If I had a quid for every time someone asked me what makes a successful blog, I'd be off buying new shoes this very second. Whenever someone does ask me this I always feel disappointed that I can't offer them a solid formula but the simple truth is, I have no idea what makes a blog successful. Sometimes it just happens.
Of course, how one defines a successful blog is very much dependent on one's definition of successful. I think a blog can be successful on many different levels.
But here are some things to consider:
Most people judge their blog's success on their hits. It was certainly very satisfying for us to see ours grow from a few hundred a week to several thousand a day. However I have come to view success on other levels. I realise that just because a blog has many hits, it doesn't necessarily make it a great blog. A hit can be a person who just happened upon the site whilst looking for something else. So I think success must be judged in other ways.
For me, the main thing that makes a successful blog are the people who participate. You can have a relatively low hit count, but if there are people on the blog who are all interacting and discussing then that makes that blog more of a success, than one which has 20,000 hits a week but no-one ever says anything.
I view our blog's success very much by the participants. I think we really lucked out with our commentors. Ours have intelligent, witty and observational things to say. I get so much pleasure reading the comments since they add value to this blog. It makes me consider things I hadn't before and has opened my mind to lots of different ideas and concepts. More importantly, I have a real sense of the people behind the comments. I feel this is because we have encouraged honest feedback, since we ourselves make no apologies for our opinions, and I think we get the same honesty in return. Which brings me to my next point.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
I can spot bullshit a mile away. I have an inbuilt radar which detects when people are lying. So we decided early on that we would be blunt and honest on our blog. No point in exaggerating for the sake of getting more readers since a blog is meant to be a personal view point. It's for this reason we have a very strict no advertising policy. We have had some great offers from huge company's to advertise and we always say no thanks because we want to be able to say we dislike something if we do. Yes, we could get some free trips, loads of free products but at the end of the day we prefer to be uncompromised in our opinions.
We are honest in our posts too and I think successful blogs are the most honest ones. They are certainly the ones I take the most pleasure in reading.
We are just as likely to post about something we don't like as something we do. This is important since it reflects who we are in real life. Afterall, who goes about their life liking everything? So a blog which never posts about stuff they don't like or find disappointing ends up reading like a press release. So yes, you may find us posting negatively about something, but that's because we have been talking about it to each other in the same way. What you read is what you'll get if you meet us.
We do try hard not to put in annoying 'dear diary' kind of personal posts which have nothing to do with fashion or style. Sometimes they slip in if we really are being bogged down with personal stuff which we feel will affect the blog's content, but generally we try and keep it all relevant. I think relevance is key to success. Let's be honest - a little mystery is a good thing.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
I feel a little bit like one of those people who blow the magicians secrets here, but don't be fooled into thinking all successful bloggers are really great at research and finding stuff that no-one else can - this isn't always true I'm afraid. The simple fact is we, and other bloggers, get emailed about labels and designers all the time. We are just very upfront about it. We will tell you if the label we are presenting came via an introduction. This is very important to us. We don't want you to think we are ace researchers because just like you, we don't always have time.
Giving credit I think helps the success of a blog because giving credit where credit is due is not only a case of giving basic respect to your sources, it also opens a line of communication which gives you more blog content. This way, everyone is a winner.
Get Out There
Whilst we didn't do this, if you do have a blog then get active on forums like the Fashion Spot and talk up your blog. When we began KoS we didn't participate in forums really but I do think that's a great way to introduce yourself.
If you intend on posting outfits on your blog, then get involved in the What Are You Wearing kind of threads or sites. People like looking at clothes at the end of the day, and the most successful fashion/style sites include photo's of what people are wearing.
Those are the things that are most important to us and if ours is considered a successful blog, then I guess those come as close to tips as we can give you.
But as I said, there is no magical formula. In our heads, we still have only a handful of people reading our blog and to be honest, we are just as happy with that as we are when we check our real stats.