This is a guest post written by Greg Narayan. He is a blogger, teacher, and web designer.
To make a successful blog with a large amount of visitors from scratch is a very difficult thing to do. Sometimes I wonder, “why should XYZ blog gain a huge following?” Is it by chance or by the successful nature of the author? Both? The truth is most blogs do fail but there are certain things we can do – emulating successful blogs before us – – to have an advantage out here.
In this post I’d like to discuss 5 strategies a new blogger can use to create a blog that grows itself.
It’s about 90% work 10% luxury, but if you’re up to the challenge, try these methods out!
First, let’s set correct expectations
As I said above most blogs do fail. Sadly this is very true. Over 100,000 new blogs start each day and we on the internet just don’t have time to notice each blog. Not even close.
By understanding your blog is 1 in a billion out there, you can take your first advantage: expectations.
“Setting your expectations low and your determination high is actually one of the best things you can do as a new blogger because it helps you.”
- Understand just how difficult it is to get traffic
- Appreciate every little bit of traffic you do get
- Appreciate every little success/milestone
- Develop an acute awareness of what works and what doesn’t and be shrewd about it
I don’t mean to be bleak but it simply won’t help you if I tell you your blog will be beautiful and amazing from the start. There’s a lot more work to do first.
Now I’d like to get into the meat and potatoes of this post and explain 5 steps to start a blog that grows itself.
1. Make it all about the reader
Most of us make blogs that are about ourselves. We want readers, but deep down we want people to look at us. It’s evident in the about page that rambles, the random pictures of random events and people, and the absence of a mission statement.
This is all a blog killer.
Before you even begin writing on your blog, you should know who your audience is and what they want. Once you know it, make it. Write it out. Imagine having a dinner party which you were graded on, like Top Chef for example. If you knew exactly what your guests wanted and gave it to them, it’d surely be an advantage over just making something good.
Same goes for blogs – if you can tailor every single page and post to the type of user you want to serve, it will be much less time before your blog is irresistible to the reader.
2. Publish like Seinfeld does
Seinfeld is one of the top 5 most popular sitcoms on the planet. The cast will be millionaires for generations to come. But they didn’t do anything that special. Sure Seinfeld is hilarious. But what they do is more important than what they are.
Seinfeld publishes (airs on national TV) at predictable times, with content that follows predictable story lines, and builds on previous storylines.
If you publish blog posts every week at 2pm, that’s a start. If you introduce characters then bring them back, and take the time to link back to previous posts so readers don’t get lost, now you’re going in a Seinfeldy direction!
Getting any ideas yet?
3. Wait to monetize
No one likes reading a blog that’s designed to get your money and readers are way savvier than they used to be.
Monetizing too soon can scare away your audience. They won’t even tell you why they left.
4. Harness social proof
Not sure about you, but when I visit a new blog, the first thing I look for after giving the design a once-over and checking in on the about page is the social proof the site commands: comments, likes, anything else that’s obvious.
Any chance you have to display praise for your blog, testimonials, or even just a comment count, do so! You can be subtle or aggressive, either style is prevalent today. This is mandatory to get others involved. This is one step you should take on the first week your blog is live, because every new visitor that sees signs of social proof is more likely to add more social proof. Pretty soon the traction snowballs, and your blog is getting closer to growing itself for you.
5. Upgrade your professionalism
If you have all 4 criteria before this but not the professionalism, honestly, you’re fine.
I saved a bullet point about professionalism until the end because the previous items are simply more important. But if you do have the ability to create a more professional look with things like a new logo, theme, book or other features, it’s only going to help your cause.
Readers appreciate professionalism just like they appreciate simplicity and contriteness.
Some take it overboard.
But some take it overboard too, and you can tell that a lack of professionalism hurts them. This is honestly probably one of those things I’ll forget about from time to time, so I can’t judge!
Just thing about the authors, creators, and publishers and you admire the most – if they are professional in their writing then you should be too!!
Pretty soon the traction snowballs, and your blog is getting closer to growing itself for you. Click To Tweet
Let’s hear from you
The ultimate goal of creating a blog that grow’s itself is for you to reach that point where you can sit back and focus on creating content while the growth takes care of itself.
Do these 5 things and you will be on the fast track to creating a successful blog that grows itself via your audience sharing your work for you.
It may be a long way out, or it may be closer than you think. It may be next month.
Once you get there, keep publishing. There is always competition in our niches.
Now a challenge for you: can you adhere to the 5 principles above? If you can, what’s your secret to getting so much done? If you cannot, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments.