I’m guessing the vast majority of you who are reading this post have a blog or are planning to setup your own blog.
You’ve been told that having a blog is the best way to connect with your customers and generate leads as a business owner or to become an established expert in your niche and make money to live your dream life.
You’ve probably also heard it’s the #1 strategy you need for inbound marketing and SEO, AND that it’s one of the best ways to (ultimately) increase sales. So, this begs the question: are you accomplishing any of these goals with your blog?
If the answer is no, you’re not alone. While blogging for business CAN be fun, I know you’re not doing it simply for your own enjoyment. You’re doing it to grow your business and to increase sales or to create a platform with huge audience thereafter launch products and services. Period!
Benefits of Blogging
Yes, there are other benefits to blogging for business that happen along the way, but ultimately, if your blog isn’t meeting up with your goals and expectations business, you got to look for Proven strategies you can use to build a successful blog. No more blogging just because you should. Follow these strategies and then sit back and watch your blog increase your leads, authority and sales! Here you have it!
Following are proven strategies you can use to build a successful blog and accomplish your goals.
#1: Decide WHO you’re writing for.
Let me deal with first things first — the “best possible blogging topics” are the best ones for your audience.
Everything comes down to your audience. In fact, there is nothing more important, essential, and critical to blog success than knowing your audience.
The story of my own blog is a testament to this fact. The longer I write my blog, the better I understand my audience. I read and respond to blog comments. I take time to read emails from my readers. I listen to what they have to say.
It’s safe to say that I know my blog readers. And it would be almost impossible for someone else to come in and write an article — even a really, really good article — that connects with my readers in the same way.
The key issue is selecting topics and writing about those topics in a way that my readers know and are familiar with. So, what’s the key to selecting the best possible topics?
It’s simple, but not easy: Know your target audience.
One of the best ways to get to know your audience is to define that audience. If you’re just starting as a business, you get to decide who it is you want to reach and how to reach them. For established businesses, one of the best ways to know your target audience is simply to talk to them. Whether it’s online surveys or phone conversations, try to get in the mind of your users and figure out what makes them tick.
Once you get in your user’s heads, you can’t help but pick the best blogging topics.
Who’s your ideal reader? What does he or she want to learn about? You can’t please everyone all the time, so don’t even try.
#2: Get your blog started off on the right foot.
This will mean choosing a blogging platform and web host that will help you achieve your dreams. I’ve broken these important steps down for you in my posts How To Start A Blog In 30 Minutes Or Less and How To Choose A Best WordPress Blog Web Host
#3: Be serious about posting regularly.
Don’t just post when you feel like it. Be intentional about what you post, and stick to a schedule. Stick to a schedule and be flexible when the need arises. Be prepared to jump on breaking news. If something big happens in your industry, don’t be afraid to change your schedule to stay current.
#4: Determine your blog tune.
How do you want your readers to perceive you through your writing? Fun and casual? Professional? Authoritative? Choose a voice and then be consistent with it.
#5: Be a fly on the wall to find out what your audience REALLY wants.
Through visiting niche forums, reading blog comments and monitoring social media, figure out what your audience wants you to write about (as opposed to what you think they want you to write about).
#6: Decide WHAT the #1 goal of your blog is.
Assuming it’s to drive sales, what do you need to implement to make this happen? How does your blog fit into your online marketing funnel? Do you plan to make money directly from your blog through affiliate marketing, advertising or through other methods?
#6: Find out tools that will save you time and make your posts better.
#7: Decide if you can do everything yourself.
Be realistic about how much time you have to commit to blogging, and whether you have the skills that are necessary. Plan to delegate or outsource your blog post if necessary.
#8: Write Great content.
Write longer posts that stand the test of time…these will drive engagement and traffic for months or even years to come. Some great ideas for evergreen content include list posts, tutorials and comprehensive guides.
#9: Don’t be afraid to have an opinion.
Don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial at times; you’re a real person with real opinions and ideas!
#10: Follow your own process.
When writing, do what works best for YOU. Some experts say to draft an outline first, but if you find writing off-the-cuff works best (and your audience loves what you write), then forget what the experts say and just do your thing!
#11: Make it easy for your readers to scan and skim your content
The majority of your readers will scan and skim your content, not read it word for word. Format your posts with this in mind: use bulleted and numbered lists, headings and shorter sentences and paragraphs.
#12: Use the best Content length for your audience.
Some experts say your blog posts should be a minimum of 1,000 words, while others say 2,000+. While longer is often better, see what works best with your audience! Research does seem to suggest that longer content ranks better in the search engines
#13: Write about a variety of topics your audience would find interesting.
You can improve your writing and deliver high-quality posts in less time by leveraging some popular post archetypes and customizing them with your own content and perspective.
#14: Focus on quality over quantity.
If you have limited time, it’s better to write one or two high-quality posts each week than five ‘fluffy’ ones.
#15: Be generous about giving away your knowledge.
Make sure the vast majority of your content is available for free. People need to see you know what you’re talking about before they’ll be willing to pay!
#16: Use Catchy headlines.
Your headlines are the #1 factor that determine whether your posts will get read or not, so focus on attention-grabbing titles.
#17: Use eye-catching images.
#18: Optimize your posts for the search engines.
Do some basic keyword research to find words and phrases your audience searches for in Google. Write content that comprehensively covers those topics, and use those phrases in strategic places throughout your content. If you use WordPress, use the free Yoast SEO plugin. It’s by far the best. In my opinion the premium Yoast plugin isn’t worth it. All you need is the free version. Here is the Yoast WordPress set-up guide.
#19: Ask questions at the end of your posts.
Explicitly ask readers to comment on your posts. It’s amazing how one small call to action can make such a difference!
#20: Take the time to respond to comments.
Show you care by reading and responding to blog comments in a timely manner.
#21: Get your readers into your online sales funnel.
One way to do this may be to include a call to action to join your email list.
#22: Promote your content via social bookmarking sites.
Sharing to sites like Reddit and Digg can drive Tons of traffic to your blog posts. Make a point of regularly sharing and engaging in those communities.
#23: Respond to comments with a blog post (from time to time).
If you notice a particularly helpful comment from a reader, write a blog post in response. This shows you read and actually care about your readers’ comments.
#24: Pay attention to your analytics…but keep it in perspective.
Don’t obsess over data, but use it to see where your traffic is coming from, and to determine whether your content is meeting its mark. Look for which post-formats or topics are getting the most traction, and write spin-off posts to attract even more traffic.
It’s free to use. You should always have Google Analytics on your website, in fact Google likely uses your Google Analytics data to rank you website (even though they say they don’t). A vast majority of the top ranked websites use Google Analytics. Here is a great Google Analytics set-up guide.
#25: Pay close attention to which types of content convert.
If your #1 goal is to drive sales, determine which types of content ultimately drives sales. Also Watch for long-term trends. Paying attention to the growth (or decline) of your blog over time allows you to evaluate whether all your efforts are really working.
#26: Respond to other people’s blog posts.
Read and comment on other people’s blogs to drive traffic and build relationships. You can even write entire blog posts in response to ones you’ve read (this works particularly well for posts on controversial topics).
#27: Make use of guest posting.
I believe guest posting is the single most important strategy for growing your blog readership and platform. It’s a great way to connect with new readers and get your name out. Post on other blogs in your niche to drive targeted traffic to your site.
There are reasons why guest posting is such a key strategy for every blogger to build their online influence. According to the Search Engine Gurus, when it comes to SEO, guest posting on other sites is five times as valuable as creating new content on your own site. (So long as you get the backlink.)
Whether that’s precisely true or not, I don’t care. The point is that this is an excellent strategy for extending your reach and boosting your reputation online.
If you aren’t satisfied with your blog traffic but aren’t posting on other people’s blogs, you don’t have much to complain about. Start guest posting today, and see your influence grow. Find out Ways Guest Posting Can Help Grow Your Blog Audience.
#28: Regularly promote your posts on social media
Let your social media followers know when you publish a blog post. Rather than just posting a link, be sure to include a brief (enticing) summary so people know exactly what they’re clicking on. Be active online on industry LinkedIn and Facebook groups, in niche forums, and on other people’s blogs and social media.
#29: Build links to your site.
Have a plan in place for getting inbound links that help with both your search engine rankings and with referral traffic to your site. Also be sure to include links to your own content within your posts; this will help with SEO and user experience, and keeps your visitors on your site longer. Also link to influential blogs within your content.This is a great way to reach out to other bloggers and potentially get links back to your site as well.
#30: Post your content to Scoop.it.
This lets other people curate your content and helps you expand your audience…without having to lift a finger!
Over To You
And there you have it – Proven strategies you can use to build a successful blog.
What other strategies have worked for you? What would you add to this list? Share in the comments below!