#1. Be consistent
You don’t have to post every day – and probably shouldn’t since that’s a tough regime to keep up. But you should set a manageable goal for posts and stick to it. It might be a particular day of the week, or it might be a number of posts per week or month. More posts = more traffic so more is usually better but consistency is key. Only commit to what you can deliver.
The best way to achieve consistency is to use an editorial plan. There are many ways to create editorial plans but it can be as simple as keeping a handwritten list to record story ideas, and using a calendar to schedule their planned publication dates.
We’ve put a link to our favorite editorial plan for bloggers in the resources section below.
#2. Be patient
This is a close second to consistency when you’re starting out. It takes time for traffic to grow and you’ll be blogging to yourself for a while. Tough it out, it’s worth it. This is where it helps to be one of those disciplined ‘to do’ list people: There’s a lot to be said for writing down your posting goals and marking them off as you achieve them.
#3. Interact with your visitors
The best way to do this is through the comments and attracting comments is a good sign that your blog is being noticed and respected. Be polite and respectful, even where you disagree (the same applies to commenting on others’ sites), and respond promptly. Asking questions at the end of your stories, or asking your readers to add what they know in the comments section, can help to kickstart discussion. So will adding a prominent ‘Recent comments’ sidebar to your blog. All blog software has easy ways to generate and display this.
#4. Engage with other bloggers
Bloggers are very open and sociable, so engage. Most blog part time, for the love of it or to support a related passion. They want to interact with people who have similar interests, knowledge and well-considered opinions.
#5. Have something worthwhile to say
Unless you’re an extraordinarily gifted writer with a fascinating life to go with your talent, a personal diary isn’t going to cut it. Blog posts need to reward your readers’ time with quality thinking, research and writing. The better it is, the more it will be shared.
A great way to get story ideas for your blog is to pick up items from other bloggers and add to the story with more information and good analysis – or just share an excerpt and bring it to the notice of your blog readers. You’ll make friends with fellow bloggers, too.
#6. Share widely and actively
Sharing is what blogging is all about. Blogging should be social, not one-way broadcasting. Sharing stories is at the heart of gaining influence and increasing traffic to your blog.
#7. Blog for the right audience
Let’s be blunt here: You’re using content to attract influential ‘eyeballs’. You’re justifying the time you invest in blogging by its business return. A generalized target audience won’t deliver a lot of book buyers or influencers and won’t deliver a return for your time invested.
So think carefully about who your target blog reader will be, and make sure that’s who you have in your mind’s eye every time you sit down to write a post. You’ll enjoy another benefit from this: it will help when you’re generating story ideas.
Paste the link to your blog post into Topsy (http://topsy.com). It will uncover the places and people who’ve shared it and will give you a whole lot of other useful, related information and insights.
An editorial plan for bloggers. Here’s our favorite one: A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week
What to blog about: Some tips for authors: http://janefriedman.com/2014/10/27/authors-blog/
Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.