You aren’t born a successful blogger. People with successful blogs are an odd breed. A lot of us aren’t writers by trade, and many of us have just stumbled into the niche we inhabit. But there are several specific patterns that I have seen among operators of great personal finance blogs and others. I’ll try to lay some of these out here.
- Balancing Marketing Tricks and Content Quality. There are a lot of people who make most of their money jumping through SEO hoops. And yes, its possible to get by doing this. But in my experience having a blog that’s afloat because of SEO prowess is like treading water. The rules are always changing, and it takes a special person to keep up attention and awareness of these trends, enough to exploit them and stay on top. The best bloggers maintain quality posts as well, providing or investing in real writing that touches on the needs of their readership. Having real eyeballs interested in the stuff on your site is a lot better than wrangling search results.
- The Best Bloggers Overcommit. “Slow and Steady wins the race”, “Don’t spread yourself too thin.” While these pieces of sage advice have a kernel of truth, I don’t think the most effective bloggers have these mantras framed on their walls. I would recommend giving yourself way too much to do, and fighting to keep it together. By giving yourself a real challenge, you’ll have to rise to the occasion. You’ll learn way more. In a few years, you’ll be so much better at what you do than someone who takes their time.
- The best bloggers write what they know. Have something to say. Does your blog have a specific audience? Do you help them accomplish a specific goal? If you are writing about something as broad as personal finance, you are a really general information source. By narrowing your focus, you are lending yourself to a more specific reader, but you are also worth a lot more to them. I tend to think that this kind of blogger has a longer career ahead of them than the king-of-the-hill blogger who’s on top atm.
- The best bloggers have real social skills. Just because you work on the internet doesn’t mean you’re not dealing with real people. Social skills are your biggest asset. Just replying to emails, being really friendly, having memorable insight – these are the things that build you a following of hearts and minds.
- Real bloggers have a personality. It’s the only way to be memorable. Don’t be so polite. Write like you talk. Have an edge. Don’t be afraid to offend with the truth. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat or speak your mind. There is way too much internet writing that is totally indistinguishable, one piece to the next. Make your writing voice as individualized as your speaking voice. As soon as people come across your words, they should be able to recognize you.
There are other ways that bloggers make it in the world, but these are the most important factors I have seen. I hope this helps you develop work that is dynamic – stuff that communicates. I wish you the best of luck. I’m going to keep at it.