Successful bloggers have one, great thing in common – they’re authentic. Sure, it’s a word we hear online all the time – ‘be authentic, just be yourself, etc, etc’, but what does it actually mean for your blog?
First up, it’s a good idea to consider why people read blogs, specifically, your blog. There are millions of them out there, so what’s going to make yours unique? Sometimes, it’s not about doing the right thing (because the right thing is for you to figure out), but about avoiding following the crowd. Find your style and let people see the real you. We’ve put together these five tips to becoming a successful blogger.
- Find your voice
Here’s where the authenticity comes in, right at the start. Try visiting your own blog or website from the perspective of a stranger. How does your personality come across? What keywords would you use to sum up the person behind this blog? Are these words a reflection of who you really are? It’s a great exercise to do, not just now but regularly. Keep yourself on track and ask friends you trust to do the same thing too for extra valuable feedback.
If your blog is surrounding a particular niche or branding, make sure this is instantly recognisable too. Web visitors (particularly new ones) don’t hang around for long, so it’s crucial to make that impact right away and deliver a strong message of ‘This is who I am and this is what you can expect from my blog’. Blogger, Stephanie Cristi does this well here.
Just like Stephanie, lots of bloggers choose to blog under their own name, mirroring this in their domain. It’s a quick and easy way for your audience to identify with you and make a connection with your individuality. Make sure you check out .blog for availability. We recently released 3-character premium domain names – your perfect domain name could be available so grab it before someone else does.
OK, so you’ve got your first impression nailed, now what? When you’re blogging, remember that readers might see you as a brand just as much as a person, and while you’ve spent your whole life defining who you are as a person, you might not have given so much time to figuring out who you are as a brand.
Traditionally, brands spend a ton of time figuring out what makes them who they are. This includes everything from a mission statement to company values you can find on most brand websites. We’re not suggesting you go this far and have documents written up on this stuff if you don’t want to, but take a little time to consider how you might want to present yourself. Your blog’s tone and voice is a key part of this.
By making blogging a part of who you are, you’ll have regular opportunities to check in with your authenticity. If your brand starts to feel like a real effort to project, you can probably bet something isn’t right and you might need to go back to the drawing board to figure out the kind of voice you are communicating to your audience.
- Build an online community
If you’re a blog reader and not just a blogger (and you should be, it’s a great way to learn from the best), you’ll know that blogging doesn’t solely take place on your website. Your blog needs to extend to your whole community, to draw in new audiences and reach people who might not otherwise find you.
By thinking of yourself as part of a wider community, you’ll find loads of opportunities to share your work with others, build loyal readers and allow people to get to know you in micro doses. Yes, we’re talking about social media here. Whether you’re active several times a day, or choose to schedule your content ahead of time, social media is a great tool for giving people bitesize chunks of your blog (and therefore your brand) in a quick, engaging way which invites more web traffic.
If you do opt for the latter and prefer the scheduling option, make sure you still dip in regularly and respond to comments in real time. When you’re new to blogging, that back-and-forth rapport between you and your readers is key to building a reputation as someone active, who engages with their community and is there for their audience and not just the opportunities that blogging brings.
Blogger, Andrea Badgley has written some great further tips on networking here.
- Write, write, and write some more
There’s a saying amongst creators: Done is better than perfect. Why? It’s simple, because perfect often isn’t done! If you’re waiting to create a flawless blog post, your audience will get bored and move on. By providing consistent, regular content, you’re feeding their appetite and practicing your craft. This perfectly imperfect method is demonstrated here really well by blogger, Tess.
Let’s get honest here – you might look back at your early blog posts in a few years’ time and cringe – but that’s OK! What we’re looking for here is development and practice. You can only achieve that by doing and refining your work as you go.
Find a rhythm to your writing, or let one find you. By writing regularly and keeping yourself in check with your brand (see back to tip #1), it will feel more natural the more you do it.
Think about the way you work best too – is there a time of day you enjoy writing? Could you schedule an hour every week or more to regularly commit yourself to writing at this time?
If writing your content still feels daunting at times, remember that it’s not the only content you can offer. Break up your blog posts with relevant and engaging images, videos, and graphics to highlight your brand further, and connect with your audience visually.
Those three little letters you will definitely have heard of, but how much do you know about them?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s basically Google’s and other search engines’ way of figuring out what your blog is about to be able to present it to the right audiences.
Once you’re confident that you’ve started out on the right foot with your blog, giving some time to exploring SEO is a great idea and a tool that will benefit you enormously if done well.
People often make the mistake of thinking that you need a ton of keywords in your blog to hit as many audience opportunities as possible, but in reality just honing in on one or two is often more successful.
Consider what your next blog post is about, and do some keyword research around that. Tools like Google AdWords and Answer the Public let you see the real-world phrases people are using to find content on your topic, and you can use them to build the strength of your blog post.
As well as this, take a moment to go into the SEO settings in your blog with each post. You’ll have the opportunity to add meta tags, keyword listings and SEO summaries that help Google understand what your blog post covers and how helpful it will be to people searching your topics.
- Enjoy the process
If there is one thing to remember in blogging, it’s that it is meant to be fun. Sure, if your blog takes off and you build a great community there’ll be times that you feel the pressure to create, but overall, blogging is something to enjoy. Building a blog takes time, so don’t fret if it feels like nothing much is happening right away, just focus on your achievements and celebrate every milestone, however small they start off.
What’s enjoyable right at the start might be different to what’s enjoyable six months from now, but whatever stage you’re at, keep it light, keep it up, and enjoy the process.
Want more great blogging tips? Check out our post on the best blogging tips and tricks here.