Blogging as a Career in 2017: 5 Things to Know Before You Start

If you’ve read one of my previous posts, you know that I’ve been writing a home improvement blog of a contractor referral website for a year and a half (so far). Honestly, the road has been quite exciting and challenging at the same time, especially in the beginning, when I had absolutely no guidance and didn’t know much about the inner side of blogging. Now, as I’m approaching my mini anniversary – the next post I will launch on my blog will be the 300th – I decided to share my advice to those, who’re just entering the blogging world and want to figure out what to expect from it. So, here’re my top 7 things you should know before starting your own blog. Hopefully, they will make the experience a bit easier for you and help you avoid the most ridiculous mistakes most beginners make.

5 things to know before starting a blog

1. You need to pick the right hosting, as it will be the forever foundation for your blog

Apart from choosing the theme for your blog, one of the most important decisions you need to make when starting out is choosing a hosting that suits your needs. A personal domain hosting or not? A free one or a paid version? Which one should I choose if I want to start a small personal blog and don’t want to grow it into something bigger? Which hosting service is the best when it comes to starting a blog for commercial reasons?

I can’t give a clear answer to those questions or recommend ‘the best blog hosting platform’, as your choice will exclusively depend on your needs. At the same time, I can say that when choosing a hosting for your blog, you should pay attention to its features, the website’s speed, how user-friendly the hosting is and if its properties match up to the requested cost. And, I can say that the main blog I write for is a personal domain blog set up on the WordPress platform, and I have nothing to complain about.

2. Running a blog requires the basic knowledge of SEO and HTML

SEO will help you optimize your blog in general, as well as separate articles so that the search engine positions them higher on the listings of answers to user’s requests, which results in more traffic and profit opportunities. Such basics as choosing the most fitting keyword for an article, making sure that it’s a high-volume keyword, ensuring proper keyword density, maintaining great readability, inserting headlines that feature keywords and adjusting the blog post’s structure to the reader’s comfort are the SEO essentials.

HTML is a language you’ll use in order to edit your posts and make them look presentable on your blog. Most blog hosting platforms are designed the way that the user doesn’t really have to worry about HTML at all and may operate them almost as a regular text editor. But, I recommend learning at least the basics of HTML in order to set up your blog and be able to add special features to the posts. HTML knowledge also comes in handy when writing articles for other publishing platforms or working as a copywriter.

3. Traffic doesn’t come on its own

Writing excellent posts that scream originality and provide clear answers to reader’s problems/questions isn’t enough to make your blog generate increasing traffic, especially in the beginning, when your blog is hidden under the piles of other websites. Promotion is an inseparable part of blogging, and you need to get on top of it. Blog promotion is still a developing field of marketing, but there’re proven tools that will help you boost your blog’s traffic:

  • being persistent at posting on your blog;
  • including nofollow links to high-rated websites;
  • adding social media share buttons to your post to promote them through the online version of the word of mouth;
  • advertising your posts on social media;
  • promoting your blog via guest posting and commenting under related articles;
  • writing quality posts and getting them republished by popular platforms;
  • hosting blog contests and promoting them on social media;
  • posting about major events and creating hot holiday-themed articles;
  • ensuring quality internal links;
  • building external links, etc.

4. The process of choosing topics gets more and more difficult

It may seem like bloggers may write about anything they want. But how do you actually decide what your next article should be about? How to choose a topic that will get your article up in search engine listings by attracting customers and be quite persistent at producing trending articles?

One of the most daunting struggles I have to deal with from time to time is the difficulties with choosing a good topic that would be interesting for the readers, who visit a quite specific website I write and edit for, as well as generate decent traffic. I try to deliver for seasonal needs and interests, come up with various projects, ideas and tips the visitors looking for home improvement, general construction and beauty services might benefit from. I like to look up different keywords and headlines phrases with the help of online SEO tools to determine if the topics I chose for future articles are demanded in the online community. But the limited scope of my writing still makes by brain useless from time to time when it comes to topics.

So, be prepared to deal with such issues from time to time. And, don’t get disappointed in yourself when the blog posts you write don’t become equally successful. Some of them will be better than the others, and you will be quite surprised to see which ones produce more traffic and get better feedback from the audience. To be honest, some of the most popular articles on my blog are among my personal non-favorites.

5. There’re numerous ways to earn money on your blog

Blogging isn’t just a hobby anymore. A lot of people treat it as a brilliant side job they can do from home, others do it full time and manage to generate great profit by including ads, affiliate links, promotional campaigns for brands in their blogging activity. Guest posting on high-ranked platforms that pay their guest writers and writing a blog for a company are among other ways to earn money while blogging.

Many websites have their own blogs for promotional, traffic boosting and search engine optimization reasons. Copywriters who have their own, at least semi-successful blog and may provide published samples of their work have better chances to get hired by interested clients as well. Therefore, even if you’re starting your personal blog just to have a space to pour your thoughts in, don’t miss a chance to earn spare cash for your great effort and honest opinions.

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