People love blogs. We read them, think about them, use them to promote our brands, and oftentimes blog as a hobby or personal endeavor. Clearly, people are making money blogging, or there wouldn’t be such a heavy appeal—so how are they doing it?
Before we go into the methods you can use to convert your loyal blog audience, we need to talk about how you build a successful blog in the first place—and what to do to keep it successful while you pursue these money-making avenues.
So let’s say you haven’t yet built a successful blog—maybe you haven’t started yet or maybe you’ve started a blog but haven’t found your groove. What does it take to do so?
- Find a valuable niche. Yes, you think your subject matter is interesting—otherwise, you wouldn’t be blogging about it—but what do other people think? You need to choose a subject and a focus that will appeal strongly to the greatest number of people, and for that, you’ll need to bear several things in mind. For example, Who is your target audience? What’s important to them? Not only that, you’ll also need to consider what competition is out there; and what angle can you take to differentiate yourself from your competitors?
- Build a professional site. After you’ve got your niche selected, you need to build a professional site—and by that, I’m mostly referring to the design. If you have an ugly or unprofessional-looking design, you probably aren’t going to get very far. Take your time and build a platform that’s going to complement your writing abilities. Make sure you have a solid, consistent brand throughout; it’s alright to use a template, especially if you’re on a tight budget, but make sure you stand out from the competition in some way.
- Create amazing content. Easy, right? This is the most important step to building a great blog, and it’s also both the easiest to understand and most difficult to execute. What makes content great? It can’t be reduced to any one series of factors; the reality is, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of variables that play into how your content is read and received. Your content needs to be valuable to your audience -meaning practical, informative, or entertaining—unique in some way, detailed, easy to follow, and reliable.
- Nurture and grow a following. Next up, you need to build an audience and keep that audience growing. Hypothetically, your awesome content should be enough to attract an audience on its own, but the reality is, you’ll probably face difficulty earning those first few thousand regular visitors. You need to go out of your way to promote your content, using social media and other visibility opportunities, and keep your audience members around by responding to their comments and making them feel like they’re actually a part of your blog.
- Foster a community. It’s helpful, though not absolutely necessary, to foster a community around your brand. You’ll already be engaging with your readers to attract and retain them, but you’ll generate even more loyalty by enabling your readers to engage with each other. Some blogs do this by offering a forum, or simply by encouraging more discussions in the comments section of each post. However you choose to do it, work actively to keep your community engaged.
- Cultivate loyalty. Finally, try to cultivate loyalty so you don’t lose your audience members to a competing blog or have them trail off in disinterest. There are a number of different ways to do this, such as by offering subscriber perks, like rewards for active participants, or even contests and giveaways. Keep your followers happy, and they’ll stick around indefinitely, so find out what would make them happy and give it to them.
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