Lets step back for a moment to examine the top, singular goal for your blog:
Forget for now the myriad strategies and tactics that lead to blog popularity such as link building, networking, social media, search engines and all the other stuff.
Focus just on the fact that you want your blog to be popular like the bloggers you admire and follow.
Getting away from the trees (specific tactics) so that we can see the forest (what makes a blog popular?) is a crucial element in helping to define what popularity means and how we go about getting it.
Why Some Blogs Become Wildly Popular:
1. Content worthy of praise by a target group of people: But not only praise. It has to be content people will go out of their way to tell others about in tons of different ways.
2. Simplicity: Navigation, purpose, topic range, and cleanliness of sidebars and the posting area itself are determining factors. Blog design!
3. Networking: Getting connected with the right people online is not just a goal for regular surfers who use social sites. It is a most vital factor in the length of time a blog takes to become popular. Win friends and influence the influencers in your niche and youll become popular.
4. Usefulness: Aside from your content being useful, which is understood in point 1 above, most popular blogs offer some kind of popular, needed, wanted, highly desired service to their community. One that gets linked to as the only place on the web one would go for such utility. Think resource lists, simple software that helps people do something that is otherwise manual and time consuming for them. Things like that.
5. Uniqueness: Popular blogs do overlap with each other in topic areas, but in some important way they are different than everyone else. This could be a simple as a different style of writing by the blogger, more or less attitude, opinion, creativity. Or it could be an overall sense that, while there may be a lot of similar blogs in topic, yours is considered the defining blog in the niche by which everyone else is measured.
6. Likability: Literally, are you writing as a likable person? Are you reaching out and making people identify with you personally? The person behind a blog is the only true determining factor of the difference between them and someone else. It is the only truly unique factor. Everything else can be copied by someone else: design, topics, posts, etc.
7. Dependable: All popular blogs have some sort of publishing schedule they adhere to. Readers come to depend on bloggers they like to provide content on some sort of regular basis that doesnt change radically or often. In the same way, other bloggers must feel you are a dependable supporter of their efforts to build buzz.If you get a favor from another blogger, like a link, they expect something in return down the road. If that something in return never appears, that blogger is not only likely to never pay attention to you again, but they can end up telling other influencers in your market that you arent dependable. That youre not one of them.
8. Exciting: Shaking things up in any niche is a good thing. Bloggers who run contests and have the ability to pull other bloggers together for a common campaign, whether a contest, their content or marketing-based, seem to always put themselves in the center of the action.
9. Respect: All popular blogs come to be so because of respect. Respect for their ability to define, entertain, teach, provoke thought, provoke laughter, incite intense bouts of commenting, and to gather lots of voluntary links from all over their niche from people who are normally very hard to get links from. Respect from your readers and respect from thought leaders and bigger blogs is absolutely essential in gaining serious popularity.
10. Being Fast: Popular blogs are always on top of whats going on in any niche. They are always among the first to break stories, new ideas, gossip, insider secrets, or other news their market relies on.
Ive found that the less a blog looks like it is trying to be making any money, the more it is probably making for the blogger. The more a blogger looks like a selfless giver, the more money they can make. The more readers feel like they get for free, the more they spend when the time comes for the blogger to launch a book, product, service, or announce an affiliate product.
In the end, blog popularity is much like high school popularity. And it works both ways. Most people immediately think the cheerleaders and football team are the only popular ones. But remember all the other groups and cliques that were popular precisely for not being in the clich groups.
So in your market, be a cheerleader. Or be a Goth. Either way, get popular in your niche by being defined by the 10 examples above!