A good part of positivity is about sharing the love. So this post is about setting up and running your own blog. Of course you must run a blog on whatever topic motivates you but we’ll use our positivity topic in order to reveal how we’ve developed.
This website is hosted on WordPress, which is one of the most popular content management systems around. Each month on WordPress around 59 million blog posts are published. The numbers aren’t static of course and if you’d like to know a real time count of blogs per day check out Worldometers. The point is that the Internet is a very busy place and faced with such figures it may seem daunting or even off-putting to even consider starting your own. But that’s not what we’re about.
We’re not going into the technicalities of how to set up a blog so much as discussing some of the related issues. The video at the end of the article also offers a basic intro into some of the things you’ll need.
People who write blogs have all sorts of motives but one driver is extra income. Even a moderately successful blog can make a little income via advertising or goods sold on the site. If this is your prime motivation however you may be disappointed. These days for a blog to make big bucks it really has to stand out and deliver something others do less well. The moment other people see a blog getting traction they jump on the bandwagon and try to do it better. And make no mistake, there are a lot of people out there with a lot of cash to throw at something to make it work to their advantage. Remember MySpace? MySpace looked at another site called Friendster and realised money could be made. They basically moved with the idea, took it forward and became huge. But then along came Facebook, and you know the rest.
People love something for nothing and plenty of big sites offer just that. But, if you provide regular advice and helpful tips on your blog about something, then it is likely to draw regular visitors. Free helpful information – even if it’s a collection of links to other sites/blogs can still attract a good number of visitors. As your blog finds visitors it will increase in popularity through natural linking – the equivalent of marketing through word of mouth. Links, especially on high traffic sites or blogs about your blog will gradually lead to a steady stream of traffic.
There are certain characteristics that are shared by popular blogs no matter which topic(s) they cover.
1. Be Sincere
Superficiality shines through. When a reader comes across your post they are investing their time and interest in it. Don’t let them down by posting banal or half-baked information. Get your facts straight, show something of yourself and print.
2. Be an Authority
You could simply repeat what others are saying but what’s the point of that? People are drawn to sites they regard as authorities on topics. This is one of the reasons this site works. Our key focus is positivity but our niche is how positivity can be applied in practical ways in terms of motivation, happiness, etc (i.e. our categories). Even if a reader isn’t especially drawn to a particular article they should ideally accept you know what you’re talking about.
3. Don’t be Static.
People like to be informed and entertained in equal measure. They like to see new things and they are aware of innovations. Our main focus is on providing articles, but we also offer video, courses, free downloads, an image gallery and so on. A little bit of diversity attracts people for different reasons.
So far as blogging is concerned you don’t need to blog furiously but you do need to ensure your blog is kept up to date by posting regularly. Depending on your topic you may find that a single blog of some length and depth does far better over the longer term than multiple short blogs. Having said that, at the time of writing our most popular article is from a guest writer entitled a day and four flowers it’s quite a short article but it has captured people’s imagination. Incidentally, guest contributors can really add something to a site at no cost to yourself, so it’s certainly something to consider.
Search engines are fickle beasts but at the moment longer articles are generally regarded as more authoritative and therefore receive a certain level of priority.
Getting the Word Out
When we started PositivityGuides we did very little in the way of self-promotion. This wasn’t due to idleness it was simply an admission that we wanted to build the site with sufficient content to make it worthwhile visiting. There are plenty of websites with very good advice about how to get your blog up and running. If you’re new to blogging you might like to check out ProBlogger, which is packed with useful information.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often made to sound like a dark art. Companies feed off the mystery and charge a great deal of money to provide services which they claim give your site a search engine advantage. Fortunately there are simple and effective solutions. Like so many other WordPress hosted sites we use Yoast. It’s quick, uncomplicated and effective and it flags up useful issues.
If you have the budget then an instant spike in traffic comes from paid advertising. Search engines such as Google and Bing have their own systems, but it’s possible to pay for a single click with very little money. Of course the deeper your pockets, the more visits you’ll get to your site. We sometimes use Google Adsense in order to get the word out. It produces instant results but be aware these tend to last as long as your budget. Once you stop paying, expect a drop off in visits.
3. Promoting Your Blog in Forums.
One way to promote a blog is to go on like-minded forums. The idea is to make informative and helpful posts in forums dealing with similar topics to those covered in your blog. By making useful posts, you can leave a link back to your blog in the signature or somewhere in the post (if allowed, of course).
4. Posting Comments
It used to be all about backlinks, that is, getting other sites to link to yours. These days it’s really about getting high quality sites to link to yours. Don’t be drawn to sites offering to put 5,000 links onto various anonymous sites for a sum of money because they don’t work and may possibly even disadvantage you.
Every week we find two or three word comments like ‘great article’, or ‘I really enjoyed that,’ simply so the person can add a link back to their site. It’s a waste of time because most site owners are savvy to what’s happening and they simply send such things to the spam box. A really thoughtful comment, one that shows you’ve read the article and perhaps adds something to the topic, might well be met with a better reception.
How exactly do you determine the success of your blog? Most people would say it’s about numbers and of course they are right. A highly successful blog is one that people turn to and bookmark. There’s another side to this and it’s what success means to you. A successful blog could be one that doesn’t leave you out of pocket at the end of the year, and for many bloggers that’s their goal. Of course if you just enjoy writing your blog and you get pleasure from it, well good for you. If the numbers don’t really matter, well that’s fine too – up to a point.
If you have an audience of one, you might as well write a diary. The purpose of a blog is to be ‘out there’ and read by people and this should reflect in your efforts. So, whether you’re off to write your own positivity blog or some other topic, it just remains for me to wish you good luck. Do your research, find a reliable hosting company (the faster more reliable hosts do cost a little more), commit to the project for the long term and go!