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I have casually blogged since 2008, but in January of 2014 I decided that I was finally going to get serious. One year and 80,000 views later, it hasn’t exactly been a smashing success, but I am miles ahead of where I was.
There are countless articles and posts out there telling you how to make money with your blog, and I think I have read them all. But I really believe that blogging is not a one-size-fits-all industry, and if success could be boiled down to a few bullet points, we would have all done them right from the beginning.
So, while I don’t have the secret formula to making millions in your first year of blogging, I do have a few tips that I have learned the hard way this first year.
Pick A Strategy And Stick With It
There are a bunch of different books, blogs, and Facebook groups out there chock full of advice about blogging. But here’s the rub – there is a lot of luck involved in blogging. Sure, there is a TON of hard work involved in building a successful brand, but it can be anyone’s guess what post is going to resonate with people and suddenly go viral.
When I first started blogging I absorbed information like a sponge. I read every book, blog and post I could get my hands on and tried to implement everything. But what worked to propel a couponing blog to success, likely won’t work in my niche.
Choose a succcessful blog or two in your niche and really take a look at what they are doing. What does their design look like? How many ads are on their home page? Do they sell their own products?
Many successful bloggers offer their own blogging books or courses. If there is one in your niche it’s a no-brainer to chose that one. A great overall-blogging book I recommend is Ruth Soukup’s How To Blog For Profit. While social media and the online world in general changes so quickly, certain information may change or become obsolete, but it is a good basis for monetizing your blog.
If you are brand new to blogging and have no clue where to start I recommend the Be More With Less blogging course. It’s only $10 and goes through every aspect of starting a blog.
Manage Your Time
If there is one point I could stress to you, it would be this one. Working online is just asking to be sucked into the black hole that is social media. I have stopped several times while writing this post to look up a link, and gotten lost on Facebook for 20 minutes. As a blogger, you can’t live with social media, and you can’t live without it.
Schedule your social media time. This is no joke. Nothing will derail your productivity like social media. I have gone so far as to take the Facebook app off of my phone, and disable notifications. Maybe you aren’t as big of a social media addict as I am, but the same principle of eliminating distractions applies.
Posting your content to social media is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog. But there are an overwhelming number of social media channels and only so many hours in the day. Pick the 2 social media channels that you enjoy, and want to build an audience with, and concentrate on those. For me those 2 are Facebook and Twitter. I have a Google+ and Instagram account, but if I get to those I get to them, and if I don’t, I don’t.
Treat It Like A Business
If you want to grow and monetize your blog into a money-making business, treat it like a job. That means scheduling regular time to write, and posting on a consistent basis. Do your pictures and graphics stink? Get a better camera, buy some stock photos – don’t publish crappy content just for the sake of publishing something.
The whole point of me transisitioning to working more from home was so I could homeschool my daughter and spend more time as a wife and mother. But, that doesn’t mean that I just push my blog to the side and work on it if I have time. I schedule it into my day, and work on it each and every day. When I am not writing I am networking and promoting, learning, and editing.
Be objective about your blog and content, and if you can’t be, ask for second opinions. Just because you love writing doesn’t mean that people will read your blog, and just because you are passionate about clog dancing doesn’t mean your audience is. What posts get the most views, repins and shares? Those are the ones your audience wants to read and where you should be focusing.
I have changed and sharpened the niche of my blog over the course of the year, partially because I have changed and evolved as a person, and partially because I am figuring out what my audience wants to read. Its easier for me to write when I have a more defined niche because I don’t have to narrow down a million different post ideas.
I got into blogging because I loved reading blogs, and I love writing, so it seemed like a great creative outlet. Networking with other bloggers is not only essential to growing your blog, it is by far the funnest part. Reading and commenting on blogs is work? Bring it on!
When you form relationships with other bloggers they will become some of your most faithful readers and often will comment on and share your material.
Now, be a good blogging friend. If people comment on your posts, reply to them. If they like your Facebook page, like theirs. Share other people’s material, be happy for their successes.
Some of my biggest view days were because another blogger shared my post. So get out there and start commenting on blogs, join Facebook, groups, comment on Facebook pages.
2014 was a good year to me and this blog. Here’s to an even better 2015.