This guest post is by Kevin Sanders, of strongandfit.net.
What if I said you’re only as good as the blogs you follow? Maybe that’s not completely true for everyone, but I’m willing to bet all the A-listers have several blogs they check out every day.
I think there are basically two types of blogs you should follow.
Type 1: Blogging blogs
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I believe every blogger should keep an eye on several pro blogs in the field—whether they’re on making money or SEO tips, etc). Why? Here are three reasons:
1. Game-changer posts
Every once in a while, I’ll run across a post that radically impacts my blogging from that point forward. One example would be a post I read here that explained how to optimize the position of ads. Following that advice greatly improved the profits I made through both Adsense and affiliate banners. I don’t find these high-impact posts every day, but they easily make up for the effort I spend following the blogs I read.
I wasn’t even sure you could make money with blogging when I first started. It’s hard to keep posting every day when you aren’t even sure there’s a possibility of financial reward for your efforts. Following the pro bloggers gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going, even when profits were slow (or non-existent). It also helped me to have realistic expectations and patience. Building a good blog takes work and determination; never underestimate the power of motivation.
3. SEO tips
I was completely clueless about SEO in my early blogging days. I still don’t consider myself an expert—not by a long shot. I also don’t obsess over SEO. Having said all this, I needed to learn how to work with search engines—best SEO practices, so to speak. I learned most of what I know from reading what other bloggers had to say.
I follow about 17 blogs through feeds on my Google page. Do I read every post on every blog? No. I just keep an eye on them and click any titles that get my attention. Also:
- Don’t overanalyze them. At some point you just need to shut up and blog. Don’t try to follow every single bit of advice you read—some of it may not apply to you, your niche, or your blog. You’ll even run across contradictory advice if you follow the blogging niche long enough. Just use what helps you and disregard what doesn’t.
- Don’t snub the B-listers. Keep an eye out for up-and-coming bloggers who may not be well known yet. Some of these guys really know their stuff and are more accessible than their A-list counterparts. Some of my favorite blogs, in fact, are not nearly as popular as Problogger.net. One example is SEO-Hacker, a blog created by one of my friends here in Asia.
Type 2: Niche blogs
I mentioned that I follow several pro blogs through RSS feeds. I also follow several blogs within the same niche as mine (fitness blogs). Following blogs in your niche, or related niches, can help you in several ways:
1. Potential income streams
Your fellow bloggers can help you keep an eye on new ways of making money. You may learn of a new product or service to promote by watching other blogs in your niche. Most of us try to keep track of these opportunities through affiliate newsletters, but other bloggers can help you find even more opportunities.
2. Trends within your niche
Blogs within your niche will alert you to “hot topics” in your industry or specialization. You may want to post your own two cents about those trends—there’s always a chance you’ll get ranked well in search engines on a topic that everyone’s talking about (and searching for).
This is especially helpful if you live outside the country that’s responsible for most of your traffic. I live in Asia, but most of my fitness blog’s traffic (and revenue) comes from North America. It’s very beneficial for me to follow bloggers back in the States.
3. Rebuttal posts
Following other bloggers is also an opportunity to be a voice of dissent. If you read a post you disagree with, you can give your own unique point of view on a particular topic within the niche. This would likely be a post you would have never thought of if you weren’t watching the blogosphere in your niche.
The bottom line: watching blogs within my own niche gives me lots of new ideas for producing fresh, relevant, high-quality content. I think it will do the same for you.
What should you keep in mind as you follow niche blogs?
- Be yourself. Don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying. Always try to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Loyal readers want to hear what you have to say.
- Do your homework. Hopefully you’ll inspiration from other blogs, but be sure to do your own research. You’ll need to go back to original sources and studies to check the accuracy of other bloggers. You’ll also need to carefully look at products you choose to endorse—what’s right for one blogger may not be right for you (even if you are in the same niche).
Are there other types of blogs that you consider essential reading? Share them in the comments.