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Learning From Blog Predecessors

If you’re looking to start a successful blog, you might find yourself a bit discouraged. Confronted with so many established blogs, an internet presence can seem like a difficult thing to establish among such stiff competition.

But before you get too down on yourself, let’s remember that there are a lot of ways to gauge the success of a blog. You can label yourself a success when you’ve secured an impressive list of subscriptions, a healthy amount of inlinks, or perhaps even the ability to follow trends within your niche topic.

Whatever benchmark you’re using to gauge success, don’t forget that every established blog has piggybacked and improved upon the blogs that have come before. With that in mind, here are a few tips and pointers to glean from trends among today’s most successful blogs.

Ownership
Blogs are still very much a tool of the people. While other websites might be dominated by the world of big corporations, blogs are a big exception. Self-owned publications are still the leaders in the blog world, and this is good news for all of us who don’t happen to run Time Warner, Inc. or have particularly deep pockets. Fortunately, talent and creativity still seem to play a role in blog success.

Titles
Short, catchy, and easy should always be your blog default. Blog titles that stick to one or two words do seem to be more dominant. While this might seem like a minor issue, this relates more generally to always keeping your audience in mind. Remember that blog readers are making a conscious choice to avoid standard news outlets. It doesn’t matter if the topic is politics or pop culture, blog readers are looking to the internet for a more interactive news experience. And they generally want this blog experience to-the-point, fun, and personal—and this includes the title.

Staff
If you’re really looking to create a successful blog, consider spreading the workload around. The vast majority of today’s hot blogs are staffed by more than one writer. This works for two major reasons. One, people like variety. They enjoy getting multiple viewpoints on different issues, and you have a better chance of connecting with a large number of people if you offer different personalities and writing styles. And two, writers (like anyone else) can get overtaxed. Having to man an entire blog is a tall order, and if you can spread the work around, the quality of each individual post is sure to rise.

Convention
People might read blogs to avoid or perhaps supplement more mainstream newswires, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the familiar. The overwhelming majority of blogs have the tried and true dot com convention. It doesn’t mean dot orgs and dot nets are going to be totally left in the cold, but as it stands now, dot com is the domain name the majority of people trust.

The success of a blog can’t be ensured through any one (or two or three) conventions. It’s a complex combination of topic, timing, readership, and more. Having said that, there are still steps you can take to give your blog a leg up amid overwhelming competition, and those steps can often be determined by observing trends among some of the current blog goliaths.

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