How to Start a Blogging Career
Blogging is quickly becoming one of our favourite pastimes. Whether it’s finding easy recipes, sharing weight loss tips or following fashion bloggers; as long as you’ve got the passion and the drive, you too can become the next famous blogger or Insta-star.
What is a Blog?
A blog is a webpage that’s updated regularly with ‘posts’ – little articles, thoughts, guides, photos, or stories. The most recent posts are at the top of the page, and they get older as you scroll down. They’re a bit like newspapers, but focused around one theme. They can be personal – where you share stories about your own life, or information you’ve gathered about things that interest you; or run by a company, to let the readers know about the latest developments or products.
For many people, blogging is a hobby, but a lucky few earn money from them. We’ve asked such a star of the blogging world to share their expert insights with us: Kelly Burstow, from ‘mum-blog’ Be a Fun Mum. Kelly has turned her passion into an amazing career, by writing about what she loves and knows a lot about and passing this along to other mothers.
How Do I Start Blogging?
There are many free blogging services, including WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. Usually it’s as simple as signing up for an account and then starting to write!
The best thing to write about is what interests you, as it ensures you’ll have enough material to keep up a constant stream of posts. Think about things that will be of value to your readers, whether that’s entertainment value or informational value.
If there’s a field that interests you but you’re not that knowledgeable about it, reach out to some experts and interview them to gain exclusive insights.
Some popular blog topics include:
How Do I Become a Successful Blogger?
You’ll need to post regularly and reliably – not only will this build loyalty amongst your readership, but every new article you post is a new opportunity for people to find your blog on search engines. You’ll also need to be active in the blogging community – the more blogging contacts you can build, the more people will know about your blog. Lifehacker suggests linking to other blogs, leaving comments on them, asking other people to write guest posts, and seeing if you can write guest posts elsewhere. A lot of the process of blogging involves getting the word out about your blog – after all, if no-one knows about it, no-one will read it!
For bloggers, the most important skills is the ability to connect and engage. Whether that is through stories, education, information or images: the idea is to connect and engage an audience. You may have the most important message in the world, but if you can’t communicate it in a way that people can relate to, it’s just white noiseKelly Burstow, Creator of the 'Be aFun Mum' Blog
Most of the really successful blogs are so successful because the blogger has been really open and generous with sharing themselves and their time, so they build a strong community of fiercely loyal visitors. If you don’t want to put yourself out there, or don’t enjoy interacting online, then you need to focus on SEO and other less community-based ways to bring in traffic each month.
How Do You Make Money Through a Blog?
This is the tough part. Most people don’t make much money at all from blogging! One 2012 survey of 1000 American bloggers found that only 8% were able to sustain a family on the earnings from their blog. Another survey found that 63% of bloggers made less than $3.50 per day.
However, at the other end of the scale were the 2% who made over $150 000 a year. Just as with any other creative career, success won’t come overnight, but those who work at it enough can enjoy huge rewards.
Kelly says, “Although it can be a rewarding career path, only a small percentage of bloggers are able to generate a full time income from their blog. It’s important to diversify your income streams and be smart about the way you generate money.”
Want to know what Australia is like blogging-wise? Here’s some important stats around personal blogs and social media use in the country.
Although it can be a rewarding career path, only a small percentage of bloggers are able to generate a full time income from their blog. It’s important to diversify your income streams and be smart about the way you generate money
Some of the ways people earn money from their blogs are:
As you can see, there isn’t just one way. As Kelly suggests, having a few different ways of monetising your blog gives you the best chance for some return.
Kelly also says that a mixture of passion and business sense will help your blog to make money more quickly, “You need to be really passionate about it to keep at it, because it is a lot of work and it can be tough at times. But you will monetise it quicker if you set it up and treat it like a business right from the start, because when you treat something like a business you have a set plan for it, you test and analyse what has / hasn’t worked, you invest money and time into it… and it’s very hard to monetise your blog if you are not consciously doing these things.”
Kelly’s Tip: Remember also that sometimes you need to spend money to make money. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your blog. You need a good theme, you’ll need some online tools, and if you really want to fast-track your blog growth you’ll probably need to do some online training as well (why figure it all out for yourself when someone is willing to show you how to do it instead?). And even if you do invest in all these things, I bet it still ends up costing less than what most people spend on their hobbies each year anyway!”
Is a Career in Blogging For Me?
A lot of current bloggers didn’t get into it for the money: they started writing because they enjoyed it, and eventually their passion led to new opportunities. So if you’re looking to get rich quickly, blogging probably isn’t for you. That said, there’s no barrier to entry – if you think you’ll enjoy it, you can start right now! Do as much as you can in your spare time, gradually build an audience, get engaged in the blogging community, and see what opportunities come up!
Kelly says, “Just start. Most people get all caught up with it needing to be perfect at the start, and it never will be, and no one’s is, so don’t stress. No one other than your mum reads it at the start anyway. If you just start, and then keep at it, you will get better, bit by bit. Everyone does.”
Some of the best rewards from blogging might not even be financial. “Blogging has opened up many amazing opportunities for me including connecting with people all over the world, travel, helping not for profit organisations and giving those less fortunate a voice, and discovering a career path I can do anywhere in the world!”
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