More than 64 million new blog posts are published on WordPress blogs every month. Which means if you’re new to blogging, or thinking about starting a new blog from scratch, competing against the already established players can be a daunting task.
There’s already so much competition that I won’t blame you if you give up after publishing 1 or 2 posts.
However, if you’re smarter than the average blogger, there are still ways you can make a name for yourself, and a lot of money, in almost any niche.
In fact, if you look closely, you only need to do a few things well on a consistent basis to generate regular traffic to your blog, build a loyal readership and open up possibilities of monetization.
Let me explain them one by one
1. Focus on a Very Specific Niche and a Well-Defined Audience
If your next blog is about weight loss and healthy living, stop!
Narrow your focus down to something like “post pregnancy weight loss tips” or “healthy living for heart patients over 50”
Instead of creating a blog on freelancing in general, start a blog for freelance bloggers or freelance graphic designers. You can be even more specific by targeting certain countries and locations. For example, freelance graphic designers from India.
The more niche you go the higher your chances of success.
Why? Because targeting a small niche, instead of a very broad audience, allows you to create laser-focused blog content that solves problems and establishes you as an expert.
Google also loves blogs that are focused on a single niche or a small group of closely related topics.
In short, choosing the right niche can be the difference between a wildly successful and a completely useless blog.
2. Answer the Biggest Questions of Your Audience With Your Content
Millions of new blog posts are published every day, but most of them hardly get any traffic.
If you don’t want to be one of them, identify the right topics for your blog content.
The best way to do this is by identifying the biggest problems and questions of your target audience. Things that they want to know more about.
Even when you’re creating promotional content like product reviews and comparisons, keep the benefit of your readers ahead of everything else. Ask yourself if your content is solving a problem or simply adding to the noise. This detailed product comparison post is a fine example
There are several ways to identify the topics your audience wants to know more about.
You can use discussion forums like Quora, Reddit and LinkedIn groups, or look for niche specific discussion forums.
Or you could use Answer The Public, a brilliant free tool that helps you find dozens of questions people are asking about your topic.
For example, this is what got when I searched for the term “make money online” [click image to enlarge]
Every one of these questions is a potential blog post topic.
Simply download the list of questions and start creating detailed and actionable step by step guidelines that can help your audience move forward.
Remember, the only way to get your content noticed is by making it super actionable. Don’t just tell people what to do, show them how it’s done.
Create content that solves the problems of your readers but also don’t forget to follow on-page SEO best practices before publishing your posts so that you attract traffic from Google as well.
3. Use Lead Magnets to Build Your Email List from Day 1
To build a successful blog, you need to diversify your traffic sources so that you don’t go out of business with one Google algorithm change.
Which is why you need to build your email list from day 1.
Your email subscribers know you, trust you and are much likelier to read your content and buy from you.
But not every subscriber is useful for your business.
You need to attract email subscribers who can turn into paying customers in future.
To achieve this, you need to create a highly focused email lead magnet – a free eBook, a video course, an email course or any other incentive for joining your list.
Create a lead magnet that is closely aligned with your paid services.
For example, if you’re selling website design services through your blog, your potential lead magnet could be “10 Deadly Sins of Web Design” or “21 Point Website Design Checklist”
The primary audience of BloggingTips consists of people who want to make money with blogging.
Which is why Zac’s free course “30-Day Blog Mastery Videos” is the perfect lead magnet for his audience.
The right lead magnet will start converting your traffic into subscribers. So put it in place from the very first day.
But if you really want to accelerate the list building process, market your lead magnet using Facebook ads. It might cost you a few hundred dollars, but it would save you months or even years of hard work required to get subscribers organically.
4. Establish a Strong Relationship With Your Audience Using Email Marketing
Once your email lead magnet is in place and starts attracting subscribers, make sure you keep them engaged with smart email marketing.
In fact, you need to have a pre-designed autoresponder series in place to nurture the relationship with your subscribers and convince them to buy the products you recommend or create yourself.
Create engaging email content that talks directly to your subscribers in a very informal and conversational tone. Ask them questions and encourage them to pick your brains. The more they engage with you, the quicker your relationship will grow.
This email marketing infographic sums up the topic pretty well.
When your audience is used to reading and interacting with your emails, your chances of driving action from them are much higher.
This is exactly why the most successful internet marketers and bloggers consider email subscribers their biggest assets.
5. Build Your Credibility and Brand Image With Guest Blogging
If you want people to read your content, share it with their friends and keep waiting for your next post, you need to build trust and credibility.
Once people start trusting you a genuine expert your niche, they would gladly read your content and even feel proud in associating themselves with you.
And what’s the easiest way to build credibility on the web?
By simply associating yourself with established industry leaders and by writing guest posts for respected blogs, magazines and online publications.
When people see that your content has been published on The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Problogger, MarketingProfs, HubSpot and other established high traffic blogs, they assume you’re an expert in your niche.
This is the path some of the most successful bloggers have followed.
Bamidele Onibalusi is a great example of how effective guest blogging can be. The very foundations of his blog are built on guest blogging
Jon Morrow and Danny Iny are other hugely successful bloggers who’ve used guest blogging to build their online businesses.
Building a successful blog from scratch is a very difficult thing to do these days because of the amount of new content being published every day on the web. However, if you target a very specific audience, create content that solves their problems, build you email list and focus on building trust with your audience, you can still create a hugely successful and popular blog in a very short time.