In the last 5 years, blogging has become one of the most powerful forms of media. Internet users look to blogs for reviews about products, advice about finance, and even help with their own health issues. Anyone that has access to a computer can literally start their own blog. This can mean that the majority of the content on the internet is below average, uninspired, and usually not worth the effort to read. The shear amount of content out there is one of the reasons that creating a successful blog is beyond difficult. Most bloggers are hobbyists that write just for the fun of it. For bloggers that are trying to build a real online brand or presence, a completely different strategy is needed. A serious blogger will need tons of good content, lots of activity in social media, and the ability to create something unique in order to stand out in the crowd.
The problem with most blogs is that they lack passion, depth of content, and uniqueness. If you as a writer are going to make a statement in an article, it is important to back up your writing with facts and links that support them. Well researched content, backup up with data and “supporting links” is extremely valuable to users and will help with usability. By creating a well-written, well-researched article with images and videos, you are creating a destination for users. This resource will naturally attract links and visitors. The more individualism, personality, and discipline you put into your work, the more interest you are likely to generate.
Content should be written with a purpose. If you are writing an article just because it contains a well-searched keyword, a real audience will not care. Search engine rankings will come and go, but building a site with real users that look to “YOU” as a leader in your niche is invaluable. It is important to draw in readers with well-written, thoughtful content, and stay in touch with them. You can stay in contact with readers by collecting email addresses and using an autoresponder. Aweber is a low cost auto-responder that can automatically send out a sequence of emails which provides interesting content or helps a user with a problem. This way, a visitor will have a connection with you as the writer and may return to your site over and over. Building a relationship will keep readers interested in your website and help you sell products or services to them down the road.
Social Media Activity
Many bloggers ignore popular social media websites that can bring them massive volumes of traffic and links. Websites like Digg, reddit, stumbleupon, twitter, and facebook can be used to make your blog’s presence known. The easiest way to get started with social media is to add the “Tweet/Like Plugin” for WordPress. The Tweet/Like WordPress plugin is 100% free, extremely easy to install, and will allow people to share your content easily on twitter and facebook. I have even noticed that relatively boring pieces get shared on twitter. The total time to set up this plugin on a wordpress blog is about 2 minutes. The payback for your 2 minutes of work in this case can be huge. A representative for “Bing” recently stated that “At some point, social [media] could be more important than content”. As search engines factor more social ranking signals into their algorithm, social media is something that can no longer be ignored.
Other important social sites are Digg.com and Reddit.com. These websites are generally focused on the college aged male demographic. They allow you to promote your own articles, which are then voted on by the users. If your article is promoted to the front page of these sites, it can mean an enormous volume of traffic. A couple years ago, one of my sites hit the front page of digg and received over 50,000 visitors in 1 day. This traction also helped me get the same article popular on the social site stumbleupon.com which lead to about 20,000 more free visitors (i still get an average of 10 visitors from stmbleupon per day for this story). From this one story, I got 100′s of links, and the article continues to rank very well in all 3 search engines.
You will often notice that if you submit a good article to one of these sites, you may get absolutely no votes. The important thing to remember when submitting articles to these sites is that you need to target the 18-25 year old male demographic. Try writing a piece of content specifically for these voters in order to go viral. You should also learn how to make connections with other users on these sites and what you need to do in order to get votes. Not all great articles will get votes, but with trial and error, you can find ways to consistently make a piece blow up virally.
Outsourcing your content to overseas writers does have it’s place, but if you want great quality, you will most likely have to do alot of the writing yourself. I’ve tried using many cheap content writers, which have led to awful, illegible articles. But, using oversea’s writers can work if you do it correctly. The most effective strategy for creating outsourced content is to find an article writer with the skill and willingness to provide quality articles. Provide your writer with a well thought-out outline of what you want, plus links to good resource material. This makes sure that they are drawing from articles that are written by experts, state alot of facts (with citations to back them up), and aren’t common or boring.
Uniqueness Beyond Content
Millions of new articles are uploaded to the net every single day. So, with all this new content, why should anyone care about what your blog has to say? Catching the attention of a jaded internet user isn’t easy, especially if you are doing exactly what everyone else is doing. Something i did recently for one of my sites was to have a widget built. I spent about $1000 to have a programmer create a widget that could be embedded on any blog or website. This gave my site something to offer that no one else in my niche had. So, the users and links naturally followed. I got mentioned by almost every top site in my niche due to this widget. Creating something unique (other than just a well written article) can set your site apart from the pack and help you gain traction faster.
Connecting with Other Bloggers
Being mentioned by top bloggers in your niche is very important to gain authority very quickly. Reaching out for guest posts (like this one), advertising opportunities, and joint ventures, are all things that you can do to differentiate yourself from all the other blogs out there. A group of niche blogs is a community that can be used to push each other’s content, when it may be hard to get noticed on your own.
I have to admit that most readers will probably not follow the advice in this article. The reason is that making a quality site is very, very difficult. People are often surprised at the amount of work it takes to make a living online. Surviving online is just like surviving with any other business. If you want to find success, you’ll have to invest time and hard work into everything you do. The internet is no exception to this. It will take persistence, resolve, and a long term strategy to build your site into a popular brand.