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The 4 C’s of Successful Blogging

After blogging for nearly 3 years and being the editor-in-chief of 2 websites, including my current position at Midlife Boulevard, I’ve learned a lot about how to develop a blog following and make genuine connections with other bloggers and readers. The best thing is, it’s simple to do.

Here are the 4 C’s of successful blogging.

blogging, bloggers, writing blogs, reading blogs, social media

CONTENT

  •  Write your voice, not what you think others want to hear. Blogging is about more than just writing. It’s about defining who you are in the blogosphere. What you say to the world can and will evolve as you, your audience and your social media connections evolve. Whatever you’re blogging about, be it parenting toddlers to baking cupcakes to navigating midlife, own your smarts and tell the world what you know.
  • For most of us, a blog post is meant to be a bite, not a meal, though there are many opinions about this. It’s my belief that you shouldn’t overload your readers. Break a post into two parts if it’s longer than 1000 words.
  • Use images and SEO effectively.  Be sure to tag your images and give them titles. Many Google searches are for images, not content.
  • A takeaway prompts shares – something educational, entertaining, insightful or provocative will encourage engagement.
  • Asking a question at the end of a post promotes engagement and comments.

Utilize SEO tools to maximize your blog reach. This can be helpful for increasing visibility and Google ranking.

COMMENT 

  • Leave a comment if a post resonates with you. Put some thought into what you are saying – a “nice post” is ok, but specific points are better.
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree or have an opinion different from that of the blogger.
  • Mention something in the post that prompted you to comment, and share a little something of yourself.
  •  You are a visitor to that blog. Respect the space. Be thoughtful about how you raise questions or criticisms of someone’s writing.
  • Do not point out grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or other formatting issues in a comment. If you feel the need to let the blogger know of an error, contact her privately – she will appreciate your tact and your help!
  • Answer comments on your own blog whenever possible! Engagement is the key to community.

CURATE

  • The best compliment you can give a blogger is to share her post with your friends and followers on social media.
  •  Don’t just drop a link to a post in your Facebook feed  or on Twitter for others to figure out your reason for sharing – tell them WHY you liked the post. Give a brief description. Tag the writer if you’re connected on social media. It’s the nice thing to do.
  • If you’re sharing on Twitter, use the author’s Twitter handle somewhere in your tweet (but not at the beginning). It may take a few extra seconds to look it up, but it’s worth the effort.
  •  Link to other blogs in your posts. It’s great to see links coming to your site from another blogger. There’s room for everyone to grow and increase readers – be generous.
  • Have a blogroll with some of your favorite blogs listed.

CONNECT

  • Reach out personally to bloggers. Email, Facebook message, Twitter DM – a brief “I loved your post today” could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
  •  Invite other bloggers to guest post on your blog if you like their voices.
  • Submit content to websites – like Midlife Boulevard – to reach readers outside of your circle.
  • Take your relationship offline. Plan a lunch, dinner, writers group – build your community from the blogging dashboard up.
  • If you get a pitch from a company for a paid post and it’s not a good fit for you, refer them to a blog that would be a better outlet for their product. The PR company, the brand, and especially the blogger will appreciate the gesture.
  • Blogging connections are made through your efforts and the efforts of those who like your blog. Be open to new, different and interesting people who have much to teach – I’ve learned that the best thing about blogging is the variety of people in my online community who I most likely wouldn’t have met in real life.
Sharon Greenthal

Sharon's blog, <a href="http://www.emptyhousefullmind.com">Empty House Full Mind</a>, focuses on observations of the world from the midlife empty nest. Sharon is the Young Adults Expert on <a href="http://youngadults.about.com/">About.com</a>. Sharon writes for the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharon-greenthal/">Huffington Post</a> and <a href="http://purpleclover.com">Purple Clover</a>. Sharon is the mother of two grown children - a daughter, 26 and a son, 24. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Instagram: sharongreenthal

pia

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

Agreed with almost every point. I'm so sick of social media though. I know that sounds brazen of me but because I'm the only person to blog about adults with NLD (a slight neurological disorder) I get way too many emails, IM's, inquiries--and just want to lie under a rock. Really don't know how to deal with this. I loved blogging about my life in NY in the 1970's and 80's and people loved reading--trying to get back to that but when you've become known for a certain niche and want to lie under a rock--make that a boulder.....it's hard! One of the best friendships of my life began with a comment I got "good blogging, keep it up." At the time I was the "highest ranked baby boomer blogger." I must have read parts of his blog and realized I had discovered an incredible blogger with a unique voice. So I urge people to read every blogger that comments on theirs. They have the good taste to... I just want to know how to get the oomph back. All I want to do is write the old fashioned way but I recognize the need for a "successful" blog. Sorry for this book length comment

Karen D. Austin

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

Thanks for sharing your hard-won wisdom. I haven't figured out the whole SEO thing, so thanks for the link (which I bookmarked) so that I can go read about that and try to figure it out. Good tips!

Kathy Radigan

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

Sharon thanks for sharing some of your hard won wisdom. I always love it when bloggers share what they have learned. I agree with everything you said, especially the part of sharing other bloggers work that speaks to you. I think what makes blogging so satisfying for me is in connecting with other writers whose work I admire and love and then getting to share that work with others. .

Sharon Greenthal

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

That's the best part for me, too.

Cathy Chester

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

This should be named "The Beginner's Bible to Great and Effective Blogging" because you concisely brought together the most important rules of blogging. It's like a "Blogging for Dummies" book, but without the dummy part.

Excellent post with informative and thoughtful (and kind) suggestions.

Leave it to you, Sharon, to author such a post. You are quite special.

Sharon Greenthal

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

So glad you found it helpful! And you're pretty special too, Cathy.

Lynne

Friday 21st of February 2014

Thank you, Sharon! I have added the Yoast SEO plug in and now will add CommentLuv! I also shared this post, as this as been so very helpful to me, and presume it will be for others.

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