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For a blog to reach this stage of “dumbing down what the big publishers claim,” there’s a long way to go. Here are some tips to make your blog stay on the high-performance circuit.
Webmaster’s Note: This is a guest post by Jeff Davis.
A blog – like a business – has many parameters to gauge its success on. You could drill down into multiple sub-niches or stick to a popular topic. High performance – for you – could mean traffic that could bring servers down or maybe it’s about attractive suave readers who prefer sophistication and “alternative thought.”
You might say that your blog is high-performing if it pays the bills or you might not even be happy with your blog making it to the leagues. The first step hence, is to determine what high-performance means to “you” as a blogger: is it about a select group of readers (low, but targeted traffic), conversions for sale (for something you sell), or making your blog every advertiser’s dream?
Keep it Personal, One-on-One
Blogs are presentations you are making to government bodies, banks, or even venture capitalists. Blogs are a tool for self-publishing but most bloggers forget the “self” part in a crazy pursuit for popularity, traffic, and monetization. Not that any of those goals are bad, but it’s just that blogs aren’t blogs if you produced content that should rather be fit for “The Economist.” Keep your blogs personal. Use “I” and “We” and “You” in your content.
The day you start a sentence with something like “One should…” you are off limits. Maybe you should work on the next edition of The Bible. There’s a writing voice and identity you’ll want to achieve. Sean’s post on Establishing your Content Identity points it out perfectly.
Present Opinions with Fact
Try presenting an opinion without justification on your blog posts you’d be met with an unending comment stream of criticism from your readers. While it’s sometimes good to rant, rave, or go into a mega-slashing mode murdering popular opinion, “talking down” or “going against the grain” – admittedly it gets you a lot of traffic, views, and social media shares – it’s always a good practice to back up your opinion with facts.
At least, ride on the back of what someone else said about the topic at hand. Someone who is more established, proven, or credible in your field or niche.
Market it like a Business
No matter what your goals are (point 1), you’d need to push your blog out, reach out to your readers, and attract traffic. All of that takes a never-ending, relentless, and possibly a lifetime of work to get traffic for your blog. Marketing, just as it is for business, is a bloggers’ daily job. You could write all you want but none of that popularity and influence comes just by writing; you’d have to market your blog too.
Blogging is a business, and your blog needs to be run like one. You just have to do what it takes.
Blog for a Reason
Don’t blog because it makes you money or because it makes you popular for the wrong reasons. Don’t blog because that’s what every digital marketer worth his or her salt suggests. Don’t blog because you thought that it was a great way to start your online business.
Blog only if you are passionate about whatever it is that you blog about. If you have to blog, do it for a reason. The reason is for you to find out and for the rest of the world to read.
Strive for Influence
After you pick the niche you want to blog on, it’s time to work on your “personal brand” and influence. Gary Vaynerchuck, for instance, is known for his effect on his readers and not so much for AdSense revenue or for any of his affiliate income.
If you blogged enough – and passionately enough – for a reason, this influence would come in time. Anything else you’d do looks like so much else on the web that no one would notice.
Social Media is your Blog # 2
So, you have a blog and you keep pumping enough content to make it a potential winner. Sadly, there are only so many readers that your blog can attract initially. Your readership grows over time and your blog is little less viral or has much less potential (by itself) than when compared to social media, for instance.
Hence, social media is your platform to stretch your efforts. It’s your blogging channel #2. Social media helps you to amplify your message, spread your content virally, bring in an additional set of readers (sometimes, overwhelmingly enough), and give you a lot more influence than what you can ask for. If you think you need help in this field, SEO Hacker provides a serious set of Social Media Marketing Services.
Build Relationships Everyday
You could look at all possible reasons to start building relationships with others (within and outside of your niche) but they would all pale in comparison with this one reason to create relationships: you learn, respect, and love others. You are in awe of others. You relate to others because you just relate to them. There are no reasons for building relationships with other bloggers and business owners.
Build your network for the sake of “building your network” and you’ll see some of these relationships blossoming into opportunities of a lifetime. Still, that’s not the reason why you connect.
Do More than just Blog
Bloggers blog, don’t they? Yes and no. That’s where most bloggers limit their potential. Instead, work towards a lot more than just a blog. A book is a good start (even the self-publishing option is a good one). Launch events, conferences, and online webinars. Start tutorials or launch online courses on the niche you blog on.
All of these endeavors help you to develop credibility (not to mention the possibility to make money), and drive even more readers to your blog. Of course, it takes a ton of effort to do all this. You need to keep slogging away at your blog every single day. Who said blogging was easy?
Keep Track of your Numbers
You’d never know where you ought to go if you didn’t know where you are. Google Analytics is free for now and that’s more than to ascertain who your visitors are, where they come from, the mobile devices they use, and how long they spend on your blog. You can even drill down information about the content they read, social interactions, and much more.
Set up “goals” within your dashboard to get you all the information you need. Work from there.
Feature Prominent People on your Blog
Social leverage is a secret that not many bloggers tend to put to good use. Whether you are creating a humongous list of “18 people you should seek advice on [Niche idea]” or even if you wanted to mention someone in the passing, do so with a flourish. Then, outreach each of these influencers to let them know that they’ve been featured on your blog post. News spreads quickly. You’ll get on the radar.
Attract and Accept Guest Posts
Don’t close opportunities for other bloggers who might want to guest post on your blog. Whether they are doing to gain backlinks or to gain exposure or credibility, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
Blog owners don’t have to give up control on quality of the content (which you can supervise) and dictate editorial terms for every approaching guest blogger. However, closing the doors for guest posts works to your disadvantage.
Build a Team of Writers (with Credits)
Why build a team of writers or attract tons of guest bloggers, you ask? Every contributing author has vested interest in promoting these published blog posts elsewhere. Apart from the direct links inbound to your own blog (from each of these other blogger’s websites and blogs), you’ll also gain some social spread.
Ghost writing has its place but so does credited publishing of blog posts. Tap into the power of other’s hard work.
Spread your Content Variety
Yes, it’s a blog. It’s not limited to text, though. Add all sorts of content on your blog. That includes videos, links to your podcasts that features on iTunes or elsewhere. Slide decks on Slideshare.net and embedded magazines. Infographics, animated content, and interviews. Webinars, recorded seminars, and even book excerpts. The blog is your playground.
Notice how Sean uses Slideshare for his blog?
Bleed to Win
If you’ve come down to the end of the list, it shows that you are committed to the effort it takes to run a high-performance blog. You might have read stories of bloggers making it big and how small blogs are media behemoths today. None of that came by easy and it certainly didn’t happen in a day.
But that kind of performance only comes for super-achievers. That means sacrifices. It also means endless days sitting alone, staring into your monitor, and typing like a lunatic typist. You’ll forego television, online videos, casual browsing, Facebook (unless you are promoting content, which you can automate), and weekend parties. This kind of work demands that you bleed to death.
If you aren’t dead yet, you win.
Which of these tips are you going to put to use? Let us know.