It doesn't take much more than hard work to become a blogger. All you need to do is create decent quality on a regular basis. Becoming a successful blogger, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult to achieve. Growing a blog from nothing to an endless stream of success takes careful planning, smart decision making and strategic moves.
The moves you make can mean the difference between having a blog become a dud in terms of popularity and monetization and having a blog that rakes in traffic and the cash. That's why we're going to go over a few specific methods and strategies you can use to become a successful blogger.
1. Become a blogger through reading
You don't know everything there is to know about your niche nor do you know everything there is to know about blogging. Every industry changes and grows as time moves forward. That's why it's imperative for you to keep up with everything going on in your industry as well as read blogs from a variety of different niches so you can learn.
You'll discover a lot along the way, such as styles you weren't aware of. You'll also learn how other bloggers approach their editorial schedules, interact with their audiences, handle email marketing and more.
2. Treat your blog like a business
There's a lot that goes into what you and I would consider to be a successful blog. However, part of the reason these blogs became so successful in the first place is because the bloggers who ran them treated them like their own businesses from the start.
They didn't just publish posts on a regular basis. Successful blogs found out what struggles their audiences were having and created content that solved their problems. They also got in gear and optimized their sites for SEO. They even learned about email marketing, social media marketing, how to monetize and more. Basically, if you want to become a blogger and succeed, you're going to have to learn how to run an online business rather than a simple blog.
Consistency and success go hand in hand. They have for centuries, from the publication schedules old newspapers used to the publication schedule you use today. For example you see it in TV with weekly episodes. You see it in magazines with monthly issues. You even see it in sporting events with weekly games. Some of the most successful blogs use a posting schedule.
Sometimes this means they post once a week while other times it means they post on the same day of every week. Some even post multiple times a week, but it all depends on how much quality content you're able to produce. Consistency isn't all about your editorial schedule, either. It's also about the type of posts you publish as well as the intros and outros you use for every post. It's even about the styles you use on your blog for fonts, images, buttons, colors and more.
4. Grow your email list
This is a great way to start dipping your toe into the world of professional blogging. You may even already have an email list, but successful bloggers do much more with their lists than simply send out emails or weekly newsletters when they publish new posts.
An email list is a vital tool to blogging and online business. It helps you acquire site visitors and turn them into regular members of your audience. It also helps you connect with your audience, something you can do more effectively if you use your email list to segment them. The end result is more a consistent flow of traffic as well as more buzz when you're ready to launch your first product.
5. Know your audience
This is an important one. If you don't know who your audience is, you don't know whether or not the content you're creating is truly having a positive impact in your niche. Sure, you can rely on keyword research and analytics to steer you in the right direction, and you should, but you should also consider forming a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they want and what problems they're facing.
You can use your email list for this purpose simply by sending a broadcast email every now and then asking your subscribers what problems they're facing in your niche or what they would like to see on your blog. You can also promote a link to a survey on your site. Or you can even go all in and have real conversations with people by inviting them on Skype, talking to them on LinkedIn and Facebook groups, participating in forums, and more.
6. User experience
This one ties into the last point. The user experience of any digital space, whether it's your website or an app, can make or break that space's success. In short, visitors won't stick around if your site's user experience is poor. Furthermore, if you don't know who your audience is and what they want, you can't know for sure if your blog's user experience is optimized for them.
User experience is a multi-faceted concept. It mainly has to do with the way your site performs and how easy it is to navigate, but it also has to do with the length you use for your posts, the types of email opt-in forms you use, the content you create and more.
This one incorporates email marketing and user experience. You may think you're not able to deliver a personalized experience to your audience, but you can thanks to the powers of segmentation and automation. You can typically organize an audience into two to five segments.
These segments can either be labelled as specific categories in your niche or where audience members are in your niche (novice, intermediate, advanced). You can use these segments to send personalized content to your subscribers based on what they're interested in and what stage they're at. This can lead to more open rates and click-through rates.
When you become a blogger for the first time, you may be tempted to publish “viral” posts in hopes of finding success in a short period of time. This may or may not be an effective way to bring traffic to your site, but it may result in you isolating your audience and search engines by not providing enough value. This, in turn, may ultimately result in a less engaged audience and lower search engine rankings.
It's simple. People have problems, and they want solutions to those problems. Indulging in a little entertainment along the way is harmless, but it shouldn't be the focal point of your blog. Instead, make real connections with your audience by producing high-quality content that has value.
9. Be authentic
In a world where skepticism is high and anonymity is prominent, people aren't as swayed as they used be by savvy marketing copy or advertising. Again, they want solutions to their problems, and they want to put their time in a brand they can trust. You may not think of your blog as a brand, but it is.
What does this mean for you? How can you increase the authenticity on your blog? Be as authentic as you can possibly be. You don't need to write an autobiography on your About us page nor do you need to pour your heart and soul out every time you write a new blog post. You should, however, put enough personality and personal anecdotes into your posts so your audience knows you're all in this together.
Authenticity can also come in the form of being open about any affiliate or sponsorship deals you have, letting your audience know when you're not that experienced in something you're writing about, and owning up when you make mistakes. If your blog is truly authentic, you'll have it much easier to attract an audience.
10. Be unique
Some niches are truly untapped, but most of you are likely blogging in niches that are somewhat saturated if not over saturated. If you want to become a successful blogger in an over-saturated niche, you're going to have to bring something new to the table. In short, you're going to have to be unique.
But how to ensure that your blog is unique and stands out from the crowd? You can either approach your entire blog in a new way or approach specific topics in new ways. For example, if your blog is about fishing and everyone has a post about what bait to use to catch bass, write a post called “What not to do when bass fishing”.
11. Learn SEO
Let's switch gears and talk about the business aspects of running a successful blog. SEO may not be something you thought you'd have to worry about when you decided you wanted to become a blogger, but it's an important component integrated into every successful blog on the web.
Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.
This is an ambitious method, but it's definitely plausible if you make smart decisions and are willing to work hard enough. Outreach involves getting noticed by influencers and getting your content on their websites. These will be the biggest names in your niche who probably have about a hundred other bloggers looking to get their content on their blogs. You'll need to do a lot to impress them.
You'll want to track these influencers down and start sharing their content and becoming active in their communities to start gaining their attention. You may have luck by simply messaging them out of the blue, but it's not likely. Once you think you have their attention, you can try to reach out to them by asking them to promote something on social media, publish your post on their blog or link to a post of yours on their site.
13. Focus on one social media platform
When you become a blogger rather than a casual social media user, you may be overwhelmed by the number of platforms you have to promote your content on. Fortunately, it's not effective to simply upload a simple promotion of your latest blog post to every social media platform in existence.
What you should do instead is find out which platform your audience spends the most time on, and work on optimizing it. You can get your feet wet with the other ones once you have a decent following and have developed a workflow for your main platform.
14. Create products
This is the ultimate path to monetary success and independence, something that may have had an influence in your decision to become a blogger. Affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements are great, but they all make you dependent on another company. This means you won't have complete freedom when it comes to the type of content you want to create and the decisions you make.
You also don't have much say in how much you're able to make with these revenue streams. Products (e.g. ebooks, video courses, apps, etc…), on the other hand, are your own. You can price them at whatever you want them to be or at least what your audience is willing to pay. This gives you the freedom to create whatever type of content you want and earn however much money you want.
Final thoughts on becoming a successful blogger
Again, it doesn't take much to become a blogger, but you're going to have to work harder and smarter to find success. It all boils down to bringing something unique to the table while providing high-quality, valuable content and promoting it well. You'll need to overcome issues like writer's block and stay focused while working towards your goals. Do you have experience in growing blogs? Be sure to share your own strategies in the comments below.