Guest Post by Jennifer Brown Banks
When I got word last month that my site had won a “Top Blog” Award, I was doing the happy dance here. It was the third consecutive year in a row I had managed to garner professional recognition, for what began as an experiment of sorts. Not to mention, when it comes to promoting my site through the social media scene, I admit to being somewhat of a recluse.
But as they say, “three times is a charm.” With this last one, there was more than a warm and fuzzy feelin’ and a validating experience. I had what Oprah often refers to as an “AH-HA” moment! It dawned on me that when it comes to this blogging business, I might know a thing or two that would actually be “marketable,“ in terms of helping others to get the recognition they desire and reap a return for their sweat equity.
Though the path to success may have varying routes, as it applies to other genres of writing, blogging tends to be more straight and narrow. Accordingly, I offer the following checklist for those of you seeking to encounter fewer detours on your journey.
Is your blog poised for success? Here’s how to objectively assess where you stand based upon what advertisers and influencers often look for in a blog.
If you’re on board, let’s look at your blog through different lenses.
Here are a few factors on which they‘ll likely focus. The more of these you can check off, the more you’re on point!
Does your blog have a logo, slogan, or tag line?
Not only does this enhance your site’s appearance and establish you as a professional, it helps to solidify your brand and distinguish you from the crowd.
CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN
Do you have an “About Me” page that identifies who you are and the purpose of your site? Is it written in first-person, and in a conversational tone? How about a head shot in a prominent place that reflects who you are?
Does it convey what readers can expect to “take-away” in exchange for their time? Contrary to popular opinion, an effective “About Me” page is not really about you; it’s about your audience.
FOCUS AND EASE OF NAVIGATION
Can visitors easily determine your blog’s theme and intended readership? Or do you have topics from art to zoology addressed in your posts? Do you have tabs and labels for easy navigation? Or once there, are readers trapped in a virtual maze? Keep in mind that many times advertisers are trying to strategically target a specific demographic with their products and services. If they can’t figure out yours in the first few minutes of visiting your site, you’ve lost them in more ways than one.
EVIDENCE OF SOCIAL PROOF
Social proof can come in many forms. It can be written testimonials from satisfied customers, or a gadget on your site that reveals how many Tweets you have from your “peeps." According to Hubspot.com’s marketing blog, “Your product or service could be the best in the world, and it's okay to lay that claim -- it's just that people may not believe you unless they hear it from other people, too. And that's exactly what social proof does.”
THE ENGAGEMENT FACTOR
Though good writing can sometimes be subjective, one of the best metrics for blog success is how your words resonate with readers in the way of feedback. How active is your blog community? Do readers respond to your posts through questions, suggestions, ongoing discussions and thoughtful threads? These are things to consider.
FREQUENCY OF UPDATES
A regularly updated site shows discipline, commitment, and consideration for your blog followers. Bloggers who are here today and gone tomorrow confuse readers, come across as amateurs, and lose the potential opportunity to build a solid platform and a supportive fan base. Do you blog on a regular schedule? Or is it typically whenever the mood hits you?
Sporadic blog posting can be counterproductive, and cause bloggers to work “harder, not smarter.”
If you’re looking to “win friends and influence people” these factors are crucial for future blog success. Incorporate them in your strategic efforts to reach new heights and new goals.
Jennifer Brown Banks is an award-winning blogger, ghost writer, and relationship columnist. For more than a decade, her work has appeared in print and online publications such as: Today's Black Woman Magazine, Honey, Pro Blogger, and Women on Writing.
Learn more at http://Penandprosper.blogspot.