Every Blogging Task You Need to Do (In Order!) to Build A Profitable Blog
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Key Tips to Creating A Successful Blog
I’ve found over the years that sometimes the missing piece to our blogging puzzle is just one simple tip that brings it all together.
Then suddenly the light bulb goes on, and a concept really hits home in your brain.
I love it when that happens and I feel like that's one of the reasons these types of key tips posts are so addictive.
I always wonder what the next simple idea is that's going to bring together a concept and make a huge difference in my business.
Today I've been thinking about some of the key tips I've discovered in the last couple of years, as well as a few that were brought to my attention from some of my reader questions.
I hope that this list will give you some awesome light bulb moments!
If my best friend came to me tomorrow and asked for my absolute best blogging tips to keep in mind that relate to the "big picture" of running a successful blogging business, this is what I would tell her.
1. Solve One Problem for One Audience
I'm really hoping I can hammer this one home, because I see this over and over in emails I get from readers.
The email usually goes something like this:
As of right now I'm trying to figure out what my niche should be. I want to write about my struggles with depression over the years, and I also love books so I'd like to talk about that too. My husband and I have gotten really into traveling lately, and we went to Europe over the summer. Travel is another one of my passions so I'd like to write about some of the vacations we've gone on. Anyways, if you have time to take a look at my blog, I'd love to get your thoughts. (Insert blog url here)
- So and so
Here's the problem with this email.
If you want to turn your blog into an actual business that makes money, you can't just write about whatever you feel like. It isn't about you.
I know that sounds terrible, but I'm here to tell you the truth because I don't want you to waste your time.
Successful blogs provide one solution for one problem that one audience has. Yes, you can still make money with a lifestyle blog that covers a couple of different topics, but that rule still applies.
Check out this post on successful lifestyle blogs here.
Writing a blog on different topics for different audiences about different problems simply isn't going to make you any money. If you just want to hobby-blog, that's great.
I think it's so important to realize that people pay for solutions, and they pay for those solutions from people they like and relate to.
If you aren't providing a solution to one problem your audience has, or you are but they can't relate to you because you're writing for a few different types of people, it's going to be very difficult to monetize your blog.
Solve one problem for one audience and you'll do just fine.
2. Get Organized and Stay Productive
I struggled so much with getting organized and staying productive in my first year or so of business.
I'm just not a naturally organized person, and if you aren't either then you can probably relate!
The problem with this is that when you only have a few hours today to invest in your business, you need to make it as focused as possible.
You really need to be working on the right things at the right time as efficiently as possible! I know that's a big ask.
When I did finally create a blogging system that kept all of the moving parts organized and executed on time, I saw so much more growth and felt so much less stressed.
I was meeting my deadlines, things were getting done on time, and I always felt like I knew exactly what I needed to be working on at any given time. This has been a huge relief!
If you want to learn more about my organized blogging system, check out Plan Your Blog Biz here.
3. Validate Your Product Idea and Then Sell It
If you're not making money in your business right now and you're wondering why, take a step back and ask yourself if you actually have anything for sale.
As bloggers it is so easy to get wrapped up in the content treadmill of more blog posts, more social media posts, more free stuff, trying to get more traffic… And then you wonder why you aren't making any money.
Do you actually have anything for sale? Is it what your readers are asking for?
I made this mistake too. It took me far, far too long to create my first product.
And when I did, I didn't promote it pretty much at all.
I think this is a big fear trap that many bloggers fall into, so I'm calling it out here.
Ask your readers what they want to buy from you. Seriously, go ask them.
You want to validate your product ideas before you spend all of the time creating it and writing the sales page, only to find out that no one wants it. (Been there, done that.)
Once you have a validated idea or two, offer that product for sale!
4. Show Your Personality and Tell Stories in Your Emails
I'm not going to lie, this one has been tough for me! All those years of high school and college English really stuck in my brain, and so inserting my personality into my writing has been an ongoing struggle. I'm still working on it to this day, and I know I have a ways to go.
But if I've learned anything online, it's that people are craving connection and community more than anything.
Just think about it - we live in a pretty isolated world.
We spend a ton of time at our jobs, and we spend a lot of time online. The old days of meeting up at local dance halls and churches several times throughout the week to make connections face to face are pretty much gone in most of the country.
I think the biggest downside to living in the 21st century (and there aren't very many of them!) is that we are a lonely people. Most of us are not getting the human interaction we desperately need, and for better or worse we go looking for that online.
That was a bit of psychology and history for you, but all of that is to say that telling stories and talking like a real person in your blog posts, emails, and social media is so important.
Nobody likes the robot voice, and we've all gotten really good at tuning out brands who give off that vibe.
Now more than ever, it's important to talk about your life, share your stories, and speak in your writing exactly the way you speak in the real world.
5. Respond When Someone Emails You
Are you actually responding to the emails you get from your readers?
This one was a bit shocking to me, but it turns out that a lot of bloggers don't! And how do I know that?
Because my readers often tell me that I'm the first blogger who's actually responded to one of their questions.
Dude. Oh my God. That is sad!
If you are asking people to hit reply to your automated emails, or even if someone takes the time out of their day to send you one through your contact form, answer them!
Yes, yes, I know that we are all busy. I know you don't have a ton of time on your hands. Neither do I.
But that's no excuse. You don't have to write them back a novel, but you should absolutely respond as soon as you can!
My goal has always been to respond to my emails within 24 hours. And you know what? I very rarely make that deadline.
Oftentimes it takes me several days to a week to get through all of my emails, which isn't as fast as I would like. But you know what? I answer virtually every email that comes to my inbox.
So why does this matter anyway?
First off, it's the polite thing to do. But we all know that!
Second, it will help you stand out from the crowd. When very few bloggers are actually taking the time to answer the questions that their readers send them, someone who does is a diamond in the rough. You want to be that person.
Third, it will help you make sales over the long run. A few months back I did a little analysis on my students who have actually purchased one of my courses.
And guess what I found?
TWO THIRDS of them have emailed me before, and gotten a response back.
This shows me that on the profitability side it is absolutely a good use of your time to answer your emails.
Your readers get to know you, they get some personalized help from you, they feel like they know you, and suddenly buying one of your products doesn't seem so far-fetched.
Contrast that to a blogger who never responds to your questions, whom you've never talked to one-on-one, and from who all you get is automated emails.
How likely is it that you're going to buy one of their products? (That's a rhetorical question in case you're wondering.)
6. Don't Waste Time on Social Media Until You’ve Mastered A Search Engine or Two
I'm going to get a little controversial here.
I think that social media is by and large a waste of time for most bloggers.
Yep, I said it.
And that's why I spend next to NO time on social media from a business standpoint, with the exception of my Facebook group Blogging Moms.
(I see private Facebook groups as quite a bit different than actual social media marketing however, which is why I justify it in my business. They're kind of like what forums used to be 10 years ago, which is a place to build community and trust with your readers.)
So what's my beef with social media?
First, you don't own it.
Every social media platform starts off the same way. When they are a new platform, they're dishing out traffic left and right.
This is why bloggers tend to get hooked on them, because if you're one of the early birds you can stand to reach a lot of people pretty quickly.
The problem is that as each of these platforms grows in popularity, they start clamping down on organic reach. They implement an advertising program, and suddenly you need to pay to be seen, even by the people who are already following you and love you.
Facebook has done it, Instagram has done it, and just about every other popular social media platform out there has too. This is just the way that companies operate, and there's nothing wrong with it.
But as a blogger, spending a ton of time trying to get free traffic from social media is mostly a wasdte. That traffic can literally disappear overnight, and it happens all the time.
You don't own anything on their platform, and that company has the right to make any changes they want at any point, without warning. In my opinion, this is not a great strategy for growing your business long term. Or at least, it isn't the best.
So what would I do instead?
Hands down, I would focus on getting organic free traffic from the search engines. That's Pinterest, Google, and YouTube.
Sure, these guys have their fair share of algorithm changes as well. But their entire business model is different from a social media platform.
A social media platform's main goal is to make advertising dollars and to do it by pushing ad content to the top of results. Search engines also make money through advertising, but their advertising success relies on pushing the BEST content out there to the top of search results.
There is a big difference here, because you suddenly have the opportunity to rank well with a search engine simply by providing great content. And that's what we want!
If you want to start getting organic traffic from the search engines, I think it's a good idea to focus most of your efforts on ONE of them at first.
Then move on to mastering a second one once your first search engine of choice is bringing you steady traffic.
I started my business off on Pinterest, which I still think was a great move. Pinterest has a ton of women viewers who are interested in business, and I've seen very healthy traffic for my niche as I've been working on my Pinterest account over the last couple of years.
Now that I'm hitting more than 26,000 sessions per month (which is fantastic in my highly competitive niche), I'm maintaining my Pinterest strategy while diving into Google SEO.
I plan to focus very heavily on Google over the next few months to a year, and then I will likely eventually add a YouTube channel to the mix as well.
Final Thoughts on Creating A Successful Blog
Creating a successful blog takes a ton of work, a healthy amount of guidance, and some serious perseverance. If you have those things, it's only a matter of time before you reach your income goals. Keep at it!
And don't forget these key tips:
- Successful blogs solve one problem for one audience
- Do everything you can to get organized and stay productive
- Validate your product idea before you bother creating it
- Show your personality and tell stories in your emails to readers
- Respond to your reader emails!
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