If you have decided to write your own blog, and are currently envisioning massive amounts of traffic upwards of 1 million unique views, stop what you’re doing and rethink your approach. Successful blogs are few and far between. Thanks to websites like WordPress, Wix, Tumblr, and others, everyone and their father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate has their own blog. Most people either write about their life experiences, political or religious beliefs, favourite songs or movies, or other such vague topics. If you simply want to put your two cents out there on the World Wide Web for everyone to see, then more power to you. If, however, you are hoping to earn money from your blog, this approach is a recipe for disaster.
There is a blog for almost everything today, from guns and survivalist tutorials to technology reviews and “how to be a manly man.” If you simply create another overly generalised blog in a massive ocean of overly generalised blogs, you will not see much of a profit unless you first pay lots of money to advertise your blog. The competition for search result pole positions about corrupt politicians, for example, is brutal and costly. However, blog posts that focus on your local town mayor’s corrupt commercial real estate policies will be few or nonexistent. Devoting your blog to a highly specialised, niche area of knowledge or expertise will secure you that highly coveted first page of Google search results.
To make your blog more visible and profitable, you need first to do some research and soul-searching. What are your skills? What sort of expertise do you possess that can benefit large numbers of Internet users? What areas of knowledge can you write about in a unique and fresh way? Next you have to search the Internet for those topics you are interested in that have received little attention elsewhere on the Web. It’s better to write about collectible, antique cigar boxes than about cigars in general. A blog about after-market, high-capacity cell phone batteries for Samsung smartphones will get considerably more attention than a simple blog offering Android phone reviews. Specific blog topics will always secure higher search results and more traffic than will generalised, broad topics, unless you are operating with a massive marketing budget.
Once you have selected your niche, you can’t just write a few blog posts, let the blog sit unattended, and hope for cash to start flooding your bank account. Blogs require constant upkeep and fresh posts, preferably on a daily basis. Write well and write often! When you’re done writing your blog post, don’t publish it until you’ve spent a while generating a keyword list of specific search topics which are likely to be used by people who are searching for the information you are providing.
The importance of the keyword list cannot be overstated. For example, if you are posting a review of high-end, steampunk, computer keyboard modifications available for under £100, your keyword list should include at least the following words and phrases: steampunk mods, steampunk modifications, steampunk computers, steampunk keyboards, steampunk keyboards under £100, modified keyboards, custom keyboards, custom keyboards under £100, customised steampunk, steampunk mods for sale, custom keyboards for sale, etc. The more keywords you attach to your blog post (and include in the title/body of your post), the more likely you are to match various search criteria perfectly.
Google keyword planner is a great tool to help you think of more keywords: https://adwords.google.co.uk/KeywordPlanner
Keywords are extremely important, but if you want to increase your traffic substantially, you have to become comfortable with the business side of social networking. Posts don’t achieve the lofty qualification of having gone “viral” without thousands of shares and re-shares through social networks. Make a page or profile for your blog on every social network you can think of, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and Instagram.
Most blog hosting sites allow for automatic posting to social networks the instant you publish a new post. However, you can also join or form specialised groups within certain networks (like Facebook Groups and Google+ Communities). These groups provide a ready-made community of the types of people who will find your blog interesting. As long as you don’t abuse the privilege, most group administrators will allow you to post links to your on-topic blog post. For example, if your post provides a tutorial on how to prepare unique meal combinations using nothing but MREs (Meals Ready to Eat/preserved military/survivalist food rations), you can post your link in Facebook groups dedicated to camping, survivalists, military veterans, etc.
Once you are experiencing enough traffic, you can turn your attention to generating an income. There are a number of ways to turn a profit from a popular blog. You can insert advertisements into the side columns or headers of your website, or into the text of your post. Some services, like Google Adwords, will provide html code to plug into your website, which will allow Google to automatically place advertisements on your page based on keywords. These types of ads usually pay on a per-click basis, meaning that you only get paid when someone clicks on the ad.
Another option is affiliate advertising, which links from your blog to an ecommerce product page and pays you a percentage of any sales generated from your blog. You can also approach companies that might be interested in advertising on your blog, and work out a monthly/annual fee for advertising rights. If your blog reviews products or services, you may decide to negotiate deals with various companies to write reviews on their new products or services.
Lastly, if your blog collects large amounts of information on people who visit your page via surveys, questionnaires, polls, etc., you may be able to sell this information to larger advertising firms that rely on this type of information to target specific demographics. There are many ways to generate a respectable income from a blog; all you need is a lot of traffic.
The most important thing to remember when embarking on this Internet blog journey to wealth and fame is this: Target a niche demographic. The more generalised and vague your blog topic, the harder it will be for you to be noticed in a sea of competing blogs. Hone in on something that has not yet received enough attention on the Web. Follow trends, watch for new technologies, examine your own specialised skills and knowledge, and study the world around you.
Once you decide on a niche market, dedicate yourself to being an active blogger. Post fresh content as often as possible and don’t neglect your keyword lists. A good rule is to spend at least as much time as it took you to write each blog post on promoting each blog post on as many social networks as possible. If you focus on the right subject matter and follow these guidelines, you will start seeing an increase in Internet traffic on your blog. That traffic will soar exponentially with each new post, as older posts continue to generate traffic even after a new post is published. Successful blogs with high traffic can easily be used to generate a wide variety of revenue streams through advertising, affiliate sales, paid reviews, and data-collecting techniques.