Last updated on April 2nd, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Everywhere you look on the web, we find plenty of advice on how to build a successful blog or website.
Everyone has an opinion.Â Sometimes I think there is no magic formula – just luck.Â I don’t believe in luck.
I’ve been working on websites and blogs for almost five years now. It started with my online journal, A Week In The Life of A Redhead.
There was just no turning back after that.Â I became hooked on the idea of self publishing and its ability to allow anyone’s voice to be heard.
I equate the 8WD blog to the years I spent as a child making girlfriends play dress-up and perform in my parents living room.
My friends were forced coaxed into have a part, either as a dancer or singer.
I’d do the make up and hair, pick the music and assign costumes.
I wanted everyone to look beautiful and perform at their best.
I was probably one annoying-as-hell little girl.
Thankfully, these girlfriends still speak to me.
Fast forward 20 30 okay 40 years and here I am doing the same thing, except the blog is my living room and the other 7 women are my latest victims performers.
I’m still running around fixing hair (changing things on the blog), applying makeup (making posts scanable) and nagging them to get their writing shoes on (hey! Is your post ready?).
Except it was easier when I was a little girl.Â My parents loved our living room performances.Â My brother better prepared me for the web back then by yelling “You look stupid!” while running out the front door, desperate to get as far away as possible from little girl giggles.
There are well over 200 million websites on the Internet.Â How do I pull this blog up through all the noise out there to land us at the top of the pack?Â I can hear my brother yelling, “Just don’t look stupid, stupid!”
What does it take to have a top blog?
Make sure to connect with readers through an about page and welcome message. Done.
2.Â Have an RSS feed.
See that blue square in the ad section? That’s our RSS feed and readers also have the ability to bookmark us when they click on the Share/Save button. Done.
3.Â Allow social bookmarking.
When readers click on the Share/Save button at the end of a post, they can submit us to Digg, StumbleUpon etc.Â Done.
4.Â Network with other bloggers.
Good bloggers leave comments on other blogs related to their niche. We do network on Facebook and Twitter, but can improve on commenting on other blogs.
5.Â Link out.
Link out in posts to other websites in blog posts, especially other blogs as they relate to the blog subject. For example: I checked out the blog Flourish Over 50 and loved their post, How not to look old, part 6—unmask your foundation.Â We do this sometimes.
6. Give something away.
We have a collection of inspirational videos on the site, but this isn’t exactly what they mean. It should be a free report or a contest giveaway. Think anyone would go for used make-up that I don’t wear anymore?
7. Submit the blog to directories like DMOZ and Technorati.
These are directories that list blogs on the internet.Â The word around blogsphere is DMOZ and Technorati are dead.Â Even if they aren’t – groups of websites are dedicated to telling everyone how much they suck. I have tried to get blogs into DMOZ – it’s like sending something off to school with your teenager – it’s ignored and never seen again. DMOZ is notorious for never responding – same with Technorati. At least this blog is listed on Technorati, but nothing about us updates there, even though there are sites linking to us.Â Their algorithm (for us at least) is broken. Yeah I emailed them. I think teenage boys work there.
8. Guest post.
We haven’t been invited to guest post on another blog. This is probably related to item number 4.
9. Write killer content.
Content is king on the web. It’s like the great restaurant in the bad location where people line up to get in. It’s the food. Content is the food of the internet. But what kind of content? If you ask Dan Zarrella, The Social Media Scientist, he will say, “Content is dead and resource is king.” Our content should be a resource to others.
The greater the quantity of quality content, the more the blog get indexed in search engines.Â We do this everyday and twice on Sunday: post fresh content often.
11. Almost famous.
Having someone famous or well-known on the Internet write about or link to a blog. I suppose having my great Aunt Gertrude telling her bingo friends that we are doing some newfangled thing on the Internet just doesn’t cut it.
Needless to say I still have some work to do.Â Will we ever get to the land of top blogs for women on the net?
If we don’t give up.
The story behind any successful blog is told one post at a time, step by step, improvement by improvement until it reaches The Tipping Point. The Tipping Point is the level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. At least this is what Malcom Gladwell author of the Tipping Point would tell us.
An my favorite Internet guruÂ Seth Godin would say, “It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more.”
Sigh, we are at month 18 . . . do we really have to wait 18 more?
I can hear my brother now, “Maybe. Just don’t be stupid!”
(Catherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. Someday, she would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck Catherine usually writes the weekly motivation posts which are published late Sunday evenings for the following week)
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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