One of the best ways to share your passion with the world and enjoy it yourself is through blogging.
Blogging is the foundation of my business and has allowed me to make a great income, connect with people around the world, and express and my passionate work in a variety of creative ways.
If you have found your passion or think you know what it might be, blogging about it and sharing great content with readers is becoming more and more of a necessity in the business world — for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and corporations.
In fact according to Hanley-Wood Business Media, 78% of chief marketing officers think custom content is the future of marketing.
If you doubt whether or not you can connect with people interested in what you have to say, think about this: in 2013 about 128 million people in the US alone were blog readers. (Source: MyMarketingDept.)
About 91% of all people on earth own a mobile phone, and 50% of mobile phone users use mobile as their primary Internet source. And 80% of mobile users plan to conduct a mobile purchase in the next 12 months. (Source:Super Monitoring)
Take a look at these additional blog related statistics pulled together by Ignitespot.com:
- 77% of internet users read blogs
- 70% of consumers have learned about a company based on articles rather than ads
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads
- 81% of US consumers trust advice and information from blogs
- 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post
It is clear that having a blog is a critical platform for either building a business or promoting an existing one. So if you haven’t considered creating a blog yourself, now is the time to give it some serious thought.
Even if you aren’t sure what your passion is, blogging can help you find your passion. But before you even begin to build your blog, it’s important to know some of the common mistakes to avoid from the get-go.
Here are five blogging tips to help you start your blog on the right foot.
Mistake #1: You build your blog before you have a solid plan.
My first blog was a Blogger blog I created on the fly where I wrote about what interested me. My loyal best friend and 3 family members were my only subscribers.
Fortunately I discovered a blogging course and learned there is so much more to creating a blog, and how it can be the foundation for a real business.
Before you purchase a domain name or choose a WordPress theme, you need to spend a good deal of time and research considering these things:
- The purpose of your blog (to be your business or to market an existing business)
- Your specific niche or topic (something you are passionate about)
- Who your ideal reader will be (demographics)
- How you will attract your potential readers (by providing solutions to problems, ideas, actionable advice, useful information)
- How you can monetize your blog (advertising, selling products, writing books, affiliate sales, consulting, coaching, offering courses)
- How to drive search engines to your site to build traffic
- How you will capture emails and create a mailing list (which is the bread and butter of the business)
- What kind of site design, navigation, and layout you like and what works best for your readers
Mistake #2: You forget the “golden rule” of blogging.
What is the golden rule?
It’s this: serve the reader, serve the reader, serve the reader.
If you want new people to visit your blog and previous readers to come back over and over again, give them a good reason to. People don’t come to blogs to read about your innermost feelings or what you had for lunch yesterday.
They come because you offer something they need or want.You have helped them solve a problem or deal with a challenge.
And they come because they can relate to you as a person and the way you express yourself. It’s a tricky business combining authenticity with providing the reader what they want.
That’s why it’s important to feel passionate about the niche you choose— because you’ll be writing about it upside down and sideways, digging in to every possible nuance and crevice to share the golden nuggets of valuable info your readers are longing for.
When you write, your posts should be full of valuable takeaways. Posts should be easily “scannable” with bold headlines, bullet points, and easy-to-read lists (because most people scan posts before they read them).
Your site itself should be easy to navigate, with resources you offer for free to allow your reader to see the value you offer. You need to take the pulse of your readers with surveys, polls, and emails to find out what they need and want.
And you should try to reply to comments and make genuine connections with your readers. It’s all about building relationships.
Mistake #3: You underestimate the pre-profit work involved.
It takes time not only to create your blog, but also to build it so you have a solid following of thousands of subscribers and daily readers.
The goal is to rank in the search engines so that readers can find you organically, as well as to generate back links from other sites and through social media.
You do this by writing unique and valuable content, both on your site and as a guest poster on other sites, on a regular basis — like two to three times a week.Longer posts (of say 1500-2000 words) tend to get more attention and credibility from Google, so count on doing a lot of writing.
And your post title and copy should have keywords and keyword phrases that help you rank better in search engines. (Keywords are single words or strings of words that represent the content of a web page and how people search for web content.)
In this post, the words “blogging tips” in the headline are keywords.
In addition to creating great content on your blog, you need to connect with people on a daily basis through social media, sharing your posts, making personal connections, and building your social media following.
Converting your readers into subscribers is a key part of making an income online. You must start from day one building a list of subscribers by creating an opt-in form on your blog and placing it prominently on various pages of your site or using a pop-up ad to promote it.
The form integrates with an email marketing service like AWeber or Mailchimp which captures names and email addresses and allows you to mass mail your subscribers.
There are many moving parts and pieces to building a great blog, and you should count on the first year of your blog as an investment of effort in its future.
It takes about a year of solid work to get your blog off the ground and to get some traction. That doesn’t mean you can stop working so hard after a year, but it does mean that you can start to see some of the fruits of your labor in terms of increased traffic, a solid list of subscribers, and perhaps some income.
Mistake # 4: You lose focus.
When I first start my blog and began connecting with other bloggers around the world, I encountered so many interesting opportunities and ideas for building my business.
I found myself pulled in many different directions and wanted to try out these various options. I did learn a lot from these excursions, and I made some valuable business connections. But ultimately I realized they pulled me away from focusing on my primary passion and blog.
When you’re first starting out, you really need to put your energy into one site and stay focused on building that site.
Like every blogger, you have dreams of making tons of money right away. And often new bloggers will spend too much time on money-making tasks before they have the following and reputation to actually make money.
After you do the preparation work outlined in point #1 above, then keep your eye on the prize. Serve your reader, build your following, increase your rank in search engines, and gather subscribers.
You’re building your nest, and that’s where you need to focus for the first year or so.
Mistake #5: You isolate yourself.
It’s really easy to remain hidden behind your computer, plowing away at your posts and growing your blog. But blogging is all about making connections, not only with your readers, but also with other bloggers.
Blogging is an interdependent business model. Bloggers need one another to cross promote, share guest posting, serve as mentors or cheerleaders, become potential partners, and simply to provide camaraderie with a like-minded tribe of people.
Reach out to other bloggers and foster friendships. Make comments on their posts and share them on social media. Have Skype calls to brainstorm ideas, discuss upcoming trends, or figure out some new technology you can’t get the hang of.
Where you have weaknesses, another blogger will have strengths and vice versa. You can support one another in this way without undermining your own business or potential for success.
In addition to making personal connections, read other bloggers in your niche to see what they are doing. And read some of the top bloggers writing about successful blogging to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in technology and trends.
Whether you are seeking your passion, looking for a way to monetize your passion, starting a business, or simply looking for a fun hobby, blogging is only going to grow bigger and more profitable.
As the world increasingly looks online for information, news, answers to problems, and as the place to make purchases, it only makes sense to start now carving out your slice of the blogosphere to build or enjoy your passion.