With hundreds of thousands of blogs being created every day, yours will take a lot to stand out in the crowd. These tips have been assembled from years of experience navigating the blogosphere. Stick to these 6 principles and you’ve got a pretty decent chance of making it.
1. Use a custom design
This is less difficult or expensive as you may think. There are tons of beautiful themes and templates available for blogs. Find the one that best suits your needs (see #6) and customize it by adding a unique background, menu, icons, etc.
Using some of the online marketplaces like Graphic River, you can find new images to spice up your design that is both unique and aesthetically pleasing.
2. Give away something (quality) for free
One of my first blogs found success in giving away a premium quality CMS template for free. This helped in almost every component of my blog. It encouraged link building, increased credibility, and encouraged repeat visits.
The investment is well worth the return. Give away a quality asset like a theme, icons, or something else related to your blog topic. You will find an increase in traffic, backlinks and favorable mentions on other sites.
3. Post frequently (reference other article)
This article discusses this topic further, but you should respond to your readers and post often. Don’t flood your blog with content so that readers can’t filter through it all and quality suffers. However, posting on a regular and frequent schedule will build credibility and show readers you can be depended on for quality content.
4. Develop relationships
There’s no subsitute for pounding the internet pavement and building relationships. All relationships matter, but focus on connecting with others who share your passions and topics. I regularly reach out to other blogs that I follow.
Reaching out can be guest blogging, exchanging links or collaborating on a freebie release. (See #2)
5. Be unique
The web is full of duplicative, useless content. There is a special place in hell reserved for those who saturate the web with boring content meant only to encourage ad clicks.
Have you noticed the increase in “list” sites? Mashable.com and Tutorial9 are just some examples of websites that create helpful posts of lists like “100 of the best free WordPress themes”. Your content should be unique, informative and easy to read. If you can do this, the links and traffic will follow.
6. Leave out the excess (focus on the content)
The big content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) offer countless addons and plugins. These can be both helpful and harmful to your blog. Don’t think that the coolest features are necessary. Focus on quality, informative content and leave the fancy sliders and effects out.
7. Be patient
The top blogs were not made in a day. Popularity, traffic, links and credibility are earned over time. If you’re passionate about a topic, you will continue to be motivated by changes and innovations. Be patient, offer consistent quality and useful content that people can expect every time they come back.