As you probably know, this week saw another group writing project happening at ProBlogger: Top 5. My week was rather busy and so I only got a chance to participate now, but I welcome this opportunity as a chance to share my thoughts on non-technical aspects of being a successful blogger.
Here they are below, the top five rules for making your blog a success:
1. Bring value
Before rushing yourself into buying a cool domain and then hitting a blogger’s block on the very next morning, take some time to understand what value your blog will bring and how exactly.
Ideally, you will help millions of visitors by posting useful articles and sharing your knowledge. However, a blog can be a selfish enough enterprise too – you could use it as a technical log of all the accomplishments and simply post your discoveries for your own reference, but with the idea that the same notes can help someone
else as well.
2. Set goals
Goals will help you become the kind of blogger you want to be.
You need to agree with yourself on how much traffic you want a month, or how many posts a week you need. Without goals, you will quickly become an irregular author with occasional posts aiming at nothing in particular. I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past, but have started improving in this field.
One important thing about goals is being honest with yourself when setting them. If you set a goal of 5 posts a week, but can’t find time to do this – you probably should lower your standard. Once you master posting 2 posts a week, you can always agree on posting 3 and eventuall 5 posts, but be sure to give yourself enough time and room to actually meet your targets. Without being realistic, your goals will only frustrate you, and that’s the last thing you need.
Talk to other bloggers. Leave comments. Particupate in forums discussions. Blogosphere is a great source of information, and it is also a wonderful place to meet new friends. You’re bound to find many incredibly useful and interesting blogs in almost any niche, and you will easily develop and grow yourself by simply talking to people which do something better than you can.
There are some unwritten rules which you should always follow, like replying to all your comments, making sure to thank people for the contributions they make, and linking to all the resources you may have used in preparation of a particular post. Stick to them from the very beginning.
If you get hundreds of comments a day, make a decision not to reply or reply selectively and let your readers know about this. It is very important to always maintain this connection with readers – you don’t want people to feel disappointed after commenting on your blog for months and never getting a single like back from you.
Be sure to highlight other great resources. Many beginner bloggers tend to hide their greater competitors, but that’s very wrong. First of all, because of the whole competition approach. You do not blog to compete! You blog to bring value, make someone else’s life easier, express yourself and meet new people. All of this can easily be done without competing with anyone. If there are websites which serve these purposes better – share links to them with your readers! This will only help you in the long term, because such an open approach will always make you noticed.
Never stop learning! Make it part of your daily routine to learn something new in your niche. Read great blogs in your RSS reader, or finish a relevant book. Asking other bloggers for their advice is always a great way to learn. You’ll be amazed how many great bloggers will be happy to help you even with questions which may seem stupid and simple to yourself. Ask, and you will definitely get an aswer.
It is important to take time for self-growth, too. There is no point in reading hundreds of RSS feeds a day without acting upon them. With the amount of information we get daily, everything is quickly forgotten, unless you take some steps to preserve the information – take notes or try following some technical how-to yourself to remember it better.
Teaching others is another great way of learning something yourself. It is important to make it clear to your readers though, that you may be offering a less than ideal solution. I always enjoy tasks which involve learning something new, and I’m quite comfortable with sharing such information, but I always start such posts with some background information on the subject, stating it clearly that I’m just learning it myself.
One of the most important aspects of being successful is genuinely enjoying doing what you do. If you like blogging about your topics, this will be a daily inspiration for you to provide even better content. If you hate your blog, this will definitely show in your posts too.
I greatly enjoy my online projects, and find it exciting to virtually meet new people almost every day. I like being in a position to share my knowledge and experience, and find it most rewarding when people email me to thank for something they got out of reading my blogs.
Find ways of enjoying your blogging, and it will help you become a success.