What makes a blog compelling? And how can you capture that when there's so much to do and learn when you're just starting out as a new blogger?
It's certainly a challenging scenario, to come on board with a blog, and be expected to know what to do, and execute it all perfectly, gathering a vast amount of followers and readers along the way.
Looking through the comments on my post “Is Blogging As We Know It …Generational?” some new bloggers were expressing their concerns about how hard it is to stand out in a sea of bloggers, and although I can't offer you a formula that guarantees 500 new readers a day, I certainly can offer some advice on what to consider and apply in order to work toward your goals of growing and possessing a memorable blog.
Determine Your Focus/Unique Positioning Right Away
I know it can pose a challenge to figure out what kind of content you will feature and what you want to zero in on and specialize in, create categories of content, and even know how often you plan to post when you are just starting out. Consider it to be more like selecting your major when entering college; early on you are just taking the core requirements and getting them out of the way, and there's time to still change your major if need be (but hopefully not too many times).
The sooner you can figure out what your blog is about (and hence, writing your mission statement and “about” page), the better it will be for readers to know what you'll be covering and give them an incentive to come back and recommend your blog to others.
Be Professional From Day 1
Even if you don't have goals of becoming a full time blogger or aren't sure if you like it or not, your blog is still linked to your name, and represents one facet of who you are on the internet. A good rule of thumb is to assume that it's something that can be easily located if your name is searched for online, and if you would include your blog on a resume, is it something you would be proud of, wanting a perspective future employer to see? Professionalism doesn't only come through the content that you create, but also your visual presentation of the images you upload and the layout you select.
There are so many free, good ones to choose from that starting out, you can customize and tweak it to really reflect your personality in a killer template. As corny as it sounds, visual impressions leave a lasting impression, especially when it comes to trust, and you'll want your readers to trust your taste, judgement, and written words from the beginning, so set a good tone with a carefully selected visual layout alongside the content.
Understand How to Look at Your Analytics – and Apply What You Lean
I know this is another thing that you'll have to learn how to do and decide which one(s) to use and what to look for, but as soon as you build it into your routine, it will be a breeze! I constantly forget to click into my Google Analytics account, so I use a plugin called StatCounter to deliver my daily report from the previous week every Monday. From there, I look at the numbers and go over my content, and then make a list of what did the best and the worst, keeping my own list of the specific content that ran on those days. From there I can decide what is working and what isn't, and do more posts like the most successful ones!
It's important to not only analyze your blog content and see where traffic is coming and why, but also to look at what does best on social media too. You can sign up for accounts, both free and for a fee to analyze it for you, but you can of course peruse your content yourself and see what solicits the most likes and comments. The Wall Street Journal article,”How Estée Lauder Creates Effective Photos for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram” is a great example of how to think about it.
Be Proactive With Making New Contacts
If you want to grow your blog and work with new brands and form relationships with PR firms, don't be passive and cross your fingers that they will find you. Use the tools that make sense to reach out to them on if you feature a brand on your site; tag them on Instagram or tweet to the official Twitter handle and let them know in a polite and creative way that you gave them a shout out, or look for a contact name and/or address and send her/him an email letting the person know they've been featured on your blog. The more you interact with the brands, designers, and products that you feature and most likely love, the more you will begin to build a relationship with them and establish yourself as a credible blogger. Usually if a PR firm represents one brand you love, the chances are that someone there will introduce you to a bunch more in the portfolio that could be a great fit for your blog.
What pointers would you like to add?
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]