“Be so good they can't ignore you.” ~Steve Martin
I keep going back to this, because it's at once sage advice, and completely subjective advice. For bloggers wishing to become professional, getting noticed is no small feat in this competitive world. Your work is good. You pour your heart into it. But why is nothing happening? It could be you just started, or you're not making yourself available for success. Or, maybe “high quality” is too broad of a description. Blogs are like babies, everyone thinks their own blog is beautiful and a bit genius. It's hard to look at something you've worked so hard on objectively. Sometimes it's just hard to define the common traits among successful blogs.
Blogs are like babies, everyone thinks their own blog is beautiful and a bit genius.
While each blog is different, there are traits that successful blogs tend to have. You might be really great at one trait, but need help with the others. The more of these traits you can master, the easier it is to rise to the top.
1. Strong voice
Every time people describe what makes a great blogger, you get the “strong voice” answer. Every time. There is a reason for that. Bloggers who have something to say and say it with confidence can develop a strong voice, if they don't already have it. Technology comes and goes, heck, blogging might even peter out one day. If you develop a strong voice, you'll be ready for the next medium.
How do you develop a strong voice?
This is a lifelong journey. Honing in your voice and writing skills is a constant evolution, one that will never be perfected. If you're just starting out, find writers/bloggers you love with and identify the qualities of their writing which speaks the loudest to you. Are they concise, funny or thoughtful? Do they give a lot of examples? Practice these qualities in your own writing (this is not stealing, unless you're taking their writing and calling it your own). It's how influence works. Soon enough you'll be working on refining your own style.
2. Clear purpose
What is your blog about? Are you laser focused, or all over the place? Blogs that tend to do the best (aside from the very general news sites staffed by many people) have a very clear purpose to them. Readers know instantly when they go on the site what they will get.
How do you get a clear purpose for your blog?
Write a mission statement. Stick to it. If you're finding your blog's content is too broad, narrow it down, and write a mission statement.
Whether you're inspirational or offensive, the image you portray in the internet is your brand.
Branding has become more and more important to smaller blogs and even individuals with the advent of social media. Even if you are one person, in this day and age, you should be aware of your own brand. Whether you're inspirational or offensive, the image you portray in the internet is your brand. The closer your brand aligns with your mission, the better. The more consistent you are with your brand, the stronger it becomes.
How do you develop your brand?
Again, this is an evolutionary process. One great way to start is, after you write your mission statement, list out brand guidelines for your blog. If your blog is about fashion news, do you talk about your boyfriend or girlfriend on your blog Twitter account? If your blog is about personal style when you talk about the Tea Party, are you talking about the movement or actual tea parties? Do you make a point to only post/tweet/instagram things that help your readers? Hash out all these components to make sure you have a consistent presence with your blog.
4. Clear design
Once in a while, going through the IFB approvals, I'll come across a “blog” that is so hard to navigate, I can't even tell where the posts are. It is true. Or there are too many colors, blurry logos, music… things that make my eyes bleed. On the other side, I also see a lot of blogs that look the same. Using the same theme, logotype… and while I prefer that to a pixelated mess, it can be just as bad. Finding that sweet spot can be difficult, and subjective, because not everyone has the same taste, and different niches have different vernacular. Just make sure your readers can find your content.
How do you get a clear design?
Look at the blogs you like the most, and pay attention to their design. What components do you love? If you are doing it yourself, find a theme that works best with your requirements. If you have trouble, find someone to design your theme for you. There are some great ones on Etsy.
5. Easy to read
Somewhere between “strong voice” and “clear design” your blog needs to be easy to read. Be sure to treat your text carefully and make it inviting for readers to come in and peruse your content.
How do I make my blog easy to read?
6. Great photography and visuals
A picture is worth a 1000 words, posting a blurry photos in bad lighting suggests you don't take your words seriously. I personally have a problem trusting blogs that do not have excellent photography because, fashion is a visual art. While being a great photographer is a discipline in it's own. There are a number of ways to get beautiful graphics on your blog.
A picture is worth a 1000 words, posting a blurry photos in bad lighting suggests you don't take your words seriously.
How do I get great photos and visuals on my blog?
Practice taking photos, experiment with light and your settings. Take a photo class. Invest in a good camera. If all else fails, get really great at collage. Subscribe to a stock photo service. Maybe you're better at illustrating?
Don't post blurry photos on your blog. Keep taking photos until you get it in focus. Trust me, the more you do this, the easier it will be to get photos in focus on the first try.
7. Engaged audience
If no one comments on your blog, is it really a blog?
If no one comments on your blog, is it really a blog? Some blogs don't allow comments, but nearly all of them have sharing capabilities on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. If you have all the components above, you should be able to garner an engaged audience. Without this you basically have a private blog. All high quality blogs have an excellent degree of engagement. It may take more work than actually producing the content, but for a blog to become successful it is a vital investment of your time.
How do you get an engaged audience?
Jump right into the blogging community. Produce content that resonates with your readers. Actively engage in social media. Listen to your audience. The sky is the limit!
There are more traits of high quality blogs… but this post is already long, so I'm turning this over to you… what do you think makes a high quality blog?