Define successful. Number of hits? Google rank? Advertising income? Reader comments?
Know your role and your subject. What do you have to offer that others may know know about?
Set your blog up with an easy-to-find link to an “About” page, so first-time visitors know what your blog subject is.
Use specific and informative posting titles, so someone might get one of your blog entries in a search for that subject.
Make sure your content is of excellent quality, and that your writing is good. All the people in the world could come to your blog, but they won’t stay or return if they aren’t enjoying themselves and learning.
Post consistently, so readers keep checking back. Perhaps have a stack of posts ready to go before starting your blog so you can really bolt out of the gates!
Network. Write guest posts for other blogs, comment, get into social media. Many new readers will come through the networks you build.
Connect the blog to your website, thereby expanding the usefulness of both.
Write with passion, in your own unique voice.
Although secondary to content, good design is important. It should be attractive yet easy to read and navigate.
Trust is your only hold on your readers. Be very clear about your values, agenda or motives, and note when content is sponsored and therefore tinged with advertising. BE HONEST!
Learn how search engines look at pages, and adapt your page to be more attractive. Check out the SEO basics for blogs.
Use bullets, formats like bolding and underlining, white space, borders, and pictures to break up the text for easy scanning by readers.
Be aware of the language you use. If you get too technical, use a lot of acronyms, etc., you will lose beginners. Consider writing posts for different levels of knowledge.
See if large websites or blogs related to your subject are willing to link to you. This will open a door for more readers and raise your page rank.
If you get bored, your readers will too. Mix it up with a book or product review, a guest post, a link list, or a story about how you got into this. Better yet, find an exciting new blog on your subject and write a review. Ask that blogger to link to you.
Don’t underestimate yourself or write about yourself negatively. Your readers only know you by what you write, so they will probably believe you! Respect your own knowledge and enthusiasm.
Try adding a widget, just for fun. Or do a jokes posting or post a relevant cartoon (with permission, of course!)
Poll your readers. What would they like you to write about? What are their funniest stories about the topic? (Use snopes.com to check if they’re sending a urban legend before posting those…)
Don’t accept pay-per-post deals, unless you never want your blog to go anywhere. This is a variation on the “Good Honest Content” theme. Good content and honesty are what keep readers coming back!