People have thousands of blogs to choose from. Once they commit, they’re all in. Blogs are popular time wasters, even though time is precious. Blogs are where people go during work breaks – they’re what folks read on the train to work – because readers feel like they’ve built a real connection with the blogger. A blogging relationship is a gift to be cherished.
Unfortunately, it can seem like creating a successful blog is just as difficult as building a relationship with a significant other. All kinds of things can go wrong: people have straying eyes, the reading gets boring or repetitive, or maybe the blogger stops putting in the effort he used to.
Follow these six steps to ensure readers fall in love with your blog and stay enamored. The start of a relationship sets the stage for it, so prepare well.
1. Choose the right niche
Niche blogs are the best way to make money, which makes sense: They usually address a topic that people are passionate about. Excitement breeds excitement, but a niche blog that’s too obscure simply won’t attract enough followers. Choose a subject that’s interesting and engaging, and doesn’t leave many people out in the cold. For example, the highly popular CakeWrecks blog appeals to pretty much anyone.
2. Pick effective images/videos
A blog requires strong content and arresting images or videos to support it. Take the time to source and cite all images properly, if you use them, to draw in readers. Stock photography usually won’t do the trick, and copyright laws are strict. The best bet is to shoot your own images or ask readers to submit theirs once your blog has been established.
3. Foster community
Ask questions, encourage discourse, and always reply to comments and questions posed by readers. A blog should no longer function as an online diary where voyeurs get a peek into the lives of others. It should be a thriving community, and the blogger merely plays host. Engaging readers and blogging on topics that interest them is the only way to build such a community.
4. Be nice (or naughty)
It’s not really the content that people fall in love with, it’s the person at the keyboard. The most successful bloggers have personalities that resonate with readers, but this doesn’t mean they need to be sweet as pie.
Take a look at over-the-top Perez Hilton, who made millions on the personality he filtered through a blog. Sociable people often do best at blogging – if they can rein it in long enough to post and manage.
5. Devise and send email newsletters
Sending regular (but not too frequent) email newsletters is one of the best ways to seal the deal. People have to make an effort to visit a blog, but the blogger can take the initiative with an email newsletter. Keep them short and sweet, and provide information that isn’t available on the blog. People should look forward to these newsletters, so put in the effort.
6. Feature guests
Can’t think of something witty to write about? Reach out to guest bloggers and offer a byline or link exchange for their time and talents. It’ll bring fresh air into your blog and possibly attract more followers. If a guest blogger already has a following, encourage her to share the guest blog on all platforms.
Falling in love seems effortless, but there’s a lot of mechanics behind the magic – and the same is true of blogging. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but that’s often because the blogger gave up too quickly. Keep in mind what readers want to see, and deliver it in abundance. It’s a little like wooing a woman with roses.