Although blogging may appear straightforward, many bloggers quickly discover that it’s quite the opposite! Running out of ideas, lack of engagement, or simple boredom can all quickly destroy motivation. So how can you improve your chance of success? Here are seven key factors that determine your blog’s future.
1. Set your objectives
The number of people who decide to start a blog, post half a dozen times, then give up is phenomenal. If you’re serious about blogging success, you must set your objectives before you start. This will help you stay focused, and track your progress. The better you define your goals, the easier it will be to spot problems and fix them.
Think of yourself as an entrepreneur: every business has goals and a vision, so you must do the same with your blog. Divide your goals into targets for the short, medium and long term, and make them achievable (especially in the short term). Keep them simple and measurable. For example, you could set yourself a short-term goal of blogging twice a week, on Monday and Friday. If you keep to your plan, this can become a long-term goal as well.
2. Do not compare yourself with others
It sounds easy, but it’s one of the hardest things for any blogger. When setting your objectives, you should not compare yourself to other bloggers – especially the famous ones! This will just turn into a stumbling block when you do not have the same success as them in the short term.
Every blogger is different. Some are a huge hit in days; others take months building up a solid following. Your blog will be different to every other blog online, so be prepared to build success at your own pace. Make sure you focus on your own work, and not what others are achieving or have achieved. Ignore the pressure (which you create yourself) to emulate Seth Godin or some other celebrity blogger.
3. Join a community
It is a good idea to join a blogging community. This allows you to learn from other bloggers, and make sure you improve your blog. Other bloggers are also an excellent source of support, especially at times when your site is not performing or you feel like giving up.
There are a lot of blogging forums and communities online, so make sure you choose wisely. Don’t just sign up with half a dozen general blogging forums if there is one which addresses your specific niche. But don’t ignore the general communities, either. Mix and match to find what works best for you, and use these communities to find out what works (and what doesn’t) in the blogging world.
4. Keep learning
Never stop learning. The Internet changes constantly, and many of those changes affect blogs directly, especially if they’re search engine updates! This is where blogging communities are so helpful, as they are excellent sources of news and opinion about both existing and upcoming changes.
A great way to learn is by subscribing to blogs about blogging. Find a few knowledgeable individuals who are well-respected in the blogging world, and follow their posts. You can pick up some excellent tips in this way. However, make sure you practice what you learn, or all that knowledge will just rot away in your brain instead of improving your blog!
5. Have fun
Blogging should never be a stressful experience: that stress shows in your writing and is transmitted to your readers. Make sure that you keep it fun and enjoy what you are doing. That doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes: it just means keeping a positive, optimistic tone in your writing.
A lot of people choose blogging to make money, because they do not want the pressure that is commonly associated with a “normal” job. But replacing work stress with blogging stress is pointless: if you find that blogging is starting to overwhelm you, take a break and unwind before coming back. You can even consider putting out a call for guest posts, which can give you a longer break, while maintaining your posting schedule.
6. Analyse your analytics
You should always pay attention to your analytics. Google provides some excellent training content to help you understand what their data means, and there are dozens of articles online specifically targeted to bloggers who need help with the figures.
The advantage of understanding your analytics is that you can determine what is working for your blog. The better you understand your analytics, the more you can tailor your blog posts to suit your visitors. For instance, you can check the number of visits for the most popular post, the bounce rate, and visitors’ countries. Combining this data gives you insight into who visits your blog, from where, and whether they stay for more than one article or leave quickly.
7. Be consistent
Perhaps the most critical factor in a successful blog is consistency: you must be consisted with your blogging effort. Don’t publish five posts a day for a week, then wait five weeks to publish another. It is important that you post regularly to keep your readers.
That doesn’t mean you have to post every day: it means you need to always post on a regular schedule, whether it’s once a day, once a week, or something else. Most blogging platforms allow you to schedule your blog posts ahead of time, which means you can write whenever you like, and still keep to your schedule.
For non-bloggers, blogging looks cool and easy, but this is not always the case, especially for successful blogging. By following the seven secrets to successful blogging outlined above, you dramatically improve your chances of running a popular, high-traffic blog for years to come.