Blogging is a valuable activity for many, from businesses looking to strengthen their branding or reputation, to individuals hoping to make some money on the side or simply share ideas online. For this reason, the idea of blogging success can vary depending on its purpose, such as driving sales or becoming an authority on a particular topic area. However, exposure is key to any notion of success for a blog, and there are certain steps that are essential to achieving it, whether you’re a company or individual. Here are five concrete measures you ought to take in order to reach your blogging goals.
1). Choose your niche
The very first thing to do is to establish a niche for the content of your blog. Without a clear vision of what topic areas you’ll cover, and who your target audience is, it’s extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd. Above all, choose a topic area you are passionate and knowledgeable about and narrow the focus. For instance, it’s perfectly fine to choose ‘lifestyle’ as your topic area, but then identify a few aspects of lifestyle to concentrate on, keeping your target audience in mind. For example, fashion and beauty products are relevant, complementary, and would be of interest to people within similar demographics.
2). Choose a catchy domain name
Your domain name is essentially your digital calling card; it’s the bedrock of your blog’s online image. It’s vital to keep this firmly in mind when naming your blog; your domain name must be unique, memorable and ideally indicate the nature of your content. Therefore, keep it short and to the point, avoid names that are prone to typos, and include a keyword where possible (more on this later). You also have the choice of combining your domain name with a new TLD (top-level domain) such as .photography or .coffee. If there’s an appropriate new TLD available to you, go for it, but if not stick to the tried and trusted .com.
3). Devise an editorial calendar
If you’re starting a blog, it should be a given that you’re prepared to produce interesting and engaging content. However, it’s a challenge for anyone to maintain a high level of quality and variety on a consistent basis without a plan. Creating an editorial calendar helps focus the process of content creation and map out a trajectory. For example, you could plan a weekly series of how-to posts around a common theme. This way, you won’t be stuck for ideas at the last minute and can schedule your posts ahead of time. Furthermore, if you need to outsource writing tasks, you can easily maintain editorial control.
4). Optimize for keywords
Since most readers discover blogs using search engines, search engine optimization (SEO) is an indispensable part of blogging. In order for your blog to rank highly in the results pages, you need to tailor your content to search terms (known as keywords) that your target audience is using. This applies both to individual posts and your blog as a whole. The first step is to conduct keyword research in order to determine the most searched for terms that are relevant to your topic – see here for an in-depth guide. Once you have a list of keywords for a given page, integrate them into the URL, title and description tags, and the body of the article. However, always ensure your writing remains natural and you don’t overuse the keywords.
5). Network with other bloggers
It’s tempting to regard other bloggers in your niche only as competition, but in fact they present a valuable opportunity to expand your audience. Guest blogging is a mutually beneficial way to do this. Take some time to discover similar blogs to yours and reach out to them offering to write a guest post on their blog. Not only do you get to promote yourself to a likeminded audience, but your guest blogging partner benefits from fresh content from a different perspective. By engaging in guest blogging you can develop a valuable network of allies to help you reach a wider readership.