About a month ago I broke down my process of writing popular blog posts. In case you missed it, here’s how I write a blog post:
- Use simple words – don’t try to use fancy vocabulary as it makes blog posts harder to read and understand. As a general rule of thumb, use vocabulary that a 5th-grader can understand.
- Use the word “you” – instead of using the word “we” or “them” in your blog posts, use the word “you”. By doing this, what you are doing is trying to make your readers feel like it’s just you and them, as if you were sitting down at a cafe for a cup of coffee.
- Write how-to posts – people like posts that can teach them something. How-to posts are the perfect way of doing this. My first blog was a top 100 blog on the Internet according to Technorati. I was able to do this because I wrote a lot of how-to posts.
- Write detailed posts – when I first started Quick Sprout, my blog posts weren’t very detailed, and the blog wasn’t growing in traffic. Once I started to write more detailed blog posts, my traffic started going through the roof.
- Hook your readers – from using creative headlines to creating a sense of urgency, you need to hook your readers if you want them to read your blog posts. One thing I learned from Copyblogger and Problogger is that using stats in your headlines is a great way to hook readers.
- Create a conversation – if you’ve noticed, I have a tendency to italicize words within my blog posts, and I tend to ask questions at the end. If you do it, it will help create a conversation with your readers, which will help you get more comments per blog post.
- Prove your points – if you don’t use stats to back up your points, you’ll start to lose credibility with your readers. So start using stats.
- Show your authority – people have tons of options when it comes to reading blogs, so why should they read yours? If you can show that you are an authority without bragging about it, it can help you win over the readers. Just look at the way I mentioned I was a Technorati 100 blogger above.
- Care about your readers – the most important aspect of blogging is to care about your readers. Don’t just blog for the sake of it. Do it because you want to help people out. From responding to people’s comments to responding to your readers’ emails, care about them.
Now that you are up to speed on how I write blog posts, here is my guide to blogging:
Topics are everything
A good blog starts with great content. If you aren’t writing great content, no one will want to read it.
If you are creative, that’s great because you won’t have any issues coming up with good topics to write on. If you aren’t creative like me, you can use this process to come up with topic ideas:
- Step 1: Go to all of your competitors’ blogs and look to see which of their blog posts did well on Twitter and Facebook and which ones did not. I typically list all of the headlines in an Excel spreadsheet along with the number of re-tweets and Facebook shares each post got.
- Step 2: Go to Tweetmeme, browse the topics in your industry and see what has been trending for the last 24 hours as well as the last 7 days.
- Step 3: Head to Google Trends and Google News to see what’s trending there. You can perform a few searches to see what’s hot in your industry.
Now that you have a good understanding of what’s hot and what’s not, you want to come up with similar to the hot ones topic ideas as these are the topics that people will most likely want to read and share on the web.
Now, before you start blogging, you need to know one really important fact.
When I first started Quick Sprout, I blogged every week. I was very consistent, and my traffic was slowly growing over time. But then I got busy, and I stopped blogging on a consistent basis, which caused my traffic to stop growing and sometimes even decrease.
If you want to grow your blog continually, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis. As John Chow, a blogger who makes $40,000 a month from his blog, states, the most important aspect of blogging is to stay consistent.
Timing is everything
Once you start getting in the swing of writing on a regular basis, you have to start timing your blog posts.
Dan Zarella surveyed 1,400 bloggers to find out when you are most likely to read blog posts. Do you know what the answer is? It’s during the morning.
So, if you are going to publish a blog post, do so during the morning as that’s when people tend to read them.
And if you are going to pick a day to publish a blog post, Monday and Thursday are the best days according to Hubspot, who analyzed 170,000 blogs.
If you want to publish blog posts during other days or times, that’s fine, but you won’t get as much traction as you would if you posted them during optimum days/times. One way to solve this is to start scheduling your blog posts like I do.
Time your social promotions
Based on an infographics by KISSmetrics, more than 50% of people who use the social web are based in Eastern Standard Time. So, when you are timing your social promotions, make sure you use Eastern Standard Time as your default time zone.
If you are trying to get the most re-tweets, 5 pm EST is when you should tweet your blog posts. It’s because 6% of all of the re-tweets on Twitter happen during 5 pm EST.
On the other hand, if you want to get the most traffic from Facebook, promote your blog posts at noon during Saturdays. This is when they get the most Facebook shares.
To get the most traffic from the social web, you shouldn’t just promote your blog posts on all social sites at the same time. Make sure you use different promotion times for each social site.
Time your emails
Just because you are publishing your blog posts during the mornings on Mondays and Thursdays doesn’t mean you should be sending out emails during those times.
Funny enough, emails have the highest open rates on the weekends. And they have the highest click-through rates at 6 am EST. Who would have thought that people prefer to read emails at 6 am on the weekend?
By the same token, you have to control the number of emails you are sending out because if you send too many, you’ll notice that you’ll get a lot more complaints than if you were sending only a few.
Ask your readers
With all of the traffic you have coming from the social web, you should have enough readers to gather information from. You can start doing creative things like surveying them. For example, I’ve surveyed you on numerous occasions on how I can improve Quick Sprout and what topics you want me to blog about.
Here are some of the responses you gave me.
By surveying your readers on a consistent basis, you can continually improve your blog. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you want. It only matters what your readers want. So, start giving them what they want instead of focusing on what makes you happy.
If you follow everything I mentioned in this blog post, you’ll have a popular blog that thousands of people will read on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you are starting from scratch or already have a blog. Follow the rules above, and you’ll get thousands of visitors to your blog.
Just look at the image above. Within weeks of starting the Crazy Egg blog, my business partner and I were able to take it from 0 visitors to 9,000 in less than 1 month because we followed the rules above.
Do you know of any other tips or tricks to skyrocket your blog’s popularity?