When you start an author blog, you’re likely to begin by reading the work of other bloggers. Like any other field, people who have already had success doing what we’re trying to do show us the path to our goal.
On the way, there are lots of lessons to learn, and gleaning these from top bloggers can be a powerful help on your own road to blog stardom.
On my journey, many bloggers have influenced and inspired me, and there are some whose styles I’ve tried to imitate outright when I saw how effective they were in certain areas.
In the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve built my site into a trusted resource for thousands of writers, designers, publishers, and authors. The following are some of the basic lessons that have guided me on my journey. I hope some of them will inspire you, too.
9 Lessons from A-List Bloggers
- Produce evergreen content.
This lesson came to me from Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs-journey.com, a blog about doing business online. Yaro does this himself and taught it in the blogging course I took with him. The idea is to explore the details of your category, genre or niche and write articles that supply basic definitions, describe common processes, or show the history and rationale behind why things are the way they are. This is the kind of content that attracts visitors from search engines, and will be valuable one, two or five years from now. It’s kind of the foundation on which the rest of your content is built.
- Write with a plan.
No blogger I know of does this better than Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com, a blog about copywriting. It seems that almost every post he writes is part of a series of instructional articles, and each fits into the overall strategies he teaches on his site. With a page that gathers these series together, he has focused instruction and a great place to send visitors looking for these subjects.
- Build community.
When it comes to creating a community of raving fans, I look to best-selling author Jonathan Fields of TribalAuthor.com. Jonathan has run programs, launched books, and offered training through his popular blog, and his ability to connect with people is one of the elements that draws people in.
- Foster interaction.
Writer Jeff Goins has built a super blog at Goinswriter.com, recently named the top blog for writers by Writetodone.com partly through his honest and helpful articles, and partly through his commitment to his readers. No one I know takes as much time and trouble to answer comments on his blog the way Goins does, and it has worked out very well for him.
- Build a list.
Jon Morrow, an editor at Copyblogger and a top blogger in his own right, knows the value of a list of subscribers and constantly shows people how to quickly ramp up the number of people you have following your posts. His blog at Boostblogtraffic.com is a great example, as he amassed thousands of subscribers almost the same day he launched it.
- Give readers a path to follow.
One of the most effective ways to engage with readers is to invite them to follow along as you learn your way in a new field. I’ve learned this lesson from author Joanna Penn at Thecreativepenn.com, who constantly has the courage to reveal not only her successes but her failures, so that her readers can profit from her experience.
- Build traffic with guest blogging.
One of the best ways to build the audience for your writing is by appearing as a guest author on other blogs. This strategy has worked for lots of bloggers like Bamidele Onibalusi of Youngprepro.com, where he built a high-traffic blog almost entirely through hundreds of articles written for other sites.
- Write what’s right.
There’s a lot of nonsense online about how long or short blog posts should be, and here’s why it’s nonsense: you can make any length work for you. Two of the bloggers I follow closely are marketing guru Seth Godin at sethgodin.typepad.com, whose posts are often under 300 words, and internet marketer Glenn Alssopp of Viperchill.com, who recently posted an article somewhere around 5,000 words. Both are incredibly successful.
- Provide practical help.
No one I know provides as much practical, nuts-and-bolts help for bloggers as Darren Rowse of Problogger.net. Darren explains the what, the why, and the how of everything he does on his blogs, which have over half a million subscribers.
Well, there you have it: 9 ways you can build a top blog of your own. These lessons never stop giving your blog more authority, more readers, and more satisfaction to you, the blogger.
How many of these practices do you use? Are they working? Leave a comment and let us know.