Become a Top Blogger By Stanford Smith Do you know the secret to blogging success? Top bloggers didn’t achieve their success by accident. They had a plan and they worked daily to achieve their goals. For many it was a short list of simple objectives. For others it was a complex strategy perfectly executed.What about you? What’s your plan?I’ll be straight with you; most people aren’t master strategists. It takes a while to learn how to plan and execute a success effectively. So, I’m going to give you the shortcut no one talks about, setting powerful Habits.Habits Are the Building Blocks of AchievementAs a parent, I’m constantly guarding my children from bad choices that lead to bad habits. Why? Well, habits are incredibly hard to break. A child that uses whining to get their way turns into a whining and complaining teenager.The reverse is also true. Good habits are incredibly hard to break too. Our minds are wired to maintain the status-quo. Once a habit has taken hold, your own body will conspire to turn your habit into a lifestyle.Why not use this to your advantage? Your shortcut to success is to use your habits as tools to propel you toward your goals. This notion isn’t theoretical. In fact, close study of popular A-List bloggers show that they rely on 7 habits that they use as tools everyday.Let’s take a look at 7 of their most powerful tools:1. Writing DailyInteresting, compelling, and entertaining writing is the secret to growing a blog fast. The only way to get good at writing is to write constantly.Setting aside time daily to write will immediately improve your style and voice.How much you write is up to you but for most the minimum is 1 page or 30 minutes. The best way to start is to make it a priority to write your page before you go to sleep or immediately after you wake in the morning.2. Confronting Your Inner CriticSuperstar bloggers are fearless. They write provocative posts. They take on controversial topics. They guest post with abandon. Even though they seem confident almost all of them will admit to wrestling with their own self-doubts. The difference is that they learned how to harness their self-doubt to push them forward.They wrestle self-doubt to the ground and challenge it at every turn. They don’t let a negative idea find a place to nest in their mind.You can master your inner critic by equipping yourself with these questions:What action can I take now?How can I continue moving forward in spite of my doubts?Is this problem/doubt really a showstopper or can I deal with it later?Remember, your inner-critic wants you to stop. The best way to beat it is to form the habit of always pushing forward.3. Connecting with Your Readers RegularlyBlogging isn’t meant to be a lone-ranger activity. Your content gets stronger when you connect with your reader’s experiences and aspirations. Top Bloggers make it a habit to set-up easy ways to get one-to-one contact with their readers. For them Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is not an option. This is where they find inspiration for their posts and recharge their batteries.But be careful, Twitter and Facebook can be a time-waster if not used properly. I recommend you start with a goal that focuses you on achieving a result for your reader. Leo Babauta recommends you spend 80% of your time promoting others, 10% promoting your blog, and 10% on personal tweets. I agree. Set aside time 3x a week to connect with your readers and make it a priority.4. Win/Win Writing “Help Others Achieve Their Dreams And You Will Achieve Yours” – Les Brown Steven Covey encouraged peak achievers to seek Win/Win solutions where both parties walk away feeling great about what they achieved. The same goes for blogging.Every post you write should satisfy a core desire for you and deliver a real benefit for your reader. If you are simply writing to satisfy yourself then purchase a moleskin notebook and write away. But if you want to blog publicly then you owe it to readers to deliver real value.You can form a Win/Win habit by asking yourself this question before you start writing: “How will my reader benefit from reading this post and how will I grow from writing it?5. Be Consistently UpbeatOptimism is powerful and attractive. The power to put a smile on your reader’s face is magical. You should strive to add a little light to your readers lives everyday.On the other hand, “rants” are a zero-sum game that pushes your good readers away and attracts the wrong crowd. The best bloggers avoid rants and focus on helpful and upbeat posts.A great way to this is to consistently write upbeat headlines for your posts. Start with the right attitude and your optimism will radiate from your post.6. Master the Art of StorytellingThe words “Let Me Tell You a Story” never fails to get someone’s attention. We are wired to listen to stories and we love to tell them. Spectacular bloggers understand this and actively work on their storytelling ability.The best way to develop your storywriting ability is to read great books. Work to set a habit of reading at least one fictional book a month. Start with the New York Times Bestseller list and go from there. Pay special attention to how authors begin their stories and develop their characters. This is pure gold.7. Get Your Voice Right Your writing voice is your #1 asset. Your voice is what the reader has in their head when they read your post. It builds rapport and encourages your reader to engage with your content.Successful bloggers spend considerable time refining their voice. Most emphasize writing as if you are just talking to your best friend on the phone. One shortcut for finding your voice is to record yourself speaking about your topic. Just naturally answer a question or even have a friend interview you talking about your passion. Listen closely to the recording. That passionate advocate you hear – is YOU. Now write with the same voiceWhat A-List Habits Will You Work On?Which habit do you need to establish to take your blog to the next level? How have you caged your inner critic? Talk to me in the comments below.