So you’ve decided to blog for fun and/or profit, make no mistake about it, blogging is serious business. If you plan to blog for fun, that’s one thing, but if you plan to blog professionally or blog for money, it’s totally quite another matter. If you are serious about blogging, follow these 10 crucial tips on how to make your newfound venture a success.
Keep in mind that most blogs, close to 90%, fail after a few months. What happened? Most bloggers quit after a few months because they find out that their heart wasn’t in it. Another class of bloggers, bloggers who initially wish to blog for money starts out really gung-ho and after a few months of seeing little to no income, finally give up and look for something else. Regardless of which camp you might potentially fall in, using these 10 tips would not only help you to keep blogging for the long term but it could also help you make more money, achieve more success, achieve more popularity and get what you have been looking for in from your blogging venture. Turn your blog from a hobby into a lifetime passion using these tips.
1. Blog about Topics You Care About
This is a crucial tip because many people blog about topics they think make money or they think that the particular topic would make them famous or popular. Those motivations won’t see you through in the long run if your heart is not into blogging. If you want your blog to stick around and be continuously updated a year, two years or even 10 year from now, blog about something you care about. Blog about something that you would write about, even if nobody read your post or clicked on your ads. You have to focus on your passion. Your passion is the fuel that will drive the engine of your blog’s success.
2. Blog about Topics You Care About and Makes Money
Blogging for passion is one thing and passion is crucial for the long term success of your blog. With that said, money makes the world go round. You don’t want your blog to be a thankless exercise. While blogging for passion might not necessarily mean you to expect to make a lot of money, your blog should at least make enough coin to pay your hosting or your time. Also, even if you don’t need the money, the money is a form of mental currency that tells you that you are doing something right, that pats you on the back, or gives you some sort of satisfaction. It is a way of keeping score. It is a way of knowing if your blog is successful. Again, money might not be your central motivation but having money come in to have the blog pay at least pay for itself and goes a long way in prolonging the life of your blog and also fueling your passion.
Let’s face it, passion is a great thing. However the levels of motivation and energy that a person has going from day to day varies. Some days you are very passionate, while some days, blogging is a chore. During those days when writing has become a task that you just have to blog through, seeing figures in your AdSense account, ClickBank or any other affiliate marketing program will put a smile on your face and give you the extra push to get through those down days when you are not so motivated to write.
3. Length is not everything
Some bloggers are under this impression that the definition of a quality blog post is a long post. It has to be very long, very deep and very thick with meaning. That applies to certain types of posts that you think would put your blog on the map. These types of posts would make your blog an authority on a particular subject. However, you don’t need to fill your blog with long posts because it may drain you of your energy. Writing very dense, heavily researched, heavily packed posts take a lot time. You may have a day job, you might have a family to take care of, or you might have active life outside blogging, so pace yourself carefully. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. If you feel like you have a lot of things to say, space them out. Outline them in a DOC file or a TXT file somewhere and from time to time, keep developing them until they are ripe for publishing. Don’t feel pressured to publish masterpieces one right after the other.
The saying is true – variety is the spice of life. When your blog visitors visit your blog, of course they would expect high quality, long posts but after a while, that would get tiring, so they need a shorter post, posts that include pictures or posts that are just collections of links. Diversify your posting portfolio to make your blog less boring, it gives your readers more reasons to come back, it doesn’t tire anybody out, and most importantly, it lets you get a breather from time to time and come back refreshed to produce longer and denser posts later on.
4. Save Time Blogging by Posting Blog Comments
If you’re a serious blogger, the first thing you would need to learn is to find other blogs that discuss the same topics that you discuss. This is very important because this gives you inspiration as to the topics that you should be talking about. More importantly, it plugs you to a community of interests that deal with that particular subject matter. As part of this process, you leave comments on their blogs. This puts your blog on the map because when you leave your name, you put a link to your blog. So, if somebody finds your comments insightful, they click on your name and it goes to your blog. Simple enough, this is a great way to build a community and partnerships, although on an informal level with other blogs.
However, many people overlook the fact that this is also a great way for you to get blog posts. How? Whenever you are reading a post on another blog, instead of leaving all your comments there, be inspired to write a fuller version of your comment on your own blog. You are killing two birds with one stone, you are leaving short comments on other blogs so you could create a relationship with that blog so readers would come to your blog, but more importantly, you are inspired to write on-point, on-topic and relevant blog posts by expanding on comments that you leave on other sites, it is a win-win situation. Use this powerful tip to get past the boredom and laziness many bloggers feel when it comes to coming up with new blog posts.
5. Posting Pictures Break the Monotony
There is no iron rule that says blogs should focus mostly on text. You can post pictures as long as you tag them correctly and as long as you add interesting and accurate description, you’d still get traffic from search engines. Most importantly, this breaks the boredom your loyal blog users get by breaking up the pattern of just pure text posts. Pictures also add certain mood to your blog, so use pictures liberally.
There are many free sources of pictures you could get. You can get interesting pictures from Flickr.com. It is a great source. There are copyright permissions that you can search for, that allow you to source pictures where you don’t have to pay royalty. SXC.hu is also a great source for royalty-free pictures. Liven up your blog posts and add pictures today.
6. Strike a Balance Between your Audience and Search Engines
Many bloggers are purely driven by SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means writing the blog posts around certain key words that they want their blog to rank for. This is understandable. There is no better form of traffic than free search engine traffic. Talk about reaching your target market exactly at the time that they are looking for your particular type of content.
The problem with blogging solely based on keywords is that bloggers can easily go overboard and the posts become hard to read because they are all focused on the keywords. The titles are twisted in such a way so that the keywords are emphasized and readability suffers. While search engine traffic is great, at the end of the day, the person that will make you money or make you famous is a real person. Real persons need readable materials.
So, always strike a balance between your audience and writing for search engines. Make sure your keyword-targeted blog post titles are very readable. Always include a call to action. Always appeal to emotion. Always have a hook that grabs the reader’s attention. You can do this while appealing to search engine robots. It just takes a lot of practice, so keep practicing until you get it right.
It is crucial that you get your user’s attention. It is quite a sad waste to work so hard to get all this free search engine traffic with keyword-targeted blog post and have the user bounce out of your blog because they don’t what the heck you are talking about. Don’t waste that opportunity. Always strike a balance between the search engines and your audience’s needs.
7. Actively Recruit Your Audience as Your Promotions Partner
With the rise of Web 2.0, social media and social network sites, the audience has become even more powerful than search engine as source of traffic. Why is that? Word of mouth. Word of mouth is the most powerful and oldest form of advertising. If you produce a quality product, eventually people will hear of you as their own friends recommend your product to them. The same dynamic applies to blogs. Initially, you’ll get traffic from search engines. If those people find your content interesting, authoritative and possessing a high level of quality, they would share you in their Facebook wall, they would tweet about you in their Twitter feed, they would post your link on message boards, and any other online social network platform to get the word out about you.
The great thing about this is this army of promoters is free. To fully benefit from social networks and social recommendations, give them the tools they need so it is easy for them to viralize your content. How? Put Facebook and Twitter buttons on each of your post. This can easily be done through WordPress plug-ins like Sociable and other related plug-ins. Never underestimate the power of the mouth, give people who are impressed by your blog’s quality the tools that they need to get the word out.
8. Find Inspiration from Social Networks’ “Hot Topics”
One of the biggest challenges of blogging for living is coming up with topics that are related to your particular niche and would grab your user’s attention. Those two factors are not usually conjoined. They can sometimes be mutually exclusive. It’s very frustrating to find a topic that is related to your blog but your users would want to read.
Thankfully, with the rise of Twitter, this has become less of a problem. You can search for certain trending topics and then correlate with your blog’s niche. This solves the problem of user demand. A topic doesn’t trend on Twitter if not too many people are interested in it. So, if it is a top trending topic or you see a lot of tweets about it, you can rest assure that people find this topic interesting. It would be worth your while to blog about it because your users are more likely than not, interested in it also.
Another source where you can get trending search topics is Google Trends. It takes some getting used to, to find the right trending topics. But whatever tool you could use to get a pulse of what people consider interesting and then correlating that with your niche would go a long way in making your blog appeal better to its reader base. Another side benefit to all this is you getting more search engine traffic. As more people are interested in that particular topic, they will search for it and hopefully find your blog and you would get more traffic that way.
9. Get Post Inspirations from Your Blog’s Commenters
Believe it or not, your blog’s commenters are probably your blog’s best friend. Not only do they show the world that there are people reading your blog, it also starts a mental chain reaction in readers’ minds when they are looking at your blog posts. It also gives you ideas on possible posts to write.
Comments are usually enabled on many blogs because it shows the amount of community participation and popularity of the blog. The more blog comments, the better it is for your blog. However, there is a warning. Make sure that the comments are relevant that they have something to do with what you are posting about. Make sure to filter spam comments because they take away from your blog’s community. They do not add anything of value.
While it is standard practice to respond to each user’s comment to your blog with a reply, you could use their discussion, expand on it and use that as the foundation of a full blog post. This saves you time in researching new blog posts. It also feeds into your passion especially if the comment is negative because it spurs you to write a post in response. So, there is a sense of emotional urgency. Benefit from the user’s feedback process by allowing it to motivate you to write incisive, insightful and responsive blog post.
10. Get More Traffic by Writing Reviews
Every serious blogger spends a lot of time looking at the blogs of other people that write the subject matter that he/she is interested in. In addition to enabling you to build relationships among blogs by commenting on their blogs and having that comment link back to your blog, you also get inspiration from these to write your own blog post.
Aside from these advantages, being part of a blog community also yields the added benefit of inspiring you to write reviews of the blogs you come across. These don’t have to be overly positive reviews. Writing only positive reviews on your blogs actually decrease the quality of your blogs. It makes you less credible in the eyes of your readers. Your readers are looking for factual information. They are looking for the truth. They are not looking for hype. They are not looking for cover-ups. They are not looking rose-colored glasses. They are looking for the truth.
So, if you come across a blog in your rounds as a daily blogger that isn’t very good, make sure that you reflect that in your blog review. If you come across a quality blog, reflect that as well. These blogs will eventually find out what you wrote about them and they would come to respect if the posts are accurate – not over the top, but accurate. Some blogs even if you posted a negative review, would still link back to you. You get the added benefit of adding valuable content to your blog, establishing your credibility within the blogging community, and also getting back links from other websites to your blog. As you know, in terms of SEO, the larger the number of back links from related sites, the higher your rank is. So, use this tactic to get free traffic and better content to your blog.
The Bottom Line: Blogging Tips for Beginners
Blogging is not easy. There are many ebooks and ads online that show people in their pajamas and their slippers making a lot of money blogging. There are sorts of blog posts of people that they only spend one hour a week blogging and because of that, they are very influential. Do not believe this. Sure, it may become true later on. However in the beginning, blogging is serious business. It takes commitment, hard work and serious planning. In other words, it is a real venture.
If you are serious, use the tips above, plan your strategy well and make sure you are blogging with the right motivations. Because if you have all these three lined up, your blog has a higher chance of being a success. If not, there is a very good chance that your blog will join the over 90% of blogs that were created on the internet, gathering dust and dormant for several years on or closed down. The choice is yours. Blogging is not for the faint hearted, it is for serious people.