Five Blogging Tips for Newbie Bloggers
So you've decided to create your own blog. You’re in good company. At the last count, NM Incite (a Nielsen/McKinsey company) had tracked close to 200 million blogs around the world. More than 100,000 blogs are created daily on the popular blogging platform WordPress. If you've decided to take the plunge and create a blog, there are a few things you should know first. A little planning goes a long way.
Forget About Making Money. For Now At Least
There’s no shame in admitting that you’d like to make money blogging. With the exception of those blogging about a particular cause, it’s probably fair to say that most bloggers would like to draw an income from their efforts. What would be a shame is if you entered the world of blogging expecting to hit the rich list over night. Reality check. It’s not going to happen. Seriously, it’s not. This may come as something as a hard lesson to those would-be bloggers wearing rose tinted glasses - but to make even a few dollars in your first few months is something of an achievement. You will eventually make money blogging - but just keep in mind that it’s not something that will happen overnight. Whether you plan to monetize your blog using Google AdSense or through affiliate programs such as the Amazon Associates program, there’s a school of thought that suggests you shouldn’t even attempt to make money from a blog until you are attracting a minimum of 100 unique visitors every day. Tracking software such as Google Analytics will help you determine when you’ve hit this magic number.
Build a Strong Brand for Your Blog
Having a clear vision about what you want your new blog to be about is crucial for future success. Your readers will want to know who you are, what your blog is about, what makes you unique - and perhaps more importantly - why the heck they should subscribe to you over and above the other 200 million or so blogs out there to choose from. No pressure. You can set out a clear vision for your blog through the use of branding. Life Hack has a decent little article entitled how to brand your blog for success, but if you fancy reading about branding in a little more depth, 'Branding for Bloggers: Tips to Grow Your Online Audience and Maximise Your Income' is a pretty good place to start.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not In Your Blogging Niche
Spend any amount of time reading blogging tips and you’ll likely come face to face with some advice focusing on the need to connect to other bloggers. You’ll read advice as to how important it is to engage with other bloggers. To some extent that’s true, but it’s equally important to engage with the right bloggers. If you write a food blog for example, it’s somewhat unreasonable to expect a tech blogger you befriend to leave an insightful comment on your post about Thanksgiving Day recipes - no matter how delicious they might be. On the flip side, a tech blogger is not going to be too thrilled if you start talking cupcakes on their latest post about the merits of android over apple. Seek to make blogging contacts that complement your blog - and then take the time needed to develop those relationships.
Turn Readers Into Contributors
Tracking software offers a great insight into the number of readers your blog is attracting. It will even tell you what posts your readers visit most often - and how long they stick around. What it won’t tell you is what your readers actually think of your blog - although if they're hanging out for less than a few seconds, it’s probably a safe bet to assume that they’re not overly impressed. Darren Rowse - writing over at ProBlogger - insists that readers rule. Every good blogger asks for feedback from their readers. By responding favorably to feedback, you’re all set to create a better blog - and thus a better experience for your readers. Invite feedback by opening up blog comments. If the thought of endless spam worries you, you can specify that all comments must be approved before publication.
Create and Stick To a Blogging Schedule
There’s a school of thought that demands that fresh content be posted to your blog each and every day. Experience tells us that is not necessarily the case. No one is discounting the importance of posting fresh content - that is after all what will keep your readers coming back for more. Unless you’re a genuinely prolific writer, it’s best to post only when you have something interesting to say. Posting because you think you should is an approach that is almost certainly guaranteed to backfire. Above all, you should aim for consistency in your posting schedule - say to post two or three times a week - on the same day and also at the same time if you possibly can. That way your readers will come to know when they can expect your blog to be updated and are less likely to miss your latest posts.