Many bloggers dream of reaching a point where their blog is considered an authority in their niche. Where users point to them and say, now that’s a blog that knows what it’s talking about. Where growth happens easily and naturally, and where reputation lends itself to further growth. For many bloggers, all of this is just a dream, but for the dedicated few, it can become reality. All you need is a plan, ambition, tenacity and the willingness to experiment. To help with the first bit, the plan, here are 20 top tips to grow your site from a figment of your imagination to an industry authority.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re building your site on a strong foundation. This means picking a good host, establishing tight security, designing a powerful layout and even choosing a catchy URL. Your branding guides your future path to authority, so you need to start on a good first step.
This is probably the single most common tip on every blog about how to succeed in blogging. You need quality content to promote around the web. If you don’t have quality content, you’ll never become an authority. Look around at other sites you want to imitate, and strive to create content as valuable or better than theirs.
The one thing every authority site has in common is a frequent update schedule. You’ll never find an authority blog posting irregularly once or twice each week. Instead, you’ll find blog after blog updating every day or, in the case of multi-author blogs, several times every day. A regular schedule keeps users coming back for more.
Facebook is the single largest social media site on the Internet. It’s home to millions of people spending billions of hours interacting with friends, families, businesses and bloggers. It’s a crowd, but it’s one of your best resources for growing an audience. Establish a presence and share your content to expose as many people as possible.
Google+ is second only to Facebook in terms of size, but it has a number of other valuable uses. Among these are the fast indexing that comes with sharing on a Google property, and the easy implementation of Google Authorship, which gives you a visible byline and customize snippets in search results. Invaluable for an authority site.
Twitter rounds out the holy trinity of critically important social media networks. Unlike the other two, it’s best used throughout the day. Setting up Twitter on a mobile device and using it when messages come in puts you ahead of the curve in terms of response times and user interaction. Done properly, it’s a fast track ticket to high visibility.
Whether it’s on social media or in your comments section, you need to interact with and engage your users. You need to get them to think of you beyond the surface of the content you post. You need to convince them you, the person behind the content, are the one with the insights and the value. Only by being an authority yourself can you present your blog as an authority.
Video content is easier than ever to produce, but it’s still widely regarded as a sign of intense effort. The average user doesn’t quite realize how easy it is to pick up and make a video. Unfortunately, neither does the average blogger. Video content works well to supplement blog posts, and can even become a secondary income stream through YouTube monetization.
Readers skim posts, even posts written on authority sites. These sites know this, and they format their posts for the best ease of skimming possible. Frequent subtitles, short sentences packed with value and compelling titles are all par for the course. Bolded points, pull quotes and bulleted lists are also valuable. Don’t forget graphics to break up and enhance text!
The best SEO today is good content, but that doesn’t mean it’s all you need to think about. You still need to care about keywords for topic guidance, titles and descriptions for rich snippets on the search results page and building a natural link profile. Don’t think for a second that authority sites got where they are today without a keen eye on SEO.
Pinterest wasn’t up there with the big three social media sites, but it can be incredibly useful in certain niches. It’s also incredibly easy to accommodate; just use the official plugin to make it easy to pin your images, fit them with suitable alt text and design them for maximum value.
At some point, your gaze needs to turn beyond the boundaries of your blog itself. Industry authority blogs are always interviewing other blog owners, taking contributions from known writers and generally building a reputation with networking beyond their content. Blogging is not a solo sport; building relationships is incredibly important.
This ties in to interviewing industry leaders, but works better as your blog gains more of an equal footing. Networking with other blogs allows you to regularly exchange links and quotes without fear of confrontation, though such confrontation is rare as it is. It forms a mutually beneficial relationship and helps build valuable links.
If you’re the sole writer for your blog, or if you’re one of many but have long-established authorship, you can branch out and offer your opinions on other blogs. This helps widen your audience, establish backlinks and build relationships with other blogs. Plus, guest posts can occasionally be lucrative, either direction from compensation or indirectly through the expanded audience.
As your blog grows, it will become a valuable target for other, smaller blogs to use in the same way you use larger blogs. Offering guest post slots benefits you in that it gives you free content, it helps you build links and it establishes relationships with writers who may be as influential as you in the future.
Authority blogs have one thing in common; they have their finger on the pulse of the world around them and they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They experiment. They perform case studies. They dig into statistics and present their findings to the world. Digging deep into the issues provides value where other blogs just leave superficial comments.
It is growing increasingly important in the world of blogging to have a quick, insightful response to breaking news. In many cases, the first opinion to circulate becomes one of the most popular, as users look for news and commentary and share the first real post they find. Comment quickly, then go back to experiment and dig more deeply, to enhance your comment.
As your blog grows, you gain a dedicated following. You need to use that following to make money. It’s entirely possible to run a successful blog and make a living, support the costs of the blog and earn a profit without a day job. Smart blogs diversify their income streams amongst ad campaigns, affiliates, products and resource sales.
And it all comes back to the blog. The money earned by the blog can, in part, be used to further improve the blog. Hire additional writers, pay for valuable tools, purchase a new design; it can all be leveraged to grow above and beyond where a small budget can take you.
At some point, you just might wake up, step back an realize you’ve made it. Your blog is in a position of authority. People look to you and say, wow, that writer really knows what’s up. Maybe all it takes is a different perspective.