Setting up a blog these days is not a problem. It doesn’t matter whether you're using a free blogging platform like Blogger.com or a self hosted WordPress blog like the WebIncomeJournal.com. The problem of blogging is how to succeed with your blog once you've set it up. If you're just starting out you need to know what is involved and if you've been blogging for some time now you need to what to concentrate on in order succeed as a blogger.
Unfortunately, the ease of starting a blog has made more and more people jump into the band wagon of making money blogging. Right now the number of blogs in cyber space is so much that the problem faced by bloggers is, how to succeed blogging with all the number of blogs out there. From what is happening right now it does appear maintaining the success of your blog should really take more of your time than anything else.
From my personal experience I’ve come to realize that this is truly a serious question more than what the average blogger would want to consider. Since starting the Web Income Journal, I’ve learnt a few things which are really necessary for a blog to become successful. Some of these things include the subject of the blog, the popularity of the blog and most times the design and layout of the blog.
However, beyond all of these, the ability to properly promote and market a blog to reach a large audience of those interested in the blog's subject matter will to a greater extent impact on the success of the blog. Using this blog as a guinea pig, I’ve in the last few months learnt some profound lessons on creating a successful blog. I’ve tried different things while watching the stats. From these tests I’ve come to understand that if you truly want to create a successful blog you should have a plan to implement the following.
1. Dedicate To a Regular Posting Schedule
I’ve found this to be an important factor to maintaining a successful blog. When you post regularly your dedicated blog visitors are given the incentive to keep returning to the blog. However, when you allow your blog to become stagnant, the motivation to keep coming would be lost. Of course, some blog readers may visit a blog initially just by chance, maybe from the search engines or from another blog, but once they become committed to your blog they need the incentive to keep returning to your blog and this is based, most times, on the content which you provide on a regular basis. If you're able to set a regular posting schedule and you keep to it, the readers are given the motivation to return to the blog often in anticipation of new postings.
It doesn't matter if you're able to post very lengthy and in depth blog post. Personally I spend hours writing my blog posts because I always want something substantial. Because of this, I’ve discovered that my postings are not always regular as I want to.
Though it is something that I do not fancy so much, but I’ve come to learn from some of the blogs I visit that, by simply posting a one or two paragraph blog post asking a question on a regular basis, you’ll be able to garner much responses from the blog readers than posting a 1000+ word article once a week.
This shows that it is not the depth or length of the article but the ability to keep the conversation going that really matters in creating a successful blog. Posting a relatively short blog entry offering only a small amount of information when you're unable to provide an in depth article can really be enough to keep the blog readers interested. Blog readers are simply looking for a certain degree of sustenance. What they expect is a blog that is regularly updated with new posts.
2. Have a Good Understanding of Your Blog's Audience
Of course this is related to point #1 above. Many bloggers believe that choosing and focusing on a rather exclusive niche is what brings success as a blogger. Indeed, this has its advantage but most times the subject matter is not the only important aspect. You should be able to understand your target audience and this goes beyond focusing on a niche.
Some of the things you should understand about your target audience are, what type of information do your blog readers want? How do they want it? Do they prefer short and brief posts or do they enjoy it more when you post lengthy articles? How about bullet points in posts, is this more appealing to the blog readers?
Understanding these things will help you tailor your blog posts to your readers' taste. You should provide the information in a way in which the visitors can process them more easily because this is as important as providing quality information. So ultimately, it is the blog readers that should determine what you should post and how you are to post it!
3. Making and Evaluating Changes to Your Blog
Testing and tracking is something that internet marketers are very good at. The purpose of testing and tracking is to effect changes that will impact on the success of the venture. This is very important also in blogging.
If you want to succeed as a blogger you should learn how to make changes to your blog carefully and then evaluate the effects these changes have on the blog traffic. This is critical because a blog which is already successful can be doomed to failure if the blogger makes a change which is not appreciated by the dedicated visitors and does not address the concerns of the readers. To avoid this potential problem, bloggers should be careful to only make one change at a time and to allow ample time to evaluate the effect the change has on the traffic as well as the comments from readers before deciding whether to reverse the change or make additional changes.
As you are aware of I made some drastic changes on this blog barely a month ago. One of these is the new commenting policy and the discontinuation of the top commentators monthly reward. Since introducing these changes traffic to this blog has not only reduced but also the comments. Now, I anticipated this because I knew that many of those visiting and posting comments here are only doing so because of the dofollow backlinks this blog offer them. In fact, from careful study I discovered that many of the comments are from affiliate marketers promoting affiliate programs whose sole reason for posting comments here is to build backlinks. These people rarely read the blog post. They simply load the page, post their comments and they are off to the next blog. These are also the people who will not link their avatar to their email address. In fact many of them are simply using throw-away email addresses.
This was what motivated me to make it one of the terms in the new commenting policy that every commenter must have a avatar to their email. It will interest you to know that since adding that term, I’ve deleted not less than 50 comments in the last couple of weeks. Of course, this may be too tough a drastic stand to take but I’ve come to know that bloggers who are really interested in networking and building a relationship, which we want here, are much more open to display who they are or their brand image in their gravatar. We don’t want some faceless 'bloggers' jumping from one blog to the other.
The point I’m trying to make here is that if you want to increase your blog traffic you can run into problems if you make too many changes and do not evaluate how these changes are affecting the blog’s traffic. A better strategy would be to make small changes one at a time and evaluate the effect of the change carefully before making more changes. Of course the changes I introduced here have affected the traffic drastically but I expected that from the beginning. I only went ahead with these changes because I have a purpose for them. And so as the wise one did say, look before you leap!
4. Networking and Using Social Media
This is another very important thing to focus on if you desire success with your blog. As it is rightly said, no man is an island to himself. The same goes for a blog – no blog is an island to itself!
I must confess that I’ve not really been too involved in promoting through social media like twitter, facebook and the new entrant Google plus. However, after a careful evaluation of the happenings online, I’ve come to understand that without setting aside some dedicated time to promoting and networking with other bloggers using social media and other forms like email, your blog’s success can be hampered. With this, I’ve decided to be committed to actively networking on twitter. As a first step I've changed my twitter from profitmc to @IncomeMC and also changed my twitter avatar from the brand image I was using to my personal picture. I’ve also created a profile on Google+ and I’m working on revamping our facebook fans page!
Let me use this opportunity to invite you to follow me on twitter @IncomeMC and also to ask that you add me to your circles on Google plus. Our facebook fanpage is here. Feel free to like our page if you’ve not done so. For one if you do any of these, I’ll definitely reciprocate by following back!
You cannot rule out social media in your blog success story anymore. With the search engines now using the interactions and activities on your blog as one of the criteria of ranking it on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you definitely cannot ignore it.
You desire success with your blog; there is no dispute about that. But one thing you should know is, your blog is not about you, it is about your blog readers. They are truly the determinants of the blog's success. If you give them what they want, they will readily give you what you desire. So threat your blog readers with utmost care. They are your customers and as you know, The Customer Is King! And you can help me say it loud and clear, LONG LIVE THE KING!