In this post, I offer some advice about blogging for anyone who enjoys writing, photography, and/or producing videos and is looking to build a readership and following around their content. Enjoy!
Why do people start blogs, and what are some of the big benefits of blogging?
People launch blogs for quite a variety of different reasons, or maybe a combination of reasons.
For example, someone may start a blog to showcase his or her expertise in a particular field or subject area. In this sense, the blog might become a nice resume enhancer for the writer. The blogger, in this case, is looking to establish him or herself as a credible expert on something, and so just having the blog itself can potentially open up a wealth of different opportunities - for networking, for speaking engagements and presentations, for job offers, etc., etc. The expertise can literally be in anything. Maybe the blogger is a long-time collector of something - coins, stamps, dolls, old baseball cards, art, antiques - and is therefore very familiar with monetary values, rarity of particular items, and so on. Or perhaps the blogger has been in a particular industry or career field for 15-20 years. It could be anything - retail, food service, manufacturing, Information Technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), banking, whatever. The purpose of the blog, then, could be for sharing advice, strategies, and resources pertaining to that particular type of work.
Others launch blogs to share reviews, recommendations, tutorials and lessons, and original creative works like photography and video. Maybe the blogger travels frequently, or is into fashion or gardening, or loves to check out new restaurants in his or her city, or plays an instrument.
You get the point. Blogs can be started for virtually any reason, and the variety of blogs out there on the Internet really runs the gamut of the imagination.
Can I make money from a blog?
Yes! Although, this can take time, and maybe a lot of time, to accomplish. There are a variety of ways to generate revenue from a blog, both directly and indirectly.
On the direct side of things, you can install an ad program on your blog, like Google Adsense. That's a really popular advertising platform, but there are many others out there, as well. Depending on the overall quality of your blog and its content, and particularly if you're focusing in a specific niche, you may eventually attract some businesses that are willing to pay you in money and/or in free products and services for sponsored advertising, as well.
Indirectly, your blog may help you land a future job or career opportunity, or lead to one or more smaller paid gigs. As I mentioned earlier, many people look to start blogs in order to establish themselves as a credible source on something. If you can show that you really know what you're talking about through any relevant experience, education, and training that you've had, your blog can potentially pave the way to a plethora of professional opportunities.
What makes for good blog content?
Before you sit down and start to write, it’s important to note that writing for a blog is different than writing for other mediums such as academia or the press. That being said, what type of content works well with blogs? Where academic papers and press releases lean toward the more formal side of the spectrum, blog content tends to be more informal and sometimes even personal in nature.
This does not mean that blog content should be badly written, however, because poorly thought-out or grammatically-incorrect posts can have a negative impact on your visitors. Blogs with well-thought-out and easy-to-read content tend to have more followers than ones that do not.
To increase your readership, you’ll want to write informative and engaging posts that will encourage your visitors to leave comments and share your blog with their family and friends. The more engaging your blog’s content is, the more people will hear about it. The more people who hear about your blog, the more traffic it will eventually attract.
Now, obviously, blogs are very diverse in scope and overall objectives, so what works well on one blog may not necessarily work on the next. If you are unsure about how you want to go about writing for your blog, feel free to test out different writing styles or levels of formality and see what works best for you and your visitors.
When blogging, write about your passions
Too many people try to find the highest paying niche before starting a blog. They figure that by blogging about the highest paying keywords they can find, they will somehow strike it rich. Of course, there is always the rare chance of finding success using this method, but another method tends to be more reliable.
Instead of writing about a random topic you know little about but happened to discover at the top of a high paying keywords list, you should choose to write about a topic for which you are passionate. By writing about what you know and love, you will be better able to create interesting and informative content. After all, you already know about the topic, now you just simply need to organize what you know into a series of blog postings.
It is interesting and informative content that sets one blog ahead of the others. Interesting content draws in more visitors and encourages those visitors to share the content with others. The more people who share your blog’s content, the higher it will start ranking in major search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo. By ranking higher in the popular search engines, more people will begin finding your site naturally when they're conducting searches. In search engine optimization (SEO) parlance, we call it organic traffic - people start naturally stumbling across your blog or Web site during their searches instead of you or others having to share the link to your site with them.
The other benefit of writing about your passions is that you will be more eager to add new posts. It can be a real struggle to write about a topic you know little about and care even less for, but when you are writing about a topic you enjoy, it becomes much easier to create new content. If you plan to regularly add content to your blog, then writing about a topic that you love will definitely make the process less painful.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide on which topic you want to write about when starting up a new blog. Just be sure to avoid scanning the top paying keyword lists for ideas and instead look to your passions when making the decision. By doing so, you will be well on your way to creating a great blog.
Great titles bring in more blog visitors
If you are like most bloggers, you are probably looking for new ways to get more traffic to your blog. Although there are several ways to bring in more visitors, one of the most overlooked methods is to improve on your blog post titles. After all, the title is often the deciding factor for whether or not a person chooses to click through to your post.
When considering titles, remember that less is more. Shorter titles are easier for people to scan, while longer titles often get cut short by the popular search engines. By keeping your titles reasonably short, you can ensure that they are fully visible each time your blog appears within a search engine’s results.
It can also be a good idea to do a little research as you are coming up with the specific wording for your titles. Try typing some words relating to your blog post into a search engine, and see what comes up. This will give you a good idea about the search terms people are using for the topic you have written about. Including popular phrasing into your titles can entice more people to click on your link and open your blog.
Another important part of any great blog title is its ability to grab the reader’s attention. There are many phrases that can be used to gain attention, with some of the more popular choices being, “The Secret of…” and, “Little Known Ways to…”. By adding attention grabbing words to your titles, more people will choose to click through the link and read your blog post.
While it is always a good idea to consider each new title carefully as you add content to your blog, it’s never too late to improve the titles of posts that have already been published. Any improved titles will be updated in the search engine results the next time your blog post is spidered.
Yes, it can be a little time-consuming to come up with creative and attention-grabbing blog titles, especially if you are going back and updating the titles of your old posts. It is worth the effort, however, because with these new and improved titles, you are bound to see an increase in the number of people visiting your blog.
In closing, blogging has the potential to be a very rewarding activity on many levels, both personally and professionally. You can even generate revenue from a blog. Blog about subjects you know and are passionate about. Doing so will help make the work of blogging more fun and meaningful for you while also helping make the content you produce more interesting and engaging for your readers. Finally, work to ensure you have creative yet short titles for your blog posts, as they will help in driving traffic to your blog.