Sunday, 23 December 2012

Essential Tips to Building a Profitable Blog

SEOs and internet marketers continuously strive to get blogs and websites to rank as high up the SERPs as possible for their keywords, in order to get traffic from Google and other search engines. In addition, an integral part of SEO is to attract direct traffic, and come up with ways to  keep visitors on your blog through various different means.

However in most cases, all this is easier said than done. Here’s how you can have a profitable blog that ranks well on Google, gets plenty of traffic from search engines and remains Google-safe:

1. Choosing a Niche

One of the first steps towards having a successful blog is identifying and choosing a niche for it. Your blog’s niche defines its purpose, and what you want to achieve through the blog. It provides you with direction – in terms of the kind of content you’ll create, as well as were your marketing efforts will be directed.

The niche that you choose needs to be something that you’re interested in, have plenty of knowledge about, is popular enough, will  continue to be popular in the foreseeable future, is not very competitive, and of course, is popular.

Choosing the right niche sets up a great foundation for a blog that gets plenty of search engine (as well as direct) traffic.  

2. Quality Content

Quality content is the name of the game when it comes to getting organic traffic, and building a base of highly-engaged readership.

Try providing people in your niche with information that will be valuable to them. Some of Google’s recent algorithm updates have meant that websites that provide the best, highest-quality information rank on top of the SERPs.

Remember that you need to give your visitors a reason to stick around, and return to your blog in the future as well. The best (and arguably) the only way to do this is through your content.

3. Traffic over Links

Concentrate your efforts on getting more traffic, rather than building links. Yes, you build links in order to get more traffic however focusing on getting traffic, through various means – including those other than simple link-building, is usually much more efficient and fruitful.

For instance you could try your hand at guest posting, blog commenting, press releases, and sharing links to your articles on social media. Try engaging and interacting with people on the blogosphere and building a rapport and a name for yourself. As get more exposure, you build authority. With the passage of time, you will start getting more traffic as well!

4. Be Regular with Updates

One of the secrets to success, when it comes to blogging, is that it is essential to be regular with updates. This is essential, because your visitors expect fresh content and regular updates from you, and it is unrealistic to expect that an inconsistent blogging schedule or irregularly updated blog can build a base of loyal visitors, followers or traffic.

If it is important to produce quality content, then it is equally important to do so regularly. Whether you choose to do it on a daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis is your call. My advice would be to develop a blogging schedule and stick to it.

Remember that (depending on your niche) you are probably in direct competition with many different big (authoritative) blogs. The only way you can get there is by providing readers with quality content regularly. If your readers expect a new post form you every day, make sure that happens. If you update your blog on Saturdays, for instance, your readers will expect a new post on Saturday.

Regular updates will also allow you to rank well on Google, as Google prefers to rank regularly updated blogs higher up the SERPs.

5. A USP

A USP refers to a Unique Selling Proposition – it is a marketing term that refers to having a certain something in your arsenal that no one else does. Something that sets you apart from the competition and the other blogs in your niche, something that is your strength, and defines your blog and what it does.

For many blogs, it might be essential to determine their USP before starting off. For other blog, they might discover where their strengths lie along the way. Whatever the case, having a unique proposition, along with quality content that is regularly updated is a sure-shot recipe for success!

6. Avoid Blackhat SEO

Using blackhat SEO techniques to either manipulate Google’s rankings, or in an attempt to get a large amount of traffic or visitors overnight is never advisable. It will almost certainly land you in trouble, and once you’re banned from Google, it’s pretty much game over for you!

It is instead advisable to build links and traffic as naturally as possible, using legal and white-hat SEO techniques only.

7. The Interface Matters

It might or might not matter to you, but how well and how attractive (or not) your blog looks to an average visitor actually has a big bearing on the visitors and the traffic that it gets.

Understandably, a blog that looks good and has an attractive and a user-friendly interface will be more appealing to a visitor. They would want to browse through the blog, spend time on it, and if the content is useful, bookmark the blog as well. If the interface is designed well, and your CTA is laid out the right way, it will also give you a higher CTR.

Some of the most successful blogs out there are also some of the most well-designed ones, and that cannot be a coincidence! As a blog owner, what you could do is either have someone design your blog for you, or use Wordpress and pick up a good theme for your blog, depending on the niche it belongs to.

8. Social Media Integration

This is a two-part process:

(a) The first part involves actually having a presence on social media. As a blogger, you should have a totally separate page/account for your blog. Set up a Facebook and a Twitter page for your blog, and maybe even a Pinterest or a LinkedIn page, depending on the niche of your blog. It is essential to keep these pages updated and send out updates regularly.

(b) Simply having a presence on social media is not enough; social media needs to be integrated with your blog. What this means is to add ‘share buttons’ (Facebook ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons, Twitter ‘retweet’ button, and so on and so forth), and perhaps a Facebook ‘like’ box on all your posts and pages, allowing your visitors to share your content easily.

Doing so is great for exposure, and it lets you drive more traffic from social mediums as well.

Over to You

What are the things that you think are essential to having a profitable and successful blog?

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