I bought my website in May 2013, but I didn’t actually start blogging until February 14, 2014! I’m not sure why it took me so long, but it did. And I have learned SO much in the last year and half! 🙂
I now make side income from my work online. I freelance write make money directly from my blog.
I really wish I had known these tips before I started a blog a year and a half ago!
1. Brace yourself for real work.
Blogging is a ton of work. Whatever you’re imagining, multiply it by ten if you want to have a successful blog. Emphasis on the latter part of that sentence – “if you want to have a successful blog”. Because you can have a blog that’s not successful and it won’t be that much work. But if you want to have traffic and eventually monetize your blog, then it will become a part time job, at the very least. Preparing mentally for taking on this extra commitment will help you.
2. Focus on branding from the beginning.
Your blog name, your colors, your images, and your tone all form your online presence, or your brand. It’s extremely important to get this right early on because it will propel you forward much faster and people will take you seriously.
I recommend looking at the top 10-50 bloggers in your niche and critically analyzing their branding before you make any decisions. I stayed up all night writing down different names before I came up with Financegirl. But one thing I didn’t do was look at other blog names or research how to name your blog. There’s definitely value that I missed out on. I recommend doing at least 2-4 weeks of research on how to brand yourself, name your blog, etc. Any marketing and sales books will help, too.
3. Read books to get better at blogging.
Starting a blog is super duper exciting. That said, don’t let your eagerness be the cause of your mistakes. Before you start blogging, I recommend reading Five Books Every Blogger Needs to Read. But if you’re just going to read 2, definitely start with these:
- How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
- How I Made $40k My First Year of Blogging by Chelsea Lords
4. Join the blogging community in your niche.
Whatever niche you’re in, you have to join that blogging community. Why? Blogging is a huge network and the more people you know, the better. You’ll increase your traffic and have greater success when you’re active in your niche’s blogging community.
You can do this in a number of ways. I recommend:
- Commenting on all the blogs in your niche
- Reaching out to bloggers you like and saying hi and thanking them for their work
- Joining Facebook groups in your niche (I have one called #SocialHack)
Basically, make yourself known in that space. You’ll have to make blogging friends to have a successful blog (this is a good thing but it’s something I had no idea about before blogging).
5. Develop a marketing plan.
One thing no one really talks all that much about is how much you need to post. People post a lot. And everyone knows that you need to post consistently. But how often? It’s not as clear. Here’s what works for me… I used to write 3+ posts a week and did very little besides post them on Facebook and Twitter. My views stayed around 120+ / day. Then, I changed how I thought about my blog.
I started posting only once a week but marketing my posts much more via Pinterest. Now, I get pageviews anywhere from 5k / day to 10k / day. I do less writing and more promoting.
Remember: work smarter not harder.
Find what works for you. Post consistently (I post every Monday morning at 5:00am — I keep my posts scheduled). But don’t assume that more posts is better. Marketing may be better. Try a few different strategies and do what gets you the best results.
6. Treat your blog like a business.
If you want to have a successful blog, then you will have to treat it like a business. This is a hard pill to swallow because you may want to “test the waters out” and “see where it goes”, but you will increase your success and the time it takes exponentially if you start with the mindset that you are starting a business.
7. Focus on good content before you try to monetize your blog.
The best thing you can do for your blog, brand, and online presence in your niche is to create really awesome content that is valuable to your readers. Everyone says this, so it may seem obvious, but it’s true. Really good content is the foundation of your blog. Determining what “really good content” is may be a challenge. If you’re not sure, read some of your favorite bloggers most popular posts. Analyze their tone and length of their posts. See what’s working and try that for you, too. The more value you provide to your audience, the more success you’ll have.
8. Grow your mailing list.
You need to focus on growing your email list from the very beginning. Your email list is the key to monetizing later. This means that you should have your blog covered with ways for people to opt into your email list.
I highly recommend using ConvertKit to grow your email list. I grew my email list to 10k in 7 months using ConvertKit. It’s that good.
In exchange for their email, it’s a good idea to give something away for free. Instead of asking people to sign up to join your email list, offer to give them a free guide or worksheet by entering their email address. This will incentive them to sign up.
9. Write in an honest voice that people will connect with.
Blogging is a completely different type of writing than anything else. As a lawyer, I wrote in a very professional tone. Blogging is completely different than writing for school or your job. With blog posts, you want to be as open and honest as possible. You should showcase your personality, too. People will like that. The more transparent and connected you are with your readers, the more they will like you (and follow you and buy your stuff).
A Final Note!
If you are interested in learning more about blogging, you can join my blogging community using the form below.
You may also enjoy these posts about blogging:
- How to Start a Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide
- How to Make Money Blogging
- The Best Resources for Bloggers
- 5 Books Every Blogger Needs to Read
- How to Become a Successful Blogger
- Join #SocialHack (my Facebook group for bloggers)
For all of my blogging posts, visit my Blogging Page.