To be a successful blogger, you need quality content over anything else. It's your content that's going to hook people and keep them coming back for more. Without good, high quality content, you might as well not blog.
I doubt this is the case for anyone.
Your blog should also be targeted to your audience. Other than that, be creative in your posts, be authentic, and write as often as possible. This is the basis. The following 5 items are going to super charge your efforts and, therefore, you should add them to your blogging practice.
5 Essentials For Blogging Success
1. Social Sharing Buttons
If you're going to get serious about blogging, the most important plugins you'll need are social sharing buttons. There are tons to choose from and each of them serve their own purpose. Without these buttons, your blog will only be read by your active readers (those who come to your blog regularly without being prompted to do so) and those who stumble upon your blog through keyword searches.
As a blogger, you must remain aware that this isn't enough. Since your content's so compelling, people are going to want to share it. You'll want to have the sharing tools in place to make it easy for them. For my audience, I include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and G+. These 5 social networks are what I call "The Big 5," and I highly encourage using these as a starting point. However, you might find your content works very well on Reddit or StumbleUpon, so by all means add those as well.
2. RSS Feed
Despite the death of Google Reader, many people still use RSS feeds as a way to read blogs. Furthermore, there are a lot of rumors going around that Facebook's next addition is the news reader, so you might as well get ready for it. Make sure you're using something like Feedburner so that you can monitor how many people sign up for your RSS feed—not to mention, it's just easy to use.
3. Buttons That Link Back To Your Social Pages
You want to build your social base and blogging is a great way to do so. Like I've said before, you want to make everything as easy as possible for people to do what you want them to. Want them to become a fan of your Facebook page? Make sure you add a place on your blog where they can do that without having to leave your site. Want them to follow you on Twitter? Same rules apply. Understand that Internet users have ADD—don't make them go searching for you, because it's likely that they're going to get distracted.
4. Moderated Comments
I hate nothing more than a blog that doesn't allow comments. Blogging is supposed to be an open forum chock full of ideas. You're writing for a reason. You want people engaged and interested. When someone comments, you know you got to them. Comments are also a great way to build relationships. So go ahead and comment on blogs similar to yours, too. It'll drive traffic back and forth, and you never know whose eyes will see your blog in passing.
5. Contact Info
Too often bloggers forget to add their contact info. Okay, I get it, you don't want to be spammed, right? But how will I contact you when I want you for business, or as an expert, or to interview, or for a reality documentary show? I've done a lot of social media casting in my work history, and you don't know how many times I've found the perfect person for that expert role, but they didn't provide a way for me to contact them. Don't make this mistake.