The great thing about blogging is that anyone can do it. Whether you are planning on earning money from your blog, or you are doing it for fun, there are a few steps you can take in the beginning to make the whole process easier.
Blogging is not rocket science, nor are the secrets to building a successful blog very hard to figure out. Search for blogging on Google and you will get 956,000,000 results. Are all of them worthwhile? No, but in the morass, you are bound to find gold if you look hard enough.
But I'll save you the trouble. Here are 5 things to must do to ensure your blog is a success.
Focus on a Niche
Now, I am a generalist, through and through, but even I make sure each one of my blogs focuses on a specific niche. Each blog post is an even narrower part of my specific niche.
Take my blog, for instance. Blog Differently is about blogging, specifically, but I tend to cover many different aspects of the whole. And even though the newsletter tends to be more general, the blog sticks mostly to the art of blogging and all the different things that go into being a successful blogger. Each post breaks apart one part of blogging and takes a deep dive into the mechanics.
In the beginning, it used to be that you could have a personal blog and just talk about anything, and for the more famous people, that still holds true, but unless you are a movie star or internet influencer, it is unlikely many people will visit to read if you cover too many topics. Most people go to blogs for specific information and only a handful of their fans will continue to come back again and again.
According to HubSpot, of the people they polled, 33% said they read blogs to learn something new, and 12% said they read to discover news and trends in their industry.
So, you need to have a niche and need to be specific. If someone came to your blog to read an article about chickens, they would expect the rest of your content to be about chickens. Don’t disappoint them.
Create Killer Content
The posts you write are the most important part of your blog, so don’t treat them like an afterthought. Spend time planning, crafting, and promoting. Most of the time you spent on your blog should have something to do with the articles and essays you create.
Here are some things to focus on:
Headlines Must Be Perfect
If the content is the most important part of the blog, then headlines are the most important part of the content. If you don’t have awesome headlines, no one will ever click through and read. What is setting you apart from all the other posts that come up in the search results? What makes you stand out to someone looking for specific information?
Whether you create the headline first, or you wait until you create the post, spend enough time crafting the headline so that someone doesn’t skip over you for the next article.
Here are some articles that discuss how to create magnificent headlines:
- How to Write Headlines: a Step-by-Step Guide – Neil Patel
- 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines – Jeff Goins
- How to Write Headlines That Work – Copyblogger
Watch Your Formatting
Formatting is often overlooked, but it is the difference in how you are perceived by the reader. You either look like a pro or an amateur. If you visit enough blogs you can automatically spot someone who takes good formatting seriously and someone who just copies and pastes and thinks nothing of it.
Break out the content into headlines, use bold and italic sparingly, make sure links stand out, and break huge blocks of text into simple paragraphs for readability.
Here are some more formatting tips:
- The Complete Guide to Formatting Your Stories on Medium – Jason Weiland
- The Best Way to Format Blog Posts to Keep Your Readers Engaged - coschedule
- How to Format Blog Posts Effectively – Problogger
Start Building an Email List from the First Day
One of the best reasons to start a blog rather than, say, publishing on Medium (even though you can now collect emails) or LinkedIn, is that you can start an email list. Your self-hosted blog is a gold mine because you have direct access to the emails of your biggest fans.
An email list is a direct line to your true fans and you want to make sure that you are starting to collect emails from day one. Later you can promote new articles, affiliate offers, and new projects to the audience members that matter the most, the ones who come back time and again to read.
Here is how to gather your fans.
- How to Build Your Email List – MailChimp
- Revealed: Why Building an Email List is so Important Today (6 Reasons) – WPBeginner
- How to grow your email list for free in 2022 – ConvertKit
In the future, you’ll want those addresses if you ever want to expand or offer a product. The list is valuable like diamonds because it is the future of your blogging efforts.
Subscriptions Are the Future
Most people monetize their blogs with a combination of affiliate marketing, ads, and sponsored posts, maybe they write an eBook or build a course. But the future is here and it is subscriptions. Consider why there are platforms like SubStack and Patreon. Newsletter subscriptions are booming because people are more than willing to pay a small price for ad-free access to the information they want from people they love.
You can even do like I did, and forego WordPress and its plugins and use a service like GhostPro or Wix, which offer you the opportunity to charge for subscriptions to your newsletter. You can use it like a blog and send out posts to either your free subscribers or premium content for the people who pay for access.
You can charge by the month or year and if you have a great product, people will pay to see what you have to say. It helps to have a solid niche, but if you are a minor celebrity or influencer that helps as well.
Give it a try. The days of ads are quickly ending. You can even do it in combination with affiliate marketing. It could be an excellent stream of income for you in the future.
Always Be Learning
The key to being a successful blogger is to always be learning new things that will help your blog. Keep up-to-date on new monetization opportunities and technologies that will make your blogging life easier.
Blogging is not rocket science, but it does take a lot of work to do properly. Get started right now and come out of the gate swinging if you want to be a success.
Take 50% off your first payment when you subscribe to the premium tier of Blog Differently. Click this link to get started. Support your favorite creator and get a smashing deal in the process.