You see it all the time: another successful blogging sharing about how much money they are making with their blog. So how do they do it?
Blogs can be a very successful and profitable business if done correctly. To turn a blog from a hobby to a profitable business, you must grow your audience. In this post you will learn the 7 most essential steps to successful blogging.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click and purchase through these, we receive a small commission.
1) Where to start?
My first attempts at blogging were years ago when the word blog was new. I used free services, including Blogger, and sites that you can earn money based on views. Then I learned the advantages of having a self-hosted WordPress blog and made the switch.
You might wonder, “who not use free?” There are a couple reasons. First, you don’t own the website. The company that is providing the service is in control. If they decide to stop their service, you may lose all that work you put into it.
I know of writers that published 100’s of articles on free sites of which they were make nice money based on views they got. Then Google changes hurt big content sites like these. Virtually overnight writer’s income plummeted and they lost their sites. When you own your site you are in complete control; therefore, you aren’t at risk at losing all your hard work down the line.
If you’re serious about successful blogging, invest a small amount in buying your own domain and hosting. A domain costs about $13 (cost per year) and monthly hosting can be under $10 a month. If money is tight start with a free theme and later update your blog with a purchased theme.
TIP: When choosing a domain consider keywords for your niche, try to avoid hard to spell words, and have it be memorable. I, also, try to stay at or below 15 characters so I can use the domain as my Twitter username, too. Check to make sure it’s not used yet and is available on social media, too. NameCheckr is a handy tool to for this research.
A niche is a targeted topic or audience. Brainstorm what your interests are. What are you passionate about: home decorating, fashion, cooking vegetarian?
Or consider who you most identify with: moms of young children, homeschooler, or moms with full time jobs. Another is looking at problem you want to solve like living frugal, getting out of debt, or losing weight.
It does NOT matter if your topic is super popular to be successful blogging. As long as there is a audience for your topic and the topic is focused, then your blog should be successful. Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience no matter how large or how small the audience is.
A blog about your cat can be a niche or a blog about the species of the cat family can be a larger niche market, if there are people who are interested in hearing about your cat or the species of the cat family, then you have a niche…you can even choose to build your audience for a market which an audience does not exist, but first you must build your blog.
Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and MoreCareer Food Blogging: The $100,000 Food Blog Business PlanFood Blogging 101: The Complete Guide to Setting up, Building Traffic and Monetizing Your Food Blog
3) Consistently Post Quality Content to Your Blog
This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your blog on a regular basis keeps your blog interesting to readers. Also, it gives fresh content making it more appealing to search engines and gives you content to share on social media.
How often you publish a post depends a lot on how much time you can set aside for your blog. If you only have 10 hours a week to work on your blog, write 2 posts a week. If you have more time, increase that amount.
When your blog is young it’s not bad to publish a post each day, if possible. It will give you fresh content to share on social media and the more you have there bringing you views. Later that number can be decreased in exchange for longer posts.
Speaking of post length, you posts need to be a certain quality to be read. 400-500 word posts are a good start. If you occasionally have shorter ones or longer that’s okay. What I’m saying is if your blog is nothing but 150-200 words posts with little depth to them, readers will leave sooner than if you have posts that have more “meat” to them.
Next, use correct spelling and grammar. Proof read posts before hitting that publish button. Sloppy writing never got you A’s in school and they won’t win over you more readers either.
Successful blogging takes serious effort, just as any business. You have to show up and do good work if you want to make money.
365 Blog Post Ideas: Years of Blogging Ideas for Any NicheThe One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content That Hooks and Sells365 Content Ideas For Any Business: Blog, tweet and post your way to success every day of the year!
4) Listen to Your Audience
Listening to your audience helps you to write content that will answer the needs of your audience. That doesn’t mean you can’t write about a topic you feel needs to be written. It’s a balance between writing what you wish to share and writing what you audience needs.
So, how do you hear your audience? Keep your eyes and ears open at places where people search for answers, ask questions, and chat about your niche topic.
Search on Pinterest and when certain suggested keywords pop up, you know they are searched a lot. And, you can see popular pins by the number of times they get repinned.
Join Facebook groups that chat about your niche. Talk with members and answer questions. This will have you see what people need and also build trust that you are a go-to person on that topic.
Read and respond to comments on your blog and other blogs in the same/similar niche. You may start to notice trends where the same questions come up again and again. That’s a problem people want a fix for!
5) Use Graphics You Can Optimize
Every blog post does better with nice graphics. People are visual beings. We are attracted to beautiful photography and images. Great topography pops off the screen. Your writing might be awesomesauce, but if your graphic is lousy your post won’t be seen by all those potential readers.
Find out what size of featured images your theme uses. It can usually be found on theme’s setup guide (check the creator’s website for it; if it’s not listed, Google it). This will be the size of graphic you need to make the image that is featured on your blog post. Often the wide rectangular size images will look fine on Facebook when you share your link, also.
Create a Pinterest friendly graphic, too. It needs to be at least 753 pixels wide. I keep mine at about 753 x 1102 pixels using Canva’s Pinterest template.
Graphics don’t have to be scary or complicated to make. Sites like Canva and PicMonkey make it easy to learn and create. With practice, I create my post graphic and Pinterest graphic in about 10-15 minutes including searching for an image.
Remember, before you use any image, make sure you have the rights to do so. Either purchase the stock photo or download it from a site that gives you permission to use their images.
6) Invest in Yourself and Your Blog
I know how hard it is to find extra money to invest into your business, but it’s important to have good training to be successful blogging. If you lack skills on how to grow your blog business: WordPress, SEO, Pinterest marketing, Email list building, Monetizing, etc., then you either need to invest in a training program or spend time researching the topic and keeping notes.
The problem with the later choice is not just time it uses, you also get conflicting advice. One post may say “you have to post daily” another “you should only post twice a week” or “don’t monetize until you have this number of monthly views” and another “monetize from day one”. When this happens go with which fits you more. Or better yet, invest in some quality training such as Elite Blog Academy where you know the training comes from an experienced trainer. Other great programs, especially if your budget is tight and you’re a newbie blogger, is Blog by Number by Suzi of Start a Mom Blog and Building a Framework by Abby of Just a Girl and Her Blog. All three of these I recommend from personal experience.
7) You’re a Professional
If you desire to make serious life changes by becoming a blog entrepreneur, then you must take it seriously. Take the advice from a longtime casual/hobby entrepreneur blogger. I try not dwell on the idea of where my business would be today if I had taken it serious from the beginning 7 years ago. Good golly, I’d be into the 6 or 7 figure income mark. But this isn’t about my set backs, this is about you and how you’re going treat your blog as a professional business.
What’s that mean? It means working at it as if it were a job you’ve been hired to do. Keep a schedule with the time you can dedicate to developing your blog business. Keep focused with goals of where you want your business to be in 5 years. Break it down to 1 year, 6 months, 3 months. From there break it down to actionable steps you take to start and run your business.
Just like any business, or job for that matter, it takes perseverance, dedication, and quality work. Sure you may have some setbacks, but rather than turning setbacks into giving up, use them as lessons to get better at it. Picture in your mind blog sites or bloggers you most admire. What qualities do you want you want to share on your blog? Never stop striving to be better; you can do this!