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10 Words Every Successful Blogger Needs to Know

This guest post is by Tony Hastings of The Top 10 Blog.

Whether you are blogging for profit, publicity, or pleasure, the basic building blocks of success are the same.

Success can be defined as, “accomplishing an aim or purpose or having achieved popularity, profit, or distinction.” (Google Dictionary)

Here are ten essential words you should consider constantly as a blogger, as they reflect the values you need in order to succeed.

1. Purpose

A purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” (Google Dictionary)

So why do you blog or want to start a blog? Your motive should determine the style of your blog, your style of writing, the frequency of your posts, and the subject matter of your posts. It’s important that you establish your purpose from the outset and make sure that your design and content fit that purpose.

The theme, layout, amount of advertising and type of content will all flow from your purpose, and they’ll set the tone that you desire. That doesn’t mean that you need to take it all too seriously if you are blogging just for fun, but it does mean that you shouldn’t dominate your pages with ads if your aim isn’t to make money blogging.

If you are operating in a niche, your purpose will be fairly clear and your content sharply focused. If, however, like me, you started to blog without any firm aims, then you might find that you need to be more flexible and allow your purpose to evolve and mature.

I started out aiming to collate Top 10 posts on all sorts of subjects, but now I focus on social media, especially blogging and Twitter. You don’t need to be too rigid—follow your instincts and go with the flow if you feel that could be the best way for you to discover your purpose.

2. Quality

Quality is “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.” (Google Dictionary)

Good-quality content is the foundation of all great blogs. That’s easy to say, but how do you measure quality, and how do you ensure that your content achieves the desired standard?

That is a very subjective question but I would say that a post should be able to inform, educate, amuse, or entertain. Any one of these is a basic requirement, more than one is desirable, and all four is blogging heaven!

Your content should be original—too often we can visit a blog which appears to have some killer content but which, on closer examination, is a copy of or an excerpt from something previously posted elsewhere.

Don’t just focus on content quality, but on presentation quality too. Poor spelling and grammar can ruin the best posts. Always check and proofread your content to make sure it’s as good as possible. Be proud of what you do and make sure it embodies the best quality in all respects.

3. Patience

Patience is “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.” (Dictionary.com)

This is essential in blogging! It can take some considerable time for your blog to be noticed, or for changes you have made to show results. Sometimes you can make changes such as SEO improvements, new sharing options, or different ad types and become frustrated when you don’t see results overnight.

It takes time for changes to take effect, particularly with search engine results and rankings, so be prepared to let things run for a while before you judge the results.

Too many changes in a short space of time can annoy regular visitors too, so try to be a tortoise and not a hare: allow good time to see the benefits of all the positive changes you make to your blog.

4. Determination

Determination is “a resolute movement towards some object or end.” (Dictionary.com)

Surely you don’t need to be determined to run a blog? Well, if you are trying to make money from your blog, or are using it as part of your social media strategy for a business, you most certainly do. It needs to be kept up to date and monitored to see how it’s performing, and that takes time and commitment.

But even if you are blogging just for the fun of it, you still need to be determined to keep it going in the long run. There are so many distractions in “real” life. I know from my own experience that sometimes blogging can seem to be a bit of a chore, and the blog can take a back seat as life takes over.

But you need to be determined to log in again to start writing and constructing that next post, as a neglected blog will soon begin to whither on the vine.

5. Confidence

Confidence is “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” (Dictionary.com)

Self-confidence is a quality that is generally required to succeed in all areas of life—and blogging is no different. Just to put yourself out there in the first place takes courage and self-belief, and even the most experienced blogger may sometimes feel self doubt as their finger hovers over the Publish button.

Every blogger starts from the same place, and the key to building that confidence is, in the first place, to take that initial step to get started, and then to learn and develop from there.

You may not consider yourself to be the best writer or very technically minded, but by looking at what other bloggers do, soaking up the best of the amazing resources that are out there, and trying out new things to stretch yourself, your confidence will grow.

However, you must be prepared to fail and to learn from the inevitable mistakes that you will make. The blogger who hasn’t made a mistake yet may feel confident, but that confidence may be misplaced and will lead to an almighty fall when disaster strikes.

A better way to develop as a confident blogger is to take risks, be prepared to fail, and learn from the experience when it happens.

6. Integrity

Integrity is “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” (Dictionary.com)

I like a blog post with a bit of spice in it as much as the next person, but as bloggers we need to know where the boundaries, both moral and ethical, lie—and to act accordingly. What is considered to be offensive material is in many ways “in the eye of the beholder,” however the blogger should be wary of springing surprises on their readers.

For instance, a visitor to an erotic literature review site might know what to expect but if they come across explicit material on a web design blog they might be somewhat surprised. Similarly I see bloggers use offensive language and get away with it, but most would agree that it needs to be used sparingly and in the right context to be acceptable.

Do you have adverts or affiliate links on your blog? If so do you make it clear that you might be earning from these and do you ensure that you are not advertising products and services that most of your readers wouldn’t approve of? To preserve our reputation as bloggers it’s vital to make sure you make the appropriate disclosures and to ensure that you are happy with your ads and promotions.

We all hate to see our work copied elsewhere or images used without permission, so don’t do it to others. Again, we should all try to maintain good standards and do something about plagiarism when it does happen.

We all, as bloggers, have a responsibility to act with integrity and honesty to maintain our reputations. If we don’t, then we are unlikely to be successful.

7. Communication

The definition of communication is “to give or interchange thoughts, feelings, information.” (Dictionary.com)

This is one of the most important words for a blogger. Sharing, networking, commenting, reacting to comments, and connecting and interacting with others are vital ingredients of the blogging experience.

There are two aspects to this. The first relates to your own blog and the second to your own actions. A successful blogger must make sure that it’s easy for their readers to comment on and to share their posts. There is endless (often conflicting) advice out there about the best way to achieve this, so do your research, experiment, and find out what works best for you.

Get out there into the big, wide online world too. Connect with others on whichever platforms work for you. But don’t just use this as a way to make yourself known—promote other people too. Share great content from other bloggers, comment on their work, and interact with them. Doing that well not only means that you have a better chance of blogging success, but that your experience will be enriched, and b,logging will just be more fun.

8. Personality

Character is “the essential character of a person.” (Dictionary.com)

A great quality of any successful blogger is that they allow their personality to shine through all that they do. Don’t hide behind a logo—take a peek out and show your face.

Tell the world a little about yourself and add your image to your About page, and people will relate to you as a real person rather than as a corporate or anonymous entity. Let your own personality show in your writing and the things you write about.

People relate to real people, so showing your personality to the world will be of benefit when you do get out and about connecting and interacting on your chosen social (and real-world) networks.

9. Consistency

Consistency refers to the “steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.” (Dictionary.com)

In my early blogging days, I tended to make quite a few changes to the design and format of my blog as I found my feet and decided what worked best for me. I progressed from a Blogger blog to a free WordPress theme, and then through two premium themes until I finally settled on my blog’s present layout.

My guess would be that it didn’t matter too much initially, as I had very few visitors, but it’s important, as your blog grows, to create consistency so that your readers are comfortable visiting your place and know, to a degree, what to expect from you.

I’m not just talking about consistency in design and layout, but also consistency in content and post frequency. You don’t need to be posting all hours of the day, but try to achieve a consistent style and frequency of posts so that people get used to seeing you around.

Consistency of topic is a little harder but still very important if you are blogging in a niche. I have always had posts on all sorts of subjects, from blogging and social media to chess and Halloween games, so readers are used to that. However if you blog about cookery, for instance, and suddenly a post on car maintenance appears, your readers might wonder what you are up to.

10. Flexibility

Flexibility is “characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.” (Merriam-Webster.com)

Since I just sung the praises of being consistent and patient, flexibility may seem a strange word to include, however the ability to be flexible is vital for the successful blogger. It’s all about recognising when something isn’t working and having the courage to make changes to try to improve what you are doing to meet your aims.

The social media world is changing and developing around your blog, so you need to be willing to be flexible—prepared, for example, to make changes to your sharing options, or to integrate a new development that would benefit you and your readers.

The key, though, is to try to maintain that consistency by not making too many changes at once, and being patient enough to allow the changes to take effect. Those three key words of flexibility, consistency and patience are most definitely interlinked. You need to keep them all in mind.

What do you think are the key words a successful blogger needs to focus on? Have I included any you don’t think are important? Are there others I have left out? Let me know in the comments.

Tony Hastings is a blogger who aims to inform, entertain and amuse you at The Top 10 Blog. He can usually be found hanging around on Twitter so please pop over to connect and say hello.

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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Couldnt of said it better!

  2. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Those are must know words for every blogger, but I would like to add few more like passion, commitment, authority and time management.

    • Thanks for the excellent suggestions Ehsan, passion is one word I thought I could have included when I reflected on the post but the others are just as relevant.

  3. Elsa says:

    Great post. I Think that these rules apply to anything in life. They define what success is.

  4. Rachael says:

    These are good words, but I also agree with Ehsan. I guess we can’t cover EVERY word, though! Great overview.

  5. Hi Tony! Great post, and I find it very relevant for any blogger, at any stage. For those of us who have been at it for a bit of time, it serves as a reminder of the things we have to remember. For those just starting out, I’m pretty sure this list will be a good source of inspiration for their new efforts. It certainly pays to keep these words in mind, and I’m really glad you wrote this + shared it here on ProBlogger.

    As an aside, thank you so much for your comment on my own guest post here. You may not remember, but it’s this one : http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/09/10/forget-willpower-heres-what-you-can-do-to-dominate-bad-blogging-habits/

    I’d just like to say that I do appreciate how thoughtful your comment was there, and so I’d like to return the favor with a happy heart.

    Best wishes to you always!

    • Hi Bea, yes of course I remember – in fact reading your post was one of the things that got me moving forward again and to submit this post to Problogger so thanks for that!

      Thanks ever so much for taking the time to leave your kind comment.

      Tony

  6. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Tony,

    I have to agree with you with these 10 words (or properties) of a successful blogger. In fact, they would be applicable to any kind of venture i.e. not only blogging.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for the comment Richard, I agree that these words suggest qualities that would stand us in good stead in all areas of life.

  7. Kenny Fabre says:

    Tony

    quality and consistency are the two biggest words for a blogger. A blogger must always provide their best value and be consistent with posting their articles.

    • And both can sometimes be hard to achieve when the demands of other areas of your life get in the way!

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment Kenny.

      • Kenny Fabre says:

        Tony yes but I’m sure all of us here are entrepreneurs but I personally make time for me to write 2 great quality articles every week and write 1 great guest post every week.

        So I know anybody could fit it in their schedule No Excuse

  8. Lisa Rangel says:

    This is a great list for job seeker clients of mine, as well. Wonderful, universal list!

  9. 10 very important words, Tony. Thanks for sharing. I definitely think patience and personality are my top 2. Without those, I know my blog wold have been doomed from the get go.

    • Thanks Amy. Your excellent blog does of course show all these qualities and you are a great example of personality shining through a blog :-)

    • Hi Amy,

      You’ve got a wonderful blog and I can see that your consistent with your updates so I’ll add you to my list of blogs to follow.

      /Daniel

  10. Really Important tips for bloggers to promote their posts. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Well! You can become a successful bloggger if you are a good commlunicator. Some people thinks that a blogger’s work is over after writing the article

    • Very true Cameron, if we don’t communicate and ‘blow our own trumpet’ then no one will ever know what we get up to :-)

  12. # 2 is my main focal point. I love to give my visitors nothing but the best when I blog. Quality post is what keeps people coming back. All you need to do is start working on traffic and you can draw in a big audience

  13. Amazing tips indeed, most especially confidence and flexibility falls under my success! I just love the tips, very helpful and inspiring. We need to be successful and without the above informative information we can no longer be successful bloggers! Thank you!

  14. Deni Saputra says:

    True points Tony!
    Firstly about the gola or purposes then must have quality. You really remind us important things.

    Many thanks!

    • Purpose is vital but can be hard to pin down. I know when I started I didn’t really have a clear aim of where I was going but it evolved over time.

      Thanks for the comment Deni.

  15. Shelby Roth says:

    This is really outstanding writing. Every point there sounds more charming, encouraging and really inspiring. Quality, consistency and personality sound very helpful tips to most bloggers but taking them into consideration no matter how challenging is a better target to be successful at the end! Really helpful and educative points. I found them very encouraging, keep up!

  16. I could refer those as 10 blogging ethics. Know and work up to them and you are good to go. Every blogger who puts that in mind will surely be a success when it comes to blogging.

  17. Very important words indeed Tony. The truth is that we cannot do without them, and the more we get use to them, the more things become easier for us.

    The one i love most is Consistency which no serious person can avoid whether in the offline or online business.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for the comment Theodore, I agree that consistency is vital but sometimes hard to achieve due to distractions from the rest of a bloggers life. I must admit I have had times when the blog has been neglected for a while but the important thing is not to be put off and to get back to it as soon as possible.

  18. Very good points made.

    Producing consistent high quality content is a challenge but without it there’s simply no way of getting around it.

    This will be shared on Facebook for sure!

    • Thanks for the kind comment Daniel and for sharing the post – both such important things for keeping this blogging world going round.

      You are right that keeping quality up can be a challenge and sometimes looking back at my work that standard can slip but as long as we keep striving for the best we won’t go far wrong.

  19. Ben Troy says:

    Customers today are more focused on price than they were before the recession, particularly for commodity type offerings. High quality content that demonstrates a compelling reason why customers should buy a particular product or service

  20. Matt Brennan says:

    Excellent post. It takes a lot of work to build up a strong blog!

    • It does indeed Matt and I think that’s the main reason why so many lie neglected and unloved, their creators didn’t know how much hard work is needed.

  21. Fahad says:

    Yaaay Great Article!
    Possess those 10 words! => Become a Success Blogger!

  22. Great Tips, I definitely think patience, confidence & consistency are my top….
    Thanks for sharing

  23. Steve Houser says:

    I am new to the blogging craze and I am trying to find my niche, so thank you for the great place to start. I am evaluating my purpose as we speak!

  24. I’d like to add passion to that list. I find that if I’m writing something I have no passion for, my writing is awkward and lifeless. So I always make sure I stick to what I’m passionate about.

  25. Kristina says:

    Patience is the one I struggle with and not just on the blog. It helps to read about other blogger’s journeys and see that we all go through similar things. I found this post to be informative and a great reminder about the state of mind we should have when blogging. I think if a group of bloggers got together, we could come up with a Top 100 words but you definitely hit the nail on the head with these 10. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Kristina, I think it’s only when we begin to share our experiences with other bloggers that we truly begin to develop and it does indeed take patience to achieve our aims – I like your blog by the way :-)

  26. Mike Lopez says:

    Awesome checklist for bloggers.

    Looking through the list, I can see why so many blogs fail on their first week.

    - Mike

  27. Gary says:

    PURPOSE!! I belive is the main keyword in this article. Everything needs a purpose and if you cannot define it then you will be on a loser!

    • That’s true Gary, without a purpose in mind you are unlikely to get anywhere although sometimes it can take some time to define exactly what it is.

  28. John says:

    ATTITUDE not APTITUDE determines ALTITUDE.

  29. Mark says:

    Flexibility is the key and apply changes gradually over a certain timescale. Great blog and interesting read.

    Thanks

  30. So true. I think most of us forget one or two of them at any given time, so it’s always good to have a reminder!

  31. These are quintessential things for every blogger to know. You put it greatly.

  32. Eddie Gear says:

    The definition for success can vary for every blogger. These are some of the traits every blogger needs to have to be successful.

  33. Sara says:

    Great info. Patience has never been my best attribute. I am working on the confidence as well. Thanks for the post!

  34. Wonder full, Its really wonderful Discussion to know for a Successful Blogger. Blogging is current valuable trend in online marketing ! I’m totally agree with “Quality” Quality is “the standard of something to show & Quality always attract Blog readers.

  35. For me, the main ones are Purpose, Communication, Personality and Quality. If you have those prerequisites you are surely onto a winner. Great pointers.

  36. tedifa.com says:

    I agree with you, especially patience and confidence, sometimes some blogger have not patience for great result that they’re want…

  37. I would add Community and Gratitude. A blog without community is a tree falling alone in a forest, and you can’t build community without being grateful to readers who respond to you, as you amply demonstrate in the comments section of this post ;)

  38. Great suggestions! Thanks for the comment Marilyn!