It used to be that blogging was a pastime people would employ to make their opinions known. These days, blogging can be a great way to either supplement your income, and many even make a full-time living at is! Businesses are willing to pay good money for great blog content in order to keep their audiences engaged and coming back for more, and because search engine optimization truly requires this.
Here, we share ten tips for new bloggers on things you should do when you are just getting started with your blogging career.
The right writing sample is key to winning business. Every potential customer is going to want to see samples of your work. Make sure you have a writing sample that is relevant to the topics you would be writing about for each customer. For example, if you want to write about health and wellness, you need to have samples of writing that apply. Customers want to know that you can write and speak effectively on the topic(s) they are interested in.
Build an online portfolio. Your new resume is the writing you have done–showcase it! Having an online compilation of this work organized by subject and linking to the published version online is extremely important if your wish is to work with more customers, and with reputable customers. Few customers are willing to take a risk on someone who doesn’t appear to be an experienced writer.
Find multiple customers. If you seek to make a living at blogging, it’s important not to put all of your eggs in one basket (unless that basket is extremely reliable and strong). So find additional sources for work so that you have a steady stream of work and thus a more reliable and consistent income.
Monitor your online reputation. Online reputation management is critical as a blogger since any new customer you start to engage with will likely Google you not only to see what work you have done (and hopefully it looks plentiful), but also to do a bit of a background check. Allowing a guest blogger on one’s blog is like bringing a guest to a party where they know no one (and hoping they don’t have any negative background you are unaware of that will come up!). Customers will not want to associate with a blogger who has a negative online reputation, as their customers can Google you, as well.
Make sure you have a reliable computer. Nothing is worse than being on a deadline and having a computer that crashes with any frequency, or is unreliable for one reason or another. Make sure your computer has all of the proper anti-virus software installed and that you can rely upon what is arguably your most important tool (other than your fingers for typing!).
Get into the habit of backing up your work. Saving and backing up your work is important. You will want to maintain an archive of prior work (who knows, you may use it again, even if only for a portfolio or reference piece). You may also need to reference your archive for billing purposes. Regardless of whether or not one is a blogger, getting into the habit of backing up our data is something everyone should do. (The next time you spill a Diet Coke on your laptop and fry it, you’ll understand why!)
Find a reliable source of free imagery. Images are a key component to a compelling blog post. They help to break up the monotony of reading, and they are also useful for search engine optimization. Websites like PhotoPin have a great library of imagery you can use free of charge, while many other sites charge for imagery. Also, be sure that each image you use in a blog post has an appropriate title that incorporates keywords important to the customer for whom you are blogging.
Do some research on writing for SEO. Having an understanding of what makes a blog post useful to its owner will help you craft your blog posts properly. Many businesses keep blogs to help them with the search engine optimization. Use of keywords is critical for SEO, so know the keywords that are most important to your customer and use them (but don’t overuse them). Having content that readers want to share is also important for SEO–the more times the post you write is shared, the better it is for the customer’s SEO.
Follow the experts. Check out what other bloggers are doing–observe their tone and how they format their posts. If a blogger seems relatively prolific, read several of her posts and look for similarities or trends across the posts. Find out what it is she is doing that makes her so darn good at her job, and consider employing some of the same tactics.
Set up a separate bank account. In order to track your finances more easily, set up a separate bank account where you can accept payment for your work. This is, of course, assuming you are a freelance blogger, in which case you will be paying taxes quarterly and will want an easy way to report out on earnings. A separate bank account will more readily enable this.
It’s an exciting creative journey you are embarking upon as a blogger! Make sure you have all of the tools and processes in place to make yourself as successful as you can be–with a little luck and a lot of hard work, you’ll be living the life of a full-time blogger in no time.