Monday, January 20, 2014

A Successful Blog

Once upon a time, I wrote a post and asked, "What are the keys to a successful blog?" This is what readers said:

  • Short posts
  • Not preachy
  • Good presentation
  • Special features and links
  • Faithful posting schedule
  • Catchy titles and openings
  • Topics that generate dialogue
  • Like to hear the writer's voice
  • Helping others is your success
  • Quality, original, interesting content
  • Don't be an advertorial for your books
  • Visiting is an enjoyable, productive experience

This list came to mind because I've been considering my blog's direction for the new year. In addition to directional guidance, I think these points can provide a catalyst and inspiration when ideas are lacking. What do you think? Do these points strike a chord with you?

Speaking of direction and inspiration, these writers offer great insight as illustrated in these posts. I'm curious to see if you agree.


How do you define blogging success? What path will your blog take this year?

Happy writing,

Karen 


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

34 comments :

  1. I appreciate blogs with all those elements, and also a little humour doesn't hurt.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  2. Those are very good keys for a blog to have. I have tried to post regularly on my blog. That is one of my downfalls. I get busy with my writing and don't seem to have time to blog like I would like to. This year, I am going to try again to blog on a more regular schedule. One thing I like when I visit blogs is the shorter posts. Some have a habit of blogging very long posts, and I don't have the spare time to read them. - Janet
    http://creativewritingintheblackberrypatch.blogspot.com

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  3. I agree with many of these points - especially the one about short posts and topics that generate discussion.

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  4. Mood,
    Oh yes, you are right! Humor is a wonderful addition. Thanks for weighing in. :)

    Janet,
    It can be hard to keep up with a regular schedule and get writing done too. Some bloggers I know write then schedule their posts in advance, which helps. I try to when I can too and it does make a difference. :)

    Keith,
    I too am a fan of short posts - or at least those that are a quick read. Time is at a premium when hopping around and visiting. Generating discussion is another important factor as well. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  5. I agree with your list. I think it's important to keep to a regular schedule and not blog too many days of the week. We're all busy and don't have enough time to stop by too often. And the other important thing is to follow other blogs and comment. That helps build up your own readership.

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  6. Agree with those items! And with what Natalie said. That's why I'm only blogging two days a week. My posts are long, but they are a variety of short items, so hopefully that works.

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  7. I agree. Great points here, Karen.

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  8. Natalie,
    I agree, time is a huge factor. I about swoon at the thought of posting more than twice a week. Not only do you have the posts to compose, but the follow up of visiting and commenting on others' blogs. This is not a bad thing, just requires time, so finding the right balance is key. :)

    Alex,
    I enjoy your posts. They are longer, yes, but the content is such that it's a quick read. That's a great thing in my book! :)

    Loree,
    Good to see you! Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  9. Hmmm. Good things to reflect on in light of my own blog. Thanks!

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  10. All the items on your list are true, though as a blogger it is tough to meet those requirements with every single post. As to what path my blog will take this year, that's tough to say. I made some changes last year (cutting down my posting schedule to once a week, for one) so I probably won't alter much between now and mid year. We grow as writers, and our blogs grow with us, so I suppose a lot will depend on where my career path leads.

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  11. Dear Karen...

    Thanks for your insightful post today.

    Now to try and answer your questions!

    How does one define blogging success? Well, part of it is whether people actually visit the blog and come back time and time again. I deeply appreciate each person who stops by my blog. Many of them come regularly. They are very important to me.

    Blogging is very joyful to me. I have made really beautiful friendships and thoroughly enjoy meeting people from all over the USA and the world! It's exciting and fulfilling.

    What path will my blog take this year? Well, I need to really concentrate on more freelance writing outside my blog in 2014. Blogging, as special and precious as it is, tends to be very time-consuming. I have been blogging four years and three months now (yikes) and post seven days a week. That's a lot of posting. This year, I may eliminate writing on the weekends. I'll see.

    Because photography is also wonderful to me, I'll keep posting photos with my writing. Have camera, will travel is my motto! ha!

    It always worries me that some of my posts may be appear to be boring or self-seeking, two things I would shy totally away from. In the final analysis, however, if a reader thought either of those things, they just wouldn't stop by!

    I love writing, Karen, as you do, and blogging helps me do that on a daily basis.

    Also, I love to draw the reader in and always end my posts with questions. Love reading the answers.

    When I first started blogging, it was just to write! The first few people who followed my blog absolutely thrilled me. Then, after awhile, I realized that blogging is connecting! It's part of the sheer joy of posting.

    So here's to 2014 and lots of writing from our hearts! Susan

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  12. I've been hearing that a lot lately. Thinking outside the box. I need to expand beyond Blogdom. There are so many Science and Sci-Fi communities I could join. That's my goal this week. Identify some of the better ones and join them.

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  13. Hi Karen

    Interesting to not only read your Blog post, but also the comments that resulted from it.

    I haven't set a routine as far as frequency is concerned...I write when something 'strikes' or 'moves' me to write.
    After reading other hints I tried keeping to the 500 word limit. I don't check ik but look at the space I take up on screen- and do an estimate.

    I don't have a set 'audience' and just hope someone, somewhere gets a pleasure, comfort, encouragement or food for thought from what I have written.

    I used to write - in an exercise book, which didn't give me anywhere near as much pleasure as I get from using the Blog medium of communication.

    Long live all bloggers and their personal, preferred and perfected way of presenting their thoughts to us in Blog readers world.

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  14. Dawn,
    I like hearing from readers as to what they like, you know? It does help us figure out what's best for our blogs, I think. Always enjoy stopping at yours! :)

    Lisa,
    Oh I agree; I wouldn't expect to see all these in every post. That might make for one packed post! LOL But the elements are good to know as far as what people are looking for. Keeps us on our toes as our goals shift as well, you know? :)

    Susan,
    I think you are true to your blog's title. You do write from the heart and it shows. I can tell you are interested in your topic and readers and it's a wonderful combination! I say we all need to find the right place and balance in this kind of forum. So glad you shared your thoughts! :)

    Stephen,
    That's a good point. I need to expand my horizons about and beyond too. Maybe a short blog break soon can help facilitate that. Glad you added your two cents! :)

    Anita,
    I have to say that it is always a pleasure to visit your blog. Your recent one made me smile, as I could imagine you enjoying the day and your surprises that arrived that day. I think it takes time to find your niche and audience and all that good stuff. We're all growing and learning at something and blogging is one of those things too! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  15. Karen:
    Your points about the ingredients for a sucessful blog are very good, Yes, it takes time to keep a blog going but I learn from the ones I follow. I have gotten to the place I look forward to seeing posts from those I have followed for some time and for those in my niche.

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  16. I used to blog a lot and built up a nice group of people to know and visit theirs too. Then I took a long break and it's like starting over again. I think my best posts are when I'm myself--your point about hearing the writer's voice. I like personal blogs--ones that make me think I've connected. I hate blogs about books all the time. Revews bore me even though I know they are necessary. If someone mixes up what they write about, I will visit. Short and to the point is great too!

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  17. Hi Karen! It's so good to see you again. I was just on a blogbreak, but I'm back, ready to go.
    Hmmm. A good blog... Well, I definitely agree with hearing the writers voice. And I am a sucker for personal stories, it helps me to connect to the writer and therefore care more. And someone who can laugh at themselves is so precious, isn't it?
    One big thing too, for me, is a willingness to support other bloggers. I like to think of blogging as a community, rather than just a place to practice my writing. I know not everyone thinks that way. You do a great job of that, providing resources (I got the Emotional Thesaurus for Christmas because you mentioned it) and encouragement. I think that's really important.
    I'm in a new blog home! I'm now at www.ceilryan.com
    Big move, but I hope it will all work out well :)
    Ceil

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  18. Hi, Karen:

    The number one thing that makes a blog successful, in my humble opinion, is when the blogger routinely responds to at least some of the comments. I've visited some very well-written blogs where the bloggers don't respond to comments. Ever. That discourages comments and makes me wonder if the blogger bothers to read visitors' comments and, if so, why she would not feel compelled to show some appreciation by responding. (Shrug.)

    Also, I prefer short posts with personal touches sprinkled here and there. That makes me feel more connected to the blog author.

    Good luck with whatever direction you choose for your blog. I'll be here to cheer you on. ;-) I've been considering reworking my blog for some time now. I may take a hiatus to sort out where my writing is and where I'd like it to be, hopefully coming up with a way to merge the two!

    Be well and enjoy your week. :-)

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  19. Cecelia,
    Thank you! I too observe other's blogs. We can learn so much, can't we? It is a treat to visit all these wonderful blogs. :)

    Terri,
    It has been good to have you back to blogging! But I do understand the need for breaks too. And yours was productive, reaping a book contract. :) Congrats on that!

    Ceil,
    I second all of your points! :) It has to have a good dose of the writer's personality. This way, like you said, we get to know the writer. Will check out your new site!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  20. Janette,
    Yes, I agree, the personal touch is so important! We've so much to learn from and offer each other. I think you are right, we need to interact with our follower friends. I don't see much point otherwise. :) Thanks so much for cheering me on. Your support means so much!
    Take care,
    Karen

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  21. It was great to look over the list of what makes a successful blog. I tent to like when people comment back to posts and when bloggers stop by and comment on blogs (even if it take a little while). I enjoy short posts, or posts that I can read without needing to scroll back to the top to remember what was up there (though I do enjoy some of those too). I like when people are true to themselves and what they think.

    It looks to me like you are doing things right here, because you are doing what is right for you. :)
    ~Jess

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  22. Hi Karen - I guess I do fall into most of those slots ... except the regular posting aspect - yet the blog is accepted without it ... and I have no theme: gosh am I glad I went that route.

    I'm glad people brought the commenting and responding aspect up - it's important to engage ... and keep that engagement up at their blogs too ... I also am not keen when there's no reply tocomments on the blog - I know they get emailed through .. but we the other readers don't see them.

    Well done - hope you don't disappear from the blogging scene .. see you soon - cheers Hilary

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  23. Many of those who read my blog tell me how much they like it - in person! Usually at church and usually just when I'm thinking I'm a failure. People don't always respond, but I try to honor all responses I get with one of my own. Thanks for the links, Karen!

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  24. Jess,
    I'm with you on the short posts. Not so much because I don't want to hear what people have to say as much as for the time factor, you know? But long ones have their place too. Thanks so much for your kind support. I think you are doing something right with your blogs too! :)

    Hilary,
    I so appreciate your input always, thanks so much! I'd have to say you post regularly enough, so no worries there. As for a theme - I think many would say your theme is an eclectic mix of info, happenings, and your personality. I for one, love it! I wouldn't change a thing. :) As for engaging our readers, I agree. This is so crucial and one big reason for your success, I'm thinking. No plans here to disappear from the scene. Just working on juggling some new projects with everything else. A stunt double would be nice on some days, lol.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  25. Susan,
    Feedback is always nice, isn't it? How nice that you know "in person" people who read your blog! And what an encouragement too - the Lord always knows what we need. :)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  26. It's taken me 5 years, but I think I've finally come to a comfortable balance in my blogging. Come to find out I have a strong readership of just readers who never comment but enjoy the content, and then the mix of vocal writers who make me grin. I don't necessarily think posts have to be short, but I think they're catchier when the involve white space and images. No one wants to feel crowded from a post.

    I'm hoping you feel like you come to exactly the right balance this year!

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  27. Crystal,
    If there was only some way to get a sign from those who read but don't comment! Maybe we could use flares or something. LOL I too, have a great mix of people who read. Met so many wonderful people, much like yourself!:)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  28. I never really know where my blog is going next. I think I just create content as it flies across my brain! These are all great points to ponder, though.

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  29. This year, I'm blogging less. Family, homeschooling, and writing all seem to be shouting for more time and more love, so that's what's happening. I don't think it will make my blog more successful, but hopefully blogging a little less will keep things rolling slowly.

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  30. Tyrean,
    Blogging less here too, as of last fall. Sometimes that's even hard to keep up with but overall it does help. I need to get more writing done and spend time with loved ones. I think you will be fine with your blogging schedule. You an only do so much, you know? And your gang takes priority at home! :)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  31. One thing I'm focusing on is providing a take-away for my readers, whether they're writers or not. While I do post about my new releases, I don't want the blog to become a long-running advertisement. Yawn! That's a good way to lose your readers.

    I'm grateful for all the people, who comment week after week. It's an encouragement to me and makes the whole blogging thing worthwhile.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  32. Stephanie,
    Sometimes an eclectic mix is a really good thing! I follow a good handful of blogs that are like that and they work well. And I always enjoy my stops at your place! :)

    Susan,
    That is a good goal - take away value. I know I appreciate that when I visit others' blogs. :) Our regular visitors are an encouragement, I agree!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  33. A successful blog for me has a wide readership... I won't do any advertising anymore just for people to visit my blog. But I guess, that would be a long way run for me as of now.

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    Replies
    1. Lem,
      Thanks for your input. Wish you the best with your blog.
      Happy writing,
      Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!