When the internet was in its infancy and blogging first started, it was treated as something of a joke. The word “blog” conjured up an image of a mopey teenager spewing their problems onto the web, or dry journalists who never made it. I remember when I told my friends I wanted to start a blog. They even made fun of me.
Today, it’s one of the most lucrative niches in terms of web content, and countless people have drawn a great income from it. If this sounds appealing and you’ve got a way with words, here’s some advice for launching a successful blog.
First and foremost, spend some time defining a clear target audience and a plan to cater to them. Like any kind of business pursuit, if you don’t know who you’re marketing to, then you’re not going to get very far. After coming up with a catchy title and sourcing some cheap web hosting, the next thing on your to-do list should be market research.
Developing content that’s perfect for a niche audience is the best way to ensure a strong interest in the blog, and will make promotion so much easier. You may think that it’s best to appeal to as many people as possible, but this is in fact a way of shooting yourself in the foot. The more narrowly you define your blog’s audience, the easier it will be to identify them and cater to their needs.
My next tip is to have a schedule for posting new content, and stick to it. This is one of the big hurdles that a lot of would-be bloggers fall at. If you want any hope of building and retaining a valuable audience, then you need to be very disciplined with creating and posting content on a regular basis. If your target market comes back to your blog enough times and doesn’t find any new content, your following is obviously going to suffer. Just make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew here. You’re much better off promising your audience a fresh post once a week, rather than two or three. Even if you’re able to keep up with a more demanding schedule, the pressure may lead to you scrambling for ideas, and posting poor, unengaging content.
Finally, take a multifaceted approach to ongoing blog promotion. I hate to break it to you, but your blog is going to have a lot of competition, no matter how narrowly you’ve defined your niche. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get an audience in the millions, and to achieve this you’re going to need to devote a lot of your resources to continuous promotion, which may have to include some paid advertising. A lot of the world’s most successful bloggers have used the mainstream media to gain exposure and widen their audience. Due to this, promoting your blog all the time is as necessary as keeping to your promised schedule. Use SEO, social media, and any other tools at your disposal to make sure your blog is popping up everywhere!