The main protagonist of the book I am currently reading is a Nigerian woman named Ifemelu who lives in the US. Amongst many other things, she blogs about race and racism in the host society from her perspective as a Non-African-American woman.
The title of the novel is ‘Americanah’ and it is authored by a Nigerian writer named Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I first encounter Adiche online when she spoke on Ted Talk about ‘The Danger of a Single Story’in 2009. Her talk inspired me so much and begun following her works since then and brought me to the novel in question.
Generally speaking, I like reading novels (or watching movies) where the main characters are writers or at least communicating their thoughts, observations, and experiences through writing whether be it on a blog or a diary. They nourish my love for the act of writing and makes me want to write.
In the case of Americanah, the main protagonist Ifemelu writes on her blog she calls ‘Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black’. She writes this blog while still living in the US and decided to stop before she returns back to Nigeria. Once she get back in Nigeria, she is planning to commence her new blog entitled: The Small Redemptions of Lagos.
Her blog has come of age and it established thousands of readers. She also gained a celebrity status and invited to speak to different events. Furthermore, she also became more financially secured through her blog. Needless to say, Ifemelu is a very talented writer and is able to become a renowned blogger in her own right. She demonstrated that she has many tricks up her Sleeve which made her a very successful blogger She is able to assert a space in which her voice is amplified in that stage to reach a wider public.
While inspired by Ifemelu’s success, I am also jealous of her at the same time. Perhaps, at least in this particular case, the inspiration and jealousy that Ifemelu provokes are not mutually exclusive. I also want to be a successful blogger like her. While Ifemelu is a fictional character and Amircanah is a fictional book, her success, to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, although improbable is nonetheless not impossible.
In real life, I have heard people become successful bloggers who are able to generate small but substantial income from what they do. That is of course if we will use money as a yard stick, so to speak, to measure one’s success. But it is not really the financial security of Ifemelu’s blog that I am jealous about, but rather the ways in which her voice is received. It makes me wonder, what makes a blog successful? And by success I mean, massive and qualitative readership. In other words, recognition.
I am not yet a seasoned blogger and I cannot say, at least with certain conviction, that I know what makes a blog successful. But as an amateur blogger who blogs for the sake of blogging, I have encountered many successful blogs on-line, here in wordpress.com and elsewhere. Here are some of the qualities that I have noticed:
FOCUS. I have noticed that blogs are successful when their topics are focused. Blogs that are focused on a specific subject/topic attracts many like minded followers. For instance, if you blog about books, or more specifically, Victorian literature, you will attract readers who love Victorian literature. You will be amazed how many people around the globe who are interested in the topics you write. In the case of Ifemelu’s blog, the blogger does not only blog about race, but also blog about it from her own particular perspective, namely, as a Nigerian woman in the US, which makes her blog unique. Of course, this means that you will only write about the topic to which you have committed and more often than not, we want to blog about many other things.
QUALITY. Regardless of which language the blog is expressed, blogs that are more successful are written by bloggers who have good command of the language in which the ideas are communicated. By good command, I do not only mean that the grammars are correct, but more importantly, that the author can convey nuances and subtleties that are expressed with such clarity and coherence. Humour also play a very important role in the success of a blog, but then of course, humour is an indication of one’s command of the language.
CONCISENESS. There are so many blogs out there and your blog is not the only blog that your blog followers read. It is, therefore, imperative not to waste the time of your readers. If your text is too long, there is a tendency that it will not be read. I suggest, 300 to 500 words is perfect. Form time to time, a text that contains 1000 words is acceptable.
PHOTOGRAPHS. Posting some photo’s might also help from time to time. Sometimes, texts are more enjoyable to read when they are accompanied by beautiful photographs. This is a best way to attract more readers and followers. However, it is important to bear in mind that the photographs must compliment and not replace the text or vice versa. This is also an opportunity for you to practice your skills in photography. I suggest that the photographs must be yours and not just taken from the internet. This will give your blog more originality.
LAYOUT. Layout of your blog and the texts in cannot be underestimated. I noticed that I tend to read and follow blogs that are beautifully lay-out. It is like a Fung-shui. Blogs that are beautifully organised attracts more readers and followers. This is also true with texts that are in print such as magazines and newspapers.
Of course, my list is very limited. How about you? Do you have any suggestions on how we can make our blogs more successful? Can you also share your secretes down here bellow? Or perhaps you want to show-case your own work? Feel free to share them.