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13 Steps to Successful Blogging

Earn More with LinkConnector

Blogs can be a very marketable and very profitable tool if used correctly. Profiting from blogs is just a matter of grabbing an audience's attention and not doing any actual salesmen selling. This article will teach you the 13 most essential steps to successful blogging.

1) Where to start?

It would help if you began your blog with a free blog hosting service such as Journal Home. I don't say that because I'm the owner, but a free blog host is very rewarding for a new blog. Starting with free blog hosting allows you to begin blogging instantly without any advanced knowledge of scripts, hosting, or programming. It will enable you to build an audience and buzz for your blog. It allows you to focus on your content and not the internal maintenance of the blog. The best benefit of starting with a free service is if your blog doesn't become successful, you do not lose any money or are you left holding the bill? The great thing about a blog is that they are organized in chronological order; your latest entry is displayed first. When your blog traffic grows significantly and you are ready to upgrade to your domain, you can make your last blog entry the announcement of your "move." Add a last entry stating that your blog has "moved" and type the new URL address, which directs visitors to your new blog site, keeping your following without a major inconvenience to anyone. Upgrade as you need to...but only when you need to!

2) Niche

A niche is a targeted product, service, or topic. It would help if you first decided on a product, service, or topic which interests you. Choose an area that you can enthusiastically write about daily. You can use keyword research services like Google Zeitgeist or Yahoo! Buzz Index to find popular searched topics. It does NOT matter if your case is famous. As long as there is an audience for your subject and the issue is precisely focused, then your blog should be successful. Anything can be considered a niche as long as it has a target audience, no matter how large or how small the audience is. A blog about your cat can be a niche, or a blog about the species of the cat family can be a larger niche market; if there are people who are interested in hearing about your cat or the species of the cat family, then you have a niche...you can even choose to build your audience for a market which an audience does not exist. Still, first, you must make your blog.

3) Update Daily (nothing less)

This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your blog daily keeps it more attractive to readers and gives it fresh content daily, making it more appealing to search engines. Not updating your blog on an occasional holiday or one day here and there is understandable to most. Still, missing days at a time or weeks is unacceptable and will most likely result in your blog being unsuccessful. To keep your blog traffic and retain your visitor's interest, you must update your blog daily with multiple entries. Though I am seeing a growing trend of successful blogs that are not being updated daily, they are successful and have a stable audience who continue to visit their blog daily. Regardless, these blogs are still updated weekly with multiple entries. It would help if you tried updating your blog daily with at least three or more entries until you have a steady audience. The best way to accomplish this is to set aside 1-2 hours a day for tending to your blog and adding new entries. It may even be wise to schedule a daily time dedicated to your blog. Give yourself work hours and treat your blog as a job; what happens if you don't come to work for days or weeks...you lose money, or worse, you get fired! The same applies here...if you don't update your blog for days or weeks, you'll lose visitors.

4) Traffic

It's no secret. You must have traffic to profit from blogs. There are numerous ways to build traffic. Paid advertising, free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, and word-of-mouth. You should always use your blog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication media. You should submit your blog URL address to search engines and blog directories. You should submit your RSS/XML URL feed to blog ping services like Technorati, Ping-O-Matic, and Blogdigger. It would help if you confidently share your blog with family, friends, co-workers, associates, and business professionals when it relates. Many blogs can be considered as a collection of articles; for this purpose, you should submit your blog entries (those that are valuable and lengthy articles) to content syndicators like GoArticles.com or ZapContent.com. Once submitted, your articles can be picked up and published by others. The trick is to ensure you include your Blog URL address in the "About the Author" passage. This creates link popularity and backlinks for your blog; when someone picks up your article from the syndication and then publishes it on their website, the "About the Author" passage is included with each publication. The link you had is followed, crawled, and indexed by search engines. Imagine if your article is popular enough or controversial enough to produce 10,000 publications across the web. The search engines are bound to find your blog in no time with that many publications and credit you as an authority on the topic, increasing your rank on search engines. The small effort of writing a well-written article is rewarding. It would help if you tried to write at least one full-length essay weekly for syndication and submit your report to at least 10 article syndicators.

5) Track Your Blog

How do you know if your blog has traffic? Just because no one is leaving comments doesn't mean your blog isn't growing. Many visitors do not leave comments, but they are returning visitors. I know it sounds crazy, but people are more interested in what "you" have to say with blogs! Many visitors do not comment their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Some do not comment at all but are active daily visitors.

Tracking your blog does not have to be overly sophisticated; a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com or Active Meter will do the trick. Install (copy/paste) the code into the HTML of your blog template and start tracking your visitors. Using a service that gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking, referral, and search engine information, is better. Visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose.

6) Listen to Your Audience

When using the proper page counter, you should see how others are finding your blog and, if through search engines, which keywords are being used to find your blog. If constantly your blog is being found by one or more keywords, then focus your blog around those keywords to make it even more powerful. When writing entry titles and entries, use the keywords as often as possible while keeping the blog legible and attractive.

7) Multiple blogs

Use multiple blogging accounts (free) to attract more people. This means you should have a blog with JournalHome.com and others. The more blog accounts, the better (be sure to read and adhere to the Terms of Service for each site). You can copy/paste from 1 blog to all others. Having different blog accounts is like having a publication in various newspapers. This enables you to attract more visitors, which also increases the chance that 1 of your blogs will be in the search engine results for your focused keywords.

8) Short & Concise

Aside from the lengthy weekly article for syndication and publication, your blog entries should be short & concise (if you can help). Sometimes there are exceptions to the rule, and you have no choice but to blog lengthy entries, but try to avoid this as much as possible. You do not want your blog entries to become hours of reading. Visitors like to quickly information and skim through your entries rapidly. It is good to be detailed and provide valuable information, but do not include useless information or run-away sentences that veer from your topic. Stay keyword-focused.

9) Digital Art

Try to include non-advertising graphics, pictures, photos, and art in your blog entries. Not too much. Once a week is fine. Illustrations can sometimes bring your blog to life. Of course, the blog's content is the most crucial aspect, and you do not want to overshadow your content with graphics, but displaying pictures can add a bit of spice to the blog. Be choosy about your graphics and make sure they fit your entry topic. You should add content with the drawing, at least a caption. Original graphics, photos, pictures, and art are recommended.

10) Keep it Personal

A blog is most successful when it is kept personal. Try to include personal experiences related to your blog entry topic. Stay away from the business style of writing. Write with a more personal style and use first-person narratives. Do not write your entries as sales letters; share product reviews and personal endeavors.

11) Interact With Your Visitors

You now have the traffic you deserve. It would help if you began interacting with your visitors. Create a common theme such as: "Monday Money Tip" or "Picture of the Week," which entices your readers to look forward to each week.

Give your readers advance notice about a product, service, or topic you will review and then talk about later. If the President was scheduled to give a speech, then in your blog, you should state that you "will discuss the speech and give your opinion after the speech. Comments will be appreciated".

Try your best to find exclusive information that not many have. Do not disclose confidential or secret information deemed illegal or potentially getting you into trouble, but try to get the scoop before everyone else does. Such as: If your blog was about Paris Hilton (the socialite) and you had a blog entry about "Paris Hilton Getting Married," then it would be interesting to your readers if you had a picture of the Paris Hilton engagement ring. Give your best effort to dig and search the internet for complete information, and you may come up with something useful. Your readers will appreciate this, and they show their appreciation through word-of-mouth referrals. Imagine how many readers will tell their friends, family, and others about information they only can find on your blog.

12) Make Money

Once your blog has gained some real momentum, and your blog traffic is increasing, it is time to start thinking about turning your traffic into profit. It would help if you used contextual advertising, like Google Adsense or Chitika. Contextual advertising is usually text links that utilize your blog's content to publish targeted ads on your blog. The payout is generally based on a pay-per-click model, meaning for every click an ad receives, you are paid a small percentage of the profits. In addition to contextual advertising, it is good to use graphical advertising such as BlogAds.com, Amazon.com, MammaMedia, or General Sponsored Advertising.

13) You're a Professional

You're a professional now! What are you still doing with that free blog hosting service? It is time to upgrade to a domain-hosted solution. It would help if you got a web host, chose a domain name for your blog, and checked its availability. Select the blogging software you wish to use, such as Squarespace.com, WordPress.org, MovableType.org, TypePad, etc. When your new blog domain is set up and ready for traffic, it is time to announce your move on all your previous blog accounts. Your last entry to the blog should be a "move" announcement. The title should be "Moved," and the blog entry should state, "I have a new home for my blog; please bookmark and follow the link: http://www.YourNewBlogDomainName.com." This way, all returning visitors and new readers should not have problems finding your new blog domain. Plus, search engines can easily index and crawl your new blog since your old blog should already be popular with the search engines.

You may want to team up with one or more other bloggers at the level of a professional blogger. This will create a more exciting and powerful blog. The old saying "two heads are better than one" more authors means more advertising and exposure because each author will have a vested interest in the blog. A team blog aims to make it profitable and rewarding for all authors while continuing to target the blog topic and keep it interesting for visitors.

Following these blogging techniques should make your blogging experience much more rewarding. There is no guarantee that your blog will become popular or a household name, but the effort should at least put you one step closer. Making money online is not an overnight experience like many may think, but making money online is a foreseeable possibility. Growing popularity on the web is not an overnight experience, but through time, dedication, and persistence, you will be rewarded with all the royalties of blogging.