A while ago, I wrote a post called the Makings of a Great Blog. I still like that post,and I still agree with what I wrote two years ago now.
Now I know a lot more of the blogging community than I did back then. Though I’ve always followed a lot of horse blogs, I feel more a part of the community now. I talk to lots of bloggers on a daily basis, and if I’m being honest I’m being more choosy in what blogs I read and follow religiously (it’s no longer 302 like that post says).
So what makes a good one? How do you go from 0 followers to a million bajillion (sidenote: I don’t have a million bajillion followers)?
The truth is, there really is no formula. You can do a lot of things to help, like write posts that you think Google search will index highly and therefore bring readers to your site. You can create infographics. You can spend money on Facebook ads. Really, you can do all sorts of things… but it’s harder to pinpoint than all of the tried and true marketing staples.
Dependable content is still great. You don’t have to be a daily poster, but don’t write for two weeks straight of posts and then disappear for six months. Find your rhythm, and keep it consistent.
Your voice is not my voice, and my voice is not your voice. Don’t copy what you see has a lot of followers and perceived to be popular. We all can’t be Ainsley Carter. L. Williams can’t be me and I can’t be Carly even though I wish I could be as funny as her. Maybe your forte is writing really detailed training posts about your shows or lessons. That’s not my voice or my preference, but you’ll build your own audience who just loves reading what you write. A shorter way to phrase this entire paragraph is don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole. Find your voice and be true to who you are.
A blog is a discussion between a writer and their audience. I firmly believe that the beauty of social media is that it creates a conversation between a content source (blog) and an audience (readers). Sometimes I write posts that are merely a status update, but more times than not I try to write something that will facilitate a conversation. That’s why you see a lot of my posts end in a question or be about some ambiguous horse topic that could be interpreted a million different ways. Honestly, it’s great for driving comments up… but furthermore I think there is often more value in the comments of my blog posts than my blog. My readers are a really smart, articulate bunch!
A blog is not a journal. Some may disagree with me, but I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re writing a blog with the goal of getting readers and followers you have to treat it differently than what it’s name implies – web log. If your goal has nothing to do with readers and comments, rock on with whatever you want to do!
It does not hurt to have a cute or unusual horse. Personally? I love pintos. LOVE THEM. I dream of pinto sport horses… so naturally I’m pretty drawn to Our House on a Hill because Foster is amazing and I’m going to steal him. This doesn’t mean I hate your blog if you have a plain bay Thoroughbred (you know, like my horse…) but sometimes you just get lucky because some readers will naturally like your horse/dog/discipline/farm more than other blogs. That’s life.
Spread positivity. Being a blogger means being a part of the blogging community, and you might now always agree with what’s going on. It try to go by the “Thumper” philosophy – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuttin’ at all. Leaving snarky comments on another blog or attacking a blogger in some way is usually not a good way to get traffic.
Don’t hold back. That doesn’t mean go crazy and start spreading barn gossip on the internet, but be bold. Stir up a little controversy! Try something new! E-mail that online retailer who you’d like to host a giveaway for… you never know what can happen. If you don’t try new stuff, you’ll never know how far you can push your little online world.
Those are just a few of my talking points, but there are tons more. What do you like in a blog?
See, there I go again asking questions!