Blogging is still an extremely popular and profitable activity. Once upon a time, you had to get lucky in order to find a good job. Sometimes people leave jobs after years and spend months or years looking for the next one. Nowadays, with blogging, you can have your own career that lets you be your own boss and work from anywhere in the world.
Reality check: While yes all of the above is possible. Like with gaining any great success it does take a considerable amount of effort and time. You are also not “making money” right from the start so that statement is misleading.
Blogging is indeed a full-time job in itself as we have already mentioned in our blog. You may need to spend anywhere from 6 hours up to 10 hours or even more every day writing content, managing social media channels, responding to comments, emailing advertisers and customers and so on.
The secret really lies in picking a profitable niche that has low competition, high demand and opportunities to monetise such as affiliates an ads. Although there are other ways of monetising, this is the “basic” method to gain income through your writing on the blog.
This is where a lot of people fail. It doesn’t matter how great your blog is if you aren’t delivering the content that your target market wants to see.
The below steps will help you understand if you want to make the commitment to blogging with the intention of making it your full time gig.
1. Picking a profitable niche
Picking a profitable niche is one of the most important things to do. As we have mentioned, the demand and profits for certain niches can be very high.
Be careful though. Although many bloggers make a lot of money from blogging, not all niches are suitable to blog in and some even do more harm than good. You have to choose a niche that is likely to generate a little income – each month at least $100 worth of profits.
A great way of qualifying your topic or idea for a blog is by using a keyword research tool. While not an exact science it will show you both the demand and what advertisers are currently paying for such traffic.
Your goal is to find a topic which has high CPCs (cost per clicks) and has high demand. If you research enough, you should be able to quickly find a good niche that has high profits.
The above is the reason for why we recommend you always have a lot of content up your sleeve. In order to ensure there is always something worth publishing on your blog, it will help to continually write new content that gives value to the target audience.
Once you have identified a profitable niche, it’s time to get started with the list of activities in your 10 step plan below!
2. Identify your target audience
You want to constantly keep in mind that your target audience is a real person. Not everyone will be able to afford your products or services and there is no point writing for people who will never read your blogs.
To find out who you think would be interested in what you are going to write about, do some research on social media using various channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google plus.
You can also check out relevant sites such as industry forums, blogs and subreddits. When you have a few ideas, start with the research and go from there. Always note down your ideas so that you can refer to them later on.
You may want to create a spreadsheet to keep track of your research. It will help you stay organised as well as ensure that you have enough content ready for publishing every month or two.
3. Develop your blog
Once you have your target audience identified, it’s time to start the development of your blog. You need a good and clean domain name as well as a blogging platform that is easy to use. Remember that although this will be your primary source of income, you want people to find and read what you write so make sure it is fast loading and attractive visually.
I always suggest using WordPress to start as there are so many resources available online to help teach you the ropes. If you decide that WordPress is not right for your business, there are numerous other options available such as Squarespace, Webflow and Wix.
You could even start your blog on a platform like Medium, which is a publishing platform popular with writers.
There are many choices when it comes to blogging platform, so the above is just a recommendation. We use WordPress as we find it very user friendly, manageable and versatile.
Whichever option you end up choosing, make sure that you are constantly updating your blog to best present content for your audience. You will also need to have a social media channel ready as well as the advertising channels like Google Adsense and Amazon affiliate links available for your blog posts.
4. Brainstorm and Ideation
For every blog post you write, you need to be able to find a way to tie in the topics and keywords you have identified for your niche. This is where brainstorming and ideation come into play.
Firstly identify what you would consider as your pillar content ideas. What this means is that you need to have a few ideas of what you can write about at the top level. For example if you are doing a blog about small business marketing. Your pillar content areas could be:
- How to use social media
- How to set up an email marketing and a newsletter
- How to use Google My Business
- How to create a small business website
Once you have identified these areas, it’s time to brainstorm topics. for each of these pillar content areas.
Now the fun part, brainstorming and getting ideas for your blog topics. To do this, I suggest breaking the topic into small chunks.
How to use social media for business- Social media marketing for business 101, how to use Facebook page and groups for business, why it is important to create a facebook group and so on.
For the rest of your pillar content areas, the process is very similar. What you are looking for here is the content that does not exist yet or things that could be improved upon. One thing I will say though – do not write about topics that do not help you achieve your goals.
5. Create a content strategy
Now you need to solidify all of this brainstorming into a content strategy. Your content needs to have a plan and be structured. No idea is too silly or random to write about and this is something that you need to keep in mind as well. Always bear in mind what your end goal for your blog is, will that be a specific product? Or money?
So yes these are important questions that should form the basis for your content. Here is where I would suggest you add an SEO section to your strategy plan, regardless of the niche you are blogging about. Because SEO is one of the most important elements of running successful websites.
We have a guide to content strategy here.
6. Decide the structure of your blog post
Deciding how you want your post to look and be structured is a very important first step. There are many ways in which you can do this and I suggest using some kind of template or list. This will help you to create blog posts that flow well, effectively use images and links, while also staying on topic.
The goal here is to deliver a complete piece of content to your target audience. You want them to be able to go on your blog and have a good experience. This is something that needs to be built up over time and with practice. But it does come down to having some sort of organisation, and not just throwing your ideas onto the page and seeing what sticks.
For efficiencies we also recommend developing a set of different templates or frameworks for the common posts you will be creating. This will save you heaps of time and frustration in the long run.
7. Create content creation calendar
You need to create a system for creating content that works with your schedule. There is no such thing as being on top of content creation, since the whole point of blogging is that you should be producing new content regularly.
If you don’t set a clear schedule and have a content creation calendar, your blog will just become one big chaotic mess.
To get the most out of your content creation efforts, you need to know how many posts you plan on creating per month. You also need to know when you will be publishing them.
Staying focused and plan will ultimately be the back bone of your success when it comes to your media strategy. Following these simple steps will make sure you deliver more content in a much shorter amount of time. With any luck, you will see your traffic numbers start to rise and your revenue will follow suite. If you have any further questions about our social media strategy please feel free to get in touch with us.
8. Have the basics of SEO under control
Writing great content that gets the readers attention is one thing, but if you have no idea how to set things up for best SEO practices you are going to miss out on a lot of traffic.
SEO can be one of the more daunting areas, but it really is rather basic if you take the time to understand the basics around SEO. When we say basics, we mean basic. We don’t want you to get into a state of panic and start doing SEO all day long as this is something that can be developed with time. If you go in to it too quickly then you will most likely just get frustrated with the whole thing and give up.
Without an understanding of SEO you may be creating a whole bunch of content that in the end will never be seen by the search engines or your visitors.
So yes, I do recommend for you to learn SEO if you have not done so in the past. While some experts would tell you that you should hire an SEO expert, this is something that can be learned and applied to your writing in a fairly short amount of time.
We also have an SEO Content Writing guide available for you to get a greater understanding.
9. Build a email list
First party data is the game you want to play in. If your readers find your content valuable and you simply ask them to subscribe you will be collecting valuable information that you can use to market and to sell your products and services.
All you need to do is build a list and then market it so that people will sign up. This is an easy win for your business plan.
When you have accumulated a few hundred subscribers, it’s time for you to start sending out valuable emails with useful information about the industry or niche you are blogging in. This will help build trust in your brand as well as get people excited about what they are going to read next on your website.
Your email list will become the bread butter of your monetisation as you continue to develop your blog and audience. So start building that list today and get on track towards a successful blogging journey!
10. Create and publish content
Now is the time to start creating and publishing content. You want to make sure that you have all of your resources ready so that you can get your blog post out there into the world. i.e. a complete list of links you will be including in your posts, images, places where you want to publish it, social media channels and so on.
Now with each blog post that you create, be aware what is working best for you and what kind of audience you are attracting. Make adjustments so that you can improve your blog and have a great experience with your readers.
When you have written the blog post, make sure you edit it thoroughly so that it will flow well and be easy to read.
Once the content has been edited, you need to make sure it is published on the correct time. This means creating a schedule for yourself that works with your blogging goals.
This is an important step as it will be your first impression with your readers. So you need to make sure that your site is working at its best and is easy to read so that the reader can have a good experience with it.
Understand what works for you and how long it takes you to put out content for publishing. Most blogs take time, especially if this is something you are doing in addition to a full time job or something else extra.
Bonus Step: Measure your success
Using analytics tools will help you to measure your success for the first few months.
Your goal from above was to increase traffic, increase engagement and grow a readership. With analytics you can do this in a quick and simple way. If you are not familiar with analytics, we have sage advice on how to use them here: How to use Google Analytics To Your Blog & Grow Your Audience
Setting benchmarks and goals will help you track whether you are on track to increasing your traffic numbers or not.
You can choose to leave analytics out of the business plan for the first couple of months but for a successful blog, you really need to start measuring everything that can help you get more eyes on your site and how well it is working.
This is something we definitely recommend starting off with as a blog owner.
We hope that you have another successful blogging year with these 10 steps to building a successful blog in 2019! If you find any tips that we missed, please get in touch and let us know so we can add them to this post!
Don’t forget, with every new blog post you create, there will be new opportunities for growth and monetisation if you are able to develop an audience. So keep on creating content and stay focused on your goals for this year.