Blogging for profit can enrich your life. You can share your knowledge on a topic that you are passionate about while earning an income online. It becomes a win-win for the person who enjoys creating content and writing. It can become an expensive hobby when you aren’t sure what direction you are taking with your blog. There are a few things that you can do as a blogger to set yourself up for success.
1. Define Your Target Audience
If you decide in the beginning who your target audience is going to be, it will be far easier to write appealing content for that audience. When your content appeals to your target audience, it gets comments, likes and shares in social media. People who find it interesting and engaging will share it. You have a better chance of going viral with your content when it resonates with people.
However, you can make the ultimate mistake of starting without a clear target market. I will admit that is what I did with this website. I waffled about what the purpose and focus of it was going to be. To that end, this particular blog has not produced a lot of cash for me. Luckily, I have another blog. I defined the audience and the niche much better and it started generating sales for me! I did this when writing books as well. My first book, I followed the Bestseller in a Weekend formula that Alicia Dunams set out for us. I defined my target audience and put keywords in the title. My book sold without much marketing when I used keywords in the title. My second book, I decided to deviate from the formula a bit more and used a creative title with alliteration. It sounds great, but it doesn’t sell. Learn from my mistakes! Always define your target audience.
Mistake: Not having a target audience in mind when writing your content.
2. Stick to the Topic (Niche)
People go to websites looking for information on a specific topic. Your website will look more authoritative when you stay on the topic and provide as much relevant information as possible. You can have a few different categories on your website that are related to the topic, but don’t create a website and then veer off to a topic that may be beneficial for some readers, but isn’t necessarily on topic.
It is tempting to create a site that has a lot of different information about many things. For example, if you are starting a website on gardening, you will want to pick a type first and exhaust all of your knowledge about that topic before adding more to it. Don’t create a container gardening website and then start talking about raised beds or seed starting. Stick with container gardening. It can be tomato growing in containers or composting in containers, but try your best to stick with the topic.
Mistake: Writing a few posts about your niche and then venturing into a topic that is not really related.
3. Keyword Research
Before you write your first post, you’re going to want to do some keyword research to see if there are even people online who care about your content. You are looking for a high number of monthly searches for your topic. This is essential because you want to make sure that people are even interested in the niche that you have selected. But the research does not stop there! You want to check out the competition. You are looking for high search volume and low competition numbers. This is important because as a new website, your content won’t make it to the top results of Google if there is a ton of competition. It won’t matter that you have written the most amazing content if no one reads it! So, you’re looking for longer keywords that have a less competition.
I’ve made the ultimate keyword research error by writing a blog post and not checking out on Google who my competitors were. If you find that there are major websites that are ranking on the first and second page for the keywords that you are targeting, it is time to take a step back and tweak the keywords a bit. It is very difficult to knock a five or ten-year website out of the top position when they have a decent article. The time you spent writing the article suddenly feels like it is wasted. The only people who will find it are the ones that you share it with and maybe some social media shares.
Mistake: Failing to check out the competition on Google.
4. Search Engine Optimization
Having a high volume and low competition keyword is great, but you have to place the keywords properly in your pages and posts. Make sure that you have a web page that has the keyword in the title. Ideally, you want to use the keyword naturally as you are writing your content. It should show up in your 1000 word article about 1-2% of the time. Ideally, you will place the keyword in the title and then again in the first paragraph. This should be enough to let the search engines know that your content is relevant to the keywords.
My biggest mistake with search engine optimization was overusing the keyword. When I started out, I used the keywords every chance I could get. This came across as spam and even I hated reading it. It was not natural and didn’t sound interesting or engaging. I sounded like I was a spam bot.
Mistake: Overusing keywords to the point where it sounds like spam.
5. Social Media Strategy
Getting people to start reading your content is your number one goal as a blogger. You should be sharing your content on every social media website that you are on. This will give your website the best chance of being found by Google and read by your target market. When you start out, try to master one social media strategy. There are a ton of different social media platforms, but you can’t be a master of all of them. Specialize in one and simply share your content to the others.
My biggest mistake with social media and blogging was being too timid and shy to share my content on social media. I was afraid of criticism and judgment in the beginning. This is just something that you have to overcome, especially if you want to succeed online.
Mistake: Not sharing my content because I felt like it wasn’t good enough for my friends to read.