You’re dying to blog. You’re an avid reader of other blogs and you’re aware of just how much money bloggers can make working from home, in their pyjamas; or even in the buff, if the weather is warm enough.
Or so they say. The truth of professional blogging is that it’s just like any other job; hard work. It requires dedication, some guts – you’re going it alone – and savvy about how to make a success of blogging.
The first task facing any would-be professional blogger is to choose the niche he or she is going to pursue. This comes long before you commission a web designer, or start thinking about themes for your blog. Themes are just wallpaper, after all. What you’re choosing will be the guts of your operation and you want to be sure they are healthy and long lasting, not keeling over within six months.
There are two parts to choosing your niche: the What and the How .
The only piece of advice I have for you when choosing what you want to blog about is to choose something that sparks some passion in you. Choose something you care about, something you talk about so much that all you ever hear from your friends is “Not this again...” Choose something you think about at least once every day; something that’s stuck in your teeth; something you just can’t forget about... something to spice up your blog !
Choosing a subject you already have a passion for is going to put you in a great position come the day it stops being fun and starts feeling like work; and that day will come. It’s normal to feel that way about something that once got you super excited. Ask yourself before you take the plunge, will I still think this is the best job on Earth when it’s full of headaches and I don’t feel like writing?
If the answer is yes, then welcome to the world of professional blogging.
The How is a little more complicated. The How is about the way you frame a subject. What’s so special about the way you discuss your passion that means people ought to stop by and take heed of what you say?
Do some research around other blogs in your niche and look at what they say and the way they say it. Do they bring a rounded view of the subject, or can you see holes? Holes are good; holes are places you can pin a counter argument, giving people reason to stop by and read.
To illustrate what I mean, I’m going to take a niche not everyone is familiar with: tennis. The mainstream sporting press has one particular view, that Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time and women’s’ tennis is crap. Having watched tennis for almost 30 years I can tell you that this is an extremely narrow view, that if not changed soon will seriously hurt the world-wide audience for this sport. It’s a hole; one you could get the Titanic through.
This is where the game favours the blogger. There are probably 500 other men and women besides Roger Federer playing professional tennis who are worth a look, who if the public got to know a little better, would give them more reason to tune in and watch matches. But how do they gain exposure if the mainstream press isn’t writing about them?
The answer is they don’t, so their efforts go unnoticed and they’re just another person in wearing white and waving a tennis racket at Wimbledon, not a world-class athlete who can do something amazing, something you or I can’t.
If you know something about the sport and are smart enough to see through the snappy sound bites that are supposed to encapsulate twenty years of blood, sweat and tears that go in to creating a professional tennis player, then you have a niche; one that is unique and potentially profitable. As for turning a profit, there are plenty of articles on this site telling you how to use advertising and other methods to make a buck.
Other rules - Write well. Poor grammar and spelling is a no-no. Never plagiarise, it will get you into hot water with someone’s lawyer. Get permission before using images taken by someone else. Respect those who care to comment, even when you disagree with them. Holding a civilised discussion will demonstrate to others that commenting is welcome and a wide range of views is appreciated. And NEVER, EVER feed the troll!
By Guest Author -Sally Shaws is a freelance writer who frequently blogs about ways to make money online and creating an income from blogging. She is also currently writing about volunteering for medical trials as another means to boost your income.
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