You know how some sports teams occasionally wear “throwback” jerseys during their games? Well, since they can travel back in time, I figured I could too. Plus, I’m feeling really crappy and am about to pop some pills (medicine, not drugs) and let my white blood cells do work. Today, I’ll be copying and pasting an article I wrote a long while back. My guess is most of you weren’t following back in early ’09, so hopefully you’ll benefit from this. If you’ve been with me since day one, go ahead and click on this link for a special treat. I’m hoping I’ll be in full force tomorrow.
Thats right, I’m going all Michael J Fox up in this place and takin’ a look in to the future. “Why?” you ask. Well, I read an excellent post by Bob over at Christian PF and it got me thinking, “Maybe I should write an article about how to become a successful blogger.” Only problem is… I’m not a successful blogger. Wait a minute! Who said you need to be a great blogger to write an article about how to become a great blogger?
Anyone ever watch golf? Why does Tiger Woods ask his caddy for advice… it’s not like that guy is a better golfer than him. If Tiger Woods’ caddy can tell Tiger how to golf, I can tell bloggers how to become successful. I’ve got 7 simple rules that, if followed, should get ya well on your way….
1) Don’t suck. Seriously, this is the most important part of becoming a good blogger. People don’t like things that suck, so your blog probably shouldn’t suck either. Whatever your niche, personal finance, religion, politics, or your life, do something that is going to set you apart from the other 200,000 bloggers just like you. Think about who you want your audience to be. Is it college students? Old People? Midgets named Helga? Try to format your website in a way that will be aesthetically appealing to them. When I browse PF (personal finance) blogs the layout is absolutely critical to how long I’ll be sticking around. If I can’t navigate their webpages and find what I’m looking for easily, I’m out the door in the blink of an eye. If you think your website looks ugly, it probably is so you need to change it. Blogs are like people, the best looking ones seem to get the most attention.
2) Reread step one
3) Make your blog personal. I’m not telling you to share all your deep dark secrets, but don’t be afraid to get a little vulnerable. Although I read a ton of PF blogs, I always find myself checking up on the ones where the author has focused on sharing their personal story. I would be bored out of my mind if PF was only about stocks, bonds, and wall street. I know it’s a little weird to think about sharing your personal life with people you have never met, but don’t think about them as strangers, think of them as strange hers and strange hims!
4) Find a blogging BFF. I have been emailing back and forth with a couple different PF bloggers and the wealth of information they have provided to me has been invaluable. Don’t get caught up in the mentality “What can that blogger do for me?” Instead think, “What can I do for that blogger? ” A random act of kindness on your part can go a long way. Do not go to every blog in your genre and say “Hey will you add me to your blogroll” or, my personal favorite, leave a comment saying “Great post, you should check out my site at www.isuckbad.com” Instead shoot your blog BFF an email that says “Thanks for all your great posts. They have totally motivated me to join the blogging community!” Comments like that are far more likely to spark a friendship and maybe even a blo-mace (blogging romance).
5) Be prepared to see the number 0. When I first started blogging I had a habit of compulsively checking my sitemeter statistics, adsense account balance, and blog emails. Most of the time I did that, the number zero was waiting to welcome me. Some days I had no visitors, most days I made $0 from adsense, and my computer wasn’t saying “You’ve got mail.” It’s easy to get discouraged by a low visit count or when no one is commenting on your posts, but ya got to push through and keep on truckin’. You have to give it an honest attempt for at least six months before you can expect any kind of growth in your web traffic. Patience, patience, patience.
6) Respond to your readers. Once you finally start generating traffic you will probably get some people stopping by to give their two cents. Think of these people as your VIP customers. You need to win these people over. If someone comments on your post be sure to comment back on theirs. This principal is closely related to step four, building blogging friendships. Not only will your commenters feel appreciated, but it may cause them to comment back again or for someone else to jump in on the conversation. If you don’t respond to your readers they wont respond to you. (I’m guilty of lagging in this area…my bad).
7) Blog because you want to. This is the last and most important point. I started blogging because I wanted to make money . I lasted about two and a half months before I totally burned myself out. Before you start your blog, think about what your reasons for doing so are. Is it to keep yourself accountable? Is it to share information with friends and family? How ’bout to become super famous and rich? If it’s the last one I recommend you spare yourself and quit now. If you’re not passionate about the material you’re covering, you’re not gonna last.
So there ya have it. These are my seven tips that will hopefully lead you to a prosperous blogging life. I can’t guarantee they are going to work, primarily because I am so new to the blogging world that I have not been able to adequately test them. These are the principals I am going to live by and hopefully two years from now I can look back and say “Told ya so!” You got anything else you’d add to the list??