What does it take to start a successful blog in 2018? For one thing, you need to level up your content game. You also have to manage your expectations, as blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Don’t lose heart, though, as starting a blog now means having more resources at your fingertips. You do need discernment to avoid pitfalls that may stop your blogging journey in its tracks, like:
- You try to earn cash by writing about topics that you find boring or are completely unfamiliar.
- You don’t think it’s important to publish on a consistent schedule. Plus, you rarely interact with your readers.
- You believe that blogging should be easy, so you don’t want to make too much of an effort.
Think about the most successful bloggers that you know. What do they have in common? They are people who are deeply passionate about their subject matter. That enthusiasm and dedication keep them writing and posting, day in and day out. Plus, they have a long-term perspective on running a blog and are willing to invest now for future returns.
If you share these sentiments, then you’re already halfway to running a successful blog. Raring to go? Let’s look at the basics of setting up a blog.
Identify Your Niche
While pretty pictures and regular posts help attract readers, that’s not the reason they keep coming back for more.
People will read your blog because they care about its content.
That’s why the most important step, or the first step, in setting up a blog is to find out your “why.”
Why are you passionate about this blog topic?
Why would others read about your thoughts on this subject matter?
Why is this a subject that you can contribute to?
Before you even select a platform or color scheme, it’s vital to view your blog as a business. To do that, you need to choose a niche.
What is a niche? Why is it important to choose one for my blog?
Choosing a niche does not stop at identifying a topic. You need to identify how you’re going to talk about it, who your target readers are, and how do you make yourself sound credible.
It will make life easier if your niche is something that you’re really passionate about, but this is not a hard and fast rule. What is important is that you write about something that truly interests you, not just something trending or profitable. This way, you can sustain the momentum of posting about it regularly. Plus, consider if that niche would also interest potential readers. It’s really up to you, whether it’s board games, origami folding, toddler parenting, or vegan recipes.
Why does your blog need a niche? A niche helps you focus.
A niche helps you with all the decisions you need to make for your blog, be it a content calendar, graphic design, and marketing. A clear focus will also attract loyal readers and help you connect with other online writers.
Keep in mind that as a writer, if you try to appeal to everyone, you will attract no one. People have distinct preferences and viewpoints—and your blog is a great way to express your opinions to people who share a similar perspective as you all over the world.
Still unsure about your niche? That’s fine. Here are some guide questions that will help you clarify your thoughts about it.
- What childhood interest or goal do you still find exciting?
- What is usually the highlight of your day?
- What are your hobbies? What skill or hobby would you like to learn?
- What are your values and principles?
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
Your answers should give you a quick idea or two about your niche. The next steps will help you further refine it.
List 5 things that are easy for you to do. We all have different talents and strengths, and we’re naturally interested in what we’re good at. This also means that you can write more confidently about these strengths. Be as specific as you can, without overthinking it.
For example, instead of “teaching,” narrow that down to “teaching early literacy to children with special needs.”
Next, list 5 things that you currently do during your spare time. These can be activities that you both “want to” and “have to” do in order to hit certain goals.
Then, go through both lists and see what themes emerge. Is there a pattern to your answers? What are the common phrases and words? What immediately jumps out and gets you excited to write?
For the final step, list these themes and rank them on a scale of 1–10. Congratulations: you now have a blogging niche for your affiliate marketing business!