I’ve touched on some of these points already in previous articles, but I wanted to write this post to show you how to put them all together. Running a blog isn’t hard per se, it just takes some time and effort. It really just takes 3 steps to become a blogger, and though they may sound simple, the execution can be quite daunting, especially if you’ve never been self-employed.
But, don’t worry! I’m here with the below three steps to help make your transition a little easier.
Step 1: Come Up with an Idea
You can’t post articles, your opinions and advice about nothing, so first you have to think of what you want your blog to be about. It can be anything you’re passionate about. Lego? Cool! You think dinos would’ve been cooler if they wore fedoras? Sure, why not!
Whatever topic you pick though, it should be one that you can make multiple posts about. You can’t be a blogger if you only have 1 post. If you want to be serious about blogging and make it any sort of ‘real job’, you’re going to need to pick topics you can consistently post about, and come at with new ideas.
You can even pick more than one idea, if you just can’t bring yourself to choose. Like myself, I have different sections on my website for the different things I’m interested in: veganism, writing, and a new lifestyle section. I’m in no ways an expert on any of these topics – I never went to school and got a degree for any of them – I’m just a person who thinks (hopes) my experiences and opinions on these topics can help others who are on a similar path.
The point of your blog is to share things you’re passionate about, and maybe even help other people on their journeys, so you can make your blog about whatever you want. Find your reasons and topics, and go from there. Though, if you’re just starting out, I’d recommend starting with 1 topic, just until you get the hang of all the rest of it. Don’t want to overwhelm yourself when you’re starting out. Remember: you can always expand your blog to incorporate more topics/things later on, but it’s a lot harder (and looks worse) to let a part of your blog die.
Step 2: Get Organized
Now that you’ve got your idea, it’s time to think about how to put it into action. I suggest coming up with as many article ideas as you can and writing them down/keeping the list somewhere safe, so that you aren’t scrambling on posting day.
And, speaking of posting day: decide on a posting schedule. Most of the advice I had come across when I started out said to start out with posting just once or twice a month, until you get the hang of things. I thought that was way too little – after all, how was I supposed to drive traffic to my blog if I wasn’t posting regularly? – so I decided on posting roughly 5 times per month.
A month of posting for me looks like 2 articles, 2 short stories and 1 product review. The articles I try to rotate between the different sections of the website, so that I’m posting to each section ‘fairly’, and not giving more attention to one topic.
I realize posting five times in one month sounds insane, but when you break it down – 2 stories and 3 articles – it really isn’t that bad. I usually don’t count the stories as ‘work’ when I think about the website, because I’m a writer, and I’d be writing stories anyway. And yes, while I like all the topics I post about, it takes more work for me to write the articles than the stories. Stories I’m constantly coming up with, but articles require research and more planning so that I’m not just babbling on and on for a few pages.
Making posts coherent can be quite the task, especially when I’d rather be writing fiction. This is why, as said in my Time Management post, scheduling articles and making yourself a to-do list can be a huge help.
Not only will it let you make sense of all the ideas you just came up with, but it will also help take the pressure off yourself when you can see all the ideas planned out. This way, you won’t have to worry about the blog looking dead, and you won’t feel like you have to do everything right now. Having a set schedule (that you stick to) will also benefit your readers. Think of it like being punctual – if you post on a schedule, people will know when to expect you, and can then go ‘greet’ you (ie check your blog) consistently.
Step 3: Marketing
You can’t have people flock to your blog if nobody knows it exists! I know it sucks, but you have to market yourself. Post on social media and tell people why they should check you out. What new (or creative) ideas are you bringing to the table? Why should they change their routine to go see you? In what ways will you be making their day better (and feel like they’re missing out) by visiting your blog?
The truth is, people are selfish creatures, and don’t like change. Which is why you need to make yourself seem important enough for them to check out. Dazzle them with your new ideas, your polarizing opinions, or whatever you’ve got going for you. Be yourself, and people will flock to you. Even assholes get followers, so don’t fret!
This is (in my opinion) the hardest part about being self-employed. On the one hand, you don’t want to sound gimmicky/click-bait-y, but on the other, you want people to come to you, because you know you’re awesome. Unfortunately, it takes time to build yourself a following, and though it can be discouraging when you don’t get many (or any) likes/views on a new post, you have to keep going.
If you quit, you’re guaranteeing nobody will ever see your hard work.
Part of marketing is also learning how to monetize your blog. There are tons and tons of options out there, everything from Google Adsense to being paid by companies for dedicated posts, but as someone just starting out, I don’t want you to worry about that part.
You can worry about making millions once you have your blog established and a dedicated audience. No company will pay you to promote their product to no one, which is another reason getting good at marketing is a big help.
Do what you can with what you can, and a little pro tip: Don’t be afraid to pay for some ads! I know, I know, you may think that’s a cop out, or that you don’t have funds to do ads right now, and that’s okay! Just make sure you don’t discount paying ads as an option forever.
There are literally billions of people on the planet, and your manual posting can only reach so many.
Bottom line (and yes, I know it’s cheesy): keep going. Don’t give up just because it’s hard, or because it’s harder than you thought it’d be. Nothing worth having comes easy. Hard work does pay off. It just might take a little longer than you expect.
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