The biggest misconception about blogging is that it’s easy.
If it were easy, then everybody would be making those desired six to seven figures. The discipline, creativity and effort required to be a successful blogger is far greater than one can imagine, it is a job that requires attention 24 hours every day. I’m sure you’ve all come across those bloggers who seem to have the ultimate Jetsetter life, living the dream from city to city while looking fabulous and documenting their envious travels across all social media platforms. How did they do it?
If you’re an aspiring blogger, getting paid to travel the world, review products and produce content isn’t an unattainable goal to have as everything is possible in this modern day and age. With the right strategies, planning and branding, you too can be well on your way to being the next Tamara Kalinic. Being a successful blogger requires you to find inspiration on a regular basis and remain passionate about your work, even when your days are filled with doubt. It takes a lot of time, patience and sacrifice to build a successful blog but it is undeniably the best job in the world if you get can break through the initial perils of entering the Blogosphere. Here are some of my tips and tricks for building a successful blog.
Own Your Domain.
To take your online presence from mediocre to impressive, you need to own your dot.com. Too many times I have come across bloggers who still have .blogspot, .wordpress or .blogger attached to their domain. This not only looks unprofessional, but also amateur. Imagine handing over your business card and having a potential new client have to type in .blogger.com into their web browser to look up your blog? Not cool.
I use GoDaddy for all the domains that I own and I highly recommend them as their customer service is second to none no matter where I am in the world. Trust me, I make no money from that plug.
Consistency is Key.
Gary Vaynerchuk can’t stress enough that producing content on a regular basis is the be all and end all of your business. In terms of blogging, posting daily does increase your traffic, visitors and loyal readership who will return to your blog for more. I recently came across Alexander James on Twitter who started the 100kchallengeblog.com, a blog which aims to make $100k/month by Christmas by implementing SEO strategies, precise content creation, social media promotion & ads and list building. Another with a similar concept Dantepreneur, wrote about the significant change in traffic levels when he posted everyday, compared to when he was posting a few times a week. He too has dedicated a year purely to blogging and social media to find out if bloggers really do make money.
Consistency is key across all social media platforms connected to your blog, you need to be seen to get noticed and remain relevant in your industry, unless you’re writing under a pseudonym where you’d solely rely on content creation and list building. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube are all excellent ways of driving traffic onto your blog, I can get into more detail with this in another post.
Always remember to produce content that adds value to your audience. To understand your audience and the niche that lures them back to your blog, make sure you you’re familiar with Google Analytics as that is the holy grail of everything you need to know about who’s logging onto your blog (and from where) and their activity while on it.
“Content is king, but context is God.” Gary Vaynerchuk
GaryVee stresses the emphasis of content but respecting the platform and audience you’re promoting your content on is also just as important. Your audience on Twitter may be totally different to your audience on Facebook. The dialogue you use to promote your blog on each platform needs to respect the audience you have there. For example, the world of Twitter moves very quickly and to capture the attention of anyone there you need to type in the right keywords and use relevant hashtags, often several times a day. However, on Facebook the world moves a little slower.
Did you know that if your new post on Facebook hits 11 likes within 10 minutes, you’re automatically going to feature on top of everyone’s feed? I’d say the same goes for Instagram’s new algorithmn. This gives your post an opportunity to have a longer life span and generate more click-throughs, the trick is to get those 11 likes in the first 10 minutes. Facebook provides the perfect opportunity to drive traffic to your blog by story-telling and connecting your followers through creative content creation.
Follow Your Passion
There’s no point creating a blog on a topic you’re not passionate about, full stop. It will never ever work and you’ll most likely lose your desire to build your blog into a profitable business almost instantly. Don’t pick a topic because you feel it will generate a following or make you more money. Blog about what gets out of bed at 5am, anything that fuels your desire to share your message with the world. Blogging is supposed to be fun and not meant to feel like a chore so don’t punish yourself by not following what you’re truly passionate about.
Guest Post & Contribute Your Work To Larger Platforms
Guest Posting is SEO 101 and for Google to like you, you need to appear more credible in the world wide web. And yes, you want Google to like you even if no one else does. Guest posting not only increases your visibility online, it also introduces you and your work to a whole new audience who may or may not know you ever existed.
As a blogger you should always Dream Big and never feel your work isn’t good enough to be published on larger media platforms because you haven’t received any formal training in journalism, marketing, photography etc. Wipe away any belief you may have posing as an obstacle because these days bloggers hold a lot of power in the world of media. Contributing your work to media outlets such as Huffington Post, Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveller are major stepping stones. To be featured in them, even better. None of which are unattainable, believe me- dreams do come true.
The Importance of Visual Story Telling
Last year, I was invited by Co-Founder of Skimlinks, Alicia Navarro to the first #C2CSummit here in London. It was one of the most informative, valuable and eye opening days of my life as a Blogger & Content Creator. Peter Wang, former CTO of Refinery29 spoke in great detail about the importance of creating your own well produced imagery because it’s easier to persuade a click or sale with eye-catching imagery.
If you’re an aspiring travel, fashion or lifestyle blogger, imagery is very important. You’re most likely going to be annoying your family and friends to take amazing location shots of you constantly or forcing them to wait 5 minutes before they are allowed to eat their breakfast/lunch/dinner while you film AND photograph everything. Unfortunately that’s all part of the game and hopefully you’re lucky enough like me to have people who are more than willing to help you with your work even though it annoys them deep down.
Social Media is Your Best Friend
These days, it’s very easy to produce content and get it out there to be noticed. All social media platforms are easily accessible today and are there to help you achieve your goals, most of these did not exist when I started blogging 8 years ago especially to the magnitude that they do today. Having a social media presence is paramount to your success and the perfect traffic driver to your blog. Where possible, make sure all your social media channels are uniform and under the same name connecting directly to your blog. Each time you post a new blog post, you should be sharing this onto your social media channel, remember to respect your audience on each platform. Don’t forget to also provide your readers with sharing options on your blog so that they too can share to their media platforms. Like many bloggers and top websites, I use SumoMe and it’s fantastic.
You’ll notice a lot of bloggers will upload a photo on Instagram, come up with a creative caption (emoji’s are very valuable here at breaking up the content and attracting the reader to continue reading your content, especially if you’ve written an essay) and end the caption with “Link in bio.” If you really engaged with their photo and caption, you’re more likely to click on the link in their bio. This is one of the ways bloggers generate traffic from one platform and onto their blogs.
Engage With Your Readers & Fellow Bloggers
Your readers, your followers, your “fans” always require your attention and gratitude because they are the ones who have your back and bring to life to what started off as a simple vision and now is morphing into a career. Never take for granted those who support you on any media platform and for as long as you can, respond to comments, reply to Tweets and emails and celebrate milestones. Cultivating an online following is one of the most difficult things to master, having engagement on your content is even more difficult. A lot of people will log onto your blog and won’t leave a comment but for those who took the time to do so, deserve a few minutes of your time to reply. Stay engaged with your readers and always be grateful. Also just quickly, always credit any brands you are using or working with and provide links for your followers.
The world of blogging is pretty lonely which is why it’s nice to have blogger friends who understand that majority of your days are spent by a laptop creating content, editing, responding to emails, producing videos, managing social media and so on. I can’t emphasise this enough, other bloggers and social media influencers are NOT your competition, they should be seen as your potential collaborators. The only competition you should be in is the one with yourself, in improving your content, marketing strategies, writing skills and overall presence online.
I recently came across a post from a blogger who crosses my path every now and then and she mentioned how “socially awkward” bloggers were at Press Events because they had very little experience in real life with people. It was the most outrageous thing I’d ever read and she couldn’t be more wrong about bloggers. Anytime I’ve attended an event with other bloggers, I’ve not only grown my network but formed new friendships because I was willing to switch off from my own bubble and open myself up to someone new.
Don’t Be Fake, This isn’t 1999- You Can’t Get Away With That Shit Anymore
In reality, I have no filter, online I also have no filter. If you’ve been following me long enough you’ll notice I have no fear in dropping an F-bomb in a post or on Twitter, I simply don’t care because ‘in real life’ I am most likely going to do the same thing. What you see online is what you get in reality and I am unapologetic about it because I won’t tone down my voice for anybody, not even a brand or for a campaign. This of course attracts brands that are willing to work with me for the unfiltered woman that I am. I’ve been to so many bloggers events and I absolutely love when I interact with a fellow social influencers who are true to themselves, genuine and authentic. I’ve been around that many fake people in my life time, I can smell a fake Chanel bag when it appears.
The #1 Rule of Success??
Most Importantly, Don’t give up. x