Do you know how to start a successful blog?
You certainly know how to blog.
Go to WordPress or another blogging platform, click a few buttons, buy your domain name, and within minutes, you’re a blogger.
Guest author Vinil Ramdev, a 14-year blogging veteran, explains how to start a successful blog.
Although his tips are called, “Ways to Build an Authority Blog,” they are actually effective tips for bloggers of all levels.
5 Ways to Build an Authority Blog
I started my first business way back in 2004. Social media wasn’t such a big rage at the time. Social media sites like Friendster and Hi5 were considered pretty much trivial to make an impact in the business world.
Blogs were around at the time, and it was fairly inexpensive to start blogging.
In 2006, I was running a retail business in India, and I was also taking some online courses in entrepreneurship.
I wasn’t sure why I started blogging, it just appealed to me, and I started writing blog posts.
I was writing about my business and pretty much everything under the sun. I didn’t even have a domain of my own; I just started blogging by signing up with Blogspot, which was a free platform. At the time, I would write about one blog post a month.
After several years, I started a blog in the start-up niche, which I eventually sold as I wanted to move on to other niches.
The reason for me to start a business blog was primarily to sell my consulting services. At the time, I had made a transition into business consulting, and I was looking to offer my services to potential clients. One of the best ways to sell my services was to start a blog and position myself as a knowledgeable person.
What is an authority blog?
An authority blog is a blog that positions you as a knowledgeable person in your field. It sets you up as the go-to person for a particular topic.
Why should you build an authority blog?
Anybody who is trying to sell his products or services should consider blogging.
An authority blog:
- Builds your reputation.
- Gives you a voice.
- Gives your potential customers a sample of what you have to offer.
How to Start a Successful Blog
There are primarily three things that make a blog stand out from the crowd:
- Great Content.
- Good Design.
- A personal connection.
The purpose of any content is to inform, educate, entertain, or sell a product or service. When someone visits your blog, he is looking for a solution to his problems or is merely looking to entertain himself. Good blogs try to solve their readers’ problems.
I, personally, like blog designs that are simple and have a lot of white space. The trend in blog design is towards simple, easy to navigate designs. Be careful about placing Google ads in every corner of your blog. It is very tempting to place ads everywhere but resist the temptation and use ads sparingly.
Choosing a topic is a common question for most people starting off in blogging.
I tell people to write about something they are doing on a day-to-day basis.
When you are doing something on a day-to-day basis, it is very easy to come up with blog post ideas and topics to write. You could write about your day job, or a hobby you are passionate about. For example, if you are a web designer, write about web designing. If you are a cook, write about cooking.
Most people think they are not experts at anything, but the fact is that most people are experts at something or the other. Just observe how you spend your time, and you’ll find a topic to blog about.
If you are a successful blogger, you’re an authority in your niche. A successful blog is an authority blog.
How to start a successful blog:
#1 Identify your reasons for blogging
When I started a business blog, my reason for blogging was to sell my consulting services. My blog helped me position myself as a knowledgeable person in my niche, and it also gave my prospects an indication of my business acumen.
There are several other reasons to start a blog. One of the reasons could be that you want your voice to be heard and blogging could be a great medium. Read my article on how I built a personal brand through blogging.
Another reason could be to make money from your blogs. During the initial stages, it may be really hard to make money from your blog because you barely have any traffic, but as you build traffic, there are ways you could make money from blogging.
Networking can be another reason to start blogging. There are possibilities to meet several people online through blogging.
Whatever your reasons, it helps to know why you want to blog. If you are not sure why you want to blog, you could still get started blogging and identify your reasons along the way.
#2 Find a niche
Find a niche is a clichéd statement in the blogging world. But it makes a lot of sense.
Initially you may wander around and write about a variety of topics ranging from football to marketing to dating, but eventually, it is likely that you could burn out.
The reason you should find a profitable niche and stick to it is that people see you as the go-to person on that topic and people want to talk to experts and not always generalists when they are looking at things like “how to finance a business” or “how to start a business.”
You may want to focus on specific skill sets and be the best at it rather than be a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Most people know this, but they still try a lot of different things. I am one of them. I have broken this rule several times. I have tried a lot of businesses in my life and the reason for that, is, I did not find a profitable business in my first attempt. But yes, eventually I do understand that I need to find a niche and be the best at it.
Coming back to blogging: It makes sense to choose a niche because it will make your job a lot easier. Sometime niches can be broad, so it is important you find the right balance.
For example, if you are an event planner and you are focused on every event category from weddings to trade shows to fashion shows, you are too spread out. Weddings are a different market; fashion shows are a different market, trade shows are a whole different market altogether. Promoting yourself in several different markets is difficult because your resources are going to be too spread out to make any real impact.
#3 Provide great content
GREAT CONTENT is what makes blogs stand out. Every blog is trying to differentiate itself from the other with its content. Some blogs consist of predominately “How-to” type articles, others have a more personal tone with reality-based articles, while there are others that are a combination of both.
Whatever format of articles you’d like to adopt for your blog, try to find your voice, be authentic, and be yourself.
#4 Keep in touch with your blog readers
Once people start frequenting your blog, you must have some way of staying in touch with your readers. Not collecting information about your blog readers is like going to a business conference, talking to people and just walking away without exchanging business cards.
One way to keep in touch with your blog readers is a mailing list. Your blog should have some sort of form to collect email addresses.
It is quite easy to create an automated mailing list. Email service providers like aweber.com, constantcontact.com help you collect email addresses of your blog readers.
Remember, your blog readers have to fill up a form on your website to be added to your mailing list. Not all your readers would want to sign up on your mailing list, but even if 5% of your blog readers sign up, it’s still better than nothing.
Another way of staying in touch with your blog readers is a Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the several online social networks.
#5 Comment on other people’s blogs
Commenting on other people’s blogs is something I’ve seen work. I discovered this when I started commenting on the Social Media Examiner. When I checked my Google Analytics, I saw several clicks coming from the Social Media Examiner, and all this was because of blog commenting.
But be very careful.
Do not spam. Make a well thought out comment. It is very tempting to spam. But resist the temptation. And comment with a purpose of connecting with someone rather than trying to sell something.
You also don’t have to put your website link in the comments box because what happens on many of these blogs is that you can enter a website, an email address and your name. Your email won’t be visible of course, but your name will be a hyperlink. So when people click on your name, they are directed to your blog.
I have never left my website address ever in any of my comments, but somehow people reply to my comment, and the discussion begins.
Comment with an objective to start a conversation with somebody rather than trying to get a click to your blog.
Blogging can be a lot of fun, but it can also burn you out pretty quickly. So pace yourself. Learn from my biggest blogging mistake rather than make your own. If you are looking to start a blog from scratch, check out my step-by-step article here.
About the Author
Vinil Ramdev has been blogging for close to a decade. The mission of his blog ‘Blogger Hangout’ is to help bloggers earn a full-time income through blogging.
Host Blogger’s Comments;
Vinil offers powerful tips for boosting your blog’s success. However, in the event you could benefit from one-on-one coaching, my blog coaching services can help boost your traffic, engagement, and income.
Readers, please share so bloggers and people who want to be bloggers discover how to start a successful blog.
What did you think of Vinil’s tips? Which was his most effective suggestion for how to start a successful blog? I look forward to your views in the comments section.