I don’t want to knock anyone off their high horse, but let’s be honest: starting a blog is a piece of cake these days. In an hour or less, you can establish your own little “corner of the Internet” and publish your first post. Although I doubt that this breakneck blog will be the best blog in existence, you will succeed nevertheless in pioneering a personal website. The more important question is: do you know how to maintain a successful blog? Quite quickly, you will realize that keeping a blog alive requires a lot more than the ability to write coherent posts and upload pretty pictures. In fact, if you want to know how to maintain a successful blog, you will need to consider many other factors: brainstorming topics, preventing repeat content, creating consistent posts, and perhaps even coordinating posts with other writers.
How to Maintain a Successful Blog
Before we dig into how to maintain a successful blog, let’s explore the purpose of blogging. Personal blogs are developed for a variety of reasons: to share creative content, to express a specific viewpoint, to stay in touch with friends and family, to meet new people, to earn money, to further one’s career, or even to build a community. Blogs have come a long way over the years, however, and now many companies are blogging as well.
So why are so many companies investing in blogging? First, building online content with a purpose leads to increased traffic from organic search referrals. This is a great way to build your marketing presence online, and gaining organic search referrals can lead to more opportunities to capture leads. Next, blogging is a great way to connect with your customers and share interesting and useful information. It can improve your reputation amongst your customers, colleagues, and potential clients. Finally, content is now a critical part of search engine optimization (SEO). Google rewards long-form and high-quality content, so there’s no reason to stoop to black hat techniques like keyword stuffing or invisible text. You might be surprised how quickly and effectively a blog can increase your website’s traffic through the use of good old quality content.
Although many people start blogs, very few people are able to sustain them. Typically, this is due to a failure to create a consistent stream of quality content. You might begin with a list of 10-20 solid blog post ideas, but if this list isn’t restocked, you will run out within a few weeks or months. To maintain your blog, you must focus on planning quality content. This includes brainstorming and replenishing a list of blog topics, using consistent formatting and style, and avoiding rehashing the same old topics over and over and over again . . .
Blog with a purpose. Why are you choosing the topics you’re choosing? Focus on finding topics that are both relevant and likely to generate interest. Brainstorm key phrases and topics that are critical to your company, and then put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer thinking about that topic. What would they search for? What questions do they have about the subject? What would they like to learn more about?
Don’t be afraid to utilize longer keywords, because people are increasingly using lengthy phrases in their online searches. For example, instead of the basic keyword “restaurants,” try “best restaurants in Springfield MO.” Google’s algorithm is now tailored to fit these conversational queries, making them great choices for keywords. In addition, because they are more specific, you can often rank higher with them.
Although you are free to blog about whatever you like, you will be most successful in your marketing goals if you take some time to research your keywords. Not only does this take mere minutes, but it allows you to check that your focus keywords have some level of interest. One way to do this is to utilize a tool that provides keyword analytics, such as SEMRush. Using this program, you can find phrases that generate a decent monthly search volume. In addition, you can mine for closely related suggestions to the phrases for which you are searching.
MANAGING YOUR CONTENT
Over time, brainstorming new blog topics becomes trickier and trickier. Once you’ve exhausted the ideas that made you excited to write your blog in the first place, you will need to dig a bit deeper. Go beyond the basics. What else might your readers be interested in learning about? Use the SEMRush analytics tool we mentioned above to discover new keyword ideas that branch off of popular topics on your blog. With technological tools and a good dose of creativity, you’re sure to brainstorm some original ideas.
In addition, you must avoid all of the topics you have discussed already. You’re bound to forget what you’ve discussed on your blog over the years, so try creating a list in Google Docs (see why we recommend Google Docs below), noting every keyword you have used. As the list grows longer, organize it by category. When it grows even longer, you can divide those categories further. Then, each time you need to replenish your list of blog topics, consult your catalog of past topics to ensure that all of your new topics are fresh and original.
Finally, every so often, review your blog content to assess its quality and originality. Which topics have you overworked? Which areas are sparse? In reviewing your past few months of work, you can refocus your attention and create a strong strategy for your blog’s future.
WHEN TO BLOG
How frequently do you blog? Although the rate at which posts are published varies from blog to blog, you do need to establish a firm frequency for your own blog. Perhaps you have the time and resources to blog every day. If that’s overkill, maybe you should blog once a week or a few times a month. No matter which schedule you choose, be consistent with it. Not only will this please your regular readers, but it will also create fresh content for search engine spiders, improve your SEO, and increase your blog’s traffic. Google rewards frequent content of a high quality, so your hard work will not be in vain.
Some bloggers have a calendar in which they schedule every upcoming blog post. Although this isn’t strictly necessary, you should keep a list of blog topics ready to go, so that you’re always prepared to write your next post and have no excuse for lagging behind. In addition, try to stay somewhat flexible with your blog posts. That way, if an exciting news story pops up, you can squeeze it into your schedule.
KEEP IT STYLISH
As your blog grows, you may decide to hire multiple writers to produce new content. Although this can be a great way to produce additional content and diversify your blog’s voice, it is important that the blog’s style and formatting are consistent. To this end, you might consider creating a style guide for your blog. Although this may seem unnecessary – isn’t it enough to follow the basic rules of the English language? – you must consider every facet of the blog posts’ format and style. For example, you may need to answer the following questions:
- Approximately how many words should a blog post be?
- When and how will you employ headings?
- Will you use the Oxford comma?
- How will you cite sources?
- How will you format images?
- Will you included featured images?
- When should numbers be spelled out and when should you use numerals?
- Do you need to insert “read more” tags?
- What information should be included in a blog post’s outro?
As you write and edit, you can add more topics to your style guide. Although a style guide may not be necessary if you’re writing the blog on your own and have a good memory, it is a crucial part of learning how to maintain a successful blog with multiple writers.
JUGGLING MULTIPLE WRITERS
Finally, if you’re juggling multiple writers, you will need to spend some extra time on management and organization. Google Docs is perfect for this. If you create an inventory of past blog topics (as we described above) and share it with all of your writers, everyone on the team can avoid rehashing old subjects. In addition, create a shared list of upcoming blog topics so that as each person writes, they can scratch their chosen subject off the list.
Anyone can start a blog, but learning how to maintain a successful blog requires drive, creativity, and a lot of planning. Are you ready to put in the effort? For help, check out 417 Marketing, an online marketing company based in Springfield, Missouri, that specializes in SEO, web design, and blogging. With our help, you won’t need to learn how to maintain a successful blog because we can do all the work for you – from the setup and initial research to writing and optimizing posts. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your company.