Shawn Manaher

6 Essentials of Successful Blogging

The Word BlogAs of February 2011, there were over 150 million public blogs out on the web.  Blogging started as a cheap and easy way for people without programming experience to publish content to the web.  Today, blogs are a staple of the internet. They are followed by millions upon millions of devoted fans.  No matter what your genre for blogging is, there are a handful of essential elements that most successful blogs have.

Disclaimer:  Even some of the most popular blogs on the web had to start somewhere.  Just because you have all of the right things in place doesn’t mean you’ll automatically transcend to the heights of blogging fame.  Keep at it, be consistent and genuine and most of all, provide a good user experience. 

Social Sharing Functionality

At the time of this writing, this has to be the most important part of a blog.  Some type of function that allows visitors to distribute your content for you is invaluable.  This functionality should be easy, fun to use, and present virtually everywhere on your blog.

If you’re using WordPress there is no shortage of social sharing plugins.  Add them to the top of your posts, underneath your posts, and in the side bar.  Make sure you include functionality for networks that your audience is using.  Don’t take the shotgun approach as it takes up valuable space on your blog and if people aren’t using the buttons, there is no reason to have them.

A screenshot from addthis.comEngagement Software

You might hear this called different things like engagement management, social engagement, etc.  Engagement software is that which helps your content get more engagement.  Addthis.com for example provides web-based content engagement software.

The basic idea is that you want to make it easy as possible for visitors to go deeper into your site and find more content that they are interested in.  Software that helps facilitate this process is very valuable.  It can help show you which content is most popular on your site and get more of your blog posts or articles read by visitors.

Commenting

Blogs are inherently social.  For the most part they are written by everyday people who are generating content from the heart.  Visitors feel compelled to interact with this kind of content so why not make it easy for them?

Install some sort of commenting plugin on your blog.  Again if you have WordPress you’re in luck.  There are tons of great commenting plugins besides the built in comment system that already comes with the platform.  Make sure you get some sort of spam filter on your blog though.  Otherwise you’ll spend most of your time deleting spam comments instead of responding to legitimate ones.

linkingLink Out To Other Resources

Part of delivering useful content while blogging means showing people other resources that bolster what you’re saying or provide another prospective.  You might feel like “hey, I don’t want to lead people away from my blog” but this is a case of creating what you fear.

If you don’t link out to other blogs or websites, chances are people won’t find your blog as useful as it otherwise could be.  No matter what you are writing about, try and find at least one useful source to link out to.

Use Lots of Images or Video

People hate reading huge amounts of text online.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write a lot of text.  It does mean that you should think about formatting it properly with images or video.  Images enhance a blog post by complementing the text.  They can help further explain an idea or give a visual aid.

They also work to break up the text so lines aren’t so long.  The easier you make your posts to read, the more likely people will read them all the way through.

buying-cycleInternal Linking

Linking to other pages on your site has a lot of advantages.  Blog pages can sometimes have more PageRank than the websites they’re attached to.  You can link relevant text and concepts back to pages on your site.  You can also link back to other blog posts if there is an idea you’ve written about before.

Follow these simple tips when linking back to other pages:

  • Make your links relevant to the concepts talked about in your post
  • Don’t go crazy with linking, a little goes a long way and you don’t want to look spammy
  • Link back to product or service pages where appropriate.  Or just link to any page that has business value for you

You should have fun with your blogging even if you’re doing it for business.  Keep your users in mind and try your best not to write for search engines.  If you’re looking for more blogging tips, Neil Patel has an excellent post on the topic.

What do you think is essential for blogging?  Join in the conversation by commenting below.

 



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