What Makes a Blog Popular?

Coronation of the Queen

Written by Wendy McCance

Some bloggers have been asking me why their blog might not be getting much traffic. If readers are checking out their blog, the question has been why there aren’t many comments.

Besides the issues discussed in my article,
Some Secrets I’d Like to Share About Blogging http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/some-secrets-id-like-to-share-about-blogging/
I can say there are a few more reasons you might not be getting the response you are hoping for.

Below are 5 additional reasons you might not be getting the response to your blog that you are hoping for.

1.  You have a niche blog.

The best example I can give is that of my second blog, Adventures in Real Estate at: http://wendyworkinginrealestate.wordpress.com  I figured that with the housing market the way it has changed, and so many people in a transition (rental homes are extremely popular right now), that it would be a no brainer.  I figured this new blog would be even more popular than this one.  I was so very wrong.

I’ll just lay all my cards on the table and say that I started the second blog May 2012.  To this day, my biggest day for views topped out at 77 views for the day.  My average day sees about 19 views.  Think about how many months I have been plugging away since I began the second blog.  This is because my blog is aimed at a very small audience.  I hadn’t realized how small this audience would be until I had worked on the blog for some time.

I also rarely see comments unless it’s from a new real estate agent who appreciates learning what to expect in the business or someone in a transition (thinking of buying or selling a home).  For most, there is no reason to comment.  The reader is just picking up some information and moving on.  There is nothing that personally strikes a chord.  There is just not much to say about what they have read because it is just to gain some information.

In comparison, my blog, Searching for the Happiness began in February 2012 and by April 2012, I was seeing enormous change.  I had just hit on something that was relatable and people wanted to continue to read.

The takeaway is that you never know what will become popular or what will fall flat until you try out your idea.  Honestly, I think that’s part of the fun of a blog.  It’s challenging to find an idea that people will enjoy.  It’s all part of the creative process.

2.  Have a central theme.

I have been to blogs where there is so much someone wants to share, that it gets confusing.  A blog about family life with pages dedicated to recipes, crafts and stories about your kids should work nicely.

If your blog is part personal stories and part chapters of fiction from the book you are writing, you need to make sure it’s obvious which is which and tie it together.  I am embarrassed to say that I have read blogs like this where I read some of the fiction portion and didn’t realize it wasn’t a real life experience until a post or two later.

To tie the two together, you might want a page that shows the process.  Mix how you felt and what you did and then give a snippet of what you ended up writing.  Just make sure readers know the snippet is the fiction portion.

3.  You need to consistently write posts to get an audience.

I have had people reach out for help saying that they are not getting anyone to visit their blog after 4 months of writing (for example).  I would go check out the blog and would see 2 posts their first month, 4 posts their second month, 1 post their third month and 6 posts the month I checked it.

If you aren’t writing fairly regularly, your blog will sit with no views.   Each time you post an article, your post circulates through your personal efforts at advertising and through the WordPress site (if that’s what you are using).  In between this time, it just sits.

If you start to get interest and people check back just to see that same article days or weeks later, the interest will begin to die out.

4.  The name of your blog should be the same name as your blog address.

When I wrote my second blog, Adventures in Real Estate, that name wasn’t an option for my blog address.  I was so sold on that title, that I went with a different name for the address.  Wendy Working in Real Estate is what I used (http://wendyworkinginrealestate.wordpress.com) to be exact.

It was a horrible idea.  I just couldn’t give up that snappy title.  I know I don’t get as much traffic because readers don’t know how to reach me.  If you can’t or don’t want to use your blogs title for the address, at least use your name so that people can google you.

5.  Grammar really does count.

There have been blogs I have seen that are either full of spelling errors, or just don’t make sense when read.  As long as you use spell check and reread your blog to make sure it flows nicely and is understandable to the reader, you should be fine.  You don’t need to spend hours on your post, but rushing through and posting as soon as you type that last word is a recipe for mistakes to occur.

I know I said there would be 5 reasons, but I thought of one more important point I just had to mention.

6.  Make sure everything works properly on your blog.

I have learned from experience that you should always check links and those pictures that can be clicked on.  What’s the use of adding links someone might enjoy if they don’t work properly.  That’s just going to annoy your reader.

I hope this post has been helpful.  I have had to tweak areas of my blog many times and can relate.  How else would I know some of the pitfalls?  Just take care to do what you need to so that your blog comes across as flawless as possible and move on.  As for me, my blog is always going to be a work in progress.  There’s so much I still need to learn myself.  Thankfully I have some great people reading my blog who are generous enough to give me pointers as well. 🙂

 

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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42 thoughts on “What Makes a Blog Popular?

  1. Great points!

    When it comes to selecting your URL I wnet with my name (http://JonDHarrison.com) but the site title is “Helping You Succeed.”

    I think if you have a site name that is a bit different than your url AND your url is your name, that might be an exception.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great article Wendy! I am new at this blogging-thing and trying to get as much input as possible. Do you ever take a look at someone’s blog and give a little personal advice–I would relish the input!

    Tom

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  5. Thanks Wendy! These were great ideas! I found myself going back and checking my blog to make sure I hit all of them. I am so glad you mentioned grammar. Maybe it’s the teacher in me but I hate grammatical errors. (I always have trouble on Twitter because I hate to leave out letters or use text-speak just to fit my thoughts into 140 characters!) Of course I’m guilty of them too, so I’m certainly not throwing stones. However, I find it frustrating to try and decipher meaning when I can’t quite figure out if “It’s time to eat, Grandma” or “Its time to eat Grandma.” Big difference!
    Vicky

  6. Thank you Wendy. That is some sound advice to us who seem to be in a fog with respect to a blog, that will attract visitors. So far, I have had 1,000 visitors, which to me is nothing to brag about. Your ideas will be put to use, and hopefully, they will attract more visits. Blessings.

      • It’s also important to look at reader engagement, not pure traffic. For perspective my highest traffic Day on my more popular blog was 4138 views. However, most people hit my blog for one of three specific articles, and then they’re gone forever. I don’t have a fraction the regular readers/commenters as Wendy, which I think is at least as important.

        My point is, don’t get hung up on how many ghosts are passing through your site, it’s the one’s with names and faces who count.

  7. Hi Wendy – great post and very informative. Gives me ideas on what I need to do to attract more traffic. I see a rise in interest occasionally depending on the story but still in the lower range like your real estate blog.

    I think a couple reasons after reading your post may be because it’s more of a niche and I only write a post once a week or so. I’ll work on getting more consistent content posted.

    I’ve been taking a leap with my first attempt with my guest interview and hopefully sometime this year add a video or two telling a story. Also have ideas on another e-book and preparing a manifesto which will add more content to my site.

    If you have any other suggestions on ways I can improve and attract more traffic I’m open and listening. Again, thank you for the gifts you give in the writing your stories with the wide range of life topics you cover. I enjoy it and learn a lot from you.

  8. Thank you Wendy, some days I wonder why I don’t get as much traffic as I do, but then I realize the people who have found my blog are ones who I enjoy talking to regularly and I’m not sure I would want it any other way.

  9. You cover it all very well. I agree that you just never know what will give people something to come back for. I initially started with how frustrating the job search was and quickly discovered no one was interested. I had written a story adding one of my illustrations and it was my highest page view ever. I decided to continue to do those and that was all she wrote. I have since added recipes and wine with an art page describing how I create my illustrations. They all tie together with “It’s all about life! sharing food, wine, art and life stories”. I am currently involved in rebranding my site for that very reason. 🙂

  10. Thank you for your invaluable input, Wendy. My blog is embedded into my website, and the new posts appear in “My corner” and “Blogroll”. The latter is for other writers to promote their work, and there’s a new guest every week. I write myself in the former, although I occasionally “lend” it too, if the guest needs to write about herself AND publish an excerpt from a book. This is the case right now.
    The visits show peaks. Some people are more interested in certain subjects than in others. The big question is, is there any blog that is regularly visited without our announcements? I’d say “no”, but am looking forward to your experience in the subject.

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