Building a successful blog takes time and a lot of hard work. It’s easy to get discouraged, especially if you’re putting in untold hours of work and seeing little results. And, let’s face it, not everything you’ll try to build traffic will work.
CEO and Co-Founder of Open Road Integrated Media, Jane Friedman polled successful blog owners to compare how long it takes to build a blog readership. Results varied from three weeks to two years.
Pamela Slim of Cubicle Nation Blog estimated it took her about a year to develop a steady and loyal group of readers. She just kept plugging along and creating excellent content. The key takeaway: blogging consistently will lead to success.
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Tip #1: Stay Focused When You Are Writing
Life has a lot of different distractions, especially if you are also trying to run a business while building you blog. Staying focused means you have to find a private zone where you can write without disturbances.
Turn off any distractions, such as the television, music or your cell phone.
Tip #2: Build an Idea Box
When you are producing content day after day, it’s easy to run into writer’s block. Keeping a running list of ideas you want to write about can help you on days when you can’t come up with a topic. You just turn to your idea list instead.
Fortunately, there are many tools you can use to help you track and come up with an editorial calendar.
- Evernote allows you to send a quick note for safe keeping. You can quickly jot down ideas the second you are inspired and save them for a later time.
- Wunderlist can help you create lists and tick off items as you complete them. Keeping a to-do list can keep you on track with your editorial calendar.
- Topical Brainstorm is a title wizard that be used as extra inspiration when you're feeling stuck. Such applications can help keep your blogging material consistent.
Tip #3: Gain Discipline
Talent is not the only attribute that influences success as a blogger. About 90 percent of success is made up of hard work.
Find discipline by developing a work habit so you’re less likely to procrastinate. Writing your article first thing in the morning can help you stay on track of your blogging tasks.
I spend a couple of hours every Sunday night on my to-do list so I remain focused on my goals throughout the week. You might consider scheduling your to-do list into time slots to ensure their competion.
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Tip #4: Consistency Counts
If you want your readers to read your blog regularly, consistently post high quality content.
Your content should be relevant to your niche. Your readers should also be able to count on when you’ll post. It’s okay to only post once or twice a week, but try to keep a steady pace. Also, when interacting with your readers, do so in a friendly but professional manner. Every word you type counts.
Tip #5: Stay Alert to the Latest Trends
Create your own way of staying on top of hot topics in your industry. There are many free tools out there for you to take advantage of:
- Google Trends: Since much of your organic traffic will come from Google searches, what is trending on Google becomes particularly important. Following Google trends tells you what people are searching for at a given time. You can dig a bit deeper and learn trending topics on specific sites both at the moment and in the last year. You can also search for trends by global location.
- BuzzSumo: If you want to discover who the key influencers are in your industry, then Buzz Somo is a good place to start. You can also do an in-depth analysis of what content works best for a particular topic and what keywords your competitors are targeting. Filter by time frames such as the past 24 hours, the past week or the past six months.
- Topsy: Social media is a key ways to drive traffic to your blog. Topsy reviews social media analytics that helps you create an efficient social media marketing campaigns. You can analyze trends in links, tweets, shared photos, videos and even see what influencers in your industry are up to.
- Inky Bee: Inky Bee offers a host of tools to help improve your blog and outreach efforts. First, this program generates topics that your readers are interested in, track engagement, and can help reach out and engage key influencers.
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Tip #6: Keep a List of Headline Templates
In addition to keeping a running list of your ideas, organize a generic list of headline templates that can help nudge you in the right direction. Headlines should grab the readers attention and attract them to your site.
Here are a few templates to get you started:
- Top 10 Things to Avoid When ___________
- How To ________, Even When You Don’t Know How
- Complete List of the Best ____________
There are more methods to growing a successful blog than there are blogging platforms. Remember to select what makes the most sense to you, be consistent and ignore the rest.
Blogging isn’t easy, but it can be a lot of fun. With determination, planning and some savvy business sense, your blog will become a success.