Saturday, May 7, 2011

8 Ways to Make a Successful Blog

A constant for me in the previous two or three years are emails of a common theme. People from around the world have often emailed me asking how they can get more people watching their You Tube videos or reading their blog. I have spent about 6 years regularly, and more often irregularly, blogging and vlogging about life in Korea and Japan, about being an educator, about my views on a wide range of other topics.

I have spent more time than I can count chatting and discussing strategies with other bloggers. How can we get more traffic coming to our sites? How can we get more subscribers? How can we become professional bloggers? How can we become successful?

I think I have learned a great deal in my years of blogging. I do understand how you can create a successful blog or You Tube channel (the latter becoming harder these days since You Tube no longer seems to support new talent or even mid-pack partners such as myself). Now I have learned a great many things, but have often not put them into practice. I suppose I have learned how I "could" be more successful, but haven't taken many of the appropriate steps in that direction.

How can I become a successful blogger?

1. Choose a theme and stick to it! Most people who have successful vlogs or blogs have a specific theme and rarely, if ever deviate from it. If your blog is a random mishmash of ideas and topics, it will be hard to draw in a specific following. People with a narrow focus tend to find more success. A great example of narrowing a blog/vlog’s focus is the Korea-based You Tube vloggers, Simon and Martina. They used to make videos only about Korea and being a teacher. They were good and finding some success on You Tube. Once they zeroed in on making K-pop (Korean pop music) videos and created their K-Pop Mondays series, they blew up as You Tubers and are now VERY successful. Their blog is also hugely successful.

Although I know that I myself should be more narrow and focused, I tend not to be. In a way, I am shooting myself in the metaphoric foot!

2. Consistency pays off. If you want people to notice you, you must create a body of work. In order to do this, you must write or shot video consistently. People tend to not pay attention to or simply forget those who only post a new blog a few times a month. A few times a week or more is always better. Once you start building a following, those who really like you will crave content!

I personally have a great deal of trouble producing regular content. With a demanding job, wife and infant son, as well as a marathon running hobby, I have very little time to sit in front of a computer these days.

3. Interact with your readers/viewers. Followers love it when you interact with them by replying to emails and responding to their comments. This gives your readers a more personal connection. They begin to feel like you care about them and they in turn will support you even more. I suppose it is about community building. Unfortunately, as your following grows, this will become more difficult to do.

4. Build and maintain your community. Use other complimentary social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your writing or videos.

5. Toughen up. If you can’t take criticism or rude comments from the occasional Internet troll or someone who disagrees with your point, blogging isn’t for you. The Internet is full of people who have strong opinions and many may be the opposite of yours. There are also a lot of idiots with too much time on their hands. From time to time they may target you. This is part of online life. Don’t take it personally!

6. It takes time. To many impatient people send me emails (which I normally delete and never respond too) about how they have made one or two videos and now they are ready for Internet fame. If you are a blogger or vlogger seeking success, it can take a very long time and a lot of hard work! The now famous You Tube star Wheezy Waiter, who now has hundreds of thousands of subscribers still only had about 200 followers after he had made 100 videos! He was doing it for years before he broke out!

7. Accept failure when it happens. Not every idea for a blog or video channel will work. Sometimes, after trying for a long time, it might be better to just call it a day and move on to a new theme or project!

8. Build a network. Make friends and connect with other bloggers and vloggers. If you have a great online network, they will help you and promote your content. Building a network takes time. You must regularly comment on people’s blogs, interact with them on Twitter and Facebook.

These are all very good pieces of advice. If you follow them, you may achieve success. There is also of course an element of luck involved. Sometimes someone accidentally notices you big and they promote you. Other times, your luck may not be so good.

You mustn’t only produce good regular content; you must also spend a great deal of time promoting yourself. Your blog is a product and you want people to buy in.

I know these rules, but I am often guilty of not following them. I am sometimes scatter-brained so making videos or blog posts on a consistent theme is difficult for me. I also have a lot of trouble producing consistent content and interacting with followers. This is due to a lack of time.

Would I like to be a super-duper successful blogger someday? Of course I would! Will I? Probably not, but you never know (Any famous bloggers out there waiting to notice me?).


Scott Brown said...

Nice post Kevin.

Most people think that we blog as a community service and that as they pay taxes they have the right to give us shit.

But they don't and you're right to not pay any mind to these kind of trolls.

Still, even if you are never picked up by anyone Kevin you will have a record of your thoughts and feeling that your son will have to help him understand what his old man was about!

He may come to the conclusion that you are a nut but he'll reach that honestly ;)

Brokendrums said...

@ Scott Brown

I used to deal with loads of trolls about 3 years ago on You Tube. That was a period in time when many foreign vloggers in japan were getting attacked online by angry Japanese netizens. Haven't had any serious problems since then luckily.

You are correct about blogging as a good history and personal record. I've even heard some people refer to this as "leaving a digital legacy" for your family to remember you by!

wizardofwords said...

Great advice! It does indeed take time to build a following and solidify that sense of community that makes for an interesting blog.

That's finally happening on my writer's (lifestyle) blog - which I started 2 years ago. It's slowly beginning to happen on my chocolate travel blog, but I only launched that 6 months ago.

Happy blogging,
Doreen Pendgracs

Marvin said...

You wrote a nice post and motivated me to start my own blog (I really wnated to do that for quite a while but never was able to do this "last step") I hope I will have the energy to hold on to it and built my blog up with nice articles and reocouring visitors

David said...

Thanks for share this wonderful and useful advices I'll put it on practice on my blog.