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Guys!!! Guess what?? It’s my 2 year blog-a-versary! I can’t believe I’ve kept with this for so long and am still going strong with it. Blogging has been hard work, but a really fun side gig for me. I still occasionally go back and read my first posts from 2015 and chuckle a little (laughing now!).
I’ve learned so much along the way in the past 2 years, so I’d like to share the top 5 things I feel are the most important in running a successful blog.
1. Don’t be spammy
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at someone else’s blog to read their content and was immediately met with some sort of advertisement or promotion. Don’t get me wrong, monetizing a blog is a great way to earn extra income, but there’s a fine line between proper ad presentation and shoving that crap in my face. I don’t want to have to minimize a ton of pop ups just to get to your main blog. If that’s the case, I’m hitting the close button on my browser.
I follow the same rule above for affiliate links as I do for banner ads. You may have read one of my earlier posts where I said that I only insert one affiliate link per one thousand words. If you stick to that rule, search engines will love your site. Can you believe that 9 out of 10 blogs I visit where there are obvious affiliate links promote their links within the first paragraph? It’s b.s. Please don’t be one of those bloggers!
2. Organize your thoughts well
Ok guys, so I’m totally OCD. I am not embarrassed to say that, nor am I trying to change myself. I am who I am. Being so OCD really forces me to want to organize my thoughts. I’m one of those crazy people who use outlines for every blog post.
Outlines help me to make some sense of the madness that is the brainstorming going on inside my head. I find myself sticking closer to my topics when I create an outline versus when I just sit down and write. I’m not saying by any means that sitting down to write without an outline is necessarily bad, but there is a greater chance you aren’t staying as organized.
Believe me, there are some bloggers who write very well. This doesn’t just happen at one sitting. Like myself, many other bloggers put days, and sometimes weeks, into one blog post to make it perfect. Writing a perfectly organized blog post is a craft. I am jealous of those where this happens organically! For me, I have to put a lot of thought and rewriting into my work. Do whatever works for you to stay organized.
3. Be careful allowing guest posts
Guest posting is all the rage for bloggers these days. It’s a great way to allow someone else to post their content on your blog so that it will drive traffic your way. It’s also a fantastic way to build connections with other like-minded bloggers. But, be careful allowing guest posts. If you are going to allow them on your site, create firm guidelines and stick to them.
I have backed off from allowing most guest posts today unless it’s a paid opportunity. I probably get 20-30 requests per week from other bloggers who say “I’m a big fan of your work” and “my post would be perfect for your site.” I’m not buying it for one second.
4. Provide value to your readers
We can write all day and all night, but if what we are writing provides no value to our readers, what is the purpose of our blogs? Too many bloggers tend to focus on writing what interests them, and fail to recognize the poor value it provides to their readers.
How do you provide value? Research has shown that readers love posts that provide helpful and detailed information. Writing tutorial or how-to posts is a great way to convey value to your readers. Love a particular product? Write a helpful product review. You can also stray away from the writing part of it and create podcasts or videos to reach your audience on an even more personal level.
5. Be active on social media
Your static blog site isn’t the only place where you can reach your audience. More and more bloggers are taking to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snap Chat. In the early beginnings of my own blog, I wasn’t doing very much blog post promotion anywhere other than Facebook. Pinterest is now one of the best referrers of traffic to my site.
When I say to be active on social media, I don’t mean spam your accounts with your blog posts. I mean to engage with your readers, post meaningful comments and have thoughtful conversations with your audience. Twitter chats are a great place to start doing this.
Facebook groups are becoming more and more popular these days. Not only can you find groups that focus on your niche, you can connect with like-minded bloggers, find more bloggers to follow and capture some really cool ideas for your own blog. I will say, being a Facebook group owner, make sure to follow the group rules. It’s important not to join just to spam a group with your content. It’s a great way to get removed from the group. Most groups, like my own, have their own rules you must follow to remain an active member.
6. Mix up your content
It’s important to show your readers that there’s an actual human running your blog. If you post about the same exact thing every day, even if it’s your niche, you’ll struggle to get a lot of followers. Did you take an interesting family vacation? Share your experience, even if you don’t normally write about family activities.
7. Keep it short and sweet
The longer your blog posts, the harder it is for your readers to stay interested long enough to read it. My rule of thumb is to stay as close to the 1,000 word mark or below as possible. Most of your readers don’t dedicate more than a few minutes of their time browsing for information, so keeping things short and sweet is a good way to maximize the time in which you have their attention. Don’t just write fluff so that your post looks longer. Always get right to the point.
And now it’s YOUR turn!
How long have you been at this blogging thing? Have you found other tips that have helped you succeed? Share in the comments below.