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A 10 Step Guide to Becoming a Better Blogger – Starting Today

This is a guest contribution by Adam Smith.

If you are reading this post, I am guessing that you have a blog and at least a few social media accounts or you are just starting out and have a interest in blogging. Right?

Instead of trying things out at first, guessing, hitting a wall and then becoming discouraged, this post is a ten step guide to becoming a better blogger than you are right now.

This guide will get you at the top of your blogging game faster than you ever thought possible.

Here are the ten habits that I have created with my blogging to get noticed and they will work for you, too…

1. Prepare a plan

Is your blog development planned? A plan works for anything that is important to you.

What do you want to achieve with your blog? Include what you want to communicate through your posts to your readers and create the daily steps to get to those goals. List every important thing down to the smallest detail.

Taking the time for this kind of planning will help keep you on track and doing the necessary work to get to where you want to go. It will also inspire you to keep going through the difficult time.

Action: Make a detailed plan for your blog and look at it when you need motivation.

2. Focus on your content

It seems that everyone has a blog these days and each person is adding to the ‘noise’.

The best way to fight for the attention of an audience is to produce quality content over and over again. Content that helps get your readers where they want to be. An easy way to find what content your readers love is to install Google Analytics and research what people are actually reading. You can stop taking a shot in the dark and become more intentional with your content.

Realize that the time you put in is a reflection of what you will get back. You should also know your strengths. There is no possible way that you can be good at everything and people know that, too. Build a blog that people know they can get great advice on a particular topic and they will come back for more. It works for Darren here on Problogger, On Twitip and dPS and it will work for you.

Action: Put in the time to deliver high quality content to your readers. 

3. SEO matters

Besides your content, search engine optimisation will help increase your traffic. SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” includes, but is not limited to factors such as: backlinks, quality of your blog posts, your social networking, unique visitors and the keywords that you focus on throughout your blog.
Google Adwords - keyword planner – is a great tool to assist you in finding the most popular keywords to use in your writing.
When it comes to themes, most WordPress themes have some SEO built in and when you’re using WordPress you’ll be able to access SEO plugins that can be installed to make life easier for you.
In a world where it is really hard to stand out in a big crowd, pairing great SEO with writing for your specific audience will grow your readership quickly and effectively. 

4. Be concise

People’s attention spans and time allotted to read is getting smaller and smaller these days. There is too much to do and so little time.

Write your posts so they share what is needed to get your point across, without rambling. You make a bigger impact when you share your thoughts in a concise way.

Action: Don’t lose your readers with long, drawn-out posts. Get to the point without all of the excess.

5. Be quotable

Being quotable is a really effective way to gain the attention of new readers; it’s more important than who you know.

Clear, clever quotes are easy to share on Facebook, more retweets on Twitter and more repins on Pinterest and when you include a link to your post, you can reach more people than you ever could on your own.

Action: You will get the traffic that you have always wanted from being quotable. Pick out the best quotes from your posts and share them across social media.

6. Grab their attention with new ideas

Light bulb with a great idea

The first step to having more success with fresh ideas is to be quiet and think.

That’s right.

Carve out time in your day to focus on creating fresh ideas. Don’t repeat what everyone else is saying. Push yourself to find greatness with your writing and then push yourself even more. It is time to find your unique voice and once you do this, stick with it.

Action: Be quiet and write down the ideas that come to you. Take time to do this on a daily basis and you’ll find yourself with lots of great ideas to choose from.

7. Speak with authority

Nobody takes advice from a book that starts every sentence with, “Maybe”.

Learn to speak with confidence in your area of expertise. Become a source of knowledge by becoming confident. Show readers that you take your work seriously by putting your time into conducting research. When you do this, you’ll begin to share your knowledge with a new found familiarity and confidence.

Action: Become familiar with the topic you are writing about with further researc. Learn to repeat these steps even when you don’t feel like it. That is what separates the amateurs from the pros.

8. Don’t have an outdated look

 

Mess

Image courtesy stock.xchng user shelead

Maybe your content is decent, but if your blog theme makes it difficult to find and your font is hard on the eyes, your readers won’t stick around.

It useful to find a group of people you can have look at your site and give you honest feedback. Sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes to see things differently and make changes that are better in the end.

Action: Ask yourself, “Is my blog theme up to date?”

9. Don’t forget your marketing

Marketing your blog is essential if you want to attract new readers. After all, how will they know about you if you don’t tell them?

You can entice new readers to subscribe by giving something away for free. In my case, it was a free ebook that began drawing new readers in, but for you it could be something different. This gives you a way to capture reader’s email addresses and it allows you to begin forming your team.

Action: Incentives entice readers to commit. Give free,valuable information away to others and then do it some more.

10. Build a team

Create relationships. Be reachable. Help others. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others, too. People usually won’t know about you unless you take the time to meet others.

After writing great content for a short time, people will begin to know you for helpful content and your community will naturally form by them coming back for more.

Action: Word of mouth is the best type of press. Find and connect with your core group of followers and encourage them to share your best posts with others.

It doesn’t matter what subjects you write about on your blog, these ten steps will help you develop your blogging plan and propel you forward to finding your “sweet spot” in the blogging world.

My challenge to you is to find those things that work for you and take note of the items that create growth.

Once you create traction with an audience, it can be repeated.

What steps have you used to see a great reaction with your posts online?

Adam Smith resides in the Boulder, Colorado area with his wife and daughter. He is the author of the ebook, Discipline: The Art of Achieving Greatness and also an editor/ blogger at asmithblog.com. You can read more about Adam at http://asmithblog.com/about/.

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Comments

  1. Thank you Adam for sharing this. This post has made me to rethink my blogging strategy and what I want to achieve from my blog.

  2. mutiara says:

    i think build a team is success factor to make you getting BIG, isn’t it?

    • Adam Smith says:

      Well it does help. The thing is that if you do steps 1-9 the team comes once you put the work in. Quality brings influence.

  3. Hi Adam,

    I feel 10 is most important.

    Build a team around yourself.

    Make your job easier.

    By joining tribes and making friends with bloggers your reach expands quickly.

    You can influence people to promote your stuff to thousands or hundreds of thousands of potential readers….

    …..if you are quick to promote them.

    Build a network.

    Great tips!

    Ryan

    • Adam Smith says:

      Absolutely, Ryan. Building a team is very important. Building relationships with others is key to anything worth doing. Also when quality is present in your work, the masses will naturally be drawn to what you are doing. Build it and they will come. ;)

  4. Alex says:

    Interesting, but unfortunately neither the content, nor the topic title is new and refreshing. Same old strategies, that Darren has written about in his books and on this blog, too.

    Good contribution, nonetheless.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Very true Alex and thanks for your feedback. I guess if it works, it works. The main point here is to focus on a strategy if you haven’t before. A lot of people want the results without putting the work in and in most cases, this just isn’t possible. I believe that with a renewed focus, success is available to all bloggers.

  5. I am finding it difficult to speak my mind with pen on paper or fingers to keyboard of my Toshiba Laptop. Though, the feel still pushes within me to do so, I am finding it difficult to kick start gain.

    Something within me – a stop gap holding back attempts. Writing professional articles for pastime for me. It makes me happier and healthier spiritually.

    Refinement of thought is hindrance. Each time I want to start, feeble under depression of one’s will to do something.

    But I keep holding the thought to move on. And with this good beginning by discovery ProBlogger from reading Times of Israel online, I am hopeful to start again.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Happiness is great byproduct to have from writing. It does the same for me. :) Thanks for checking out the post and commenting.

  6. DevUrls says:

    The Digital Photography School link is broken. Thanks for sharing that TwiTip blog, it really seems like one worth subscribing to.
    I just found this helpful list of inspirational quotes for content creators:
    http://writtent.com/blog/51-inspirational-quotes-for-beinsuccessful-content-creators/

  7. Danielle says:

    I really enjoyed this article. Other then having a plan (which is SOO important!) my favorite tips is to be quotable. One piece of advice – I wish there were better images for pinning this content. The article is jam packed with useful information and it could be pinned 4 or 5 times with unique descriptions if there were more relevant images.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thanks, Danielle. Very useful tip as pinterest drives so much traffic. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. :)

  8. Matt Sells says:

    Very detailed and well written. Great info for a beginner!!

  9. Sebastian says:

    “Push yourself to find greatness with your writing and then push yourself even more. It is time to find your unique voice and once you do this, stick with it.”

    Genius sentence. This should be a whole post in itself. I often times feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over again. It’s all the same content but with a different URL.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thank you, Sebastian. Thanks for the idea. I’ll have to start on that post. ;) You know, it has become that way with a lot, but there are those few unique voices out there and those are the ones that become the most recognized. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  10. marty says:

    As always great advice right now I am working on the SEO part because it really confuses but I know that it will be useful in the end.I never thought about wether or not my words of “wisdom” were quotable I will have to reflect on that one for a bit

    • Adam Smith says:

      Yes Marty, SEO can be confusing but problogger already has a ton of useful info on this very thing. Search it and read up on as much as you can because SEO allows you to do less work and get better results in the long run. As far as being quotable or sharable, it really is what social media has become about. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this post.

  11. ken murika says:

    Thanks alot for the post, the point about being concise is what I really need to take into consideration in my blogging

  12. Sagar Rai says:

    Hi Adam,

    Great Sharing.

    Consistency is the key to achievement with most things and blogging is no different.

    And even if you overlook a mail, you’ve got to get right back on the wagon rather than of letting a little impediment totally derail you.

  13. Nice article with sound advice. I started blogging several years ago and was doing the shotgun approach. In other words ” when all else fails read the directions”. You must have a plan and follow it with discipline and total commitment to be successful.

    Thanks for the reassurance.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Absolutely, Richard. Sounds like you are well on your way to being a successful blogger. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  14. Thanks Adam for this valuable post, in my opinion planning is one of most important factor to success not just in blogging, it works in all of our life

    • Adam Smith says:

      It’s good, sound advice. To know where you want to go, you need a plan to get there. It’s just easier that way. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  15. Chris Chiang says:

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks so much for sharing this awesome tips. For point no.3, as I want to improve the SEO metrics of my travel blog, I would like to know do you have any suggestions for improving domain authority (DA) of a website/blog? I think DA is becoming much more important in SEO metrics.

  16. David says:

    Hi Adam, thanks for these awesome tips. I needed a guide to re-evaluate my blogging techniques, and this post will be very useful for me in the future.

  17. Chef Arjun says:

    “Producing” not necessary writing content that is really helpful for your tarhettied visitors is the way to go. By producing I mean investing in media rich content like infographics, presentations, videos, podcast helps one stand out from the m,asses in their chosen niche.

  18. This is a great post Adam!

  19. I love this (and will refer my class to it, for sure). My favorite? #10. It’s the best way to do just about anything, including blogging. We’ve seen great success with it – and it’s just good karma. Thanks!

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thanks, Jessie. So glad you enjoyed it. And yes, helping others, mentoring/building a team and focusing on building strong, lasting relationships really is what life is all about. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  20. Thanks Adam for sharing wonderful tips. Helpful to implement my blog to new way.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Awesome! Glad it helped you. I’d love to hear sometime how it helped and what you are doing differently as a result, P V. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment as well.

  21. Eric Holmes says:

    Good tips, but not all of them can diawalai easily, especially if we are too confident with a fundamental thing and it happens also in blogging.

  22. dojo says:

    I have decided to ‘revive’ my blog, so all these tips will help me bring it to the next level. There’s a lot of work to be done, but the results will surely be worth it.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Sounds great, dojo. I can’t wait to see what happens with your new, revived blog. Let me know when you have it where you want it so I can take a look. I love seeing goals reached and good change take place. And that’s the cool thing to. With focus, the results will come and it sounds like you know it, too. I love that. Keep pressing on and thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  23. Stephan says:

    Very nice article Adam.
    I have the same point of view with you, i’m usually concentrate on new idea. Those day, this competition is getting harder and harder, and make your blog unique is the way to survive and get more success. i don’t think all the tips is easy to follow up but it’s really helpful for all bloggers.
    Thanks for your sharing.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thanks so much, Stephan. The competition is getting tougher, but the beautiful thing that happens when competition gets tougher is that quality has to improve for any brand to survive. Yes, self publishing has caused us all to have to sift through a lot of junk, but the good ones are still the ones that stand out because word of mouth or being quotable is still the best form of marketing. I believe a good place to start is by implementing the above 10 steps in this post and measure your results through improvement.

  24. Akinsulere Olusola says:

    about to start a blog with a team of bloggers and i do want it to be just any type. So i have taken my time to research, and this post has added more to my research. Nice work.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Nice! I formed a team on my blog as well a few months ago and couldn’t be happier with the results. You definitely want to do your research as the key is to stand out from what everyone else is doing. Let me know what you come up with when you are finished. :) Thanks for reading!

  25. Arman says:

    Thanks Adam for the awesome tips. I will follow this tips to become success blogger. Sorry for my English :)

  26. I think that building relationships with bloggers and other people that resonate with you is key. You do not need to know if and how that relationship is going to go or if it will fly. But by being there and listening, offering good advice just for helping others can go a loooong way :)

    Thanks for sharing these awesome tips, Adam and taking the time to reply to everyone in this thread!

  27. zolar says:

    great article adams,
    I’ve problem on marketing..
    need to learn more about marketing and SEO

    • Adam Smith says:

      Glad you liked it. Well, there are great resources here on problogger that deal with those specific subjects. I would encourage you to check those out as they will help guide your plan for those areas. Thank you for reading and commenting, Zolar.

  28. Zenelia says:

    Hi Adam
    you have discussed quite valuable points in this post…the look of the blog makes difference and we should represent the content and the post using the latest design and style architecture of blogging as that will give reader a sense of interest and wont let them make feel like reading of an old book…and strategy and SEO plays a vital role in the promotion of a blog and its better optimization…All n all…all the points mentioned here are quite important one and points to be implemented properly….

    Thanks for sharing

    Keep Posting

    • Adam Smith says:

      Zenella, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this post. I am glad you found the article useful. And yes, I will keep posting and you as well.

  29. Alex says:

    I think you need to set expectations and targets more in the opening paragraph. What is a “better” blogger? Is it a someone who writes a blog that gets more comments than others? More pageviews? Better bounce rate? Is it a blog that leads on to paid work elsewhere? Without setting criteria at the start, “better” is very nebulous.

    • Adam Smith says:

      You know, maybe you are right. Maybe a follow-up post? I will say that I cut a lot of things out of the post after I got to point 10 and looked at the length of the post. (point #4) After the article posted, there are a few things that I would have written differently, but that’s the thing about posts… They never seem to actually be finished. At some point you just have to hit publish. Thanks for the feedback for sure. Maybe they’ll let me write on here again at some point. ;) Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, Alex.

  30. kazi says:

    Very nice post , Adam. I specially liked the “be quotable” portion . Also, I agree that the outlook matters and one should avoid outdated look in their blogs. Looking forward for more posts.

  31. Edson Hale says:

    On point 4 I would differ a litte. People don’t have time to read lengthy posts but they are equally fed up with reading half truth in a small post without covering all aspects of the issue. Jon Morrow and Steve Pavellina writes lengthy post and have huge number of following. On the other hand John Chow and Daniel Socco write little post but they do have equal standing. I think regardless of a small or lengthy post one needs to fully communicate whatever he wants to share in easy to understand language.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Hi, Edson. There is definitely some debate on this in the blogging world. As for me, even when it is good content, when I see a lengthy post I end up saving it for later and never getting around to reading it. I do agree with you in that I believe that good content is good content and bad content is bad no matter the length of it, but I would say that cutting out the unimportant info and maybe even splitting it into another post can be helpful. Thanks so much for reading and commenting as you give me something else important to think about.

      • Matt Sells says:

        Hi Adam,

        I agree with you. Not all blog posts should be the “Definitive Guide To …” I believe we have Google to thank for that. A lot of bloggers are paranoid about the Panda Algo.

  32. Awesome post, Adam! #1 is essentially the most important component of launching a blog. A plan in my opinion is essential for anything. If you were to want to spruce things up as they say, you can integrate strategic planning into your planning phase. In strategic planning, we would plan ahead of the future so that we have the resources or instructions for when future events come.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Absolutely, Shawn. It’s so important! I don’t get why more bloggers don’t get this, but planning will get you farther than you could ever get wandering along for sure. Great advice on you part as well, Shawn. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  33. This is such a terrific post covering all the guides in becoming a better blogger today! I love point #6 grab peoples attention with new ideas. Thinking out of the box and being unique is a great way to bring awareness to yourself! Great post, thanks for sharing. :-)

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thanks, Nancy. I have set certain days aside for this in my schedule just to strategically come up with new ideas. It really is that important. I just take a pen and paper and start writing. I know… I have some “old school” habits, but that’s what works for me. Computers can sometimes distract me from my main focus in a given moment. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  34. Justin says:

    I think a good start to building relationships online is just just through social media or forums but you can even do it through reading what other people are commenting on a particular blog and try to get to know them because there is a good chance that many of the people who frequent a particular blog most likely they leave a comment. So get to know your target audience,visit there blog and before you know it you wil have built a community of followers within your niche!

    By the way, I agree with what you said Della, helping others who are stuck with something is key!

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thanks so much for reading and your feedback as well, Justin. That really is so important to a successful relationship, no matter where it takes place. Don’t be selfish; get to know other people and watch relationships flourish. Great advice. :)

    • Thanks Justin and good luck with you blog – took a peek it’s very nice and clean, excellent job!

  35. Marry says:

    a god guide for beginners. I am not a beginner but it also helped me. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  36. Michael John says:

    Think you have hit it on the head great post and like you say get to meet people and blogging and posting comments is the way to do it. If your content is unique and good your blog will do well and you know what that means plenty of visitors any way Adam stay in touch and feel free to make a guest post on my blog when you have time, have a great day Mike

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on the article and thanks for the invite as well, Mike. Glad you found it helpful and that maybe it reinforced some good actions in your own blogging. You have a great day, too. :)

  37. Mike says:

    Some great advice 10 out of 10. I also use some of the methods you describe to improve my blog.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Wow! 10 out of 10? I’ll take it. Glad you found that these same techniques work for you. The more people that use them and finds them beneficial, the more credibility that is given to the process. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Mike.

  38. Loved this post. I’m just starting a blog myself and without reading content like this it can be easy to jump the gun and do things in a not so optimal way.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Glad you found this useful, Lindsay. Let me know when you are working towards your plan as I would love to see it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  39. Keeping apart everything once I look back to past when I started my blog, I think prior PLANNING comes foremost. Rest all things come with time but if I had planned my things prior to start 5 years back I could save months of struggles.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Well, it’s awesome that you can see that now and will do things differently from here on. That’s huge that you learned from what you did prior. Thanks for reading and commenting, Julia.