Monday, April 23, 2012

Top 5 Ways to Get Your Blog on Top by Ella Davidson

It seems like just about everyone has a blog these days, but very few ever gain the levels of popularity and readership necessary to make them qualify as one of the Internet's “top blogs”. Achieving high levels of Internet acclaim can seem elusive to most bloggers; so many of the top blogs have so little in common, so what is it that catapulted them into success? Although there is no one secret tip or rule for making your blog into one of the top-visited on the web, many of the owners and creators of the Internet’s top blogs agree on at least of the few key factors that helped boost them towards success.

Many of these tips may seem obvious, but the simple fact is that most bloggers take them for granted or simply don't think of them at all. Creating a top blog takes time and dedication, and only the most dedicated will be able to achieve the kind of success so many bloggers dream about.

Study Your (Future) Peers
It's so simple that many bloggers might not even think of it. If your goal is to have a top blog, where better to start than with the existing top blogs? Take the time to study them – seriously – and don't just give them a surface glance. Sure, a certain top blog may be funny, but so are a lot of blogs; really analyze what this one is doing differently to engage readers, surprise them, or keep them coming back? A fashion blog may seem like just a collection of photos, but consider how the layout, the design, and the color choices create a complete ambiance for the reader. Start noticing details, and consider how to incorporate them for yourself.

The best way to get readers, other bloggers, and advertisers excited about your blog is for them to know it exists. The fact is that if no one is reading or talking about your blog, your chances of it growing to “top blog” status are almost zero. You can hope a big news organization or other group stumbles onto your blog or links to it publicly, but that's unlikely; you have to make your own way in the blogosphere by slowly growing your network of allies. Do guest posts on other blogs and promote advertiser products with reviews and giveaways. Slowly but surely, grow your fan base and your odds of going viral soar.

Make Your Blog Design Make Sense
There is no hard and fast rule for what website design will lead to your blogging success; rather, a good blog layout will be almost invisible because it meshes so perfectly with your writing style and subjects. What you want to avoid, if you're looking for a top blog, is a layout and blog design that makes readers say “huh?” when they open up the page. If you're writing about celebrity news and gossip, your layout should reflect it; glitz and glamour, not the default blog settings that came with your site. A blog doesn't have to have a fancy or sophisticated layout; it just has to make sense.

Have a Point But Listen to Your Readers
The simple fact is that most people aren't interested in reading a daily account of your life. Successful blogs – though some incorporate aspects of the author's personal life more than others – have a main topic or theme around which every post is centered. Cars, marketing, organic farming; even ultra-personal topics like motherhood, illness, or weight loss give a blog direction. Consistency and theme are essential for maintaining interest in your blog. Check in with readers from time to time, too. Ask them for feedback, or provide simple tools that let them show you what works for them and what doesn't (i.e. feedback forms, “like” buttons, etc.). If your recipe posts consistently outrank your crafting posts, take note and give the people what they want.

Manage Your Growth Sustainably and Post Consistently
One of the most common issues bloggers have is that they go-go-go for a few weeks or months, and then they gradually lose steam and eventually stop posting altogether. Obviously, top blogs cannot give in to the inertia that sets in after the first few posts on a new blog. You can avoid this by planning carefully; write posts in advance so you have a few prepared in the event you get busy, get sick, or just feel lethargic. Posting consistently is a key factor in maintaining regular readers, also known as the folks you need to grow into a top blog. Once you start to gain popularity, don't burn out with excitement. Continue doing what you're doing and don't give in to easy outs or opportunities along the way; if being a top blog is your goal, you must believe in what you're doing and keep up your momentum.

Becoming a top blogger isn't an easy goal to attain – the blogosphere is packed full of writers just like you with the same goal – but it is one that can be won through hard work and determination. Stay confident in your work and be open to learning along the way; being able to identify what's working and what's not will be essential for your success. Most importantly, keep posting! Practice makes perfect.

Guest Post: This article was written Ella Davidson of coupons and deals website, Coupons. is a consumer savings website that has been featured by prominent financial news channel CNBC.