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February 14, 2008

Ten Simple Tips for Successful Blogging

Most successful bloggers can offer some tips for successful blogging. Some people develop methods based on experience. Others simply offer what they’ve been told—like post often, link often, and be yourself. What follows are my ten tips for achieving a popular and successful blog within your industry, whatever it may be.

Be Real

Knowing yourself and your audience are extremely important aspects of successful blogging. Too many bloggers start out trying to blog about everything that interests them and, in doing so, quickly burn out, largely because there is simply too much to blog about when you blog about everything. Identify who you are as a blogger, what you’ll be blogging about, and who your audience will be; these are key to a successful blog. Be Passionate

Passion breeds passion. If you aren’t enjoying what you’re blogging about, it’s difficult to be passionate, so blog about things you truly enjoy. Find a voice that you enjoy writing in and stick with it. The passion that comes from writing a blog and connecting with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of readers is contagious.

What are you passionate about, and does it help you with blogging? let us know.

Write Often

Writing often isn’t just good for the blog, it’s an absolute requirement for success. Anything less than once a day (during weekdays) is abandoning the potential of your blog. Updating your blog is often rooted in two major facets of blogging: search engine “juice” and the fact that readers love new and fresh content. Search engines love fresh content and will revisit your site more often the more it’s updated. The result is that your blog will get searched regularly and will carry more weight with the search engines once they trust your ever-changing content. Link Lots

Links are called the “currency of the blogosphere.” Most bloggers link for one of two reasons: either they are interested in the subject matter or they respect the blogger to whom they are linking. Links carry an inherent value, so providing links shows your readers and users what interests you—and the higher the quality of bloggers to whom you link, the more respect readers and other bloggers will have for you and your blog. Combine that with the ability for bloggers to find out who links to them via services such as Technorati and PubSub, and you can see how a link can be a great way to show who you know and to let people know that you exist. Many of the top bloggers I know have confessed that the way they most often find new blogs is after those blogs link to them.

Leave Comments on Other Blogs

Creating a community of interest is key to blogging successfully at the business or personal level. For most businesses, the community will be a mixture of existing bloggers, news sources, and influential people in the industry, combined with employees, partners, suppliers, and customers. Your community of interest is the community in which you are interested as well as the community that is interested in you. By commenting on blogs in your community of interest, you are letting existing bloggers, and their readers, know that your blog might be of interest to them. One of the most common ways that people find new blogs is through links in comments—get involved, and you’ll reap the traffic rewards and build relationships with other bloggers and their readers.

Try it out today. Leave a comment for this post, and you will almost certainly receive some traffic and interest as a result.

Have Fun

Blogging is meant to be fun. Yes, it’s serious business that will radically change the way your business is presented online while also changing the way your customers view and relate to you, but it’s also about having fun. Try new things and link to fun and interesting sites.

Do you actively enjoy and have fun whilst working and posting on your blog? how about promoting your blog? what do you enjoy about being a ‘blogger’?

Push the Envelope

One of the challenges with blogging is that it’s relatively new. Try something unusual, and if you do the “wrong” thing, it will get you some attention (bad or good). Any new communications tool that remains stagnant ultimately dies, so don’t be afraid to make changes and ask questions. Entirely new types of cutting-edge communication, such as podcasting and video blogging, were created when someone asked, “Why does blogging have to be just text?” Ask your own “why” questions and see if you can come up with exciting ways to use blogs.

Ping

Pinging is something your blog software does to tell several services that you’ve posted something new. This quick note, or ping, is used to produce lists of the most recently updated blogs to let Technorati and PubSub know to come by and see what you’ve posted and generally to make sure the blogosphere stays connected. If you ping only one service, make it Ping-O-Matic. This neat, and free, little tool by the creators of WordPress allows you to ping Ping-O-Matic, which then pings all of the most important services for you, instead of you having to do it. This cuts down on your effort, but it also means you don’t need to worry about whether you’re pinging the right places. Ping-O-Matic takes care of it for you.

Use Feeds

Whether you choose to use full-text feeds or provide some of the text, make sure you are providing feeds. I’m a big fan of full-text feeds, because they create less of a boundary for your customers to read your ideas. Feeds make it easy for people to read your content on their own schedules—while travelling on an airplane, via audio as they’re driving home, or generally however and whenever they want to hear what you have to say. Feeds are all about lowering the barriers to getting at quality information, so do whatever you can to make sure you aren’t putting up any artificial barriers.

Create Meaningful Titles

Titles are absolutely essential to blogging successfully: good titles mean search engines find you and send you more traffic; attractive and useful titles entice readers to read your stuff, and this translates into more links. Every blog post title should give readers a reason to want to read the entire post. If you own a fashion company, for example, “Exquisite shoes” is probably a bad title, while “Ferragamo designs exquisite shoes!” is far more descriptive.

So what type of blogger do you want to be? A successful industry leader, who takes part in the blogosphere, links out to other blogs and has fun whilst blogging. Or a blogger who does none of the above, receives little traffic, and lacks direction. I’m still relatively new to blogging so I’ll let you decide. Leave us a comment telling us your thoughts, ideas and what you can take out of this post to make you’re blog more successful. Maybe we can all learn a little from the comments you leave.

Author:  Andy MacDonald, CEO of Swift Media UK, a website design & search marketing company. For daily tips on Blogging, Marketing, SEO & Making Money Online, Checkout our SEO & Marketing Tips for Webmasters blog or Subscribe by RSS.

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