I’m sure all bloggers wonder, “How did others make it to the top? If only someone would share the secrets of becoming a popular blogger.”
Summing up and categorizing the good and bad habits of highly effective bloggers could be frustrating; you might begin to see that some successful bloggers have certain behaviors in common, while others absolutely don’t. What does it take, then, to become a popular blogger, to be accepted, trusted and followed by many? I’ve discovered some interesting similarities among the successful bloggers who I follow. Some traits are common, some unique.
To become a successful blogger, open yourself to your readers as well. Treat them with the same respect and honesty that you would give to your friends and clients.
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The list is below. The accompanying tips are straightforward and relatively easy to put into practice. Following every one of these tips is not essential, but these are the things I personally strive for in my blogging.
Consistency is a huge factor with successful bloggers. Bloggers stay in their niche, consistently writing about their subject with a singular approach. Even when they write about something that seems off-topic, they relate it to what they know their readers are interested in.
Top bloggers post regularly and in predictable patterns. Whether they post three times a day or twice a week, their readers know what to expect.
Consistency is not about quantity; posting too often can actually damage your reputation. Set a timeframe for preparing articles, posting them and informing your social networks. Stick to a schedule, and don’t give your readers something boring that hasn’t been proofread.
Top bloggers understand that success doesn’t happen overnight, and rarely quickly. Getting to the top takes persistence, hard work, serious study and perseverance. Successful bloggers just don’t give up.
It probably won’t be an easy path to travel. Creating your blog and building a following will take time and effort, and making your blog stand out from the competition will take perseverance.
Persistence creates demand. Be available, and build expectation and trust among your readers; they’ll know you’re there for them and will wait for you and ask questions of you.
Problogger.net, for example, might not be the most spectacular blog on the Internet, but it is one of the most reliable and respected—and the author’s perseverance plays a big role in that.
Top bloggers often team up with social media power users for mutual benefit. Those friendships usually develop behind the scenes. Connections like these almost guarantee that even your not-so-good posts will be popular. The average blogger often overlooks the benefits of these relationships.
Start small: befriend some average social media users. Sometimes a group of people working together can be as valuable as one recommendation from a power user.
Every popular blogger is the superstar of some social network. Just look at their number of followers and you’ll feel like the silliest living thing on the planet. Remember that hard work got them those followers. Popular bloggers are social media enthusiasts. They talk to people and are open to discussion and suggestion, and this is reflected in their follower count on social media networks. So build up a powerful network.
A blog is not a one-way street leading from thousands of writers to millions of readers. A blog provides information, but it’s also a mode of communication between the blogger and their readers. Successful bloggers interact with their readers; they answer readers’ emails and comments and ask for feedback. Interacting with your readers builds trust and loyalty and encourages participation. It makes you approachable and accessible. Have fun when you write posts, and keep them lighthearted; you will connect with readers on a more personal level.
If someone reads your posts and leaves comments, then reciprocate: acknowledge and thank them. If a reader tweets one of your articles, thank them with a retweet. If they are a fellow blogger, then check out their blog and tweet a post of theirs that you think is worth sharing.
Blogging is not a day trip, and the road is not smooth; be prepared for discouragement and distraction. Only a strong passion for your blog will keep you going when times are tough. Successful bloggers are passionate, and they prepare for the challenge of blogging before they get into it. They blog about their passion and don’t care whether it makes money—which makes it difficult for them to fail after all.
Passionate people go the extra mile to make sure they achieve what they want; they don’t care about consequences. They burn the midnight oil, brainstorming and planning, and are ready to put in extra hours.
If you’re not passionate about your blog, you’ll have a hard time succeeding. Blogs attract like-minded people, and they will see right through you if you’re just in it for the money.
Successful bloggers thrive on criticism. As your popularity increases, so will the amount of criticism you receive. Criticism is part of the game, and success without criticism is not so sweet. Keep the flame burning, despite the fact that critics increase in number along the way.
I can’t think of a successful person who has escaped attack and criticism from the media. It’s worse for bloggers because the Internet has made the world a global village; criticism can spread like wildfire online. Top bloggers have finally learned to recognize when criticism is worth listening to and when it’s not. Unfortunately, top bloggers have occasionally been on the receiving end of threats, and they’ve learned to keep private things private.
All bloggers experience both positive and negative criticism, especially in the early stages when their blog is making its mark, but successful bloggers don’t let it bog them down. Instead, they press on in the face of criticism, knowing it’s just a stepping stone on the road to greatness.
Remember that you’re not in this for a day or a month, so don’t be a phony; the public will see right through you. Be real, be yourself, and write about things that inspire you.
I’ve encountered two types of bloggers: the genuine and the hyped up. Genuine bloggers are down to earth and are highly respected and admired by their readers. Hyped-up bloggers have a penchant for portraying themselves as bigger than they are and make exaggerated claims.
You could entice readers with big claims and bold words, but eventually they’ll realize that you have nothing real to offer. They’ll see past your marketing fluff and go back to the bloggers who deliver on their promises. An excellent blogger doesn’t exaggerate, lie or make unfounded claims. Readers appreciate honesty and stick with trustworthy bloggers.
It’s easy for top bloggers to become conceited, what with their thousands of readers and subscribers. But those who have fallen into this trap aren’t top bloggers anymore. Arrogance is a big no-no. Successful bloggers stay modest because they know their success depends entirely on others (particularly, readers, links and social media votes). When you find success with your blog, remember that it’s only because others have championed you.
The thing about top bloggers is that they’re willing to share (knowledge, links, etc.). If more bloggers were like this, then networking with them would be a lovely experience.
Socializing is vital to success. Top bloggers link and refer to other posts frequently; they spread the “link love.” If you do the same, you’ll be praised and thanked for being helpful, and the people you help will feel indebted to you. They’ll post links to your website, mention you in their posts and maybe even introduce you to their blogger friends. Helpfulness can be rewarding.
Successful bloggers put the concerns of their readers ahead of a Google ranking. They don’t have a problem linking to a blog with a low PageRank. Too many bloggers are caught up with SEO and link counts; they want only high-ranking blogs to link to them, and they won’t link to low-ranking blogs. Top bloggers link to hundreds of brand new low-ranking blogs, and many low-ranking blogs link to them.
Successful bloggers know how to brand themselves. What makes your blog stand out? It’s not what you write about. The answer is simple: it’s you! Your identity makes you unique, and your readers will connect your identity to your niche.
Brand matters. You might talk about the same things as some other bloggers and have the same amount of authority and creativity, but brand differentiates you from the millions of other blogs out there.
Your brand would also benefit from having its own domain name, which means upgrading from your hosted URL.
Note that very few blogs get big without some kind of press coverage.
People come to your blog to learn something. No one wants to read fluff or burble, especially online.
Effective bloggers know how to get people’s attention and maintain it. They favor short posts, break up their copy into short paragraphs, use compelling headings and use lists to facilitate scanning.
Top bloggers rarely disappear; they blog around the clock, except in extenuating circumstances. When such circumstances arise, they arrange for guest posters to cover for their absence, which itself demonstrates enviable tenacity and respect for readers.
Successful bloggers are super-efficient emailers and interact with their readers actively. They reply to genuine questions and suggestions. We should all aspire to that level of devotion.
You’ll also notice that they’ve mastered the art of using emails to say exactly what’s needed and nothing more. They are precise, concise and to the point in their email responses—all skills born of the necessity to save and manage time better (top bloggers can receive hundreds of emails a day).
You’ll run out of time if you try to respond to every email. Top bloggers have to develop the ability to say no. They must respect their readers’ time and manage their own.
It’s not easy to develop time management and communication skills. When you’re just starting out, losing a reader because of your own action (or inaction) is a frightening possibility. Realize that politely declining a request is unlikely to lose you a reader.
I’ve come across a number of successful bloggers who advocate reading as much as possible. Reading keeps you apprised of new developments and widens your perspective. Top bloggers never stop learning and reading. They’ll say it’s about staying up to date with the blogosphere.
Creativity breeds admiration. We admire creatives because they bring the new and beautiful into this world. Many successful bloggers actually carved their niche from scratch; they made something out of nothing. Top bloggers have also mastered creative cooperation; their interactions with readers have refreshing results.
For successful bloggers, content is king. It sounds obvious, but so many bloggers go on and on without saying anything. The reader’s reaction? Hit the “Back” button faster than the blink of an eye.
Top bloggers are concerned about their content. Highly successful bloggers usually provide useful, hype-free information that stirs readers to action. Effective content attracts meaningful traffic, and if yours doesn’t measure up, then more effort is needed.
Most successful bloggers I’ve worked with live a healthy lifestyle and are up to date with technology.
A clear mind and healthy body increases efficiency, so cleanse and sharpen it. I find that working out and walking help me tremendously. You can’t understand how much this helps until you do it.
As for staying on top of tech, join forums, read articles and follow other blogs.
If you want to be a successful blogger, write a lot. Good bloggers are prolific.
The more you write, the better your writing gets. The more you post, the more compelling content will appear in search engines. And more content means more visits.
Effective bloggers work hard. There’s no way around hard work. Putting a successful blog together requires a lot of time in front of the computer. You’ll have to put serious time into planning, researching, writing and editing posts.
You don’t have to be the most qualified in your niche. You do need to be good at getting your ideas across. Readers will disregard occasional grammatical errors as long as you can get your point across. If readers have trouble understanding your points, then work on your writing skills.
If you follow the path of a successful blogger from the beginning of their journey, you’ll see that they were blogging for years before they found success. There’s no such thing as overnight success, so you’ll have to be patient.
At some point in your blogging career, you’ll encounter challenges. Never succumb to pressure. Cherish these moments; they are golden opportunities to learn. Adapt to difficult situations by adjusting your blogging habits and strategies.
Highly successful bloggers are visionaries, and before they even began, they knew where they wanted to be. Set realistic goals, and imagine the future; the more aware you are of your future, the harder (and more efficiently) you’ll work to achieve it.
Jumping straight into heavy blogging can be tough. You could get lost in a sea of posts, replies and updates. Keep your goals in mind, and don’t get sidetracked by smaller tasks and everyday operations. Plan what you want to accomplish with your blog and then do it.
How many times have you wondered what makes you click on a popular blog’s links? What makes you follow advice or buy a product? What makes a blog worth following?
It’s a sense of authority. Authority builds trust and reliability, which attracts a readership that returns again and again, because their expectations are being met.
Manage your time well. Organize, prioritize and schedule so that you don’t run into conflicts or set impossible deadlines.
Create a master plan and a posting schedule, and then stick to it, no matter what. Maintain a healthy balance between personal life and blogging; don’t let one affect the other.
Not every blogger needs a set schedule, but it can keep you on track. If you’re maintaining more than one blog, routines are especially helpful.
Think like an entrepreneur. Successful bloggers are always finding ways to get the edge on their competitors. They have an eye for trends and are opportunists. They don’t wait for others; if they want something, they go get it, with determination and zeal.
Top bloggers realize the importance of branding, interfaces and design, and their blogs are appealing because they include the latest features. High-quality design can make your blog worth a second look to those who would have passed by otherwise.
Be proactive about improving your blog. If you think you need a new design, work on one. If you want more visitors, do some research and apply what you learn.
Think of yourself as a business entity, even if your blog’s purpose is not to sell products. Visitors reading your blog for the first time will quickly decide whether you offer what they’re looking for. Simply by publishing online, you have entered a competitive environment. Use it to your benefit.
If you have found any of these tips particularly helpful (or crazy), or you feel that something has gone untouched, free to talk back in the comments section.
While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great tips. Feel free to share it with us.