It’s not easy to get a successful blog up and running, and for many it’s even harder to know where to start. What are the biggest names in the industry doing differently than you? What can you do to reach their level of success?
Don’t Skimp on the Name
What do all of the biggest brand names have in common? An identity. Rather than opting for a keyword-centric name that is about as exciting as the title of your last textbook, the most successful bloggers tend to pick a name that strikes a chord and is difficult to forget.
Make no mistake, if you can buy a domain name that is the exact keyword searched for by millions of people, don’t waste your time getting creative. Most bloggers can’t afford this, so it’s best to get creative and start thinking of ideas that will stick in people’s heads. Keep the word count low and easy to spell.
Buy a .com domain or you risk losing trust. Nobody wants to visit a .biz site. Those that do won’t remember it was a .biz site. Research your hosting company before you buy to ensure that you won’t run into problems later.
Use the Thesis WordPress Theme
While the WordPress community has created a staggering variety of free templates, the benefit of this premium them can’t be overstated. People have become so familiar with the standard blog layouts that they can spot an amateur blog from a mile away.
The Thesis theme certainly isn’t free, but it is well worth the investment. It allows you to customize virtually every aspect of your site’s appearance and functionality without needing to have extensive coding experience. It has a very modern design with just the right balance of white space and test. It’s optimized for the search engines with clean code, offers a great support community, and offers a few features, such as image rotation, that aren’t available on any of the other themes.
Produce Unbeatable Content
Go the extra mile with every post. Pay attention to what the other bloggers AREN’T doing, and start doing it. Offer real value to your visitors. Be willing to look for information in places where other people won’t look for it. Boost your creativity by continuously pushing the limits of your niche, drawing analogies, talking with experts from other fields, and allowing your brain the occasional thought tangent. Be funny, be human, respond to your readers and get them involved. Spend some time brainstorming. Whatever you do, don’t just write another copy of what’s already available on the web.
Research Your Keywords
Take advantage of the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Google Insights, and similar tools in order to get an idea of what’s popular. Focus on popular keywords that are relatively low in competition. While it’s good to spend some time on profitable keywords, often the most successful blogs start by building an audience focused less on profit and more on visibility. This strategy typically requires fewer investments before you start seeing results, which makes it easier to push forward and keep growing. Don’t focus in too much on a single keyword. The more keywords you target, the more sources of traffic you will build.
Master the Basics of SEO
Until people start discovering you in the search results, your success will be limited. Be sure to include your keywords in the titles of your pages, and do everything in your power to attract and build high quality links. This means writing guest posts to go up on other blogs, and writing content that begs to be shared by its readers. Spend some time writing content for the most influential people on the web, both on your site and on their sites. If you appeal to them, they will link to you, and this will pass benefit.
Befriend The Bloggers
Reach out to influential bloggers in your niche, leave constructive comments, exchange emails, and join their social networks. Go out of your way for them and they will do the same for you.
Stay Up to Date
Write up a schedule and stick to it. Make a goal of posting a certain number of articles every week. Write the articles in advance and schedule them to be automatically posted later. Give yourself enough time that you won’t burn yourself out, but not so much time that you lose attention and get sidetracked with other things. Work hard and put in the effort. It will pay off.
Jeff Gross is a content distributor and Internet marketing consultant, most often known as the owner of nPromote, a New York SEO company. He is also a passionate blogger who writes about SEO, sharing his knowledge and experience in that field.