I recently started another blog. But before I started I did a quick research based on the top 100 Nigerian blogs. I discovered that a number of these blogs failed and were actually offline. For one reason or another they weren’t in business anymore. Why did these blogs fail? And how can you become a successful blogger?
If some of the Top 100 blogs in Nigeria have kicked the bucket then what hope is there for those who haven’t made it to any “top anything” list? While I’m not here to paint a gloomy picture of the blogging business I am here to state certain facts that people have forgotten.
1. Blogging Is A Business
If blogging wasn’t a business then WealthResult.com won’t recommend it for anyone to start and wouldn’t even be in it to start with. But for various reasons people think blogging is a hobby and as such just give up when they hit the first wall. Even if it’s an imaginary one.
Maybe because it’s so easy to start. You could setup a blog with just N10, 000. You will pay for your own domain name and get WordPress for free. Or as many people prefer, go to blogger.com and register your own blog for free and start typing away. Which I don’t recommend. There is more to becoming a successful blogger than just setting up a free blog,
Maybe because it’s online. The major difference between online businesses and others is the off keyboard human interaction. In conventional business, you have to go out and meet your customers. You have to talk to them, get their opinions about your product or service. You have to meet with suppliers and distributors. In essence, you have to leave your desk and go out into the world.
With blogging on the other hand, you just sit in the comfort of your home or office and dish out articles. No intermediaries whatsoever are involved. I once read somewhere that this is the biggest challenge tech startups have. Little wonder blogs have the same issues.
If you are going to make any quid from blogging then you are going to treat it like what it is; a business. Your articles and newsletters are your products. The questions you answer are your services and part of your customer care. And your readers and subscribers are your customers.
If you can adopt this mentality, then you are well on your way to creating your first successful blog.
But let’s see how we can apply business principles to blogging.
2. Test The Blogging Business
Trust bloggers not to conduct the smallest feasibility study before they start blogging. Imagine you want to start poultry farming business. Would you just go and buy the hatchlings? I think not. The first thing any seasoned farmer/business person would do is to check if there is a market for the proposed product. Will anyone buy what I am selling?
Conducting a simple search on Google or Bing for your proposed niche can give you an idea of how many people in the world and in your country currently fill that space. While I am not going into the intricate details on how to do this, I’m sure you get the idea.
With blogging, you don’t have to hire professionals (well you could if you have the dough) to check the viability of your product. Simply publishing your article on Facebook and getting your friends to take a look at it can give you a feel of how people would react to your blog and articles.
SEE ALSO: How To Write Feasibility Study
For example, if you want to start a blog for your community, and there are only a few hundred people who have internet access in that community. You don’t need an angel to tell you that you’re about to embark on a futile effort and your blog will shut down when your hosting fees expire. I hope there is no community like that in Nigeria?
So conduct a little research and see if there are enough people interested in what you are writing about. Check what existing blogs in that niche are doing and what you can do differently.
3. Create A Sellable Product
Your content is the most important part of your blog. Like I said before, if blogging is a business, then your content is your product. That is what you sell. It’s the reason people visit your blog in the first place.
Think about it this way, if you have a green pasture, then goats, sheep and cattle will come there to graze. If you keep that pasture green, then they will lie down there. The same thing goes with your blog. I am not saying your visitors are animals o. All I am saying is if you post fresh and relevant content, then you would get an increasing number of visitors as often as you do. If you keep your content relevant and fresh then you might build a tightly knit community around your blog, which is every blogger’s dream.
4. Strengthen Your Skills
I dare say that I have seen blogs that were full of spelling and grammatical errors. If it occurs once or twice in one article, then it can be excused as an honest mistake. But to consistently misspell a particular word across your blog says something about that blog. It robs your blog of the trustworthiness it’s supposed to generate in the mind of its users.
Writing and correcting spelling and grammatical errors are not the only things that require skill. Setting up the blog, choosing and optimizing your blog’s theme, setting up a mailing list and creating email campaigns all require a certain level of proficiency.
If you can’t go through the learning process then you have to get competent hands to do them for you. There are a million and one professionals who would help you setup your blog and even keep it up to date. If you won’t do any of the two, then please don’t go and take a fine domain name and waste it.
The only exemption to this rule is if you are using free blogging platform and you are running gossip or news blog with copied articles. That is you are a scraper. And you only need to know how to CTRL+C and CTRL+V.
5. Reach Out To Your Customers
The hardest thing in blogging, initially, is getting people to visit your blog. Many people just write and write and write and no one reads them. It’s not because they haven’t written quality stuff, it’s mostly because no one knows they have quality stuff.
The most organic way to get traffic to your site is to write articles on other established blogs. This one for example is a guest article. You have to create articles that meet the quality of the sites you want to write for. You can’t just copy something from your blog and paste it there.
In fact, your guest blog write-ups are in most cases better than stuff on your own blog. As I wrote this I was wishing I could just publish it on my blog. But what is the point in creating a drug that cures all diseases and then no one knows you have it. You will die poor.
You have to stick your neck out. Reach out to well-established blogs. Ask them to give you an opportunity to write for them. It’s either that, or you churn out loads of cash and do some adverts on social media. Nowadays, these adverts aren’t that expensive so really anyone can do this with a small amount of money.
The advantage guest blogs have over adverts is that the value of your articles increase indefinitely. While your adverts will expire and stop displaying, people will constantly read your articles and constantly give your feedback. So my final recommendation is to go out and get collaborations.
6. Set An Income Target
Having trained a lot of people in blogging matters. I have discovered that this is the one aspect they find a bit tricky. Most blogs depend solely on adverts for their income. While adverts may form a bulk of the income from your blog, it is surely not the only source of income.
There are so many ways to make money from your blog. Let me start from the obvious ones. You could start with adverts, yes. Google AdSense? Maybe. You could use affiliate programs as they seem to be gaining ground in the blogging community as a more reliable and sellable advert option.
As your blog grows, you could combine a few of your articles and your experiences to create a book and sell that. When your blog has sizable traffic, you might start getting offers from publishing houses and you could even score a book contract.
Another way you could earn some money is by selling your skills and starting a small consultancy company. With the knowledge you have gathered you can help others setup their own businesses or train them in your niche and get paid for doing so.
It’s really left to your imagination how to combine any of the methods here.
But with all this, you should be able to estimate how much you think you can earn and set that as a target then work towards it.
7. Have A Budget – Or Business Plan
WealthResult.com has covered this issue more than once and I’m sure it will still come up a few more times. But based on all the above, you need to come up with a budget and know exactly what this blog will cost you monthly and annually. The one culprit for SMEs and especially ICT startups is not having enough money to run their business at the early stages.
SEE ALSO: How To Budget As An Entrepreneur
You should give your blog some time before it starts to bring in enough money to sustain itself. Say 3 to 6 months depending on how hard you are willing to work at it.
If you succeed in following these rules I am sure you will be on your way to creating another successful blog. Sites like WealthResult.com and BlogMarathon.com are available for your assistance. But by all means take your blogging business seriously.
Do you own a blog? What have been your greatest challenges? Do you want to become a successful blogger? Please leave your comments, suggestions and ideas below.
About The Writer
Chris Nwasike started out as a Web Developer about 10 years ago. Having built a lot of CRUD sites and realizing most clients really just wanted blogs, he focused on blogs. So over the years, he has gained experience in content marketing and WordPress development. He started blogmarathon.com a while back to help more people find the help and professional advice they need to become a successful blogger.