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How to Make Any Good Blog Great

They say one of the best ways to improve your craft (whatever that may be) is to learn from the greats. The experts, the legends, the Mohammad Alis and J.K. Rowlings of the field. So before I started my blog, I took notes from the best.

What made the popular blogs great? Was it the fantastic design? The voice of the writer? The consistently useful content and easy subscription buttons and successful marketing? While a combination of these things certainly made them top tier blogs, I noticed they had something else in common.

Confidence.

Whether it was a post here at ProBlogger or pithy commentary from social media blogging gods, the words were imbued with energy. They resonated on the page and I devoured them. I thought, These guys know what they’re talking about! and I subscribed. I read their posts and felt energized.

I hoped that one day I could write the same way.

Ah, there it was, the lack of confidence. It wasn’t that I thought I was a bad writer, or that I thought the popular bloggers were better than me (okay, maybe it was a little of that, too), I just didn’t believe that I could truly reach that level. I made up excuses. They were experts, they’d been doing this forever, they had tons of subscribers and a gorgeous blog and who was I to think that I could do as well as they did?

So I didn’t try. I kept plugging away at my blog. I redesigned it and wrote posts consistently. My followers slowly started to grow.

Then one of my Twitter friends put out a call for guest bloggers and I had a crazy idea: Maybe I should offer to guest post. The thought instantly terrified me, of course. What if she didn’t like my post? What if she said no? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how ridiculous I was being. Was I really going to pass up an opportunity because she might privately decline?

So I wrote the post and e-mailed it to her before I could change my mind. She posted it. And her followers liked it a lot. I was floored by the positive response. I guest posted again and to my shock, those followers like it too!

Suddenly I didn’t have an excuse not to be confident. People liked my writing. People listened. I’d been my biggest obstacle all along.

The key, friends, is confidence. It draws readers in like bees to honey—we love confident people. They give us inspiration and their charisma is contagious, energizing even. But you don’t need to wait for someone else to be inspirational—you can be that inspiration. But it has to start with you.

Believe in yourself and the rest will follow

This is so important. You don’t need to be Bono or the Yoda of your niche to have something worthwhile to share with others. You don’t need to be rich or a celebrity, heck, you don’t even need a few hundred Twitter followers.

All you need is to believe in yourself. To know that you have something to say, that your opinion is important, that you are worth listening to. And once you believe that, once you know that it’s true, others will believe it too.

Be proactive

Things don’t change by themselves. You can’t expect your blog to grow if you keep to the same “good enough” routine. Be proactive. Read about how to build your blog, then actually do the steps. Go out there and make yourself known. Offer to write guest posts for other blogs. Never stop moving.

Because the moment you stop building, the moment you accept the routine, you’ve lost your momentum.

Don’t hold yourself back

I challenge you to shove your fears aside and try something new. Dare to be better, dare to do something different. Maybe you’ve never guest blogged before—go out there and choose three blogs you’d like to post for. Write the posts and contact them. At the very worst they say no and you have three more posts for your blog.

At the best they say yes, and you’ve opened a whole new realm of opportunity.

I don’t care who you are, if you’ve been blogging for a few weeks or a few years, if you have 50 Twitter followers or 5,000 (or no Twitter account at all!) You have something to say, I know you do. You have thoughts, opinions, dreams, and it’s time you start believing in yourself and speak up.

Go out there and take a chance. You never know, you might just become one of the greats that others look up to.

Ava Jae is a writer, artist and X-men geek. You can find her weekly musings on her blog Writability , follow her on Twitter, or check out her Facebook page.

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Comments

  1. sean davis says:

    This is a wonderful post. I love how you didn’t complicate things and just reminded us of what really matters.

    Right now, on my blog, I think I am writing outstanding content. However, nobody sees it. For some reason, I am deathly afraid to offer a guest post to a fellow Blogger. It’s not because I don’t think I’m good enough. It’s because I’m afraid that my blog isn’t “sticky” yet. I’m scared to send people there too early and have nothing to offer.

    Am I alone here? Do I wait longer until I have more to offer or do I go for it now?

    I’m a VERY confident person, but i just want to do “this” right.

    Awesome post.

    • Dan says:

      Hey, I looked over your website. I’m obviously no expert, but I think you have things to offer. Not sure if that is your problem or not, but you’re not lacking in confidence for sure. You’ve helped me a lot!

    • Ardorm says:

      Sean,

      You will always feel uncomfortable before your first step. It’s not like I am a pro-blogger or something, it’s just the same in the real life (especially sports). If you want an advice, here’s what you should do:

      Write down the goals you want to achieve before you expose you blog to a wide-range audience. Make these goals real and not something like “I have to get 10 000 subscribers and then I know I am ready”. Once you achieved them, just Go For It!

    • Ava Jae says:

      I don’t know how long you’ve been blogging, but I understand entirely what you mean. I personally didn’t start guest posting until I’d been blogging for a few months, but that was mostly because I was too scared to offer any posts. It wasn’t until my Twitter friend put the call out that I developed enough courage to give it a try.

      That being said, I’ve read that you can start guest posting pretty early. I don’t think the point is how many posts you have, rather that the quality of your posts are good and that you continue to update consistently (so new readers can see that you’re going to stick with the blog).

      If you feel you have great content, I’d say go for it. Don’t worry about your blog being “sticky” enough. It’s the quality of your posts that matter.

  2. Hi great post. You are right. As long as we have confidence, our energy will spread to the person reading our blog posts. I believe in hard work and passion as well. Work hard towards our goals, deliver good information with passion. We will be great. :)

  3. Hi Ava.
    I wouldn’t trust a brain surgeon to operate on my head if they didn’t exude a degree of confidence in themselves. Same goes for probloggers as well. But beyond confidence I also need to see competence as well. No body likes a blowhard.

    • Ava Jae says:

      That’s absolutely true. Confidence won’t do you much good if you have no idea what you’re talking about. There is such thing as too much of a good thing, and confidence is no exception.

  4. surya says:

    This post inspire me..we need just little confidence. If we have confidence whatever we write sure blog will go top level.

    • Ava Jae says:

      It’s not not always easy to develop that confidence, but it starts with ourselves and believing that we can get there, that we’re just as good as the others we admire. Once you accept that, the confidence will come out in your words naturally.

      • Andre says:

        Thank you Ava Jae, for sharing I will try guest posting as well. I have been writing for wikinut.com for a while now (100 articles) and recently started this blog and am still feeling my way around.

  5. That’s it again, CONFIDENCE is the litmus test that guarantees success in every field. I’ve been writing guest posts, and at the initial stage, I felt like a millipede. I lacked confidence, but today, it’s a running flood. I can write, submit, if my work is rejected, I simply post it on my blog, or get it across to other bloggers. My confidence is strong.

    Thanks for sharing and do have a CONFIDENCE-IAL day.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Confidence is a catalyst–once you adopt it, everything else flows much easier. You’ve definitely developed the right attitude when it comes to guest posting–the worst thing that can happen is they say no and you have another post. Not so bad after all!

  6. This is totally the article I could’ve written, if I were … good enough!

    I recently started blogging and resisted it for so long based totally on what you share. Especially this: “I hoped that one day I could write the same way.”

    That’s a script which resides right under the surface. I’m not good enough. It’s an excuse that perfectionism feeds. I know that I need to get more vulnerable/transparent. But what will they think? Geesh, I even hesitate to push the post comment button below.

    But every time I do, I’m doing this: “I challenge you to shove your fears aside and try something new. Dare to be better, dare to do something different.”

    Dare to share, because we’re all dealing with similar issues and fears. It’s only on that deeper level that we can truly begin to relate and build meaningful communication. And, yes, I’m telling myself that. I appreciate the motivating kick in the butt!

    • Ava Jae says:

      I delayed the launch of my blog for two long years because of fear and a lack of confidence. In the end, the only thing you can do to conquer it is to take a chance and prove yourself wrong. Your confidence may not come all at once–it often takes some building. But as you build your blog and improve your craft and start to get posts accepted, you’ll begin to believe in yourself and confidence will follow.

      Keep writing and don’t give up. You’ll reach your goals eventually as long as you don’t stop.

  7. Ater reading this written I think it’s useful in building confidence to do everything. It’s reasonable that for starting something, it’s impossible direct perfect but step by step would be reached the aim

    • Ava Jae says:

      Confidence certainly helps achieve any goal. It’s the positive attitude that helps drive you forward and overcome whatever obstacles you might face.

  8. Guy Hogan says:

    As you point out, confidence is just one part of the equation. It’s an important part, but still just a part. After the confidence, or maybe even before the confidence, is the hard work.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Agreed–hard work and perseverance are huge when it comes to any form of success–blogging of course, included.

  9. Ivan Walsh says:

    It sounds like a cliche but… providing something useful will make you stand out from the crowd.

    The problem of course is that what’s useful for one person is useless for another :)

    Ivan

    • Ava Jae says:

      That’s very true–what’s useful to one person isn’t necessarily helpful to another, but that’s why we have niches. Others who are interesting in your niche will find you and as long as you keep your audience in mind, they’ll find what you have to say relevant.

  10. Deb Hogg says:

    Hi Ava
    Thanks for this post… love the energy hiding in the writing, and I agree 100% that confidence is a big part of the issue.
    Another blogger I read recently also talked about these issues and her solution adds to yours very nicely for me. She talked about the writing process and getting to know the habits of someone who can truly label themselves as a writer/blogger, and it’s about taking the time to write and doing it often enough for it to be added to your schedule and become part of your nature. For many people (especially those who end up as educators) the writing process is second nature. However for some of us, whose talents lie in other areas like the Maths and Sciences (and a heap of other proclivities) the challenge of writing needs to be addressed more directly. So I would add to your confidence building ideas with a good dose of writing and writing often… like everything else it takes practice!
    Regards, Deb (Sydney, Australia)

    • Ava Jae says:

      I’ve actually written about practice on my blog–you’re so right, practice and making writing a habit (or part of your schedule) can absolutely work with confidence. The more you write, the better you get, and the more you do it the more natural it will begin to feel.

      Write and write often. Great advice.

  11. Dan says:

    I freely confess that I’ve written without confidence for awhile. I had to leave the blogging world because of some day-job stuff and it’s been difficult to get back to it. This article is helping me a great deal. Thanks for this.

    • Ava Jae says:

      I’m glad it provided some encouragement. Confidence doesn’t always come naturally, and that’s ok. Work at it, believe in yourself and what you have to say and it’ll come.

  12. Hi Ava,

    The belief factor is immense.

    Believing in yourself helps push you out of your comfort zones. This is where growth starts. You believe, you achieve, in the face of people who do not believe in you, or skeptics, or resistance in other forms. See it in your mind before you live it in your world. Visualize. Take time to go into quiet, Darren wrote about this the other day.

    Relax, dream your blogging dreams, and make them feel like realities. Do this daily, a few times each day. You believe, automatically, because you have already seen a preview of reality. Again and again. So you are confident this reality is taking shape.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

    • Ava Jae says:

      Visualization is a great technique many people use to turn their dreams into reality. You’re absolutely right–it begins with belief. Once you build a strong foundation of confidence, not even the most trying of obstacles can bring you down.

  13. Thanks Ava and Dane for sharing this post. Good and valid points and i guess these can be put to what ever you do. For me DEDICATION, PERSEVERANCE & DISCIPLINE are the key to any work and business.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Confidence and belief in yourself can absolutely be applied to whatever your goals may be. I also agree that dedication, perseverance and discipline are strong foundations for success–if you never give up and keep improving your craft, you’re bound reach your goals eventually.

  14. I’m sorry..in a hurry i wrote Dane instead of DARREN. my apologies.

  15. Ann says:

    Its hard work, but pays off

  16. Melvin says:

    Very inspiring! I’ve tried submitting guest posts but unfortunately none were accepted at the moment. But hey that will not stop me. I will just try it again and again, until they will accept it.

    The good part is that I’m writing and writing and writing. If you ask Brian Clark of CopyBlogger how he became like that as a writer, there’s one thing that he would probably gonna tell you, “keep on writing and eventually you’ll be good at it”.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Keep working at anything and eventually you’ll be good at it. With practice and determination you’ll reach your goals–just keep at it.

  17. Awesome post!, it’s inspired me to start my blog fresh next year. I’ve got around 7,000 subscribers, so it will be like hitting the ground running!…

    All the best,

    David Edwards

  18. That’s a really good point – last week I ran a few tests to see what impact design had on a post’s likelihood to go viral and I was quite surprised so I ran a poll to ask people what they thought were the most important factors when making a post get shared, surprisingly, very people said ‘tone’, but I totally agree – people aren’t going to share something that comes across as not 100% credible or accurate, and just like in spoken communication, credibility is transferred in tone.

    Great post, really enjoyed it and has given me some good food for thought :)

    • Ava Jae says:

      Voice is what makes each of us unique, regardless of what we’re writing about. It’s something that I think is truly fascinating about writing–we could all write about the same topic and come out with completely different articles because we each have a different point of view and voice to share with the world. Confidence (and thus a credible tone) absolutely stems from that and makes the writing memorable.

  19. Aidy says:

    Great points. There is the discouraging factor of being amongst so many similar blogs that it is difficult to stand out. It takes perseverance, I agree. So I will go out, continue building and continue writing.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Keep working, keep writing and keep improving. It’s not easy, but you’ll reach your goals as long as you stick with it.

      Remember that what makes your blog unique is you. Your personality and point of view are your blog’s biggest asset.

      Best of luck!

  20. Beate says:

    I think also. Do something different as other Bloggers. I do it with Pictures. :-)

    Great Artikel.

  21. Hi,
    I went through the same stages as you describe when I started my first blog in 2005 in the German blogosphere. Thankfully I considered as an experiment and had no speicific goals.
    Over the years it developed more and more as a part of my marketing strategy to write good articles to make people interested in my work, i.e. personality-seminars and coaching.
    After six years of continuing blogs, I write only one lengthy article per week about 1200 visitors look at my blog every day.
    Confidence is a good thing to do so. After all I think the passion for a subject and the ability to write about in an professional and entertaining way is also necessary.

    In spring this year I felt confident enough to post some of my articles in English on a special blog. We’ll see how this will develop I am confident…

    • Ava Jae says:

      Six years! That’s fantastic–great to hear you’ve kept at it for so long, and it sounds like it’s paid off in a steady group of readers.

      I wish you the best as you transition over to English blogs!

  22. You’re right. Confidence is everything. If only we could give guidance to children with that goal in mind. Then we would encourage learning, risk-taking and failures as ways of growing in our confidence.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Honestly, they should put confidence in the public school system curriculum. Some children have it naturally, but not all and it’s certainly a wonderful asset to have in life.

  23. Awesome post Ava :)

    Confidence is one thing I’m trying to gain. I’ve always been an under-confident person, from childhood on. I need to figure out how to gain the confidence I need. I’ve always known I wanted to be an author and I’m finally taking (sometimes scary) steps to make that a reality. The first steps really are uncomfortable, and it all comes back down to getting out of my “Comfort Zone”–but I’m doing it. It gets easier to hit the “send” button when emailing a short story to a publication, for example–so I’m hoping the more I blog, the more confidence I’ll get :)

    Thank you. I’ll definitely be subscribing to your blog!
    -kodilynn

    • Ava Jae says:

      Confidence doesn’t come naturally to me, either. It’s something I have to work at and constantly remind myself. The first steps are uncomfortable–but once you start moving forward it gets easier. As you move farther out of your comfort zone you’ll see that it’s not so bad out here–in fact, you may even like it.

      Thanks for subscribing to my blog–I look forward to seeing your comments!

  24. Kathy Condon says:

    Last week a couple of things really bugged me so I wrote about them on my blogs–one of them is for our local newspaper on the business page. My sister read them before I posted them and advised me not to post them because she thought I had revealed too much about myself. I heard what she said and went ahead and posted them both anyway AND the response has been great.

    It was a good lesson for me stay authentic in my writing.

    • Ava Jae says:

      People are drawn to authenticity. I’ve found that the posts I hesitate to publish (often because I wonder if I got too personal) are often the ones that get the best response.

  25. Meng Fong says:

    Hey Ava!

    Thanks for this post! I found it through Andy Jenkin’s twitter.
    Love what you said….it’s really apt since I am just starting out myself.
    I had been bouncing around doing a couple of different things for the last couple of years.
    But I found that things started to get moving when you write about something you really enjoy.

    And it’s amazing and wonderful that there are so many supportive people out there in the big-wide internet world.

    Happy Blogging!!!

    Meng

    • Ava Jae says:

      Doing what you love (and thus, writing something that you love) is a wonderful way to gain momentum. Not only that, but I agree that the online community is wonderfully supportive in every way. Social media has opened up doors that were never there before.

  26. J.K. Rowling?!?!

    Do me a favour!

  27. Marvs says:

    Hi Ava!

    You have a very sound advise here, CONFIDENCE is what I needed most.

    Thanks for sharing your experience so that others may benefit.

  28. Ava, I really enjoyed your article. You really spoke my language there. I felt the same way when it came to blogging, especially writing my first post. It was eating my up like “the fear of public speaking” that most people have. But your words really inspired me and I’m just gonna keep writing till I build a following and I know that comes with patience and consistency. Sometimes we just need a reminder. Thank you. If you don’t mind, I’m actually gonna link to this article from my blog.

    To your massive writing success,
    Bart Obrochta

    • Ava Jae says:

      Patience and consistency are hugely important–right up along there with confidence and perseverance. Keep writing, keep blogging and reach out to other bloggers and others in the writing community and you’ll start to build that following you’re looking for.

      Finally, thanks for linking to me in your post–as always, it’s much appreciated!

  29. darkduck says:

    The best thing in guest posting in your niche: if you write a guest post, and then blog owner does not like it, you can still publish it on your own blog. And prove how wrong (or right ;-) ) the blog owner was!

  30. SOL REPUBLIC says:

    Exuding confidence online is so important. I love this line, it really speaks to me: “Because the moment you stop building, the moment you accept the routine, you’ve lost your momentum.”
    Thanks for the great post.

  31. Hamshi5433 says:

    I just started blogging a few days ago about my online income tips and how I earn money online.
    Believe it or not I woke up this morning with a goal in my head `I am going to dream my dream big and make it come true`. So I wanted to learn some more tips about blogging and your words really helped me.

    Everything you wrote here is similar to the stuff I tell others and to myself about succeeding.
    Thank you for writing it.

    Best of luck with everything you do.
    Hamshi

    • Ava Jae says:

      Thank you, Hamshi! Definitely chase after your dreams–the bigger the better–and keep at it even when things look rough. They say the difference between those who make their dreams come true and those that don’t is perseverance.

      I wish you the best in your new blogging endeavor!

  32. Karen says:

    They say that when the student is ready the teacher arrives. That couldn’t be more true in this case. I spent years thinking about blogging, then planning to blog’ then learning about creating a website, when I really should have put that energy into just doing it. It was lack of confidence. Now I find I’m struggling again…this time in promoting my blog…and it all comes back to confidence. Thanks for this reminder and a good old kick in the pants.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Don’t let a lack of confidence keep you from promoting your blog. Reach out to others in your niche, get to know the community and tell them about what you have to offer. You’ll find there are plenty of others out there who are not only willing to help you out, but will be more than happy to share their advice with you as well.

      The community is out there–go find it and you’ll find the support system that could help give you a nice extra boost of confidence.

  33. Denise says:

    Confidence and courage will open nearly any good door. It’s a reason it’s helpful to compliment others when they do a good job. It encourages a person to yield more good work. That said, enjoyed your article and especially the points about getting out of your own way and having confidence in your abilities, talents and skills.

    Denise
    writemoneyinc.com

    • Ava Jae says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re right–complimenting others certainly does encourage more of the same (and when the same is great, that’s a good thing). It can, at times, even promote better work, which is certainly something to strive for.

  34. Faizan says:

    Great post. Thanks a lot !!

  35. Zeus says:

    This is very inspirational, something I encourage my readers to be on my site.