I have recently received a number of emails from fellow bloggers asking for advice and tips for jump starting their blogging career. I too am very new to this line of work, and this time last year it was something I regarded as an occasional hobby. In just about a year’s time, my life has been changed by a roller coaster of opportunity in the blogging world. I have also been fortunate to work in social media and digital marketing, so I have gained applicable knowledge from that occupation as well. I hope to be able to pass along some of the wisdom that I have learned along the way.
1. Write shareable content.
If you are concerned about people reading your blogs, the best way to get your content out there is to write about topics that others can relate to. A “share” is the best feedback you can get, because someone else is literally doing your promoting for you. They are sharing your work, so give them something they’ll want to share. People like to feel like they are a part of something.
2. Use social media to promote your blog.
I created a Facebook page for blog, and it has honestly done wonders for my views. I also use Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and a few occasional others to post each of my blogs as I am done with them. It can make or break your blogging success. You can also schedule posts in Facebook. Use the tools that the social platforms provide to get feedback on your progress and use external websites like TweetDeck to monitor your social presence.
3. Choose your headline and featured image wisely.
People are often drawn to two main elements in an article: the headline and the image. A very inviting image that isn’t grainy and really supports your article, will entice people to click on the link. It will also make them more likely to share such an article, especially on photo-based social media websites like Pinterest.
4. Make your website navigation very easy and clear.
Separate your blog by categories. It is so much more efficient than expecting readers to scroll through every post in chronological order. In WordPress, you can add categories and pages by going to “Appearances” in the Dashboard and then clicking “Menus.” You can then customize your navigation bar and add stagnate pages, such as an About Me, and also add category pages. The way to add to these category pages is by tagging each post with the page category you would like it to show up on. If you have any further questions about this process of site navigation design, feel free to comment!
5. Pay close attention to how readable your text is.
Use color schemes and fonts that are very readable to all audiences. People will be reading your article on anything from a desktop computer to an iPad mini, and you want them to be able to clearly see the messages that you are trying to portray. You may also choose to activate a mobile-friendly blog-format for those using mobile devices.
6. Become a contributing writer to popular websites.
When people ask me how I started to contribute to different websites, like The Huffington Post and Elite Daily, I unfortunately don’t have an advice-based answer from them. This is because the editors approached me about previous work and asked if I wanted to write for the websites. That does however show that if you have a well-followed blog it does not go unnoticed by larger publications, so that opportunity is very exciting and they could come to you as well!
I also know that for certain websites there is often a page on the navigation bar called “Write For Us” or “Submit An Article.” If you click on this link you can enter your information and submit an article to be published. They may not take everything you submit, but if you write something their editors really enjoy, they will publish it for you! This will give you exposure as a writer, build your resume, and establish instant connections with a larger website. Though contributing often begins unpaid, there are numerous benefits, and it can eventually transform into a paid position.
You can also add your website link in your author bio and generate more views to your actual blog that way.
6. Get involved with freelance writing. (Get paid!)
There are a number of websites that will pay you per article, word count, or by views for your submissions. This isn’t usually the first step though, so don’t be discouraged if you find yourself starting your writing career unpaid. Some websites pay very well and are just very specific about their content. ListVerse.com, for example, pays 100.00 per article, but they’re very particular. You can also use resources like the paid freelance writer guide that Sophie Lizard put together on her popular website. This compiles all of the different kinds of websites and opportunities there are for paid freelance work.
7. Own your domain and set up advertisements.
THIS. ONE. IS. CRUCIAL. Once you purchase premium and also your own website domain, you will be able to start looking into your options for receiving compensation based upon your views. Owning a domain just means that you buy your blog link, so I went from a wordpress.com link to serendipityandcreativity.com. You will also want to make sure you get a site-redirect for all of your previous links, so that the articles that you already have circulating on the web do not become broken links.
If you have 25,000 monthly views, and wish to stay with the wordpress.com domain, you can be eligible to start running WordAds on your website. This means that you will be able to use WordPress.com as a sort of middle man with the advertisers, and you will receive monthly compensation based upon your website impressions (CPI), also known as your website views. This is actually really nice because it isn’t based on clicks (CPI), which would mean you would only receive compensation for link clicks on advertisements.
If you would rather use Google Adwords or other advertisement plug-ins where you do have a little more user control over the SEM and preferences, you will need to transition your blog to wordpress.org. That is another way you can start earning money on your blog, but it is a more advanced option.
8. Understand SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically means making your website content very search-friendly on the web. Google Bots scan websites in a number of different ways to determine keywords, search rankings, and a lot of other data you don’t need to worry about just yet. Basically, what you need to know about SEO is that you should be using clear and identifiable words in your headlines, descriptions, and even body content. If you were to write an article about reasons to be thankful for your mom, and you instead titled it “Gratitude For One’s Maternal Figure,” it would never come up in search results for people looking for the kind of article you wrote. Using words that directly relay the subject matter of your article, and will be found more clearly in Google, can really boost your statistics. Buzzwords are a good tool to use as well when writing about current and popular topics.
9. Monitor your statistics.
You are able to see the websites that you are getting the most referral clicks from, where people are viewing from, what kind of demographics are viewing your content, what kinds of links they are clicking from your webpage, which articles are most popular, and more. This content is highly valuable to your success, and you can use it to focus in on an audience, and to also see what articles are being received best, and where. It also shows you which social media platforms are going to generate the most views for you.
10. Run paid promotions.
This is not for every one, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have already started to make a little money from your blog or blogging career. However, there are a number of opportunities out there for those interested in paying to promote their blogs. You can run promotions on Facebook based on the post, the page itself, or a specially created advertisement. You can specify demographics and groups of people too that you want to see your Facebook Ad. Facebook gives you a lot of feedback for your campaigns, but it can definitely be hit or miss as far as ROI (Return On Investment). You can also pay for promoted tweets on Twitter, which do gain an immense amount of impressions, but be careful to take close note of the conversion rate too. This is how many people clicked on think who actually saw it, and it’s very important to determining the actual success of your campaign. Again, you can also promote a Twitter page as well. Google is another option when you are highly developed in your blog and want to start promoting keywords and display campaigns, but that’s definitely a little farther down the road. If you have specific concerns about that aspect, feel free to comment below!
11. Keep writing new content.
It becomes easy to get discouraged or stressed, and kind of what to take a writing hiatus for awhile. I would say one of my most important tips on here is to just keep writing. I commute an hour home from work and just brainstorm ideas in my car while I listen to music. I have so many notes in my phone, sticky notes, and notepads full of random ideas I have written down immediately. Just start sketching out a few headlines and go from there. Read what other people with similar content as yours are writing about. Don’t be afraid to be a little controversial and opinionated either. Write what you feel passionate about and keep on writing. It isn’t always an easy ride but it’s incredibly rewarding in the end.
12. Be active in the blogging community.
Read what other bloggers are writing too. Give them feedback and comment on their work. Share articles that you enjoy and never stop reading. Other bloggers love to connect with each other and to collaborate. They’re the best kind of followers because they offer valuable input and have a large audience to share your work with if they decide to do so. Follow other websites and blogs. Stock your Twitter and Facebook full of news outlets and interesting blogs. Get involved in blogging communities. It’s honestly like one big family I swear.
12. Be confident .
Call yourself a blogger. Call yourself a writer. Put it in your bios and headlines everywhere you go, along with your website link of course. Post to your friends. Post to your co-workers. Get your work out there. Ask WordPress.com if you need help! Contact editors and submit contributing work. Leave comments. Send a ton of emails. Ask questions. Be open. Be ambitious. Dream big. The sky is the limit with this crazy and amazing profession.
If you have any more questions or would like to add some of your own tips, please comment below! I can’t wait to learn from each of you as I have with every passing day. Good luck to all of my fellow bloggers, you guys rock!