What makes a blog great?
Blogging has become a worldwide phenomenon. It is estimated that the blog search engine Technorati tracks more than 100 million blogs. From “cat antics” to “how to make money”, blogs can cover almost every topic imaginable and vary widely in style, content and ideas. But what makes a blog truly great? There are many determining factors, but 3 main characteristics are: a definite niche, good content and profitability.
First, all great blogs have one thing in common: they define a niche through its readers. Unless you can identify your audience and pinpoint what matters to them the most, your blog will be ineffectual. Once you identify your audience, you can start to be creative and develop a blog that is different from your competitors. Find blogs that are similar to your own, see which posts have the most comments and try to determine your potential readers’ preferences. See who ranks at the top of the search engines and peruse for ideas. A good place to start would be compete.com. Compete. com lets you see website traffic numbers for up to five websites with a free account. Find 10-15 blogs in your niche and use Compete.com to find the top blogs with the most traffic. These would be the ones to target for your research.
Great blogs also start and end with good content. This is what matters most to your readers and to the search engines- especially Google. If you don’t have the time or resources to post huge amounts of content, consider paying a ghostwriter or revising PLR articles. The key is relevant and creative content that invites your readers to come back for more and gains new readership. No one wants to read a blog that doesn’t have fresh content or isn’t dynamic. The longer you blog, the more content you will amass and chances are, you may have enough content to fill a book. Blurb.com gives publishers a free download to take content directly from your blog and lay it out into a book format for publishing, starting at $4.95. Lulu.com is another publishing option and offers a wide range of services, including formatting for devices like the Kindle. This phrase has become cliché but always remember “Content is King!”
Great blogs with great content aren’t satisfied with just increasing traffic. Great blogs maximize their potential by earning money with advertising. This can come in the form of Google Adsense or display ads. Companies such as ValueClick, Tribal Fusion and Commission Junction have an extensive network of advertisers. You can also earn revenue within your blog posts by engaging in text link advertising. These ads are embedded in the text itself and when clicked on, the advertiser is charged and you earn a portion of the advertising fee. Two providers to consider are LinkWorth and Kontera.
Email subscriptions also offer a great way to send targeted offers, and if your content is strong, you might consider exclusive content and paid subscriptions. The WP-Membership plugin for WordPress allows publishers to require payment to see an area or some content on the blog. This is also a nice way to build your e-mail list. There are opportunities for every blogger to earn money with the right keywords and quality content.
Today’s blogs are no longer just “personal diaries.” They are an extension of your ideas and your business. To make your blog truly great, maximize its potential to inform readers, make new contacts and when it’s all said and done—profit!