This is in response to a comment someone just made in a group on LinkedIn. I have grown tired of answering the same question over and over again from so many group members over the past few months so I decided to post it here on ScreamingReviews so that it will be a permanent response and hopefully people will see it, read it and learn from it. This was the original question asked in the LinkedIn group:
I left the posters name off on purpose, but the question is real and important. There are so many people out there that want to become bloggers and think it is an easy ticket to wealth and riches. That is not the case. It takes lots of time, patience, research and more to become a great blogger, but the nice thing is that by sticking to a few points anyone can blog, make a difference and have fun while doing it. Below I have listed some ideas that all great bloggers adhere to and that will help you on your quest to becoming an effective and successful blogger.
How to be a successful blogger
1. Use realistic goals. The key to success in blogging is determination, consistency, uniqueness and using realistic and reachable goals. If you just started then you should make a realistic goal of 50 – 100 pageviews per day, not 500 or 1,000 to start. Then when you reach that make it 200 and so on. Take baby steps and use realistic attainable goals. There are many bloggers out there that have been doing it for a while and don’t have 500 uniques per day – especially after Google’s 3 last updates (Farmer, Penguin and the recent image search update).
2. Pick something you like and stick with it. Don’t make the mistake many bloggers do of not having a predefined niche and writing about everything under the sun. Google prefers niche defined sites in its search algorithms and hits those that veer from this. If you veer off topic and out of your niche it will hurt you. It is best if you pick something that you like so that it is easier and even interesting to you. This is the way it should be for any job or business you select. If you pick something you like your satisfaction and happiness will increase greatly and the likelihood that you stick with it and become a success is far greater.
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3. Be consistent. This is something that Google made big a few years ago with the start of the Farmer algorithm updates. If you post 10 articles to your site this weekend and then do nothing for 3 months and then post 5 articles that is not being consistent. You need to find what level of publishing you are comfortable with and then make a plan – sort of like a writing budget. For instance, if you can comfortably post 1 to 2 posts or articles every three days and stick to that long-term that is being very consistent. It can help to use graph paper and chart your progress and goals both in number of posts or articles written and visitors. It is nice to look back and see how many visitors you gained over certain periods of time. many website or blogging programs (like WordPress) already have easy-to-use graphing software like Jetpack so you can track how your website is doing. If you want free tracking you can try W3counters, Quantcast and Google Webmaster tools. Each of these is valuable as they will each show you something different. Remember, Google likes consistency and rewards it with higher rankings in their search engine for more desirable keywords (in other words it pays to be a consistent blogger!)
4. Be original (unique). One thing I cannot stress enough is the need to be unique. Uniqueness is huge on the internet. The last thing you want to do is start a blog that is basically just a rewrite of someone else’s. That will get you nowhere and probably even punished in Google’s search rankings. You, just like I and everybody else, are a unique person with unique experiences, schooling and more. Everybody has something to contribute to others you just have to find it. There’s nothing wrong with improving as long as you stay unique. Don’t go and take someone else’s post or article and change a few words or run it through a rewriting program (spam) and consider it unique. Take the time to do a little research. Learn about what it is you want to speak about and then develop your own ideas and creativity and then post about it. By doing a little bit of groundwork and making your post your own you will gain a loyal following and you will not have to worry about Google search algorithm updates like many others do.
5. Write for your readers, not for search engines. This is a big one and will help carry you through the start-up period for your blog. Don’t worry about things like SEO, anchor links, keyword percentage, etc. These things used to be big in the past and used to help websites rank for certain keywords, but they are far less important nowadays. What’s more important is that you write something original and gain a loyal readership. Google pays equally as much attention (if not more so) based on how long a visitor stays on a page rather than how many of them come to that page or how many links go to that page. The social aspect has become a huge. Do other people like what you’re writing and do they or will they link to it through their social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)? You need to find out what your readers want and like and then write to meet those needs. Don’t sit and worry about counting how may times you used certain keywords throughout your post or rather they are highlighted or including keywords that you think would rank you higher if you included them somehow. Write solely for your readers and if you do this you will gain a loyal readership and continue to grow and the best part is you will not have to worry about search engine algorithm updates.
6. Do not participate in spam, mlm marketing crap and other deceitful activities with your blog. As I said earlier, the social aspect of the Internet has become huge. The last thing you want to do is become known as a spammer or become labeled for deceitful marketing activities – that will destroy you and your blog fast. All it takes is a few founded complaints to Google that your website is participating in spam or other deceitful activities and you could find yourself dropped completely from the search rankings. You can make an honest living off the internet with a blog, but it won’t happen overnight and it will take a lot of hard work and patience. Don’t ruin that are participating in scams, mlm marketing programs or any other deceitful activities. the Golden rule with respect to the Internet is – treat your Internet visitors as you would have them treat you. Don’t rip off others, don’t lie or use mistruths, document and give credit where credit is due when you’re using someone else’s ideas in your works, and above all strive to contribute and make the Internet a better place – if you do this you will do very well with your blog or website.
7. Write to make a difference. Regardless of where your interests lie or what niche you decide on, there always be the opportunity for you to change things and make the world a better place. Nowhere does this become easier than on the Internet with a blog. You will gain readers and you can help educate those readers on things that are wrong or unjust or just plain ridiculous. But be forewarned, do not lie or deceive people. They will catch on and you will lose your readership and trust factor fast. Try and make the world a better place. If you can educate people on how to do something differently, great. maybe you know an uncommon way to save money that’s related to your niche. Maybe it’s easier for you to just create a forum and let other people do this for you – whatever it is you set out to do with your blog, be sure and do it the right way. And you will be rewarded and find it a rewarding experience.
Good luck and if you follow the above steps you will do well and I look forward to visiting your blog and reading your unique, educational and interesting posts.