In a world where youth culture is so highly promoted, age is not usually considered a good thing. However, if you’re an author starting a blog, you should be aware of the importance of age. Your blog’s age is a potent factor in achieving authority, building traffic and (if it is one of your goals) creating a handsome valuation. Why is that? Below are a few reasons why your blog might improve with age.
Quantity of content. The more posts you create, and the more content in your archives, the more traffic you are likely to attract to your blog. In part, this is due to how your blog is processed by search engines. More importantly, it has to do with the value you can deliver to your readers when they visit. The quality of your posts is also vital if you are to sustain a loyal readership. In many respects (quality) content is like nectar: it first attracts search engine crawlers, and this in turn leads to more visitors, more links, etc. And these enhance the revenue generating potential of your blog.
Search Engine Optimization. Generally, earning and sustaining high rankings in search engine results means carefully monitoring and optimizing your blog content over time. Search engine ranking factors are extensive (see “Search Engine Ranking Factors v2” on seomoz.org). There are a number of strategies for doing this as Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin pointed out in their recent interview with this blog.
It has been rumored in recent years that Google is putting more weight on the age of a domain when determining search rankings. This is especially true with commercial sites versus those in the government (.gov) and educational (.edu) domains. Even with your best efforts at optimization, it may take months before you see your rankings begin to improve and the rules are always subject to change (see for example, “Behind the Scenes of Google Rankings” on Blogoscoped.com).
Reputation. Establishing your online profile takes the same kind of time to develop as in real (offline) life. Just as with established commentators in traditional media, people will come to expect consistency and authenticity in your blogging over time. This is perhaps the best way to grow your readership. And, like content, it contributes to the earning power of your blog.
Network. Opportunities to learn from and collaborate with other bloggers in your area of the blogosphere, both online and offline, come as a result of the time and energy you have invested in establishing a good reputation. Networking can be online (commenting on others’ blogs or participating in forums) and offline (meetings, conferences, trade shows).
Learning Curve. Like every new endeavor, expect to spend a lot of time learning the basics and finer nuances of things like search engines, blog design, writing techniques, online income models, as well as becoming an expert in your topic area. The landscape of the blogosphere is constantly changing, so do not expect the learning curve to ever flatten out. There is little doubt that the best and most useful things you will learn will come as a result of your own experience – the unending cycle of trial, error, and improvement.
There are no shortcuts to any of these steps. In this respect, blogging is like farming. Building your audience takes careful nurturing, dedication and time. The good news is that in the blogosphere, the aging process can occur quickly – in just a few years. Paul Gillin provides a number of examples of this in his book on social media “The New Influencers.” The loyal readership that results from long term, quality blogging can become a writer’s franchise.