Starting a new blog can be an exciting time. Unfortunately, the excitement of what’s possible often turns into frustration when things don’t go as planned.
If you’re a new blogger or if you’re considering starting your own blog, here are some tips that will help you to survive your first year as a blogger and start making money.
1. Get Ready to Work
While blogging can be a great way to make money, it does require a lot of work. From the outside, blogging may look like an easy way to make money. But almost every new blogger is surprised by how much work it actually takes to grow a successful blog.
If you’re looking for an easy or quick way to make money, blogging is probably not your best option.
However, if you’re looking for a way to build a highly profitable online business that offers a lot of flexibility and you’re willing to put in the work, blogging could be the perfect fit.
Whenever I’m talking to new bloggers or people who are thinking about starting a blog, one of my priorities is to help them establish realistic expectations. A big part of that involves the amount of work that you’ll need to put in if you want to have success with your blog.
I don’t say that to discourage you, and to be honest, most other types of businesses would require even more work than blogging. But for some reason, whenever it comes to online business, and blogging in particular, many people assume it will be easy.
2. Be Patient
Not only does it take a lot of work to build and grow a successful blog, but it also requires some patience. You’ll need to be willing to dedicate a lot of time and effort to your blog before you really start to see the results.
Most new blogs don’t make very much money during the first year. When you’re putting in a lot of time and not seeing results, it can be very discouraging.
The key is to take a long-term approach and have patience. The work that you’re doing during the first year is building a foundation for your blog that can pay off for years to come.
Once things start to pick up, it becomes a lot easier and your blog is likely to grow pretty quickly. It’s just those early stages that take a lot of time in order to build up some momentum.
3. Treat Your Blog Like a Business
Many people want to make money with their blog, but they treat it like a hobby instead of a business. In order to get the best results, you need to treat it like you would treat any other business.
This involves several different things, including:
- Making decisions based on profit instead of personal interest
- Not expecting everything to be free
- Being willing to re-invest the money that you’re making
- Taking a long-term approach
- Working on it consistently
- Not giving up as soon as you get a little frustrated or bored
If you’re looking to make money as a blogger, you’re really building a business that happens to be in the format of a blog. Think of it more as a business and less as a blog and you’ll be in a better position to have success.
4. Schedule Your Time
When will you work on your blog? If you plan to work on it whenever you happen to have the time, you’re probably not going to have a lot of success.
A better approach is schedule your time and treat it like a part-time job. Give yourself specific hours for working on your blog and commit to sticking with those hours and being productive.
The hours that you work will depend on your existing schedule, and of course you can work on the blog whenever is best for you. If you have regular daytime working hours Monday through Friday for a full-time job, you could set aside some blocks of time in the evening and on weekends. If you’re a morning person, maybe you prefer to get up early and work on your blog before your full-time job.
Regardless of when you work, the important part is that you actually set aside the time for it. In general, I’d recommend dedicating at least 10 hours per week to your blog if you want to give it a good chance to grow.
Related: 7 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
5. Focus on a Niche
While there are plenty of general blogs or lifestyle blogs that have done very well, those blogs are actually a small minority. Most bloggers that take a general approach and cover all kinds of different topics do not have success.
In order to give yourself the best chance for success, you should choose a specific niche or topic and focus your content in that area. That’s not to say that you can’t have success with a more generalized approach, but you’ll be more likely to have success with a focused approach.
When a new visitor arrives at your blog, you want that reader to be able to feel a connection to you and your blog. If that visitor sees content that’s highly-focused on a topic that interests them, the visitor is more likely to subscribe to your email list or at least come back to your site in the future. But if the visitors sees all kinds of general content that isn’t of interest to them, they’re unlikely to subscribe or come back again.
6. Emphasize Quality Over Quantity
Quality is more important than quantity in a few different ways.
First, in terms of content. It’s more important to write and publish quality content that will genuinely be of interest to your readers than it is to publish lots of content. One really good blog post will be more effective than 10 low-quality posts.
Be sure that you’re giving yourself enough time to do the best job possible with the content that you’re creating, even if that means taking more time for each post and reducing the number of posts that you publish.
Quality is also more important than quantity in terms of traffic, readers, and subscribers. It’s very easy to get focused on numbers and to get consumed with trying to increase traffic and grow an email list bigger and bigger. But bigger isn’t always better.
It’s very possible for a smaller blog (in terms of traffic and subscribers) to have more success because the people who are visiting the site are highly targeted. Focus on attracting the right types of visitors and subscribers rather than just focusing on getting more traffic and subscribers.
7. Establish a Traffic Plan
One of the biggest mistakes that bloggers make is focusing only on the content of their blog and having no plan for getting exposure. You can have the greatest content in the world, but if no one sees it, it’s not doing anyone any good.
With a new blog, you’ll need to dedicate time and effort to get your content seen. You’ll need a plan for how you’re going to generate traffic for your new blog.
There are a number of ways that you can start to get traffic for your new blog, including:
- Sharing your posts through your social media profiles
- Getting others to share your content
- Participating in Facebook Groups for blog promotion
- Writing guest posts for other blogs
- Answering questions on Quora
- Participating in forums
- Paid advertising
You’ll need to take some time and think about how you want to get your blog’s content in front of readers and start to grow your audience.
Most of the options for promoting your blog as a beginner are not going to lead to huge floods of traffic, but the key is to get the ball rolling and start to get some traffic. If you keep working on it, things will start to snowball.
8. Focus on Results
There are countless different things you could be doing to grow your blog, but just because you’re working doesn’t mean you’re productive.
It’s very easy to get distracted by things that don’t really get results. For example, social media can be a great way to promote your blog and grow traffic, but you don’t want to spend so much time on social networks that it takes away from the other things that you need to do.
Focus your time and effort on the things that get results. Evaluate every hour that you’re spending on your blog and ask yourself “is this going to help me get better results?”. If it’s not the best use of your time, cut it out and use your time for something else.
9. Lead Your Readers to Action
How will your blog make money? Getting traffic is great, but aside from ad revenue, simply getting visitors to your site is not going to make you any money.
Most successful blogs make the majority of their income from things like selling their own products, offering a service, or promoting other products and services as an affiliate. In order to convert visitors into customers, you’ll need to lead them to take action.
Making a purchase isn’t the only type of action that you could want your visitors/readers to take. Other actions could include subscribing to your email list, following you on social media, watching a webinar, or filling out a contact form or lead generation form.
The best way to lead visitors/readers to take action is to tell them what you want them to do. Prompt them to subscribe to your email address. Ask them to follow you on social media. Make it clear and easy for them to fill out a form to get more information on services that you offer.
You should also be sure to make your calls-to-action stand out visually. You don’t want them to get buried in the text of your blog post.
Here are a few ways you can make your calls to action stand out and get more attention:
- Use a popup or a slide in
- Use a graphic or image for visual appeal
- Use bold text, colored text, or larger text
- Highlight the text
- Put the text in a box by using a different background color and/or border
10. Don’t Try to Be Everywhere
There are a lot of places for bloggers to connect with other bloggers and potential readers. Of course, this includes all of the popular social networks, but it also includes forums and other community-oriented sites that are popular in your niche.
While it’s great to be active in other places where you can interact with your target audience, you shouldn’t try to be everywhere.
If you try to be active at too many different places, you’ll wind up spreading yourself thin and you won’t be able to have an impact.
My advice is to find one or two platforms (a social network or community-oriented site that is popular in your niche) and focus. It’s ok to have a profile at several different social networks, but don’t spread your time across a bunch of different platforms. You’ll have much better results if you focus your time and effort on maximizing the impact of one or two platforms.
And you should also limit the amount of time that you spend on social media. Platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram can be great for growing your blog, but you don’t want to spend so much time on social media that it takes away from other things like creating great content for your blog.
There are a lot of potential traps that you can fall into as a new blogger. Hopefully these tips can help you to use your time and effort for the right things that will put you on the path for success.
To learn more about how to start and grow a successful blog, see more about how you can get free access to my course Blog Launch Breakthrough. The course includes more than 80 video lessons, as well as a printable workbook that will guide you through the action steps you need to take.