Blogging is the latest method for attracting people and increasing the success of a business or personal website. I have interviewed success blogger Ed Stenger to help give tips on blogging to success.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
“I’m a web developer from just outside Cleveland, OH. My wife Jean is a psychologist originally from New Orleans and we have two wonderful children; Zach who just turned 8 and Ava who is 4 years old. I was born and bred in Northeastern Ohio where I was the 4th of 5 children, growing up in rural Ashtabula county. My parents met at NASA Lewis in Cleveland where my father was an engineer and my mother a chemist. I have a Masters degree in applied math from the University of Akron and have been working as a web programmer/developer for 14 years. I love music – especially Rush – and I love to read science-fiction and fantasy novels. I’m also a black belt in Shaolin kung-fu and have been taking and teaching classes for nearly 20 years.”
What is blogging?
“Blogging is the modern day equivalent of writing in a journal. Just replace the pen and paper with a keyboard and monitor, and replace publishers with the Internet. The Internet has changed things dramatically and allowed journal writers to reach a huge audience instantaneously. Before the Internet, if you kept a journal the only way someone would ever see it would be if someone published it or physically showed it to someone. Otherwise you would need to be a journalist or writer with a regular column in a newspaper or magazine to reach your audience. With the Internet none of that matters
anymore. Anyone can publish a journal/blog on whatever subject they desire and include whatever content they have available, and have that content reach potentially millions of readers instantaneously. It’s extremely empowering.”
What are the benefits of blogging?
“Blogging is first and foremost a lot of fun! Practically speaking it’s an easy and (almost) free means to get news and information out to the general public, or just to keep friends and family apprised of what you are up to. If you have access to an Internet connection and can write, you can publish a blog. It’s that simple. Blogging also allows users to provide immediate feedback to your posts via comments, so it’s a great way to facilitate a conversation on any given topic. Blogging on my Rushisaband.com blog, I’ve become much more in touch with the Rush fan community and a more knowledgeable and fanatical Rush fan than I was to begin with! It’s also a way for me to “give back” to the band by providing up-to-date news and information to the fans. As a side benefit, I’ve found that my writing skills have dramatically improved since I first started blogging 8 years ago. There’s also a financial benefit as I’ve been able to garner a small income from ads and affiliate programs. This helps me buy plenty of Rush swag and overpriced concert tickets.”
How can blogging help a business?
“Blogging can help a business in all of the ways I described above; the same benefits to an individual blogger apply to a business. Blogs coupled with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are probably the best available way to communicate with clients and customers. Facebook and Twitter are really just shared communities of blogs. They do what a regular blog does but are also linked together into an online community. The days of reaching your customers and clients with newsletters and email blasts are coming to an end.”
What elements does a successful blog have?
“A successful blog needs to have plenty of relevant content that’s updated on a regular (daily is better than monthly) basis. A successful blogger needs to be knowledgeable and even passionate about the subjects they blog about. The design of the blog’s website is
much less important than the content. Keep it simple. Content is king. Slashdot.org is a wonderful example of a highly successful but simply-designed blog with great content where the writers are passionate about the subjects they blog about.”
How do people find out about a blog?
“People find out about blogs primarily through “word of mouth” which – in Internet terms – means people sharing links to the blog and specific blog posts. Search engines play a role later on once the blog has been established, but initially it’s almost entirely word of mouth. One popular post can propel a blog from a few hundred daily visitors to a few thousand in a matter of days. When I first started my rushisaband.com blog back in late 2005 I would post links to my site on Rush forums and message boards. I picked up most of my first core group of readers that way, and had several hundred daily visitors after a few months. These readers liked what they saw and spread the word. Then things started getting crazy in early 2007 when the band was releasing a new album. I started breaking a lot of Rush news because people with connections to the band appreciated what I was doing and gave me the information knowing I’d get it out to the fans. Since then I’ve consistently had several thousand visitors a day. You can increase traffic by running ads and other similar means, but readers will only remain loyal if the blog provides quality content on a regular basis. So it all comes back to content. Quality and timely content will keep people coming back.”
What last advice would you like to leave for someone who is
interesting in blogging?
“My best advice for anyone who is interested in blogging is to pick a subject that they are both passionate and knowledgeable about. If you aren’t passionate about the subject blogging may turn into more of a chore than a fun hobby. Your passion will be reflected in your posts and readers will tune into it. Don’t just pick a subject because it’s popular or the flavor of the month. Start small with a stock template using a free service like blogger. You can always change the design later on. Then just start writing and write often. Keep churning out content at least every few days. Don’t be shy about letting people know about your blog. Visit other forums and blogs on the same subject as your blog, make comments and link your blog. If your blog has quality content you will start to attract regular visitors. If blogging ever starts to be more work than fun, then consider stopping. Blogging should be fun.”
Thank you Ed Stenger for the interview. If you would like more information about Ed Stenger check out his website at http://www.rushisaband.com.