Tip #1: Stop Emulating the Success of Others
I've often read people speculating on who will be "the Next Instapundit" or "the Next (Insert Popular Person)". Along with this comes tips on how to become an A-list blogger. Newsflash: we don't need another Instapundit. We need you to be you. Bring what you have to the table and stop trying to emulate the success of others. Throw out the hope of attaining someone else's level of success. I promise your blog will be much more successful as a result.
Tip #2: Get Some Motivation
A character in a Sprite soft drink commercial once asked a very wise question, "What's my motivation?" It may sound incredibly cliché, but this is the first and foremost thing anyone who seeks to start a weblog should consider. What will be your driving motivation for publishing your thoughts, pictures, and essays on the world wide web? The answer doesn't have to be some deep manifesto or objective. It could be as simple as "to use my blog as a creative outlet" or "to vent" or "to learn html" or "to get a book deal".
When I started my weblog, my pure and unadulterated reason was because I needed to practice writing and I was extremely lazy about it. My motivation was simple: become a disciplined writer. After some time, your motivation behind your blog may evolve, but it's always good to bring yourself back to that reason why you started in the first place. It is after all, motivating.
Tip #3: Decide Your Genre
Everyday, people all over the world start weblogs and while it's fairly impossible to categorize or fit everyone into a box, there are a number of broad classifications we can make on overall style. These classifications are important because they allow us not to compare blogs based on the same standards.
The two dominant types of blogs seem to be personal journals and political/current event blogs. Other genres may include culture, sports, music, life, photography, and just the all-around hodge podge of stuff, or as I like to say "Neapolitan" flavored blogs.
Whatever you choose, be true to what you're after. If you simply want to filter the news and the blogosphere, then by all means do that. But don't play with it; embrace it for all it can be. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit proved himself to be one of the best link shepherds in the blogosphere and its reaped tremendous dividends. Reynolds is now known as one of the most influential bloggers.
If your blog is more of a personal journal, don't shy away from that, embrace it. If you want to pour out details of your personal life on the internet, do that, but don't be insecure about it. Before I started my own blog, I was a frequent reader of the now defunct Madpony.com, a site run by two sisters in Oklahoma, one in high school and one in college. Every few days the sisters would post pictures and recount hilarious tales of shoe shopping, life in a sorority and growing up in Oklahoma.
The site was very suburban, and very shallow content-wise (not a lot of pontificating on the future of social security if you know what I mean). But it totally worked for them and their readership skyrocketed in the two short years they were on the air.
Don't ever feel obligated to talk about politics or "serious matters" because it's the popular thing to do. Do it because it interests you. If your journal is all in fun, or all about your family, then let it be that and don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Your blog's style will make room for you if you keep it true to you.
(Click for Tip #4)