Want to know what it takes to turn your blog from "meh" to "marvelous"? From a hobby to something that makes real money? As a blogger for the past eight years, I've seen the trendy tactics and tricks come and go. What's left is the basic but stable methods of growing your blog that stand the test of time. And really, a lot of your success can be found behind the scenes and in the processes you're creating for yourself.
There are 13 basic habits all successful bloggers have in common. How many are you practicing now?
- They set goals. If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. That's true when you're taking a road trip and when you're blogging. If you don't have a specific goal to meet — whether it's a traffic, social media, or income — then you'll just be putting content out into the ether without a purpose. You'll wonder why your blog isn't gaining any momentum. Here's the deal: write down your goal. Just pick a number, physically write it down on a sticky and post it up on your computer screen. Then break that down into smaller, more achievable chunks to keep your momentum alive. If you've got a monster goal to hit 50,000 blog visitors next month, then break that down into a daily budget of 1,666. So much more digestible, isn't it?
- They plan ahead. Now that you've got your goal in mind, you can start to plan all the ways you're going to get there. If you don't already, get an editorial calendar. This could be as easy as using Google Calendar, a spreadsheet, or something else like Trello (free). Plan out what your blog posts will be and when they'll go live. Give yourself deadlines to complete the work before the actual due date. If you can, batch your time so you're producing a week's worth of posts at once so you can spend more time during the week marketing it.
- They're consistent. Consistency is the key to success. Habits are formed in 21 days so take that editorial calendar of yours and don't just fill it at random — create a consistent publishing schedule that your fans can rely on. They'll start to look for your posts. Don't disappoint them.
- They market their content. This is not Field of Dreams and you are not Kevin Costner. Just because you publish a blog does not mean droves of fans will show up on your virtual landing page. You've got to find your audience and bring them to you. Marketing your content out to other blogs, social media, and in new formats is almost more important than the blog post itself. Because if you don't put in the legwork to get it seen, did you really ever write it?
- They track their progress. If you have no idea how you're performing on the road to your goal, how will you know you're reaching it? Check out your analytics once a week and make sure you're hitting your daily and weekly budgets.
- They know who they're talking to (and what they like). Do you have any clue about who your audience is? Maybe your blog isn't making an impact because you don't know who your audience is or what they like. Take a look at your analytics and identify your most successful posts. See if you can spot any trends or themes, then look for ways to repeat those wins in new ways.
- They provide value (and give someone a reason to read). Successful bloggers make the shift from talking about themselves to providing value to their audience. Put yourself in your reader's shoes and ask "What's in it for me?" You should absolutely make a personal connection with your audience, but do so in a way that they can learn something about themselves in your content. Take your lessons and your experiences, and make it relatable and helpful for them.
- They don't compare. You'll come across hundreds, if not thousands of bloggers that are talking about the same things that you are. We're all in different phases of growth, with different levels of knowledge. But you know the one thing that sets YOU apart from the rest? Your unique perspective, personality, and voice. That's what will attract your audience, and that's what will keep them coming back. Instead of comparing yourself to others, embrace those talking about the same things as you. Make friends. This way, their audience can gain exposure to a new voice (yours).
- They think of their blog as a business. This really goes back to points number one and five, in that businesses need goals to exist and grow, and so does your blog. But also, businesses need to make money and service their customers. So does your blog. Get your mind right in order to actually turn your blog into a moneymaking business.
- They think big (and beyond the next post). If you want to become big, you gotta think big. Working with sponsors isn't just an opportunity for you to get paid for what you do best, it's an opportunity to push your limits. Take some of the cash you're getting from a brand and step up your offerings to include custom projects, custom photos, or infographics that brands really love. Create an environment where you're doing what you love AND growing at the same time.
- They aren't trying to be everywhere. We have all fallen into the trap of trying to be on all the social networks all the time. It's the quickest way to burn out. But here's why you SHOULDN'T be everywhere: because your audience may not be there anyway. Find out where your social traffic is coming from. Focus on the top two networks, and master it. Build massive audiences there, rather than building small audiences in a lot of places.
- They experiment. Something doesn't seem to be working? Scrap it and try something else. Don't be afraid to try new things and make swift changes to your plan. You're making the rules anyway, right?
- They capitalize on trends. A quick path to growth is to participate in the conversations that people are already having online. Notice a Twitter or Facebook trend that's relevant to you? How can you capitalize on that and put your own twist on it?
Ready to take your blog to the next level and turn it into a real business? Check out my FREE guide, 7 Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Moneymaking Machine, that will tell you all about the modern ways bloggers are bringing home the dough and doing what they love. Becoming a slave to banner ads not included. Click the button below for instant access!