Not too long ago, SheKnows Canada named my blog, Marijke: Nurse Turned Writer as a top 10 Canadian health or fitness blog. I was very flattered and still am. The idea that I’ve been noticed by my peers (in a good way!) helps push me to want to continue doing what I am doing.
But how does one go about producing an award-winning blog, a popular blog? First, you need to define your vision of popular.
My blog doesn’t get thousands of hits per day. I’m not quoted in mainstream media. But I get a steady number of visitors each and every day through search engines. So, to me, the answer isn’t always about the numbers, it’s about what you offer and what people take away from your writing.
Write About Topics People Are Looking For
To draw people, you need to write about something they are looking for. My most popular post was written in 2007, on why older people are at risk of dying from a broken hip. Every single day without fail, I get at least 40 or 50 new people who come to read that post. Who would have thought that this would be such an evergreen post?
Unless you have an enormous following already, perhaps through Twitter or book fans, readers are going to find your blog through searches.
Of course, this suggestion depends on what your blog is about, but most topics can lend themselves to timeliness, taking advantage of what is going on in the world or the time of year. If there is a big health news topic, I may choose to write about it. Often, I will link a news story from a major organization in the post. This never hurts.
Choose Your Domain Name Carefully
If I had to do things over, there are some things I would do differently. My domain isn’t Marijke: Nurse Turned Writer. It’s medhealthwriter.blogspot.com. I didn’t want to use “Marijke” in my domain name because people can’t spell it – a disadvantage in my mind. So I used MedHealthWriter, which is my professional site. I’m still happy with that decision. What I’m not happy about is that I used Blogspot. Free blog hosting like Blogspot and WordPress just don’t look as professional as paid-for domains.
Think Outside the Box
I was in a drought. I hadn’t really blogged for weeks, months, when I decided to join Michelle Rafter’s WordCount Blogathon this past May.
Participating helped me renew my feelings about blogging and remember why I was blogging. It was a challenge; there’s no doubt about it. But the Blogathon not only pushed me to post, it exposed me to other bloggers in the challenge and it put my blog on their radar, a win-win situation.
What Do You Want?
To me, the most important thing about blogging is to do what you want with it. Have fun with it. Use it to show what you can do. Experiment. Ask questions. And be patient. It took five years for my blog to be recognized. But it was and that’s what counts.