Hi Mark, Great tips! Just to add, I think continuous learning is very critical as well. As much as one has been able to master all the requirements already for being a successful online entrepreneur, I think learning and continuous search for information are vital to keep that competitive advantage. Now with all these qualities and expertise, one will truly be unstoppable.
7 Ways Your Blog Can Have a Competitive Advantage Over the Rest
Odds are, you are not the only blog in your niche, so standing out from the crowd is important. That can be a hard task to accomplish, especially when there are hundreds of other blogs, all trying to get exposure and traffic. So what can you do to rise above your competitors and make your blog stand out?
Here are 7 things you can add to your blog to blow past your competitors.
1. Custom Design
If you are using one of the free or even premium WordPress themes that you can buy at places like WooThemes or Elegant Themes, odds are there are hundreds of other blogs out there that have the exact same look at yours. Not really an advantage when a reader has seen the same design as other blogs they have come across. Creating a blog design from scratch allows you to be completely unique and create a design that highlights the type of readers and industry you are catering to.
2. Superior Content
There are many blogs that produce good to great content on a regular basis, so you need to take it one step further. You need to create superior content! That doesn’t necessarily mean that you publish content more often, but you need to have a unique angle on your content. That could be creating rich media like video, podcasts or inforgraphics. You could also try creating more in-depth or complete blog posts that involved significant research or data. One blog that I always said did a great job of publishing posts that are longer and more in-depth is ViperChill. All of his posts are usually between 800-1200 words long and are highly researched.
3. Offering Freebies
Offering free content like whitepapers, tools, templates, and guides are a fantastic way to earn instant credibility with your visitors. It also will allow you to capture the users contact information, so that you can follow up with them on a regular basis. Building regular rapport with your readers will keep them coming back regularly, position you as an expert, and earn credibility.
4. Extreme Usability
If you can provide your users an experience that far out performs the rest of your industry, it can make your users want to stay on your site longer and keep coming back. I am amazed how many industry leading blogs have some of the worst usability. Giving your users an easy navigation to follow, having a great layout for your content, using minimal ads, making it easy to share content socially, will help keep your readers happy.
5. Personal Brand
Promoting your personal brand, can help your blog stand out from the crowd. Speaking at conferences, attending networking events, launching products, writing guest posts, hosting webinars, etc..all will help build your personal brand. If you position yourself as an authority in the space, that will naturally carry over to your blog as well.
6. Point of Views
Some of the best blog posts that get the most attention are ones that stimulate controversy or go against the grain. If your blog content consistently goes against “the norm” and it makes people want to participate in the discussion, it can put your blog on the radar. Take for example the recent announcement of Sphinn.com deciding to remove the voting feature on its site. That got an amazing response from Sphinn users and made headlines in the Internet Marketing industry. If you can create content that makes users want to debate and voice their opinion on a subject, it can grow a fan base rapidly.
7. Know Your Blogs Identity
If your blog is known as THE authoritative blog on a particular topic, that will make your blog stand out whenever someone is looking for a resource on your particular topic. Especially if you are just starting out a new blog, you may want to consider trying to find a sub-niche within a particular industry, that is undeserved. This can help you gain credibility much faster in an industry, compared to trying to be known for something that is very broad and is saturated with others trying to do the same thing.
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Hi Mark, Great article, I agree with all the points you have made here. For me, I rate superior content as number 1. Its the content that your readers will revisit for, and ultimately encourage people to backlink to, & therefore will improve your SE rank. Another that you could add to this list, is personal interaction to comments and emails ;-)
You're spot on Mark. I particularly like what you said in points 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7. As for the wordpress themes piece I think whether or not someone in a blogger's audience would find a woo themes or elegant themes presentation as uninteresting would depend upon that particular visitor's background. If its a person that is new to blogging or if its someone that places a premium on content then I don't think this one would matter that much. Giving freebies is something that I haven't tried yet, but I'm hoping to give it a whirl soon and am looking forward to observing the outcome.
Before I started my blog I looked at competitors blogs and there weren't any quite like mine. Mostly lavender farms selling their own products or gardening sites that were not just in my specific niche. Doesn't mean I am yet an authority (not after only a few months!) but one of the things that is helping me write different posts are the questions and comments from visitors to my blog. It is going in a different direction to what I thought it would at the beginning but then I have to accept that the blog is for my visitors not just for me. Patricia Perth Australia
Benin, Great point. I think if your content is of high quality, it really doesn't matter what your site looks like. I know of a ton of industry blogs who's designs are outdated, but have a huge following based on their content. I think in order to stand out from the crowd, having a unique theme can really set yourself apart. Thanks for the comment. Mark
Excellent point Patricia. Your goals and expectations when you first start your blog, definitely change over time. It is important to adapt to what your readers want, not what you think they want. Listening is key and I think you are doing an excellent job by hearing what they are saying and adjusting your model based on their feedback.