Over the months, I have received a number of inquiries for tips on developing a successful blog, so I have decided to publish a two part article on what I believe are essential steps to successful blogging. At the onset, you should know that blogs can be a very marketable and very profitable tool if used correctly. Profiting from blogs is just a matter of grabbing the attention of an audience and not doing any actual selling. Where do you start?
I would strongly urge that you begin your blog with a free blog hosting service such as WordPress.com. Starting with a free blog hosting service allows you to begin blogging instantly without having any advance knowledge of scripts, hosting, or programming. It allows you to build an audience and buzz for your blog. It also allows you to focus on your content and not the internal maintenance of the blog. When your blog traffic grows and you are ready to upgrade to your own domain then you can simply make your last blog entry the announcement of your “move”. Simply add a last entry stating that your blog has “moved” and include the new blog URL address that directs visitors to your new blog site, keeping your following, without a major inconvenience to anyone. When you are ready to upgrade, I recommend that you consider BrainHost.com as your hosting service. As part of their benefit package, they will provide you a free website and incorporate word press blogging software. CLICK HERE FOR BRAIN HOST DETAILS
What is a “Niche?” A niche is a targeted product, service, or topic. You should first decide on a product, service, or topic which interests you. Choose a topic that you can enthusiastically write about on a frequent basis. It does not matter if your topic is popular as long as there is an audience and the topic is precisely focused. Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience no matter how large or how small the audience is. A blog about your cat can be a niche or a blog about the species of the cat family can be a larger niche market if there are people who are interested in hearing about your cat or the species of the cat family; then you have a niche. The articles on my blog consist of a variety of information from several different topics including politics, religion, controversial subjects and general topics.
Until you build up a consistent following of visitors, you should update your blog daily. This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your blog daily keeps your blog more interesting to readers and gives it fresh content on a daily basis making it more appealing to search engines. Not updating your blog on an occasional holiday or one day here and there is understandable to most, but missing days at a time or weeks is generally unacceptable and will most likely result in your blog being unsuccessful. To keep your blog traffic and retain your visitor’s interest, update daily. Though, I am seeing a growing trend of successful blogs that are not being updated daily, they are successful and have a stable audience who continue to visit their blog daily. Regardless, these blogs are still updated weekly. Until you have a steady audience you should try to update your blog everyday with at least 3 or more daily entries. The best way to accomplish this is to set aside 1-2 hours a day for tending to your blog and adding new entries. It may even be wise to schedule a set time which you dedicate to your blog each day. Give yourself work hours and treat your blog as a job, what happens if you don’t come to work for days or weeks…you lose money or worse you get fired! Same applies here…if you don’t update your blog for days or weeks you’ll lose visitors. When I first started blogging, I wrote and published a new article daily.
It’s no secret that you must have traffic to profit from blogs. There are numerous ways to build traffic such as paid advertising, free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, and word-of-mouth. You should always use your blog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication media. You should submit your blog URL address to search engines and blog directories. You should also submit your RSS/XML URL feed to blog ping services like Technorati, Ping-O-Matic, and Blogdigger. Confidently share your blog with family, friends, co-workers, associates, and business professionals when it relates. Many blogs can be considered as a collection of articles, for this purpose you should submit valuable and lengthy articles to content syndicators like GoArticles.com or zapcontent.com. Once submitted your articles can be picked up and published by others. The trick is to make sure you include your Blog URL address in the “About the Author” passage. This creates link popularity and backlinks for your blog and when someone picks up your article from the syndication then publish the article on their website, the “About the Author” passage is included with each publication and the link you included is followed, crawled, and indexed by search engines. Imagine if your article is popular enough or controversial enough to produce 10,000 publications across the web. The search engines is bound to find your blog in no time with that many publications and credit you a authority on the topic, in return increasing your rank on search engines. The small effort of writing a well written article is rewarding. You should try to write at least 1 full length article every week for syndication and submit your article to at least 10 article syndicators.
How do you know if your blog has traffic? Just because no one is leaving comments doesn’t mean your blog isn’t growing. Many visitors do not leave comments but they are returning visitors. I know it sounds crazy but with blogs people are more interested in what “you” have to say! Many visitors do not comment their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Some do not comment at all, but are active daily visitors. Tracking your blog does not have to be overly sophisticated; usually a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com or Active Meter will do the trick. Install (copy/paste) the code into the html of your blog template and start tracking your visitors. It’s better to use a service which gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking information, referral information, and search engine information. Visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose. Brain Host can surely help you with this.
PART II TOMORROW