All blogs are created for a purpose. Even if a blogger says it’s merely for fun and an outlet for his creative—and not so creative—writing, that’s still a purpose that motivated the creation of the blog. Thus, one can also say that concept of success depends on why it was created in the first place. Is the blogger satisfied with 100 visits month? Or will he only consider his blog successful if it starts generating income? That is another question that only the bloggers can answer.

When can you say your blog is successful?
When can you say your blog is successful?
Photo by mallix at Flickr.com

Regardless of their purpose, nature, or niche, there are certain characteristics that successful blogs—and their bloggers—have in common.

Honest

Blogs that are upfront and honest about their purpose and intentions are more likely to succeed than blogs that attempt to hide their true motivations. There’s something about honesty that it resonates through everything we do; in this case, the sincerity or lack thereof is felt through right through the screen. It can be in the manner of writing (POV of the blog posts—first-person gives the impression of honesty more effectively than third-person), the presentation of the blog, the quantity, and quality of content and information published, etc…

Passionate

Blogging may start out as a hobby, but as it grows, it needs to become a passion. If a blogger is not passionate about making his blog grow, it won’t reach its maximum potential and will remain with the same number of readers, followers, and the same level of influence in the online community.

For instance, a passionate book blogger will always have something new for the readers, like book reviews, signed books, and swag as contest prizes, and author interviews among others. A gadget blogger will always sound excited describing the details of a newly-acquired gadget, showing pictures, describing each amazing feature, and critiquing what needs to be improved on. These are the things that non-bloggers with similar interests want to read about.

Passion also gives a blog direction. If you research on blogging 101, one of the first things you’ll be told is to find a theme or niche to blog about. Having the passion about something can help you with that.

Consistent

Successful blogs are consistent in publishing blog posts. Not a week goes by that there’s nothing new for followers to read. Many are even writing posts on a daily basis. Anyone with a good understanding of SEO knows that regularly producing original content will keep you in Google’s radar. You won’t have to wait for days before your new posts are crawled, and therefore given the opportunity to appear in the SERPs.

Consistency is important in blogging. You need to be consistent in publishing posts. You need to be consistent in monitoring comments and dishing out replies. You have to be consistent in your opinions, especially on issues that are quite sensitive in nature (ex: politics, religion, morality, gay rights).

Trustworthy

The success of a blog, in all aspects that matter, depends on whether or not readers find it a reliable source of information. It goes deeper than simply relaying information though. A blog needs to earn the trust of its readers. When people trust it, their actions, and reactions toward the blog will be largely positive—and this will translate well in the SERPs.

This is how it works: people search the Web for accurate information. When they find a very good source, they may:

  • Bookmark the blog for future reference
  • Cite it as a source for their work (and if they are also blogging or writing for a website, you may earn a backlink (as to whether or not that backlink will be of value to you is another different matter))
  • Share the page

Trustworthiness really goes a long way in blogging. You can never really be truly successful if your own readers cannot trust you.

Uses Their Strengths

The one thing that all successful blogs have in common is they all play to their strengths. It is sometimes difficult to compare and find similarities among the obviously successful blogs because they have different themes, styles and approaches.

For example, Smosh.com is a popular blog that posts lists of funny, unique, weird, outlandish lists (ex: 20 Funny “Special Request” Pizza Box Drawings, 22 Dancing Superheroes, etc). Compare that with, say, The Huffington Post. It is a news blog that covers everything from politics to entertainment. Here the articles are lengthier, and photos and videos merely support the reports and articles.

Blog posts at www.smosh.com
Blog posts at www.smosh.com
A blog post at The Huffington Post
A blog post at The Huffington Post

The former focuses on entertainment value, while the latter focuses on news reporting. They play on their strengths. Smosh is excellent at gathering unusual photos and videos, while Huffington Post produces text content and gets hold of reliable news sources ASAP. Their strengths make them successful in their respective niches.

Creative

Speaking of strengths, a blog also has to be creative and use its strengths to showcase blog posts that people will love. For instance, if the blogger is also an amateur photographer, he can post his pictures according to a theme. If he’s a graphic artist, he should definitely publish his art. He can start a comic strip, for example. Clearly, bloggers who showcase their personal strengths become the strength of the blogs themselves.

Approachable

A blog gives off a friendly, welcoming vibe is more likely to have regular readers. More importantly, they gain readers who are also commenters. Comments by readers give bloggers a concrete measure of the public’s reception of their blog posts. They signify that there’s interaction among the readers and the blogger. The more comments a blog post has, the more affecting it is (be it positively or negatively).

Having plenty of comments is not a requirement for a blog to be successful though. There are many blogs out there that still generate income even without tons of comments; and for the owners of those blogs, as long as their income doesn’t go down each month, then they consider it a success.

Relatable

In line with being approachable and having plenty of commenters, blogs become successful because readers can easily relate to them. Simply put, they can’t be successful if they don’t have avid readers and a regular influx of visitors.

Diligent

A great percentage of hard workers do succeed and that’s a fact. Photo by diegoksk at Flickr.com
A great percentage of hard workers do succeed and that’s a fact.
Photo by diegoksk at Flickr.com

Another thing that successful blogs have in common are diligent bloggers and managers. They write/produce blog posts and publish them regularly, filter spam from the comments, reply to comments, update the look of the blog when necessary, put up firewalls, gather leads, assemble mailing lists, inviting guest bloggers, looking for other blogs to guest in, organize files and back-up copies, etc… All these things wouldn’t have been accomplished if the people behind the blogs are not diligent in performing their tasks.

Generous

Last but not least, successful blogs are very generous to their readers. You can tell a blog is already doing very well because it can already afford to hold contests and have really cool prizes on the side. It could mean that it is earning money already, or that it has found a lot of useful contacts and equally generous sponsors.

Successful bloggers are usually happy to share their success with their readers, and they do that in many ways other than holding contests and giving out goodies. They would support fellow bloggers and invite readers to check out their blog posts. They would join conferences, author signings, celebrity appearances, product launches, et cetera and then write about their experiences and the exciting news they’ve learned there for their readers’ benefit.

Generosity really pays back. Readers end up loving the blog, and the blog in turn will benefit in the form of higher traffic, a positive reputation, more leads, and possibly even offers for advertisements and sponsorships.

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