Part 05: Skills a Blogger Should Have

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Successful blogger Enda McLarnon discusses key blogging skills…

YOU’LL LEARN:

  • About blogging’s ground rules
  • The need for discipline and motivation
  • Tips for success

There are some great bloggers out there – there are also some who don’t understand what’s required to be a great blogger. Many of the blogs you’ll see are built and written in completely the wrong way, or for the wrong reasons. Also, according to the latest research, around nine out of 10 sites or blogs never make a single penny.

So, building a successful website/blog to make you money is not a simple task, but neither is it over-complicated either. A successful website will always come down to the skills that a blogger actually has and uses.

There are only a few basic skills, but all are very important:

  • You should have knowledge and a real interest in your website/blog topic
  • You need to be willing to research your market
  • You’ll need endurance, motivation and self-discipline
  • You’ll need motivation to interact with other people
  • You should be prepared to invest in your business

We shall have a closer look at each of those so as to fully understand what is required.

When building up a website or blog, the key thing that will help make it successful is interesting, useful and compelling content. This needs to be written and uploaded on a regular and consistent basis, so you really need to have a genuine interest in what you’re writing about.

If you don’t, there’s a huge risk that the initial enthusiasm of setting this website up will quickly evaporate as you tire of the subject matter. This is probably the single biggest mistake made by people who are new to internet marketing.

The ‘fuel’ for your website is your content. You will hear phrases such as ‘content is king’ and it really is. If you have existing knowledge, a real interest and passion for your subject then writing becomes a very easy thing to do.

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Having an interest in your market is important. However, there’s always more to learn – and you need to also understand the intentions of potential visitors to your site or blog. This is where good market research can really add a lot of value to your website. Your market research should help paint a picture of those people who’ll be visiting your website and what their interests are.

The vast majority of internet marketers fail to include this step, and it’s a huge mistake. While not the most exciting thing in the world to do, by doing it you can quickly pick up on current trends, understand what potential visitors to your website may be looking for, and get a full understanding of the market that you are in. You need to stay on top of your own chosen market: initial research of a market can take as little as one or two hours, and it’s time well spent.

These three terms can easily be glossed over. However, internet marketing as a blogger can seem a very lonely and uncomfortable place for many people. Sitting in front of a PC or a laptop, ready to build a website/blog about a topic you have an interest in, the only person that can make it happen is you.

No one is going to say you have done a great or poor job. No one is going to hold you accountable for not writing your articles and uploading them. Only you can research your market, write the articles, upload them and pull all of this together. To do it requires a huge amount of self-discipline, self-motivation and the endurance to keep going.

Many bloggers can get past the technical hurdles of domain names and hosting and get the first few pieces of content up there as well. Yet a website with around 10 to 15 pages of good content will make nothing at all in terms of financial reward. The question is, can you keep going? Do you have the discipline and motivation to keep writing and the faith to know that it will work?

A website/blog with between 50 and 100 pages will do a great deal better than one with 10 to 20 pages. That takes time, dedication, hard work and persistence. It’s a simple fact that most people aren’t very good at being their own boss.

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When you have some really good content on your website or blog, it’s very useful to interact with your readers. If they take the time to leave comments on your blog, then you should of course reply to those and be as helpful as you can. Be sure to reach out to other bloggers in markets similar to yours. They could well be your competition, but it does no harm to understand how they operate – the ideal interaction is with bloggers in the same market, who already have successful blogs.

So, in my case, I could reach out to other people who blog about coffee, but are perhaps not based in the UK. I could interview them and get their insight and publish that. Likewise, I could return the favour for them. That way, we both benefit without competing with each other. People are often afraid to do this as they fear rejection, but most other bloggers are willing to interact.

Some newcomers panic when they see the word ‘investment’, because it implies spending money. Investment is not just about spending a little money, however: it is mainly about investing your time.

If you want to build an online business, you’ll want to own that business. The costs of owning a website are low. All that’s required is a domain name and a hosting service. A domain name costs around £7 a year and hosting costs about £4 a month. So you can be set up for less than £100 a year – a small investment to start building a solid online business.

This is the real investment to consider. You’ll need to figure out how much time you have, or are willing to spend to make the project work. Each individual person’s available time is different, but I can at least explain how long it will take to set up and manage one website.

The initial website set-up takes around three to four hours; that includes buying the domain and hosting and setting that up. It also includes installing a CMS (Content Management System) – the platform where you can write all your content. Then it’s all about adding content to your website or blog. The average page or article will take about an hour of your time.

You should, of course, like to write and to do so with your own opinion. You do not need to be an award-winning writer but you should pay attention to grammar and spelling. You don’t need to be a world-leading expert, either. If you have a passion or interest in something, it will always show in your writing.

Your website/blog should represent your own views and a little of your own personality and style. Doing market research will improve the content of your website/blog. After that, it’s all about believing that what you are doing will work and will eventually earn you money. That requires a lot of endurance, motivation and self-discipline, a small amount of money and a good deal of time.

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