How does your blog compare to others? If you’re looking to improve you blog, you’ve come to the right place! I’m subscribed to well over 100 blogs with RSS. And after a while you tend to pick up on a couple of things that make them great.
Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. From the business blog of your local marketing agency to a genuine web journal of a foodie. A successful blog to me, is one that delivers value on consistently and draws me in every time they publish something new.
Below you will find 5 characteristics my favorite blogs all have in common.
1. Awesome design
Your blog design is the first thing people see. It’s also the most distinguishable feature of your blog. And a way for you to express yourself and what the blog stands for.
If you’re using WordPress or Tumblr – avoid using the default themes! Seriously, they are the most bland and uninspiring designs available. You’ll certainly not see Twenty Eleven as the Theme for any reputable blog.
Why? Because it tells people you’re too lazy to make an effort. The default themes are generic and it suggests the content will be generic too. What’s to say the content will be of any quality – especially with a default WordPress theme?
Hire a developer, or buy a theme and customize it yourself. Custom themes show off your personality and look more professional than the free themes available.
2. A clear focus
Great blogs have a clearly defined focus. They don’t try to be all things to everybody, and they can summarize what the blog is about in one sentence.
Blogs who try to cover everything are doomed to fail – simply because you can’t cover everything with any credibility. Choose a niche and focus on a topic you’re passionate about.
To help you with your focus check out 5 Questions To Help You Decide The Focus Of Your Blog
3. Regular content
Blogs that hardly publish content get lost in the fog! The reason is because everyone is competing for people’s attention.
Your job is to stay top of mind with regular content relevant to your audience’s needs. However, strive for quality over quantity with at least one blog post a week. If you can manage to publish 5 times a week without sacrificing quality, even better!
Stanford Smith wrote an interesting post about blogging everyday on his blog PushingSocial that’s worth checking out.
Usually what’s needed is a good strategy to outline your content marketing efforts. For information check out How To Develop A Content Strategy That Rocks
4. Spectacular images
Images play an important role in pulling visitors into your content. They are also great at complementing your post and can help reinforce a point you’re making.
Just be sure to avoid the cliche and over-used images of boardroom meetings and two people shaking hands. Instead look for some unique and eye-catching photos to make your posts pop.
I find most of my images through Flickr by using the Creative Commons Search. It’s free and I have no problem crediting the maker in my post. But it can take up to 30mins to find the perfect image.
5. Vibrant Community
Take a look at Social Media Examiner and Problogger, and you’ll notice an endless stream of comments at the end of each post. This is because they’ve created content that builds relationships with readers.
Almost all of their posts end with a question for the reader to comment on. Make sure you do the same. And also use a commenting system like Disqus or Livefyre, which also integrates social media, accounts.
So how does your blog measure up? If you ticked all the boxes above, well done! If not – don’t worry; it takes time to build a successful blog. The hardest part is usually starting and committing to an editorial calendar.
What’s your favourite blog? Tell us what makes it special by commenting.
Photo by Kei!