How to be a Successful Blogger
In this post we’re going to see what goes into making a successful blogger. There are millions of blogs but only a few bloggers are successful and make a full-time income with their blogs.
Let’s see what differentiates them from the rest.
There are bloggers who regularly make it to the top 10 best bloggers in an industry. There are people who knew literally nothing about blogging and took their blogs from 0 to 100,000 visitors a month and made tons of money along the way.
Stories such as the ones above inspire us to pack everything else up and start a blog. But not so fast. Read this post first because it outlines everything you need to know to start a successful blog.
Start with a Goal
Being successful requires you to set up goals.
When you plan on starting a blog there must be something on your mind that you want to proclaim to the world. But without a definite plan on how you are going to approach these topics there’s very little you can do to be successful.
- Ask yourself what topics you want to talk about?
- Who’s it going to reach?
- If there are others, what’s your unique angle?
With blogging, you may have several goals such as talking about your interests, becoming popular, replacing your job, becoming a better writer, thinker and so on.
Most people quit blogging in the first few months because they don’t think of blogging in the terms listed above. It’s going to be difficult to create a successful blog without thinking about the reasons as to why you’re starting a blog.
People start a blog and then try and rewrite what’s already there. There’s no unique angle, no thought on how to make it stand out from dozens of similar blogs. With no clear direction or effort, a blog isn’t going to make an impact. And you are most likely going to fail as a blogger.
However as long as you can present the matter in a different angle you should be able to acquire a fair bit of traction with your blog.
It also doesn’t matter that there are tons of bloggers writing about the same thing as you. Competition can be good.
What you must understand is that with your blog you don’t need to reach everyone. You need to reach only a small group of people and cultivate their loyalty.
Begin small. Only consistent efforts spread over a long time will lead to a successful blog.
Know your Audience Really Well
When you want to create a blog on a subject you should start by getting to know your audience first.
When you do that you can generate a number of blog ideas along with getting the handle on what people in your niche care about most.
One way to do this is by going through user-generated content.
User generated content can be forum topics and comments. This can be in the form of reviews on Amazon or comments on similar blogs.
There are hundreds of ideas you can borrow from these sources to create blog posts, landing page copy and others.
By going through multiple sources of UGC content and reading the same content you expand your sense of what the audience wants from you. That is what they want to learn when you’re covering a subject.
This way you go through content that helps you understand what they are saying and thinking. You have researched into how they feel, what they talk about at work and the problems keeping them up at night. Your blog with its advice is their friend and savior.
Use review mining to understand people better
How do you do this? To understand people well you need to use a technique called review mining. Even though going through UGC content is great through forums and comments, going through reviews is much more powerful. This is called review mining and helps you develop a persona of the people you write for. Pick out the emotional triggers that stand out the most.
In much the same way you can run in-person surveys to understand the mind of the reader better.
For instance, I’m someone who’s drawn to Homesteading and permaculture. Here’s a book on Amazon that has hundreds of reviews.
Some sample reviews from the above book
Review #1: He (the author) strays from concrete facts and understandable language so often I felt like I was lost in a mythical forest. Blunt statements dismissing topics are frequent; “due to space limitations this topic is out of the purview of this book…” rather than directing readers to another specific source.”
Review #2: too complicated – wanted to educate myself and apply it to my small garden – better for a large property
Review #3: Ben’s isn’t a functional farm. It seems like more of a backyard project (correct me if I’m wrong and I’d love to see a balance sheet) where a handful of berries adds to Saturday breakfast, but little attention is paid to production for either full sustenance or income.
Ben plants at least two species (black locust and hardy kiwi) listed as invasive in VT and gives no justification as to why the benefits of the plantings far outweigh the dangers.
One of these examples comes from Joanna Wiebe. She read over 500 to 600 book reviews on Amazon to create copy for her client who ran an addiction rehab center.
The new headline and the copy increased clicks on the CTA by 400%. A 400% increase in clicks is nothing to sneeze at. However, this is a lot of work and if you want you can automate this through a market researcher on either Upwork or Fiverr.
That’s the power that comes with knowing your audience well. By researching your audience you’ll know which topics can move them and invite clicks from them. The same research can help you when creating landing pages for product-launches as well.
You can also look into competitor’s content.
- Analyze content length.
- Their content
- The Images and videos being used.
The goal is to understand what they’re doing and how you can do the same.
The next thing to do is publish content consistently. Here’s how to do that.
Be Consistent with Blogging
Any popular blog publishes plenty of content. There’s nothing like passive income. Established blogs may have started by publishing new content once a week. But over time they accelerated the frequency of publishing. That’s the key to their success.
You might want to cover all the different tools and ideas you might have come across and that’s what makes your blog different and successful from scores of others.
You can post once a week, twice a week or every day. It’s difficult to stick to the schedule of posting every day.
When your audience knows you’re going to publish on such and such day they’re going to come to your site. The consistency isn’t about the frequency alone but in how the content is written as well.
The introductions to the blog post’s are all similar in style.
Be consistent in your headlines. Maintain a style for opening sentences and issue style guidelines that state you need to do this.
For instance here’s Curatti’s style guidelines for their blog and for guest bloggers. It’s several years of consistency boiled down onto a single page.
The page has instructions for the introductory paragraph of the article and also for how the article should end. It lists down guidelines for images and the kinds of phrases one can use and one someone guest blogging there shouldn’t use.
In much a similar way, be consistent in both the style of writing and frequency of posting on your blog. Build up expectations and serve right into those expectations. Consistency builds up readership.
Publishing content frequently increases the number of people who regularly check your blog for fresh content and want the latest bit of information.
Be effective by focusing on a few channels where you distribute content. Instead of diluting your efforts by signing up for a large number of social media networks keep your focus sharp. Focus on one channel where you can build a big audience.
It’s easier to focus on one channel and grow your following on that channel rather than distributing your focus on different channels.
The advantage of knowing your audience well and creating content for them reveals itself in the fact that your blog becomes a hub of discussion. Comments start flowing and people turn to you for advice like they turn to friends.
Surveying your audience to find what they want and creating content that caters to their tastes is what you should aim for.
When it comes to growing your blog— networking with other like-minded people should be the number #1 thing on your list.
When you outreach people with your content that results in hundreds of new high-quality links to your site. Again, as with other techniques, you need to be consistent with this. It’s much easier to stay consistent if you use an email outreach tool that automates sends and follow-ups.
This helps you improve your organic traffic from Google and other search engines.
Whenever you can, reach out to other sites in your niche and find opportunities to write for these sites. This helps with SEO, builds your brand, and drives traffic to your content.
Develop a Good User Experience
User experience is critical to enjoying success with your blog. Don’t let users go through the difficult task of painstakingly finding blog posts they want. Instead, set up the site in a manner that it’s easy to discover content users want.
In addition, the blog should have a contact us page and about us form for people to get in touch easily with you when they want. In fact on your homepage or your about page you can start off with an explainer video about yourself and your brand.
Use categories and tags to help readers easily find content they want.
It’s a simple and effective way for making people stay on your site longer.
People who visit your blog have different reasons and interests. Some are looking for in-depth reviews. Others are looking for coupons and discounts. While it may not be possible to tailor content to each and every segment you can certainly use some broad strokes to outline content. Do your research to divide visitors into broad segments.
If a user gives you his suggestions or feedback to improve your blog then those suggestions should be accepted heartily. Companies otherwise spend thousands of dollars on user testing to get the same kind of user feedback.
Deliver them what they want and maximize the conversions and sales that happen as a result. Many companies spend money understanding consumer behavior and this feedback is in the upliftment of your blog.
Build a Personal Brand with your Blog
Build a personal brand. It may not always be about your blog dripping with knowledge. When you create content, it doesn’t always have to be about the core subjects you usually address on the blog. It can be about you, what you want and what your life is about.
A few things you can talk about are:
- Life skills
- Blog income reports
- Places you travelled to
Just do it in a funny and charming manner.
Create content that helps you to build your personal brand. This attracts a strong audience with the voice you use. That makes your blog worth reading. Also, custom images are another way to create a strong brand with your blog.
Here are a few examples.
One example of a site that does this is: Au Lit Fine Linens
They sell pillows and sleepwear. Their blog additionally builds on this trend by offering plenty of articles that focus around improving sleep.
Their guides like: “Which duvet size is right for me”, show a pictorial guide that shows which duvet size fits which bed.
The blog is relevant to both the products on their site and their target audience. So anyone who clicks through is already on a buyer’s journey.
The content is inspired from Google FAQ searches around topics like which duvet size is right. This is something many people search for.
- Create blog content that revolves around keywords that are used when someone makes purchase decisions. Use content to inform and educate your audience.
- Use multiple content formats to address concerns visitors have
- Don’t make the post about products.
This blog uses brand voice and storytelling techniques to build up its brand and encourage people to join the blog.
BioLite’s blog is another example. The content they cover is around topics like “Get to know your fire pit” and “Can you control fire with your mind”. The post ideas jump out from the usual informational content and it seems more a fireside chat with your friend. While there’s some bottom-of-the-funnel content as well, most of the content is top-of-the-funnel on their blog.
The storytelling technique embraces the nature of the blog and the products. They also have stories built inside blog posts to capture interest and get people to pay attention. There are stories of customers, brand ambassadors and employees included in the blog to generate emotional connections.
Grow Your Email List
Starting an email list is something that should automatically happen when you start building a blog.
As a blogger who wants to be successful you need to do more than send weekly newsletters. You need to try and build a real connection with people on your email list.
An email is a splendid tool to build a real connection with site visitors and connect them with your audience and you can do much more efficiently with an email list that segments this audience.
This gives you a consistent flow of traffic while generating more buzz as you launch and promote products. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. An email list works equally well in fitness, marketing, health and wellness to name a few.
When you run a blog you need to learn SEO to understand how to be successful and generate traffic and views.
SEO strategy should cover the basics. The website should be optimized for speed and also be responsive on multiple devices.
Install a plugin like Yoast SEO to make this easy for you.
This helps you build sitemap and get the site indexed. Add meta titles and meta descriptions. But the foremost thing is doing keyword research to include the right keywords into your content.
Unique and long form content is one of the steps you need to take to rank your content high.
Think of Creating your Own Products
Your own products, be it in the form of a video course, or eBooks allow you to set your own price and the freedom to sell them when you want. This means you have absolute freedom over the content you post on your blog and the earnings you generate as a result. Perhaps above everything that’s what we want as bloggers. The freedom to create the kind of content we want to and make money with it.
A product can also be the service you sell as a freelancer.
Write Long-form Content
Several bloggers who are at the top of their niche regularly create content easily surpasses 2,000 to 3,000 words or more.
Articles that are longer tend to rank higher and cover more long tail keywords. Write a long form piece of article to rank well. As you begin attracting traffic to your site courtesy of all the different keywords you rank for you start doing really well.
In-depth articles that cover a range of subjects tend to do better on search engines and also get crawled better. Your article also ranks for a multitude of terms that you may not have thought of before.
With a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs you can optimize these articles for SEO.
Use Short Paragraphs
I just asked you to create long form content and now I am asking you to use short paragraphs. If you write blocks of text that appear like walls people are going to be put off by what they read. Instead, keep the paragraphs to 4 or fewer lines.
Shorter paragraphs coupled with concise sentences are what you should keep your target for.
There are several ways to generate more views and traffic to existing content. But one thing I recommend you doing is creating a YouTube video with content from your blog posts. Making
videos on the same subject and putting it on YouTube will give you plenty of views. Second if you add links to the description you get highly relevant traffic flowing back to your site as a result.
Respond To Every Comment
When you create a YouTube channel or a blog, naturally people are going to have a discussion on the posts. What if they post a comment and don’t get any reply. THey may not visit your channel again.
If you consistently reply to comments they might visit your channel again. They might not even forget your brand because you replied to their comments once.
Make users feel you’re reading their comments. This builds a valuable connection with them.
Choose a Platform for Blogging
Once you have decided to begin blogging the next thing to think of is the blog platform you’re going to be on.
You need to decide between a free platform or a self-hosted platform.
No one blogging platform ensures that you will get a measure of success with your blog. With a free platform the chief difference is you need to shell out for premium features and you don’t own the blog or its contents. The free platform can kick you out any second.
What’s a blogging platform?
A blogging platform can either be a software or a service where you publish content. With the tool you create posts, you publish them and then streamline whatever else you can about them. There are completely free and paid platforms to choose from.
Here are some tools you can use:
- com (free).
- org it’s the same thing but its available as a software to install on your site.
With the free WordPress software, you’re not allowed to put ads to monetize the blog.
Your blog lacks a professional look and feel with the free version.
To make money from the blog the most options are available with the self-hosted site.
WordPress.org is the de-facto standard in WordPress site building. It powers 36% of sites online.
What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com? The latter is free to use.
- com offers a limited range of functionality.
- com is self-hosted. WordPress.org needs external hosting.
- On WordPress.org you need your custom domain. On WordPress.com all domains are followed by wordpress.com.
WordPress is a popular blogging platform with good reason. There’s plenty of functionality and options for you to design a professional site.
WordPress however has a steep learning curve unlike drag and drop editors. So you may miss out on some features. It takes some time to understand what you need to learn. But once you’re past that, it’s cakewalk.
Navigating WordPress for the first time can put you in a sticky situation.
Drag and drop website builders are therefore the choice for most others where you can create the blog in a few clicks the site looks grandly designed as a reason and you can move templates and objects around as you wish.
Wix has a number of design options but the number of customization tools and plugins for email and affiliate marketing are limited.
What is a web host?
A web host gives you digital space to store data of your site. It’s a place to access everything you create for the site including images, videos, and others.
How much does web hosting cost?
Web hosting might cost between $3 to $10 a month.
Becoming a successful blogger means you need to work hard and smart to find success. It boils down to bringing unique things to your blog and promoting the content as much as you can. Overcome writer’s block and stay focused working toward your goals.
working towards your goals. Do you have experience in growing blogs? Be sure to share your own strategies in the comments below.
These are some of the best ways to grow your blog. What do you think of the tips and tricks listed?
About the Author
George Mathew is a writer and blogger at Kamayobloggers, a site he started to share cutting-edge marketing insights online. He has created content online for the past 9 years.