must have two different types of social media buttons:
1) sharing buttons to make it easy for visitors to share your content with their friends
2) connection buttons to make it easy for visitors to connect with you
Plug-ins make it easy to set up both.
7. An E-mail Capture Form
Or two or three or four.
One of the things I learned from John Chow’s blogging course is that a successful blog gives readers several options for getting onto your list. Everybody does the sidebar thing, and after a while it just becomes like another banner ad — invisible to your visitors.
You can use a combination of your mailing list provider’s forms and various plugins to give readers more options for subscribing. And it goes with out saying you need to have a compelling reason for them to hand over their e-mail address (but more on that later).
8. A Way to Make Money
Unless you are only blogging for the fun of it, the end goal of a successful blog is to make money. The successful blogger learns how to do this without being pushy about it. Sharing recommendations and solutions with your audience should become second nature for you, but you want to do it in such a way that they don’t feel like they’re being pitched every time they read your content.
9. Action and Purpose
Each piece of content you create for your blog must have both a purpose and a call to action. Give your readers a clear action to take at the end of consuming your content instead of leaving them hanging wondering what to do next. The best way to do this is to know your call to action BEFORE you start writing your post.
10. Pride and Promotion
Finally, a successful blog is one that its owner is proud of and happy to promote. You should never include anything on your blog that you’re not proud enough to put your name on and tell others about. Be the first one to use your social sharing buttons when a post is published — let your followers know what you’ve got for them.
Self-promotion is an art in itself, and one that I still struggle with. But it’s kinda the same as loving and taking care of yourself. If you don’t do it first, no one else will do it either. The more often you do it, the easier it gets and the more successful you and your blog will be.
So there you have it… 10 things you need to create a successful blog. I’ll be going into more detail on these in the upcoming Building Your WordPress Confidence series, which begins on March 17th. Enter your e-mail address below for details: