How You Can Build a Blog That Stands Out Among the Millions

blue fuzzy bugs and one pink oneDo you have an idea for a blog — but you feel like it’s too late to start one?

After all, there are so many blogs out there already, with a head start on yours. More than 6.7 million of them, as a matter of fact.

This issue was on Glori’s mind recently:

I’m a new blogger and freelance writer and I run a blog called the Crazy Introvert: Surviving and enjoying the quiet life. Basically, it’s a blog about the introvert personality and how I try to survive this very extroverted world.

Here are my questions:

How do you pen words that do not just get mixed in with all the rest?

How do you write a blog without getting lost?

How do you successfully get your message across?–Glori Surban

How to overcome fear of blogging failure

I know this feeling.

When I started this blog in 2008, I saw that I was way behind the curve. Lots of big, successful blogs were already out there! Especially in my niche of freelance writing.

But there was room for one more, that came with a passion for fair pay for writers.

I believe there is always room for a fresh, unique new voice in the blogosphere, especially from a writer that’s willing to work hard.

It’s never too late to get started. Five years from now, no doubt great new blogs will emerge.

To say it’s too late is like if the writers of The Walking Dead or 30 Rock said it’s too late to create a hit TV show, there’s already been so many.

The fact that there have been other hit blogs only tells you that this is a medium that works as a platform on which to base your business. Not that the world has run out of interest in blogs! Far from it.

People are always hungry for new ideas, new voices, fresh new ideas…and sparkly new blogs. That’s why your blog can still come from nowhere and succeed in attracting an audience.

How? Here are my tips:

  • Be you. Remember that no one else can bring your unique voice to the blogosphere. Don’t copy other bloggers you admire, especially their style of writing — just be your own authentic self. People love that. By spotlighting her quiet personality, Glori is bringing a different attitude to blogging than many of the brash, snarky, in-your-face blogs we all know. That’s fresh. Your unique point of view won’t get “mixed in” with everyone else’s. The trick is to find your slant, your position that stands out. In a world of brash bloggers such as The Blog Tyrant, Glori’s idea is different.
  • Write a mission statement. Too many blogs discuss every topic under the sun. It’s hard to build an audience around that. Focus your blog — write down what it will be about. Then, put that mission into the headline or tagline of your blog, and stick to your subject. Wandering off topic tends to make readers leave.
  • Learn how to write blog headlines. I’ve reviewed hundreds of blogs, and only a handful knew how to write strong, attention-getting headlines. Strong headlines are an easy way to stand out. This is a specialized skill that’s worth taking time to learn.
  • Write your ass off. That’s how you will learn to write a compelling post that conveys your ideas — simply doing it, over and over. Clarity of expression comes from a ton of writing practice.
  • Talk to your readers. Most blogs are all about the writer — they’re like an online private diary. Which is generally boring as heck. Instead, focus on readers. Find out what readers need and how you can help, like I’m doing with this writers’ Q&A post. Then, deliver that. You’ll immediately set your blog apart.
  • Connect with influential bloggers. As my mentor Jon Morrow once pointed out to me, great new bloggers aren’t born — they’re appointed, by the current crop of bloggers who already have big audiences. They can mention you on their blog or retweet you, or you might guest post on their blog, and find a ton of new readers. Your voice can be fresh and vital, but without someone powerful turning a spotlight on it, you could blog away in obscurity for a long time.

 How do you make your blog stand out? Leave us your tips in the comments.

 

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49 comments on “How You Can Build a Blog That Stands Out Among the Millions
  1. Glori Surban says:

    Thank you so much, Carol!

    This couldn’t have been more timely. I’ve been seriously thinking about letting my blog go for the past several weeks. But just recently, I took a serious look at why I felt that way and I realized my reasons were pretty lame.

    You, Sophie Lizard, Oni, and all the other bloggers inspire me and I love reading all you give to beginning writer like me. But I also unknowingly compare myself to your greatness, which is pointless.

    I needed a change in mindset. I need to be realistic, work with what I have, learn, and then get to it.

    I will apply every single thing you mentioned here and keep you updated. This comment shall be my “accountability wall.”

    Thank you and I hope others can learn from your answers just as much as I did. :)
    Glori Surban recently posted..Introvert Guide | How to Survive Holiday Parties Unscathed

  2. Are you willing to go the extra mile? Are you willing to work long hours? Are you willing to stick with it until you break through? Then it’s never too late to start your blog.

    The truth is that NO one can replace the unique voice that’s you. You have a unique passion. You have a unique experience. Pick a unique slant and target a unique customer and you are in business.
    Chimezirim Odimba recently posted..How To Make $10k Every 90 Days — Smart Hard Work Required

  3. As a beginning blogger, i know how Glori feels, it can be overwhelming at times and discouraging with all the superstar blogs out there.

    I’m in the process of “niching- down” my site to be more specific so I’ m not covering different topics all the time.

    I hear you should focus on being dominant in a small pond before taking on the big pond.
    Joe Cassandra recently posted..Art of Salesmanship 2 of 4 : The Crystal Ball Effect

  4. I think the most important thing you can do, besides creating good content, is connect with other bloggers. It\s true no matter what industry your blog falls under. Write on other bloggers’ posts, with comments that really mean something and add to the conversation. You have to establish your blog first, but then it’s exactly like it is out in the real world – it’s who you know as much as it is what you know.
    Brittany Westerberg recently posted..Muse, where are you? Me against my writing.

  5. Carol, you mentioned giving your blog a mission statement.

    Well, for the static pages of my website I decided on the strapline ‘Make every word work for you’. This works well for my proposition, as I provide SEO copywriting services and do all sorts of other stuff you’d expect like marketing my clients’ content.

    When it came to focusing on my blog, I also needed a suitable name. So for blog directories, such as Technorati, and for my blog subscription/sign-up form I gave it the same title ‘Make every word work for you’.

    Kinda makes sense. And I think I’m gonna stick with it.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted..Get your website in shape for 2013 with these 3 New Year copywriting tips

    • Erica says:

      “Make every word work for you.”

      I like it! It’s direct, relevant and resonates with your target audience. It also speaks TO your audience rather than just stating what you do.
      Erica recently posted..8 Lessons Freelancers Can Learn from WWE Superstars

      • Thanks for reading my comment Erica. You’re the first person that’s remarked about my strapline and it’s good to know you like it.

        I’ve just taken a look at your own blog and, yeah, I’m sure it could look better, but the aesthetics really aren’t as bad as you make out + I agree it’s the content that counts.

        And if it’s any consolation, my blog is also a work in progress, i.e. I still need to add a whole load of features to it yet.
        Kevin Carlton recently posted..5 world-class blogs that every content writer should read

      • Carol Tice says:

        I’m still in love with Emily Suess’s tagline, “Say it with me.” Perfect! Like Kevin’s too.

        Taglines are really important on blogs…most writers don’t invest enough time thinking about theirs and tweaking it.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think that kind of unified branding is always great..afraid mine is pretty schizophrenic. ;-( But I’ve done OK anyway!

      But I have changed the tagline on this blog. When I started it was ‘frank advice for writers.’ I decided that sounded more like maybe I was going to yell at you…and didn’t show how I focus on practical tips you can put into practice…so it evolved to what it is today, which I’m happy with, Practical help for hungry writers.

  6. Erica says:

    I can completely relate. I was just as scared as Glori when I started my blog. Without knowing it, I followed many of the tips above, especially being authentic, unique and writing for a specific topic right out of the starting gate.

    I embrace my quirkiness and write in a way that says, “Hey, I’m in the trenches with you.” And when someone is done reading one of my posts, I want that person to feel like they can do it. Like their goal of being a freelancer isn’t as out of their reach as they might think.

    My one piece of advice is to focus on content first, aesthetics second. My blog isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen (I’m working on it), but people are starting to respond. Whoda thunkit?
    Erica recently posted..8 Lessons Freelancers Can Learn from WWE Superstars

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well…yes and no. I did get some response before I got a real design for this site. But after I took the time to give it a pro design (or a more pro one anyway), I got SO many more subscribers. Design really does matter, and I wish I’d known that and paid more attention to it at the beginning…I might have been able to ramp it faster.

      • Erica says:

        I completely agree. Which is why I’m working on a new look and feel for mine in a sandbox before springing it on people. I’m also working with a designer to create and add some images. (I’m trading my copy services for it.)

        I just think it takes longer for a new blogger to work out the bugs on finding their voice and style and to create content than it does to make polish the design. The writing can take some serious practice before you find your groove.
        Erica recently posted..8 Lessons Freelancers Can Learn from WWE Superstars

  7. Penny says:

    Carol,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I’m consistently surprised by your grammar, or, more correctly, usage of the English language.

    “To say it’s too late is like if the writers of The Walking Dead or 30 Rock said it’s too late to create a hit TV show, there’s already been so many.”

    Recently, you had this headline: “In Which I Confront Content Mill Owners About Their Rates…In Person.” How about just “I Confront Content Mill Owners About Their Rates…In Person.” What does “in which” have to do with anything?

    I also find it hard to believe that you promote yourself as an expert critiquing writer’s websites when you have the website that you do. I can’t argue with your experience, but the gross-green header on a gross-green background with the bright-green strip on the left side (because your header is the wrong size for your template), and the “welcome to my writer’s site” despite your admonishment to other writers to NEVER say, is too much for someone in your position of authority to new writers.

    You’d be making a lot more if you fixed your website and had a good editor.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Penny!

      I’m, like, from the Valley…the actual San Fernando Valley, of “Valley Girl” fame. Sometimes I speak Valley a bit on my blog. Because I can. I have a mission of enjoying myself along the way in life, and getting creative with my writing gives me joy, so I do it.

      I bend the language a bit to make my points. It seems like most of the 21,000 people who read me this month here on the blog get a kick out of it, since yours is the first complaint about my usage I’ve ever received in 5 years of blogging.

      It sounds like you haven’t heard which form of writing blogging most resembles, when it’s effective.

      It’s not article writing. It’s copywriting.

      In good copywriting, we often use sentence fragments.

      Because it’s impactful. And attention-getting.

      We say crazy stuff like “In which” because it’s different and soap opera-like and signaled my readers this was going to be an unusual post. 137+ comments later, I’m going to declare that a successful headline…but please forward us a link to the posts you’ve done that got more attention.

      To sum up: I. Do. It. On. Purpose.

      I’ll probably do more of it, now that you’ve reminded me how attention-getting it is to use irregular forms.

      Anyhoo…on to my writer site.

      I happen to love the color green, if you can’t tell. It’s my lucky color. I have an emerald engagement ring instead of a diamond. It’s also the color of money.

      By having green on my site, I attract people who want to give me money. Or other people who like green. I can’t prove that works, but I did earn $100K+ as a freelance writer in 2011 with it, and a serious chunk of change again last year. So the bottom line is my site is proving effective in getting me quality clients.

      I just signed a new one this week, an M&A firm paying me $1500 for a short case study, as a first project leading up to ghosting the CEO’s next book.

      If you’ve got a writer site that’s performing better, please leave us a link so we can all study it! I collect effective writer sites, and would love to add yours to my collection.

      Yes, my writer site could be improved, always. You’re looking at a major revamp as it is.

      I’d have more time to fix up my own writer site if I weren’t so busy helping other writers earn more…but I spend a lot of time on that, because I love it more than butter.

      I’ll let them tell you how that’s working out for them…you might want to check out this recent post, for instance.

      Ed Gandia told me he also hasn’t changed his writer site in years, because it’s getting results. Why fix what doesn’t seem to be broken?

      Wishing you love and hugs and that you find perfect grammar everywhere you go, and clients willing to pay you big bucks for your superior knowledge of it.

      Oops, guess that isn’t a traditional grammar construct either. Someone ought to come over here and just slap my hands, honestly.

      • Bravo! What a classy reply Carol. And we love you the way you are. Don’t change!!!
        Marya | Writing Happiness recently posted..The Monster List of 100 Posts that Will Rock Your Blog in 2013

        • Carol Tice says:

          Well, thanks, Marya!

          I actually find the more conversationally and casually I write, the better this blog gets.

          I’m a student of Ben Settle, the email marketing guru, and he believes the age of formal grammar and perfect spelling is stone dead. He’s always writing subject lines like “I hate goo-roos” or “Why I ignore spelling nazees” and such.

          The blogosphere is for creative expression, and for grabbing attention, and for developing a personal style of writing that’s unique.

          Which is why it resembles copywriting. I think when I learned that over on Copyblogger, it was a huge game-changer for me.

          I think this whole troll attack actually contributes something to the conversation about how to make your blog stand out, hm?

      • Allena Tapia says:

        This is hilarious: “By having green on my site, I attract people who want to give me money. Or other people who like green. I can’t prove that works, but I did earn $100K+ as a freelance writer in 2011.”

        I sometimes just want to shout “Um, sorry you don’t like X, Y, or Z but it’s working pretty danged well over here, so excuse me if I don’t take your advice!”

  8. Penny says:

    Hi Carol,

    You said “After all, there are so many blogs out there already, with a head start on yours. More than 6.7 million of them, as a matter of fact.”

    How do you KNOW there are 6.7 million blogs out there with a head start on MINE?

    OR… did you mean to say there are 6.7 million blogs out there, total?

    I find it hard to believe you’ve done as well as you have as a writer with your poor grammar and sentence structure. This tells me that it truly IS those who get out there and market themselves, and those who sell there “how-to’s” to other writers, who make the money.

    Thank you for this lesson.

  9. Awesome pieces of advice! Thanks Carol.
    Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin recently posted..By: Oxygenmat

  10. Lui B. says:

    Carol,

    I agree that it’s harder for a new blog to stand out these days compared to years before. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

    Although I have my own insecurities, I always try to overcome them by thinking more strategically. I mean without all these bigger blogs like yours, I won’t be as inspired to start a writing journey on my own. Endless comparison will take you nowhere. So instead of chasing success, I now focus on honing my craft and carving my own niche–even with just a handful of readers.

    As for Glori, I do believe she’s on the right track. I have read some of her posts before so I know she’s not one of those annoying second-rate bloggers I always come across. There are only few blogs that cater to introverts like me so with the right branding and a better platform (HINT: Use WordPress, Glori), she’ll do great in her niche. Good luck Glori.

    All the best.

  11. It really is crazy how it works.

    You have to FAIL as a part of being successful.

    It’s like you have to GET BURNED before you REALLY listen when your mom says don’t touch that hot stove.

    Kinda like when you getting lost is the best way to KNOW where you’re going the next time.

    We should spend time trying to understand the nature of us, humans.

    Whatever you do don’t get discouraged just keep going.
    Darnell Jackson recently posted..Can body weight scales appraise your value as a blogger?

    • Carol Tice says:

      So true — stay tuned for an upcoming post on all the things I’ve done wrong in starting up this-here blog, Darnell! You don’t have to have it all figured out to have a successful blog. Guess I can add my grammar deficiencies to that fail list, too. ;-)

  12. Phil says:

    I like Carol’s conversational style of writing, and agree it’s an appropriate and effective style for blogging. As Tom Hanks would have said in the movie That Thing You Do, “it’s got something going on, it’s snappy”.

    I liked Carol’s response to the commenter concerned about grammar too. Meeting a challenge gracefully is an art.

    As a reader, I like bloggers who are confident enough to welcome challenges, because a back and forth between competing points of view makes the read more interesting and engaging.

    This is probably a bit of overstatement, but sometimes I think there’s somewhat of an irresolvable conflict between good diplomacy and good writing.

    Good diplomacy basically boils down to telling people what they want to hear, hopefully without being too obvious about it.

    For my taste, good writing usually involves some measure of telling me the reader something I don’t want to hear. After all, if I could get where I want to go using only things I want to hear, I’d already be there, wouldn’t I?

    There’s no need to insult me, but if you the writer don’t rock my little world somehow, why am I reading again?

    More generally, good writing often involves exploring the boundaries of a group consensus, as that’s where the interesting action usually is.

    However, any blog or article that takes this mission seriously is going to rock some comfortable boats, stir up some powerful egos, and lose some readers too.

    Carol had a good solution. Be yourself, and let the chips fall where they may.

    The writer Salman Rushdie said something once in an interview that’s stuck with me. He said that younger writers compete with other writers and try to prove themselves. More mature writers just write whatever it is they write.

  13. Anne Grant says:

    It’s not too late? There’s not too many blogs already? People are still interested in blogs?
    Well, there goes my fav excuses!

    About a year ago, my daughter-in-law told me what an avid blog reader she was on topics that interest her. At the time, I was wondering why she didn’t just buy a book, research top renowned experts or “real” articles in national glossies.
    This may sound completely foreign to those of you who have been actively blogging (and reading blogs) for some time. But my point is, there are probably a lot of people like myself who are just diving into this culture.
    Even though I have had a blog since 2007 for my photography website, it was more for promotional purposes for my business and post photos, not to create a community or platform.

    And now I even know how to engage with haters…um, I mean “opposing views”. Any follower of your blog would know that you are all about the conversational style of writing for your readers. I imagine there would be a somewhat different approach for an article for the financial or legal world.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Anne…everyone’s blog is for promotional purposes. ;-) It’s just a question of how successful that promotion is…probably you’re learning more now about how to build a platform around that blog and use it to get more clients. If we don’t want to promote ourselves, we write in a paper journal.

      And some folks recommend never responding to trolls…but I couldn’t resist. I actually thought it brought up a great conversation about blogging tone and language, that is something bloggers should be learning about. Stiff language really doesn’t work on blogs.

  14. Great tips! Personally I connect to my readers a lot; the blogging community is always so open and welcoming, and although at times I don’t have much pageviews, at least I know I have grown a faithful audience. Comment and read other blogs. Success in blogging does not come easily. It requires determination, hard work and time. Patience…
    Daphnée Kwong Waye recently posted..The Most Tragic Love Story

  15. Bissy says:

    Whao! I took my time to read every comment and now I don’t even know where to start but i guess i will say that i like the atmosphere around here. I am not exactly new to blogging but very much new to establishing a writing blog with the intention to be successful enough to create money making platforms for my readers and I.
    I guess it is why the title of this post caught my attention.
    Well, i don’t mind an open criticism and Penny is invited too (as i hope not to regret it) as to what is wrong with and about my blog that can be made right etc. I just launched it this new year day, have over 500 views already with abt 150 unique visits & only 4 signed up members (i am one actually – couldnt bare to see it empty for more than 3days).. But no serious participations yet. I have been crackin my head out on what to do to get it rolling. I have a line up of guest post offers etc but can’t explain why readers are not active. I recently launched my first contest, a website even announced it but presently.. There’s no one taking up the contest even though i notice (thru analytics) that i do have returning views every day.
    Would be nice if anyone could offer constructive opinions. The site is http://www.fictioninventors.blogspot.com .
    Thanks in anticipation and thanks Carol for a platform like this.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Bissy —

      Two things:

      1) It takes time! It’s hard to run a contest 5 minutes after you launch, with such a low reader base.
      2) You might want to come to my free call Tuesday with Danny Iny on what it really takes to build a successful online business today — here’s the signup link: http://audiencebiz.com/go/carol-tice/

      Danny has built a hugely successful six-figure income off his blog in a short time…highly recommend you turn up for this!

      • Bissy says:

        Hi Carol and thanks a lot for the response.
        I will make it a date tomorrow. The only problem is that 3pm eastern time…well, i don’t know what that is precisely here as ours is GMT+1.00 but i will google it.
        I have signed up for it already. Meanwhile, what would you advice me to do.. Should i just cancel the contest and leave everything as it were or extend the date well enough to have gotten people to actually take part while i do other things.. not sure, please one more hint will help.
        thanks!
        Bissy
        Bissy recently posted..My Relationships

        • Carol Tice says:

          Up to you…if no one’s reading — and 150 people in Internet terms is no one — you might just post that no one entered and you’re going to put on the contest again in the future.

  16. John says:

    Thanks Carol for your valuable tips. Even, I’m planning to start a blog but was hesitant as there were many popular writers. Will start one soon.

  17. Candra says:

    Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid
    option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

  18. Darren says:

    Great post Carol.
    I am quite new to the writing and blogging world and have found that your advice is very inspirational.

    I have created my own website although as of yet it isn’t in any kind of blogging format but I hope that I will be moving forwards with it over the next few months.

    It’s good when more seasoned writers share their experiences as it can be very daunting to the newbie like myself.

    Thanks for sharing your advice and tips with us.

  19. day trading says:

    Howdy my friend! I would like to say that this particular article is incredible, fantastic authored and may include about crucial infos. I’m going to see additional articles similar to this .

  20. Pragati says:

    Hi carol, I have been writing for two years now and at times I doubt if this is going to work with so many writing on similar topics. I guess getting personal is the only way we can really differentiate our blog from others. Thanks for the encouragement.

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