Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Is blogging still something that you can succeed at for 2020? Well, that really depends on several factors. If you want to start a blog to make money on the side, there’s a lot more to it than just creating a bunch of posts.
And the more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes. Of course, this also depends on what you view as “success.”
Are you trying to replace a full-time income, marketing yourself as a freelancer, or just looking to be social?
Starting a Blog in 2020
Perhaps 20 years ago, it was easy to create a blog and instantly attract a large number of people. But as the years march on, the ocean of content on the Internet gets larger and deeper.
I won’t say that it’s impossible to achieve your writing goals. But the longer you wait to start, the more difficult it becomes in the long run.
What Motivates You to Start a Blog?
Everyone has their own views and motivations behind starting a blog. For instance, I created WriterSanctuary.com to help others learn how to do what I do while giving me a way to keep an eye on my own progress over the years.
It wasn’t until much later that I added monetizing to the mix. My purpose wasn’t about making money, but to help others.
Ask yourself, “Why do I want to start a blog?” Because answering that question will ultimately help sculpt how you put the rest of your site together.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Your target audience isn’t going to be anyone who visits the site. You’re not going to attract everyone on the Internet. Not even Google or YouTube has that capacity.
Who do you want reading your content? Are you communicating to gamers, health nuts, or just wanting to share your life story online?
Knowing who you are trying to reach is going to greatly affect your success. For instance, most of my visitors come to this site for Textbroker help. I’m not trying to attract people who are looking for a good place to go fishing in Colorado.
Do You Have a Plan for the Site?
A lot of bloggers will simply start a website, throw some wet content on the wall, and hope it sticks. Unfortunately, these kinds of sites are much more difficult to develop.
A niched-down blog attracts a specific audience who are more likely to engage with your content. And having a plan of action centering around your blog will make it easier to maintain.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful jumping into blogging without a plan. My point is having a clear path is easier to walk than going into it blind.
How Much Effort Are You Really Going to Put In?
Now, this is perhaps the most vital of all points regarding starting a blog in 2020…how much effort are you really going to put in?
I’m not just talking about writing posts, either. There are a lot of things that go into maintaining a successful website.
For example, you need to worry about:
- Proper maintenance of themes and plugins, especially if you use something like WordPress.
- Making sure the website stays fast and efficient, especially for mobile users.
- Marketing the website, because no one is going to visit if they don’t know it exists.
- Being active on social media, as it will vastly improve visits to your blog if done right.
- Creating high-quality content for visitors and search engines.
If you want a website that can generate thousands of views per day, you’ll have to put in a lot of effort.
Are You Going Free Blog or Paid Hosting?
There is a massive difference between free and paid hosting when you start a blog. For one thing, you’re not able to properly monetize on most free platforms. So, if you’re looking to make money, you don’t want to use free systems.
But, free blogging is helpful if you’re looking to get your name out there, give yourself some writing practice, or experiment in general. In fact, I know of several sites that started off as free and grew into much bigger blogs over time.
Personally, I prefer to pay for hosting because it gives you so much more in terms of control.
The bottom line is that paid hosting is just better in a variety of ways for various purposes. So you need to consider that before you decide to launch your own blog.
9 Things to Consider to Start a Blog in 2020
OK, so let’s say that you’ve weighed all of the above and are committed to setting up a blog. Before you pay for hosting or sign up for a free account somewhere, consider the following.
All of these points will affect how you approach starting a blog and whether it’s successful or not.
1. Don’t Expect Instant Riches
One thing I see a lot of bloggers fall into is the trap of thinking they’ll make tons of money overnight. In some cases, I blame “inspiring” YouTubers. Most of them tout how awesome their blogs are doing and make promises you can do it, too.
The reality is that it can take months if not years to reach certain levels of success.
It’s not very common for money or traffic to come rolling in once you start a blog. It takes a lot of work, marketing prowess and thoroughly understanding your target audience.
2. Content is King
I know there are a lot of “experts” out there who say you can bring in the traffic with a single blog post per month. But, in an age of information, one post is limiting to what you can really achieve.
For example, let’s say you want to build a blog on healthy ways to eat. Why would you limit the post to just once per month since there are thousands of ways to prepare healthy food?
You’re missing out on people who are looking for other recipes and information.
Having lots of high-quality, informative and engaging content lets you branch out the blog to reach the widest audience possible. Just make sure you’re creating content someone is going to want to read.
3. Quality is Better than Quantity
As I just mentioned, quality is imperative over quantity. You don’t want to just toss anything up on your site because you think you “need” content.
It’s better to take your time to create something that will connect with the visitor than to just spout randomness. And keeping track of your target audience will guide you to what to create next.
4. You Need to Market the Blog
Although organic search is probably going to provide the most traffic to your website, don’t forget to market it yourself. Remember, no one is going to read it if he or she doesn’t know it exists.
Some great ways to promote your website is to:
- Use Social Sharing Apps
Social sharing apps like Buffer and Hootsuite work great to blast your new blog post on social sites. WriterSanctuary.com uses the Publicize module in Jetpack to share each post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Use YouTube to Promote the Blog
Creating video content is great for marketing your site. It helps bring in traffic while promoting yourself on the platform to build an even greater audience.
- Respond on Forum and Question Sites
I’ve generated a bit of traffic by offering my expertise on sites like Quora.com. I’ve also seen huge boosts from Reddit questions. Just make sure your links are natural and support the answer you’re providing.
My point is that you’ll have to do a lot of external marketing to get your site in front of as many people as possible.
5. Pay Attention to Trends and News
Paying close attention to what is happening in your preferred niche is helpful to keep your content relevant. You don’t necessarily need to create news pieces…in fact, I don’t usually do them because I prefer evergreen content.
But, paying attention to what is going on can open the doors to future content as well as making sure you’re providing current information.
I often scan through Google Trends or search specific keywords in Google News to see if anything new is going on.
6. Be Genuine
One of the best compliments I get from the YouTube channel is how genuine I am. This means I have a penchant for being honest and up-front with people.
In essence, I want you to succeed as well as I have, if not more.
Be yourself when creating content and don’t try to make something sound better or worse than it actually is. Most people relish honesty.
7. Find Viable Ways to Monetize
I know there are tons of ways you can monetize when you start a blog. The problem is, not all of them are going to fit your situation. And many require a huge investment of time.
You need to find methods that will pay out the best in your specific case. Don’t get sucked into those listicles that spout off 100s of ways to make money, even though most of them suck.
Each monetizing method is going to require something from you. Starting a podcast? It’s going to take as much time to grow an audience as a blog. Want to sell your own goods? You need the upfront costs of eCommerce.
Weigh your options and grow into what you want to do with the website. Don’t overwhelm yourself within the first two weeks. You don’t want to burn out before your blog has a chance to grow.
8. Don’t Underestimate Mind Mapping
I recently did a live broadcast of mind mapping and how it can help. Mind mapping is when you write down a specific topic and then toss in ideas. In this case, you create a web, or map, of the different things you came up with.
It’s a way to expand your creativity while helping you visualize what it is you want to accomplish.
The best part is that many mind mapping services have free starter accounts. And in my case, that’s all I’ve really needed. Personally, I use Mindomo for just about everything.
9. Use Productivity Apps Like Asana
One of the biggest problems I’ve had in the past was scheduling. If you can block your time and maintain a schedule of what you need to do, it’ll vastly increase your chances of success when you start a blog.
I like using Asana. I can create tasks, invite up to 15 people to join me, keep track of what has been completed and more. Plus, it’s another free system that is loaded with features.
But remember, having a schedule is only half of the journey. You’ll need to maintain it and follow through. It’s all about effort.
A Successful Blog Starts with You
Don’t assume that you can just start a blog and have the traffic come rolling in. There’s a lot of work that goes into reaching pinnacles of success.
It’ll no doubt get easier over time. But those first few months will require a lot of motivation and determination on your part. Otherwise, you’ll have a blog that has very little growth…
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