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How to Start Your Blog and Grow it into an Authority

By Nicholas Muema | Blogging 101

Oct 01

So you want to be a blogger?

That’s great!

fireworks

Source

 
 

But before we light up those fireworks, l want to ask you an honest question:

Why do you want to start this blog?

On the surface, it looks like a relatively simple question. And it is. The responses though, are as varied as they come:

  • I want my blog to rank for some keywords.
  • I want my blog to discuss the latest gossip.
  • I want my blog to earn me passive income from banner ads.
  • I see my blog as an extension of myself. It’s a medium where I can convey my opinions and showcase my life in general.
  • I want my blog...
  • These responses are valid. They answer the question perfectly. But here's the problem.

    More...

    The guys who start these type of blogs do it for the sake of making money alone. The goal:

    Get as many eyeballs on my banner ads as possible.

    Or:

    Get as many people as possible to click the affiliate links on my website.

    There’s a solution to this. And this is aided by how you perceive your blog.

    It all starts with passion.

    Passion? Cliché, right?

    Yap. As cliché as it sounds, this is the one emotion that holds everything together.

    Need motivation to write?

    Need to post an awesome YouTube video?

    Need to create an online course?

    Need money?

    Insert passion to these rhetorical questions and you’ll see how it answers them magically. You need to like what you are going to blog about:

  • What topic interests you the most?
  • What comes to you naturally?
  • What do your friends and family say when they see you perform a certain task effortlessly?
  • What job/task/side hustle gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction?
  • By now, you have found something in your mind that you really like.

    If not, use this infographic to help you come up with an answer.

    To find something that you are really passionate at isn’t really that difficult. Maybe you are:

    • A graphic designer by heart
    • A musician
    • A watermelon farmer.
    • A fashion buff.
    • A financial expert.
    • Etc.

    Passion is a powerful emotion to have on your side, but it also requires you to…

    Think of your blog as an online Business.

    How you view your blog is critical to its success. Ask yourself this:

    What would you like your blog to become 5 years from now?

    Passion can get you started, but it can’t answer the question.

    So, how do you make your blog an online business? Start by:

  • Having a platform that you own and control.
  • Creating content that attracts the right audience.
  • Building your mailing list.
  • Creating free offers that grows your mailing list.
  • Selling your products or services to your subscribers.

  • Have a platform that you own and control.

    This means having a blog and owning the blog.

    These days, there’s a plethora of services that offer blogging services. I’m talking about WordPress, Blogger, Wix, etc.

    Decide which system you’ll use, but I recommend and use WordPress.

    For the owning part, I mean having a self-hosted blog. Not something that ends with ‘yourname.wordpress.com’ or yourblog.weebly.com.

    Register a domain name that matches your niche. Take mine for example, ‘bloggerspursuit.com’.

    Having a self-hosted blog has many advantages, but I’ll highlight only a few:

    • I control what I publish.
    • I can use a good-looking theme.
    • I’m the decision-maker, not the blogging platforms (meaning I can make money on my own terms).

    Other services include:

    • Premium hosting.
    • Security.
    • Premium theme.

    Create content that attracts the right audience.

    After covering the basics of setting up your platform, it’s time to publish.

    Let’s use an example.

    Kip is a web designer. He wants to use his experience to start a web design consulting business.

    The first approach is to find out where his ideal clients reside:

    • Are they on Facebook?
    • Are they on LinkedIn?
    • Are they avid readers of an authoritative blog in the web-design niche?
    • Do they attend tech expos?

    Once he finds out where his clients reside, he should publish content that attracts them:

    • What web design can do for your small business.
    • The web design landscape in WordPress.
    • Why every business needs a mobile responsive website.

    I’ve just made those up, and I don’t know anything about web design. 😀

    Anyway, Kip should make sure that his content is very empathetic to the end reader.

    Not content that is full of jargon. Or content that scares his ideal clients away.

    It is content that is:

    • Extremely beneficial to the end reader. 
    • Relevant to his business.
    • So good that his readers share it on social media.

    Publishing this way ensures the growth of your business. It’s called content marketing.

    Good examples that employ this strategy are GrooveHQ and Thrive Themes. Check them out and you’ll appreciate the power of content marketing.

    Start building your mailing list.

    As an online businessperson, you need an audience. The right audience:

    • Not your Facebook fans
    • Not your YouTube subscribers.
    • Not your Twitter followers.

    You need to get:

    • Email subscribers.
    • Your social media fans to join your mailing list.

    Email is more professional than social media. It is a more intimate platform you can use to engage with your prospect. You can:

    • Educate your clients using email sequences.
    • Get direct feedback from them.
    • Sell your services or products efficiently.
    • Automate a lot of tasks, hence freeing time that you can use to grow your business.

    Use the social media presence you have to start building your mailing list. This is an audience that you own. It is a huge asset for your business.

    In actual sense, your Facebook fans belong to Facebook, not you. You can’t control the updates that come from these platforms.

    But with your email subscribers, you have total control. And an increase of your email list is associated with an increase of wealth for your business.

    How Can I Increase My Email List?

    Let’s get back to Kip. He has his blog, created content for it and his social media presence is starting to blossom.

    To capture email addresses, he needs:

    • An opt-in offer.
    • An email list builder
    • An Email Service Provider.

    Ask yourself this:

    Why should Kip’s readers hand over their email addresses if there is nothing in it for them?

    This is where an opt-in offer comes in. It comes in many names:

    • Lead magnet
    • Ethical bribe.
    • Freebie
    • Whatever Kip will call it.

    Kip should offer valuable information about graphic design in exchange for his reader’s email address.

    What information is so valuable that can increase my subscription rates?

    What content is so valuable that my reader will readily hand over his/her email address to get access?

    This valuable information comes in many forms:

    • A pdf report/ebook.
    • An infographic.
    • A cheat list
    • A checklist
    • A work-sheet template.

    Figure out the content that can make your reader offer their email address. Is it:

    • A cool recipe?
    • A magazine?
    • A financial report?
    • A Photoshop tutorial video?
    • Etc.

    The best software that makes list-building possible are:

    For the Email Service Provider, I recommend and use ConvertKit. If you are a professional blogger (or you see yourself as one), then look no further.

    For other businesses, you can use:

    Start selling your products or services to your subscribers.

    We’ve come to the exciting part of the post.

    Money. Money. Money.

    Most bloggers think that placing banner ads is all they need to earn passively from their blogs.

    Or placing affiliate links.

    Or sponsored posts.

    But what about your own services? Your products? Your expertise?

    Let’s welcome Kip back once more. He’s a lucky fella. I’m showing him how he can take his web design business to the next level.

    Let’s assume by now Kip has built his mailing list. These are guys who like his content and who like web design generally.

    They read his emails, send feedback & share his posts around the web.

    Most of them want to up their web design game, but they don’t know how. Kip could:

    • Create and sell an eBook.
    • Create a paid mini-course that shows them a specific topic on web design.
    • A full course that takes them through the journey of creating a website.

    Investing in your products or services/expertise is the best way of growing your business.

    Passion is important when creating your products. Don’t sell something you don’t believe in.

    You could:

    • Publish a book that houses your poems or short stories.
    • Create a premium course that educates your clients about trading at the stock market.
    • Launch a course that shows your clients how to apply facial make-up.
    • Create a course that shows your customers how to create hand-crafted jewellery.
    • Etc.

    Conclusion

    If you have to carry something from this post, it’s this:

    See your  blog as an online business, and do so with a bit of passion.

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    About the Author

    Nick started Blogger's Pursuit to help upcoming bloggers and entrepreneurs discover their pursuit of blogging. Other times, you'll find him deeply engrossed in a book or finding new business strategies to experiment with.