12 Steps to Having a Successful Blog

12 Steps to Having a Successful Blog

MMO-RulesBlogging is now a significant part of a business strategy.  Blogs can be a very marketable and very profitable if used correctly. Profiting from blogs is just a matter of grabbing the attention of an audience and properly marketing that blog. Below are the 13 most essential steps to successful blogging.

1. Choosing a Niche

Before you even buy a domain and set up a blog, decide on a niche.  All a niche is is a targeted product, service, or topic. When choosing a niche, keep these things in mind.

It should be something you are interested in. Choose an area which you can enthusiastically write about on a consistent basis.

Choose a topic that is relevant, gets traffic, does not have a significant amount of competition, and has potential to earn money.  This is a very important aspect.

To find the right niche, use proper keyword research.  You can use Keyword Academy, or my recommendation to try Market Samurai (they offer a free trial!).

While you can pick a broad topic as well and have it be more of an “authority site”, niches may be easier to break into.

Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience that is interested in your topic. You can create a blog about martial arts training, scrapbooking, photography, etc.  The more focused the niche, the smaller, yet more targeted your audience.  There is a balance between competition and traffic, so use the above keyword tools to pick the right niche.  After you have the niche, use those right keywords to Choose your domain.

2. Get a Hosting Service

Once you choose your niche and get a domain purchased, get a hosting service to host your blog.  While there are free hosting sites out there, I would not recommend them if you plan on having a long-term blog that you will treat as a business. There are many reputable hosting sites.  A few highly recommended hosting sites are BlueHost, HostGator or HostMonster Read my post for more information on this topic.

Having a host site gives you complete control over your blog.  This helps you focus on your content, your audience, and the marketing and not the internal maintenance of the blog.  While a paid hosting service may not be in your budget right now, it really is a basic fundamental piece to having a long-term successful blogging business.

3.  Get Blogging Software and a Theme

One of the most popular blogging software out there that successful bloggers use is WordPress.org.  This is free software that allows you to setup your blog easily to get it up and running.  I would recommend downloading WordPress through your hosting service.  It only takes a few minutes and you will not have to mess with code at all.  Hosting providers with cPanel will have this download available.

With WordPress, you can set up a theme depending on your blog nice.  There are many free themes out there that do a great job.  If you want to step it up a notch, there are premium themes that give you a lot more options.  I use Thesis and Woo Themes on my blogs.

After you get your themes, add a personal header with your blog’s name, add necessary plug-ins and you are in business.

Once you get you domain, your hosting, and your theme up – you are ready to start blogging!

4. Update Your Blog Regularly

It may take some time to get content on your blog when you first begin.  It is recommended to update your blog on a consistent basis.  Updating your blog regularly not only keeps your blog more interesting to readers, but it also gives your blog fresh content on a day to day making it more appealing to search engines.

In the beginning, you may want to add fresh content daily to grab your readers attention, and get your blog indexed through search engines.  In time, you may slow down to 2-3 times a week once you have established your blog.  Just set some time aside each day and put up new posts.  You can space them out by post-dating the blog posts if you have several posts ideas to write about.  It really is important to not let your blog go stale, especially when you are trying to establish the site.

5. Traffic

It’s no secret, you must have traffic to profit from blogs. This is intuitive.  If no one is coming to your site, you will not make money.  Even if you have the best blog with the greatest content, traffic is key.

There are numerous ways to build traffic. Social bookmarking, social media, backlinks, content writing, search engine optimization, RSS/XML feeds, article marketing, forum marketing, commenting on other blogs, and word-of-mouth. Use your blog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication media. You should submit your blog URL address to search engines and blog directories.  Submit your RSS/XML URL feed to blog ping services like Technorati, Ping-O-Matic, and Blogdigger.
blog-traffic-tipsWhat is critical here is that you build traffic smartly and effectively and DO NOT SPAM.  Be sure to add value when you market your blog and provide links.  It is important that you understand all the rules and policies for links when it comes to forums and article marketing.

When you start creating value, people will come to your blog.  When others add a backlink to your blog, the search engines are bound to find your blog in no time.

6. Track Your Blog

How do you know if your blog has traffic?  This is one area many people tend to neglect, but is very important to optimizing your site.  Just because no one is leaving comments doesn’t mean your blog isn’t growing. Many visitors do not leave comments, but may still be returning visitors.

If you know where the majority of traffic is coming from than you can optimize your site based on that traffic source.  Tracking your blog does not have to be overly complicated and if you use Analytics, it makes it very easy. You can see a ton of information by tracking your blog.  You can see where traffic is coming from, how long people are on your site, keyword tracking information, what posts are the most popular, and more.

Another way to see who comes to your site without doing any analytics is by using Feedjit, or a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com. Install the code into the html of your blog template and start tracking your visitors. Visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose.

When using the proper page counter you should begin to see how others are finding your blog and if through search engines then which keywords are being used to find your blog. If your blog is being found by more than one keyword, then focus your blog around those keywords to make it even more powerful. Again, Market Samurai offers a free trial definitely worth looking into!

7. Listen to Your Audience

When visitors come to your blog, it is important to know where they are coming from.  This is part of tracking your blog.  But, you need to figure out what part of your blog interests visitors.  This is where you want to focus your attention when you write your posts.  If you do not pay attention to your audience, you may lose readers.

If your audience keeps coming to your blog based on similar keywords, it means they clicked on your blog when it came up in a search.  These are the readers you want to cater too, especially if they are return visitors. When writing entry titles and entries use the popular keywords as often as possible while keeping the blog legible and interesting.

8. Short & Concise

People searching on the Internet have a short attention span.  It is not very often they will want to read long blog posts.  Aside from the lengthy article a week for syndication and publication your blog entries should be short & concise.  If they get too long, consider breaking them up into smaller posts over a few days time.

Use headers, lists, short paragraphs, or a combination of all of these.  When you set up your blog this way, it is more likely people will stay and read what you have to say.

You do not want your blog entries to become hours of reading. Visitors like to easily find information and skim through your entries. It is good to be detailed and provide useful information, but do not include useless information or run away sentences that veer away from your topic.  Stay keyword-focused.

9.  Keep it Personal and Add Value

Readers are interested in your personal story.  Add you voice.  Add humor.  You want your readers to be able to find something in your post they can relate to somehow.  This is why it is also important to add value.  Give the readers something they can use, learn from, or apply in their own life.

A blog is most successful when it is kept personal. Try to include personal experiences that relates to the topic of your blog entry. A blog is supposed to be personal, unlike an article or technical paper.  While a blog post can be informative, add your won style.  Write with a more personal style and use first-person narratives. Do not write any of your entries as sales letters, instead share product reviews and personal endeavors.

10. Interact With Your Visitors

This is important for maintaining regular readers. If you are starting to get return visitors, they may begin to comment. Even first time visitors will leave comments. You should begin interacting with your visitors and responding to their comments.   Also, go to their blogs and return the favor

Create a regular theme to help readers such as: “Friday’s Money Tip” or “Weekly Resources” which entices your readers to look forward to each week.  Or better yet, ask readers what they want to read more about. After reading 31 Days to a Better Blog, by ProBlogger, I learned a lot about how important it is to interact with your readers.  That book was a critical part of my blogging success.

Give your readers advance notice about a product, service, or topic which you are going to review and then talk about later.

11.  Make Money

Many people jump in feet first to try and make money on their blog before they do the things mentioned above. This is not the best way to do this.  If you  do not update your blog regularly, interact with readers, provide value, and get traffic, you will NOT make money.  It is as simple as that.  This concept is hard for many people to grasp since everyone is looking for the quick fix.

Once your blog has gained some real momentum and your blog traffic is increasing then it is time to start thinking about turning your traffic into profit. There are many ways to do this.  The most popular and easy way to do this is by using contextual advertising, like Google Adsense or Chitika. Contextual advertising is usually text links, which use the content of your blog to publish targeted ads on your blog. The payout is usually based on a pay-per-click model, meaning for ever click an ad receives you are paid a small percentage of the profits.

Another way to monetize your blog is with affiliate links.  If you promote a product, you can make a commission of the sales.  You are an affiliate for that product.

For a complete report on ways of making money with a blog, check out Blog Profitsq.

12. Treat your Blog Like a Business

images (1)You’re a professional now! This is very important if you want a long-term successful blog. If you are going to take your blog to the next level, you may have to make some investments.  Look at getting a paid hosting service to host your site, if you are not doing that already.

Be sure to post regularly, stay professional, and don’t overcrowd your blog with ads or overly promotional posts.  Remember, blogging is about helping others.  They come to your blog looking for answers in whatever niche you are in.  Before you can really make money with your blog, you have to build relationships.  If you build them, they will come.  It is as simple as that.

Think of your readers and subscribers as your customers.  How would you to be treated.  Always respect your readers and be helpful.  This customer service can go a long way.  If you keep this in mind, your blog will become popular.  Remember to always think about being professional, honest, and maintaining good ethics and the money will come to you.

“Honesty is the single most important factor in having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation, or product.” -Ed McMahon

Following these blogging techniques should make your blogging experience much more rewarding. There is no guarantee that your blog will become popular or a household name, but the effort should at least put you one step closer.

Making money online is not an overnight experience like many may think, but making money online is definitely a foreseeable possibility. As well, growing popularity on the web is not an overnight experience, but through time, dedication, and persistence you will be rewarded with all the royalties of blogging.

To learn more about successful blogging subscribe to More Income Blogging. If you are a beginner to blogging, get access to a free eCourse from Blogging for the Beginner.

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