If you had of asked me a year ago what it was I would have been doing a year later, I certainly would not have expected the answer to be blogging. Somewhere along the way, not too long ago, blogging became my number one hobby and income source. And while the life of a ‘writer’ sounds glamorous and exciting, it’s actually a lot of hard work also. I am personally not all the way there yet but wanted to share some tips on how to become a pro blogger.
There is much more to blogging than just writing if you want to become a pro blogger. As much as we would love it to be a matter of writing good content and traffic magically coming our way, this is not the case. You need to get yourself out there and build your following, otherwise those precious readers will not know where to find you.
Blogging also needs consistency and dedication. You may write great articles that your readers adore, but if your posts are sporadic and inconsistent in frequency or themes, you will lose their attention fast. This means working out right from the beginning what you want to write about, how often and who your ideal audience is so even before you launch, there is a lot to decide.
However I have found some great processes that have helped me turn blogging from hobby to profit on my way to become a pro blogger.
6 Ways To Help You Become a Pro Blogger
If you have entered the world of blogging, you will hear the world niche thrown around a lot. For most successful bloggers who manage to turn their blogging from hobby to profit, they tend to have a specific niche or topic for their blog. This can be anything from food, travel, parenting and beyond, with more unique niche blogs having a unique edge. For example, there may be thousands of food blogs, but a food blog that focus on recipes for allergies is more specific.
That’s not to say you can’t cover multiple complementary topics and still be successful. This blog is an example of that – with a mix of lifestyle topics from organisation to food, DIY to parenting and a few things in between. However I also have a slightly more niche blog focused on family travel.
2. Quality Content
This one is essential. If your readers do not feel you are giving them quality information or entertaining reading material, they are unlikely to be repeat visitors. Write the type of content you would find value in if you were reading it. Your readers are number one so don’t create quick, unreliable or poorly written posts just to fill your blog. You are better off writing one excellent post a week instead of 5 mediocre posts.
Blogging is time consuming and even more so if you have ambitions to become a pro blogger. Decide early on how much time you can commit and how many posts you are able to produce on average each week. There will be times that life gets in the way, however if you aim to create 3 posts a week, make sure you are averaging 2-4 every week. If this is too much, drop it back to what you can manage but keep the frequency consistent.
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This is a huge one. The moment I started working ahead and planning my future content was the turning point for me in terms of earning blog profit. Having an idea what you will be writing about at least a few days ahead of time will help you stay on track and avoid that dreaded writer’s’ block. Personally I like to plan at least a month ahead with room to move. This means if things do go wrong, I am likely already ahead of schedule.
The best tool for me in planning is using an editorial calendar and I actually utilise two options – CoSchedule which is a wordpress plug-in that allows drop and drag calendar changes and a great visual for your content, and my own blogging spreadsheet with a full year editorial calendar with keywords and link tracking as well. Projection helps stay on track!
5. Blog Platform
All of this means little if your blog looks unprofessional. If you want to become a pro blogger, you need to look like a pro blogger. As they say, fake it til you make it! The best starting point is a self-hosted blog, with WordPress.org being the most popular choice, followed by Blogger. I have included some popular hosting suggestions on my Resources page.
If you want others to come read your blog, you need to be engaging beyond your blog also. This means visiting and commenting on other blogs or joining relevant community pages, such as Facebook groups. Social media is also a fantastic way of increasing engagement with your readers. People need to know where to find you.
You want to be recognisable in the massive ocean of fellow bloggers. This means having some branding for your blog. It needs to suit your blog theme and be utilised across all your media platforms, from your blog, your email list and all your social media accounts, as well as any related offline products like business cards. This is everything from colours, a logo and even having a matching photo in your bio and social media profile pictures. A strong brand builds confidence.
8. Get Social
It’s one thing to have a social media account for your blog, but are you using it properly? Having a social media strategy is far more than posting an occasional cute cat picture to Facebook or sharing your blog posts in excess. In fact, those are good strategies for going the opposite direction to pro blogging. Pinterest has plenty of great articles pinned relating to social media strategy which is all about growing your following through quality engagement. Share relevant content – not just your own. If you plan to use Instagram, decide on a style of photos you want to post and have some consistency. Connect with others in your niche. This is a huge area to learn but even getting the basics sorted can make a big difference. (And the occasional cat photo is okay if it suits your niche).
You will soon learn that blogging requires a lot of time, not just writing the post but maintaining social media, building your engagement with others and keeping everything up to date. This is where automation can make a huge difference.
There are many tools available these days to help you automate processes. Most blog platforms will allow you to automate your blog posts at a designated time, however there are also many tools for scheduling social media also. This is everything from scheduled posts to Twitter and Facebook, to automated pinning to Pinterest, all to help you build your audience but also save you time by doing it in bulk rather than on the go.
Check out my Resources page for some suggestions.
10. Email Marketing
An email list is the bloggers best friend for building traffic, engaging directly with readers and selling any potential products they have created. While your social media accounts can be shut down at any minute without warning, or a change in the way they work can alter how much traffic they bring in, an email list is your own to do as you please with. It is a powerful tool and recommended by most pro bloggers as an essential empire building resource. It can be a tough one to master though if you aren’t sure what to send your readers, but a good starting point is giving them extra bonuses such as free opt ins and behind the scenes information, as well as a few links to send them back to your blog for content they may have missed.
11. Diversify Income Streams
Most of these tips have been about building your profile and following on your way to become a pro blogger, however none of this magically brings the income. There are many options for creating income as a blogger or website owner, and some choose to use just one, while others use many. This can be anything from hosting ads on your site that earn per view, or being paid to feature products or services in a sponsored post. You may use affiliate links, to refer sales to other sites and earn a small commission for each purchase, or sell products and services you have developed, such as e-books, e-courses and printables.
The best method for you to become a pro blogger in terms of earning actual income is to diversify your income streams by using more than one of these options. This means if something suddenly changes and that particular income stream disappears, you won’t be left completely out of pocket if you are earning from another method as well.
In the past 6 months I have been able to generate a part time income from blogging. There is still plenty to learn and this income can be up and down at times, however it shows that it is possible to become a pro blogger, with hard work and determination, plus a whole lot of learning.
If you could earn an income from doing something you love, what would it be?