Because this blog is brand new, and I really want it to be a success, I thought I'd do a bit of research into what makes a blog successful and engaging to its audience, vs which ones flop. There are a number of blogs I love, and follow regularly so I thought that would be a great place to start.
Successful Blogs Have a Clear Purpose
The blogs I love, I love them, predominantly because they are covering a topic I enjoy reading about, and they do it well. They seem to have a clear purpose as to what their blog is about and that is what they address in the majority of their posts. There is not too much other "fluff" on their site, that is distracting from the main topics. These are the questions I think should be addressed when you are starting a blog:
Who am I helping with my blog?
What am I helping them with?
Why do I want to help them?
From my perspective, I guess I feel like I will be helping small businesses and I will be helping them with their marketing, through their branding and social media management. Why do I want to help them is a bit trickier to answer. I guess marketing and branding are topics I love, and I feel like I am quite good at them through the growth of my own business, and if I can transfer that to other businesses then it would be a win/win situation for both of us.
Successful Blogs have a Consistent Presence
By consistent presence I am covering off on a range of areas. I have noticed that successful blogs are very consistent in their posting schedule. They usually post at least weekly, and are also very present via emails and social media. By continually cropping up in my inbox, or feeds, they remain in the forefront of my mind, so I am up to date with what they are up to, and if I want to learn about any of their topics, I know where to go to find the information - they are the first ones I think of.
As well as posting consistently they are also presenting a very consistent look with their branding. I will often see one of their posts, and know immediately where it is coming from, just by the style of the image or the colours used.
Successful Blogs are Visually Appealing
Following on from the point above - the blogs that seem to be successful, and the ones I am drawn to, are quite visually appealing to look at. Their colours all tie in well with each other, their images are of a great quality and there is the perfect amount of pictures to text. I am a very visual person and drawn to great design, so blogs that flow well and look nice are the ones I enjoy.
Successful Blogs Offer Great Information
This should possibly go before the Visually Appealing point (you can see how my mind works) - but of course the most successful blogs offer great information. Â It is always up to date, relevant and full of stuff I can use. And the authors seem to be continually learning also, so that they are able to deliver consistently great content.
Successful Blogs meet the Website Basics
The most obvious website basics that successful blogs meet is that their pages are fast loading. Nothing worse than getting into some juicy info and wanting to find out more, only to have to wait for it. Also, they make sure all their links work, and end up where you expect them to. The links and other navigation need to be clear and easy to read. They obviously must have their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) set up well too, as they are always easy to find through a quick Google Search. Finally, proof read People!!! Nothing worse than bad grammar and spelling!! (message me if I have errors here - haha!!)
Successful Blogs Plan in Advance
There are many tools to help with blog planning these days, both manual and digital. Personally I still love a manual planner - a gorgeous notebook or printout that allows you to plan your blog posts in advance. The really organised blogs probably plan out their year, breaking down into months, which articles to post when, and what information and imagery they need to track down in order to pull it all together when the time comes. Ideally they would then sit down at the start of each month and week, look at what they planned to cover, check that it is still relevant and go for it. This often gives you the opportunity to write the posts in advance and just hit the "publish" button on the day you want it to go live! The main advantage of planning is that you can be consistently posting - not sitting around at the start of the week, wondering what to post, and time getting away and it not getting done!
Successful Blogs Track Their Analytics
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool. It gives you the opportunity to see where your readers are coming from, whether it be via an organic search, or from a link from another source, for example. It also can tell you quite a bit about the demographics of your website visitors, information like where they live, how old they are, what times of the day they are most active online, and what their gender is. Successful blogs use this information to make sure they are creating content that meets the needs of their target audience. They can also see where most of their leads are coming from, so can maximise their presence in these areas.
Successful Blogs are Slightly Different in Some Way
There are a lot of blogs out there, and a lot of very similar blogs, posting similar articles about similar stuff! The really successful blogs seem to be able to bring a point of difference to their website, whether it be how it looks, or how they present their information, for example. Some bring humour in, which I love, but am terrible at myself...
Successful Blogs Have Some Personal Content
I love feeling like I'm getting to know the authors of the blogs I follow. Whether its photos of them and their family, or personal stories and anecdotes, that give me a feel for them as a person, their likes and dislikes, what keeps them motivated, and what their values in life are.
Wow - thats quite a list. I can see I'm going to have to refer back to this periodically, to ensure I am meeting my own standards. What aspects of blogging have I forgotten - any ideas for other benchmarks that keep blogs successful? Let me know your ideas, below.