How to Create a Successful Blog in 8 Easy Steps
You launch a blog, write engaging content but no matter hard you try you just don’t seem to get anywhere.
You follow the advice of a bunch of people that appear to know what they’re doing.
And still – nothing.
I’m here to tell you that whether you’re completely new to blogging or you have tirelessly slaved away on your blog and not had the results you wanted – there is a way, and I’ll show you how.
#1 – It starts with passion and drive
I’m a big believer that in order to create a successful blog you have to be passionate and driven.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re blogging about then you’re going to struggle to stay motivated throughout your blogging journey.
The one thing that almost every successful blogger has in common is being passionate about what they do and so you need to do.
This means you need to ask yourself a difficult question before you even get started – how do you feel about what you’re blogging about? Do you enjoy it? Or are you just wrapped up in a new project because it’s something you haven’t tried before?
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or you’re just getting carried away in the moment then it’s time to reassess the niche that you’re blogging in or possibly blogging full stop.
The key takeaway here is – blog about what you love and your passion will get you through challenging times and out to the other side.
#2 – Find a problem your audience has and solve it
This doesn’t just apply to your blog but also applies to products and services too – if you can understand the problems that your audience is facing you can find a way to solve it.
Certain problems are straight forward to solve through the writing of detailed content, guides, tutorials and blog posts.
Other problems may involve more complex solutions such as creating a product or service and as a number of successful bloggers have mentioned before; launching a product puts you in another league.
For example, Tim from Blogger Jet identified a particular problem that bloggers face. This problem involved a difficulty in finding high performing content on competitor blogs.
He then invested around $300 and had a unique tool built (called Strip The Blog) which allows you to find the most shared content on any blog.
This is free to use right now and I can see Tim expanding this to become a paid product in the future.
It’s already earned him links from over referring domains – just to that page, so this just goes to show that tools are a great way of earning natural backlinks, social shares and traffic.
#3 – Eliminate distractions and make your conversion goals clear
Creating a successful blog relies on having a straight forward design that is functional and without unnecessary distractions.
You need to think about the ultimate goal you would like a reader to complete on your blog, this could be:
- Opt-in to your mailing list
- Create an account for a membership area
- Purchase a product
This goal needs to be prominent throughout your blog and be obvious to readers that it’s the action you want them to complete.
This will help to create a better user experience on site because not only will your content be more effective when you eliminate descriptions, you will increase conversions too.
Here are a number of distractions you should remove:
- Ads in content
- Twitter streams
- Anything that will divert your readers attention from your primary goal
By conversions I simply mean converting a visitor into whatever you want them to be; mailing list subscriber, buyer etc.
This should take president over trying to build a social following – despite how email marketing isn’t as effective as it once was; the value of a mailing list subscriber is still higher than a Twitter follower.
It’s far higher than a Facebook like too, especially since Facebook has made it more difficult for page owners to reach their following. I’ve seen the reach of various pages dip to as low as 5% of their fans.
#4 – Build a list
They say that “the money is in the list” and I have to say that the statement is only partially true because it all comes down to how you use the list.
Generally there are two different approaches that people have list building:
- Marketing list – usually packed with minimal value and lots of affiliate promotions which results in a high churn rate
- Newsletter – promotes actionable content, either unique to the newsletter or based on blog posts which results in higher engagement
One particular key aspect you will notice is actually making it easy for your blogs readers to sign up, if you run a WordPress blog then that’s usually quite easy to do since there are a lot of powerful plugins that are available, I wrote about some of them here.
Ana Hoffman wrote a great article which features some actionable tips on getting your mailing list started, you can find the post here.
#5 – Inform your design and strategy with solid data
As I mentioned earlier on in this post, an important thing to think about is the conversion rates that you are getting for your key conversion goals. Whether it’s mailing list sign ups or something else.
You may find that particular elements aren’t working for your blog, you might be missing a key navigational element or there is a problem certain users are experiencing on mobile devices for example.
This is about optimizing your blog for conversions and data is important, you should never inform design changes to your blog based on anything else but solid data.
Fortunately there are a number of tools on the market that you can use to get solid data to inform your design changes and even help you test different variations of your blogs design.
#6 – Track conversions
As well as testing the layout of particular elements of your blog you also need to track your key conversion goals – otherwise you won’t know what’s going on at all.
Google Analytics is something you can use here – it supports the tracking of goals which is very easy to setup.
For example, when a subscriber signs up to my list they get redirected to a thank you page which lets them download a free guide – in Google Analytics all I did was navigate to the admin page, select goals and then add my thank you page URL within the goals section and tracking was up and running within minutes.
If you need would like some additional background information into what particular options mean and a more detailed run through then I suggest that you take a look at this guide on Swellpath.com.
#7 – Connect with influencers
Have you heard of something called influence marketing?
If you haven’t then I’ll explain – it involves researching key players in your niche to find those that have the most influence. Those that have the power to influence the decision making process of others are the people that you are after.
You could also include things like audience size and various engagement metrics such as number of blog comments, social shares and earned links here too.
The way that you use this strategy is to connect with these influencers so that they can help to distribute your content to their established audience.
Think about it like this – if you had no audience whatsoever and you had the opportunity to tap into an established audience that would love your content, would you take it?
If you have been operating in your niche for a while now you should have a good idea of who these influencers are but there are a number of tools that can help you to find these influencers.
Here are a few ways you can connect with influencers:
- Follow them on social networks that they are active on
- Share their blog content (and tell them about it, i.e. – mention them)
- Comment on their social network updates
- Comment on their blog
- Link to their blog
- Mention them in a blog post
- Involve them directly in your content (i.e. – a group interview)
- Do something to help them out
Remember that you need to treat them with respect and understand that you are generally going to be dealing with very busy people.
By helping these influencers you will earn their respect and you can then work your way up to asking them to help you.
It’s important that you continue to maintain these relationships as time goes on because they will become more valuable as time goes on.
#8 – Build a real following
In my last post here on BloggingPro.com I talked about the importance of building a real following on Twitter and exactly how to go about it.
I have seen people do some pretty crazy things when it comes to trying to give their blog a quick boost.
This has included things like buying traffic from dodgy traffic sellers (usually not real visitors) and buying fans and followers.
Would you rather thousands of followers, none of whom know who you are, what you do or care about what you have to say?
Or would you rather build your following slower and have a following that hangs on your every word and actually wants to read your articles?
Choose the latter if you want to get better results.
Over to you
There are a number of different things that work for different people so what I’d like to know is what exactly is working for you? Or on the other hand, isn’t?
I’d love to hear more in the comments below.
About the author: Adam Connell is the marketing manager of a UK based content marketing agency; UK Linkology. He is also the Editor at Bloggingsuperstars.com. To find out how he made his blog a success in less than 4 months, download his free report here.