You have to start somewhere, right? When it comes to blogging no one has a perfect start, after all, all starts are messy. But there are things you can do to make you're beginning look more like you're an experienced blogger.
My blogging start was in January of 2011 and there have been hundreds of posts between then and now. Little did I know in 2011 by 2013 I would start earning revenue because of blogging. Because I was willing to share thoughts around innovation it would lead to opportunities to speak, which would lead to opportunities to consult, which would lead to offering services, and all of this would eventually lead to my wife and I starting a business together in 2014.
Do you think you could have a similar story?
You really should.
Why? Because each of us have the potential to build something online based on natural abilities and talents. However, I've watched a lot of people start blogging and few make it more than a year and even less end up making any sort of revenue from it. But there are things you can do to accelerate your blog success so you move from a hobby blog to a profitable blog.
Here's how to accelerate your blog past beginner to professional.
The Right URL - Naming your blog should be a lot like naming your dog, don't over think it. Your blog will begin with friends and family but to grow past that crowd you have to imagine a stranger trying to tell another stranger your URL. A great recommendation is using your name...unless you have a last name like Voigt, which 98% of people misspell. This is why we changed our URL when we became a business, we needed an easier URL to share.
Rarely, do I take a blog seriously that has .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com. I don't say that to be mean, it's that blogs with those addresses typically aren't around very long because the author hasn't invested anything personally into them. If you don't believe enough in what you have to share to invest in it, than it doesn't make sense for me to follow your blog because the chances of it being around in a year are slim. URL's are part of the modern day window front, it's the distinguishing difference between a more modern Zanga site and someone who is blogging as an entrepreneur. Having a self hosted site, meaning you can be found at somethingpeopleremember.com, says to your readers you've made an investment to own your own online space.
Focused - If you want your blog to really be help people, you need to focus in on something you have overcome, or something that is uniquely you in order to give your readers a story worth following. (We think this post on blog focus by Jeff Goins is super helpful) Otherwise, you're journaling and nothing is wrong with that as long as journaling is your end goal. But the reality that most new bloggers miss is that your life is not interesting enough to develop a tribe. And neither is mine. A focused blogger will identify how life has apprenticed them to lead and participate within a specific tribe because tribes form around a similar idea or life experience.
Scheduled - The biggest mistake I made in the beginning was posting all the time, any time, and about anything. I was actually making it harder to follow my blog. Plus, I was running through content - any content that came to mind instead of focusing like I mentioned before. I started to read how pro-bloggers knew their audience and also knew how often their audience wanted to hear from them. Your blog being on a schedule is the best indicator your writing for your tribe instead of trying to write enough to be discovered. Consistency is far better than volume and professionals create a sustainable pace. A blogging schedule helps your readers stay engaged with your newest content.
Custom Graphics - New bloggers will try their best to make their site look unique. I did what most new bloggers do, I used personal images in an attempt to brand my site. However, this is a newbie give away. Paying a small amount of money to have graphics customized for your site makes a big difference in appearance. If you're not ready to front the money for a graphic designer, than take advantage of a service provider like www.fiverr.com. I would encourage you to hire a professional if you really want your blog to look great and we have a terrific graphic designer in the Factory who's ready to serve you. Graphics are a small change you can make to take a BIG step forward into having a blog that looks professional.
What pro-bloggers know that new bloggers don't is that your blog can be professional before you are. Also know there is nothing wrong with being a hobby blogger as long as your long term goal is to have a hobby. But, if you're wanting to help people, to lead a tribe, we suggest you try these changes so your tribe find a site that demonstrates authority instead of finding a digital diary.
I'd like to end on this note though: The goal here is for you to be uniquely you. Does that make sense? More often than not, another bloggers look or another bloggers size of audience or another blogger's life is what you are trying to emulate.
But that's exhausting.
You should produce what only you can produce and you should be proud of it. Daring greatly and offering a part of who you are on the internet should be valued and respected by yourself first. Much like your home, people want to do life with you when they get to come in and find space that is attractive and becomes familiar to them. These small tweaks to your blog are doing the same thing to your online home for your tribe to engage with this unique thing that makes you - you.