The Internet has been such a mind-blowing disruption to the entire world that it’s hard to remember how people used to communicate before it existed.
Today, anyone who has something to say to the world can do so, through a variety of platforms. One of the most popular is blogging, and millions of blogs exist on free sites such as WordPress,LiveJournal, and Squarespace.
Thousands of women just like you have heard of the blogging phenomenon, and many of them think it will be easy to make money online by launching a blog of their own.
Most of those blogs, likely more than 99%, will either be abandoned or unprofitable, or kept functioning sporadically or on a free basis, as an outlet for someone’s thoughts.
However, a small fraction of bloggers will go on to become incredibly successful, their blogs read by millions of people, while making money as well.
The key to success is to make your blog stand out from all the rest, and it’s not enough to write compelling content. Your readers have to find your content, which isn’t easy given the hundreds of millions of web pages currently available and growing exponentially.
There are certain steps you can take to ensure your blog will have the best chance of success.
Publish great content
Find your niche and stay focused
Hopefully, you have something important to say, something that people will actually want to read. You should be able to bring a unique point-of-view to your subject, and if you feel you have a topic no one else is addressing, all the better.
Then, stick with that topic, but explore how it can relate to others. You don’t want to stray too far from your original concept. Or your readers may become confused or lose interest in your blog, but you also don’t want to repeat the same subjects.
For this reason, make sure that your niche is broad enough to encompass a variety of articles.
As an example, “moms who blog about healthy food” might be a great blog subject, but “moms who blog about kale” would likely be too limiting.
Write compelling content
Now, “compelling” is a subjective term. What’s compelling for me might bore you to tears.
In general, if you can look up a keyword and find 10 articles similar to the one you are about to write, you can safely say that you are not writing compelling content.
You must find a way to put your own spin on it, and make it more relevant to your readers than the 10 other articles that are about the exact same thing. There has to be a reason for your readers to click on your article first.
A second tactic to writing compelling content is to back up your stories with facts drawn from and linking to authoritative websites. Doing this not only gives your blog credibility, but it also helps with your search engine results, when your pages are linked to highly-trafficked and highly-regarded sites.
Write useful articles
Readers love how-to articles and blog posts that teach them how to solve a problem. When you give advice that your readers can actually put into action, and then that advice works out successfully for them, they will return to you for additional suggestions.
If you help your readers and they see the results, they will not only return to your blog, but they will likely spread the word as well.
Manage your blog as a business
Stick to a schedule
Your readers will be likely to return to your blog repeatedly if you post new content regularly. Create an editorial schedule and plan your content out, so that you know when and what to write.
This also lets you alert your readers to what they can expect in the future. At a minimum, you want to add to your content at least once a week. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. A great article once or twice a week is far better than mediocre articles five days a week.
A side advantage of constantly adding new content is that Google search algorithms are primed to locate fresh and regularly-posted content. Publishing weekly, or even more frequently, can help your blog’s content rise to the top in searches.
Make sure your blog looks professional
Yes, you can use a free website and template, but does it look like every other amateur blog out there? And are you really using a yahoo.com or gmail.com email address?
You want to stand out as someone who takes her blog seriously and intends it to be a successful business enterprise. This probably includes investing in your own domain name, and purchasing a pre-made but professional-looking theme (background) for your website.
You can still use free and easy-to-use sites like WordPress or Squarespace to host your site, but having your own domain name and a nice theme will go a long way toward upping the perceived quality of your blog.
Monetize your blog
Here’s where the money starts coming in. At first, all you will be able to use is Google AdSense advertising, which will probably not amount to much until your readership grows to a decent level.
Ultimately, you will want to grow your blog until you can qualify for sponsorships and participation in ad networks.
Use business software to keep track
As long as you run your blog like a business at which you expect to eventually make money, you can deduct any costs as business expenses when it’s time to file your tax returns.
Keeping track of your business expenses and the time that you invest in your blog for tax purposes can be difficult, but there are free accounting software programs that can help.
So there you have it – some great ways to get your blog off on the right track, if you are just starting out. Or if you have been blogging for a while and not seeing any results, perhaps adopting some of these tactics will help launch your blog into the stratosphere.
About the Author:
Chris Froelich is a creative marketing intern at ZipBooks, open-source accounting software for small businesses. You may connect with him on LinkedIn.
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