If you approach it right, blogging can not only be an immensely enjoyable pastime, but it can also be a lucrative career as well. Plenty of people have transformed their blogging passion into a career, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same. Of course, not just anyone can become a professional blogger; you’ll need talent, dedication, and commitment, and you’ll also need to be able to weather some serious knocks. Here are 10 of our best tips on starting your very own blog and going pro.
If you’re going to blog full-time, you’ll need to find a source of income. Maintaining your day job is probably the best way to go about this; blogging shouldn’t be too much of a demand on your time, at least at first, so you should hopefully be able to juggle a regular job as well. If you’ve already ditched your job and gone solo, though, money should be a primary concern. You can even look into £500 loans if you need to stay afloat while you pick up a side hustle; just make sure that you’re bringing in some kind of money.
There are some “general interest” blogs out there, but for the most part, blogs target a niche and stay with that niche. It’s usually the niche that the blog’s creator and contributors are experienced in, so think about where your skills lie. What lessons do you have to impart? That’s where you should focus your blog. Your niche will come naturally once you figure that out; it’ll be people who are interested in the subject matter you’ve chosen.
SEO is one of the most important elements of your blog. It’s how people will find you; Google sorts pages according to their SEO score and displays them higher on search results if they have a higher score. SEO basics include using keywords, making sure your content is snappily written, and including images with metadata. There are more advanced techniques, of course, but you can learn those once you’ve got a solid grasp of the basics.
One of the best pieces of blogging advice we’ve ever heard is this: write for other people. Don’t write for “an audience” or “a niche”, and don’t write just to cram SEO terms into your content (this is called black hat SEO and it could actually land you in trouble with Google’s algorithms). Instead, construct your content as if someone is in the room reading it right now. That way, you’ll maintain the human touch and you won’t ever feel like you’re writing for automata.
The design of your blog is one of the first things people are going to look at when they visit your page. You need something eye-catching, simple, and conducive to the content. Don’t overdesign your blog; people might be put off if they think it looks too visually busy or complex. By the same token, make sure there’s enough in your design for people to navigate to the right content. In between those two extremes, exercise your creativity; if you don’t like the design process, don’t be afraid to work with a designer!
By the time your blog is a few months (or even years) old, you might notice that certain pages are returning errors. Alternatively, you might realise that content you’ve written is outmoded or contains views you don’t espouse anymore. Instead of deleting that content, try to update it first. You might find that it attracts more traffic if you’re able to point people towards it now that you’ve updated it. If you don’t find that it’s getting any traction, it’s OK to delete old content; better to do that than to have lots of 404 errors on your site.
Whether you love it or loathe it, marketing is a crucial part of your blogging experience. At the very least, you should maintain social media presences for your blog and update them regularly. This will help people find you, and it will show them you’re maintaining and updating the blog itself as well. You should also be seeking out and engaging with other bloggers, as well as looking into paid ad campaigns for social media. The latter might be outside your price range at first, but consider it if you start to get a steady revenue stream.
The website Savage Minds conducted a study whereby they found that only 5% of visitors to the site actually leave comments. As such, the proportion of people who do comment on your site are precious, and you should engage with them if you can. Obviously, if they’re just spewing groundless negativity, you don’t need to talk to them. However, if they’re offering useful or constructive feedback, it can be good to discuss it with them. This will show you’re interested in what your followers have to say!
Although bloggers are often authorities in their chosen fields, that doesn’t mean there’s not space to learn. This is often what can lead to updating older content; when you learn that something you’ve written is erroneous or misleading, you shouldn’t simply leave it out of pride. Go back and update it, and write a post explaining that you’ve since discovered you were wrong. Constantly seek out new (reputable) sources of information for your blog, too.
Posting regularly has several advantages. Active bloggers tend to get much more traffic and engagement than sporadic or intermittent writers. In addition, you’ll also find that by posting regularly, you build up a catalogue of content that fans of your work can browse at their leisure. This is also why it pays to intersperse current content and evergreen articles; that way, people who visit your blog always have something useful to read, no matter when they arrive.
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