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.
- 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.
- Yoast for WordPress
- SEO blogger for Blogger
- Use Google Adwords to look up most effective tags for your posts
- Add Comment Luv to your WordPress blog to increase engagement for your commenters.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.