How to Sell Your Blog
The RSS reader may be on its way out, but blogging is far from doomed. Bloggers continue to create original content that generates traffic and interest among readers across the globe. More than a hobby, blogging is your chance to springboard into the world of thought leadership. Take your design, coding, copywriting or marketing skills out into the mainstream and craft a name for yourself. Blogging is more than just sitting at a desk and writing, you must commit to the idea to make it work for you.
Post Original Content
The first step toward becoming a successful blogger is to start posting your own ideas. Rich Gorman, a thought leader in the Direct Marketing space, recommends that you blog about your passions. When you blog about the thing you are most interested in, it does not feel like work and you are more compelled to continue.
The most important part of having a blog is coming up with interesting content on a daily basis. That also means that you must read and create a network of spaces to generate ideas. Follow the thought leaders in your industry and then follow the sources they follow. Get to know those communities and participate frequently. You’ll need to commit some time away from your own site if you want to truly succeed.
Design an Incredible Space
You need a blog that looks attractive, with great design and compelling content. In most cases that means avoiding obnoxious colors, but it also means avoiding obnoxious ads. Make sure your site’s navigation works, that all the links actually lead to their intended destinations and that copy flows well and isn’t choppy. You have less than 10 seconds to grab a reader’s attention and keep them motivated to stay on your site.
WordPress widgets can help add email forms, social media overlays and organize your content to make it friendlier to search engines. Make sure that you avoid too much nesting in your menus (more than two is confusing and difficult to access). Most importantly, test your site’s usability. Run Google’s Speed Test widget to find out how long it takes to load your page. Install an SEO widget, or just practice great SEO on your page. Reflexive design has also become more important as users have shifted their browsing to mobile devices.
Engage Your Audience
In order to become a successful blogger, you’ll need to improve your access to the thought leaders in your industry. That means finding out where they hang out and going there. In digital marketing, many executives and up and coming stars have found a home on Google +. The Tech community has embraced platforms like Twitter, while the creative community hangs out on Deviant Art and Vine. These are not even touching upon all of the sub communities that exist within those niches.
Be more responsive on your blog when you receive comments. Try to provide insight, answer questions, defend your ideas wherever possible. Solicit guest posts from contributors with data and research to present, and help advertise their discussions through your own social channels. A simple, “So and so will be doing a guest post this Monday” will go a long way toward enticing new readers to visit your blog.
The key is building a solid reputation for yourself as a blogger and working hard to maintain that image. Blogging relies on relationship building, but content is king.