Blogging is a win-win activity as it allows writers to share their experience and readers to learn something new and interesting. If you want to become a blogger – a successful blogger, you need to consider blogging a business. It requires continuous investment of time, money, and skills to create new and new posts which will attract visitors. Are you ready for this?
0. Getting started
If you keep a blog already, then skip this part. Here we will highlight where to start, how to come up with the blog idea and goals, as well as outline some technical features like blogging platforms and domains.
Choose a niche and specify ideas
There are thousands of websites covering any and all possible topics. Nobody will go for yet another casino review website as there is the already popular gambling blog by Katie Wager, or ‘budget travel’ blog because there are The Poor Traveler, and Nomadic Matt, for instance. But you can still author a unique website about cheap local travels near your hometown, or start a travel diary describing your own adventures.
Got it? Fresh ideas are crucial to attract visitors and build a loyal audience. Think about what you’re good at and what will be interesting for people. Authentic content is always in demand.
Choose a platform and a blog name
Basically, a blog is an online journal where author posts texts, photos, videos, polls, links, and so on. Blogs are divided into hosted and self-hosted. The first option provides for a free page which is placed on a certain blogging platform. Bloggers don’t pay for it but have limits like predefined domain names (example.wordpress.com), blocked themes and functions. Self-hosted blogs cost $5-10 per month but have no limits.
The most popular blogging platform is WordPress which offers both free and paid contracts. This hosting provider is user-friendly, fast, has tons of themes and templates, and offers professional support. Also, check Blogger and Tumblr. These sites are more social media oriented but less functional and popular. For self-hosting, we’d recommend iPage with WordPress support, advertising options, and free domain names. Still, you are able to create your own website without third-party templates at all.
Pay much attention to choosing a domain name. The name of your blog should be memorable, easily pronounced, unique and without special symbols.
Texts make up a body of your blog but themes, titles, images, and media surrounds the content and contributes to the blog being visually appealing to readers. So, make sure your online diary is well-designed and intuitive.
Main visual style
Blogging platforms offer various templates both free and paid. Spend some time to choose the best one which will be unique, easy-to-navigate, and eye-catching. More importantly, the visual style should reflect the idea of your blog. For instance, a football analytics website won’t use skiing themes, same as a personal finance blog will rather be furnished with minimalistic business templates.
Always look for themes which are:
- Simple and not cluttered up with unnecessary features or options;
- Optimized for desktop, mobile, and tablet platforms;
Try to build your own style so that people recognize it. Don’t copy and be creative even when it comes to design.
Titles and photos for each post
Apart from overall visual impression, articles should have their own styling (title, main picture, in-text descriptions). Your blog visitors grab titles first, so make them short, catchy, intriguing and descriptive. There are tons of information on the web and your post must cry out loud: “Read me!” It’s all about writing experience, though. Don’t be afraid of trying different approaches.
Images are important too. It takes us seconds to look through the preview, and large colorful or unique pictures attract our attention and force us to read it all.
2. Content and posts
Here we come up to the flesh and blood of all blogs.
- Write what you know. Be expert. Visitors want to know something new, interesting, useful and exclusive. Don’t try to fool them and write about something you aren’t keen on just because it’s trendy. Make your own trends.
- Write for people. Find out where your target audience spend time, explore their interests and try to answer burning questions.
- Write in plain language. Same as people hate complex design, they don’t like tricky language. Be honest and plain – imagine that you are talking to friends when writing posts. Exact numbers may vary, but 1500 words in total and about 3 sentences per paragraph are good.
- Write regularly. Formulate your content strategy and follow it. Update your blog every day or week – it will depend on topics. But be regular, so that visitors know when to expect the next article.
Blogs are for readers, it’s clear. To attract them, authors must work a lot. There are three general approaches to interacting with the reader and expanding audience:
- Answer questions and write comments. Talk to your readers! People like feedback and they will appreciate personalized communication.
- Diversify social media. Not only WordPress or Blogger are cool platforms. Move to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for wider coverage.
- Attend professional events. Here are two options: events for bloggers and events for professionals in the sphere related to your blog. Try to visit both types of conferences. The first one will bring valuable knowledge on basic blogging techniques while the second one will boost you as an expert.
After reaching at least a thousand regular visitors, consider advertising. It’s the main way of earning money for various bloggers. Large companies, brands or thought leaders who want to promote themselves always look for new platforms and blogs. Authors also look for customers who are interested in placing ads on their websites. There are different options including clickers, ad banners, widgets, and so on.
The golden rule of any business: be persistent. Successful bloggers were novices once but now they have hundreds of thousands of readers. It’s simply impossible to become famous overnight because blogging requires a lot of work. Follow your dream!