Beth uses the internet to work from home. Modern technology has made it both easy and profitable.
What Is a Blog? Do You Need One?
A blog is an online journal containing your thoughts and opinions on different aspects of life. The word blog is a compressed form of the words web and log. Anyone can start one, but not every blog pulls in readers or generates much income for the blogger. Everyone who is anyone seems to have an online journal these days, and you may be tempted to start one of your own.
Before you put hours of time and effort into creating your blog, think about why you want one and whether you actually need one. There are thousands of blogs on the Internet, and it is not just chance that causes some to become successful while others fail. It helps if you understand what draws readers to your site and how you will measure its success. I recommend the book Write Blog Posts Readers Love. It has some great tips on how to engage with your online audience.
8 Ways to Increase Reader Engagement
- Decide on a clear aim and purpose
- Start each post or article with a great image
- Target a niche market
- Give your posts personality
- Engage with your followers on social media
- Build email lists
- Understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Monetize your site
1. Decide on a Clear Aim and Purpose
Before you start writing posts for your blog, you should be clear about what you want to achieve. A successful online journal requires commitment, a lot of time and energy, and a little money, too. Before you rush headlong into it, think about the following.
You are sharing your thoughts with the world. Are you speaking on behalf of a particular interest group, or are your posts a personal record of your day-to-day concerns? You may be writing a blog to connect with others who are passionate about a particular hobby or religion. Or is the aim of your blog to generate an income? How about the impact on your independence of thought that using third-party referrals, advertising, or affiliate marketing could entail?
You may be campaigning for a change in the law, or raising money for a favorite charity. A blog can be stand-alone, or it can be part of a larger website. Do you want to use your blog as a selling platform? Perhaps you are a craftsperson or an author who has goods to sell. Or maybe you want your website or blog to become a marketplace for others, taking a commission on sales? When you know why you have started your blog and what you hope to achieve, then you can focus on the best ways to attract web traffic.
Creating a successful blog or website that attracts thousands of readers will take time and effort. The best bloggers achieve visitor figures in the millions. They earn good money from their work, and their posts are read by people in virtually every country across the globe.
2. Start Each Post or Article With a Great Image
First impressions count, even in the world of blogging. The first image of each post is often displayed as a thumbnail when that page appears in search listings. Make sure this key visual stands out in the search results. It should catch the attention of the reader so that they become curious and click through to read more of your writing.
People will view your blog using a variety of devices. When you plan the layout of your pages, remember to think about how they will look on cell phones as well as tablets and PC computers. The positioning of any adverts or affiliate links is also important. Do they distract from your blog posts? If there are too many, they can annoy a reader and reduce the potential for repeat traffic.
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3. Target a Niche Market
There are hundreds of thousands of other blogs online. Many of these are in direct competition with yours. Remember that readers are not limited by geographical boundaries, they can access the internet from anywhere at any time. Even language need not be a barrier, as it’s easy to use services such as Google Translate.
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You need to make your blog unique so that it stands out from the crowd. One way to do this is to focus on a niche subject in which you have specialist knowledge. A good blogger knows their target market and writes on topics that are under-reported on the internet. You should check out potential competitors so that you can differentiate your blog from theirs.
4. Give Your Posts Personality
Successful bloggers tend to be those that display personality in their writing. If readers are looking for facts, they check out an encyclopedia or refer to an academic body. The internet has made access to such authoritative sources easier than ever before. So, if you want readers to visit your site and engage with you, there needs to be something more than just facts in your blog posts; you need to make your blog entries personal.
Effective online authors include personal anecdotes; they demonstrate unique knowledge and experience of the topic they are writing about. Many of them invite reader feedback, as this can increase repeat visits to the blog. Comments on an article can start a dialogue, and these can help establish you as a real person. It also helps to have an “about me” page to give readers some background information about your life experience that makes you an authority on the blog topic.
5. Engage With Your Followers on Social Media
Love it or loathe it, social media is a great way to raise your profile. Bloggers frequently share links to their posts on online social networks. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn are popular platforms, but the best ones for you will depend upon your target market.
All social media sites publish information about the age, sex, and location of their users, so check out the statistics, and try to build a following on sites relevant to your audience. The more people who see your blog posts in their feed, the better chance you have of successfully monetizing your blog or website.
6. Build Email Lists
Building an email list of site visitors is another option to connect with your readers. You can use their details to notify them of new blog posts or general news about the site, and this will encourage repeat visits from them. If you are selling a book or other item through your blog, you could use the list to promote a special discount or time-limited offer. But make sure your list complies with any data-protection laws that are in force, in particular those relating to North America and Europe.
7. Understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Site visitors often find your blog through its content appearing in search results. When you add new material to your site, write with this in mind. There are many search engines, and they each use different algorithms to order their results. The way these algorithms work is a commercial secret, so comments relating to the use of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques are based on guesswork.
It has been suggested that to appear high up in Google search results, you need to add new items to your blog regularly. It seems that fresh material from authority sources is given preference in search rankings. In order for your site to gain authority, it needs to have age, quality, and quantity. In other words, the longer your blog posts are, and the greater the frequency with which you add new posts, the more your website could gain authority in the eyes of search engines.
To make your site appear in search engine listings, you also need to think about keywords. Some people recommend that you use commonly searched-for words or phrases in your blog posts. This is supposed to increase their chance of appearing in search results. However, such keywords change on a day-to-day basis, and so they cannot be defined with certainty. My advice? Keep writing and adding new posts. Concentrate on quality and quantity, and eventually, your writing will get noticed online.
8. Monetize Your Site
Monetizing a site means creating an income stream from your hard work. You can use your blog or website to sell something you make or a service you provide. The amount you earn from this will depend on your skill and reputation. Selling your own or other people’s ebooks from your site is another option
Some bloggers use adverts through a program like AdSense to monetize their writing. There are many to choose from, but Google AdSense is one of the biggest. You choose where on the page you want the ads to appear, and Google places the ads and pays you a few pennies each time someone clicks through on one.
You can also use referral links, either in-text or through banner ads. Many big companies have such affiliate or partnership programs; Amazon is a major example. Again, you receive a payment if someone uses your link to get to the advertiser’s website. However, some of these income streams are only possible if you have access to PayPal or a US bank account. Your money-making options may therefore be limited if you live in a country blacklisted by PayPal.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.