There are lots of wine blogs out there, written by all manner of different people: wine merchants, wine producers, wine writers and, of course, interested amateurs.
Most – and even some good ones – fail to build any sort of audience. Why is that?
Here are my guesses.
Frequency of updating. If you are going to build any sort of traffic on your blog, you need to update it at least weekly. More frequently is better. Some exceptions exist, but not many.
Know your audience. Who are you writing for? Bear them in mind as you write. And remember: only people with a strong interest in wine actually want to read about it.
Length of posting. How many words in your average post? Personally, I can’t be bothered to read a 1000 word essay on a blog, unless it is truly exceptional. Wine writers: a blog is not somewhere to repost feature-length articles.
Stand out from the crowd. Most wine blogs look like other wine blogs. Aspiring bloggers often try to emulate the success of well-known blogs. This creates a trend to cluster wine blogs together in terms of style and content. I was recently reviewing some Australian wine blogs, and the writing style shared by several of them was bizarrely similar. Do something original, brave and different.
Have an authentic voice. Along similar lines to the previous point, be yourself. Don’t try too hard to be edgy or trendy if this is going to strip your blog of authenticity. Besides, it’s much easier to be yourself.
Persevere. It takes time to build traffic. If you don’t keep going when no one is listening, then pretty soon there will be no reason for them to listen.
Don’t be boring. Some people just can’t write. Others have the potential to be good writers, but they lack the courage to develop their writing style. I think it’s best to write more simply, and write the way you speak. If you write in a complicated style in order to impress, you’ll bore your readers.
Respect copyright. I’ve seen a few blogs where images lifted from the web are used creatively to add something to posts. This approach might be forgiven if you are writing an obscure blog that no one is going to read. But if you have ambitions for your blog, this disregard for copyright will catch you out. It’s unethical, lacks professionalism, and could lead to the rights holder coming after you for compensation. Use your own photos or illustrations, or ask permission first.