There are three types of bloggers: the passive-and-low-quality-content blogger, the determined-yet-clueless blogger, and the I’ll-do-whatever-it-takes-to-succeed blogger. Which one are you?
Don’t worry. This post isn’t about picking out your flaws as a blogger. Quite the contrary. We’re here to talk about the very thing that makes you who you are — your blog.
I don’t think I’ve met a serious blogger who said, “I DON’T want my blog to be a success.”
That’s because serious bloggers do care about building up a solid foundation for their personal sites. It’s your tool for self-expression, a place for you to connect with readers who are interested in what you have to say.
Your Blog Can Be a Success Story
If you’re reading this post, I’m willing to bet you’re ready to take some action to improve your blog right now. If so, then fantastic! But instead of giving you a step-by-step guide on how to make your blog a success, I’ll share with you what makes a blog successful.
Because not every blog and blogger is the same. What works in one niche won’t work for others. But what most high-performing blogs do have in common are ten qualities that make them stand out from the rest.
The 10 Common Characteristics of Outstanding Blogs
1. Active community
(Source: Think Keno)
You’ll notice that the most successful blogs also have one of the most vibrant communities online. From personal friends, online followers, to occasional bashers, you’ll find all types of personalities there.
That’s because unique and engaging content naturally keeps readers coming back for more. So, if you’ve been asking yourself if it’s a good idea to turn on commenting, the simple answer is ‘yes’.
If you’re marketing your blog right and creating content that readers will love to engage with, you’ll notice your site visits go up and your comment section come alive with interesting people.
2. Relevant images
You’ll probably be tempted to use generic images or typical stock photos for your blog posts. Unfortunately, that won’t do much to make you stand out.
Whenever possible, use interesting images that are high-quality and relevant to what you’re talking about. If you’re fortunate enough to have a good camera, then use or take your own photos.
Plenty of bloggers are part-time photographers. By part-time I don’t mean they get paid to do it on the side. I mean they take photographs as if they were paid to do it, for whatever reason. Of course, they could be getting paid, but most of the time they take these photos for personal use.
3. Unique content
Content can be anything from blog posts, images, to videos. And if you want your blog to stand out, you’ll need to create content that’s noteworthy. Minus the fancy talk, you just need something that’s unique.
There’s nothing more annoying than blogs that do nothing but regurgitate whatever everyone else is talking about. You’re just adding to the irrelevant clutter in the blogosphere.
4. Visually appealing design
If you don’t believe in visual marketing, your blog is forever doomed to be overtaken by other more attractive sites that have poorer-quality content. You may have written the best blog posts of the decade and you’ll be lucky if a site visitor so much as skims it.
As soon as readers arrive at your blog, the first thing they will notice is design. Now, we’re not completely against using default themes. But you’ll NEVER find a reputable blog using them.
Getting a quality theme that’s responsive and beautiful is a worthwhile investment. You need a theme you can customize to make certain parts stand out, whether it’s your About Me section or your latest blog updates.
And if you are considering going with a full-featured theme, you should also invest in an affordable WP-optimized web hosting and of course a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache. Having a good hosting provider is crucial in keeping your blog fast because complex themes are usually slow.
5. Focused content
Covering any topic haphazardly in your blog may feel like the natural thing to do, but that’s not something great bloggers do. The best blogs have a niche that’s super-focused. And they tackle it from all possible sides, covering the good, the bad, and the ugly.
People love following blogs that strive to share niche-specific information they can’t find anywhere else. That’s because mediocre blogs are a dime a dozen these days. Who wants to read another generic ‘How to Make Carbonara’ post sharing a recipe you can easily find on Google in five seconds?
If you want to make your blog stand out, you’ve got to be a master at something. It’s one of the best ways to boost your blog’s popularity and give readers value.
6. Publishing consistency
It isn’t enough to post whenever the urge strikes you. Successful blogs almost always follow an editorial calendar with posts scheduled on specific days, usually two or three times a week.
When your readers know you have a schedule, they can look forward to content from you. Imagine if you were posting straight for three days and then you decided to stop for a week. You’d end up disappointing readers who were actively following your updates.
Drafts Scheduler is a great WordPress plugin that lets you set the publish date of blog posts in a calendar view.
(Image Source: WPBeginner)
Consistency is a wonderful quality for your blog. Not only are you setting goals for yourself, but you’re also making it easier for readers to know precisely when they should be dropping by your site to check what’s new.
7. Eye-catching headlines
You can never underestimate the power of a good headline. They’re what pull readers in, enticing them to read the first sentence of your blog post.
And because you’ll naturally be writing quality blog posts, they’ll pretty much be convinced to finish reading the entire thing because you did such a good job with your first sentence, right? Of course.
Great blogging is about quality content. Don’t bother thinking of a great headline if you know your post isn’t anything special. Keep things balanced. Good headlines should be paired with good posts. Spectacular headlines, spectacular posts.
8. Clear call-to-actions
(Source: Melyssa Griffin)
Bloggers have a natural fear of coming off as too “salesy”. So, what they sometimes end up doing is giving, giving, and giving and not getting anything back.
Don’t hide your call to actions. If you really did your job of providing readers engaging and valuable content, they’ll WANT to help and support you. So make it easy for them to sign-up for your mailing list, or buy your product.
You’re growing your list of qualified leads while at the same time delivering to them content that they can appreciate: it’s win-win.
You’ve heard the saying ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. But if you don’t want to risk sounding like a complete idiot to readers, you will need to keep things real.
Don’t brag that you did something you didn’t, or tell people you’re interested in this pop music icon when you in truth you’d rather listen to cats fighting (they are pretty interesting). You’ll risk someone calling you out eventually and damage your reputation, maybe permanently.
You’ve noticed I saved the best for last. That’s because passion isn’t something you can fake or hide. It comes out naturally in your writing, connecting with readers and leaving a lasting impression.
In fact, a truly passionate blogger won’t just stop with content. It will spread throughout every area of the blog and blogging in general. From the way the blog is designed, to the meticulous editing of the photos that accompany every post.
Now that you do know what makes a blog highly successful, all that’s left for you to do is use what you’ve just learned.
Take a look at your own blog and be honest with yourself. Where are the problem areas and what needs to be done to make a positive change? Are you lacking in passion? Maybe you haven’t been authentic. Or maybe you’ve been writing half-assed content for the past six months.
You can still turn things around. Set both short-term and long-term goals, have a clear idea of what you really want to accomplish and create a step-by-step plan for accomplishing it. Do exactly as you planned with no excuses, and sooner or later, you’ll be reaping the many fulfilling rewards of successful blogging!