What Makes a Successful Blog?

Do you have any hints or tips that help to make a blog successful?  My blog are really only 3 months old but someone asked me this the other day. Either I’m bolshy enough at first glance to pass for more experienced, or (more likely) we sometimes feel it’s easier to ask someone else who is in a similar position than one of the “blogging greats.”

Perhaps that’s the first tip: I haven’t met a nasty blogger yet and all will help you if you ask, but I suppose we need to remember that they’re not psychic so you do need to take that deep breath and ask.

To be honest, before you can answer the question of what makes a successful blog, you have to know WHY you’re blogging.  If you are blogging solely for you, as a sort of diary, then success is every finished post that you are happy with.

It would be lovely to be that blogger but I do have to confess to a stats addiction.  In fairness, I don’t think I’m the only blogger like that, especially amongst newbies.  Perhaps when you’re getting hundreds of page views each day without ever logging on it’s easier to care less about the actual number, but when 100 views is a massive spike and 0 isn’t unheard of, I think many of us still get a thrill out of knowing people read what you’ve written.

So, these are the things I’ve found make me feel more successful, and they’ve been the things that, without regular internet access recently, have definitely caused a big (but understandable) dip.

1) Write regularly but with real content.  People will like to read your meme/linky posts, but don’t forget why you started blogging in the first place.

2) Do take part in those memes and blog hops (oh, and yeah – learning the lingo can be like learning a new language).  Make sure that if you’re tagging people you link to an actual post of theirs.  Not only might it give you a wee pingback (lingo again) but it helps with their ratings as well, and it’s nice to be nice after all.  Oh, and let them know!  Tweet them or comment on their blog, otherwise how will they know to join in?

3) join in! That’s a big one.  There are lots of ways to become part of a community:

  • sign up for sites like Britmums/Tots100/love all blogs/Netmums/Mumsnet
  • Twitter with bloggers has been a revelation to me, though don’t just use it to highlight your latest post – reply to comments you see. Make friends, not just followers.
  • I’m trying to use Facebook because in a lot of ways it suits me better but at the moment it’s like conversing in an empty room.  I’ll just keep persevering.  I’m also determined to give Google+ a go – once I work out how to actually find people…
  • Join in with things like Follow a Newbie Friday.  If you link up a post people can find you, and it’s much more likely they’ll then think to include you in a post in the future.

How you choose to join in is up to you, but if you stand alone, shouting at the world, people are less inclined to listen.

These are just the basics.  I’m sure there are better bloggers able to give more specific, useful advice.  In fact, maybe you’re reading this and you have something that you have found useful that you have a burning desire to tell the rest of us newbies – please do share!  Blogging can be so much more than just talking into the vast emptiness of cyberspace.  It’s a real community, and (for me) recognising that is the first step to success.



10 responses to “What Makes a Successful Blog?

        • Oh, I know that feeling well! Here’s what I think some of the jargon means:

          Linky/Blog hop – I think these are pretty much interchangeable. Basically, someone writes a post on a topic. Others write their own version of the topic/answer the question asked in the original post and then, once they’ve published it, they come back and add their blog post to a list of others. You could stop there but it’s generally accepted that you will then read some/all of the other posts that have been linked in. If you join in a long time after most other posters you probably won’t get much traffic/many visitors but you will find a longer list of interesting posts for you to read. Some people post on a theme weekly, others might just do a one off blog hop.

          Meme – it’s really similar to a blog hop/linky but it’s sort of more like a chain letter. Someone writes a post on a theme and then tags/asks a few more bloggers to write a similar one. These tagged people then write their own post and tag some more, and so it spreads around the blogger community. Sometimes the meme asks you questions or your opinion on something. Sometimes it’s a bit more random. The biggest difference is that it doesn’t link to the original blogger, and there is no central list for people to go to to read all the blog responses.

          Does that help?

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