11 Ways To Make 8 Women Dream A Top Blog

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Everywhere you look on the web, we find plenty of advice on how to build a successful blog or website.

Everyone has an opinion.  Sometimes I think there is no magic formula – just luck.  I don’t believe in luck.

I’ve been working on websites and blogs for almost five years now. It started with my online journal, A Week In The Life of A Redhead.

There was just no turning back after that.  I became hooked on the idea of self publishing and its ability to allow anyone’s voice to be heard.

I equate the 8WD blog to the years I spent as a child making girlfriends play dress-up and perform in my parents living room.

My friends were forced coaxed into have a part, either as a dancer or singer.

I’d do the make up and hair, pick the music and assign costumes.

I wanted everyone to look beautiful and perform at their best.

I was probably one annoying-as-hell little girl.

Thankfully, these girlfriends still speak to me.

Fast forward 20 30 okay 40 years and here I am doing the same thing, except the blog is my living room and the other 7 women are my latest victims performers.

I’m still running around fixing hair (changing things on the blog), applying makeup (making posts scanable) and nagging them to get their writing shoes on (hey! Is your post ready?).

Except it was easier when I was a little girl.  My parents loved our living room performances.  My brother better prepared me for the web back then by yelling “You look stupid!” while running out the front door, desperate to get as far away as possible from little girl giggles.

There are well over 200 million websites on the Internet.  How do I pull this blog up through all the noise out there to land us at the top of the pack?  I can hear my brother yelling, “Just don’t look stupid, stupid!”

What does it take to have a top blog?

1.  Connect.
Make sure to connect with readers through an about page and welcome message. Done.

2.  Have an RSS feed.
See that blue square in the ad section? That’s our RSS feed and readers also have the ability to bookmark us when they click on the Share/Save button. Done.

3.  Allow social bookmarking.
When readers click on the Share/Save button at the end of a post, they can submit us to Digg, StumbleUpon etc.  Done.

4.  Network with other bloggers.
Good bloggers leave comments on other blogs related to their niche. We do network on Facebook and Twitter, but can improve on commenting on other blogs.

5.  Link out.
Link out in posts to other websites in blog posts, especially other blogs as they relate to the blog subject. For example: I checked out the blog Flourish Over 50 and loved their post, How not to look old, part 6—unmask your foundation.  We do this sometimes.

6. Give something away.
We have a collection of inspirational videos on the site, but this isn’t exactly what they mean. It should be a free report or a contest giveaway. Think anyone would go for used make-up that I don’t wear anymore?

7. Submit the blog to directories like DMOZ and Technorati.
These are directories that list blogs on the internet.  The word around blogsphere is DMOZ and Technorati are dead.  Even if they aren’t – groups of websites are dedicated to telling everyone how much they suck. I have tried to get blogs into DMOZ – it’s like sending something off to school with your teenager – it’s ignored and never seen again. DMOZ is notorious for never responding – same with Technorati. At least this blog is listed on Technorati, but nothing about us updates there, even though there are sites linking to us.  Their algorithm (for us at least) is broken. Yeah I emailed them. I think teenage boys work there.

8. Guest post.
We haven’t been invited to guest post on another blog. This is probably related to item number 4.

9. Write killer content.
Content is king on the web. It’s like the great restaurant in the bad location where people line up to get in. It’s the food. Content is the food of the internet. But what kind of content? If you ask Dan Zarrella, The Social Media Scientist, he will say, “Content is dead and resource is king.” Our content should be a resource to others.

10. Frequency.
The greater the quantity of quality content, the more the blog get indexed in search engines.  We do this everyday and twice on Sunday: post fresh content often.

11. Almost famous.
Having someone famous or well-known on the Internet write about or link to a blog. I suppose having my great Aunt Gertrude telling her bingo friends that we are doing some newfangled thing on the Internet just doesn’t cut it.

Needless to say I still have some work to do.  Will we ever get to the land of top blogs for women on the net?

If we don’t give up.

The story behind any successful blog is told one post at a time, step by step, improvement by improvement until it reaches The Tipping Point. The Tipping Point is the level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. At least this is what Malcom Gladwell author of the Tipping Point would tell us.

An my favorite Internet guru  Seth Godin would say, “It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more.”

Sigh, we are at month 18 . . . do we really have to wait 18 more?

I can hear my brother now, “Maybe. Just don’t be stupid!”

Keep dreaming,


(Catherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. Someday, she would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck Catherine usually writes the weekly motivation posts which are published late Sunday evenings for the following week)

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Hi Kris – so good to see you! Thank you for your feedback and I think your blog looks great too!

  • Catherine, this is a great post. Thank you for the laugh about Technorati, I agree – teenage boys do work there. The future rulers of the Universe… aaarrrggghhh!

    I’ve been punching it up recently on my blog, more frequent content, well written. Blogging has helped me become more clear about my message and what it is I want to say. I appreciate a well designed blog, and yours truly is.

    I like your check list and have a similar one. You offer valuable content here. Keep up the good work!

  • EdnaZ

    Get up and move around and dance Cath! No sitting at the computer too long! (we love you and the blog and also don’t sacrifice your health for this!).

    What Lisa said!!

    Say, where do I find the emoticons,please?

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Remy, I’ll email you something. – Cath

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    LOL – am with you Toni – having car troubles on a Monday morning – need to be a mad car genius I think.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank Lisa – glad to know our distant traveler is still with us out there in East coast land.

  • Remy, the photographer

    I have a few clients who are famous within their industry, and who may not require a 30k deposit. Id like to do a guest post with someone. Can you tell me if there is a format for that, or can I just go out there and get it. Hope your butt is better….R

  • Toni Schram

    You’re just figuring that out now Cat? We need a mad genius to see this through~see ya later on this morning
    for some technical help~if you know what I mean!

  • Get up and move around and dance Cath! No sitting at the computer too long! (we love you and the blog and also don’t sacrifice your health for this!).

    Being in the top women’s blogs – YUP let’s all make it happen. :) We will do our best to write kick-ass content and drive readership here… and we trust totally in your fearless leadership!

    And yes our new bloggers our AWESOME – we are so lucky to have you Toni, Laurie, Rayne… Glad to be a part of this with you!

    Hugs! Get some sleep Cath! ;)

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I went to bed and thought about the image problem, got up at midnight and fixed it.

    I am now certifiably crazy.

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  • Catherine, Site Admin

    LOL thank you as I am banging my head on my desk lost as to why the photo isn’t streaming on the front and I am too tired now to look any further.

    Besides my butt is numb from sitting and Rayne told me not to sit too much today!

    Cath ;-)

  • Toni Schram

    We all need someone to keep our shit in a pile and I’m glad it’s you. You have the foresight and gumption to make this all happen.

    I’m hoping with the addition of the three new (kick-ass, if I do say so myself) blogs, the Tipping Point will be tipped in our favor in the next few months!