How many of you have dreamed of making money off your blog and retiring to a nice medium-sized tropical island? Don’t be shy we are all friends here … There, that’s more like it. The thought has obviously crossed many minds. That is the double edged sword of the success of any new field of endeavour. Once a particular kind of work, or hobby, or activity grows in popularity to a certain critical mass, it is in the natural progression of things for someone to think up a commercial angle to it. Blogging is no different. Once one person succeeds at raking in some dough everyone else obviously thinks it is a piece of cake and then tries to follow suit. I say tries because more often than not the followers are only after the money and they copy exactly what the forerunners in the field did, thinking it will guarantee them riches. So for those of us who want to sign up for that tropical island at the earliest using our blogging earnings, there would seem to be only two choices — Either start a blog on making money online, or one on the latest geeky gadgets. If you just shouted, yeah!, at the mention of those two topics or you were nodding in agreement with that last sentence, you need to ask yourself one simple question: Do I actually like what I blog about?
For a large number of starry-eyed internet moghul wannabes out there, the unfortunate answer will be: no. Why? Simple logic really, if so-and-so big shot web person who is World Famous on Digg made money by writing about pink lace thongs with pictures of TV superstars on them, that is exactly what you should write about on your blog to make money. Right? … Wrong! Because more often than not, the person who made it big wrote on that topic because they actually liked pink lace thongs with pictures of TV superstars on them. Heck, they probably even have a collection! What do you have? Nothing, except for dreams of grandeur which are soon to be dashed if you continue trying to be successful at blogging in a purely copy-cat spirit.
To have any measure of success in the blog world you really need to like what you are blogging about. After all, the majority of blogging is in the writing and a common piece of writing advice given to one and all is to “write what you know”. To blog well and to blog your way to success, you need to blog what you know. Better yet, blog what you like. The reasons for this are numerous and they all involve you blogging better when you like what you’re saying. But more specifically, blogging better comes down to three essential elements that will go your way when you are a fan of the subject of your blog:
I think we can say without exception, that the blogs that succeed have content of impeccable quality. There might be a few stupid anomalies that survive, but largely speaking successful blogs have great posts. That is what makes people visit, that’s what keeps them coming back for more, and regular visitors make the blog a successful one.
To write quality content that readers will appreciate and recommend to others, it is essential that you have knowledge and an understanding of your topic of choice. For most of us knowledge and understanding in anything only comes with an intense liking of the subject matter. So the chances of you writing and blogging about something you don’t strongly identify with or like, and also coming up with quality content are slim to none.
If you are a fan of something, however, the enthusiasm for the subject comes naturally, the thoughts flow freely, and your love for the material pours out to the reader from their browser screen. That passion is essential to turn out quality content and that quality is essential to grow a successful blog.
The one aspect of blogs that many underestimate when taking their first steps into it is that posting on a blog is not a one time event. I’ve already mentioned how quality material is essential for success, but the thing to keep in mind here is that there has to be a lot of this quality content to make a great blog.
Unlike a book or a paper, a blog is ongoing. There are many amongst us who could study a subject we aren’t particularly interested in, and throw together a decent booklet on it as a one time project. But could you write all the content for a monthly magazine on that same uninteresting subject for an entire year? That is much more content that some of us imagine because the little pieces add up. Blogging is more akin to a periodical than a published book, and we need to look at our commitment to the topic of a blog in that light.
There is a reason why fans of TV shows and movies churn out so much material on their pet piece of entertainment. They are so entrenched into the world that coming up with new material, or ideas, or comments to make comes very easily and naturally. Let’s say you hated Star Trek, or worse, you were simply indifferent to it, how many articles could you write about it? Not many, I would assume. Fans of that show and many others, however, can never stop writing about it. When they run out of episodes to analyse and decipher, they make up their own stories and scenarios featuring their favourite characters. They have gone on to create fan fiction, fan movies, and even fan documentaries on their particular passion. If you can’t see yourself doing the same for personal development or the exciting world of insurance quotes, should you really be trying to create a successful blog on the subject?
Time heals all wounds and scratches many itches. You might have convinced yourself that you can write some killer articles on ostrich farming even if you hate the damn birds, and you might even have convinced yourself that you can write a bucket load of posts on becoming a professional wine taster in France even though you’re allergic to grapes, but the final test for all uninterested bloggers is whether they can stand the test of time.
The very fact that the word blog is derived from log and that many also refer to them as journals should clue you in to the fact that time is of the essence here. It is safe to say that blogs and time are an inseparable couple, and that’s exactly the relationship you need to share with your subject matter for running a truly successful blog. Because blogs are not really a one night stand or a torrid affair, they fall more into the happily ever after category of relationships.
Just look at the archives of any of the truly big and successful blogs and you will often find many years of continuous commitment to this endeavour. The very nature of blogs is a continuum, and you the author need to stick around for the long run. You need to be able to sustain your interest in the topic over months and years while your blog grows into a mature resource. In the land of blogs, all things do come to those who wait. Not just wait, but strive, and write, and excel, and contribute to people’s need to know more about whatever it is you choose to write about. I find it hard to believe that most of us could do that with something we don’t really care for.
Managing a blog is not for the faint hearted unless you see your blog as a completely disposable commodity. The only simple way of ensuring you don’t do that is to write about something you love or otherwise feel strongly about. Sustained and successful blogging requires a level of passion that cannot come from pure logic, you really do need to be a bit of a fanatic to pull this off.
So if you are serious about creating and running a successful blog, be yourself and write about what you want to write about, rather than what you think you should write about to succeed. Follow your passion when blogging and you will not run out of steam over time, or the material to fill your archives with. Embrace your quirks and strange interests and make something of them; There are too many of us on this planet for you to be alone in your interest, and as long as you can find the audience you are well on your way to running a successful blog. Are you fan enough to take on the challenge?