I’ve noticed a lot of people are wondering how can they become a successful blogger too.
So I put together this simple little guide that outlines the main things you need to do in order to become a successful blogger.
There are a bunch of blog posts online that talk about blogging for beginners but honestly their not very good. Too brief, not enough meat, and they don’t give you an overview of what is required to succeed online with a blog.
So I wanted to write this blog post to explain how to succeed blogging.
1. Decide what to blog about
Blog about a topic you love
The very first step is to decide what you want to blog about. The most important part of this step is to choose a main blog topic that you absolutely love or have a passion in. Your blog will be your baby. Your business. Your way of making money so you can travel the world, wake up when you want, and hopefully never have to work a normal job ever again.
So you want to choose a main blog topic that you can’t stop blabbing about. It is so much easier to sit at home on a Friday night, hammering out an article while your friends are out shenaniganing it up when you write about things you love.
I’ve created blogs in the past on boring subjects. It was dreadful. Every time I had to write a blog post I died a little inside. It was excruciating and I don’t wish it upon any of you. I’ve gotten rid of all these blogs and only blog about things I love now. Life is much rosier now.
Make sure your blog topic is monetizable
After you make a list of potential blog topics that you can’t stop blabbing about, you want to make sure these topics are monetizable. Monetizable means you can make money from the topic. This is a CRUCIAL step, because you are blogging to make money right. So the topics you will be constantly talking about need to have the ability to make money.
How do you figure out if your blog topics are monetizable?
The easiest way is to use your brain. Are people spending money in this area? For example, if you want to blog about fashion, people are definitely spending money on clothes, makeup, jewelry, and handbags. If you want to blog about travel, people are definitely booking tours, hotels, rental cars, and travel gear. If you want to blog about Space exploration…. well… hmmm, I don’t think many typical human beings are spending much money on this topic. So it will be very difficult to make money – and I don’t recommend making space exploration your main blog topic.
There are many ways to make money with a blog. But as long as people are actively spending money, there will be ways to make money. You can check out this blog post on how to make money blogging to learn how money is made with a blog.
You can absolutely blog about several topics
You want to have a MAIN topic that your blog is mostly about. This is important because you want to be known for something. For example, a fashion blogger can be known for blogging about luxury fashion. A travel blogger can be known for being a solo female travel blogger.
To become a successful blogger, you need to get popular. Being popular means you can attract traffic to your blog – which results in making money. It’s really hard to get popular blogging about this topic, then that topic, and then another topic. Nobody will really know what you’re about and therefore you won’t stand out to anyone.
However, you can definitely blog about several different topics. Many successful bloggers do just that. For example, a solo female travel blogger will mostly blog about topics related to traveling the world alone as a female. But she can also blog about other topics like fashion, nutrition, Instagram, or dating. A blogger who does this is essentially a Lifestyle blogger. More specifically, a travel lifestyle blogger.
Start a lifestyle blog when in doubt
A lifestyle blog is basically a fancy word for a blogger who talks about anything – since lifestyle can include everything under the sun. You still want to blog about mostly about a main topic. However, you will have the freedom to talk about other related things, giving you a lot of flexibility with your blog.
For example, this blog is a lifestyle blog! I blog mostly about blogging and personal finance – two things I’m super passionate about. However, I’m also really into travel, photography, and wellness. So I like to talk about these things too.
Your blog topics and direction can change over time
In fact, I’ll almost guarantee it will change. As you learn to blog, you’ll figure out what you like to blog about and who you want to blog for – which can change the direction of your blog. And that’s totally normal. If you don’t really know exactly what you want to blog about still, you can still start a blog and begin going in the direction you think is best. If it needs to change down the road then change it!
2. Decide who you want to blog for
A really important step that many bloggers don’t think about is who they want to blog for.
This is an incredibly important step.
Blogging is very competitive, meaning there are a lot of blogs out there who are already blogging about whatever topic you want to start a blog on. It’s crowded. So in order to get people to notice you and listen to you, you want to speak specifically to a certain group of people.
This specific group of people will be your “ideal readers”. You will be creating content specifically for them! You’ll be building your loyal tribe of followers who love your stuff and want to hear from you like all the time. Other people can consume your content as well, but it’s your ideal readers who truly matter, because they will be the ones who will mostly be making you money.
The cool thing is you get to pick your ideal readers! You will naturally attract them when you create content that speaks directly to them. When people that fit the description of your ideal reader finds your content, it will connect with them! They will feel like “wow, it’s like this blog post was written just for me”. They will be incredibly encouraged to sign up to your email list to keep in touch, follow your social media accounts, read other blog posts you have, and stick around because they RELATE to what you blog about.
For example, a beauty blogger who has suffered from skin problems all her life and has self conscious issues who blogs a lot about overcoming these problems will attract A TON of people who also have similar problems. It’s because these people can totally relate to her and what she is going through. The beauty blogger can teach her “ideal readers” how to manage skin issues, overcome self consciousness, and learn to be beautiful no matter what. This beauty blogger succeeds because she creates content specifically for a type of person. She doesn’t create general beauty content that appeals to “everyone”. Doing the latter is the fastest way to NOT grow a successful blog.
So really think about the specific type of person you want to help and basically be friends with. You’re going to be obsessing about writing stuff that will help these specific people. This is how you will succeed blogging!!
3. Define your unique selling proposition (USP)
A unique selling proposition is a fancy marketing word that means what is “unique”. It’s incredibly important to you.
You need to really think about what it is about YOU that is going to be unique. I’ll level with you right now and tell you that blogging is ultra competitive. There are a gazillion bloggers already. You really really need to cut through the shit if you know what I mean.
The BEST way to get noticed is to be unique and be known for something.
In other words, you want to separate yourself from the crowd. Is there anything about you or what you want to talk about that will give you a competitive edge?
Here are a few examples:
- A travel blogger who blogs about “group travel” has a pretty solid USP if she has given tours for the past 5 years
- A photography blogger who used to photograph Hollywood models for a living has a great USP because not many other bloggers can say the’ve photographed stars
You don’t need to be famous or have done amazing things to have a great USP. You want to find unique things about you that make you different, or as different as possible. Take some time to think about it.
This blog minthabits.com doesn’t really have a crazy USP. I’m a full time blogger who doesn’t have a regular job and has travelled to 30+ countries. I try and show people how to get a similar lifestyle with this blog. I’m not old yet, so I also speak from a youngerish point of view – which also separates me a little from all the other internet marketers (who are generally older).
The LAST thing you want to be online is “general”
You don’t want to create a blog that speaks to everyone. By trying to do this, you will write general content that appeals to nobody. This is the fastest way to get ignored online, and in life in general. You’re not Wal-Mart. You can’t create something for everyone. You’re the cute little coffee shop with special coffee and teas from South America. The people who LOVE your cute coffee shop will be back again and again and again. They will love you a hell of a lot more than Wal-mart. Keep this analogy in mind with your blog.
When you start producing content, always have your ideal reader in mind. Create great content just for them. You’re going to attract the right types of people in your sphere of influence this way. This is how you succeed with a blog.
4. Set up your blog
Now comes the “technical” aspect of becoming a blogger – setting up your blog.
There are a few ways to go about it. I’m not techy and I like things easy. So I’m going to show you the easiest way to set up a blog and have it running right away.
- Use WordPress as your blogging platform. I recommend WordPress because it’s the most popular one, it has the most themes to choose from, the most plugins to give your blog more functions, and it’s the most mature platform. It’s also easy to use
- Use Bluehost as your hosting company. They are incredibly popular because they have cheap hosting plans and good support
Steps to set up a blog
1. Choose a blog name (domain name)
This is a crucial step. Your domain name is your URL, which is what a lot of people will recognize you for. You want to pick a name you love and will love long after you’ve created it.
Here are the main things I keep in mind when choosing domain names:
- Make it memorable// The more memorable your URL the easier it is people will remember it. Words that rhyme, stand out, or refer to something people are familiar with are a few ways to make your domain name memorable.
- Keep it as short as possible// Shorter domain names look great and are more memorable. It’s easier for people to type as well.
- Have a word that describes you, your niche, or main blog topic// Have at least 1 word that tells people what your blog is about. The word can describe who you are, what your main blog topic is, or the overall niche you are in. For example, the word “money” describes personal finance. The word “mommy” describes a type of person.
- Keep it vague but not too vague// You probably don’t want a domain name that is too specific, because what you blog about can change later and you want your domain name to still be relevant. For example, a blog called ” travelbackpacker.com” is excellent for a backpacker blog. But what if later on you want to change the direction of your blog away from backpacking? Your domain name will no longer be relevant. You want to find a balance between vaguely referring to a topic but not too vague so it’s not so clear at all.
- No cuss words or anything stupid// 99% will be fine here, but I still want to mention that your URL is your brand that will represent you, and you don’t want to turn people off with cuss words or other dumb words – unless that’s what you’ll be blogging about.
- Make something completely up// If all else fails, just make up whatever words you want and run with it. The really awesome thing about blogging is that you brand your own domain name. Words like Nike, Google, and Starbucks meant absolutely NOTHING at one point. But we obviously all know what they are now. That’s because these companies have branded it. You can do the same with your domain name. You could call yourself “chocolateunicorns.com” – which means absolutely nothing. What niche is this? What is this site about? Nobody knows. But as you blog and BRAND yourself with the content you put out, your personality, your USP, you will begin to get known for certain things, and people will begin to recognize your brand “chocolate unicorns” as the fashion blogger, the travel photography blogger, the skin care blogger, etc!
2. Buy a domain name and set up hosting
I like BlueHost because they give you good hosting and give you a free domain name. Normally you have to buy both separately and then point DNS to your domain and wait for propagation before your site is live. Not overly difficult to do, but BlueHost takes care of that for you.
Setting up a blog with BlueHost is also really easy. Just follow the promps they give you. You shouldn’t have any issues. Once you’ve gone through the setup, congrats! You are now the proud owner of an online property!
5. Research and write content
The content you produce will be critical to your success. I’ve mentioned this already but I have to say it again. Identify your ideal reader and write content just for this person. Doing this will attract mostly these types of people to your blog. Again, you want to be the cute little coffee shop, not Wal-Mart.
But what should you write about specifically though? And where can you get blog topic ideas?
There are a few ways to find things to blog about:
- A very popular and important way to discover topics to write about is through keyword research. This is when you use a tool to find what people are looking for in Google.
- Another way is to simply use your brain! Sit down and brainstorm topics people are interested in learning more about or need help with.
- You can also browse relevant forums, Facebook groups, and check what similar blogs are blogging about to get ideas.
Regardless of what topic you blog about, you want to focus your content on topics that solve problems. People read blog posts to solve problems. They aren’t overly interested in how much you love your cat. They want to know how to get prettier nails or how to eat a lot of carbs without getting fat. Focusing your content on helpful topics is essential to growing your blog.
6. Make money with your blog
Now comes the part everyone is interested in! This is the question I get asked the most every time I tell someone I blog for a living.
How do you make money with your blog?
It basically comes down to this: You create content that helps readers. Then you suggest a product or service the reader can buy which will enhance their experience or help them get the result they want faster. That’s really it.
For example, a golfing blog could write a blog post about how to swing a golf club properly. In the article, they could link to golfing course for beginners to get better at golfing. Readers that are new to golfing could buy this product because it would help them solve a problem (become a better golfer). This is the gist of how to make money your blog using affiliate marketing.
Another way to make money with your blog is through advertisements. Many websites have ads people can click on. When that happens, the website owner makes money. Another way to make money is with sponsored posts – which is when companies pay you money to talk about their product or service. For example, if you are a skincare blogger, a skin care company could send you free products to use in exchange for a blog post about them. You can also be paid money on top of getting the free product.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make money with a blog, you’ll want to read this blog post.
But before you can make any money with your blog, you need to be creating good content that people want to read. Only then will people consider reading your blog posts and ultimately doing something that makes you money.
7. Promote your content
Writing great content is half the job of a successful blogger. After you write content, you also need to get it out there for people to see. When you’re a new blogger, nobody knows you exist. So you have to work extra hard make your content visible.
There are many strategies to promote your content. Two popular ways are through SEO and social media. I wrote an article about SEO for beginners here.
For social media, Pinterest is probably the best place to start promoting your content. Pinterest is the best place to get traffic to your blog the fastest. Some people begin making money within their first few months blogging because of Pinterest. You can read this article about Pinterest marketing to learn how to do that.
8. Learn, grow, rinse and repeat
Blogging is a skill. It takes time to learn things. You’ll mess up a lot – which is actually a good thing because it tells you what not to do the next time.
There is a learning curve in the beginning. It can be pretty steep for some people. I want you to know that making money blogging is absolutely doable. The work isn’t hard per se, but there’s A LOT of work. There’s a lot work involved in figuring out what to write, writing it, and then promoting it so people can see it. Writing just this blog post took about 4 hours of my day. I still need to work on promoting it later.
I want to be realistic with you
Blogging is a long term income strategy. It’s a way to possible make a tremendous amount of money. But it’s down the road – and not today.
And I want to tell you that sometimes you blog and have worked really really hard and you feel like nothing is working still. You’re not getting traffic so you’re not making any money, and you feel like giving up. Every blogger will have gone through this…
…You gotta power through though.
Sometimes you gotta do a lot of things wrong before you do the right thing. Some people find success right away. They make their first few dollars within a few months. Some people don’t make a penny until a year later.
There’s a point that every blogger reaches where “it just clicks”. It just all comes together and it makes sense. And a lot of bloggers find their income sky rockets after this. It’s obviously nice when this comes sooner rather than later.
A few success things you want to keep in mind:
- Always be learning new things: There’s a lot a new blogger needs to learn. Read free resources online. Study what successful blogs are doing. Buy blogging courses that will help you become a better blogger. Education is imperative to your success.
- Constantly assess your progress: Every couple weeks or so, stop and assess where your blog is at. Think about what you are doing carefully. Is it bringing you closer to your goals? The last thing you want to do is go on for months doing the same thing that isn’t really progressing your blog forward. This can happen if you don’t stop to assess how you are doing often.
- Continue what works. Stop what doesn’t work: It’s pretty crazy how a lot of bloggers continue to do things that haven’t worked. If you’ve been doing something that looks like it’s just not working, STOP doing it. Find another angle or try another method. On the flip side, whenever you do something that WORKS, think hard about why it worked. And replicate it. How can you do this again, and more often. Are there other ways to get similar results? By continually doing what works and stopping what hasn’t worked, you’ll get more and more efficient. The result is making more money faster and faster.
- Understand that you’ll be giving things up: I think a lot of bloggers don’t fully realize how much work it takes to build a successful blog. And that’s probably why they fail. They have the ability but don’t have the worth ethic or desire required. A lot of your free time will be spent on your blog. When your girls go out to dance, you’ll be at home writing content. When the boys are out drinking, you’ll be at home promoting your latest blog post. You can take 5 years to grow a blog to a meaningful level if you want. But how about spending a year or so of truly getting down and dirt with building a great blog so you can quit your job fast. This would require you to basically spend all your free time blogging. Be prepared to give up a lot of things in life if you want to succeed with blogging fast.
- Be consistent: The key to success is consistency. Publish content regularly. Promote content regularly. Learn new things regularly. And do it all again regularly. You want to live and breathe blogging. That might sound weird but it’s how you’ll build a successful blog fast. Making $40,000 within your first year blogging would be a huge success for most people. Making $40,000 by your second year should be doable for virtually everyone. I think making $100,000+ by year 2 is a reasonable goal. But it comes down to being consistent with your blogging. Take 1-2 years to really dig deep into blogging. Once you make enough money to quit your job, you’ll have more free time to blog even more, or take a bit of a break and relax a little. To be honest, It seems like most successful bloggers blog and work even harder when they have success. Blogging can be incredibly fun and addicting. It becomes a major part of your life and you want to achieve more and more with it.
If you have any questions at all about becoming a successful blogger, hit me up in the comment section below. I love hearing from people who read my blog posts!