Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Makes a Successful Blog?

I'm trying hard to make my blog a successful tool in my writing career.  Over the past few months as I slowly came to the decision to drop my website and go blog only, I did a lot of reading about what makes a blog successful and I thought I'd share what I've compliled.  I'm not claiming all this is factual and not even if I agree with it all. 
One thing everyone seems to agree upon is posting frequently.  It doesn't have to be everyday as that would cut into one's vital writing hours.  But three or more times a week is strongely advised.  I've been trying to do that. 
When should you post? Many experienced bloggers have statistics to prove there is less traffic to their blogs on weekends.  Some can name a specific day they have the most visits and comments.  I'm not sure if this means people do a lot of blog reading at work or not.  I can't read blogs at work but I'm sure many can or they can follow them on their mobile devices. 
Don't make your blogs too long.  Most advise something between 250-1000 words.  Remember your blog isn't about writing a novel.  Have short paragraphs.
Make sure people can comment on your blog and follow their blogs and comment on them.  Don't always be snarky or sarcastic in your posts or comments.  Sometimes is okay but if you do it all the time you'll eventually offend some people.  And learn how to put some of those blogs you follow in your sidebar.  I do this and I'm always adding more and switching them in and out.
People will visit your blog more often if it isn't always about you.  You don't have to be an expert on everything to be able to share your experiences and opinions (like I'm doing here).  But consider who your target is as you decide on the subjects of your posts.  People don't come to my blog expecting to read political rants. 
Keeping a notebook with you always will help you collect ideas for blogs.  I pick up little journals for a dollar a piece at the craft store and jot down anything I might be able to use.  Some pages have only a title with no outline under it, other pages are filled with full outlines where I've collected information from many sources.  This post is right off one of those outlines.
One blogger advised the use of photos where they could be fit in as they add interest and catch a quick-clicker's eye.  Make sure they're qualitiy photos and permitted to be used.
And finally, take the long view.  Be patient and let your following grow.  I started concentrating on building my blog about two months ago.  Before that I was posting less than once per week.  Since the beginning of November, I've doubled my number of followers and make some great connections to other bloggers and readers.  I hope to double that number again over the next few months. 
What advice above don't you agree with?  What would you add? 


  1. Thanks for this post and for becoming a follower of my blog. I really appreciate it!

    I think patience is the key to building a blog and writing about what really matters to you is essential as well.

  2. Elana, Jen, and I did a series on what makes a successful blog last summer - August I think?
    Only thing I would add is to follow and comment others often. Blogging is a two-way street.

  3. You are so right, Betty. Patience is something I'm learning about blogging.
    Thanks for adding that good advice, Alex.

  4. Great advice. I would add that if someone leaves a comment on your blog, reciprocate on theirs.

  5. Thanks, Helen, for the advice. Your blog success speaks for your knowledge of what works.

  6. I don't have a clue what makes a blog successful, nor have I done any research or stats. (heck, I don't even blog on a regular schedule)
    But I know I like to visit (and revisit) blogs that make me laugh and/or think and/or learn and/or feel.
    I also believe it helps to try to visit those that visit us and leave comments. (I make a point to visit back as often as I can, sometimes time isn't on my side) I truly love reading everyone's blogs, and only wish I had more time.

    Thank you for sharing what you learned with us. :)
    Happy 2011,

  7. I like visiting other blogs too much, Lola. I can spend all evening doing it and have. There are so many clever and smart people out there it would be self-defeating not to take advantage of the knowledge they share with such genorousity.

  8. Good points. My biggest stumbling block in blogging is the time. I feel an obligation to read and possibily comment on all the blogs I've committed to "Follow", especially if the author of that blog returns the favor. But it's getting very difficult as my Follow list grows. How do you handle that?

  9. I understand your dilmena, Linda. I try to comment all most of the blogs I follow but sometimes I can't get to them all. It's so easy to spend hours.

  10. I've been doing it for almost three year and whew, some things are challenging. And right on with what you already mentioned--a regualr schedule, less is more, pictures help, and more white space in between short paras (that's my two cents). :D

  11. This is a great list, and I'd say you're doing great as a blogger! I love your comments!

    I'd add white space to the list. I'm more likely to read an entire blog post if there are frequent paragraph breaks and/or bulleted lists.

    Oh, just realized Christina beat me to my suggestion. :) I guess those good blog rules are pretty universal. Thanks for the tips.