The internet is a beautiful thing that gives artists, writers, political activists and scholars a platform by which to express themselves and connect with others from around the world who share the same goals and interests. It also provides that same platform to the mean, annoying, self-indulge crowd willing to do anything for a follow.

For the most part, the reliable, thoughtful websites – or at least the ones that add value to our lives – will rise to the top. Facebook, The Huffington Post, YouTube, Web MD, etc. Some are meant to inform and others to entertain, but each were determined be meaningful, at some point in time, by the majority internet users. These sites will be around, and likely grow, well into the foreseeable future. They’ve done something right.

It’s harder for the independent bloggers or small business owners to get their voices heard online and it doesn’t help that many fall into the trap of wanting a quick and dirty way to rise to the top. Maybe one out of every 10 million people strikes it rich with a cute baby video or scandalous Tweet, but the odds are against you. So here are a few tips to get your content off the ground running in a legitimate way.

blogPost consistently. If you write a great blog once a week for two months, then suddenly drop off the face of the internet, do you think people are going to pick it back up when you log back on? Probably not. Posting regularly is not only good SEO strategy as it shows Google that your website is active, but also makes you look professional and dedicated to your product. If it helps, create a content calendar that lays out exactly which topics should be published when. And if you ever get in the writing zone, whip out a couple blogs to put in the queue.

Find your voice. If you’re flying solo, this one is easy. Chances are you’ll write in the same tone week after week. If you’ve got different people all writing for the same blog, set some guidelines, discuss tone/feel, and pick one person to edit everything.

Interact with your followers: If people are reading your blog on a regular basis, they’re obviously interested in what you have to say. When they leave a comment, comment back. Feel free to drop your email or phone number if you think it’s worth talking in depth. Think of your blog as a networking event and every reader as a possible contact. When you get negative comments and feedback, respond to those as well (within reason). Don’t add fuel to the fire, simply let them know their points are being heard. After all, that’s all most internet users want. Remember that platform we talked about …

Don’t try to go viral. Having a high quality blog that’s consistent and honest and will get you a heck of a lot farther than a cat video or risque celebrity commentary. Stick to what you know and are good at, the respect and readership will follow.