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To make it in the business of blogging, as it applies to any business out there, you have to be good at making discoveries.
Many bloggers struggle to make money or sustain their income because they can’t find the right information. Let’s look at discoveries and how they can help you stand out as a blogger.
An SEO in the SEO group I joined a couple of years back made a post about making discoveries. According to him, some of the greatest tools in SEO are your eyes and your brain.
He was pointing to the fact that no matter what you learn or read on the internet about SEO you will always have to make your discoveries.
The same principle applies to the business of blogging. As a newbie, I remember reading a few articles on how to make money blogging and I thought “yes, finally I know how to play this game!” But no, I didn’t! I was just getting started.
This is true. In the beginning, you may feel like a kid at times. Everything will look so good and fascinating but with time, they could become so fake and frustrating.
The truth is: nothing good comes easy no matter what you may hear out there. Building a successful business takes time well-directed effort.
To stand out in a sea of blogs, you have to discover. You simply can’t stand out reading what everyone has already read on the internet. You need to discover and sometimes even create your tools and strategies.
But how exactly does it work? Some people may begin to think “how in the world do I start making discoveries?”
Don’t bother your head. That’s why you are reading this. Let’s get into it.
The Knowledge Journey
When it comes to creativity, your brain works best by connecting dots. If you won’t learn, you can’t discover.
What you will create will always be made out of what you already have, even when you may not know you have them at times.
To discover, you have to start learning from successful bloggers out there. Your creative mechanism will always depend on your knowledge bank.
Although most bloggers out there will never give you what you need to succeed, there are still many of them who are willing to share enough information to get you off to a good start.
Then as you progress, you can start investing in online courses and ebooks. Bloggers like Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents and Melyssa Griffin can get you off to a good start in the blogging business.
Are male bloggers information stingy or is it just my bad luck? Don’t ask me.
So with that in mind, let us look at some of the key areas where you need to make discoveries to succeed as a blogger, especially if you are yet to have enough money to spend on courses.
Discover your Niche
With an emphasis on productivity, I would define a niche as a small, focused area of competence.
While getting starting most of us tend to see a niche as any focused area. But that will always be the wrong way of looking at it. Because that doesn’t help much with choosing a niche.
Seeing a niche as any focused area can make you think of choosing any focused area that will make you money, will make people love you or that will make you popular.
You may also decide to write about anything you love reading about.
Many bloggers do this and end up nowhere, or worse, as copycats and pirates.
If you must succeed you must choose the right niche.
Choosing a niche
This is where it all begins. If you get the foundation wrong, a lot of things will follow suit.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a niche should come under one of your areas of competence.
You see, just because you like something doesn’t mean you can make productive content on them for a long period.
But if it is something you know about and have been using them, then you can be sure you will excel blogging about it.
Take Michelle for instance, she has been in the money industry before she decided to start writing about making and saving money. Beyond that, she has had experiences in her life with making and saving money so she has something to teach others.
If you go out there to blog with the “copy, edit, and post” mentality then you are bound to fail.
So, what are you good at and have been spending your time on? It may not be that obvious at times but it has to be something you know, can work with, and can create solutions for people.
You see, even if you are out just to report – you know the news type of thing – it should be an area you understand. Else you won’t be able to create stories from unique angles that will draw people in and keep them coming back for more.
And if you can’t do that, then you will become irrelevant.
- Your focused area doesn’t have to be something no one else has done before but it has to be something you are good at.
Your niche should be an area you constantly work with.
If you are not really into what you are writing about, you won’t have enough good things to share with your audience. You will operate at a limited capacity and your audience will leave and won’t come back.
Your niche must be a focused area and it has to be an area of competence.
Discover how to promote yourself
You will also need to find promotional media the work for you. Believe it or not, there are social networks that will not work with your blog especially when you are just getting started.
First of all, learn the several promotional tools and methods and start with the one you think will be favourable to your business – not the one you think will bring you more traffic probably because there are a lot of people using it.
Start with one Social Network
Why not start with all of them? I know you want to get out there and show the world what you’ve got but it’s never that simple.
You need to start with at most two social network.
You don’t have all the time to spend on the different social networks we have.
You will be more productive sharing content and interacting with fans on one social media than simply publishing them on all the popular networks and not be able to follow up on them.
For these platforms to work for you, you have to be engaged. You have to interact with followers and keep track of how much traffic it is bringing to your website.
Looking at this, it looks too simple. Most of us are deceived by hard work. Hard work is not always good work.
Good work may look simple, neat, and easy on the eye Though they can sometimes be hard to pull off they are always productive.
So go for good work.
Look for what works for you, not just what works for most people. I know successful bloggers who know very little about SEO. SEO is great but you don’t have time to know everything in the beginning.
Unless you are a digital marketer who understands it, I recommend you start with social networks – start with just one of them. Because they are easy to use and chances are you have been using it and you know how to post content and interact with your audience.
Everything is good and they can always work together but considering your limited time, budget, and knowledge, start with just one first. If it doesn’t work, gather more knowledge and move to another one.
Discover what you should spend time on
The problem with most modern-day human beings is deciding what to spend time on. We get bombarded every day with so much that we tend to want to work with everything.
The trick our brain plays is that the more we can harness the more productive we will be. Though it’s true, most people look at it the wrong way.
It will always follow the “one thing at a time” rule. If you try to use all you find while starting you will have problems using them well.
So always be on the lookout for the things that deserve your attention. This will also help you understand when to get your hands dirty and when to outsource.
If you do not know this, you will be doing too much and getting nothing in return.
What should you focus on?
The first thing you want to focus on is creating good content and getting them in front of your audience and potential audience. You want to be able to make good content and promote them using promotional tools such as email marketing and dedicated social media channel(s).
This should be where you spend most of your time.
Unless you are a developer, then you will be wasting time trying to code changes on your blog. This takes a lot of time and energy if it is not your area of focus.
This is why I recommend signing up with a managed WordPress hosting provider. They can get you up and running on a professional self-hosted WordPress.org website in minutes.
I use EasyWP by NameCheap. It is easy to set up and you won’t get stuck creating your website because they have a 24/7 support system on standby.
Providers like that will allow you to focus on creating content, managing promotions, and updating your knowledge instead of spending time on code and other technical issues you shouldn’t even know about.
Discover your tools
One of the things you will find is that some of the things people recommend are either outdated or not good enough. You have to discover tools that really work.
When someone recommends a tool you have not used before it makes you very happy.
Why? Someone has recommended something you never knew existed. Don’t get carried away.
In my experience, most people recommend incomplete products or the ones that are out of date. They use it as a secret weapon for a couple of years and then decide to recommend it because they see it has gone mainstream.
It’s no wonder they look so good but produce too little.
If you find a recommended tool but can’t get results, chances are: they are either outdated, not the complete package or you simply can’t use them.
Other times you can’t afford them. Free products with locked up premium capabilities may not produce as much as you would expect.
Tools you should discover
Most of the things you will find on successful blogs can be simplified as tools. Design tools, promotional tools (mostly email marketing, social media, SEO tools), content checkers or editors like Grammarly, and more.
On this occasion refuse to classify them as plugins because although most of them will be web-based plugins, some will be separate software for your computer or pre-designed templates.
This is another good reason why you should start a blog on a self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
You will get one month for free if you use my link to sign up for namecheap’s managed wordpress.org hosting service.
It’s easier to just activate a plugin on WordPress than to call a separate software which is something you’ll have to do if you are using a platform like Blogger.
And if it is a social sharing plugin or a stats counter, its developers may not even have it available for users who are not using WordPress.
So find your tools and learn how to use them to create an outstanding blog.
Discover what to pay for
This is easier when you’ve discovered what you should spend time on.
It’s important to note here that some of the things you don’t spend time on will not always be useless things.
Over time as your blog grows, you may need a developer to upgrade your website. This is not something you want to spend time on but it is something your website needs which makes it a good idea to pay for it.
If you are new to blogging, knowing what to pay for becomes even more important because you don’t want to end up paying for something you don’t need at the time.
Take ads for instance many newbies waste money on advertisements. This is something you may not need while getting started.
Most times you will be tempted to try to boost exposure unrealistically.
This will not work.
For an ad campaign to work, you have to be sponsoring items or articles that are already working.
At that point, all you want to do is get them in front of people who may need it but don’t know that you have it.
Otherwise, you may spend money on ads and get nothing in return. Ads may expose you but a product that can’t meet the user’s need will never convert.
Sometimes spending as little as possible may not be the best answer. Most times you will have to spend as necessary and as little as possible.
A blogger.com or WordPress.com account won’t get you anywhere near serious-minded businesses.
You need to purchase such items for advertisers to even consider doing business with you.
Some of these items are going to be one-time payments or yearly payments: things like online courses, pre-designed templates, or hiring a developer.
Ignoring them for too long could set you back on your journey to success.
So do your homework and make plans for what you need.
Do the homework before paying for any item. Find out more information about a product, how it works, and how much you need to spend on them, monthly or yearly.
This will help you decide if you even need the product in the first place, whether you need it immediately or in the near future.
Discoveries may seem impossible at times but they are not that difficult if you do update your knowledge bank from time to time.
If you get the necessary information, you may come up with new ideas without even noticing them.
Take the time to learn and discover and you will crush the competition and even have them learning from you.