My blog exists. There are people out there reading it. I can’t really call it popular, but it’s beautiful, and it’s here. Twitter is popular. American Idol is popular. The Jonas Brothers and Eddie Murphy are popular. This blog simply manages to attract some attention, namely yours. Still, here are some things I’ve learned along the way in terms of how to make a blog successful:
Write from your heart. It’s easy to start a blog, but it takes an obvious amount of longevity to make it work over time. You’ll only be able to persevere if you are passionate about what you’re writing about. I started a blog last year that was supposed to be all about administrative staffing. It lasted a few months, but at the end of the day, the deep waters of my soul don’t stir for staffing. I like teaching people, pointing them toward their own great destinies. So the NY Staffing Source Blog didn’t last that long, insightful as it was. There are millions of blogs out there that stand abandoned. Yes some of those people are dead, infirmed, or just plain lazy, but the vast majority started writing about topics they didn’t really love, so they couldn’t keep it up.
Get your URL out there. At the end of every email I send anyone, it says https://sethpickens.wordpress.com. The more emails I send out (regardless of topic or recipient), the more people click on the blog and read. Also, leave meaningful comments at other blogs, with your own website listed.
Mention famous names and current events. These are the things that people are constantly typing into search engines, looking for something new to read about a topic of interest. I wrote one of my most popular posts during Rosh Hashanah, simply telling people why it’s inappropriate to say “Happy Rosh Hashanah.” A lot of people were looking for that sort of info that day, and I got a surprising share of traffic. “Jay-Z,” “Morehouse College,” and “freemasonry” are other topics I like and people can’t seem to get enough new content about them.
Don’t re-report the news. It’s just not good enough to say on your blog: “Barack Obama got elected! This is a historical moment and I for one am very excited.” No one cares. Talk about how he’s the messiah, tell a joke about him, disagree with conventional wisdom. Even if you’re breaking the news to a group of people, provide some commentary. They can Google all the same articles you can–they need to hear your opinion.
Be professional. Never post anything like: “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while,” or “it doesn’t matter because no one is reading this anyway.” Just post with the confidence that the right people are reading it. The people who are reading your newest post don’t care that it’s the first one you’ve written in 6 weeks. Just say what you have to say. Another way to avoid having to apologize is to publish regularly. For me, that’s about 4-10 posts a week. People will take you more seriously if they see you work with some regularity.
(Almost) never doubt yourself. One of the most self-destructive things a blogger can do is to write something and not publish it out of fear that it’s not good enough. Just publish it, and move on to your next post, as long as you’re not slandering or threatening anyone. My most popular posting of all time is a quick explanation that we need not say “and” in numbers. Saying “two thousand eight” is better grammatically than saying “two thousand and eight.” I could have easily not published it because it was short and frivolous, but you never know what people are going to really like.
There are others who can provide more expertise on making a successful blog, including monetization ideas. Good luck and I hope you get at least as much fulfillment from blogging as I have.