Can a new blog created in 2018 be successful?
I think so. Wholehearted Woman launched in January 2017 and has been to generate a pretty healthy readership for a baby blog.
In comparison to the rest of the blogosphere, this is a pretty new blog.
So what makes a blog successful? What gets people to go to your blog?
Well, first they have to know you exist. But it goes beyond getting people to your site.
What makes them stay, tell their friends about it, and share it with others?
I've provided 10 tips that have helped me grow this blog (download the checklist!).
10 Things That will Make your Blog a Success
1. Providing original content.
It's important that you're not just rewriting what the rest of the Internet has written. Write about things from your perspective with your own experiences. Share your journey, struggles and challenges that you went through, and how you overcame them.
Don't worry about if it's been said and done before.
It hasn't been said and done by you, and someone out needs to hear it from you. We all have different personalities and we're all attracted to different types of people.
Give people a reason to join and stay in your tribe after they find you - because if there's nothing original about you or your content, why would people stay? They can just find what they need somewhere else.
There's a reason why you have a favorite restaurant. Maybe it's the food, maybe it's the customer service, but there's something there that you love that you can't get anywhere else.
2. Gving value.
Whether it's inspiration, encouragement, education, information, you want to be providing some sort of value for your audience.
Help them believe in themselves, remind them that they're not alone, share your experiences on how you overcame a struggle, provide workbooks and freebies people will want to use.
There are so many ways to give value - and when you do, they'll come back for more because they know that they can depend on you. They like, know, and trust you to follow through and add value to their lives.
Think about your favorite places to get new content. Why do you keep going to them? What kind of value are they providing?
3. Building trust.
If people don't trust you, they won't come to your site. They won't read what you write or listen to what you say, so building trust is essential.
Although I haven't been very consistent in my posting this year, I always make it a point to be honest and vulnerable about my life when I can.
I don't claim to be an expert on anything, but what I can do is share my own experiences on things like overcoming your fear, dealing with imposter syndrome, taking care of yourself, etc.
People don't expect you to be perfect, but they want to know that you're human.
Be yourself and show them that you're someone they can relate to. We're all wired for connection and community.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” ― Brené Brown
4. Having good branding and design.
If your site design and branding looks all over the place, people probably aren't going to stay or want to come to your site again.
People make their first impressions of you within seconds of landing on your page, so it's important to make a good first impression.
Ask yourself if your blog is easy to navigate, if your branding is consistent, if your site design is clean, if your user experience is a pleasant one, etc. Because there's nothing worse than being on a site that makes your screen lag and takes you forever to get out of there. We've all been there, right?
A few tips: stick to your color palette, don't go overboard with the fonts, place links where they're easy to find, don't have any broken links or images.
Also, branding isn't just about having a nice color palette and type faces. It's also about the words you use, your personality, you tone, your attitude. You. ...which brings me to knowing who you are.
5. Knowing who you are.
You have to know who you are.
What's your story? What makes you - you? What do people come to you for? What makes you stand out from all the other bloggers in your niche?
When you know yourself, it's easier to know who you're talking to too and more importantly, how to talk to them. For example, on Wholehearted Woman, it's very informal and casual for me. It's like talking to a friend over a coffee chat. Sometimes I ramble and other times hopefully I get to my point more quickly. But I'm okay with being imperfect and open, because those are the kind of women I'm talking to and seeking out.
People who want to dig a little deeper, beyond just the surface level stuff.
Women who are willing to show up in the world before they're ready, who are willing to get outside of their comfort zone and just start and do.
I help women share their story - and show them that it's okay to.
So ask yourself who you are and who you're speaking to. What's your message?
6. Growing a Community.
The reality is that you need to build and grow a tribe. A community that sees your mission and believes in your values just as much as you do.
It's not about the numbers, but it's helpful (and keeps you sane) knowing that someone is reading what you write and resonating with you. Because word of mouth is the best marketing there is; people already trust you and then they tell their friends about you. Or maybe they support you on social media and cheer you on when you need that push.
Because let's just be totally honest here: We all want people to read our blog.
As humans, we want to be seen, heard, and loved - and there's nothing wrong with that.
So you need to get out there and engage with other people. Show them that you care about them and this isn't just a one way street. Be there for them, show interest in them, and be genuine - because there's nothing worst than a fake friendship.
There's Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, in-person meet ups, conferences, and so many other ways you can meet others.
7. Having systems in place.
The matter of the fact is that there's a lot of work involved in making a blog successful.
You have to have good content, provide value, be consistent, show up, write a lot, make graphics, remind people that you have a blog, make sure it's SEO optimized, create content upgrades, and I could go on and on.
It's important to have a system in place and streamline and automate when you can and where you can, so you're not always jumping around from one thing to the next.
Where are all of your ideas kept? How about your images? And what's your process for getting from idea to published post? How many times do you proofread and edit your post before it goes into the queue? How are you going to get people actually on your blog?
These are all things to consider when creating a solid and effective workflow for yourself.
Batch tasking and time management are very important, because you could easily spend all weekend getting very little done if you're not intentional about it.
8. Being consistent.
When can people expect content from you? Do you post twice a week? On Mondays and Wednesdays? Will they go to your blog and find out that you haven't posted anything in 3 months?
Are they going to be able to find what they need from you? Do you blog about yoga one day and interior design the next and television the month after? (Unless you've clearly stated that you're not a niche blog and you have your categories organized, people are probably going to be a bit confused and find what they need somewhere else.)
One of the first things I often do before buying from someone online is check their website and social. Are they consistent on posting and engagement? Can I depend on them to respond if I have a problem or concern?
You want to show people that you're consistent and that you show up for them.
Consistency takes time, so you also have to be patient with yourself and persist, which brings me to my next point.
9. Being persistent and patient.
Blogging is not for you if you're looking for overnight success.
Overnight success doesn't exist, but there are definitely a lot of other things you can probably do to create success in your life much sooner.
Building content takes time. Writing takes time, and sometimes you don't like what you write. There might be weeks when you hit a wall and you find yourself in a creative slump.
We're all in a rush to get somewhere, but if you look at the most successful blogs out there, they've been around for years. Years.
It took them practice, patience, and persistence to get good at their craft. It didn't just happen overnight. It took them time to build an engaging community and trust.
You have to be willing to keep going even if it feels like you might be talking to yourself at times, even when you feel like nothing is wrong, even when you don't feel like it. It's like anything else in life; you have to put in the work to reap the rewards.
10. Showing up and following through.
This pretty much ties up everything we've talked about so far.
You have to show up and do the work. Build trust, provide value, be yourself, know who you are, work on building a community, have a systems in place, etc.
Showing up and following through can often be the hardest part, and this is me speaking from experience... because sometimes burn out happens or something unexpected in your life happens or you hit a real writing block.
That's why it's important to give yourself time and to be patience and kind to yourself.
Because even if you stumble and fall a few times along the way, if you keep getting back up and showing people you're serious about this, they'll know that they can count on you and that you're human.
It's okay to make mistakes, and it's possible to have a successful blog even if you aren't perfect or the best at everything.
I'd love to hear from you.
What do you struggle with most when it comes to blogging?