Finding out how to win at blogging or producing a solid content strategy for your business can be truly rewarding . Both can make you very happy and even give you the freedom to pursue other things or just general monetary freedom.
Why isn't every blogger successful?
It's not that easy. Whilst sitting down and writing might sound easy at the outset it takes a lot of time and effort to start a new website or put together a solid content strategy for your business and continue to write on regular occasion.
Often you see people starting a new blog full of passion and fire in their belly about what they're going to do with dollar signs etched in to their eyeballs on the returns they're going to make. The truth of the matter is that you can probably write about 15 blog posts before that fire has been extinguished and the passion has well and truly gone, especially if you don't see $1 of revenue coming from anywhere.
How do I know? I've been through it personally. I don't have enough fingers to count the amount of websites I've setup with the thought that I'd blog my way to money. On the other side of the coin, I've blogged elsewhere and the content which I've created has been directly linked to a growth in traffic and money.
Every blogger isn't successful because sometimes they just don't have the commitment to do so. It doesn't take much for that blogging fire to extinguish.
How to win at blogging?
Resign yourself to the fact that blogging isn't easy. It is A LOT of hard work both physically and emotionally. Physically draining by the amount of time you spend sat at a desk rattling off 500-1000 word blog posts and emotionally draining when you've written so many words and have them published yet you're still not seeing the visitor counter go up.
Successful blogging takes time, sometimes weeks, months or years. As the old saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day (and neither was your blogging empire)".
If you have the time, patience and most of all effort to succeed you can be a successful blogger. Here are some tips to get you started.
Figure out who your audience is
Writing blindly is possibly the worst thing you can do when it comes to blogging. It's a big world out there with many different 'types' of people. The audience of a personal finance blog is far different than that of a foodie blog.
Remembering that the first step of blogging is to realise that it's hard work, the second most important step is to recognise who your audience is and who you're going to be writing content for. It's worth asking yourself a set of questions to figure out who your audience is;
- What is the age range of my audience?
- Is my audience predominantly male or female?
- Is my audience tech newbies or experts?
- Who are my audiences, audience (this is important for viral growth)
- Is my audience in a particular geographical location?
- Do my audience 'want' something, whether it be a product, information or money?
These are just a small amount of questions which you can ask yourself about your blog, there will be more depending on your chosen topic/niche.
Write with knowledge
One of the big things that people miss when figuring out how to win at blogging is that writing content that you're highly knowledgeable in can pay dividends to your authority in that topic.
Some people set up niche sites, sites which you can try and monetize quickly by adding content and building links. Most of the time they're quite random topics where you would probably not know too much about them, but you could find someone that is. You could use a service like Elance or Freelancer to find a writer who is knowledgeable in your topic.
The negative impact of writing content that you're not comfortable with or know much about can be quite damaging. If your readership are savvy with their own topic it's hard to be authoritative with them if you're not from their niche. They will notice and will call you out on information if it is not correct so air on the side of caution if that's something that you're looking to do.
Follow other blogs and bloggers in your chosen topic
Some say that success is who you know not what you know. This could be said of blogging as well. If you think you're the first blogging about your particular chosen niche you're more than likely wrong. In todays world it's almost certain that your niche isn't unique but it doesn't mean your content can't be.
You can follow other successful blogs to see what kind of content they're creating and see if you can add to that knowledge or even take a different view on.
You can start interacting with other bloggers in your niche and create a power-group where you start promoting each others content and getting the best of both worlds. Two or more powerful blogs with large audiences is great for your and your power-group and you could potentially make more revenues.
You can attempt to build relations with other bloggers out there by doing the following;
- Create content on your blog and ask whether other bloggers want to promote it
- Engage with other bloggers via blog forums, there may be specific forums for your topic/niche
- See if you can email other bloggers directly, some are very open to communication with like-minded bloggers
- Start commenting on others bloggers blogs and leave good quality comments where a discussion can be started
Don't give up!
A few weeks in to your new blog and you might have posted up to or around 15 new articles to your website. You're busy watching your analytics software in real-time to see if anyone is visiting your website. Don't despair and don't give up! If you notice that you're not getting many visitors, it is not the end of the world.
As I said, it is hard work to carry on writing but it's also hard to keep up the positive momentum when you're not seeing much reward. There are many things other than writing your articles that you can do to keep yourself busy and motivated than are in this tips article.
Find a blog marketing and link building strategy that works
Whilst building a blogging power-group is a good start, it's not the only thing that you can/should do to get your blog off the ground. You should actively seek and create your own marketing and link building strategy that works.
The above image is from Spencer Haws Niche Pursuits website.
The strategy is something that you should be chipping away at daily whether it be creating a back-link, setting up social accounts, writing a mini-spun article for a secondary blog, article submissions or more.
Whilst I've not personally followed another bloggers strategy there are a few which have been written about in detail and have had good things said about them;
- Pat Flynn's Back Linking Strategy That Works
- Spencer Haws' How to Build Links for Niche Sites
- Search Engine Watch's Back-linking Strategy Guide
It's worth setting yourself up a little spreadsheet to remind yourself of where and what you've done to make sure that you know where your links are coming from. That way, if any of them have a negative impact you can quickly get them removed. Keeping the spreadsheet also enables you to track what keywords and anchor text you have linked to your blog. Your keywords and anchor text should be varied as well as direct and in-direct links.
Refining Your Blog Design
Where you start out is never where you end up. The design of your blog will never be perfect, but that's ok. As long as you concentrate on the items within this post and be aware of the designs affect on conversions, readability and traffic you can't really go wrong.
The placement of links to affiliate items or adverts in your sidebar and posts can drastically alter your conversions, of course you need traffic for those to convert first which is why I've talked about refining your design last.
Give your viewers a good reading experience and they will come back and read more of your posts. Think about line length and line-height of your content rather than keeping too many words to a line and having all of your lines squashed together.
If you're looking for a theme to use for your blog, it should be a design which resonates with your readers. A financial blog wouldn't look great looking like a foodie blog and vice-versa. The following themes are specific to a niche which might help you out;
- Foodie Blog Theme - Handmade Two
- Personal Blogging Theme - Principles
- Personal Blogging Theme - Personal
- News Blogging Theme - mag.Press
Get winning already!
Go on, what are you waiting for?! Start using the information above today, or if you have something to add to it, let me know in the comments. Is there anything you want to learn about? Shoot me an email via the contact form and I'll see what I can do.