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Spotlight on Successful Blogs: Learning from the Best

So you want a killer WordPress.com website? Why reinvent the wheel? Get inspiration from the phenomenal community of creators, bloggers, and business owners who have built successful blogs and gained some serious traction on their sites — there’s a lot you can learn from those who’ve come before.

Here we’ve put the spotlight on three solid WordPress.com websites, all of which have a penchant for consistently contributing to their communities, being authentic, and gaining tangible growth as a result.

Who are they?

Christine Ray, United States
Blog: Brave and Reckless

Ray began blogging with a poignant post on Facebook that was so well-received she decided to create a home for it on WordPress.com. Since Ray started her blog in October 2016, that post has expanded into a multi-category site with 3,100 followers and 50,000-plus views — and it only continues to grow. Ray is a prolific voice online who writes everything from poetry and personal essays — on topics like sexuality, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder — to advice for new bloggers. She is also a leader in the blogging community and managing editor of several literary collectives.

Suzy Marie, United Kingdom
Blog: From the Fringe

Marie’s blogging journey began with inspiration from blogger Elena Krause, whose style inspired Marie to write her own stories and share them online. Marie writes an honest, upbeat blog with posts on feminist feistiness and embracing joy and quirky lifestyle pieces on health and happiness. After a 2014 UK Blog Awards win, Marie created her current blog, From the Fringe. Marie’s passionate post, “A Mushy Love Letter About Blogging,” details how blogging has brought her an abundance of joy, connection, and creative nourishment — and how it changed the course of her career. She has also touched on marketing, public relations, and her experience managing her online magazine, The Olive Fox.

Paul Zizka, Canada
Website: Paul Zizka Photography

Zizka is a Canadian artist, creator, and photographer who captures the magnificence of nature in both well-known and remote areas of the world. His website has evolved over time, and what began as a simple site for his photography business in the Canadian Rockies has expanded to include a successful blog. He offers educational tools and resources for photography, and even gives a deeper look into his travel escapades. He captures crisp, vivid images from around the planet, and has won awards in both photography and film. Supported by the digital content and marketing experience of his wife, Meghan J. Ward, Zizka’s site continues to grow as a hub for his photo activities and business.

Each of these creators use their successful blogs in unique ways, yet their growth strategies have similarities — and you, too, can implement them to build a successful WordPress.com site of your own. What is one of the most important things they share? They all create quality content with a consistent blogging schedule, for starters.

What can they teach?

Each of these websites serves its individual purpose. Zizka’s blog supports his business, and Ray and Marie blog because they’re passionate about writing. But they all share a crucial aspect of connection: cultivating community.

Zizka’s blog has transformed from a place to share his photography — which already creates a connection with its breathtaking beauty — to a space where he gives back by providing resources and tools to help other photographers take better photos. Adding value by going above and beyond is a great way to serve your community while building your own business. Zizka’s website is a hub for his photo activities, and he shares it on social media to drive traffic back to his site, creating a community of connection and value.

Ray has shifted from only sharing her own pieces to also featuring the writing of others on her blog. She’s now able to use her platform to help others grow as well. The biggest driver of her impressive results? Commenting on other blogs and responding thoughtfully to comments on her own site. It’s more time-intensive to respond to every comment, but she’s found it’s worthwhile for the authentic connection it allows her to build with her community. And by collaborating with like-minded writers on some of her pieces, Ray has increased her followers exponentially. She suggests that commenting on blogs is one of the best ways to build community — especially for those just beginning their blogging journeys.

Marie suggests also getting involved through Twitter chats, real-life meetups, and events — all wonderful ways to connect and cultivate community. She strongly believes followers are not the only measure of success, calling follower numbers a “tiny piece of the puzzle.” For her, it’s about genuine, authentic engagement, which you can achieve by just being yourself. One of the best rewards she’s discovered is connection. Marie has met people from all over the world through her WordPress.com community, and her strategies have resulted not just in a successful blog, but also in a sense of all-around fulfillment.

Community connections, authenticity, and value are all crucial to growing your blog or business website. Learn from the strategies and contributions of these successful blogs to develop your own method for building a killer website. Let your voice be heard!