So you want to become a successful blogger and with the rise of the internet, there are a multitude of ways to generate revenue online. Whether you’re searching for a nice little side income, or whether you’re looking to replace your full-time job, you’re not short of options.
Now, some online businesses require significant investment, such as an e-commerce store, but there are some that are completely free.
One of the most popular is blogging, simply because platforms like Wix and WordPress allow you to set-up a site for free.
Of course, if you really want to commit and take it seriously, you can acquire your own domain and hosting, but even that path is extremely affordable.
Most people assume that blogging is easy, but not everyone has what it takes to utilize written words to captivate an audience and build a following.
It’s imperative that you find the right tone, because internet users tend not to read full articles with strict language; they prefer a conversational tone with a slice of personality that provide actionable tips.
Plus, to earn money from blogging, it’s not as simple as writing some posts, publishing them and waiting for the money to roll into your bank account.
You need to adopt alternative strategies to turn your blog into a money-making machine. The simplest way to monetise your site is through advertisement, such as cost per click banners from Google AdSense.
You don’t need to limit yourself to just ads. Other methods you could take are to sell sponsored blog posts to other sites, or to charge aspiring bloggers to guest post on your site; admittedly, those are more likely to come once you’ve established yourself.
Unfortunately, though, even talented writers struggle to become successful bloggers. Why? Because they make some very common mistakes that prevent them from attracting traffic, retaining visitors and growing their site.
Speaking from experience, the most critical mistake that beginners make is not homing in on a specific niche.
If you’re creating a blog that covers a range of different topics, from health & fitness and travel, to cars and world war II, you’ll never forge a brand that people will remember.
Instead, by choosing a particular niche and providing a ton of value, you’ll attract a distinct audience that will keep coming back.
There are plenty more mistakes that beginners frequently mistake.
Rather than listing them all here, we thought we’d try and find a brilliant article that covers them all in great detail to help you out with your blogging venture.
If you can avoid the pitfalls, you’ll be in a strong position to become a successful blogger.
Sometimes, when I tell people that I blog for a living, they roll their eyes. “That's so easy,” they say. “You get a paycheck for sitting on the internet all day and writing. A monkey could do your job!”
That's when I roll my eyes. See, people are quick to deem blogging as a no-brainer job. But when they actually sit down to write their first couple of posts, it hits them: This is way harder than I thought. Like any person starting a new job, they mess things up.
That's okay — it happens to pretty much every new blogger. Luckily, it's pretty easy to avoid these roadblocks if you know they're coming.
Mistake 1: You think of ideas in a vacuum.
When you start blogging, ideas will come to you at random times — in the shower, on a run, while on the phone with your mom. While the ideas may come at random moments, the ideas themselves should never be random.
Just because it's a good idea in general doesn't mean it's a good idea for your company.
Solution: Your blog posts should all serve larger company goals.
The reason you're blogging is to grow your business, so all of your blog post ideas should help serve those growth goals.
They should have natural tie-ins to issues in your industry and address specific questions and concerns your prospects have.
Need help figuring out what those goals are and how to address them? Chat with your manager about the larger company goals, and then schedule a meeting with someone on the sales team to hear what questions they get asked most often.
After both meetings, you should know which goals you need to achieve and have some ideas on how to achieve them.
Mistake 2: Your writing's too stiff.
Writing a blog post is much different than writing a term paper. But when bloggers first start out, they usually only have experience with the latter.
The problem? The style of writing from a term paper is not the style of writing people enjoy reading.
Let's be honest: Most of the people who see your post aren't going to read the whole thing.
If you want to keep them interested, you have to compel them to keep reading by writing in a style that's effortless to read.
Solution: Write like you talk.
It's okay to be more conversational in your writing — in fact, we encourage it. The more approachable your writing is, the more people will enjoy reading it.
People want to feel like they're doing business with real people, not robots. So loosen up your writing.
Throw in contractions. Get rid of the jargon. Make a pun or two. That's how real people talk — and that's what real people like to read.
Mistake 3: You think people care about you as a writer.
It sounds harsh, but it's the truth: When people first start out blogging, they think that their audience will be inherently interested in their stories and their interests … but that's not the case.
It's no knock against them as a person — it's just that when you're new, no one is interested in you and your experiences. People care way more about what you can teach them.
Solution: Show your personality; don't tell it.
Even though people don't really care that it's you that's writing the post, you can infuse parts of your personality in your writing to make them feel more comfortable with you. How you do that is entirely up to you.
Some people like to crack jokes, some like to make pop culture references, and others have a way with vivid descriptions.
HubSpot's Director of Content Corey Wainwright is particularly good at this. Here's an example from the introduction of one of her posts:
To infuse personality into your own writing, try looking for ways to relate to your readers on the topic you're writing about — then write in the first person as if you're hanging out with them and chatting about it.
Make your tone personal, approachable, and engaging, just like you would in a face-to-face conversation.
Mistake 4: Your topics are too broad.
When people start blogging, they generally want to write on really big topics like:
- “How to Do Social Media Marketing”
- “Business Best Practices”
- “How to Make Money on the Internet”
Topics like these are far too broad. Because there are so many details and nuances in these topics, it's really hard to do a good job answering them.
Plus, more specific topics tend to attract smaller, more targeted audiences, which tend to be higher quality and more likely to convert into leads and customers.
So, to get the most short-term and long-term benefits of blogging, you'll need to get way more specific.
Solution: Create very specific working titles.
Nailing really specific topics is crucial to knocking your first few posts out of the park. My colleague Corey wrote another fabulous post on how to do that.
Go read it now. Seriously. She'll tell you how to pick a topic that works for business blogs, and walk you through the process of narrowing it into a working title.
The working title isn't final — it's just a concrete angle you can use to keep your writing on track. Once you nail those two things, it's much easier to write blog posts.
Mistake 5: Your writing is a brain dump.
Sometimes when I get a great idea I'm excited about, it's really tempting to just sit down and let it flow out of me. But what I get is usually a sub-par blog post.
Why? The stream-of-consciousness style of writing isn't really a good style for blog posts. Most people are going to scan your blog posts, not read them, so it needs to be organised really well for that to happen.
Solution: Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.
The first thing you should do is choose what type of blog post you're going to write. Is it a how-to post? A list-based post?
A curated collection post? A SlideShare presentation? For help on this, download our free templates for creating five different types of blog posts. Once you have a template down, it'll be easier to write your outline.
Writing an outline makes a big difference. If you put in the time up front to organise your thoughts and create a logical flow in your post, the rest becomes easy — you're basically just filling in the blanks.
To write a blog post outline, first come up with a list of the top takeaways you want your readers to get from your post. Then, break up those takeaways into larger section headers.
When you put in a section header every few paragraphs, your blog post becomes easier and more enjoyable to read. (And plus, header text with keywords is good for SEO.)
When you finally get to writing, all you'll have to do is fill in those sections.
There is so much to learn when you start blogging and it can feel very overwhelming but remember you have to start somewhere and you will learn more and more as you continue your blogger journey.
No I highly recommend you read the full article here at hubspot.com and bookmark it, as it will be invaluable to you as a great reference guide in the future.