Friday, April 18, 2008

Sucessful Blog? How to

You possess knowledge. You have ideas. You wish to share them. You start a blog.

So evolves another failing blog among the millions. But why will it be a failure? Basically, there’s more to success than luck. Leo Babauta, Brian Clarke, and Skellie didn’t just get lucky.

Follow these steps, and you’ll learn how to turn your trickling visitors into hundreds, and eventually thousands of raving fans.

1. Write list posts.
This isn’t about what you like and don’t like, this is about what works. Lists work. In fact, it is now wired into the brain of almost every social bookmark user, to submit a list articles. I guarantee someone will submit this one!

Whether or not you like to write just a few words, or an essay, if you use your imagination, most can be turned into a list, and will therefore be more successful in garnering social bookmark attention, and links from other sites.

2. Write engaging titles
Sometimes I spend ages on a title for a post. I’m not the best at it, but I’m learning.

Why do you have to spend time on the title? Simple; most visitors don’t want to read your blog.

Seriously. They’re only going to read it if it will benefit them. This isn’t some leisurely hobby, this is about value!

The reader gives you their time, if you give them something in return. In order to lure them to give their time, you must use the title to engage them. You must use it as a ‘call to action’.

3. Write with authority
Most people aren’t leaders. If you look around, most of the people you know will not be ‘leader’ material.

However, leaders are attractive people. I say attractive in the sense that they reap attention from others.

As social creatures, we like leaders. We like authority, and because it stands out from the wishy washy crowd of the 21st century, it’s more likely to attract success.

Know your subject, let people know that you know it, and enforce your authority.

— Note: this is not an excuse for pig-headedness!

4. Get friends
Subconsciously, we class people differently according to our exposure to them. This is true in the ‘real’ world, and online. Let me explain.

As a blog owner, here is my social exposure scale in order of least to greatest:

Visitors - they visit and read, but I know nothing about them.
Commenters - I know their name, email, and website.
Feed subscribers - I never check out who they are, but they’ll get my attention if I discover they’re a subscriber.
Mailing list subscribers - I have been given permission to communicate directly to their inbox. It’s already a crowded place in there, so I feel priviledged.
Email contact - We’ve had a two-way private discussion, and we’ve shared things no one else knows about.
Instant Message Friends - We talk in real-time, on a regular basis.
Skype buddies - We’ve spoken to each other by voice, maybe even via video. We’re real friends.
Meet in person - Hey…we’re brothers!!
The more you travel up this scale, the more you’ll be able to ask of people, and able to use their power to help you succeed online.

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to drive your way up this scale (with tact) as fast as possible. If you can get on my IM list for instance, and you ask me for a Digg or Stumble, you’re going to get it.

5. Leave engaging comments
Comments can be a powerful means of getting yourself some attention - if used well. There are two major ways to use comments effectively to attract attention from other bloggers.

i) Leave a comment which obligates them (the author) to like you - in other words, if you Stumbled or Dugg the post, tell them. If it transformed your life, tell them.

ii) Ask questions - Most comments are repetitive drivel that don’t need a reply. Stick out from the crowd by asking a related question. They must then focus attention on you. Do the same with those that leave comments on your blog. It encourages them to return.

Use both of these tactics together, to make a real impact.

If you follow these tips carefully and perform them frequently, your blog will quickly build momentum and attention, and you’ll drive traffic to you site which you only ever dreamed of.

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