Blogging is the most common entry point for people who want to make money online. You can get started without paying out any money by using a hosted blogging service such as WordPress.com or Blogger. You do not even need to know any HTML to get started (though it obviously helps!). If you want to take your blog seriously, you should host your own blog, but even that won’t set you back a lot of money. Domains only cost around $10 per year and basic hosting packages start from only $5 per month.
Developing a successful blog, however, is far more complicated that setting up a blog and publishing a few articles. The vast majority of blogs that are created fail. Very few even reach the point where they can be sold; most are simply abandoned.
There is no secret to building a successful blog. I believe anyone can do it if they are willing to put in the hard work that is necessary. I have developed a number of profitable blogs over the last seven years. Today I would like to share with you what I consider to be the most important things you need to develop a successful blog.
One of the biggest mistakes that bloggers make is to not be completely focused on developing their blog. I made this mistake in the past by launching too many websites at the same time. It soon becomes a juggling act trying to effectively maintain all of them and all the websites suffer as a result of it.
If you truly want to develop a successful blog, you need to put the blinkers on and focus 100% on developing your blog. This means removing all distractions:
- Stop working on websites and blogs that are not in your long term plans – All they do is drain your time. A few hours spent maintaining a website every week is a waste of time if it is not making you money. Be brutally honest about each website you own. If you cannot afford to hire someone to maintain your other websites and do not have the time to look after them yourself, you should look into selling them.
- Make good use of your time – Spending all day chatting with friends on Facebook or email may seem harmless, however five minutes here and ten minutes there, soon add up.
- Do not spend time with anything that does not help your long term goals – Even if you are working exclusively on one blog, it is still possible to focus your attention on the wrong things. You should not spend time doing things that do not help your long term goals.
When you remove all distractions, you can devote all your time and energy into your blog. Unless you have a large budget and can afford to hire people to help you, I believe it is better to focus on one blog until it has been established. Your blog will never reach its potential if you are splitting your time amongst many projects.
2. Professional Design
One of the most important decisions you have to make before launching your blog is deciding what design to use. Bear in mind that on the internet, people do judge a book by its cover. A poor design may cause visitors to click the back button before they even read your content. Therefore, it is important to have a blog design that is both functional and stylish. Check cydiarepo iPhone related blog having perfect design that can easily attract more visitors.
There really is no excuse for not using a professional design for your blog. Six or seven years ago, most bloggers used free blog templates and those who wanted a unique design had to pay for it. The premium theme market has completely changed the landscape. On ThemeForest alone there are over 3,000 themes available for WordPress, all of which are priced between $40 and $55. Modern themes are easy to configure and customise, which means even those of you with no design skills can utilise a professional design for your blog. Make sure you do.
3. Good Quality Content
In 1996, Bill Gates declared “Content is King”. 17 years later and this statement remains as true as ever, particularly for blogs. Blogs are defined by their content. A professional blog design is vital, however it means nothing if your content is poor.
- Good content is shared more.
- Good content is linked more frequently by others, increasing your SEO rankings.
- Good content encourages people to subscribe to your blog.
If you want to develop a blog and do not feel that your own writing is good enough, you will need to hire a good writer. In the past, this is one area where many blog owners skipped on. It was not uncommon for some blog owners to disregard the quality of an article, as long as the keyword density was right and the author did not charge much money. This kind of strategy is short-sighted. It may bring in some traffic in the short term though the goal for any blog should always be to develop a loyal readership.
The most successful blogs on the internet place a high priority on quality content as they know that is what encourages people to subscribe. So whatever you do, make sure that each article that you publish is of a high quality. The success of your blog depends on it. you can see that how www.couponcodeslady.com get almost double visitors by publishing quality content.
4. Social Media
I am registered with most major social media services. I understand how useful social media can be for networking, though I try not to spend too much time on social media networks as they are a huge drain of time. Even though I am not as active as other people on services such as Twitter, I do realise the importance of them.
The way that people share information on the internet has changed a lot. Several years ago bloggers were more likely to share content with other people by writing about it on their blog. Today, it is more common for people to simply share a link with their Twitter followers than write an article about it. Therefore, even if you are not that active on social media yourself, you do need to ensure that you make it possible for others to share your content.
You should create a profile on major social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Link to these profiles prominently on your blog, such as at the top of your sidebar. Then ensure that your profiles are automatically updated with notifications about your latest articles. There are many WordPress plugins that allow you to do this (including Jetpack). Alternatively, you can use an external service such as HootSuite, TwitterFeed or dlvr.it.
You also need to integrate social media sharing buttons into your website design. The area under your content is an essential place to display sharing buttons as it is naturally where the reader will be after reading an article. You may want to also consider placing buttons above articles or floated to the left hand-side of your page.
Whatever you do, do not underestimate the importance of social media. After search engine traffic, social media traffic is normally the biggest source of traffic for blogs. Therefore, you should make sure visitors can share your content easily by encouraging them to share your content.
If you want to develop a successful blog, you need to have the determination to see it through. You are going to face a lot of challenges and experience a lot of setbacks along the way. These are unavoidable. What is important is how you deal with this adversity.
- How will you respond when your traffic targets are missed and no one is commenting on your articles?
- What are you willing to do to ensure your blog is profitable?
- What will you do when authors fail to publish articles on time and you are behind schedule because of it?
- What will you do when your websites go offline because of problems with your hosting company?
- Are you willing to work extra hours to get something done when all your friends are enjoying yourself?
Do not let the above questions make you think that blogging is all doom and gloom. You do not have to stay indoors every weekend and work whilst your friends are out having fun. However, you should be prepared to do just that. If there is a big problem such as your blog going offline, you should be prepared to cancel your plans and get everything working again.
To put it more simply, you need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to make your blog a success. If you look into the history of every single successful blog online, you will find someone who worked their butt off to get it there.
6. A Hands-On Approach
We all know that intelligence is not a golden ticket to an easy life. I know of many people from my life who are naturally intelligent, yet they have achieved less than friends who struggled at school. I strongly believe that a good ethic and a thick skin will get you further in life than the ability to remember stats and trivia.
I do recognise the benefits of outsourcing difficult tasks, however in my experience, most successful bloggers have a hands-on approach and try and resolve problems themselves before asking for help. This drains their time in the short term but in the long term, this experience with tackling issues pays off as they can deal with trivial issues themselves.
Years ago I had ran a discussion forum for bloggers. I frequently helped members resolve simple problems they had. After a while it became apparent which people would become successful bloggers and which would not. The ones which had a poor work ethic expected everyone else to do the work for them. This was frustrating. I would take time out to write a long detailed explanation on how they could resolve their problem and they would respond with “Can you not just do it for me?”. It is no surprise that these people never made their blogs a success.
You cannot expect others to do everything for you, nor should you want them to. It is in your own interests to learn every aspect of blogging so that you are not always reliant on others. Once you have a general understanding of how to run a blog, you can then look to outsource tasks to others, though you should still be prepared to resolve issues yourself. As the old saying goes, sometimes if you want something done, you need to do it yourself!
7. Treat Your Blog Like a Business
At the start of this article I said that there was no secret to blogging. There isn’t. It is no different to anything else in life: You only get out what you put in. If you treat your blog like a hobby, you will see hobby results.
There are two areas in which I believe bloggers hold themselves back from developing a successful blog. One is that they do not put in the hours necessary to make it a success. Perhaps people have taken Tim Ferriss’s popular book The 4-Hour Workweek literally and believe that you can develop a successful blog with minimum effort. I am sorry to tell you, but you can’t (unless you have a budget that would make Scrooge McDuck jealous). All other things considered equal, a blogger who is willing to work 30 hours per week on their blog will be six times more successful than someone who is only willing to put in 5 hours. Of course, it is not only about putting lots of hours in, it is important to be productive with your time. However, it is going to take much longer to develop a blog if you are only putting in a few hours a week.
Another big thing that seems to hold beginners back is spending money. There are many bloggers who refuse to pay for premium plugins that are less than $10, simply because there are free plugins available. You should not spend money needlessly though you should be prepared to spend money on things that will benefit you or your blog. This means paying for good hosting, paying for a good email marketing service and paying for plugins that enhance your website.
You should also be prepared to hire others to help you with your blog. For example, hiring other bloggers to write for your blog will free up a lot of your time to work on other tasks. There is only so far you can go as a one man army.
Therefore, if you want to develop a successful blog, treat your blog like a business. Look at what comes in and what goes out and plan out long term goals for you to achieve. You owe it to yourself to do so.
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