Whether you have your own business to promote or you’re interested to publish content on the Internet, you may want to explore the possibilities that blogging opens up for you. Starting your own blog enables you to express your thoughts and ideas on topics that you’re knowledgeable on. At the same time, you may eventually be able to grow your blog in order to generate a sizable income. Here are the essential things you need to know when you venture into blogging:
Find a topic you are passionate about.
As cliché as it sounds, finding your passion is a very important step in every meaningful activity, and it is as important when you’re starting a blog. Some beginning bloggers are lucky to have the answer readily available when they’re asked about their passion. However, for many of you, you might be hard-pressed to give a definite answer to this question. A quick self-reflection may be useful in finding a topic or subject that you may be passionate about, as well as reading more about how to start a blog.
Think of your hobbies or how you like to spend your free time. Usually, these are stress-free activities that entertain you and make you happy. It may be working on your car in the garage, playing a musical instrument, or tending to your own little garden.
If you’re passionate about a certain topic, it’s highly possible that you can go on for hours talking about this subject to your friends. You’ll likewise be entertained reading endlessly about it. Blogging is definitely the same. You’ll be researching about a subject, and you’ll be broadcasting this to your readers on a regular basis. Blogging about something you love and care about will make it effortless on your part. It is very much like talking about your favorite hobby with your closest friends—in this case, with a potentially bigger audience.
Moreover, taking off with your passion as your starting point for writing, you’ll have greater chances of staying on and being resolute in producing content regularly for your blog site. For sure, you’d want to start a project that you can foresee yourself working on for many years to come.
In addition to being passionate about it, choose a subject that you’re knowledgeable on.
It would greatly help the growth of your blog if you’re deeply familiar with the subject that you choose. Having an above-average knowledge of your topic will make it easier for you to start out and gain momentum. You’re more likely to put time and effort into something that you’re already well-versed in. You’ll find it easier to push yourself into writing more articles on the topic.
Many writers lose momentum and abandon their blogs after some time as they’ve already lost the initial excitement or the so-called “spark.” To avoid this from happening, pick a topic you’re quite knowledgeable on and one that you can continually support and cultivate for many years to come.
Once you’ve found a subject that you think you want to pursue, brainstorm and just write down all the ideas you have. Don’t hold yourself back during the brainstorming stage. Just list down all the possibilities you have for topics that you can discuss. Afterwards, start sequencing the ideas in the order you want to write about them. Schedule writing these posts in your calendar. Before you know it, you’d have 20 or more blogs lined up for posting on your site.
If you go the opposite way and pick a topic just because it’s trending and profitable at the moment, you’re bound to lose fuel and satisfaction. You may find yourself being forced by circumstances to write about something you don’t personally like. It may seem feasible at the onset, but it’d take a lot more effort on your part to consistently churn out quality content for a topic that you don’t personally love or advocate.
Study your target market, and find a problem that hasn’t been addressed yet.
Upon deciding on your selected topic, you’ll realize that there are already hundreds—if not thousands—of blogs on that specific subject. Dozens of writers before you with the same likes and interests have decided that they’d want to write about the said topic, and some of them may have succeeded and have already made it big.
It’s easy to be intimidated and discouraged at this stage. Upon closer inspection, however, you may realize that you can still find sub-topics to utilize. All the bloggers before you may have already covered the general subject. However, it’s highly improbable for all of them to have covered every nook and cranny in your chosen topic. Review your brainstorming list of topics, and see how this list matches with the possible problems that haven’t been addressed yet in the niche you want to write in.
For instance, there are probably millions of articles about car maintenance. However, you can still find specific blogs that are dedicated to glass detailing, engine care or even car seat care. A common occurrence in blogs is that many writers tend to delve deeper and deeper into their selected subjects, but only a tiny fraction of these writers cover the basics or feature beginner-friendly topics.
You may begin by capitalizing on this trend. You may even start out by publishing “beginner’s guides” into your hobby, which will attract more newcomers to your topic, who will also likely follow the development of your blog.
Think of your blog’s design and theme.
Business experts claim that you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression. This can be applied to business meetings, storefronts, offices, and also to blogs and websites. Similar to arriving at business functions wearing casual clothes, having a website that appears cluttered and unprofessional may make potential readers shy away and move on to other blogs. If the readers arrive at your website and are greeted by links in disarray, pictures everywhere, and with no semblance of structure, they’ll avoid your blog like the plague—no matter how good your content is.
In the age of smartphones and portable devices, you should assume that a vast majority of online readers gain access to content using their mobile devices. As such, you should also design your website to be mobile-responsive. This means that your blog adjusts to the screen size of any device being used, which can give the readers a more efficient layout on any gadget.
Sidebar clutter should also be avoided. One of the common mistakes new writers commit is flaunting all their achievements, credentials, and awards on the sidebar. All this clutter can take away the reader’s attention from the main content and may lead readers to lose focus on the essential stuff. Make sure that the sidebars are kept clear of unnecessary content, and that these simply contain links leading to other important parts of the website.
Aim for a scannable format.
In today’s culture of instant information and express searches, it’s a fact of life that most readers will not read your articles verbatim. Visitors who are in for a quick dose of information will just quickly scan your articles in search of something important that will grab and keep their attention.
Your blog is not a newspaper broadsheet with long paragraphs and no headers. Make sure that the way you format your articles will be scan-friendly. Make use of subheaders to highlight key points. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point. Break up your content by using lists or bullet points.
Using highlighting techniques such as bold fonts or different colors may also point your readers’ attention to important parts of the article. Get inspiration from layouts of lifestyle magazines wherein they offset prominent quotes from the main article and use a variety of visuals to keep the articles entertaining. Remember, your initial objective is to grab your readers’ attention, and to keep them reading once you do get them to notice you.
Study about lead generation and affiliate blogging.
A commonly stated quote in the business world is, “No man is an island.” This holds true even for bloggers and website owners. You can’t manage to make it big and reach many readers by simply writing your own content, publishing it, then calling it a day. You have to realize that a lot of traffic is achieved by lead generation and affiliate blogging.
Lead generation is the practice of taking advantage of search engine algorithms to generate online traffic. You have to collaborate with different bloggers who have similar interests, such as online shops that sell equipment relating to your hobby or generic interest blogs that can lead readers to your website. Putting up links back and forth between blogs can greatly increase the chances of readers landing on your website and generating traffic. In turn, all this online activity will eventually earn you profit.
Be careful of accidental plagiarism.
The first thing that we think of when speaking of plagiarism is the flagrant copying of content and declaring it as one’s own creation. Although it’s safe to say that most legitimate bloggers don’t do this intentionally, it exposes a bigger problem: accidental plagiarism. Some new writers search topics on Google and save pictures or quotes, then post these up on their new articles.
Citing your sources wouldn’t be enough to save you from this mess. The most important step is to ask for the owner’s permission before using a photo or quote. Remember, your blog articles are not mere school reports wherein you just have to cite your sources. You need to have explicit permission from the content’s owners before publishing borrowed material on your own blog.
Make your content meaningful and relatable.
When writing articles for your blog, write about things that are meaningful to both you and your target audience. Don’t keep it too technical, and aim to include personal anecdotes that your readers can relate to.
For example, you can narrate to your readers how you came upon your hobby, as well as how you progressed from being a casual enthusiast to an avid fan and writer on the subject. Doing it this way makes the blog feel more personal. It’s having your readers look into the thoughts of a real person rather than having a blog that seems to be simply selling a product or service.
When they feel that personal connection with you, you can attract more readers and make them stay. Cultivating this personal relationship with your readers can, in time, lead to more affiliate links from which you can profit. When you establish a level of trust with your readers, they’ll rely on you for product reviews, recommendations, and references.
Learn to collaborate with other content creators.
Aside from the joy of writing about something that you love and sharing this with others on the Internet, you have to realize that you can’t remain working on your own if you want to succeed in the blogging world. You have to consider working with other bloggers to create crossover topics that will benefit more than just your website.
You can complement each other’s writing goals by having your respective content published on each other’s blogs. Likewise, teaming up with blogs that involve selling products and services will provide you with satisfactory results. You can review other bloggers’ products, and recommend their shops for purchases that your readers will make. Moreover, these sales sites can then link to your blog for user guides, product reviews, beginner’s guides, and other product-related stories that you’ve published.
Being a blogger is actually an exciting pastime and a full-time profession. In order to succeed, you need to take concrete steps so that you’re able to publish quality content and stand out from your competition in the subject area or field of interest that you’ve chosen. Taking what you love and are good at as your starting point, follow tried-and-tested tips of successful bloggers and fast-track your way to your own blogging success.