Many would-be-bloggers seem to be a little lost when it comes to building and maintaining a successful blog. They are unsure of what they need to do to build a blog and take it to the next level.
There are no shortage of great blogs on the internet that you can use for inspiration. I believe that a lot can be learned by “Monkey See Monkey Do”. That does not mean you should duplicate exactly what another blog is doing. It means you should look at the blogging techniques they are using to increase subscribers and make people visit their blogs frequently. Look at things such as their blogging frequency, structure of their design, quality of articles and reader interaction.
It is easy to find older posts on a blog; which allows you to look at the content they were publishing from the start. Essentially, their archives are a timeline of their success, giving you an insight into the growth of their blog.
Today I would like to share with you some examples of great blogs that you can learn from. This is not a list of the best blogs on the internet. They are simply useful examples that I believe all bloggers can learn from.
DC Rainmaker – Helping Readers with Detailed Reviews
DC Rainmaker apparently started off like any other running blog with updates about runs and tips on nutrition. The blog has grown into something more. Whilst tri-athlete DC Rainmaker still posts about many running and travel related topics, it is his product reviews that has made his blog hugely popular with athletes.
He primarily reviews running, cycling and swimming aids, such as GPS watches and devices. His product reviews are simply amazing. He leaves no stone unturned. Most of his reviews are between 5,000 and 10,000 words long and contain dozens of photographs of the product. Whereas his competitors simply use a stock photo from the company website, he goes out of his way to take photos of the product everywhere. Swimming, hill walking, running, cycling….even on planes! All of this adds to the quality of his reviews.
His attention to detail has gained him a huge following and pushed every one of his reviews to the top of the search engine rankings. If you have ever thought about reviewing products on your blog, I encourage you to check out his product reviews. They are a great example of how quality reviews can help build a profitable blog with a high readership.
Engadget – The News Authority
Engadget is far and away the most popular tech blog on the internet. They also publish reviews, however their main focus is on news. From the very start, Engadget placed a high focus on high volume posting, sometimes publishing dozens of posts per day.
I cannot think of many tech related stories that have not been covered there. Their position as the top tech news blog grows and grows as anyone who has anything newsworthy to share makes a point of emailing Engadget about it. In turn, Engadget credit the source of all their news.
Engadget is a great example of how successful a news blog can be if it is done right. If you are considering launching a news blog, I encourage you to look closely at what Engadget are doing.
Mashable – Generating Traffic Through Trending Topics
Mashable started its life as a social media blog in 2005. It soon evolved into a magazine-style blog that covers…well, pretty much everything: tech, gadgets, lifestyle, entertainment, videos and much more.
As a reader, I do not like the direction the blog has taken. There is an emphasis of quality over quantity. Some articles are nothing more than two sentence description of a YouTube video they are publishing. I regularly avoid clicking on Mashable articles on search engine results as I know the quality of the article will be poor.
From a business point of view, the way Mashable is set up is a stroke of genius. They have integrated social media as their main strategy in gaining traffic. Every post, regardless of how good or relevant it is, is shared hundreds or thousands of times on social media websites. A big part of this success has been through following trending topics. They follow trending topics very closely. Whatever people are searching for or sharing on the internet, Mashable will cover it.
If you ever need to see an example of the traffic that can be generated from writing about “What’s Hot!”, Mashable is it.
Fluent In 3 Months – Interacting with Readers
I could have used many different examples of bloggers who interact with their readers (including the previously mentioned DC Rainmaker). In the end, I feel that Benny Lewis from Fluent In 3 Months is one of the best examples of how you can build a successful blog by interacting with readers.
Through Fluent In 3 Months, Benny “The Polyglot” attempts to become proficient in a language by travelling somewhere and absorbing himself in the culture. He frequently responds to readers comments and queries in videos and audio. I know for a fact he spends a lot of time replying to readers as he actively replies to comments on his blog, Twitter, YouTube and his forum.
I realise how time consuming it can be to interacting with readers, though it is something which I feel highly benefits blogs that have a personal touch (news blogs, not so much). If you want to see how to increase engagement and interact with readers more, I recommend checking out Fluent In 3 Months.
Zen Habits – Focused on Quality Content
It is hard to compare Zen Habits to any other blogs as there are no other blogs like it. Zen Habits owner Leo Babauta has built a hugely successful blog by not following what everyone else believes to be best practice. There are no images, no banners, no comments. The focus is all on good content.
The minimalist design of the blog means that its page size is only 6kb. This is less than 1% the size of most other blogs out there, thus ensuring a rapid page load of less than 0.5 seconds.
I have always monetised my blogs with banners. It is good to know that one size does not fit all. Zen Habits is ad-free; with all income coming from the sale of his books. If you want an example of why content is king, check out Zen Habits.
I hope you enjoyed this list of high quality blogs. They illustrate that there is more than one way to make money from blogging. If you are looking for inspiration, I encourage you to look at these blogs and see what they are doing and why. It will make you a better blogger yourself.