Back in May, I started the #BlogHappyChallenge, which is a two-week email challenge designed to help frustrated bloggers learn to “blog happy” again. One of the complaints I hear most from bloggers is that they often find blogging “frustrating” and “complicated.” The #BlogHappyChallenge is designed to help us bloggers get to a place where we find joy in our blogs again. When blogging seems frustrating, it’s hard to devote time to it, and it’s really difficult to come up with blog post ideas. The #BlogHappyChallenge is designed to make blogging feel easier by focusing on bringing joy back to blogging.
The #BlogHappyChallenge got such positive feedback that I relaunched it this month. For almost two weeks, I’ve sent bloggers an email every day challenging them to do little things like write a mission statement for their blogs (also known as a blog manifesto) and identify their ideal readers. These challenges are designed to make blogging feel easier by focusing on bringing joy back to blogging—not focusing directly on numbers or sales, but focusing on bringing bloggers to a place where blogging brings them joy and not frustration.
It’s my firm belief that you can’t be a successful blogger and run a successful blog without “blogging happy.” But what is a successful blog, really? Well, a successful blog experiences growth, either in the size of its community, or in the meaningfulness of its content. Second, a successful blog is supported by an engaged community that leaves comments, shares posts with others, and participates in blog-sponsored events or activities. And third, a successful blog brings happiness to its readers, and to the blogger, by inspiring readers and providing bloggers with the satisfaction that comes with having a positive impact on other people’s lives.
You don’t have to have an enormous following or tons of brand partnerships to have a successful blog. But you do need the 10 things I’m going to share with you! Over the course of a few weeks, I’ve put together a list of the 10 things that I think every blog needs in order to be truly successful. They’re not in any particular order, but I don’t think you can leave out any one of these things and have a truly successful blog. That’s right—you need all 10. Sure, that’s a big statement, but I stand by it!
In this post, I’ll share the first 5 things on my list, and then we’ll talk about the other 5 things in a future BLOG HAPPY post (I’ll link to it here). Like I said, this list took me a few weeks to think through, and I’d be really interested in hearing what you think!
10 Things Every Successful Blog Needs
1 // Consistently engaging content.
I’ve spoken about why it’s important to blog consistently before, and I’m saying it again now because it really is that important! Not only is posting on a regular schedule a good way to grow your blog and increase your readership, but it’s also important to consistently put out high-quality and engaging posts that are relevant to your audience. If you only post quality content once in a while, then you’re not blogging as successfully as you could be.
2 // Appealing aesthetics and design.
We humans are visual creatures. As such, even if you’re saying the most profound and thought-provoking and inspirational things in the world on your blog, you won’t get the level of interaction you’re looking for if your blog is visually unappealing. An aesthetically pleasing (but not overly visually stimulating) website will do so much for increasing your blog’s level of success. So will high-quality photos and good branding. Not everyone is design savvy, so it’s okay to hire someone to take care of this for you. Or you can learn a few coding/web design tricks for free online if you do a little research. Every time there’s been a website redesign at The Feisty House, I’ve been the one who’s done it! And every time I’ve redesigned my blog, I’ve seen an overall increase in my readership (and more attention from brands…you know, if that’s your thing!)
3 // A clear focus.
Blogging about anything and everything that comes to mind is not only going to frustrate you, but it’s also going to confuse everyone who visits your blog. Most people visit their favorite blogs for specific reasons. Successful blogs are written with a clear focus directly targeted at its ideal readers. You may think it’s limiting to focus yourself and find your niche, but it’s really just the opposite. Until you put yourself into a specific niche, you’re not going to be focused at all, and if you’re not focused, you’re not going to be able to blog. If you’re blogging without focus, you’re not blogging happy, and your blog can’t be successful. So don’t think of focusing your blog as limiting yourself. Instead, think of it as concentrating on what it is that you were put on this earth to share.
4 // Content that meets a need.
A successful blog is made up of content that meets a need. First and foremost, it meets your need as a blogger to creatively express yourself. Second, it meets the need of those who come to your blog seeking inspiration, information, encouragement, entertainment, comfort—whatever the need, a successful blog is able to consistently meet those needs for its target audience and build a loyal following as a result.
5 // Fresh ideas and a unique perspective.
I’ve been tweeting a lot about this lately. Look, you can take the easy way out and just copy another blogger’s moves, or you can genuinely inspire your readers by sharing your point of view, your fresh ideas, and your unique perspective. Your ideal reader is coming to your blog to hear your unique voice. If you stop doing that, you’re doing your readers a disservice, and you can’t write a successful blog without dedicated readers.
Let me know what you think about the list so far… and don’t forget to read Part 2!