Blogger Boot Camp: Seven Criteria for Creating and Maintaining a Popular Blog

So help me blog!

(The picture above is not “shooting a bird.”  Don’t be dirty minded.)

Are you considering starting a blog?  You’ve come to the right place, even if by accident or random chance.  Today I will share with you the basic ingredients of what it will take for you to be successful.  It’s not as easy as it may look, but if you have what it takes, it won’t be as hard it as looks either.  Below are the Top 7 criteria you must have (or obtain) to grow a blog that more than just a few dozen people a week will read.

1.  Content- Do you have enough writing material floating around in your head to write at least three posts a week?  If not, give up now.  Because just writing once a week will not get you enough traffic to grow your blog.  There are literally millions of blogs out there.  How will you stand out?  The most important way is to be seen day after day in the Internet world.  Just like in advertising, the more you see an ad, the more convinced you are that you need the product.

Another reason you have to write at least three times is a week is because each time you publish a post, it’s yet once more opportunity for potential readers to find you; therefore creating a snowball effect in your favor.

2.  Angle- What’s your angle?  Without putting a unique spin on the same old story, people are less likely to bother reading.  For example, when I wrote about Osama bin Laden’s execution, I didn’t simply just state the obvious facts and predictable thoughts that mainstream readers might expect.  Instead, I compared his death to a case of capital punishment.  And it ended up being my most read post in its first day, since I’ve had my blog.  If you can’t find a way to make your story different from the rest, maybe blogging isn’t for you.

3.  Relatability-  Obviously, link your blog to Facebook and Twitter.  Make sure your writing material is relevant and/or timeless.  While it’s important to try to find your own forte, what it’s more important is that you are able to convert seemingly irrelevant material to your forte.  For example, my forte is writing about parenting.  So I find ways to take abstract ideas that seemingly don’t apply to parenting, and apply them to parenting; therefore, I relate to my readers through the relatability of parenting.  My once abstract idea that related to nothing is now nearly universally relatable.

4.  Eye for Design-  You have to know what looks good.  Find a header (the rectangular picture at the top of your blog) that is relevant to your blog and is unique.  How many headers have you seen of oceanic landscapes?  Too many.  It’s also important to overload your blog with pictures, which are yet another way for random readers to find your blog.  The layout of your blog must be inviting and cool.  If not, you’re just wallpaper.

5.  Confidence-  You have to take yourself seriously!  Your blog isn’t “just another blog.”  Avoid using the words “musings”, “ramblings,”, “rants”, and “venting” to describe your blog.  People don’t widely care to read what they could hear a semi-annoying coworker talk about all day at work.  Readers come to you for enlightenment.  Of course, you don’t want to be obnoxious by being overconfident, either.

6.  Time-  How will you find time to write a minimum of three posts a week, making sure they are unique and relatable?  You tell me.  If you can’t find the time, then don’t bother with starting a blog.  If you are a true blogger, if you really have blogger blood running through your veins, then you will make time to write.  Try giving up sleep- it’s what I do.

7.  Spunk-  You have to be edgy, but not controversial.  You have to be cool, but not a fool.  You have to imagine yourself as that upperclassman you admired in high school.  You have to be both Casey Abrams and Steven Tyler at the same time.  Without spunk, you’re just a punk.  Or wallpaper.

This, my friends, has been Blogger Boot Camp.  Either you have what it takes to capture an audience, or you don’t.  If you have any questions as you start your blogging journey, I will be glad to help.  I am approachable.  In the meantime, I also invite you to read “For Aspiring and Beginning Bloggers: Six Tips on How to Have a Successful Blog Site on WordPress (My First 200,000 Hits)“.  It really breaks down the details and includes a table of contents from every “blogging advice post” I’ve ever written.  Good luck.

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