If you have a successful blog, please share how you started it, what's the subject matter, and how you keep it up. Also, any things a newbie should beware of. Thanks!
Realistically, if someone has a successful blog, they'd be silly to share it on this open forum.
For a blog to be successful, it has to rank high in Google and the other search engines. To rank well, you need to pick a gap in the market - a topic that's not already covered by thousands of other blogs.
If someone has been lucky enough to spot a gap and managed to build a successful blog, the last thing they should do is brag about how well it's doing - because there are plenty of sharks out there, and as soon as they hear about something that works, they'll copy your topic (and maybe even your content). Lo and behold, you've got competition, and the sharks will often use unscrupulous methods to rank higher than your blog on Google - and suddenly you're not successful any more.
The fundamental secret to blogging success is to pick a single topic and stick to it. If you want to write about a variety of different subjects, do it on HubPages or similar sites. Your blog should be about a single broad subject, something that you're confident you can write a lot about (remember, you're going to have to keep writing new blog posts for years).
I'd like to think that the pie is big enough for many successful bloggers, although I do agree that some subjects are so overdone that nobody wants to read about them anymore.
Thanks for your input. Maybe I'm too idealistic, but I still believe that if any business is to really succeed, they've got to help others along the way. I don't think successful people should be shy about sharing what they've done
In fact, if anybody has a blog and shares it in this forum, I can bet anybody reading the forum will click through.
Hawaiian Scribe, you are correct that there is plenty of room on the net for many, many bloggers to be successful. Marisa is one of the most helpful people on the forums. She has given some great advice in this post and is sharing some of what has made her successful. She is doing it in a very smart way by offering helpful advice without giving away any proprietary information. There are many people who read these forums but never post. If she posts proprietary information here, there is no telling how many people would help themselves to it. She is being both helpful and smart, which is admirable.
Unfortunately, the pie isn't big enough. There are millions of bloggers, and in the last year, many of my blogging friends have given up and walked away, because the competition is now so fierce.
Please don't get the idea I'm a guru! I have learned a lot over the years, but making money by blogging takes a huge amount of effort - which I'm not prepared to put in. So I write about my "passion subject" - dancing - rather than looking for lucrative niches.
I do make money - but not a lot, because dance is not a high-paying niche. I'm happy with the income I get, because I'm writing about a subject I love, so it doesn't feel like work.
There was a fantastic blogger here called Nelle Hoxsie. She was very generous with her advice and shared everything - how much she was earning, which subjects were making money, etc. Her reward was to have her best-performing Hubs copied, sometimes multiple times, which had a big impact on her earnings.
You are right about supporting and sharing. You'll find many professional bloggers do share a lot of information - but they do so in private forums, only visible to other members.
Thanks Marisa, and I'm sorry to hear about Nelle. There are sharks in the water no matter what the industry. Like you, I only write about what I love. I've only done 10 hubs and they're all about Hawai'i. Hubpages isn't the only writing I do, and I'm still not convinced it's the best place for my writing. But, compared to other sites, I do like the general quality of the writing that is on Hubpages. It's not about money for me. If it was, I sure as hell wouldn't be writing at all. Aloha, Stephanie
Oh my... I know that I am about to step into a big mushy pile - and I am unable to stop myself.
Oh well, it may be that it's just a matter of semantics as to what the OP, you, I, or others in these forums consider a blog to be.
Is it synonymous with a sales page? Is it a personal publishing vehicle? Is it a diary/journal? Is it an income generating effort?
I think blog has come to be the generic term used for all of those - primarily because most of the site software used was developed for "blogging" - the publishing of an article, and the invitation and encouragement for responses and interaction from its readers
But, as I said - I may just be mistaken about the semantics.
But, understanding that possibility, I could not disagree with your advice more. And was really surprised to see you offer it to a "newbie"
Since, it is probably going to appear that I am beating-up on you, (I'm not - just your perspective), I just thought I would include that foreword...
Marisa, like you;
I have been around these forums awhile
I have my own sites - but none of them are intended to be blogs, ( as I view the concept), they are all intended to generate income, and none encourage comments, or rely on keywords not yet discovered by the "mass of lurking bloggers-to-be"
Several are moderately successful, (but they haven't put a boat in the driveway yet), and are becoming incrementally more so as I continually add to and promote them.
So, with that. I proceed under the belief that the OP was not speaking in terms of a "sales page" blog making use of a "secret" long-tail keyword.
Based on other exchanges by the OP - I get the impression she is talking about a blog as a publishing platform - not a keyword sales page.
So I would say - follow all of Marisa's advice - except the part about "hiding your light under a bushel"
Tell everyone about it, promote it everywhere, shout your topic to the world...
Then just make sure you provide value to those that stop by. If you do, they'll be back - and bring friends. If you don't - you'll have an 80-90% bounce rate, and quickly quit because you will see no rewards for your work.
ps. Marisa - the pie is big enough for those that want to work for success, and I'm damn glad it isn't big enough for all that hope to "get lucky" to succeed.
I know you are no guru - and neither am I. We both only know what our experience has shown works for us. And we both also know that most of the "advice" found on the Net is either; guesswork, rubbish, or rehashed rubbish. Sort of like 10% of the "advisers" know what they are talking about, and the other 90% just rehash what the 10% said. (I'm not one of the 10%, and I try not to succumb and join the 90% - so I guess I'm a 101 percenter.
As for successful bloggers sharing in private? That has not been my experience. I have benefited from many that share very openly.
When the OP asked about a "successful blog", I took her to mean a blog that attracts readers and makes money. I've yet to come across anyone who was truly content to put in all the work of blogging without earning something in return.
You agreed that these days, a blog has to be focussed on a single broad topic. I'm not sure why you would disagree that you have to find a gap in the market (or an "angle", if you prefer). No matter what your product, you're not likely to do well if you try to enter the market offering the same stuff everyone else is already selling. Maybe if I'd put it like that, you would have found it more acceptable - I can only assume that because I used the word "keywords" at one point, you've jumped to the conclusion that I'm advocating writing purely for keywords, creating spammy landing pages etc.
As for sharing on this thread, I wasn't referring to sharing in general - I was referring to sharing on a thread which is specifically about revealing your best performers. That kind of thread tends to attract the unscrupulous, who are looking for that very information so they can ride on the back of that success. It would be nice to say they won't last long because they're charlatans - unfortunately, because black hat techniques still work, that's not always the case. It is all too easy for nasty, copycat sites to knock the genuine blog down the search results. I wish it wasn't.
Thanks GA. You're exactly right that I am talking about a publishing platform and not a sales page to make a quick buck. I appreciate your advice, and I am gleaning nuggets of help from both you and Marisa. As you mentioned, blogs cover the whole gamut now from personal online diaries to blogs that have turned into multi-million dollar conglomerates. I'm in the "idea stage" and "is the water too cold?" stage. I follow a blog online by a woman in Canada who does three niche blogs that pay the bills, and she shared in a recent post how she sets up her schedule of posts to keep all 3 in the air at the same time. It was pretty fascinating. I hope someday that I can come back to this forum and post a helpful answer to a newbie with a question.
This is not a promotion, but check out Viperchill (dot) com. This guy gives really solid advice on how to start a blog (there is even a step-by-step tutorial somewhere)
Start a blog on the local businesses and attractions near you. Although the internet is full of listing websites, very few go into detail of the listings themselves. Interviews with the owners, specialties, etc...
Once the blog is started take pics of the businesses and attractions and upload them to Google+, there are not many pictures available, so you will be a pioneer in your area. IMO, this type of information is not readily available, there is a growing desire for it, and there is plenty to go around.
This idea could work, but only if you live in an area where there are many businesses and attractions, the number of which, after the economic crisis has gone down.
I guess that is true.
I have expanded mine recently to include cheap cars and trucks in the area, getting paid by the dealer. All I do is pass the information over, no selling necessary. Plus the google ads on these pages are quite competitive. Pages about hotels, inns, B&Bs also do well with Adsense. Restaurants, diners, clothing stores, video game stores, do well with affiliate ads. There is also the ability to offer direct advertising to the business. Even a small community could harvest several opportunities if the person was creative and the writing is from a personal perspective, unique on the web.
That's a great idea and something everyone can do. Are you targeting tourists, or just people in your local area?
I like your other blog by the way!
I try to attract both. I have a subdomain for news and opinions, one for the business and attractions, and another to highlight vehicle info, I earn immediately from the automotive sales, several hundred per sale. As it stands right now, that is where I am devoting my effort though I do try to consistently post to each. It helps that I am very active in the city's small business community. I have a dealer that is going to perform repairs on my vehicle Pro Bono, one hand washing and all.
Thanks for the kind words on my other blog. I am hoping to create a nice retail income stream when I can overcome my nervousness of initiating merchant activities for myself. Not sure if I should use Google merchant or an internal plug-in. For now, I am just uploading short informative pieces. I am quite knowledgable in the subject so I should not run out of ideas. Time however is a difficult obstacle to overcome. I am currently in a situation where I am selling about 10,000 words a week to textbroker.
You have supplied this forum with many great ideas. Thank you! I took a look at your website & you are certainly creating a niche, that's for sure. Good for you! I will be following you & sharing your hubs as often as I can. Aloha, Stephanie
This is great advice. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I live in Honolulu and there are more than a few bloggers trying to make $$ reviewing restaurants, tourist events, etc. This lane of traffic is pretty crowded in my area, but generally your idea is a good one and could very well be helpful to someone in other locales.
Dig on down to a topic that is not so saturated. If Hawaii is your topic then don't be so generalized. How about a blog that discusses Hawaiian plant or animal life, or culture and history, or food, or art... stuff that is unique to Hawaii and of interest to more than just tourists. Conduct interviews with people of note. You might be surprised how open people will be if you just ask them.
Honestly, you do not want to think about monetizing your blog until you have the traffic to support it. And when you do start to monetize, don't go overboard. Start in your newsletter, offer advertising space in your newsletter for a fee. When your traffic reaches 100 unique daily visits, create an advertising page so others can place banners on your blog for a fee.
For all of that to happen you have track traffic from the start.. advertisers will want to see that data. Go to Aweber and start an account so you can create an email list to send your weekly or monthly newsletter. You may have less than a handful of subscribers for months but if something comes up you will have your resources ready and not have to start from scratch.
For instance, if you were writing about local artists and you did an interview with one, you could offer to advertise some of their artwork for a small commission. You could place a banner and offer a sales pitch inside your newsletter. I do this with photographers on one of my sites and it really pays off. However, it wouldn't earn me a cent if I didn't have my resources in place.
I'm not going to share my subject but I will tell you that before you begin a blog that you want to earn a living from you need to have something to sell. Your own product or someone else's product, but it needs to be a product that solves a problem, and is searched for a lot on the internet (over 2000 times per month.) Start building your email list from day one. Use incentives or give aways to encourage people to subscribe to your list, hold contests and offer prizes too. Do not put any advertising other than your own product on your blog for at least 6 months or until you have over 100 daily unique visitors (not 100 returning visitors.) Integrate your blog with social media (Twiiter, Facebook Groups and Fanpages, Google +, and Youtube) and participate on social bookmaking sites like SumbleUpon. Don't start a blog about 'how to blog' or 'how to write' or 'how to make money online.' Make a list of your hobbies or interests or activity that you want to learn, then research how many others have the same interests and then choose how to solve a problem and offer a product to solve that problem within your area of interest. Think of it as starting a business because that is exactly what you are doing. So, if you are going to start a business, shouldn't it be in an area of interest that you love?
Great advice! I especially like this bit:
"Don't start a blog about 'how to blog' or 'how to write' or 'how to make money online.' Make a list of your hobbies or interests or activity that you want to learn, then research how many others have the same interests and then choose how to solve a problem and offer a product to solve that problem within your area of interest. Think of it as starting a business because that is exactly what you are doing. So, if you are going to start a business, shouldn't it be in an area of interest that you love?"
I'm not so sure about the bit about products and email lists. I agree, if you're really serious about making money online, you can make a lot more money if you have actual products to sell. They don't have to be physical products, they could be a service or an ebook.
However, for some niches, it's not that easy to think up a product - and even harder to go on creating new products (and there's not much point building an email list if you've got nothing further to sell them). So I'd hate to see a newbie getting discouraged because the idea of creating products sounds too daunting.
By starting a list as soon as you start your blog you get to present yourself as an authority. Even if you don't want or have a product to sell to your subscribers, someone else may approach you to insert an advertisement inside your newsletter. You may not have your own product at the moment but wouldn't you like to have the resource in place when you eventually do have one, even if it is an ebook. For instance Marisa, I know that you are involved in dance and have a related blog, what if you developed your own DVD Instructional Video or your own Dance Clothing line? Without a list in place, you would be starting at stage one with no network in place. Also, having your own product or promoting someone else's product keeps you from having to rely on Google. You don't need to rank at all to have a successful blog but in order to earn a liveable income you do need a product.
My Blog Advertising Philosophy as a New Blogger
Soon after starting blogging in 2009 I decided not to put any advertisements on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot. Mainly because blog adverts look ugly, but also because, when your blog is new and has limited visitors, you won’t earn much from advertising anyway.
So why sully your brand and lose visitors who leave your blog via the ads, in return for a few dollars a month? It doesn’t make sense.
I also hate the idea of having multiple or competing ads on my blogs and animated ads would drive me nuts.
But it’s not just the idea of plastering ugly ads on my blogs that distresses me.
The vocabulary that goes with blog advertising and especially the word “monetization” sounds grubby and sordid. It doesn’t fit with my personal or business values which are more oriented towards fun, adventure and relationships than money.
I took a brief look at your blog and I love it! I'm going to take more time to read through it a little later when I have time to enjoy it. Thank you for your advice about leaving out ads. I never thought of it, but it does make a difference in the appearance of the page. When I start up my blog, I may be in touch with you on guest posting. I notice that you don't have any articles on Hawai'i travel
If you want some perspectives on some things to think about when you're putting a blog together, I have written a couple of hubs on it, linked from my profile.
Thanks Paul! You have written some interesting hubs. And considering the short amount of time you've been on Hubpages, I'm impressed with how much writing you've done already. I'm sure your hubs on blogging will be helpful. Aloha, Stephanie
I don't think that blog belongs to the person who posted it. And if you go to the blog and keep reading, you'll see the blogger realised she was being foolish to avoid advertising!
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