It’s hard to determine what makes a
good great blog nowadays. “Success” is very subjective to what every blogger wants to do and achieve.
Some might say that traffic numbers are what makes a great one , some say rankings in the SERPs, social media shares and / or income generated by a blog.
But.. I ask you; What makes a great blog.. for you?
Is it a blogging giant like BuzzFeed that makes millions a month and have a team of writers or is it a blog that makes a few thousands a month and is run mostly by a blogger with no overheads and most of the work is done on “autopilot”?
While BuzzFeed is surely a successful blog in its own right, it doesn’t mean that the solo blogger who is making bank blogging about things he / she is passionate about is a bad blog either right?
Again I ask you; what makes a blog?
In this post, I am going to share what (in my opinion) is a great blog. I will be giving you my own key indicators of what makes an awesome blog and also; how to achieve that.
As I’ve already said; success is very subjective. What I may consider “success” others may see it as a failure. That’s all cool. At the end of the day, you are going to have to make a decision of what you want to achieve with your blog.
Now, let me share what I personally think makes a great blog and what I look at to see if a “blog project” is going well.
What Makes A Successful Blog?
A Steady, Monthly Increase In Traffic.
One of the things I like to see when I am starting a new blog is that the traffic is slowly, but surely increasing for it.
I am extremely proud of my latest blog project (the 3HUNDRD.com) which for the past 6 months have been steadily climbing in traffic and rankings in the search engines.
This is my chart showing organic traffic for the past few months till the time of writing this post (October 2016)
As you can see, I am way, way below the traffic a “successful” blog gets, but it’s great to see that it has been steadily increasing.
Also, I have to admit; I might not have given it its full due effort. I only publish once per week, I do no backlink building, very minimum social shares and have not fully optimized the lead generation forms on there.
So, want to know if your blog is doing good? Simple; look at your Google Analytics and you have it right there in full HD color whether you’re heading in the right direction or not.
Now, I have to also say that seeing a minor dip is completely normal and expected. Do not freak out if you see a slight dip from one month to the other once in a while. You can’t keep growing and growing steadily each month forever.
On the other hand, if there is a very dramatic (alarming) drop, take a look at what happened and also check if your site has disappeared from search engines for some reason.
Another key indicator that I look for when looking at my student’s blogs is if they are constantly working on the site.
Are you consistent with your publishing or are you just “winging it”?
From my experience in blogging (and in life in general after 27 years on this planet) is that “winging it” doesn’t usually produce results. Average work brings in average results and I do not want that for my blog or my student’s blogs.
It’s very important when starting out to establish a publishing frequency and a content calendar that you can follow.
Please, note the emphasis on “you can follow”.
Others may be able to publish every day without fail, you may not have that luxury of time as of yet so do not feel discouraged or like a failure, if you are only doing 1 post per week (which is the minimum I would suggest).
Before you start, figure out how much you are going to be able to publish and stay consistent with it.
Consistency is the key here and having a solid content schedule plan is very, very important.
It’s very easy to get distracted if there is no plan in place of what you will be writing / doing next.
So, yes… publishing frequency is a sign that a blog is healthy and on the way to becoming great (if it already isn’t).
Have you ever been on a blog and noticed that a site has not been updated for months and years? You instantly get an uneasy feeling right? That’s a sure sign that the blog has stopped growing.
Another great sign that a blog (or your blog) is doing great, is if it has a lot of engagement going on.
People say commenting is dying online but I would challenge you to go find the biggest blogs that you know about, and see if there aren’t hundreds and thousdands of comments on there.
There is, there always is!
Commenting (or user engagement) as it is called, is a sure sign that a blog is alive, active, growing and is a successful blog since obviously, you would need a lot of visitors and readers to have a lot of comments.
How do you get comments on your blog?
Comments do take a while to start getting naturally, but I promise you; eventually they will start coming in.
Starting out, you’re going to be receiving a lot of unsolicited spam comments (that is to be expected) so make sure you have an anti-spam plugin but in time, you will have readers leaving you comments. Especially if:
- You ask the people to comment on the post
- Leave the post “open”, meaning you’re asking readers for their final thoughts and / or
- You are encouraging readers to leave you questions (if they have any).
A Growing Email List?
You may not able to judge how the “email subscriber rate” is going for a blog you do not own (unless they talk about it and you believe them).
But for your own blog, a sign that your blog is doing great is if week after week, month after month – your subscriber count is getting bigger and bigger.
Please also note that having a lot of subscribers is not enough either. You’re going to need to learn how to maximize the benefits of those subscribers, like:
- What are your open rates?
- What is the unsubscribe rate?
- Are people emailing you back?
- Are they clicking on the links you send out?
- Is traffic increasing from the email campaigns?
- Are you making any sales on your email list?
Yes, I know it’s 2016 (nearly 2017) and a lot of people doubt email marketing but while I do agree that the power of email has subsided throughout the social media era, it sure is one hell of a traffic source to have and to use.
For years (no joke) I was just collecting email subscribers and doing nothing with them which is a very common mistake but one you should not be making.
When you have subscribers and you are not getting in touch with them, when you eventually do (if you take too long), they would’ve probably forgotten all about you so the handy “unsubscribe” button will be getting clicked more than you want.
Also, remember that you are paying for your subscribers (this was the awakening moment for me).
Yes, to store, manage and email a (growing) list, there are charges involved.
I am currently on the second tier of these payments as I am now over 3500 subscribers so it’s a hefty monthly expense, it’s actually my biggest monthly expense after content writers.
However, once I started applying some basic strategies that allowed me to use the email list, I am now seeing the benefit of having one.
If you’re not into learning this step yet and instead want to focus on getting traffic organically, then I say that is a good idea.
Remember, though, once you do start getting some traffic into your blog and you see yourself capable of learning how to launch an email campaign, then that would be the best thing for you as an email list, yes; is sill quite important!
Have You Got A Successful Blog?
Have you been blogging for a while? What do you think of my 4 ways to see if a blog is doing well or not? Do you have any of your own signals to judge whether a blog is doing well?
Please leave your comments down below.
How To Build A Successful Blog (If You’re Just Starting Out)
Making sure you’ve got this 4 system in place is a good way to start although that is not the whole picture.
There are more signs of what makes a great blog, but getting to that point comes much later if you’re still a beginner here.
If you’re new and you’re interested in blogging and want to start one, I’d like to invite you to try out my #1 online training course for bloggers which I have used to build my mini blog empire making me over $2000 in 3 days. See my Black Friday income report.
Also, I’d like to invite you to join my email list so I can send you my free ebook “How To Win At Affiliate Marketing” and also my weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) emails that I send out filled with blogging tips, tricks, and strategies that I am trying out.
Hope this post helped you and I hope this post inspires you to get moving. Feel free to read more from the blog and let me know if you have any Qs by getting in touch with me.
Till next time.