So, are you thinking of opening a blog? And would you like it to be your job? Good news: you can. But there are some things that, in our opinion, you should know before you start.
Before talking about the factors themselves that make a blog successful, one would have to define exactly what “success” in a blog is. We will leave this subject for another day. But we will mention, at least, some of the most important indicators in my personal opinion that are a combination of visits, degree of loyalty of those visits (visits that become regular readers), level of “engagement” of the community (comments, etc.), visibility and reputation.
From here, what would be the essential factors of success of a blog and more or less in what order of importance?
1. The first thing you have to ask yourself is why you want a blog
Let’s take the example of a travel blog. Some think that a travel blog will allow them to travel for free. Others want to use it as a stained glass window to sell their unique content in the form of articles or photographs, others as a platform to get sponsors or work, some want to share their experiences with other travelers, others do it for fun or love to art. All objectives are valid, but we think it’s good that they know what awaits them before they start.
Just as traveling generates many idealizations, it can also happen that they want to open a blog for illusions that may be difficult to accomplish in the short term or that take much more work than they think.
So, if you are thinking of starting a blog, first ask yourself why. If you see it as a logical extension of going on a trip – like “sell everything, get your passport, buy your ticket and open a blog” –, think about it. It is true that travel blogs are booming, but as we always say, those who write blogs are the visible face of a much larger movement: if your dream is to work independently from anywhere that does not mean that your first step has to be to start a blog.
2. Now that you know what to ask yourself. Ask how a blog can help?
What are your goals with the blog? Broadly speaking, we think there are two answers here:
“I want to do it as a hobby”: To share stories and photos with family and friends, to have a memory of your life, to give useful information to other people or just to write but without any professional or commercial purpose.
“I want to have a professional blog”: To turn it into a job, to reach as many people as possible, to sell articles/photographs /products, to be invited to press trips, to earn money and live off that.
4. Having a professional blog costs money
A blog on WordPress need to do the following:
- An own domain: You buy it domains like .com, .info, .net, etc.) and it could cost between $10 and $15 a year. Think about the name, because making the move of a domain can also be a headache if you have no programming knowledge.
- A hosting service: This is a company that will provide the servers or the virtual space for you to upload your content to the internet. The cost is variable, and you can start with a plan of $4-5 dollars per month and go up as your blog grows. The more traffic your page has, the better your hosting plan will have to be. We do not recommend free or very cheap plans.
5. The main investment that a blog requires is your time
We don’t know why blogs have a reputation for being easy. We know that if seen from the outside, everything seems very simple: you sit at the computer, write an article, choose the photos, and two hours later you already have your work ready and something else. That is why there are many people who do not understand that a blog can be a job. But, sorry, did we say two hours?
Hopefully, if so, we would upload at least two posts a day. There are articles that take me eight hours. Some take only days. Others take us weeks. And in the end, this becomes a paradox: you opened a blog to tell your trips, but you are more time in front of the screen than doing other things.
6. You’ll have to learn programming, community management, e-commerce, marketing, SEO optimized content and things you didn’t even know existed
Having a blog is like being an orchestra man: you play all the instruments at once. And they are usually instruments that you have never seen or heard of in your life. We don’t know how many universities include the subject of blogs among their subjects, but we don’t think there are many. This is a very new platform, and much of the learning is done self-taught and forcibly.
7. A blog can take years to bear fruit
Another of the false notions that blogs generate is that they are fast. How to open a blog is something that is done almost immediately (in less than an hour you can have it ready to start) that suggests that once you publish your first article all the internet will be going to see it. At first, your mother, your friends, your Facebook acquaintances will enter, but if your goal is to have thousands of visits a day, start practicing the art of patience and perseverance.
8. If your goal is to monetize it, know that you can and that there are many options besides advertising
There are online and offline ways to monetize a blog:
- The online is direct and traditional: A content marketing strategy’s monetizing methods include advertising banners, google ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, sponsorships. Anything that depends on clicks, page views, traffic, and that generates an almost immediate profit.
- Offline (or indirect) are products or services that the author offers outside the blog, but that is made known through the blog: Online or face-to-face courses, ebooks, books, seminars, webinars, gated communities with exclusive material for its members, tangible products, consultancies, workshops.
8. By having a travel blog, you will not travel for free, at least not right away
We know that one of the biggest dreams is to be able to travel thanks to the blog or, at least, get free stuff. It is not impossible, and there are also several ways to do it, but it is not something that they will achieve from day zero.
9. There are more and more blogs. If you open one, be original and have unique content
If you decide that your thing is to write a blog, then do your best to differentiate yourself. Look for new stories and different approaches. Tell in other ways. Write about topics that you are passionate about. Look for an unexplored niche. Talk to a specific audience (not all users or experts but experts of that age, a content agency for advice and insights of blogging and marketing, or those who blog as a family, or those who want to make an impact and do not dare, and those who go to your favorite destinations in the world).
Take advantage of all the tools but focus on the one you like (photography, videos, writing). Do not write only for SEO (that is, to appear first in Google searches): put your brand and your personality in everything you do. Do not copy or repeat something just because it worked for someone else: in the long run, that affects the seriousness of a blog and makes the whole item become homogeneous. Think about what you can contribute that has not been saying. Offer added value. Use your voice and speak sincerely from your experience. And above all, work hard, be constant, and be patient. Everything that is done with dedication pays off.