Well, a new year is upon us, it’s also the start of a new decade within the blogosphere. More and more people are building blogs, and that means there are lots of blogs competing for the same eyeballs and your blog is just one of many. Try finding accurate figures on how many blogs there are and you will know it’s impossible to find a verifiable number because bloggers and their blogs come and go. Look around. It’s certainly a disheartened moment when you see blogs with quality articles that have been abandoned by their creators.
With all of these blogs out there, and all those information available at no cost, how do you make your blog stand out? No problem, just follow these tips and your blog will blossom in this new era when you stay ahead of the rest of your competitors.
1. Target your content to a specific readership
Image: via Dat Le
Unless you want to throw all of your marketing budget and precious time on people who could care less about your blog, then you must pay attention to determine the preferred audiences to whom you would like to target. Before posting any piece, determine if it hits the sweet spot of your demographic.
2. Be original, be honest
Don’t follow the herd within your sphere of interest. Followers aren’t innovators and innovation keeps readers reading. So, don’t simply spin the same old post. Take an original slant on a common topic.
Be honest. Verify your facts and provide links to additional verification. Readers trust you to be a good reporter, instructor, mentor or inspiration so keep it honest at all times.
3. Don’t be afraid of a little controversy.
Controversy sells. You and I know that. If it is a part of your business model, be prepared to engage others with differing opinions because, guaranteed, lots of readers will disagree, and you may even encounter a few trolls and haters who frequent blogs for no other purpose than to post inflammatory garbage.
4. Post as a guest blogger
Image: via AjDreams
Don’t post to just any blog within your realm. Submit your best pieces to the prestigious blogs – the ones that already have a substantial following. For example, Hongkiat.com is considered by industry insiders to be one of the best blogs for designers, marketers and freelancers. Getting one of your posts published on a top of the line blog is a great way to drive traffic to your blog where readers can find tons of content – all your archives – just waiting for a bookmark.
Of course, getting published on a well-established blog requires insight and something new to be added to the discussion. A rehash of conventional wisdom, regardless of the field of endeavor, won’t make the cut with top tier blogs within any industry or area of interest.
5. Simplify subscriptions
Don’t hide your RSS button down the page together with your WordPress theme credit links, make them visible & clear for your reader’s eyeballs by taking the following approaches:
- Add an RSS chicklet at the top of your sidebar so visitors can easily load your posts into their RSS readers.
- Offer email subscriptions.
- Provide links to mobi feeds so readers can access new content from their cells or iPhones.
- Provide one click subscriptions using reader links to PageFlakes, Google Reader and other remote site readers. You can build a big following fast if you make it easy to find your blog again. And again, and again.
6. Social Media Marketing
The expansion of social media and the evolution of multi-generational media apps are only going to pick up steam. Social media sites have taken off, providing bloggers with an arsenal of tools based on the guerrilla-marketing axiom: Use the resources of others to your advantage.
A few years back, Twitter didn’t exist. Today, not only is it ubiquitous, it spawned a whole new level of web innovation and interactivity.
Follow the rules & open accounts at Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter. Every time you make a new post to your blog, let your readers know about it by posting to these popular sites. Update your status with interesting & latest news that fascinates your readers.
7. Create different profiles for each social media site
On LinkedIn, you want to be all about business. On Facebook, show a little of your personality – the carbon-based life form behind the blog. On Twitter, shine the spotlight on your blog. Each profile should be designed to show a different facet of you and your expertise.
8. Don’t oversell. Teach, too
If you post to social media sites all day long, flogging your latest blog post, it won’t be long before your Facebook friends hit the hide button next to your name. It can’t be all selling and no sizzle. Instead, post information on a new blog piece, but also post news from other sites that you think will benefit your readers. Know when to stop pushing for a larger readership and when to start giving away information to drive more readers to your blog.
9. Long tail keywords get you found
Image: via Wiki
If you maintain a book review blog, a broad keyword like books will keep you buried in the backwash of Google’s SERPs. Instead, narrow the focus of a search engine search through the use of terms and phrases, broadly referred to as long tail keywords.
So, instead of using “books” as a primary keyword, use a long-tail keyword like “independent book reviews” or “book reviews of current bestsellers.” Sure, not as many people will use these long tails when conducting a search but those who do will discover your blog at the top of page 1. And that’s just where you want to be.
10. Optimize your blog – Both for readers & bots
Cut the clutter of 23 affiliate banners, animated adverts and other distractions. Remember, your site should be attractive to human sensibilities.
Indeed, it’s important to look good to readers who follow you. It’s just as important to look good to search engine spiders. Conduct keyword research using tools like Google’s keyword generator that provides keywords used by actual Google users over the past 30 days. Place those keywords in headlines, sub heads and a few of them in your blog posts.
If you don’t know much about SEO, grab yourself a cup of coffee & start reading the comprehensive list of search engine ranking factor provided by Seomoz.
The pace of innovation is only going to increase in this new decade so, if you’re standing still you’re losing ground to competitor bloggers. Stay current, use all the new tools and follow all the new rules.
Your blog space is your real estate. It has value. Make the most of it.
Editor’s note: This post is written by Edward Khoo for Hongkiat.com. Edward is a tech enthusiast based in Malaysia. He blogs at EdwardKhoo.com.