How to be a Successful Blogger

7 ways to create a popular site.

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For an upcoming story on making money from blogging, I've been interviewing successful bloggers about their secrets. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Don't be intimidated. Jim Wang, 28, author of the Bargaineering blog, says that even though his background in software development helped him with some of the theme design for his blog, it really wasn't necessary. People get turned off and think they can't handle a blog because of the technology involved, but it's really pretty simple once you put some time into understanding how it works, he says.
    • Be patient. Bargaineering didn't get much more than a few hundred visitors a day for the first six months of its life, but now it pulls in around 850,000 page views per month. Wang built his traffic partly by networking with other bloggers.
      • Track your statistics. After noticing that few people ever clicked on certain parts of his website, Wang rearranged the layout to maximize page views. "If there are things they're ignoring, you want to replace that with someone of value," says Wang. Such tracking doesn't have to be expensive; Wang uses Google Analytics for free.
        • Follow the fads. Silicon Valley Blogger, the author behind the Digerati Life blog, studied what kind of story topics and headlines attracted the most viewers. She discovered that even small changes, such as writing a straightforward headline -- "10 Tips to Find a Job," for example -- instead of a clever one, such as, "Grab Your Ideal Job," makes it more likely that people using commonly worded web searches will find your site. "You have to be comfortable with wordsmithing," she says.
          • Be strategic. Silicon Valley Blogger also noticed that certain topics earn more money through Google AdSense than others. For example, writing about productivity tends to attract more lucrative advertisements, as does writing about health food drinks, diseases, or Acai berries. 
            • Remember your loyal readers. While writing for web surfers can boost traffic, Silicon Valley Blogger warns against taking that strategy too far. If you're always writing for the surfers, your regular fans may be turned off.
              • Expand when you're ready. Silicon Valley Blogger recently started a new site, the Smarter Wallet, which now brings in about 5 percent of her earnings.
              •  Do you have your own successful blogging tips? Please share them below.