Except that blogging is not really a diary. You can also treat it as your own business – Yes Really. =)
If you are one of those who dream of success in the local blogosphere, you alone have the power to make that shift from a dream-mode blogger into a real-life one. But beware, it’s not for the faint hearted. I myself have endured storms and tears handling mine, PaulAgabin.com, especially when my blog is still considered a ghost town. =)
Let me share you some few nuggets of wisdom extracted from my experience blogging in the Philippines….
Who doesn’t want to be in the same league as Gina Marie Trapani, Nick Denton, Tina Brown, Pete Cashmore, Arianna Huffington, Michael Arrington, Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman, Pete Rojas, Kevin P. Ryan, and Ben Huh? If you are familiar with these names, you sure are a quality blog hunter. The roster of names lists down the creators of the top blogs, net worth-wise as of last year, arranged from highest to lowest. Trapani, creator of the Lifehacker blog is now worth more than a hundred million dollars, whereas Huh of the wacky Failed Blog has over a million dollars. They are the richest and most popular bloggers to date.
Ironically, however, money and fame are not the right reasons to write a blog. Nobody knows the perfect formula for successful blogging. But surely, the moolah and the hoopla are never great motivations in doing a blog. You blog because you are all agog to share a unique story – your own story. You blog because you have the passion to fashion a verbose account of something that people with the same interest will find useful and informative.
In the case of local business firms, starting a blog should not be premised out of a sense of obligation because all businesses are practically doing it. Business blogging should be borne out commitment and passion. A business blog is not aimed solely on marketing and promotion, but to offer meaningful content that will be useful for consumers in general. If your readers sense that you are making a sales pitch on the pretense of offering value content, your credibility is blown away.
PERKS OF LOCAL BLOGGING
Here is where the almost inseparable duo of fortune and fame, also known as the moolah and the hoopla belong. They are the ultimate benefits of blogging, never the reasons. But then bloggers reap the benefit of having the inseparable duo not in an instant, but mostly after a long and gruelling venture to establish the reputation of their blog in terms of reliability of information, style, unique appeal, consistency, and originality.
Other than the most coveted fortune and fame, there are many benefits of successful blogging. The perks are different for personal blogs and business blogs. Here are some of the notable advantages of authoring successful blogs.
- Personal Blogs: Blogging is a fun way to share ideas and bloggers benefit from self-fulfilment and enriching experiences in terms of:
* Connecting with other people;
* Establishing yourself as an authority or expert in your field;
* Expressing yourself;
* Finding people who share the same interests;
* Having a creative outlet;
* Helping people with the information you provide;
* Making a difference in your own little way;
* Promoting yourself as a trustworthy source of information; etc.
- Business Blogs: Blogging for business ends, such as to endorse a product, a service or a marketing promotion is a tried and tested avenue that builds brand awareness about your business in terms of
* Achieving better public image;
* Boosting sales/revenue;
* Communicating your marketing message to a wider audience;
* Enhancing relationship with existing and potential clientele;
* Generating more hits for the company website;
* Getting more publicity;
* Learning more about your customers: their sentiments about your product/service, their other needs which your firm may be able to address through product development;
* Managing your business reputation and directing the flow of business- or product-related conversation to your desired direction;
* Networking opportunities with other firms in your product; /service niche, as well as with experts;
* Project a human touch to the business instead of an obdurate corporate entity; etc.
THE LEGENDARY RECIPE
With the handsome perks of blogging comes the hard work of creating a successful blog. Being unique from anyone else indicates that you have your own motivation for initiating a blog, a different field you prefer to explore, and a diverse combination of qualities which may contribute to the success or failure of your blog. Is it possible for anyone to come up with a prescription for successful blogging? In a sense, yes it is; nevertheless it will have to be in retrospect. Founders of top blogs share their success stories and are generous enough to offer a glimpse of what they could have done better.
- Decide on your blog theme by evaluating your strongest areas and connecting them to your deepest passion
Most people have multiple intelligences and are strong in more than one area. Assess your best skills and profoundest knowledge and decide where your passion gravitates toward the most. Many blogs can not hold their readers because the bloggers themselves are not sure what they want to talk about. Choose your blog theme, post blogs exclusively on that topic unless you are compelled by a very important reason to deviate, but make such divergence very rarely. You do not want your blog to lose identity.
Do you need to be an excellent writer? It will certainly be a plus factor. The most important requirement however is coming up with new, unique, novel, and interesting ideas for your blog. You can write a draft and hire an editor/proof-reader to polish your work.
- Ensure quality, accurate, and trustworthy content.
You may not know everything there is to know about a topic or field. However, make it a staple to verify information from authoritative resources before making your blog post. Always check your grammar and spelling. Never give your readers any hint to doubt the veracity of your content, unless it is your personal opinion.
If you need to emphasize that you have the same stand on a particular issue as an expert or a more established blogger, you may use a short quote, but ensure proper attribution is made. Remember that paraphrasing an original idea by another individual or organization does not excuse you from citing your source as a reference. This is one of the cardinal rules of blogging.
- Treat other bloggers as potential supporters, not competitors; build relationships rather than walls and nurture these relationships sincerely.
You build relationships in the blogosphere by reading quality blogs, particularly those that tackle the same or related field as yours. Make your presence felt by posting insightful comments. You may not always agree, particularly in terms of personal opinion, but if you need to disagree, do it in an ethical manner. Respecting other bloggers is a good way to build a productive relationship with them.
Forging relationships with your fellow bloggers is one way of boosting traffic to your site and getting noticed by other online users. As long as your content is of good quality, you can request other bloggers to backlink with you about similar and related posts. But remember, you can not impose.
- Design pleasing, eye-catching, and professional-looking web pages.
If web design is not your cup of tea, hire a professional web-developer. Content is not the first thing that will engage a potential user in reading your blog. Aesthetics, usability, and accessibility of your web page welcome or disengage your potential fans or followers to or from your blog. Make sure that your web page is well laid-out and the other design elements entice readers to read your content.
Consider loading time, choice of theme colors, and compatibility with retina screen and other features of newer mobile phone models. Likewise, mind the headline and heading font types and sizes of your blog posts. More often, readers leave web pages because the layout, not the content, is boring or unacceptable. If possible, limit paragraphs to 3 or 4 sentences and use headers as effective markers for the flow of your content. Help your readers towards a more comfortable reading by effective use of spacing and bulleted lists.
- Use images and videos effectively
Images and videos help get the interest of potential readers. One or two of such graphics may be included in each post to enhance user engagement. Remember that graphics slows down the loading time of your blog. Upload images on hosting sites like Photobucket and upload videos on YouTube. Embed images and videos to your blog instead of directly inserting them in your webpage.
- Avoid cluttering your webpage with widgets and plug-ins.
Never add a widget or plug-in for your web page so that it will appear techie. Use only these items when your potential readers can benefit from using them and doing so will make them love your site. However, loading time takes precedence over the utility of such widgets and plug-ins. Test your loading time to ensure that it does not suffer with one too many of such.
- Pay attention to your keywords and tailor your blog for search engine optimization (SEO).
To get word around that you have such a noteworthy blog that deserves readers’ time and satisfies their discriminating taste, you need to drive traffic to your blog. Analyze the metrics of your site from Google Analytics and make the keyword stats work for you. Better yet, hire SEO professionals to maximize your chances of getting more readers.
- Reputation and success comes with a price
You need to invest in domain name and site hosting. This will add a professional touch on your blog. After all, you wouldn’t look much of an expert if you are on free-hosting. This is the financial side of reputation building.
Success in blogging is also premised on your credibility. Make a point, ensure that your point is solid and backed-up by authoritative evidence, and share your opinion clearly and steadfastly regarding that point. Of course you can not always come up with an original material unless you are a researcher, a scientist or a firm introducing a new product.
However, you can slowly build a good reputation by introducing something new about something that is already known. Most successful bloggers do this by introducing a twist to a known fact, posing a question that will engage readers in reflective thought, or spice up something that is already known by making your own survey or analysis about a hot issue in your blog theme. Just always remember, as a newbie blogger, you can not afford to make a big mistake once readers start to notice you. You do not want to find fame via notoriety due to an epic fail!
Paul’s Last Words:
It is never a cardinal rule in blogging to start it big. If you can manage, why not? However, ponder on this: if you start with a real big bang, you certainly will catch a lot of attention. You need to sustain the big bang by a louder and louder boom every time you post. If you can not consistently arouse the interest of your fans, your readership will dwindle.
Better start with a bleep, follow it up with a bleep bleep, a louder bleep, a much louder bleep, etc. Your success is grounded on how you meet the expectations of your burgeoning fan base. Be consistent, be reliable, and be original in your own little way. Always endeavor to outdo your last blog post.
You need not be as explosive as a sizzling exposé, but you must be timidly bombastic to scream out your faint whisper. That is the secret of successful blogging. Everyone shouts and whispers, yet nobody has ever yelled out a whisper. Venture to do something small but accomplish it in a special way. Here’s to your successful blog!