How to Develop a Successful Blog - dummies

How to Develop a Successful Blog

Blogs are quick and easy to set up, but you need a plan and a process to maintain a great blog. To create a successful blog, you have to think about why and how you’re blogging to stay on track toward your goals.

Set goals for your blog

Your goals and plans might not be the same as another blogger’s. Here are some ways you might define a successful blog:

  • Numbers: Many bloggers are eager to attract a lot of readers to their blogs, and they define success by the number people who visit every day.

  • Comments: For some bloggers, the interaction with readers in the comment area of the blog is very gratifying. For these bloggers, getting a comment every day or on every post might mean they’re successful.

  • Results: Many bloggers start their blog in order to accomplish a task, such as raising money for a charity. When the goal is met, they know they’ve succeeded!

Write well

Blogs that are well written and spelled correctly are just as likely (perhaps more so) to be read as those that aren’t. You can develop a friendly, personal way of writing without losing touch with the dictionary.

For a professional blog, don’t even consider writing without paying attention to spelling and grammar.

Most importantly, however, is to think through your writing and consider your reader. Take the time to practice and develop a voice that sounds personal and conversational while still qualifying as good, engaging writing. Don’t let the chatty style of a blog fool you — the best bloggers spend just as much time writing a casual blog post as they would a work memo.

Update your blog frequently

Commit yourself to writing new posts on your blog frequently. For the purposes of having a blog that doesn’t eat up all your free time and that’s still updated enough to keep people interested, define the word frequently as at least two or three times a week. (If you want to blog more often than that, go for it.) This number of updates strikes a good balance for most blogs.

Many bloggers use a little trick to account for periods of writers block or for when they go on vacation: They write posts ahead of time and then save them for later. Some blog software even allows you to schedule a date and time for a post to go live, making it possible for you keep your readers entertained even while you’re on vacation.

Pacing yourself is also important. In the first heady days of having a blog, the posts flow freely and easily, but after a few months, you might find it difficult to be creative.

Interact with your readers

Comments are what make blogs different from a Web site; the opportunity to interact and converse with the creator of a Web site and with other readers is almost unique to blogs. Visitors to a blog can leave a comment on each post. Sometimes that comment is in reaction to what they read; sometimes it’s a suggestion or question.

Blog posts often include a link directly underneath each post indicating how many comments have been left. Clicking this link takes you to a page that displays the post, any comments that have been added, and a form you can use to leave your own comment.

After a comment has been made, it appears in the comments area, usually labeled with the comment writer’s name, along with the date and time the comment was left. Not every blog allows comments.

Keep comments turned on in your blog. They’re an easy way to involve your audience in your topic and to get valuable feedback about what you’re doing with your blog.