So, are the words writing and blogging synonymous?
The fact is, all bloggers are writers, but not all writers are bloggers.
It’s a huge disappointment for many people who aspire to become online content creators, thinking that blogging and writing are the same.
Being a good writer does not mean that you are a good blogger. In fact, you can be an average writer but still be able to start a blog and make money.
It’s not always about skill.
If you don’t think of yourself as a good writer, don’t judge your opportunity as a blogger. The truth is, ANYONE can be a blogger.
Sure blogging requires some writing skills, but it also requires skills that are not necessarily found in writers.
Let me explain.
Why some writers struggle with blogging
Good writers are everywhere; they are your favorite authors.
Online, choose a random article from a site like Medium, and you’ll see some writers who just weave magic through their words.
I read articles that will make you jealous, but some people just have it in them. It’s a gift.
Jeff Goins from Copyblogger points out that you don’t actually need this “gift” to be a good blogger.
Being gifted will sure increase your pace, but an average blogger can still be successful.
You can be a successful blogger even if you are an average writer if you understand that blogging is a business. A business with certain rules.
Blogging requires many skills which writers don’t always have, like SEO, social media, personal branding, email marketing, and time management.
These technical skills are the secret weapon.A successful #blogger should be half marketer and half writer. Click To Tweet
THAT is what it takes to be a successful blogger; you combine your writing with a marketing plan.
You have to sell yourself.
Does it pay off to be good at both? Definitely!
Gifted writers with blogging skills will make a difference in their online community.
All you have to do is learn the marketing skills to upgrade yourself into a blogger.
Here are some pointers for successful blogging:
1. Publish consistently
Writer’s block, writers’ worst nightmare, is the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.
Most writers will not work unless they feel inspired or “unblocked”.
A successful blog with a good number of readers will not wait for your inspiration to kick in! You have to publish no matter your feelings.
This means that you should be committed to a schedule where you publish content 3-4 times a week.
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, the more blogs you publish, the more traffic, leads, and sales you will get.
As you can see, the more the merrier.
Let’s not forget that you should combine your articles with social media promotion and email marketing to be effective.
Buffer illustrates how often you should post on each social channel:
So you should spend time writing attractive social media posts on top of your blogging.
You should also spend some time monitoring your statistics to make sure your articles are driving traffic.
Periodically, it’s a good practice to pull some reports from Google Analytics as well.
Honestly, it’s not easy. It takes a lot of writing on a daily basis.
The hard part of all this is finding inspiration every single day!
That is why it is important to set up a publishing schedule and stick to it. Acting on inspiration will get you nowhere.
2. Create a schedule and manage your time
With all the hassle I mentioned, one of the fundamental skills you need is time management.
The average blog post takes between 2-3 hours to write and you have deadlines to stick to.
Not to mention editing, optimizing in WordPress, creating social media posts, etc.
Let’s say the whole process takes about 4 hours for a single blog post.
If you’re publishing three posts per week, this means you’ll need around 12 hours of dedicated time each week just to blog.
How will you manage that time with everything else you have going on?
You’re not done yet!
According to Coschedule, there are three big-time commitments that bloggers should respect:
- The length of your average posts — Writing a 1,500-word post will take much longer than writing a 500-word post, for instance.
- How many graphics each post will need — If you’re creating your own graphics (website banners, social media images, etc.), you will need to budget time for it.
- Content promotion and distribution — Social sharing, repurposing, syndication, and any other content distribution will all require varied time commitments.
It’s crucial to wisely allocate your time to make sure you can fit it all in.
You can use different tools to help you manage your time, though.
Google Keep can help you manage your daily to-do’s and Google Calendar can keep you organized throughout the week.
3. Network with bloggers
You can’t always play solo. Networking with the right people is key.
Bloggers who are serious about growing understand the value of partnerships.
Keep a network of contacts, clients, and resources where you can agree to mutual benefit.
You’ll want to look for bloggers in your community as a beginning.
You can use a tool like Pocket to bookmark blogs, videos and other sites you like.
Once you have saved some sites, make yourself visible by commenting on these blogs, sharing their posts, and building relationships with them.
As intimidating as this sounds, you will build organic relationships with big-shot influencers.
You just have to take the initiative.
But if you’re not ready for that just yet, you can also use networking sites like Hootsuite or Scoop.it to publish content and curate from other bloggers in your space.
This will give you the chance to connect with other bloggers who are doing what you’re doing without the intimidation factor.
Ultimately, there’s no one strategy for networking, though. Go out there and explore your opportunities.
The point is just to reach out to others and grow your relationships in some way.
Networking has a few really great benefits that include:
- Building a new audience of other bloggers who will promote your content to their audience
- Opening up opportunities for collaborations and guest posting (more traffic)
- Providing more content for your site if they guest post on your blog
- Promoting each other with affiliate links and monetize your blog
It’s also just nice to have other people on your side sometimes to give you advice.
Networking like this will all come down to successful time management, however.
Catherine Oneissy has some suggestions for new bloggers trying to fit networking into their busy schedule:
And you should absolutely try to work it into your schedule.
Figure this will add another 3 to 5 hours to your work week as a blogger (now you’re up to 15+ hours).
That extra time will inevitably be worth it in the end, however, so don’t skip this step.
4. Seek out new blogging opportunities
Successful bloggers do more than just write blogs.
They get into all types of content, like self-published books, e-books, and online courses.
They use affiliate marketing. They advertise.
Remember that blogging is a business.
You can make a lot of money as a blogger by doing more than just blogging.
At the very least, don’t stick to just writing content for your own site.
One of the best ways to grow your influence is to become a guest blogger.
Guest blogging requires pitching your idea to another blog, or a syndicated publisher like Huffington Post, Forbes, Fortune and so on.
But it’s more than just pitching a blog topic — you’re pitching yourself.
You have to self-promote. You have to sell.
If you can show you know what you’re doing, you stand a chance.
And that’s really what it all boils down to.
If you’ve never pitched as a guest blogger, there are plenty of templates you can use to get started.
Don’t let the process scare you.
You’re a good writer and on your way to becoming a good blogger.
So go on and show them you can be both.
(Don’t forget to add guest blogging to your weekly count. Let’s assume you do one or two posts a month. That’s another two hours a week or so. Now you’re up to 17+ hours).
5. Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Now comes the hardest part of being a blogger — growing your website’s ranking on Google.
While guest blogging and making relationships with other influencers can be a boost, you need a sustainable source of traffic.
This means that you need to master SEO.
So where do you start?
First, get your website set up with Google Analytics if you haven’t already.
As an extra step, add Google Search Console to your blog. This will give you a bird’s eye view of your blog’s impressions over time.
Analytics will be your best friend in the process. Without it, you’ll be working blindfolded with no feedback on your progress.
If your content isn’t bringing traffic, you’re not succeeding as a blogger, so it’s essential that you take the time to analyze your data.
(You’ll probably spend another 2 to 3 hours or so on analytics every week. Now you’re up to 20+ hours).
The next step is to take advantage of any SEO tools out there to help you do the job.
If your website is running on WordPress, check out plugins like SEO by Yoast, All in One SEO Pack and Google Sitemaps Plugin.
Each tool serves a different purpose, but they all have one common goal: boost your SEO.
You might also consider using a tools like:
- Google PageSpeed Insights — Check the speed and usability of your site (speed affects SEO rankings under Google’s new search algorithm).
- Keywordtool.io — Find SEO keyword suggestions based on a single keyword.
- Google Webmaster Tools — Get website analysis, alerts, and error reports.
- Open Site Explorer — Perform link analysis to see who is linking to your site (backlinks).
- Google Keyword Planner — Do keyword research based on current search volumes.
- Google Alerts — Set up alerts for your website when others mention you in their blogs.
- Schema Creator — Customize the way your search results appear on Google and create rich snippets.
- SERPs Rank Checker — See where your site ranks for certain search terms.
- Find Broken Links — Discover errors and other broken links on your site.
You can also use Google Trends to spot changes in interest for certain topics or keywords.
Google Trends is not an SEO-specific tool, but it can help you with planning your content.
Every blog post you create should have some form of SEO, even if it’s just keyword optimization or decent mobile speed.
If you’re entirely new to the SEO process, consider doing some research on it.
Typically, the biggest factors are things like keywords, page speed, data markup (code on your site), backlinks and traffic.
You can learn a lot about SEO in a short period of time.
6. Build a personal brand and choose a niche
Personal branding is another key area that separates writers from bloggers.
Writers tend to focus on their byline (their name), whereas bloggers tend to develop their brand.
For example, Mohammad Mortada is my name and my byline since it’s a personal brand.
That’s why my website, mohamadmortada.com, has my name. But it’s more than that.
Running my website and my blog is a part-time job to me, and I enjoy it.
Writers focus their time on getting as many bylines as possible.
Some might have a certain umbrella they write about, but they’ll often write what they get paid to write.
Bloggers, however, focus on building up their brand and finding a niche.
You have to become obsessed if you are serious about being a blogger.
Part of that process is discovering your audience or niche.
Who do you want to write for and what do they want to read about? What interests them?
First, figure out what motivates you.
What are you passionate about? Which topic are you knowledgeable about? What could you write about in your sleep?
Make a list.
Then, figure out if that’s a profitable niche.
Go to Google Keyword Planner and start typing in keywords related to your niche.
Then, look for monthly search volume for those keywords (is it getting enough traffic?) as well as cost-per-click for any ads (is it profitable?).
This will give you a good idea of whether or not people are searching for the keywords you might use for your content (also known as search intent).
You want to find a balance between topics you love to write about and those that will make you successful.
For example, a quick search will tell you that “home decor” has a lot of potential for traffic.
It’s also okay to have more than one niche. Just remember to make them relevant.
For instance, I blog about digital marketing and entrepreneurship.Brand building is about focusing on one or two things that you excel at. Click To Tweet
So don’t worry so much about getting a byline as much as finding a niche that fits you and your brand.
7. Set goals for your blog
By now you should see that blogging is at least a part-time job.
And if you’re really putting in the work, it’s more like a full-time job.
Yes, you can be blogging full-time.
But that means you’re running a real business — a business for which you need a vision.
It requires goal setting.
Some starter goals to consider might revolve around growing your traffic, publishing at least X times a week, and increasing your email opt-in rate.
Here’s an example:
- Goal 1: Increase blog traffic 10% monthly for six months.
- Goal 2: Increase email opt-in rate by 50% in three months.
- Goal 3: Post at least three posts per week for 12 months.
- Goal 4: Connect with three influencers/bloggers over the next six months.
- Goal 5: Guest post on two blogs in the next three months.
Each of those goals can be broken down into a plan that includes a timeline.
The first goal, for example, might include using a combination of paid ads, keyword research and social traffic to grow by 10% every month.
You can monitor this using Google Analytics or a tool like Alexa.
Each goal will then be broken down into actionable steps.
Those steps will allow you to create a solid plan for producing content, marketing your content and growing your business.
And yes, I will repeat that a thousand times if I have to: Blogging is a business.
You have to treat it like one. You need a plan.
That plan should include things like:
- A keyword research strategy
- Websites and blogs where you want to guest post
- Blog posts you want to create
- Posts that can be promoted through affiliate links and paid ads
- Websites where you might include affiliate links
- Goals for your blog over 12 months
- A strict publishing schedule
- A daily work schedule
If you need help, consider creating an actual business plan for your blog along with an editorial calendar.
Basically, take it seriously.
The difference between a good writer and a good blogger is a commitment to doing more than just writing.
- A good writer isn’t the same as a good blogger, though it helps to be both.
- Good bloggers know how to market themselves. They can sell what they’re writing and not just write it.
- If you’re a good salesperson, you’ll probably make a better blogger than a good writer.
- If you’re already a good writer and you want to become a good blogger, you need to add some marketing skills to your inventory.
- Create a schedule and post consistently (even if you’re not inspired).
- Learn how to advertise and use skills like affiliate marketing to grow your brand.
- Network with other bloggers and become a guest poster.
- Learn SEO.
- Master the different skills required to be a good blogger, and you can do it all.