Today I want to share with you eight phenomenal blogs whose authors managed to uncover a smarter way to blog.
Reading and watching these blogs’ progress and gain in popularity make me question myself as a blogger, the purposefulness and usefulness of my blog. They make my inner voice loud and clear: “Vivien, if you don’t smarten up and start paying more attention to your blog, one day soon you’ll wake up to only a few dozens of RSS readers of your blog, who’d stay with you only because they’re your friends and won’t have a heart to unsubscribe”. (oh, yeah, smarty pants… will you be the one taking care of my family, work and clients then?… but then there are others who have jobs and families, and somehow they do manage to find time for everything, so I guess it’s time for me to stop making the excuses and learn, learn from others, from those who found the smarter ways to blog.)
1. Become part of the blogiverse before launching your own blog
If only I could turn back the time when I started this blog, I would do exactly what Lauren Marie did before launching her very informative blog CreativeCurio. She made a name for herself by actively commenting and participating in discussions on various blogs before starting blogging herself. It looked like she was everywhere, showing up on many blogs as one of the Top Commentators. She also appeared as a guest writer on a couple of blogs, including Inspiration Bit. After only a few months she already made many friends among bloggers and everybody was impatiently waiting for Lauren to launch her own graphic design blog. So from the very first post on CreativeCurio she already had a big and loyal following. Lauren continues her lively participation on other blogs and she never ceases to amaze me with her knowledge and valuable posts on CreativeCurio.
2. Explore and be active with Social Networks
This is definitely something that I have yet to work on – my social networks. I do have accounts on digg, del.icio.us, flickr, facebook, reddit and a few others, but I never quite managed to study and use them more efficiently and incorporate to my blogging life. Brian Auer however has cleverly integrated his social networking skills with blogging strategies and turned his photography blog Epic Edits Weblog into a successful site, always sharing with his readers what are his favourite photography blogs, which Flickr photographers does he admire and brings his readers together to work on various interesting photography projects that are immediately dugg to Digg’s front page.
3. Get a clone and guest write on as many popular blogs as you can
This newcomer to the blogging scene has already managed to blow me off my seat. Skellie has launched her blog Skelliewag only in July 2007, but she already has over 1100 RSS subscribers who can’t get enough of her practical posts. Her biggest achievement though is that she’s already a regular contributor on such popular blogs like Problogger, Copyblogger, DailyBlogTips, Zen Habits, NorthxEast and several others. Skellie, could you please share with us where did you order a clone for yourself, how do you manage to be here, there and everywhere?
4. Blog for business
With today’s obsession of many bloggers to blog for money, blogs that are cleverly used to attract more business are slowly but surely securing their place in the modern business model. David Airey is a perfect example of how a graphic designer can not only find time to host a successful blog but also use it to attract more clients for his expanding business. David has certainly refined the art of advertising his design skills and portfolio by making it helpful for thousands of his readers. His tips on the creative process behind designing a logo for clients have become somewhat legendary.
5. Convey your passion to the readers
Try searching for the term “typography” on Google, and you’ll get more than 26 million results, but the link #7 would be the one and only typography site that will turn you into a Typoholic and add you to the list of over 5000 RSS Typenuts on iLoveTypography.com. John Boardley has achieved something that many bloggers can only dream of. In only a couple of months he became one of the most authoritative figures in his niche, he’s a sought after blogger whom many high ranked bloggers can’t wait to guest write on their blogs. What was so different about John’s blog? After all it wasn’t a totally unique idea, there are many typography sites online. His mind-blowing success is another proof that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to make your mark in life, just be passionate and know how to transcend your fascination with your favourite subjects onto others.
6. Pick a catchy and familiar name with a twist for your blog and be proactive
Many bloggers desperately want to become a problogger and learn all the tricks and tips from PROs on how to monetize their blogs and make it as big as Darren himself. There were many who are preaching that content is everything, that it’s a king you have to worship. Then comes this young guy, Michael Martin, and starts convincing everyone that “Content is King of course, but does the King get the attention he deserves when draped in ragged garments?”. First he comments on LOTS of blogs, then he finally launches his own blog, with an oh, so familiar title, but adds his own twist to it and calls it ProBlog Design, where he talks how to professionally address the design of our blogs. Afterwards he pitches several articles to the ProBlogger himself and the rest is history. He launched his blog in August 2007, received his first comment from none other but Liz Strauss, and is listed on blogrolls of several famous sites including Smashing Magazine.
7. Hire professional writers for your blog
Freelancing has never been as popular as it is now. There’s lots of information online on this subject, yet there hasn’t been one dedicated site with helpful articles directed at freelancers until FreelanceSwitch was launched in April 2007. One of the blog’s founders was Collis Ta’eed who at that time was running a personal blog, but later converted it into a popular blog about blogging NorthxEast, that was put up for auction in September on SitePoint and was sold for a whopping $8,200 on October 5, 2007. FreelanceSwitch has seven Regular Writers and eleven Casual Contributors, so keeping up with daily posts is not a problem at all. They also started a Job Board for Freelancers, a Forum, and recently published a book, A Complete How To Guide to Freelance. Looks like FreelanceSwitch doesn’t need to see a light at the end of the tunnel, the entire tunnel is brightly lit for them.
8. Start posting daily tips
Just please, no more tips on blogging – Daniel Scocco from DailyBlogTips had that idea first and turned it into a successful blogging empire in less than a year. Now he doesn’t have to blog daily anymore, he’s got all those guest writers who are happy to write for his blog. But since Daniel is such a hard working guy, he started another blog, this time with DailyWritingTips, although it’s only half as popular as its predecessor. I guess bloggers don’t really like to spend much time on improving their grammar. So if you want to follow Daniel’s steps to success, then be proactive and launch DailyDesignTips (you know what? just out of curiousity I checked this domain and it’s available, so sorry folks, but I just purchased it. when will I have time to do anything with it, that’s another story) or DailyFoodTips or DailyBusinessTips – you got the idea :-)
So here you go, do you have any other smarter ways to blog?
A couple of things that I noticed with those blogs is that some of them hit it really big with their huge one hundred one or ten lists in the very beginning of their blogging career, like 101 Essential Freelancing Resources, or 110 Resources For Creative Minds, or 101 Blog Tips I learned in 2006.
And guess what was the #101 tip on Daniel’s list? Right – “create a 101 list” :-)
Another thing is that most of those bloggers are very down to earth and answer to most if not all readers’ comments. So good luck to all of you. I’m definitely learning a lot from all those bloggers. Now if I could only get rid of this terrible cold of mine and learn how to squeeze 36 hours into a 24 hours day, then I would have a better chance to try out some of the things I’ve learned in practice.