According to Technorati, as of February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs around the world. And thanks to multiple platforms available, that number is growing rapidly. Take for instance Tumblr. Only four years in existence, it has over 34 million individual blogs and can boast amongst its users celebrities like President Obama.
Given the high number of blogs floating around, how do you ensure your blog receives its fair share of traffic? Blogging follows some fairly simple rules; here are 7 of them:
1. Select the right platform: There are plenty of platforms to select from, so how do you know which one is right for you? A customized blog solution which is hosted onto your domain is generally a good choice, as it will attract links and help in search engine rankings. In most instances, your hosted website will allow you to build a blog, but you can also use platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and MoveableType. It’s easy to switch platforms but really quite hard to capture an audience that’s willing to follow you, so give this decision some serious thought before you make it.
2. Blog consistently: The more you write, the quicker you build up an audience who begins to expect your posts, inspiring you to create more… it’s a circle which feeds itself and grows as it does. Whether you want to blog once a day or once a week, select a number and stick to it. You might also find it helpful to write a bunch of posts and schedule them in advance so you’re not tempted to miss a turn.
3. Write with both search engines and your audience in mind: It’s important to write for search engines -keywords and links can attract the right kind of audience. However, it’s also important to remember that you’re writing for people, who in all likelihood will enjoy a good honest read. Don’t be afraid to use SEO tactics; but ensure that your audience, who will be the final deciding factor on whether your blog takes off or not, reacts to your post.
4. Include comments only when you reach a certain point: Comments can be a powerful tool to harness. But a blog with zero comments can be disheartening, both to the author and the reader. Wait till you build up a good number of RSS subscribers before you allow comments on your blog. You can also try visiting other blogs and commenting on them or inviting your audience to comment on your blog via social networking sites like twitter and facebook. Remember though that till you build a reputation, it’s all about reciprocating a good deed –if you take the time to visit and comment on someone else’s blog, chances are they’ll do the same for you.
5. Invite guest bloggers or paid bloggers to keep it fresh: Collaboration often works well to get your blog noticed. Sites like Mashable for example, regularly invite guest writers to share their opinions on current topics. You can also work with other writers to exchange posts and widen the circle of influence. If you find it hard to blog regularly or difficult to understand SEO, you might also want to invest in a paid writer.
6. Mix up the content: Try and eschew copying popular trends and stick to unique topics that speak of who you really are. Don’t be afraid to mix up your text content –add images, photos, videos, and plenty of links so that readers get a good idea of what you’re trying to promote.
7. Be generous in your content: A lot of bloggers believe that if they are generous with their content, they will fail to entice their readers into buying their products and services. This is actually quite contrary to what really happens in the blogging world. The more you offer by way of information, the more readers begin to trust you, rely on you, and eventually buy from you. So be generous with the information you share.