Friday, October 27, 2006
Blogs are becoming more and more popular. If you don't already have a weblog of your own, you've at least posted a comment to one, read one, or heard the term used in everyday conversation.
You may also have noticed that only a small number of blogs are truly known in each industry. As is true with most major media, "the cream rises to the top". The best weblogs have a large following and are valuable sources of information for thousands of readers. There are five primary reasons why some blogs become popular and others don't:
1. Focusing on a Popular Content Area. One of the most important characteristics of a successful blog is appropriate content. In order to gain a large following your blog must cover a topical area that is broad enough to be of interest to a large number of individuals but specific enough to have meaning.
Weblogs that provide information on obscure topics can never have a sizeable audience because the topic is of limited interest. So, if you're going to start a blog of your own, make sure that your content area is broad enough to appeal to a large audience.
2. Content that's timely. The best way to keep your blog readers interested is with timely content. Your blog should cover current events, opinions, and topics. Popular weblogs often comment on current events tied to their particular subject area or industry. Not only is the content meaningful to blog readers, but it encourages them to interact with your blog posts by placing comments.
Timely content is anything that is of current interest. Your best sources for timely content include daily newspapers, magazines, Internet news sites, and industry journals. Be sure to choose timely content that can be discussed and debated. This improves the overall effectiveness of your blog posts.
3. Updated Daily. The blogs that attract the most readers are those addressing popular content areas, covering timely topics, and refreshed on a daily basis. If your weblog adds a new post everyday, then readers have a reason to return. Providing daily updates on a consistent basis helps users to develop the habit of visiting daily. Updated content builds a loyal following while encouraging word-of-mouth referrals about your posts.
4. Make your blog easy to find. Submit your blog to free and paid blog directories - especially in your market. Doing so can increase the number of individuals who find your blog and increase search engine position. I recommend The Marketing Blog Directory and other sources like Yahoo!
5. Comments from Industry Experts. Nothing speaks with more authority than an interview with an expert. The most popular blogs integrate interviews, commentary, podcasts, and other posts that include an expert who offers their thoughts and opinions on a given topic or current event. This is an essential reason why so many people return to the most popular blogs over and over again.
If you're wondering how to recruit experts for your blog, than look to current best practices for blogging and Internet marketing… simply ask. Industry experts are always looking to share their ideas. If you can't arrange for an in-person or phone interview, email the expert a list of questions and ask for their responses.
6. Use Interactive Media and Visuals. It's difficult for blog readers to read flat, boring text day in and day out – regardless of how stimulating a topic may be. The most popular bloggers know this and have enhanced their blogs with audio, video, external links, screenshots, and more.
The best way to improve the overall popularity of your blog is to present blog content in a variety of formats. Visit other blogs and determine what type of interactivity would work best for your blog. You don't need to go overboard, just add interactive content where it makes sense to do so.
7. Make your site available via RSS feed.. Check out a "How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Website". The article will give you step by step instructions on pushing your content out to those who request it. This allows your blog to proactively reach those who are interested in your subject matter. It also increase the viral component of your blog when your articles are forwarded to friends, familiy, and colleagues.
By following the lead of today's most popular blogs, your blog can thrive. Follow the blog secrets listed above for enhancing your blog and improving readership. The key is to plan your blogging activities carefully and encourage interaction with your readers. This enhances the overall effectiveness of your blog and makes for a truly great blogging experience for everyone. Happy Blogging!