If you thought running a blog was purely something to do as a hobby, think again. For those with a flair for communication and an entrepreneurial streak, blogging opens the door to a potentially lucrative business. With the right hosting setup in place and the ability to consistently churn out high-quality, engaging content, it is possible to amass a legion of faithful followers, earn high-value sponsorship deals and sell lots of your own merchandise. If you’re thinking of setting up your own blog, here are some essential tips you should consider.
Choose your blog topic carefully
Before you start creating content, you’ll need to have a very clear idea of what you are going to write about. The most successful blogs tend to specialise in particular areas and even focus on micro-niches that aim at a smaller but more dedicated audience.
Writing a blog that covers too many subjects will appeal to a wider range of people but for many, the information they are looking for will be diluted by other content they are not interested in and this could make them less frequent visitors.
Importantly, the content of your blog must be something you know a lot about – otherwise, you’ll run out of ideas for new posts.
Consistent posting is crucial
Blogs thrive if they have regular readers. You need to develop a loyal, returning readership in order to build trust with your audience and sell to them. This means you need to be consistent in creating content. There’s nothing worse than visiting your favourite blog to find out that it hasn’t been updated recently. As a blogger, you should be looking to publish at least one new post every week. More if possible.
Not only do you need to post regularly, you need to do it in a scheduled way, posting new content on the same day or days each week. Just like everyone knows they can get the Sunday Times on a Sunday, posting on the same day gives your regular readers a time of the week to look forward to.
Promote your blog
To develop a readership you have to get your blog and yourself known. This means interacting with your readers by responding to their comments, reaching out to and writing guest posts for other blogs, posting your content on social media sites and so forth. It can take quite a while to establish a blog and grow an audience and you need to keep working hard at the networking side to do this.
Learn from your mistakes
Running a successful blog can be challenging and along the way you will make mistakes, whether that’s in missed opportunities, writing content that doesn’t get the reaction you wanted or making poor decisions. These things are only natural, especially at the start of your journey as you’ll be wanting to experiment and try new things.
A good way to proceed, is to monitor the progress of your blog by tracking its analytics data. Using free tools such as Google Analytics, you can discover which of your posts are most popular, which of your social media posts have generated the most traffic, who your audience is and whereabouts on the internet they visit you from. All these kinds of data can help you discover things which have worked and things which have not and from these, you can find better ways to move forward.
Have an attractive website
Your website is the home of your blog and if you want readers to stick around and enjoy their visit, you’ll need to make it attractive to them. Aside from using a website theme which has an appealing layout, colour scheme and font style, you’ll also need to consider other important features, such as easy navigation and mobile friendliness. These will enable people to find the content they are looking for easily and access it on all their devices.
Choose great hosting
A good blog is one which is always online, loads quickly on the user’s device and which is secure. A good web host and web hosting package can ensure these things are in place. A reliable web host can guarantee your site doesn’t go down due to server errors or hosting issues and should be able to offer you guaranteed uptime of between 99.95% and 100% depending on the type of package you opt for.
You host will also provide the server set up to ensure your site performs well and can load quickly, even on mobile devices with poor internet connections.
Finally, your web host should be able to provide a raft of security measures such as SSL certificates, firewalls, intrusion and malware protection and remote backups – all essential to prevent hackers and infection and to help you restore your blog quickly in case the worst happens and you lose all your data.
Running a blog can be a great way for good communicators to start their own online business. However, if you are running it as a business rather than a hobby, it will take real commitment to grow your audience to the size needed to generate a realistic income. Hopefully, the tips provided here will help you get everything in place before you start.
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