Problogger’s Darren Rowse held a free Webcast last night that was full of great advice for beginning and intermediate bloggers. At the event, sponsored by The Blog Squad, he identified the five keys for making money from a blog.
- Find a need that people have and work tirelessly to fill it over the long haul.
- Don’t be afraid to self-promote.
- Experiment to find out what your readers like and build on what works.
- Look for ways to extend your blog’s influence by incorporating elements that are usually associated with Web sites, such as forums, newsletters, job boards, video and audio.
- Remember that content is king. Over the long haul it’s all about content and lots of it, so invest heavily in that.
The better your content, the better your chances of success in monetizing your blog, he said. Without quality content, other blog-related activities are a waste of time. Good content brings people back to your site and compels others to link to your site.
What makes great content? According to Rowse, usefulness is key. But what’s considered useful will vary depending on the person. The only way to find out what is useful for your readers, he said, is to ask.
- – Who are my readers?
- – What are their needs?
- – How can I enhance their lives on my blog?
In other words, get to know your readers. Even if you have only two or three readers, you can find out their needs by emailing them when they leave a comment. It’s amazing how much those two or three readers can help you, Rowse said, and you should keep them in mind as you’re writing posts.
Even once a blog is well established, the work isn’t done. At Problogger.net, Rowse constantly asks people what they want to know. Methods he uses include polling and contests. A variety of good tools are out there for getting information from readers, such as Skribit. He also finds Twitter useful for finding out what other readers are thinking and to interact with them in short snippets.
Prospects for new bloggers
Asked about the future of blogging, Rowse said he thinks it’s a great space to be in, and it’s not too late to get into it. Despite the huge number of existing blogs, lots of new blogs do well. When he started almost six years ago, he worried even then that it might be too late.
The takeaway lesson for me? Blogging is an expanding universe. If you provide a steady stream of content that readers need, you will do well. Just be ready to work for it.