This guest post is by Shaun of MoneyCactus.
There’s a blog for just about everything these days. Some are a lot better than others, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that any blog has the potential to become great.
It is completely possible to find a niche and an interested audience if you are serious enough about it yourself.
I guess now is probably a good time to tell you that this is not an article about making money from your blog. Before you even get to this stage you need to develop a strategy, understand your market, and allocate your resources. Good bloggers understand this. They are the same principles that you would use when making any investment.
If you want to create a blog that is successful, then these basic wealth creation fundamentals should go a long way to getting you there.
Hobbies are not an investment
People often make bad investment decisions, most of which are based on their emotions or—even worse—a “gut feeling.” Bloggers can make this mistake when selecting a niche as well.
A hobby is not an investment, it is just another way to spend your money. You do not need to be good at a hobby. Really, it’s just something you do to waste time.
The best investments are made in things that you are very knowledgeable about. Don’t confuse something you like the sound of with something you know a lot about. In order to create an authority site and demonstrate social proof, you need to know enough about your area of interest to attract readers. You do not need to be an expert, but you do need to have a knack for delivering information that makes readers want to keep coming back.
Do your research before anything else. You wouldn’t waste time and money on a dud investment; don’t do the same with a blog.
Risk makes it real
If you told me I had an imaginary sum of $1,000 and then asked me to pick some stocks to watch over a year as a way to practice my investing skills, I probably wouldn’t have any trouble making a choice and playing the game. If you told me I had to actually put my own money on the line, the chances are I would be studying those stocks very closely and sweating every decision I made.
If you are really serious about blogging, then you need to have a stake in the game. It doesn’t need to be big money, but spending some money on your blog will help keep you motivated as losing it is never fun.
Forget Blogger, WordPress.com, Tumblr, or any of those other free platforms (believe me, I learned the hard way). Yes they can be useful and they are simple to set up, but if you plan to use your blog as a means to generate income, then invest in yourself, and pay the small amount of money it costs to get a unique domain name and a self-hosted account.
Give before you receive
Tithing is practiced by many of the world’s richest people, but you don’t need mega bucks to start giving. You can give in lots of ways that help others, and the nice thing is that giving has a habit of coming back to you in lots of other ways.
Bloggers are quite possibly the nicest people I know. It is amazing how approachable they are, and what they will do to help or provide advice if you ask them. If you spend some time hanging out in the blogosphere, then you will quickly realize that the whole network runs on love. Bloggers write about things they love, people follow the things they love, and the better you are at showing people how to do what they want, the more love you will get in return.
If you can find ways to be ridiculously useful to others within your niche and over-deliver on your promises, you will attract people organically. Unsurprisingly, bloggers follow other bloggers in their niche, so reach out and give to a fellow blogger or combine your powers to offer even more.
Diversify your traffic sources
In order to spread risk, investors often use different vehicles to grow their wealth. The same principles apply to blogging: a nice spread of traffic will ensure you are not reliant on any one stream.
There are many ways to do this, and you might have your own methods, but here are a few things that I have been doing to grow my audience.
Search engine traffic
There are ways to help make your blog posts as targeted as possible by focusing on keywords and employing other SEO tactics. But, to be perfectly honest, the most visited pages on my site are poorly optimized (I really should do something about that).
Instead, I write about what is affecting me, and I try to solve the problem. Funnily enough there are lots of other people that have similar problems, so my posts end up getting found anyway. I’ve found the best thing to do is just focus on a single topic per post. That way, basic things like keyword density seem to happen on their own.
This is one of the best ways I have found to share my blog posts as widely as possible and get referrals from other blogs. It is also a really great way to network with other people in your niche. Different carnivals have different rules, but they usually let you submit a recent article that you have written on your site. A link to this is then listed on the carnival host site, which means potential traffic from other bloggers and people that are regulars on the host site.
Blogging carnivals are often hosted on a different site each time, so submitting your articles regularly means you are more likely to be seen by a broader audience. If you want to look for a blogging carnival for your niche, you could try starting here.
Commenting on blogs
This has got to be the next best thing to guest posting. You get to have your say on a topic, actively participate in an online community, and you can often leave a link to your site for people to see what you are all about.
I think that this traffic generation strategy is completely underrated. I can’t tell you how many times I have checked out a site because I liked a comment I read somewhere else, and Google Analytics tells me others do the same with my site too. If you want to develop your comment strategy, you might like this guide to writing killer comments.
The best blogs have “shareholders” in the form of subscribers. These people have decided that the site is an asset to them, and that it’s worth investing their time in. Like any good stock, a blog needs to continue to perform over the long term in order to hold or increase its value, and that requires ongoing effort.
I’ll be the first to tell you that there is more I could do more to improve the stock of my blog, but every time I have invested in it, I have seen a gain. My final wealth creation tip is to continue investing in your blog: set short-, medium-, and long-term goals, but view it as an appreciating asset that will grow in value over time.
Try these simple wealth creation strategies on your blog and see what happens for yourself.
Shaun is not an accountant, financial planner or life coach, but he writes about wealth creation anyway! Shaun’s motto is “Make wealth, not money,” which fits quite nicely with where he wants to be in life. You can find out more by visiting his blog where he shows you how to do nothing and grow wealthy.