14 Tips for a Successful Blog

July 28, 2010

So, as promised, here is my post on tips for a successful blog!

With all the blogs being submitted to me for the blog spotlight, I’ve had to think about what makes a great blog. Here is what I’ve been able to come up with. Hopefully you guys can gain something from this!

1. An attractive blog. This is SO important because it works as a first impression. A blog that has a great design will obviously be more successful than one that doesn’t. Instinctively, I tend to overlook blogs that are cluttered and overly-colorful because they aren’t exactly easy on the eyes. A blog with some sort of color scheme and harmonious design are always ideal. Pick up a magazine and take a look at it. They often contain more white and black than any other color, and then some pops of accent color(s).

Colourlovers is a site I’ve used in the past to create palletes. They also have a great “color trend” section here.


Colourlovers!

Of course I have taken a course in design, so it’s a little easier for me than it is for others. Just keep in mind that simplicity is key and your blog will look more visually appealing!

Also, I recently learned from a post at Grit and Glamour by Vahni that a blog’s header should be tiny. Like mine right now, it’s absolutely huge. It’s been bugging me SINCE I read that, and it will be changed VERY soon. I just need to find some more splatters that I’ve made :)


Orchid Grey’s blog has a perfectly sized header, as well as a simple design interface.

(Blogs to gain inspiration from: Loafing Odysseys and Behind the Seams.)

2. A decent, yet BRIEF ‘About Me’. People like to know about who they’re reading from. Stick to no more than 150 words. You want them to know about you, but not your whole life story. They’ll get bored.

(Think The Clothes Horse or The Haute Pursuit.)

3. Obviously a given: Engaging content! You want your readers to read and not lose interest. Keep posts to the point, and avoid having too many subjects in one post. (Somtimes I’m guilty of that!) You need to write from the heart (even if your blog is for profit). Also, keep from ALWAYS writing about yourself, unless is is some sort of journal. Share things you found that you think others should know about, like a certain artist or designer. Ask questions for your readers to respond to.

Also, don’t try to copy the content of others. Post something original, that you actually like. Keep that in mind! :)

Fashionising has great content that might spark your interest. You can share it with others!


Fashionising.com

4. After your readers respond to your questions, respond to their comment! Let them know that you’re actually a person behind the text and that you value their response! Building relationships is really important

5. Likewise, comment other blogs. It’s another way to build relationships and to find new readers. Just make sure you’re being genuine. It’s really obvious when you aren’t. Another benefit is to find out new things to try from their blog. This can be physical, like products, or it can be a new blogging style.

6. Place your URL where people will read it. Comment or email signatures can bring in some first-time visitors, or it can remind someone that you have a blog and they’ll maybe stop by and see what’s new.

7. Social networking. You all have twitters and Facebook accounts. Put them to use! Forward your posts from Blogspot to Twitter using Twitterfeed. It does an automatic search of your blog at the time increment that you select, and detects your new posts that it’ll add to a tweet.


Twitterfeed.com

8. Promote an individual post. When you have a new post that you’re proud of and want to flaunt, go for it! Interact with others on a forum, or attach the url and a brief description to your signature in an email.

9. Reader opportunities. Giveaways can bring in lots of new visitors. I personally haven’t tried this, but I’ve seen it on other blogs and the giveaways get pretty popular. Also, you can try what I’m doing and search for a blog that you’d like to feature. As I’ve witnessed, you guys jump on that. Haha.

10. Pictures. People like to look at pictures. Just not too many, as they tend to make for slow loading!


You like it, right?

11. Make yourself easy to contact. While you may not be confortable with sharing your Facebook or Twitter with the public, you can always create a private email specific for your blog. I recently made mine (though I don’t mind sharing all my networking information) and I KNEW I’d forget to check it. That’s why I linked the email account to my Palm Pre, and it makes me happy since I can check all your spotlight submissions from my phone when I’m out and about ;)


All my email accounts all pretty and setup!

12. This isn’t always necessary, but make your blog mobile. I like being able to read blogs from my phone and I almost always can. For blogs that can’t be read, a mobile interface is definitely ideal so that you can expand your audience.


Your blogs on my phone! Can you see yours? (Like how my wallpaper matches my blog header?)

13. Make long posts expandable. You know, a “Read More…” link. The look of long posts detracts from the appearance of your blog. I’m currently trying to find a successful code for that on blogger. I’ll add it to this when I get lucky :)

Edit: Found it! It’s built into Blogspot and it’s called a Jump Break. Find out how to enable it here.

14. POST REGULARLY. This is SO important. A reader that really likes your blog might often check back for new posts. When they know you post irregularly, they don’t feel so inclined to check back. It doesn’t have to be daily (although that is often recommended), but bi-daily or weekly can also work.


I have my calendar set to remind me to post my blog spotlight!

I’m mad that this is ending on 14. I wish I had 1 more. I’m sure I’ll figure it out later. Anyway, I’m back on the quest to find a good “Read More” link. This post definitely needs it.

Also, check your emails tomorrow to see if you’re selected as the blog spotlight! I’d really like to do a quick interview!



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran July 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Thank you for all your tips, i am definitely using # 13 for my posts, it kinda makes it more interesting!

Reply

Melanie Alexandra July 29, 2010 at 4:50 am

You're very welcome! :)

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ash July 30, 2010 at 12:55 am

i definitely gonna follow this tips!
i'm still new with all this bloging stuff, and u brighter my day with this post.
thx for sharing :)

Reply

Melanie Alexandra July 30, 2010 at 2:01 am

No problem, Ash! Glad I could help! :)

Reply

Tessa Zeng August 15, 2010 at 4:39 am

Great tips- I'm going to be revisiting a bunch of these tomorrow! The header tip is especially key. I love having an illustration in mine, but the size has been bothering me for a while. Your blog is streamlined super nicely, and while I don't think I'll ever do black/white myself, yours works extraordinarily well and really pops in a sea of magazine-type layouts.

Keep inspiring!
Tessa

Reply

Melanie Alexandra August 15, 2010 at 6:26 am

Thanks for the feedback & kind words! :) When I made the switch from my larger header to the current one, it made a huge difference. I felt like I had a new blog layout, haha.

Anyway, glad I was able to help!

Reply

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