What It Takes To Become A Professional Blogger?

So what does it really take to make it big in the blog world, and, for that matter, the Web world as well? Of course there isn’t some instant mantra that you can follow to get blogging success, but by following these simple tips, you can make your mark and, probably, generate income.

Team Digit made some wonderful points on their magazine supplemetary: Fast Track to blogging. Please read on…

Professional blogging usually means that you are becoming an authority on some specific topic area. This will mean that at times you will need to take the extra effort to do stuff which you may consider tedious, boring and not cool. For example as part of your blog you may be required to review different graphic designer software tools. It may be that you have a preference for one particular tool and really dislike another. You will need to be objective and be able to articulate why you dislike a particular and learn to separate the “facts from the fiction” of your personal likes and dislikes. That is not to say you should not express your likes and dislikes. One of the advantages of being a popular blogger is the level of authority that you can command with your reader population. If you can clearly state why you dislike something it will get your fans thinking along those lines and they may agree with you. Of course they may also disagree.

Of course since blogging involves the written word you will need to practice writing. And there is no better way to do that than by—what else—maintaining a blog. Inculcating the habit of writing will help you cross the first major milestone on your road to blogging success. To be a professional blogger the first requirement is to have tons of visitors. This can be achieved only one way. Have plenty of good original content that is readable again and again. When you start out blogging this is your primary goal. Attracting visitors will naturally mean deciding on your topic area or niche. To decide on your niche is no small task. As a general rule of thumb, chose a niche where you have some level of interest. This is a motivational factor that can make or break your blog. As long as you are able to consistently sustain a level of interest in a chosen subject area you will be able to blog on it. The next step is to define your audience in as broad terms as possible. For example if you are a Photoshop fan and you want to blog on it—it might be a better choice to keep your blogging to the entire gambit of Graphic Designing. Thus you will not only be able to maintain the interest level you will also have a much wider range of topics to choose from. Additionally, your audience will not be just limited to Photoshop users.

Goal setting will help clarify and remove doubts about what the blog is supposed to do. Start with a plan and be ready to change it if things are not working out expected. This is the entrepreneurial mind set. The Web and blogging is a highly fluid and dynamic environment and you have to be on your toes to find out the latest opportunity that you can capitalize on. Just like you never leave the table till the last person has finished eating, blogging too has, over the years, developed its own etiquette and mannerisms that one should keep in mind when speaking to the world. Think of the blog as your newspaper that a whole bunch of people are giving their time to. You wouldn’t want to inadvertently put them off now, would you?

Be Prepared To Have No Readers!
At the beginning, it is quite likely that the only person who visits your blog is you. Things are usually slow when it comes to visitors on blogs. Remember that there are millions of blogs on the web all vying for readers’ time, and though you’re not just another blogger, you are just another blogger in the bigger picture. To build a loyal reader base you need to be persevering enough to go a long time with a very few set of visitors. But perseverance does pay and will pay in the long run. Be persistent and consistent and you will see the results soon enough.

Consistency Pays
The blogosphere is littered with one post and ten post blogs. If you wish to make a name or earn an income from blogging you will need to be there posting to your blog regularly. If today is April and your last post was in January, the likelihood of anyone reading your blog is slim to nil. With blogging, you have to be regular. This is not to say that you should think of it as a daily chore, but more that you need to have at least some schedule of regularity in your updates. You may choose to write every day, or you may choose to write once or twice a week. Whatever the regularity you decide, stick to it. It is the only way you can try and ensure regular visitors at your blog. Choose a regularity that you are sure you can keep.

Be Inspired, Don’t Copy
One of the biggest turns offs to blog readers is plagiarized content or using somebody else’s material and passing it off as your own. You have to have your own style when blogging. Developing your own style and voice in your writing will take time. There are no shortcuts. Now this style can be ‘inspired’ from the writing style of somebody else, but it cannot be a direct rip-off. You just can’t afford to be seen as a copy-cat. If you want to use somebody else’s material be sure to cite the source and provide a link back to the site from where you got the information. If you want to directly use the text of what is said on the other site enclose it in quotes “…” and preface it with something like “xyz.com reports” or “according to xyz.com” and so on.

Be Controversial, but careful
Being controversial is sometimes a sign of independence. Of course, many times it’s an attempt to get popular quickly and cheaply. If you decide to be controversial for whatever reason: to increase the popularity of your blog, because you strongly feel about something or any other reason—do not lose your sense of civility. It’s true that your blog is like your own kingdom and what you say on it is entirely within your right to expression. However, if you have voices of dissent on your blog you should, as a matter of courtesy, allow them to be aired. Don’t just allow positive comments. Be ready to handle both the praise and criticism. Of course you may choose to edit or delete comments that are full of four letter words and foul language. Allowing both praise and criticism on your blog will send clear signals to your readers. You will jump up in their esteem as a serious blogger who is willing to allow discussion both sides of an issue. Otherwise, you risk losing their respect and being labeled as a propaganda swilling, pompous, self-adulatory windbag!

Own Up To Mistakes
Bloggers are an unforgiving lot, especially those who’ve been around for a few years. You’ve got to be particular about any claims you make and make sure that you’ve got your bases covered and your facts right. It’s always advisable to stray from purposeless claim making, especially if it’s about some sensitive issue. But if you do end up making a mistake, own up and own up fast. Mistakes are quick to be noticed and quick to be criticized. They can seriously damage your reputation as a blogger and affect the number of visitors you get at your blog.

Reputation
As with most things these days, you need to have some reputation to make a mark. And that reputation needs to be built. The easy way to build your reputation is by becoming an expert in any particular area that you are especially interested in. This is easy. Choose any topic of interest and research it on the Internet for six months and you will know more about it than most people. Reputation as a consistent blogger with an informed and well-articulated point of view will more or less guarantee a loyal group of frequent readers. You also need good rep to ensure that what you say is ‘bought’ by your readers. Otherwise, you’re just another chap with a big mouth.
Finally, do not give up your day job just yet. Success in blogging is not a short-term possibility. You will need to “nurture and water” your blog so that it grows both in content quality and readership. A formal written objective will help keep you focused on the task and enable you to benchmark yourself for success. Pay attention to what is happening and analyze the reasons for success so that you can build on it as well as the reasons for failure so that you can take corrective action. The road to becoming a successful, financially independent blogger is long and hard but the rewards of reaching your goal can be very satisfying.

REFERENCES:
1. Digit Team, Fast Track to Blogging, Digit Magazine, 2007. Retrieved 2013-10-12.

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