Daily around 2 million blog posts are published. Daily.
And how many succeed enough to make income from blogging full time or a considerable part of income? Less than 2 %.
Definitely, odds are not in favour. But is it doable? YES!! Is it easy? Nope!
But, is it very difficult? Not at all.
As you will read in this (little long post), it doesn’t take extraordinary skills or elaborate understanding of the market to make your blog successful.
All it requires is simple habits and applying them on a consistent basis. When done on regular basis, these mantras will increase your blog traffic, improve your page rank and earn you higher revenue from your blog.
So, let’s read about points which will help you in creating a successful blog.
Before we go further, I am assuming that you know about some basic things, like ( If not, then read the given links to bring yourself up to speed):
- How to blog? or how to create your blog?
- How to decide about the good domain name? Which domain to buy?
- Which hosting: Shared or Managed?
- [Wordpress] Plugins you must have on your blog
- HTTPS or HTTP? www or non-www?
#1) Researching for content:
When you have a blog idea, simply writing about it isn’t enough. You need to know if people are searching for it. And, when they are searching, what keywords and phrases they are using?
The simple reason is, when a user (you and I included) search for any topic, he won’t use the same combination of words. Each user uses different search combination.
This is due to the fact that the understanding of the same topic is different according to each user of that topic. So, let’s say you are searching for a post about ‘how to start a successful blog’. Now, someone else may search for the same topic by using terms like: ‘how to create a successful blog’ or ‘what makes a successful blog’ and so on.
Now, search engines, with algorithms, have to come up with ways to understand the intent of the user and what the user is searching for. With this understanding only it will be able to present the most relevant search results.
Which means, somewhere in algorithm and data, different variations of the same topic are stored. And this is where researching for a content comes into the picture.
When you are researching for a content to write about, it is a good idea to check for the relevant keywords, phrases used in search of that topic. This effort is then made better by also searching for search volume of those keywords and phrases.
Finding the required keywords and long tail keywords isn’t difficult, but it takes time.
When research for any topic with such depth, in the beginning, it saves you loads of time later in creating content which no one is reading.
Besides, when you are researching about the content, you also have a chance to know about the second step for being a successful blogger. Knowing how to connect with your intended readers.
#2) Knowing how to connect with reader’s heart and mind
Besides, researching for your content also helps you in reading the ‘pulse’. You see, in your research, you will come across comments, counterpoints and other pain points. You will come across statements such as:
“This is right but …”
“I love your post, will it help me …”
“I’m frustrated by… ”
“I am not able to ..”
These are very important statements. They are the one to provide you with ways to connect with your readers.
To engage with your readers.
All successful bloggers have mastered the art to dig into their research and find ways to connect with readers. This is the only way you have quality readers. Readers who will stay with you and share your content!
Now firstly, why quality readers? and not just readers!
It is important due to two reasons:
- When your content is read by viewers, it is either is liked by the reader or he will not agree to some parts. The response will be either, your content will be shared or the reader will express his views about your content in the comment section. This is direct and important feedback for your own content. Something you can(should) use to improve your subsequent posts.
2. The response is also important from the viewpoint of SEO of that content. You see, when your reader comments on part of your content, that comment is also added to the word count of that article page. Plus, this is a natural comment with natural language, which is rated higher on the scale of relevancy by Google.
I would rate the first reason higher than the second, because, your regular readers are the one who will type in your website address directly as compared to using Google to find your site. They are the ones your blog is serving.
And they are the ones who took pains to type in the comment box and added words and created the 2nd reason as result.
This will not happen on its own. It happens only when you engage with your readers.
Engagement requires: writing with your readers in mind. Writing on topics which they read, with language that addresses their issues and emotions that resonates with them.
This doesn’t happen overnight and requires consistent efforts, and let me tell you, it is worth it.
So, next time when you have finished creating your content, take a break and then come back to your content. Read it again!
Does it use a tone, language, words, phrases which is something a friend will use to talk to another friend when he is teaching or guiding him about something? Does it mentions the pain point which you found in your research? And lastly, does it provides a relevant, solution to that issue? Without beating the bush?
If no, redo it. You may not be able to cover all the steps above. But, your post will still end up much better then what it was before you revised it.
Then when it is a yes, publish it. And then share it, market it. It’s your baby, your creation. Be proud of sharing it. [ More on this in step ]
#3) Staying close to uniqueness value proposition of your blog
Now, what does that mean??
Every blog starts with a central idea, but in most cases, it doesn’t stay that way for long!
Because every idea is related to other ideas, and it becomes very easy to post about those ideas too. This is where the problem starts.
A very simple example is tech blog ( like tinkoor.com) to have blogs related varied fields of technology. The problem will be to blog about blogging, email marketing, link building, and growing traffic and then also about online technology or latest android phone.
Though online technology is also tech, that is not focus of this blog. And for sure, not the latest phone and its features.
This happened to me many times ( and maybe with other bloggers), that while researching for any topic idea, I come across good search volume of a related topic. Considering the search volume and my knowledge about that topic, it is very tempting to create a new category in the blog and write article/post on that topic.
Please don’t do this
If you see good bloggers like copyblogger, after reading a few posts, you get a clear idea about their unique value proposition. It’s about making your content better for content marketing.
When read you read through their many pages of content, you will see that this main idea is what drives their posts. You won’t find posts about SEM/SEO (rather they will refer you to links which will suit your purpose more).
This is what defines the important character of any successful blog. Stay close to your value proposition.
Important: When you are just starting out, it can happen that you start with one particular idea and after certain posts, you realise you have better command of other topics.
Like in case of ShoutmeLoud.com, the founder Harsh Aggarwal started the blog as tech blog but overtime he specialized in affiliate marketing. This is now the main value proposition of the blog.
So, don’t be adamant about a certain topic. Play around a little bit in the beginning. Once you have found your niche, which is profitable for you, then stick to that.
Go deep into that.
Quite frankly, unless your blog is about breaking news, time of small content pieces is limited. Most important factor for Google is user experience. And for that Google is pushing for content which is relevant, in-depth and complete.
This is easy to do when the focus of your blog is clear. As another example, you can look at backlinko.com. Brain Dean is able to build authority site on link building by focussing on the single topic and producing one of the best guides on the internet about that topic.
#4) Marketing your blog
Till you make it to big leagues, you need to push your blog in front of readers.
There are both paid and free ways to do this. But, first, you need to know why this is important?
The simple reason is: Your blog post, the content is your creation. You need to take care of it like that only. You can’t just put so much effort into a post, publish it and then abandon it.
It won’t grow on its own. Just like a baby, it needs you. You need to nurture it, present it, market it in the beginning. Once it has gained traction, then it will take care of itself.
Till then, it’s your responsibility.
Now, how to do it?
(Free)Ways of marketing your blog: Build your profile on Facebook, Quora and join the relevant groups. Build a reputation there and then once in a while link your blog into one of your answers ( sometimes in comments also).
The careful part: You need to give to the community before expecting something back. No one likes a freeloader. If you are helpful, then it will be appreciated and maybe someone from the community will share it own his own blog. There you have your backlink outside the social system too 🙂
These are important ways, though they take time. Nonetheless, having a public profile on Quora, Facebook etc. is good for building long-term authority on the subject matter.
Paid marketing: The whole business model of social media and search engines. Simply put, pay them and market your link for relevant keywords. Though, just because this path is paid doesn’t mean it is easy.
You need to find proper keywords, optimize your ad copy, track your performance to be able to drive value from money invested.
If you are not into selling any course or something similar on your blog, then you should use this path cautiously. You can use it for giving a small push when the article is published. And that’s it.
It is better to pay copywriter or content writer for your blog, then to spend money on advertising.
Still, try out on your blog on a small budget and see what works for you and how?
#5) The SEO
Search Engine Optimization is here to stay.
Even with all the updates and AI-based algorithm updates, your content is still being crawled by Google bots.
Which means human designed code. Which follow certain rules, structure and design to decide about the content.
So, the SEO here I am talking about is not keyword stuffing.
But I am talking about making your website and content structure easy and fast to understand.
Unlike a normal visitor to a website, who is mainly focussed on a piece of information he is looking for, a Google bot reads a page all the way down.
So, while a user who searched for certain point and came to your site using that keyword only, for Google your text is relevant to many more search results.
Which means On page SEO.
Another important factor is schema of your site. If your content is not hidden within categories and subcategories, then it is easy for Google to index it.
Something like example.com/post-name-with-keyword
With the recent push on mobiles, Google is also serious about responsive websites and even better AMP and Facebook Instant Article. You can read more about them:
#6) Tracking your website analytics
If you have not set up analytics for your website yet, do it right now!
What doesn’t gets measured, doesn’t get managed ~ Drucker
Your website/Blog is your business. To make it successful, you have to handle it like a business only. Google Analytics lets you do that.
When you start your blog, initial few weeks are spent in setting up the theme in right way, choosing the right typography. Simultaneously, content is getting published.
Once you have crossed your pool of initial topic ideas, you look for ideas to create more content.
Here, the best thing would be to focus your efforts on the topics which are working in your favour. The problem is how do you know which posts and topics on your blog are doing good?
Not everyone who reads your article will share it. (You can see here right now, after reading this article this far down, even if I expect that it is adding value to it, will you share it? )
No, that is not because readers ( including you ) are bad or not good people. It is just that we may get value from a post, but we can not measure that value right away. On top of that, sharing makes us feel conscious of what people in our circle will think about what we are reading about.
Off-topic: When you are working on improving yourself by learning something new, the first thing in applying that knowledge will be to share. This simple step makes your face the first stumbling block of facing reviews and feedback in the beginning itself. And, as mentioned above, they help you in growing faster.
So, what is the other way of knowing what is popular on your website?
Welcome, Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics properly is a complete topic in itself. You can read this post for the complete guide to setting up google analytics correctly.
Let’s focus on what Google Analytics helps you to measure:
- How much traffic is coming to your site?
- What percentage of this traffic was organic and what search term they used to see your page as one of the search results?
- Which post is getting most traffic (this is important)
- How much time they are spending on your site and
Google Analytics let you see a lot of data about traffic on your website. But what is mentioned above is what matters in the beginning and especially for a blogger.
So, if you have not done already, set it up today.
#7) Repurposing your content with current trends and changes
This is one of the unique factors which separates a successful blogger from others.
Unless you are talking about philosophy, nearly all the other topics require constant updating of knowledge.
And this is especially true when the niche topic is even remotely connected to tech, digital marketing and growing business online.
The best way to staying relevant is to post relevant stuff in your posts. This is also an easy way to keep your traffic constant. You already know, what is popular on your site, so when you have a new piece of information or technique related to that topic, update it.
Most of these additions are small updates, they are not drastically different. Which means you will be wasting your time to write a small piece of content on the topic. Best to add it to already popular post and keeping it relevant.
The other important benefit is that it lets your post keep getting ranked for multiple key phrases.
So, once in a while, go through your published posts, especially those more than a year old and see if you can add something there.
Or if you can rephrase few of the sentences to make it better.
This last sentence is also important. The more you write, the better you get. Which means, there is high chance that when you re-read your content after a gap, you will find ways to make it better.
Better in the choice of words, better in sentence structure, maybe even adding an infographic.
Which leads to next point.
#8) Presenting information in visual format:
Facebook is pushing video since late 2017. It is now pushing for longer videos as it launches facebook watch
Google prefers content pieces which include visuals like images, infographics, charts etc.
Side note: I am preparing infographic and whiteboard animation on content on this post. If you want to get access to that as soon as both are launched, please submit your email id here. I don’t sell any course and won’t fill your mailbox with more than 2 emails a month at most.
If the content you are publishing can be supported with relevant visual content, please do so at earliest.
To get my point across:
Isn’t it easy to consume? You get my point 🙂 Nothing more to add.
#9) Consistent and proper blog structure:
This point should have been the first one, but then you would have skipped it.
No, not because you are not serious, but because we all read about generating quality content. And then we comprehend it as a content filled with more data and research.
Let me put it this way:
The way of story telling is as important as story itself ~ tinkoor.com
You need to present your content in the way that it doesn’t feel like a research paper or a monologue.
Tell important stuff, give line breaks, paragraphs, so that it is easy to read.
I find this article by Neil Patel as a good guide about how to create a high-quality blog post:
Does it look like a lot of work? Well, truth be told, being a successful blogger is indeed a lot of work.
The stories and pictures that you see online about blogger leading easy digital nomad life come later. Once you have proved and established yourself.
Until that time, you work hard on regular basis. You keep optimizing your approach till you find what works for you. And then you keep repeating and improving that till you can actually live the life you want.
The good thing is that, even after so many blogs getting published every day, you have a good chance. The reason is that most of the new bloggers will quit before they can establish themselves.
This sounds rude or brash, it is. And so is the reality of the blogging world. Just like startups, most people leave blogging within few months of starting out.
Now, if you had the patience to read these many words, that means you have required patience:). Now just work on putting in the effort and you will see increased traffic to your blog and your goal of earning money online, getting fulfilled sooner than you think.
If you like this post, please share your views in the comment box below. I respond to each and every mail and comment.