I began this blog towards the end of 2014. Therefore, I have been writing for about a year and a half. The traffic of this blog began at about 300 views a month, and within about a year, it was getting about 40,000 views a month.
I tried blogging a couple of times prior to this blog without much success, so I understand how annoying and boring blogging can become when your only readers are your parents (and you are pretty sure even they have stopped reading at this point).
It is important to understand that there are key ingredients to having a successful blog, and if you don’t obtain the time, focus, or abilities, you will find yourself trying to make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. No fun, right?
So allow me to tell you the “must have” ingredients of a successful blog:
1. Passion for a Purpose: Why do you want to have a blog? What are you trying to convince people to buy into? Why do you care about this and do you care enough about it to work really hard for no payment? I am just being honest, most people don’t care to read about other people’s lives unless these stories that you are sharing are for a real purpose. Ask yourself, “What is the point of my blog, and is there an audience out there that cares about this?” Once you discover your cause, you have to BE ALL ABOUT IT. I mean, obsessed with it!
2. Support: Here is the truth, a blog costs more money than you make off one. Your goal should not be to make money off your blog. My goal for my blog has always been to build a following and make my voice known. Building a following may help you make a little money one day if you decide to write a book, become a speaker, or if you have a small business you are trying to build.
But even top bloggers who have ads on their sites, make very little money off their actual blog. So, do you have another job or another person in your life that is willing to help you financially support a professional blog? In my opinion, blogs do better when you spend a little bit of money on your own .com site and get professional pictures taken of yourself. In other words, you and your blog should look professional and put together. Also, keep your blog clean, simple, and easy to navigate.
3. Time: Do you actually have time to build a successful blog? Consistently writing is crucial in starting and maintaining a professional blog! I have personally found that three blog posts a week is the sweet spot. If you blog more than that, quality goes down and people get annoyed and unsubscribe to your blog. If you blog less than that, you cannot build a following as quickly. However, if your time is limited, blogging once a week on the same day is still pretty awesome!
I strive to write a blog post every Monday & Wednesday. Then, I try to have a guest writer every Friday. Asking guests to write on your blog is more work for you, but it is worth it if you have the time. Sharing your space with others brings their families and their friends to your blog. You also establish a connection with the person you shared your platform with. In addition, it gives your following a fresh voice to hear from and gives you a day off from writing. It is a win/win for everyone!
4. Raw Talent: Are you a writer? I mean, do you LOVE writing? Does it relieve stress for you or add stress to your life? You don’t have to be a professional writer, because you will grow SO MUCH in your writing if you consistently write, but you do have to love writing and have some raw talent.
5. Friendliness: To be a successful blogger, you are going to have to channel your inner social butterfly. People are much more interested in what you have to say if you spend time building relationships on social media (I do Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). Find Facebook groups that are into what you are into. Join blogger Facebook groups. Post your blog posts everywhere that allows you to and respond to most or all comments you get on your blog and on social media (at least the first year). Seek to know others and make yourself known.
Support bloggers you look up to that are more seasoned than you, learn from them, study their habits, talk to them online, share and retweet their posts, comment on their blogs, and try to build a friendship with them. Be aware that they may ignore you for a year, but keep trying to connect; remember that many people are trying to get their attention and respect their time.
On Twitter, follow everyday people who may hold similar interests to you, and maybe they will follow you back. Remember, you are not a rock star; you are a struggling artist, so follow lots of people back on Twitter, retweet people’s tweets, share people’s posts, and show interest in other people’s opinions. In other words, follow the golden rule – do unto others what you would want them to do unto you. Just obsessively show people you care about them and many people will begin to care about you and your blog.
6. Relevancy: Follow the latest news in whatever world you are writing in. Try to be one of the first bloggers to respond to the latest happenings. The more controversial, the better. If all your blogger friends got to the latest and greatest news first and their opinion is pretty close to what your opinion would have been, simply support their blog post. Remember, it’s about joining the cause or purpose you care about, not always about you or your blog. Start paying attention to what your friends and the foes to your cause are writing and doing, and be quick to respond when you have something to say.
7. Get to the Point: Keep most of your blog posts between 800-1200 words. Some seasoned bloggers can get away with more, but blog posts are supposed to be concise, quick reads. If your blog posts always go over 1500 words, some people will start skimming your work or stop reading your work altogether. Also, help your smart phone readers out and keep paragraphs short (2-4 sentences), bold sentences, use numbers, italicize words, etc.
8. Develop Thick Skin: If you are writing about important issues, the haters will come out. Understand that haters are going to hate and block them if you can tell they are not at all for you and just want to criticize you and your work. However, it is important to remain humble and open to some criticism, because we all have blind spots.
As a blogger that writes about controversial issues often, I get criticism often. One way I deal with this emotionally is to accept criticism only from people who are respectful and gracious. If you accept criticism from everyone, you will burn out quickly. If you make a mistake, own it publicly, and then move forward.
Ignore people who continue to harass you even after you take responsibility for your mistake! This is “trollish” behavior.
Remember, there are educated and uneducated trolls. Ignore them. Don’t feed the trolls! Sadly, if you write about crucial issues, you will probably lose friends and maybe even family members, but you will not lose the people who really care about you.
As you can see, professional blogging is a calling. It actually takes a piece of your soul, like any real calling does. It takes hard work for no immediate payment. However, if this is your calling and you are willing to pay the price, you will find great fulfillment in blogging. After time, you may be given more opportunities too.
After a year and a half of blogging, I have been asked to speak at several conferences, I was hired as an adjunct professor, I have written several published articles, I have worked with top bloggers and authors, I started a small business mentoring women online, and I will be signing on with a reputable literary agent to write my first book.
Are you ready?
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