The Top Ten Tips for Blogging Success

I’m often asked what the main elements of great blogging best practice are, and what new bloggers can do to really make the most of their online business to generate more traffic and increase revenue. In truth, there are a number of things that we need to do to keep our blogs flourishing and successful, and it can sometimes seem as if there is so much to learn, and so many activities to do that we’ll never get to the bottom of the winning formula for blogging success. However, the following tips are the main things I can think of that will really enhance your blog, supporting you to be a success.

1. Update your content regularly

Search engines like content that is fresh, newly-published, and has a high turnaround, as the latest content on the web is the most successful in terms of being highlighted through the search engines. Because of this, keep your blog updated with at least three new posts a week to make the most of the possibilities of the web.

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2. Watch your competitors

A really good way of making sure your blog is right on the money in terms of quality content and customer-focused activity is by keeping an eye on what pioneers in your industry are doing. Use the people you most admire as the yardstick for working out where to go next with your blog, and check out your key competitors regularly to make sure you stay ahead of your game.

3. Be good to your customers

Your customers are the reason why you blog, so make sure they are always your top priority. Answer comments quickly, respond well to queries and questions, and stay ahead of what your customers need at all times to have a well-read, flourishing and happy blog.

4. Keep your blog well maintained

Blogs are a bit like gardens – turn your back for too long, and they become a little unkempt and need a spruce up. The busier your blog is, the more work there is to keep it maintained. Keeping on top of comments, posting regularly and making sure your blog is tidy and well looked after are all really important for ease of loading and customer satisfaction online.

5. Use your customers to work out what should be on your blog

It’s sometimes easy to fall in to the trap of writing for ourselves rather than our customers, but this can easily lead to a fall in traffic as people find that they aren’t getting what they came for when they visit your site. Use your customers to establish what’s needed in terms of content, and cater for their requirements. When people get in touch with queries, use these as headings for new posts, letting your customers tell you what they want to know, and giving it to them.

6. Keep your blog easy to navigate

The best blogs are simple to use, and make it easy to see content and get to what we need quickly and efficiently. As our attention spans grow increasingly shorter, make sure you cater for customers by keeping everything within easy reach for them.

7. Link in to social media

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the other platforms for social networking are all there to support you to be a great blogger. Make the most of what is available by linking in to these powerhouses of free advertising, letting them work on your behalf to optimize your blog and raise awareness of who you are and what you do.

8. Make your content easy to read, and accessible

Great content is the cornerstone of good blogging practices, and if your site is full of mistakes, or tough to read, people won’t come back. On the other hand, lively fresh content will keep your readers loyal and satisfied, encouraging returns to your site to see what you have been up to, and what your latest post is telling your customers about.

9. Make the most of SEO opportunities

WordPress has a wealth of support in place for search engine optimisation, so make sure you give it a helping hand to get the main search engines to find and feature your content. The ‘All in one SEO pack’ is the very minimal you should be doing to enhance your blog content, using well researched keywords and backlinks to drive traffic to your site.

10. Be an active voice on your blog

Blogging success depends on customer interaction and a visible and strong presence at all times. When someone is actively engaged in their blogging business it shows through passionate writing, prompt responses to customers and a general impression of professionalism and enthusiasm. Stay present and involved with your blog, and you’ll succeed as your knowledge, passion and love of your business shine through.

Another Reason To Blog

Websites with 401 to 1,000 pages get SIX times more leads than those with 51 to 100 pages.

Websites with 401 to 1,000 pages get NINE times more visitors than those with 51 to 100 pages.

Websites with greater than 1,000 pages get EIGHT times more leads than those with 51 to 100 pages.

Pretty cool huh? An easy way to create pages is to create blog posts that provide value and are relevant to your target audience. There are even more stats f you think 400 Pages is out of your reach.

Websites with 31 to 40 pages get SEVEN times more leads than websites with 1 to 5 landing pages.

Websites with greater than 40 pages get 12 times more leads than those with 1 to 5 landing pages.

I saw this a while ago and forgot where it came from but wrote it down. Looking it up it comes from Hubspot’s Lead Generation Lessons From 4,000 Businesses.

Vlogging – The New Face Of The Blog?

If you’ve been listening in on the blogosphere over the past few months, you may have picked up on a newish term for blog enthusiasts – vlogging. Put simply, vlogging is video blogging, using media to capture your messages and impart them across to your followers. While the concept is not new, the name certainly is, and it’s important to stay abreast of this kind of term, as the coining of a term for a social media phenomenon usually indicates that the technique will be around for a while!

OK, so now we know what vlogging is, what are the benefits?

Vlogging is great for a number of reasons. The first is that it helps people who really want to run a blog, but hate writing. By plonking down in front of a video camera and capturing your words in this format, you save a wealth of time in terms of avoiding proofreading, and articulating your message quickly and easily.
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Another benefit of vlogging is that it opens up your message for a wider range of platforms than words will alone. Videos can be captured for YouTube, and are included in search engine returns for sites such as Google, getting you in front of an increased number of people, and attracting more traffic back to your site.

Another advantage is that vlogging suits people who do not necessarily want to sit down and read an article, preferring to capture their information on the fly and get to key points quickly. We all have different learning styles, and the vlog enables our visual audience to respond to messages, as well as people who like to read their news online.

Another key advantage of vlogging is it allows your followers to meet you, as close to in person as possible. It’s amazing how much we can pick up from someone’s facial expressions, body language and image which can never come across through your writing. Your vlog will operate as a virtual shop front for you, your products and services, letting your readers put a face to your name and forge a stronger bond with you than simple text ever could.

All great so far – but there are some disadvantages to video blogs which you may also want to consider. The main one is probably the fact that when we speak, many of us have regional dialects or strong accents which may not translate well to an international audience. With words, people have the option to translate your message online, and you will write without any trace of regional dialect. However, some people may struggle to understand someone with a strong accent from a different country – or even, in some cases, from the same country as themselves!

Another issue is that in order to vlog, you do need to be confident and personable, in a way which word blogging will never require. You have to vacuum your office, put some nice plants in the frame, and brush your hair. You also have to have an element of technical ability in order to get your message across well, and understand the basics of public speaking.

Now you’ve weighed up the pros and cons, why not give video a go? Your audience are probably expecting it, and it’s a fun, innovative and engaging way of giving your message out without having to sit down and write lengthy copy.

Procrastination: The Evil Nemesis Of Blogging

Have you heard the old adage, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today? It may be something which our grandparents mumbled at us when they saw our bedrooms could do with a tidy up, but it remains as true today as it did generations ago. When we put things off and procrastinate instead of getting down to work, a host of negative things happen which can sap our enthusiasm and leave our sites out of date, our admin piling up, and our work/life balance looking decidedly… unbalanced.

Continue reading Procrastination: The Evil Nemesis Of Blogging

Effective Time Management For Bloggers

Where does the time go? We wake up on a Monday morning, all fired up with our goals firmly in mind for the week, and get to work. The next thing we know, it’s Friday night, we’re logging off, and the entire week seems to have disappeared in a puff of smoke, before we even have time to sit up and consider what has taken place.

Time can often seem flexible and unreliable – on some occasions it shoots past without so much as dropping in to say hello. Other times, it drags on and on, leaving us wishing away the minutes and seconds. This makes our time difficult to manage, as it can be unpredictable, unreliable and downright slippery! So, how do we free up time – the one thing, it is said, that money can’t buy – and make sure we get the most out of each hour of the day?

The main thing that helps me stay organized and stay ahead of time flying past is having a great routine – I get up at the same time each day, and go to my office at home. I then log on, do all of the administration which needs to be completed each day, and work for a while to plan anything else I need to get done today The rest of the day is then split in to sizeable chunks of time, so I know what I need to be doing at any given point. Having a time schedule supports people to keep on top of what needs to be done, and puts a little self-imposed pressure on the task of working from home, by galvanizing us in to action and preventing us from getting sidetracked by other things.

A routine is like any other habit – do it often enough, and your mind and body will get in to the swing of it until it becomes second nature. Of course, there are always going to be things which crop up unexpectedly, such as an urgent request for a customer, visits from people, or other time-sappers, but it’s possible to actually legitimize these by allocating a certain amount of each day for ad hoc requests or unexpected intrusions.

When we work in a corporate environment, our time is usually managed for us. We have an expected time to arrive each working day, and we are obliged to log on to our systems and be alert, productive and ready to go by a certain hour each morning. Lunch times are scheduled in – usually unpaid – pushing us in to taking a break at a specific section of each day, before returning for the afternoon to apply ourselves again.

However frustrating this may seem when we are actually in that environment, it is a system which has been used successfully for years, and one which we can just as effectively apply to our own day when we work for ourselves.

There are other great ways to manage time well – order your list of priorities each day to make sure the most urgent tasks get done first. If there are some things on your list which you can’t face, consider outsourcing them to other people who can do a better, quicker, more effective job on them than you may be able to.

Similarly, don’t be tempted to put off the tough things just because you don’t feel like facing them – the joy of effective time management is that you will find you have the capacity to take on even the hardest, most laborious jobs without flinching away from them, when you have a clear, ordered routine for your day.

I’m not saying that it is simple to become so effective at time management that you can do your work in one morning, and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. However, a few simple steps such as those above can bring some discipline in to your blogging business, freeing you up for more enjoyable tasks, and taking some pressure away from your working week.

Gaining Confidence In The Blogosphere

Are you a confident blogger? Do you sit down each week with a feeling of anticipation when you are about to put pen to paper, feeling great about what you have to say, and how you’re going to say it?

Continue reading Gaining Confidence In The Blogosphere

How To Eat An Elephant…

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘how to eat an elephant – one bite at a time’, and it may be over-used these days but it’s a great adage for the best way to run your blog. When we first start out in the blogosphere it can seem a little overwhelming – so many different things to consider, coupled with the need to get your blog published, up and running as soon as possible, can leave you feeling a bit frazzled.

Continue reading How To Eat An Elephant…

Man Accidentally Impregnates Goat

Now, of course this post is not going to be about the actual story, but the story of the headline.

This is a headline I read quite a few years back in a trade magazine. The headline certainly caught my attention, and is one that made me read the article. However it was less interesting than it sounds. The “Man” in the headline was a veterinarian going about his daily business, and the goat should have been a sheep.
Goat
So the headline could have been “Vet Accidentally Impregnates Wrong Animal”. But that wouldn’t have been as exciting of course, and I would probably not have read it. Then again, for some reason I was reading a vet’s trade magazine, the reason for which I can’t remember.

Chris Garrett has a new free eBook (NO opt-in required) called How to Create Headlines that Go Viral with Social Media that talks about creating compelling headlines, the key 5 types of headline, pressing emotional hot buttons, and essentially headlines that work.

It’s free, no opt-in required, and only 10 pages long so a quick essential read. It also links to another document with over a hundred sample headlines that work.

Blogging Is Not A Get Rich Quick Scheme

Yet so many people think it is. Andrew says it much better than me over at We Build Your Blog:

Many people enter the world of blogging believing they are going to be rich within weeks. They believe the hype of the sales pages and the guys standing in front of their big mansions and flashy cars and think, “I want that. I want what they have”.

Read the full blog post here. It’s a great post, and please leave a comment on his site if you’re so inclined.

How To Stay Motivated

It’s the age old question – how do we keep the momentum going with our blogs, and make sure we stay motivated enough to achieve everything we need to do, without letting our energies slip and becoming fed up with work? Motivation isn’t something that can be learned, and many of us are left floundering without inspiration, forgetting what gave us the drive and ambition to succeed when we first started our businesses.

The problem with motivation is it always seems dependent upon the environment and external circumstances. If we get bad feedback, our will to work disappears as quickly as you can say ‘loss of confidence.’ Similarly, when life is going brilliantly it can be hard to knuckle down to work, as we are keen to enjoy our circumstances while the going is good, and it feels tough to have to apply ourselves and stop having fun.

So, motivation can ebb and flow, but our businesses demand a constant stream of input in order to thrive. Blogging, of all the disciplines to do with work, is probably one of the most demanding jobs we can have. If we slack off, it’s immediately evident in the fact that we haven’t published anything for a while, or our readers’ comments lie unanswered for days on end. As a time critical and highly visible platform for marketing, blogging is relentless and requires the maximum input from us as site owners.

Given the amount of investment we need to make in our blogs, having the right amount of motivation is a really important element of our jobs. Without it, we’ll be left with an out of date site, and disgruntled customers. Additionally, it takes motivation to produce new products, post articles as a guest writer, commit to commenting on other people’s sites each day, and undertake the tasks necessary to do a great job on our sites. So, how do we get motivated, and what can we do to ensure that even when things are becoming stressful or we feel too jaded to make a great impact with our work, it doesn’t show in what we do?

Here are some ideas…

Manage your time

Nothing saps motivation more than feeling that things are getting on top of us. Instead of rallying when this happens, we tend instead to procrastinate, putting things off until the situation becomes even worse. For some reason, most business owners find that the more stressed they are with their work, the less work they can actually complete!

Because of this, time management is one of the most important elements which contribute to great motivation. Knowing you have a fantastic routine to tackle each day, which is proven to deliver results and produce a satisfactory outcome for your efforts is motivational in itself.

Don’t get distracted

Most of us who run a blogging business work from home, and this is a terrible breeding-ground for distractions. There will always be laundry that needs doing, someone popping in for a social call, and the television (that well-known attention vacuum which can suck away two hours of your life before you have the chance to say ‘Talk Show’). Because of this, it’s important not to let yourself get distracted from what your work, no matter how hard that may be at the time.

Another huge pull on our attention is the internet, which lures us away from our purpose at every turn with advertisements for online gaming, e-mails which pop in to our box and suck us in with tantalizing titles, and Skype chats from people whom you haven’t spoken to for at least two hours.

Distractions, then, are a hugely negative sap on motivation. The more we procrastinate and get sidetracked, the lower our motivation to get things done will become. Instead, we begin to feel stressed, disorganized and demotivated, as work piles up and we flounder in a sea of red e-mails and things to do.

Remind yourself of your goals

Motivation and ambition go hand in hand. This is because when we clearly identify what we want to achieve, and hold it in our minds at all times, it becomes easier to work towards this achievement with single-minded perseverance. Business owners who are not sure where they want to go, what they want to achieve nor how to set about achieving it will not have the motivation which is needed to

Speak to experts

Nothing sparks off the creative process and gets your motivational juices flowing quite like speaking with like-minded enthusiasts. These are the people who can show you where you want to be, and give you the advice which you need to achieve it.

Learn something new every day

Learning and acquiring new knowledge is one of the mainstays of business development and achievement. It also opens up new possibilities for your business, and starts off the ideas process which can lead to motivation. The more possibilities you can see, the easier it is to generate the energy and enthusiasm needed to do a kick-ass job with your blog and business, leaping out of bed each day to make your plans come to fruition.

Learning new things also stimulates our brains and makes us come alive. It sparks off new thought processes and wakes us up to new possibilities and potential for our blogs. Learning can also become a habit, as we waken up our brains and make them more receptive to picking up new concepts and stretching our capabilities.

As soon as the savvy blogger hits the books, a wealth of new ideas will start to flood in to your strategic plan for the business, and this is one of the most effective catalysts for keeping you enthusiastic, motivated and raring to go. Don’t believe me? Try it. Pick a subject close to both your heart and your industry, read up on it, and see where it leads. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Laugh

Being tired and jaded saps motivation quicker than an SUV drinks gas. The surefire way of combating the miserable feeling of being tired and de-motivated is to have a good solid belly-laugh. This could be at someone else’s expense, at your own, or simply for the heck of it. Find a way to laugh off your worries and think more positively about your business, and you’ll be more motivated than Bill Gates when he looks at a particularly sexy microchip.