15 Things That Really Successful Blogs Do Differently

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In today’s world people have blogs for everything from businesses to hobbies and personal story telling. Regardless of the topic or niche industry, successful blogs understand how to communicate with their people and to facilitate readership. This goes beyond simply publishing content and hoping that it is discovered. In order to achieve more success for your blog, consider these 15 elements that successful blogs share in common.

1. They Focus on Relationships, Not Just Clicks

Successful bloggers understand the value of building relationships. Making a connection with a single individual is more valuable than 10 or 15 page clicks because that one person has just become a lifetime reader. Respond to comments and make an effort to get to know your readers in order to build lasting, valuable relationships.

One of the best blogs at relationship building is the Moz Blog. Despite being one of the most successful marketing, SEO and analytics blogs on the Internet, Moz’s writers and readers are genuinely engaged in each post and comment discussed on the site. Take a look at the comments section of any single post on the site and you’ll see just what I mean.

Moz-blog-1

2. They Have a Clear Vision of Their Brand

Understanding who you are and what you stand for are important elements for developing a blog. Everything about your site needs to be consistent, from the tone of voice you use in your writing to the color scheme and topics you write about. These elements should combine to create one consistent brand image for your blog.

3. They are Highly Active on Social Media

Social media presents itself as a powerful tool for bloggers. Sharing your blog content on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms will increase readership and raise awareness for your site. Also, your readers are likely on social media, meaning that it is another tool for interacting with them and making connections.

For example, take a look at Havahart. This brand focuses on helping customers rid their homes and yards of pesky animals – but without harming them. Because their Facebook presence is alive and well, Havahart is able to drive a substantial amount of traffic to their community blog.

Havahart facebook

4. They Push Themselves to Come up With Interesting Post Ideas

Content is key when it comes to blogging. Offering people intriguing and useful content is the basis for creating a popular and informative blog. Make an effort to research fresh topics and to come up with creative content ideas in order to make your blog interesting.

5. They Let Their Fans Contribute

Allowing guest bloggers or active community members to write posts for your site is a good way to increase readership, show a little fan service and explore new topics and ideas.  Case in point: Buzzfeed.

Buzzfeed is notorious for allowing its humble community contributors to suggest post ideas for the main section of the website. While it’s quite rare that a community member has their post republished, the ones who do keep user interest alive on the site – and Buzzfeed gets some great posts out of it.

Buzzfeed-community-1

6. They Give a Face to Each Blogger on the Site

Blogs with multiple authors should allow each blogger to express a unique identity. Having each blogger write on a particular niche topic and use a byline will give their posts a lot more credit. Even large sites like Lifehack manage to do this cleanly and professionally, and they have a LOT of people writing for them.

Give each of your bloggers  a face and a voice, and your readers will feel much more connected to them.

Lifehack-authors-1

7. TheyRespect the Ethics of Blogging

If you want your blog to be respected in the blogosphere you must first offer respect for it yourself. This means abiding by the unwritten rules and ethics that successful blogs recognize. Sharing useful links rather than spamming your posts, offering quality content and avoiding keyword stuffing are examples of practices all blogs should employ.

8. They Haven't Forgotten About Mobile

Many people prefer to read blogs on their phones and tablets. Having a responsive site design or using a platform that is compatible with mobile use will facilitate mobile readership for your site. Popular blogs such as Forbes, Mashable and Social Media Examiner have sites that allow for mobile readership and benefit from it greatly.

9. They Actively Manage Their Reputation

Getting people to respect your blog and recognize it as a credible source is critical. Handling negative feedback and addressing the issue is one way to show your concern and responsibility to readers. When dealing with comments, be sure to be polite and seek a resolution rather than attacking people and becoming associated with negativity.

10. They Create Actionable Posts for Their Readers

Readers tend to respond better to blogs that offer specific advice and useful tips. Successful bloggers have mastered this as their content presents people with tangible value.

11. They Consider How Ads Will Impact User Experience

Sure, setting up your blog for Google Adsense is advantageous from a financial perspective, but what impact does it have on your readers? This is something that successful bloggers consider as they realize that losing readership isn’t worth making a small monthly profit. A blog packed full of advertisements might serve as a deterrent for some readers, which will ultimately hurt your blog in the long run.

12. They Write Openly and Honestly

Being honest with your readers and demonstrating that you don’t care what other people think will make people trust you.  Readers are far more likely to be drawn to a blog full of honest, controversial content than they will be to a blog that offers no opinion or transparency.

13. They Know Exactly Who Their Readers are and Relate to Them in Every Post

Blogs with high readership have achieved it by understanding their audience and creating content that speaks to them. For instance, CJ Pony Parts, a large Mustang parts dealer, offers tons of highly relevant blog content geared (no pun intended) toward their industry’s readers. Literally every post on their site is about Mustangs, ensuring that all of their visitors can find posts they’ll definitely want to read.

CJ pony parts blog

14. They Consciously Make Their Site Easy to Navigate

Making your site easy to navigate can go a long way toward encouraging people to become regular visitors. This means having easy to use menus and organizing content so that it’s easy to find. Consistency within the format of the content itself is important too, as readers will know what to expect in your posts.

15. They Have a True Passion for What They Write About

One of the most basic and effective things you can do to make a blog successful is to demonstrate true passion. Not only will writing uninspired content be boring for you, it will be boring for readers as well. Choosing something that your care about and making it evident in your writing is your best bet for developing a popular, useful blog.

Having a successful blog goes far beyond creating a site and sharing content. Consider the aforementioned strategies for making your blog a more credible and popular source in your niche blogging community.

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About the Author

Kayla Matthews PhotoKayla Matthews is an avid blogger with a passion for productivity and life hacking. She is currently a contributing writer at Business2Community, Lifehack and Technorati.  Follow her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter to get updates on all of her latest posts!

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Comments

  1. About time you addressed #8 Jeremy & Jason! :-P

    • HA! Funny you mention that, we are having the site redesigned right now! The Academy was revamped last year and totally upgraded to be completely mobile friendly. This main site has now been pushed to the top of the list!

      • Well done! Can be a little tricky I know, but well worth it. We are now at the point where our main site gets MORE visits via mobile (including tablets) than it does through larger screens. Look forward to seeing the all-new IBM!

  2. Yeah mobile is a big must these days. In fact I just set up my new site and it’s completely mobile. I also think #13 is very important as well, I see so many bloggers these days building sites but they either have no idea what niche they are in or they are in to general of a niche, such as personal finance. Great post, definitely going to implement some of these tips.

    • Thanks Chris! What are some of the strategies you are thinking of implementing?

      • I have several strategies I want to implement but one I’ve been looking into is doing an audio blog similar to what you and Jason have done. I’ve done stuff with podcasting in the past and really enjoy it and since I’m in the personal finance niche nobody is doing that right now and I could be one of the first people in that niche to get in on it. I also know from the people I’ve surveyed in my niche that most people want to keep things short and simple and this could be a great way for me to do that.

  3. The Adsense issue is really interesting – I see a lot of blogs that are just jam packed with ads but seem to be popular anyway, and I can never quite figure out why. That said, I am still tinkering with ads and I’m not yet convinced they have a place at all in my site. Time and testing will tell I guess.

  4. Great post. Which do you think is the most import point?

    I think it is:
    9. They Actively Manage Their Reputation

    I think it is especially important if you run something like an e-commerce site alongside your blog.

  5. Great article but the title should be reworded to things that “Bloggers” do differently not “Blogs”. :P

  6. It definitely begins with putting the audience first.

    Awesome post, Kayla. There are lots of things to draw on here.

    To your list, I’d add: experimenting and seeing what works. Rather than just watching the data closely, successful bloggers are not afraid to experiment, either with writing topics, or with traffic-generating ideas.

  7. A nice internet business tip is to focus on a main area first.

  8. Great post. Love your job guys. What do you use for making audioblogs? Thanks

  9. Will Cassidy says:

    Great content. I love the idea of using Guest posts. Do we need to get written approval from the author or can we just credit them?

    • The idea of a guest post is not to grab a post and copy it from another site, but rather to invite someone to write original content that you post to your site, giving them a link back in their bio.

  10. Awesome stuff! Very good tips and will definitely be using them.
    I think that social media is important as well, I just find it hard to be so active on it. :(

  11. Very useful tips! I’ll have to figure out how to apply them in a measured way as I’m blogging as well as working. I can see how blogging can become a full time job. Thanks!

  12. actionable stuff if you want to join the group of successful bloggers. Good stuff!

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