There are at least 100 million blogs out there on the internet. That means if you create a blog and want it to succeed, you have your work cut out for you.
But the good news is that competing in this arena is worth it, because a thriving blog can make your job as an author much easier and more successful.
For example, in my blog post Why You Should Blog As An Author, I detail the benefits of blogging:
- Improve book sales through your digital presence
- Create a book promotion headquarters
- Develop the habit of writing every day—which is one of the key habits of successful writers
- Know exactly what book your audience wants next
- And more benefits that you’ll find if you check out the post above
Those that have a quality blog get a crowd of followers who go on to read each blog post, buy every new book released, and are what I call “lifetime customers.”
Those with blogs that don’t stand out are stuck in internet irrelevance and may think their effort is futile.
So you can either have a blog where you feel like you’re writing for no one, or you can have a blog where you get thousands of views each day, email subscribers, and comments.
If you want the latter option, then here’s how to make your blog stand out from the pack.
1. Choose a topic you love.
Blogging is all about the long game. So if you’re trying to blog for three months to build buzz for your book launch and then you plan to quit your blog, you should give it up from the start. You won’t make any progress.
Instead, you want to choose a topic you can write about and sustain for years. Because the longer you blog, the more traction and the bigger audience you will build.
For this reason, it’s crucial you pick a topic that you love so you can sustain it over time. When you are legitimately interested in the content, you can write about it for a decade or more.
On the other hand, if you have no interest in the subject of your blog then you’ll soon get discouraged and lose motivation to write blog posts. Or you will suffer from writer’s block because you don’t care about the topic. Keeping up with your blog will feel like a hassle and you will procrastinate.
Obviously you can’t have a blog that stands out if you’re not committed to building it for the long haul.
2. Write amazing and in-depth content.
The saying is “content is king” when it comes to building a successful blog that readers flock to for new and useful information.
That’s why this point about writing incredible content is the most important takeaway for your blog.
Long guides that detail how to do something are most often the epic content I’m referring to. These are usually over 2,000 words but are not filled with fluff to get to a high word count.
Instead, they cover specific steps, include screenshots, provide data and statistics, link to other pages, and are almost a mini-book. They can take what seems like forever to finish when compared to a wimpy 400 word post, but they can get 1,000 times the results of the 400 word post.
For an example of longform and engaging content, check out Neil Patel’s Google AdWords Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide and his post Social Media Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide.
When you write posts like this, you give yourself a good chance to get on the first page of Google. That results in thousands of views, subscribers, shares, links, and more.
Also, you’re seen as an expert in your niche and can leverage this to guest post on other sites, find speaking opportunities, and more.
And when you gain your reader’s trust that your blog content is useful, then it becomes easy to pitch your book and get them to buy it.
Just be sure to create a book that is even more amazing than your blog posts.
3. Blog consistently and often.
I recommend getting in the habit of posting twice a week, or maybe three times if you can fit this in your schedule.
Because when you do this, each new blog post is a new page and another extension of your site for someone to visit. You can easily grow to over 100 pages or more in only a year. This consistency will go a long way in growing your influence and brand.
Besides your readers who will appreciate consistent content, search engines like Google also reward this consistency by ranking your site higher. Then you will begin building a digital snowball that rolls into more visitors, views, and subscribers.
And blogging consistently shouldn’t be a challenge when you follow tip #1 by choosing a topic you’re passionate about for the long haul. All this writing will help you become a good writer.
4. Add (at least one) quality images or videos to each blog post.
Probably 10 years ago it was fine to publish a blog post with no image and call it a day. But nowadays blogging and social media have both become much more visual.
This is because the reader experience dramatically improves when your blog post has an image or two to balance out all the words. Instagram and Pinterest have gained millions of users for this very reason: people love good pictures.
So make your content and your site more memorable by adding a good picture. You know you appreciate this when you read other blogs.
Also, having a solid picture helps your marketing efforts. Because when you share your blog post on Facebook or Twitter, for example, the image will pop up and be the deciding factor for many people to click on your link or move on. If you don’t have an image, they’re less likely to click on it to see more.
And you can improve the SEO of your blog post by naming the image and making its alt text the keyword you’re targeting. These little elements all add up in getting your post more traffic.
If you’re looking for resources to find free images for your blog posts, I use these sites:
The three sites above are all free to take without issuing credit.
If you use other sites for images, be sure to be careful that you follow the rules and credit everyone you need to. Some bloggers have been sued for stealing images that were not theirs to take. You don’t want a mess like that in your life.
5. Solve a problem.
There are two different types of bloggers. Blogger 1 writes about what he or she wants and then hopes their audience likes it. Blogger 2 writes about subjects that they know their audience wants and needs solutions for their problems.
And the impact and success lean heavily in favor of Blogger 2, because he’s like a doctor who knows exactly how to treat his patient. Where Blogger 1 is asking random questions and recommending treatment for his visitor’s ankle when it’s their knee that hurts.
If you’re able to narrow down what it is your audience needs help with, and then deliver a guide or “How to” blog post that addresses this very issue, you’ll be gold. Soon your visitors will be eating out of your hand asking for more content.
And don’t just tell them what to do, but go further to also explain how to do it and why it works.
If you’re unsure about where to find the problems of your audience, you can do these things:
- Find forums where your audience participates (Reddit)
- Research what blogs in your same niche are writing about
- Do surveys with your subscribers—assuming you have an email list
- Have phone conversations with those in your target audience
And if you’re worried this will take too much effort, get excited knowing that the effort it takes to research what your audience needs and then hitting the nail on the head to solve their problems will be well worth it when you grow an army of loyal fans who trust you.
6. Get a unique and appealing website.
Maybe the loudest way to have your blog stand out is with a unique and appealing web design that visitors will remember.
Use a different kind of color scheme, layout, or blog post organization that other bloggers aren’t doing. Or make your site extremely user friendly that it’s a pleasure for them to navigate your blog and find the information they’re looking for.
They will notice the big and little design aspects, so take your time to truly find a theme that’s going to accomplish the look you want.
And to really drive the point home about the importance of your site’s design, I need to bring up Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers.com who spent a whooping $25,100 on a new blog design. Obviously the uniqueness and attractiveness of a blog means something if a professional blogger like Derek is willing to spend that amount of money on it.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars right now to make your site look pretty. That would be a terrible move for 99.9% of people.
But I would recommend you get more than a free theme and pay anywhere from $70 to $100 for a professional and attractive looking theme.
Some good options I’ve checked out in the past include:
Then when your author career and blog takes off, you can invest in a custom made web design that costs four- or five-figures. Be patient for now.
7. Be different and show your personality.
To connect with your audience and make your blog more of a casual gathering at a bar instead of a stuffy formal luncheon, it’s vital that you show your personality to your readers. Include a story from your life when making an example or tell a joke to be different.
Are you always energetic? Are you a nerd who loves crunching data and finding trends? Are you an introvert who struggles in social settings?
It doesn’t matter who you are, but more that you show your readers how you’re different and open them up to get to know you.
For example, Pat Flynn does a great job of being vulnerable as he often tells his readers about his family and every month he publishes his income for his audience to view. This goes directly against most bloggers who keep personal things like their loved ones and their income to themselves.
This isn’t to say you have to share updates on your family or your income, but find a way to show your personality and your audience will be more likely to come back to your blog.
8. Offer something free to give value to your readers.
Every blog tries to capture email addresses. A big email list makes it easy to share new posts, achieve a successful book or product launch, and communicate with your audience.
Any blogger worth their while has an opt-in box on their page to collect emails. But a blog that’s unique and valuable to its visitors will go above and beyond to offer some type of guide or product in exchange for an email address.
For example, on this site I offer a free guide titled Discover How To Find Your Book Idea In 15 Minutes Or Less. Since many people get stuck trying to find their book idea before they get started writing, this free guide is valuable enough for them to give me their email address to receive the information.
This way it’s a mutual transaction, and this helps me be different since most blogs just ask for email addresses without giving away a valuable, free offer.
9. Take controversial stands.
If you can relate some current event about a social or political cause to your niche, then feel free to write a post about it mixing in the facts and your opinion.
The people who love what you say will convert to fans and come back for more. And ironically, the people who disagree with what you said will also read more of your stuff to see what else you say next. They might even read more than your fans because you’ve ignited them.
I promise it works.
When you’re trying to be controversial, it can be helpful to think what Donald Trump would do and then follow suit. You may love him or hate him, but you can’t deny he’s a genius at getting free publicity.
This is because no one know what he’s going to say next, and that’s the appeal. Lucky for you, you’ll be writing so you can think things through more than speaking on the spot about the first thing that comes to mind.
And imagine how your career would take off if you got the same press Trump did for just one day. You would get time with national TV and radio broadcasts to the tune of millions of viewers all listening in.
Lastly, before you take this controversial topic too far—like Trump has done—there are some guidelines to keep your credibility.
First, don’t write a controversial blog post over a subject that you know little to nothing about. People will see right through you if you completely BS a statement and you will lose credibility going forward because of it.
Second, and this goes in tandem with the first rule, don’t ever throw out a controversial opinion without backing it up with some facts or anecdotes that support your opinion. The goal is to take a controversial stand and sound smart, not to say something crazy for the heck of it and leave the statement with no support.
So always backup your statements, and if you can’t then it’s a sign you shouldn’t say it. I’ve found that faking it it until you make it only works when you have a general idea of what you’re faking.
Third, there’s a fine line between making a controversial statement and being disrespectful or hateful to someone or some other party. You want your controversy to add to the conversation, and not hijack the subject to discriminate against potential readers.
Beyond that, everything else is fair limits for you to be controversial and gain exposure because of it. Do this the right way and your blog will stand out among the generalists and bland writers.
10. Respond to every blog post comment and email response.
An audience that knows you care about them and their success is rare, since many bloggers are only out for themselves.
So when you take the time to read and respond to blog post comments or emails, it shows the individual and your community that you’re listening and in it with them.
Treat your audience like individual people, instead of a number or statistic (like email subscribers) and you’ll get rewarded from it.
And if you’re a new or beginning blogger, this is where you have an advantage over the big boys and girls. They’re so big that they get drowned in emails and comments, so they can’t respond to every one and ultimately let segments of their audience down.
But since your audience is smaller, you can give them special attention and respond to every single interaction they have with your site and you.
Being an up-and-comer does have its underrated perks.
Competition is everywhere when it comes to the blogging world. From Average Joe in his basement to the Fortune 500 company, bloggers are filling the internet with their content.
While the downside may be how competitive this environment is, the upside is that this competition signals how valuable and profitable it is to blog.
So if it’s done right, then your blog can take your author career to the next level and be the foundation for your future success in other ventures if you so choose.
How do you accomplish this and make your blog stand out? Choose a topic you’re interested in, write amazing content, blog consistently, include quality images, solve a problem, have unique web design, show your personality, offer something for free, take controversial stands, and always respond to your audience.
When you focus on these 10 things, your blog will stand out and be superior to the others. Then you’ll get to celebrate the rewards of your labor!
If you already have a blog, what are the ways you make your blog stand out? What has been the most successful method of growing your audience?