What is a successful blog?To start, I think it would be best to define a successful blog. The only problem is that I can't. Every person has a different idea of success. But, regardless of their specific goals, I think most people want to be recognized in the blogosphere, have a larger readership, more comments, and more subscribers.
So, how do you achieve this? I haven't written a complete guide on how to be successful. I don't intend to either. Instead, I encourage you to learn from the bloggers who are already successful. How did they do it?
1. They chose a good topicThe bloggers who succeed have chosen a topic they are knowledgeable and passionate about. This way, they can provide information or express their views in writing better than if they were to write about something they didn't find enjoyable. By choosing a good topic, they will also be able to continue blogging about their subject without becoming bored.
2. They actively promote their blogsEveryone has their own ways for promoting their blogs, and their opinions of what works and what doesn't. Some say to avoid Twitter and use Facebook, some say to use Twitter but not Facebook, some say not to use either of them. But, whatever their opinions may be, they find what works for them, they create a formula for promotion, and they stick to it. Most don't sit and wait for the readers to come to them. They go to the readers and build their community.
3. They write wellThe bloggers who are successful are known for publishing only high quality content. They know that whatever it is they write next, it won't be as simple as typing what comes to mind—it must meet their readers' expectations. They must formulate ideas that will attract new readers, and keep the old ones. Over time, they learn what subjects and writing styles work best.
4. They are determinedAs discussed in my Why You Shouldn't Be a Blogger article, determination is success. Many bloggers give up after a few months when they realize blogging isn't giving them the results they had hoped for. But obviously, some people have figured out that any blog in any category can be successful.
5. They are uniqueThere are millions of blogs on the internet, and the bloggers who manage to stand out in that crowd are the most likely to succeed. It's not easy to get noticed, especially when you're competing with the already "famous" bloggers. Who is going to read your blog when there are other blogs that discuss the same things but have been around much longer and have a reputation for always publishing valuable content?
I admit that when I started my first blog—that would be Template Faerie—though I knew a lot about blogs and blog design, I didn't know there would be so much competition. The problem I ran into was my topic: blogging—it is overdone and overflowing with the same information. I don't mean to say that successful bloggers are the ones who choose topics with little to no competition—instead, they find a way to be unique. They are able to offer something that no one else does. The only problem for the rest of us is finding that "something".
So, if you were to ask me if I consider Template Faerie to be successful, I would say, "not yet!". What about you? What are your goals for your blog, and how do you plan to pursue them?