This isn’t a list of blogs with some tips on how to build a successful blog like theirs. Yes, my title says we will be learning from them, but this won’t be through imitation or by following the same techniques.
Each blog on this list has travelled along a very different route to get to where it is, sometimes using strategies that are at complete odds with one another. I want to show you how different blogs can be and how building up a following and increasing your traffic can happen due to a number of factors.
You could choose to follow a strategy similar to one used by a blog on this list, or your blog could be propelled into the spotlight thanks to a creative approach that hasn’t been done before. They key thing is to follow your own route.
Graham blogs about the computer security industry. This may sound dull, but he’s made it anything but.
Using attention-grabbing vocabulary, such as ‘attack’, he handpicks and writes about news stories from within the industry. He’s gone for the ‘shock factor’ approach and clearly aims to entice an audience of business owners who are worried about security already. He’s using his headlines to pander to people’s existing emotions.
It goes to show that even when you already have a relatively focused niche, you can always focus on an even smaller part of the industry to attract a certain type of person.
Capitalising on the recent wave of hacks and security breaches at big companies has worked well for him, although it’s worth considering how he would move forward if these types of stories died down in the future.
Moving on to a company blog now, you can see that NVIDIA uses different types of content, such as videos, images, and long-form, to make its blog look really interesting and engaging. Although it’ll have a more specific target audience, its blog can appeal to many different readers (and viewers) throughout the tech industry.
If you click through to a blog post, you’ll see that NVIDIA’s writers space out their text using paragraphs and bullet points, making it easier to read. Bold words and headlines work to draw attention to the most important points in the article and can cater to the many skim readers all blog will receive.
NVIDIA has also made use of its sidebar, suggesting more articles for the reader to read next.
Chris has made the interesting choice to host his blog on a separate domain to that of his company. If you want your blog to become well-known in its own right and not just as a company blog, this could be something to consider.
SEO will be more difficult for your company, however, as there won’t be regular content being posted on your main website. Chris has thought of this with his blog, as almost his entire menu links back to his main website.
If you have a newsletter, this a blog to have a look at. The Wordstream blog has a newsletter sign-up form at the top of the page, which gets it into its readers’ minds that signing up to updates is an option if they like the content. There’s also a sign-up form in the sidebar on every single post, reminding readers about it while they’re reading.
When it promotes its blog posts on social media, it uses infographics and memes to communicate the main points of the articles. It gives people a little insight into what the post is about before they decide to click on the link.
Finding ways to keep your content looking fresh and inviting is crucial – you just have to find the right way to do it for your brand. Wordstream use infographics as they have a fair amount of data that they want to get across in a clear and fun way, for example. It’s certainly better than just posting boring links all the time!
These are some important points to make note of. Wordstream hasn’t just considered what people would enjoy when reading its blog posts, it has also thought about what would get those people to click on the blog posts to begin with.
5. Ted Rubin
Here’s an interesting one. Most marketers would advise writing professional, helpful blog posts that focus on your reader rather than on yourself. Ted doesn’t always do this.
Under the category of ‘divorced dad’, Ted has a bunch of more personal posts. He’s noticed that people like to communicate with other humans who feel the same things they do and aren’t just corporate, faceless brands, and has taken that to the next level. Building a loyal community of visitors is important in order to sustain a consistently popular blog, and this is just one way of doing that.
Ted is also fairly personal on social media. He doesn’t necessarily tell you about his family life and his latest trip to the doctors, but he does tell you what he’s up to, who he’s hanging out with, and what he’s looking forward to, for example. Capitalising on people’s nosiness and general interest in what other people are doing can be another way to draw in some long-term readers.
This SEO agency has used its blog as its homepage. It knew it wanted more people to go to its blog first, rather than its services or about page, and the best way to do that is to change your static homepage into your blog’s homepage.
So, didn’t like the separate domain idea from Cluley’s blog? There’s another idea!
Like NVIDIA, this company highlights the main points within its blog posts. And, by that, I don’t mean it uses bold words or headers – it literally highlights text in bright yellow. So, it doesn’t matter how you do it, but making sure your main points stand out is crucial.
This blog is on a mission to make its site as easy to use as possible. Its categories and social media icons are in view at all times, regardless of where you click on the site, and its categories are very clearly listed. You don’t come across the about page and contact page until you scroll to the bottom!
It has clearly prioritised getting readers to stay on its blog for longer and read more over pushing visitors towards its other pages. This is a good lesson for all bloggers – think about what it is you want to achieve with your blog and how much of a success you need it to be, then work on design and content based on that.
As with ReadWrite, TechCrunch has listed its categories in plain sight at all times and it has a very simple layout which is easy to navigate.
It also does this risky thing where clicking through to a blog post doesn’t take you away to a new page. The URL changes but you stay on the homepage, allowing you to just continue scrolling when you’ve finished reading.
This isn’t to say that this is something everyone should do or that they’ve made a terrible mistake. I just want to point out that taking risks is a big part of having a successful blog. You probably won’t get very far doing what everyone else is doing.
What was the point of this post? To show you the different ways a blog can become successful. I’ve only listed eight, but there are thousands and thousands of success stories out there and they’ve all happened in their own way.
If you want to build a successful B2B tech blog, stop trying to imitate the success of others. Focus on the audience you want and what your ideal endgame is, and work from there.