These tips will turn you into a money-making blogging machine in 2014.
Mae West said: “Keep a diary, and someday it’ll keep you.” Similarly, keep a blog, and someday your blog will keep you.
1. Create a mailing list.
You spend time and energy creating your blog, and attracting readers. Millions of blog posts are published each day, and our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
Here’s how to ensure that when someone visits your blog, he may just return: create a mailing list. Companies like aweber make creating a list simple and easy.
2. Be yourself. You can’t fake your “voice.”
I started blogging late in the 1990s. I put off creating a blog for months, but my intuition kept nudging me. When I discussed blogging with friends (it was called “online journaling” in those long ago days) they were horrified. Writing for FREE??!
It’s all very quaint now. Here’s the point I’m trying to make: trust yourself. I trusted my intuition, that blogging was important, and that it would help my writing. Over the years, that one simple intuitive impulse has paid off in ways I never could have imagined. It changed my life. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d ignored my premonition.
Trust yourself that you know everything you need to know about blogging. Write the way you speak. Be yourself. You can’t be anyone else. Remember, keep a blog, and sooner or later it will keep you. You can’t be fake over years of blogging. Your blog forces you to be YOU. All your writing will become easier, and much more fun.
And of course, you’ll make money too.
3. Blog about what you LOVE.
In a similar vein, avoid creating blogs in areas you actively dislike. You’ll be blogging for years. If you hate your topic, you’ll become exhausted.
That said, although you need to avoid blogging about topics you don’t care for, ensure that money’s being made in your area. Go to Google.com, enter your topic, and look on the right side of your browser window. Are there ads? If people are advertising, they’re making money, and so can you.
4. “Hello out there!” Reach out to others.
Once your blog is up and running, reach out to others. Interview other bloggers in your area. Solicit guest posts. Comment on others’ blogs. These days, it’s impossible for your blog to be found unless you make a real effort to reach out.
5. Slow and steady: tortoise, not hare.
Consider your blogging to be part of your writing life. It is.
Blogging will enhance your entire writing career. I’ve been blogging long enough to know that. Every writer I’ve ever encouraged to blog has said the same thing: “I should have started blogging years ago.”
That said, beware of the possibility of exhaustion. Relax. Your blog will grow as you do. It’s not a race. You don’t need to blog every day, unless you want to. Aim for an easy schedule: blog once a week. That gives you around 50 posts a year, and that’s fine.
6. Watch for new monetization opportunities.
You’re a writer, so the primary monetization venue of your blog is you, and your writing career. Add a “hire me!” link to your sidebar. Promote your writing services. If you’re writing ebooks, promote them on your blog.
Additionally, watch for other monetization opportunities. Occasionally, a company will ask you whether they can sponsor a post on your blog. If their product seems a good fit, accept the offer.
7. Look good: images count.
Images are becoming more important in blogging, primarily because of other social media. Images get attention on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, so add at least one large image to each post.
8. Use keywords to become inspired.
In 2014, keywords aren’t as big a deal in content creation as they used to be. However, they’re still important, because if you don’t use the words your audience uses, they won’t find you. Check Google for free keyword tools. SpyFu is my current favorite, because you get a lot of information from them which helps to inspire you.
9. Schedule everything.
I like to batch everything to do with blogging, because it saves time.
As I said in a recent post:
If you’re creating a blog post, you might as well create two. Or more. Here’s the key to batch-creation: always have blog posts in draft form.
10. Blog to get attention.
Want attention from an agent or a publication? Mention them in a blog post. Companies and individuals create alerts for their names. However, in case they miss your blog post which mentions them, make contact via email, or social media.
11. Create a media kit.
Create a media kit (also known as a press kit.) In days gone by, you’d create your media kit in a paper folder, with lots of enclosures. It cost a fortune to mail them out. Nowadays, you can create a media kit very simply. Create a Media page on your blog, and use Pinterest.
Jimmie Lanley says:
Pinterest can be a wonderful way to supplement your media kit and tell brands that you are worth working with. Create boards as an online resume in pictorial format.
12. Integrate your blog with social media.
Your blog is your social media hub. If you’re using WordPress to blog, you can use social media plugins. I use Sociable on many of my blogs. Try several plugins, until you find one which works for you. If you’re using the Typepad platform, Typepad adds social media links automatically.
13. Consider writing for other blogs.
Guest posting on others’ blogs to promote your own blog has become very popular over the past couple of years. Indeed, it’s become so popular that Google’s Matt Cutts has advised against it. BUT…
Please realize that Cutts is against LOW VALUE junk content being spread across the Web as a link-collecting exercise. If you write valuable content for blogs, that’s commendable, rather than spammy.
14. Create products to sell.
Once your blog is up and running, consider creating your own info products to sell. You’ll make some additional income from this, and it’s a valuable income stream. Use your blog’s content as the starting point for your info products.
15. Experiment with different post formats.
Your blog’s content can be as varied as you choose to make it. You can write long posts, short posts, or simple link posts. Your posts can be: images, audio and video.
Use the “drafts” feature of your blog. Create several posts, then schedule them. That way, no matter how busy you are, your blog keeps humming along with fresh content.
16. Comment on blogs you love: add value.
Guest posting can be used in a spammy way, and so can blog commenting.
Blog commenting has been looked on as a way of gathering links for many years. Please don’t use commenting in that way. Use commenting as a way of adding value to others’ blogs. They may return the favor. Commenting is another way of reaching out to others.
17. Blog on Google+.
If you’re a blogger, you need to be on Google+. I won’t go into the reasons here. If you haven’t joined Google+ yet, do it today.
Many bloggers are using Google+ as an additional blogging venue. Time permitting I hope to do the same this year. Become familiar with Google+. Make sure that when you write a blog post, you promote it on Google+.
18. Get a partner: collaborate with another blogger.
Blogging can be lonely. If managing a blog on your own seems intimidating, get a blogging buddy, and collaborate on a blog. Many authors do this. Three or more authors get together, and collaborate on a blog.
19. Track your statistics: aim for small wins.
WordPress’s Jetpack plugin contains a useful statistics module. Jetpack’s created by WordPress, and solves the “too many plugins” problem.
When you create a new blog, it takes time for your blog to gain traction. So be grateful for small wins. If you get 50 visitors a week, that’s wonderful. Celebrate it. Someone once said that you can build an entire business on a few hundred fans. You can.
20. Create content YOU love.
Your blog is YOURS. It’s got your name on it, no one else’s. So create the content you want to create. Consider your audience of course. However, when you get down to creating content, create the content you’re inspired to create.
I’ve been working with a couple of “failed” bloggers over the past few months. They’re both excellent bloggers, but they tried to be what they thought their audience wanted. In the process, they lost their inspiration. Please yourself. If you’re not enjoying your blog, no one else will either.
So, there you have it. You can make money blogging in 2014. Remember Mae West. Keep a blog, and someday your blog will keep you.