Become a Top Blogger By Leo Babauta Share +1 Tweet ShareShares 0 By Leo Babauta I’m often asked, “What’s the most important thing I should be spending my time on as a blogger?” And my answer is always: Create amazing content. While there are lots of things that can contribute to building a successful blog — social media, good design, effective monetizing, marketing, etc. — none of them are nearly as important as content. In fact, content is the best way to do all of the above and more. Why? The reason goes to the heart of what we’re doing as bloggers, and is very simple: we’re trying to connect with readers, to attract readers, to share with readers, to help readers. Remember the common word there: “readers”. So the reader comes for content — what makes the reader stick around and subscribe? More great content, and the reasonable expectation (based on the content you already have) that there will be more to come on a regular basis in the future. Consider a few other elements: Design: The most attractive design in the world is useless without great content. Readers don’t come because of a pretty design. A design is best when it features the content and little else, when it helps the reader find the content he’s looking for. A design that gets in the way of content is bad design. Links from other blogs: Why would another blogger link to you? Because you have a great post that her readers might find useful or interesting. Not because you have nice design or optimized keywords or cool social widgets. Great content builds links.If we remember that the reader is the most important person, the answer to what’s most important to a blogger is easy — create something that the reader wants. And that’s amazing content. The reader comes to your blog because you have content that’s useful, interesting, entertaining. Because you’re solving some problem of hers. Not because you have a great design, or you’re great at SEO, or have optimized your keywords. Sometimes optimizing keywords will bring in more search traffic, but it won’t stick if you don’t have great content. SEO: Search engines might care a little about optimized keywords and other SEO junk, but what they care most about is incoming links (links to your posts from other blogs). That’s the plain truth. And you won’t get a bunch of links unless you have great content. Social media – Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Twitter … these kinds of sites can help your traffic tremendously. And sure, it helps to have friends and be active on these sites. But all of that doesn’t matter a lick if you don’t write a knock-out post. Monetizing – All the ads in the world won’t get you a dime unless you get traffic, and that traffic won’t come until you start creating a destination site, with amazing content that attracts the readers and keeps them reading. Actually, the best way in the world to monetize your blog, from my experience, is by selling more of your great content — if readers like your free content, they’ll trust you and be willing to pay for more of what you write. Which leaves us with the question: how do you write great content? It’s actually very simple in concept, but takes a lot of practice to perfect. I explore the question in depth in my new A-List Blogging Bootcamp (starting the week of Nov. 8), How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. The first week is absolutely free – click here to register for the free module. Leo Babauta is the creator of Zen Habits and mnmlist, and the author of focus.