Fifteen years ago, blogging was a lot simpler than it is today. People wrote about whatever came to mind. But, on the other end of this equation, searchers had a hard time trying to find the answers they were looking for.
So, blogging evolved, and a wave of tools were created to help people publish more targeted posts that gave audiences what they were after. The discipline of SEO grew into a full-fledged industry, and bloggers learned how to turn their weekend projects into seven-figure businesses.
Fast-forward to today and there is now more opportunity than ever for anyone to start a blog and turn it into a money-making machine. But to do that, a few best practices need to be in place — and that’s exactly what you’ll learn if you keep reading.
Focus your blog on a single goal
If you want to make money with your blog, then you have to understand the mechanics of how that works and which strategies to go all in on.
- If you want a popular blog that makes money with ads, focusing on pageviews is a must.
- If you plan to niche down and generate revenue through affiliate sales, learn how to get your hands on the best products and write in-depth reviews.
- If you’d like to become a thought leader on a topic and build a subscription revenue business, practice communicating your ideas and finding the ones that most resonate with your audience.
A great focus will act as a filter that eliminates anything unrelated to reaching your goal.
Working in quarters is one strategy that has helped me reach millions of readers with my writing. Every three months, I focus on a single milestone and pour all my energy and resources into it. I only move on to the next phase once I've accomplished or adjusted it (which is allowed because we all learn as we go).
Learn the basics of SEO
Search engine optimization is how you align what you've written with what tools like Google show their users. The better your SEO skills are, the more likely your work will be shared automatically with millions of people a year.
When I was on my learning journey, I had to cobble together many resources and work my way through a lot of trial and error. To help simplify that for others, I made something called Learning Content. It’s a resource page that organizes 150+ articles, videos, podcasts, and online courses (most of them are free) into an easy-to-follow guide.
While you’re reading, a few of the most important SEO best practices to keep an eye out for are:
- Keyword research strategies
- On-page SEO
- Link-building tactics
- And a list of the best industry tools (Ahrefs, Semrush, etc.).
Publish on a consistent schedule
The more you blog, the better (and faster) you’ll get at it. Every new blogger should aim to publish at least one new article per week. This helps you build the discipline and rhythm necessary to take your content to the next level.
As you grow, you'll start to see that there is no hard and fast rule about how many articles you'll need to be successful. This depends on your niche, experience level, and what your audience is looking for.
However, I tell all my students and clients to aim for 100 published articles within the first 2 years. It's a concrete goal that will keep you on track and likely pay immense dividends once you reach it.
Develop subject matter expertise
This next blogging best practice will be a controversial one. For a long time, the amount of content you had on your website determined your success.
This is why it was normal (and profitable) for people to write as fast as they could on as many topics as possible. There were also the black hat SEO folks who "scraped" content from other sites to fill their own. Thankfully, Google eventually caught up and built parameters to penalize these shady practices.
The current blogging game is all about quality. Having the best article on a subject matters. Search engines are looking for:
- An article that shows the writer has personal experience on a topic.
- A blog post that answers a question quickly but thoroughly.
- Articles that give great context (i.e., link to relevant sources or answer related questions).
Fewer, better articles are the most effective way to grow your traffic in today's blogging world. This is a good thing for us! Suddenly, the playing field has leveled, and by leaning into what we know we can stand out online.
Write for a specific person
I've been teaching writing for nearly a decade: to adults, elementary students, and everyone in between. And do you know the single most effective way a writer can make their words more engaging?
Write like you're speaking to a single person you know.
Often, our bland writing is a result of an unclear audience. Without a concrete face to hold on to, we push our words into the void — and their quality reveals this confusion.
By choosing one person to write to, we grab hold of the reader. Our thoughts suddenly have something to hold onto, so our words become more interesting because they have a clear destination in mind.
Depending on the project I'm working on, I keep a photo of my wife or best friend next to my computer monitor to look at while I blog. The difference in quality is night and day. Seriously, try it for yourself. This is one best practice you won't want to skip.
Promote the work you publish
For early-stage bloggers, your work time should be 80% creation and 20% promotion.
That’s 80% writing, researching, editing, and formatting. Then, the 20% should be invested in building an email list, sharing on social media, networking with other niche bloggers, landing podcast interviews, and anything else that will help get your name, brand, and content in front of more people.
When your work is all creation, you handicap your growth. And for those who go all in on promotion, they quickly run out of meaningful content to share. The trick is to strike a balance between producing your best work while attracting more eyeballs to it.
Develop copywriting and sales skills
So many bloggers get stuck making less money than they should because they’ve misunderstood the power of blogging. A blog can only become a money-making machine when you leverage it to drive the desired action.
That could be getting a visitor to read a dozen articles, click an affiliate link and try a new product, or sign up for your exclusive offer. There is a matrix of skills a blogger needs to have in order to turn their passion into a full-time income and eventually much more! These include:
• Writing great articles
• Managing a content management system (CMS)
• Optimizing their content (SEO)
• Get people to take action (copywriting)
• Communicating your value in a convincing way (sales)
These are the foundation upon which six and seven-figure online businesses are built. The sooner you have all five pieces in place, the sooner you’ll see the monetary fruits of your labor.
Start your blog with Ghost
The blogging best practices I've shared are the time-tested actions that have led me to where I am today. If you're ready to start building your digital income, you're in the right place. Subscribe for a weekly behind-the-scenes look at my blogging business. Plus, get access to the same tools I use to generate thousands of dollars from every article I publish.
The opportunity is there for anyone willing to take it. So, will that be you?