How to make your blog popular

You might not have won the popularity contest in high school, but it’s not too late for your blog.

Like anyone else, bloggers need love. For them, love comes in the form of site visitors who spend time consuming, sharing and commenting on the blog‘s content regularly.

So how do you make your blog hot? Here are 10 factors with related questions to help you make your blog a popular, happening social media entity.

1. Do you provide killer content? Strong stories with a beginning, middle, end and preferably a useful take-away, are critical because readers remember stories. Further, you need to continually add fresh content that’s focused on your niche. Use a variety of formats such as text, photographs, graphics, videos, charts and presentations. Corporate and group blogs have some flexibility because they can spread the workload across a team.

Do you have a regular schedule so readers know when you’re publishing? Do you add sufficient substance or is your writing nothing more than empty calories for readers?

2. Does your content address trending topics? Do you try to provide value by being the first to source information on a topic? Alternatively, do you add a fresh perspective or angle? Remember, me-too content that exists everywhere else is a yawn!

3. Do your headlines grab attention? Do your titles reel readers in and get them curious to read on? Does your content deliver what readers expect from the title? If not, they’ll leave without stopping to read on. Alternatively, do readers get sufficient information from the title so it’s not necessary to read further?

4. Does your design pull readers in? Is your blog branded so that readers remember it and return? No cookie cutter or default looks please! At the same time, the design has to aid and enhance information gathering. Think about your use of color, type fonts and spacing. Are there too many items to distract readers? Do you know what attracts visitors to your site, what aspects they like and which they dislike?

5. Do you use strong photographs and/or graphics to lure readers into your content? Humans are attracted to photographs and images. Use them to get your prospects’ attention. Do your graphics help support your content? Do they make sense to your readers? Are your photographs in focus?

6. Do your landing pages deliver what your visitors seek? Does your content rank well for specific keywords? If so, are these terms aligned with your content? If not, how can you change your focus to ensure that readers get what they want? You don’t want prospects to find nothing of interest and leave immediately.

7. Is anyone home? Are there recent posts? Do you publish at least two to three times per week? If not, this is a critical element to remedy. Can people share the content via social media links? Readers trust the wisdom of the crowd. They look at the number of tweets and Facebook likes to determine what to read. Are there comments? Do you respond to the comments in a timely fashion?

8. Do you answer “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) for the reader? Is the content just about the writer? If so, then who (other than your mother) cares? Are you adding to the community in terms of knowledge or entertainment? Does the blog pay it forward?

9. Does your blog have a social media tribe? If not, consider how you can build a community around your topic. Alternatively, is your blog only read by a small, closed group of regulars? If so, do new readers feel left out of the conversation? How can you change this?

10. Do you invite readers to join your party? Do you ask readers for their input? Do you share your content on other social media platforms? Do your responses to reader comments show that you’re glad that they took the time to add to the conversation?

Assess which of these elements are missing from your blog and make a plan to incorporate them. Remember that growing your blog takes hard work and time. Don’t be afraid to ask your followers how they would like your blog improved.

Heidi Cohen is president of Riverside Marketing Strategies. Follow her on Twitter @heidicohen.

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