4 steps to start a blog and build a successful blogging business
Blogging is a very exciting money making, business expansion and profit making activity. In the days I started blogging (back in 2012), it wasn’t bread and butter.
While a lot has changed (and more changes are still taking place), starting a blog still has its obstacles. In this post, I want to guide you through the important steps you need to know in order to start a blog and build a successful online blogging business.
What I want you to note is the fact that it’s not enough to rush online, buy a domain name and install a blogging script. Website builders like Wix help you to start a blog very intuitively with their user-friendly platforms. But this is simply a step in building a sustainable and income generating business. Well, you may want to start a blog for charity. But for it to succeed, it has to go beyond the drive to get the blog published.
Here are four simple steps you have to go through to be able to set up a successful blogging business.
How to start a successful blogging business in 4 steps
#1. Have a blogging idea
This seems to be the most difficult step in creating a successful blogging business. At the same time, it is inevitable if you want results.
I have seen bloggers drop off simply because they were not able to decide properly what to blog about. Others have moved from one new blog (abandoned) to another as a result of not being able to carefully choose a blogging topic.
If you want a long-term, result-driven blogging career, it’s important you pay considerable attention to the blogging idea or niche you want to delve in.
I have created this in-depth article to help you choose a blogging topic. While I recommend you should take a closer look at that article, note that it will revolve around your passion and knowledge.
Don’t be in a rush
Sometimes an idea pops into your mind and you are blown away with excitement. Stop and carry out some in-depth research on how far you can go if you want to start a blog on that topic.
Beware of seasonal topics
It’s a good idea to create seasonal or event blogs to try to take advantage of the season to squeeze out something. Christmas season, for instance, is a very hot moment to create content and generate income. Black Fridays and Cyber-Mondays make a lot of sense for online content marketers, but these are topics that make news in their seasons only.
Some of the ways to get inspired are to read others blogs, read their comment sections, check forums, etc. These are areas where you can easily see what people are talking about and what they want. I recommend you take a look at these blog examples for more inspiration.
#2. Get the tools needed
One of the things responsible for a successful blogging career are the tools you need. You will definitely need both software and hardware tools to create and run a successful blog. While you will need a good PC with Internet access, most applications you will need for a start are free.
In order to understand these different applications and software tools, let us break this area into different parts:
1 – Blog hosting
A blog isn’t a desktop program sitting on your personal computer. It has to be accessible to readers all over the world. For this to happen, you’ll need your blog to be available on the Internet. There are different blog hosting options out there but this will depend on your blogging scripts which leads us to the next point.
2 – Blogging script or platform for content creation
What I call blogging script is simply the environment that allows you to create and publish your content. There are many of these scripts but the most common you may want to look at are Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, etc.
Wix comes with powerful hosting infrastructure. WordPress.org does provide hosting facilities but if you want to get the self-hosted WordPress script (which is WordPress.com), you’ll have to battle with finding a premium WordPress hosting company like NameCheap.
3 – Promoting your content
Promoting your blog is essential if you want it to succeed. We will dwell more on this in point #4 ahead. However, the tools you will need will depend on your promotion channels. Generally, you should be looking at Email Marketing tools, Social Media Marketing tools, SEO Marketing tools, etc.
4 – Security and continuity
Fortunately, most of the tools you will need for the security of your blog are provided by hosting companies. These are backup (To keep clean copies of your content at a remote location) and hack prevention tools.
But if by reason of some weaknesses your blog is hacked or some files corrupted, you will need some cleaning or disinfecting services or tools to remove malware and get the blog back running. Some deep level infections are beyond the scope of backup copy restorations.
Most of these software tools come in the form of plugins and membership platforms. As I mentioned earlier, you get them in freemium packages. This means the tools are generally free, but money (a premium) is charged for additional features.
#3. Content Strategy
The power of your blog is in the quality of its content. Content is not about how long-form or short-form the post is. It’s about how it helps the readers get solutions to their problems.
Your blog content strategy refers to how you plan, develop, and manage the content of your blog and this is very important as it determines how far your business goes in terms of time and profit.
Please note that changes in your industry will definitely affect your content strategy. While you strive to improve value to your readers, stick to creating unique content and making your voice stand out.
What makes your readers subscribe to your blog and expect more is when they find out you are not a copy-paste blogger and your efforts are not geared towards your interest but theirs.
I have seen some blogging coaches teaching their students to strive to maintain a publishing frequency. However, as much as this is important, I’d rather recommend you make sure every piece of content you publish should be value oriented.
If you and grandma are the only readers of your blog, you definitely won’t go anywhere near success. Promotion involves taking your content to the eyes of readers in several ways.
Here are the most commonly used promotion channels:
1 – Social Media
For the most part, it involves sharing your articles on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But, because of the noise on these platforms, simply pasting links on timelines, groups and communities has proven to yield little or no results.
That’s while developing a social media promotion strategy is important:
- Build a strong social media presence to get trust from your followers.
- Feed your audience with helpful and valuable material
- Interact with your followers (likes, comments, tweets, etc)
Social Paid Per Click (SPPC) has also become very popular with Facebook gaining leadership based on results. While this may not be a common practice among bloggers, I personally have seen good results with it.
2 – Email Marketing
One of the best ways to promote your blog and not rely on someone’s business is to create an email list. You can turn to your list at any time with a post update and watch as your traffic spikes.
This doesn’t mean Email Marketing is the easiest. No. You will need to work hard to create a list of targeted subscribers and maintain the list. Take a look at my course on Email Marketing here.
3 – SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This is the most interesting and difficult source of traffic. Difficult if you choose to fight against tough competitors. However, if you are blogging on a topic with less competition and high demand, you may not have a big fight.
SEO covers a large part of your blogging from content creation to blog hosting. If you create valuable content while paying attention to SEO, all things being equal, you will be rewarded by search engines.
4 – Offline events
Offline blogging events have become common these days. That’s because such event organizers have seen positive results with time. There are three ways to be part of these events (Seminars, conferences, etc.) and walk away with comfortable results:
- Take part as the organizer
- Take part as a speaker/presenter
- Take part as a simple participant
Being an organizer or speaker at an event definitely brings you in front of a larger audience. My experience with this has always been an explosive jump in traffic, list signup and profit.
I know not everyone can quickly place their fingers on organizing events. But you’ll have to overcome your fears and get started.
Speaking at events gives you the opportunity to showcase your talents and tell others about your blog and what you can offer them. Of course, there is always going to be more traffic, signups and possibly profit as many participants will jump on your blog to find out more about you.
If you are not taking part as any of these two, being a simple participant still opens the floor for you to have real-time interaction with other participants, connect and exchange ideas.
It’s easy to start a blog. As a matter of fact, it won’t take up to 3 hours for the blog to be up and running. But growing it to profit isn’t for the average or lazy guy. It takes time, smartness and hard work.
Don’t fail to contact me if you need any assistance.