Every blogger has dreams for their little corner of the Internet. Achieving those blogging dreams is not just a matter of luck. The blogging fairy won’t just sweep down upon your latest post some night and grant it a million views. Or maybe – maybe she will. There’s an element of luck and happenstance in getting a single blog post to jump the hurdle and become a most-viewed post for 24 hours, but if you want consistent success and regular readers then it will take a little work. Why not take the energy of the New Year and pick a few New Years blogging resolutions to apply to your blog this year.
1. Evaluate your blogging goals–or make one for the first time.
Setting goals for yourself is always the first step toward achieving them. What do you want from your blog? Take a few minutes to think about what you hope to accomplish with your blog. Is your plan to make extra money? Create a niche web site? Promote your business? Build your readership? Become famous? Once you know what you want your blog to accomplish, you can make a targeted plan to achieve your goal. (hat tip to Melanie Nelson at Bloggingtips.com)
2. Post more regularly to your blog.
One way to increase readership to your blog is to post regularly. Readers build certain expectations based on your posting frequency, but frequency isn’t as important as regularity. If you can only manage time to put up one blog post per week, resolve to post it on the same day each week. Consistency is key–when your readers know what to expect, they’ll become more engaged. (hat tip to Nate Whitehill at NateWhitehill.com)
3. Learn how to write fast posts.
Fast doesn’t mean low quality. If you can learn to write your blog posts qucikly, you can write more blog posts, right? There are many methods to help you pull your thoughts together and put them out as a fun-to-read blog post, but the basic process is the same. Keep a running list of ideas, learn to pre-write posts in your head, learn to write straight through and ignore distractions. (hat tip to Alisa Bowman at Problogger.net)
4. Evaluate your posting frequency.
Are you posting enough–or too much? The ideal frequency for blog posts varies according to the kind of blog and type of posts you usually write, but there are ways for you to evaluate whether you should write more–or scale back on your blog posting. Once you find your ideal rhythm, stick to it. (hat tip to Darren Rowse at Problogger.net)
5. Pick a remote blogging tool that you like.
Blogging is easy, and you can make it even easier with a remote blogging editor. Being able to pull up an editor and blog from whereever you happen to be on the web lets you write and post blog posts on the fly, while the information is still fresh in your mind – or right in front of you on the page. Top picks: Windows Live Writer and Scriberfire. Scribefire also includes an ad network that you can drop right into your blog.
6. Be a good blog community participant.
Interactivity and community are the two things that make blogs stand out against other writing and advertising platforms. Making the most of your blog means building and/or becoming part of the blog community. Attracting people to your blog starts with reaching out to other blogs. Read, comment, share and link to other bloggers who write in the same niche as your own blog. Get some more tips on building your blog’s presence in the wider community from JohnTP at johntp.com– it may be an older post, but the tips are still worth the reading.
7. Write an About Me page.
Yes, you! People who read your blog do want to know who you are, and why they should listen to you. An About Me (or About this Blog) page should be a total requirement for every blog. Your About page should tell your readers who you are, why you’re qualified to write about this subject and what they can get from reading your blog. (Hat tip to Jeff Atwood at codinghorror.com for this one. It’s another older post that’s well worth reading–the whole list of 13 blog cliches)
8. Comment on at least one other blog a day – and be sure to link your name back to your blog.
Commenting on another blog is an excellent way to increase your own readership. Most blogging platforms allow you to include your own blog URL which will be linked to your name when you post the comment. An interesting response will almost guarantee that some readers will follow the link back to your blog to read more of what you have to say, or find out about you. At the very least, the blogger you comment on will check you out– and may even link back to your blog.
9. Slim down your blog’s look.
It’s tempting to widgetize your blog with every new gadget out there, but all those widgets can quickly become overwhelming to your readers. Go through your “toys” as the new year starts and decide which of them are actually serving a useful purpose and which are just loading down your page with clutter.
10. Find the balance between proviiding and promoting.
With a special hat tip to DJ Francisat onlinemarketingblog.com, take this reminder that there is a balance to be found between promoting yourself and providing something unique with your blog. If you find that you’re spending more time promoting than writing, or if you’re collecting friends for the sole purpose of raising your rankings, take a step back and re-evaluate your 2009 blogging goals. Remember that no matter how much promtion you do, your blog is only as good as your content — but no matter how good your content, no one will read it without promotion. Find the balance, and you’ll have the best of both worlds–and hopefully, a wildly successful blog.