If you're planning on becoming a blogger because you want loads of cash, lots of free stuff and invites to fancy events- you might as well quit now. While all of these things ARE a perk of being a blogger, it takes a while to reach that stage so in the beginning you really have to be in it for the love of it. You need to have a passion and a drive to produce lots of great content, even when at first your readership is small, and your blog is a tiny fish in colossal pond.
However blogging is an incredible hobby, you can improve your skills and meet new people - and later down the line could open yourself up to all kinds of opportunities. Here are some things to bear in mind.
Set Up a Home Office
When you're working from home, it makes sense to set up a good office space. It means you're comfortable and can stay productive- once you're at your desk you know, it's time to get down to work. Having a separate office also helps you to maintain a good work/ life balance which can be tricky when you're working a significant amount of time from home.
If you have a spare bedroom, give it a coat of paint and kit it out with a sturdy desk, an office chair, some shelves and some storage. You could finish with some fun accessories and personal touches that make the room feel pleasant to spend time in.
Clear, Beautiful Images
Your content is important, and the words you write will keep a reader coming back for more. But it’s the images you use that will draw them in and will bring your words to life. It's the photos that will make your blog and blog posts look visually appealing.
A good quality camera such as a DSLR or bridge camera is a good investment as a blogger. These can be complex, but you can go on courses for beginners to learn how to use the different functions from a day to a week to something more intense which will gain you a qualification.
A good understanding of Photoshop or other editing software is useful too, that way you can enhance your images and make them the best they can possibly be. If you run the kind of blog that reviews products, you will need clear, high-quality images of whatever you are talking about. If you write about lifestyle or travel, you will a good camera to be able to take beautiful, stunning shots of the places you visit.
A Nice Layout
Cluttered blogs with ads everywhere, messy presentation, cheap looking fonts in poor styles and colors and the cardinal sin, background music playing, can all put off a reader. You might feel like your content is the only thing that truly matters, but unfortunately, no one will read what you have to say your blog has an unpleasant aesthetic.
If you've tried designing your blog yourself you could be putting people off in all kinds of ways, your best bet in this case is to either use a premade template or find a web designer. Sites like Template Monster have good quality templates, you can even get a 10% off Template Monster code to keep costs down.
Otherwise, if you’re very serious about your blog and want something custom made just for you, then a web designer will be able to do this for you. Whichever way you go about it, a crisp, clean, professional looking template will draw in a reader and will earn you more money too since advertisers will be more likely to work with you.
Improve Your Domain Authority
Your domain authority is something that sponsors will be looking at when they're searching for blogs to work with. This is a metric devised by Moz which shows how much authority your blog has online.
Lots of different factors make up your score, some of which you can’t directly influence (such as your website's age) but one thing you can do is get as many backlinks as possible. This is where you get your link onto good quality websites, and the main way you can go about it is by offering guest posting. The website owner gets some good quality content, and you get to include your link. You could also speak to your network of bloggers and ask if they would be willing to swap links with you which is a quick and easy way for you all to gain some backlinks.
Another thing you can do to boost your domain authority is to get rid of any broken links and within your site. Use a broken link checker and go through and remove anything that no longer works.
Think of Ways To Monetize
You can earn money from blogs in a number of ways. Your biggest source of income as a blogger will be sponsored content, here you will work with an advertiser publishing blog posts or ads for a fee. Depending on how influential your blog is, advertisers can pay very well for this. The only trouble is because they come to you, you can never be sure how much work you're going to get. Some months you might get lots of interest and others less or none.
There are sponsored post websites you can sign up to if you wanted to do something proactive, here you can bid on suitable jobs and will be accepted if you fit the sponsor's criteria. It's also worth having AdSense installed on your blog, it's completely free to set up and allows you to earn a little bit of money every time someone clicks the Google ads on your blog. It probably won't earn you a fortune unless you have a LOT of followers, but it does ad up, and once the code is installed you don't have to do anything else.
Search engine optimisation works by maximising your visitors by using specific keywords within your posts. When you know what kind of keywords people use when they are search for content like yours, you can include them in your posts and bump up your ranking in search engines.
It’s crucial to at least be on the first page, since after page one, the chance anyone will click on you is hugely reduced. It can be confusing, so speak to a marketing agency dealing in SEO if you’re unsure.
Blogging and YouTube might be separate platforms, but they can go hand in hand. You can work with both of these as a way to gain a bigger audience and appeal to the most number of people. For example, you could do lifestyle vlogs on YouTube, but then full reviews of places you visit on the blog.
They work together in harmony and give people a chance to read more in-depth on certain things if they want to. Youtube is a bigger platform and has more users than Blogger, so it's a good way to be discovered. As if people like your videos, they're likely to read your blog too.
As a blogger, you absolutely need to utilise social media to do well. This is the way you connect and network with others, and also gives you a free way to advertise. You should set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest and use each of these as a way to promote your blog and connect with others.
You can use them to connect with your audience and allow them to get to know you better as a person. Since blogs are so personal this is important, they are now considered more influential for magazines as people love the 'written for real people by real people' element of them.
Once you start making money from blog, you need to ensure that you’re paying the right amount of tax on it and that you're registered to do so. In most cases, it's as simple as completing a form online and then submitting a tax return each year where you can pay anything that's outstanding. It’s good practice to put money aside in a separate account, that way when your tax bill comes in you have a way to pay it without struggling.
Content is King
Finally, the most important thing for any blog is putting out the best content possible. You should provide the reader with information that’s interesting and valuable if you write about things you yourself are passionate about, your enthusiasm will transfer to your posts. It's this which will attract readers and gain you interaction on your blog posts.