How to become a successful blogger

Are you one of those who have loads of pages to say or write, but still lack enough knowledge about blogging? Do you think that blogging is quite a difficult task that only a selected few experts could do?
or do you have a great blog with quality posts, but lack regular visitors as you have no clue about how to make your blog easily searchable to the online community (in other words SEO) ?

If your answer to any of the above questions is affirmative, then this article is for you. Blogging is not at all a difficult task, all you have to do is take care of a few basic ingredients. These ingredients are:

[1] Have something good to write: The single most important rule on the internet is "Content is King". If you can write original content on a subject that people want to read, then you rule, period. Of course, this is also subject to the rules of demand/supply as we will see in the SEO ingredient which is next.

But the most important skill you need to blog is the art of writing on any topic. This could be either your area of expertise in which you don't have to think hard, or in other words, research is ready at hand. Alternatively, you may also write about your hobbies or other topics that interest you after doing some research on them.

As an example, I have a blog about .NET Programming which is my core area of expertise. This blog, on the other hand, is about my hobbies that include Blogging and Economics among other things.

[2] Obey the rule of Demand/Supply (SEO): While having something good to write is a necessary condition for writing, it is not the sufficient condition. Apart from writing skills, you also want to consider something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Assuming that you have performed your technical homework properly by making your blog visible to the search engines (this is the default setting for most blogging platforms such as wordpress.org and blogger.com), the next questions you will have to ask yourself are:
       (i) How many articles/texts are already written on exactly the same topic that I'm going to write?
       (ii) What are the relevant keywords by which a user can find me through search engines, and does my article convey the relevant message to that user?

These questions relate to the ancient law of demand/supply. You could be an excellent author on the subject, but unless your work is in demand, no one is going to visit your blog. You can get an idea of prevailing demand for your topic by doing a few simple common-sense things such as:
       (i) Do a google search on your topic of interest (for example vb.net, asp.net, c-sharp, mysql, etc..) and see what is already written on this topic. Are all results on first page quality pages having professional content which is much better than yours? In that case, this topic is "over-saturated", or supply is much more than demand. Either write on another topic or find another niche or sub-topic around your primary topic.
       (ii) Search your topic keywords in google trends and see what has been the trend or demand for this keyword over a period of time.
       (iii) If you can spare some time for some serious SEO research, then use the Google Keyword Tool. This amazingly simple tool from Google shows the average number of queries per month (Keyword demand) for each keyword you enter. It shows both global and local results.
       (iv) To learn more about SEO, you may like to visit the following good sites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
http://www.seomoz.org/
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html

[3] Earn the internet currency: Links to your blog/site from other web-sites are considered while evaluating your blog's ranking by the search engines. In other words, links are deemed as credentials or currency in the online world. In the initial stages, you won't be having many links to your blog, so you will have to earn this currency by posting about your blog on various social-networking sites, forums, community sites, etc.. Linked-in and Facebook are very helpful in this regard!

[4] Build up the momentum and never let it die. The more frequently you update your content, better the chances of your success. Make a habit of writing every day, every week, every month or whatever frequency permits you, but be regular. The web is always hungry  for information, and search-engines cater the relevant and recently updated information first.

[5] Keep enhancing your research/observation skills. Always keep a habit of learning something new wherever you go, from whoever you meet, from all circumstances in your life.

Some topics need in-depth and latest research. So, thoroughly research them before writing. Writing a good piece is a thoughtful process consisting of various stages such as research, preparation, incubation, proof-reading, etc... You will have to sleep over your research, to get some new or derived inspiration from it. Read this article to know more about these stages:
 The Five Phases of Creative Writing

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