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Blogging: What’s Behind the “Perfect Job” and How to Become a Blogger

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

Who hasn’t thought of starting a blog! With at least 5 attempts to launch one, I am no exception. Yet, as soon as it required a little more attention, time and effort than an average hobby would, I quit. No wonder I lost both my active audience and enthusiasm to continue. But more and more people are getting serious about personal blogs that are even sometimes replacing their main occupation. In today’s article we’ll dive into the blogging phenomenon together with Founders Club.

What’s a blog and what’s it for?

A blog is an online journal or diary, which is a website, or a page on a social network, or a section on a specialized blogging platform, whose content is regularly updated and available for comment.

In fact, every blog is a kind of startup at the intersection of MediaTech and MarketingTech. Like a traditional startup, each blog is unique, is based on the founder's enthusiasm, and its success depends directly on how well its content matches the interests of the audience.

The term "blog" itself was coined in 1997 by the programmer Jorn Barger, who also created the first FAQ on blogging. Back in the day people used blogs to exchange news, opinions, experiences, and communicate. Check out the link to see what Jorn’s FAQ looked like. Thus, Jorn addresses questions like “how hard is it to be a blogger” or “what makes a good comment”.

Basically, the blog function remains the same, but there are many more content types. Besides, more and more people are starting a blog, not only and not so much for communication and exchanging experience, but also for profit. Companies also run their blogs to grow their audience and maintain their loyalty. Many organizations do not know a more effective tool than a blog for brand development and boosting sales.

While the main advantage of blogging used to be the chance to communicate with like-minded people, today, with the right approach, blogging allows you to attract an audience that opens a number of opportunities to the blogger from channel monetization to developing a personal brand, launching other projects and finding partners.

For example, many professionals get rewarding jobs or side-hustles and development opportunities through personal blogs — even if it’s just on social media that showcase their skills and knowledge, help them stand out from the crowd, and demonstrate their authority to employers.

While you can have a blog about literally anything  — there is perhaps no niche with less than several dozen blogs —  there are only three main blog types:

Personal blog. Here the blogger runs the show, posts about their life, interests and hobbies. 

Niche blog. Covers a certain range of topics that have to do with experience, knowledge and skills of a blogger: this could be traveling, TV series, fashion, finance or lifestyle.

Company’s blog. Such blogs aim to attract a target audience by publishing relevant content. 

Statistics

According to Oberlo, over two billion blog posts are published annually. Another impressive figure is 6,7 million people who post regularly. The largest blog platform is Tumblr, with over 517 million blogs as of 2021. 

According to recent research by SEMrush, the most popular blog content format is text message, or post, that 9 out of 10 bloggers use. The average post is 1,500-2,000 words. As a general rule, the more detailed the problem is, the higher the quality of the post and, accordingly, the blog. Longer posts are more beneficial in terms of both quality and SEO.

The time it takes to prepare a piece of content is growing. In 2021, bloggers spend 67% more time on one post than in 2014.

Content promotion for bloggers is just as important as creation, and social media plays an important role here — according to Statista, in 2020 almost all bloggers used social media promotion. There are 3.5 billion social media users in the world — you don’t want to neglect such an audience, do you?

How often should you post? According to statistics, businesses that publish at least 16 blog posts per month get 3.5x more traffic than companies with fewer than four posts.

Interestingly, in recent years, there has been a decline in the percentage of respondents who report good results from blogging. At the same time, 23% of bloggers either cannot assess the results of their work, or are disappointed with them.

Working as a blogger: pros and cons

Many people are inspired by the idea of starting their own blog, because in a sense, this is a dream job. Everyone is more or less aware of the benefits of blogging, but let's recap once again:

  • You have no boss: your main and only boss is you, only you choose when and how long you work.

  • Through working with content, you will learn a lot and train your journalism / writing skills, as well as your storytelling skills.

  • You are always the focus of your audience, depending on the popularity of your blog, you might even be a celebrity. And if you are a good blogger (and we have no doubt about it), you inspire people to overcome their fears, laziness, doubts, low self-esteem and do what they dreamed about for a long time, but did not dare.

  • No income ceiling.

At the same time, blogging also has a number of downsides: 

  • You must always be public: be active on your socials, respond to comments, participate in events, think over your own PR campaigns. When developing your blog, it is important to reach as many people as possible, and social media, PR activities are the most proven ways to do this.

  • Even though you are your own boss as a blogger, you may not always be able to write / say what you want. For your channel to be successful, it's important to serve the interests of your audience. Therefore, the approximate ratio of topics that are interesting to you personally, and topics that are interesting to your audience, will be at best 1:5. That is, basically, you need to write and talk not exactly about what you would like to write and talk about.

  • Since you need to constantly work on content, there is no way you can go on a proper vacation for more than a week and a half.

  • You cannot always control the results of your blog: a blog promotion strategy is not an exact science. Views may drop, audience interest may switch to another channel with similar content.

  • You will come across haters and trolls who ruin all the fun of communicating with your readers.

  • A lot of routine work (for example, content design, editing, working with illustrations, responding to comments) —  especially at first, when you can’t afford to outsource something.

How to get started

If you type “How to become a blogger” in Google, you will receive 774 thousand links —  this is the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet, and (attention!) 8 billion 770 million — in the English-speaking segment. The blogging world is fiercely competitive, but it's probably worth it, isn't it?

Here's a quick guide to becoming a blogger from a mere mortal:

Step 1. Choose your blog type (check out the 1st part of the article) and niche — the topic you want to work with, or better a few, so that there is plenty to choose from.

Step 2. Research the market: the size of the audience and its interests, and then decide on the final topic of the blog. It is very important that the topic is interesting to you, that you are passionate about it: after all, there is more to blogging than just content writing, it’s also about communication with readers and discussion.

Step 3. Choose the name and the platform. The name should be capacious and memorable, and the site should be the one where your audience spends the most time. Sign up.

Step 4. Design your blog and logo. It takes effort to get your content noticed and your blog remembered. Be sure to think over an attractive design, corporate colors, your own "chips" so that the audience will recognize your visual style.

Step 5. Make your 1st post. Ideally, it's best to prepare multiple posts so that your blog doesn't have a problem updating content at first.

Step 6. Work on promotion: tell about your blog on all your social networks, give links to it in your profiles in messengers and accounts on other sites, tell about your project in the media that your audience reads (you don't have to pay for this; if you come up with an interesting topic and feed, the editors will gladly meet you halfway, because everyone needs good content) and, of course, use paid promotion opportunities.

Step 7. Monetize your hobby. Be that connecting ad units, native ads, paid posting —  think about which format suits your project best and don't miss out on the benefits.

FAQ: everything you need to know to get started

What's more important: content quality or quantity?

At first glance, quality and quantity are equally important. Quality makes subscribers come back, ensures audience loyalty, makes the blogger more authoritative in their niche. The number keeps the interest. If a person is curious about a blog, they will subscribe to it, save it, and follow it.

However, if you don’t post, your followers are likely to unsubscribe, or forget about you. So if you're serious about blogging, post regularly: if you find it difficult to stick to a preselected format, think of others that are simpler and less time-consuming.

Why are all bloggers chasing traffic?

The more traffic, the more opportunities for monetization. If there is a lot of traffic, most likely, it comes from different sources, each of which can be useful and generate additional income.

Does a blogger need a content plan?

Creativity and inspiration are good, but what if you run out of ideas and lack of content kills your blog? A plan is a tool that allows you to take into account the interests of your audience, prepare content, help in developing a blog, and (as a bonus) keep some time to just enjoy life. 

It's easy to understand what your audience likes: analytics of previous blog posts, readers' comments, popular posts from competitors, special services for analyzing the frequency of keywords (see the section below!) —  all this will help you. Study and generate your blog topics, and when inspiration comes, no one forbids you to adjust the plan.

Should you do technical work yourself or outsource it?

There is some value in being able to do all the technical work for a blog yourself — however, this is only good at first. When a blog starts generating money, it is better to hand over all the technical work to professionals —  personal time is more expensive.

Blogging tools and services

As you already understood, blogging is quite a time consuming task. However, there are many tools to simplify the process. At the end of the article, we publish a selection of services and platforms that will simplify your work and help make your content really high-quality and memorable.

1. Blog hosting tools. This includes all sites where your blog can be hosted. Regardless of whether you have chosen to host your blog at Medium, Wordpress, CMS Hub, Ghost, Telegram, Facebook or elsewhere — make sure to spend some time exploring the platform's functionality. You will not believe how much the same Telegram can do and, perhaps, you will be shocked by the CMS Hub functionality. It will definitely pay off! 

2. Audience software. There’s little chance to succeed unless you know what your audience is interested in. Make My Persona is a tool that helps visualize your reader. This comes in handy when planning content: thanks to such “reader personalities” you create the right content that will both satisfy your audience and attract new people. If you want to know more on the matter and dive deeper into audience research, check out the link.

3. Services for working with keywords. Yes, SEO is a must for any blogger. Semrush is a tool for keyword research, tracking their frequency, site auditing, and traffic analysis. The service shows the main competitors, and also provides information on which keywords they use to attract paid traffic, in which regions they are present. 

Another instrument in the segment is Google Keywords Planner. It's free to use, only you need a Google Ads account. 

Another Google instrument is Google Trends. It helps you find out how search queries are changing on your topic — for example, by frequency, by region. This will help create a content strategy that incorporates seasonal trends, for example. 

4. Idea platforms. Quora is a Q&A site. After studying it, you will get the top questions on your topic that are most interesting to people. Analogue in the Russian-speaking segment is Яндекс.Кью. 

Another similar tool is Topics on Twitter. Thanks to it, you can select interesting trends and follow them: news and tweets will automatically appear in your feed. 

Need more inspiration? Welcome to Blog Ideas Generator: here you just need to enter the topics you want to write about and click on the magic button. The tool is free!

5. Content creation tools. Use Hemingway App for English texts and Главред for Russian ones: these are the platforms that will help you analyze how your posts are read. 

Portent content generator is a tool that generates catchy headlines based on keywords.

Headline Analyzer will help find out how your readers react to specertain headlines. The service calculates the emotional marketing value of headlines. If you use it correctly, you will be able to present your content in such a way that the audience will remember, share, like and comment on it.

6. Imaging tools. Posts with images get 90% more views than those without them. But how do you get quality blog images? 

Design Wizard is a tool for creating visual content: infographics, banners and other illustrations. Canva is a program for creating images and templates. VistaCreate is an online editor with a huge database of stock images, ready-made animations and video clips. 

***

Got inspired? Then welcome to the startup world: join the Founders Club to keep up with the industry insights. It’s much more fun to be a blogger or — why not — work on a startup together. Join us!

18 Jan 2022

 

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