Creating a successful blog is an incredibly beneficial pastime. It displays dedication, passion and appeals to potential employers. The problem is, there are a lot of people trying to write a blog and find an audience for that blog, making it a saturated domain where it can be difficult to get noticed.
If you’re planning to start a new blog, be it about your hobbies, profession or anything in between — and you want it to be successful with an active readership — then it’s vital that you put the measures in place to give it the best chances to succeed.
The following tips will help elevate your blog from the rest of the crowd, but it’s worth noting these techniques don’t necessarily guarantee success. Luck plays a great part, but perhaps even more so is determination. Blog writing demands a lot of effort for little reward early on, but if you keep at it, you will have created something you can be proud of. Here is how to make your new blog as good as it can be.
Find Your Niche
One common mistake new bloggers make is they attempt to have a blog that covers too many different topics. There are plenty of good quality blogs out there that don’t attract an appropriate readership and the reason is their scope is too broad.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that many different topics would attract a greater, more diverse audience; however, the opposite is true. Having posts that range from sport to fashion to travel and then food makes it far too vague, meaning your blog lacks distinction and personality. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.
It’s far better to have one particular niche that you’re interested in, and then build your blog to focus on this. You can write about woodworking, baby clothing, Pokémon cards, even about how to deal with job loss — nothing is too specific because there is always going to be an audience for it. This means you can write more detailed and helpful articles for a compact audience. Providing niche content helps you create loyal readers as they know what kind of stuff to expect from you.
Know Your Target Audience
When you know the kind of people you are writing for it can help you make more informed decisions about your writing style, tone and design of your blog. Figuring this out takes effort and research but can prove extremely worthwhile when you see your viewership grow.
For a new blogger, a great way to figure out your audience is to investigate the readership of similar blogs that cover a shared niche. Look at the type of people who are commenting on articles or sharing them onto their social media and note down everything you can find about them.
Things like demographic, age, location, income and interests can help you paint a really good picture of who you are trying to attract. This information can be used to build a customer persona, which can be used to give you a clear understanding of your target’s wants and needs, allowing you to create content that will resonate with them.
Choose the Right Keywords
Keywords can make or break your blog post. These words are searched the most in search engines, meaning you want your titles and content to feature these words to help you rank and get more traffic.
Finding the right keywords can be a time-consuming ordeal but doing it correctly can help you find the popular keywords that people are looking for, as well as figure out new content ideas as well.
There many ways you can look for the right keywords. One of the best ways is to use professional keyword research tools. These allow you to search any word and tells you how often that word or phrase is typed in. It then suggests better related phrases. These are widely used for businesses and professionals, but for those just starting out, there are cheaper techniques such as Google’s predictive search which comes up with popular phrases for you. You can also search through forums and chatrooms to see what topics pop up from the most enthusiastic audience members.
Learn Basic SEO Techniques
A viral blog post does not go viral just because the content is good. Of course, the quality of writing plays a big part of it; however, one of the main reason’s posts go viral is because the blogger has put in the time and effort to optimize their content for search engines.
There are many things you can do to give your blog a better chance to rank on Google and get more natural traffic. Some of the small yet effective things you can do are:
- Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions is the 150-character text found under the title in a Google search. These exist to help the reader determine if your blog is what they’re looking for, but it also helps Google figure out if they should show your article at the top of a search page. A meta description should include keywords that link to your article and is a good idea to write one for every post.
- Alt Text
Alt text is text used to describe what is displayed in an image or picture. It is there to help Google figure out what the picture is about. Using it can really tighten your SEO and give it a stronger link to your writing. It is also a great accessibility feature as it allows the visually impaired who may be using text to speech software to engage with the imagery in some way.
- Heading Tags
Heading tags are indicators used in the HTML code to help structure your webpage from an SEO point of view as it helps Google read your content. To implement, simply go into your code and type ‘H1’ or ‘H2’ beside your titles and subheadings respectfully to help them stand out and give your page a hierarchical structure.
Use Original Pictures and Photography
The best type of online content is visual. It does not matter if you write like Hemmingway; if your blog is a sea of text flooding the screen, people will be put off from reading it. That’s why pictures are really important: they make your posts look far more attractive.
You can also go one step beyond this and create infographics, as these are smart looking features that can really make your article pop. Another benefit of adding pictures and infographics is that they are sharable, which can lead more people to your page through social media channels.
It’s important to know the rules around pictures, however. You need to ensure that whatever photo you’re using is copyright free and that you are allowed to use it with your work. There are plenty of websites where you can find good quality copywrite free pictures, but for the best results, it’s also recommended to take your own photographs because it ensures your blog is visually unique.