One of the questions that I’m asked most frequently on Quora is how to make money blogging. It’s not as hard as you may think, but to get 20/20 clarity on it, let’s start with a quote from Jason Calacanis.
One aspect of blogging hasn’t changed. Building an audience starts with building trust. You may not realize it, but trust is the number one reason to have a blog. Sure, your blog puts you on the map and helps people find you. But, without trust you cannot establish a business relationship.
Nobody wants to do business with a shady used car salesman, and frankly, too much online comes across with that kind of vibe. The vibe you want starts with trust. Your blog is where you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Create valuable content and you’re on your way to growing your audience.
Trust strengthens engagement with your audience, and engagement is how you will build your business. Engagement happens when your audience trusts you. So, let’s go a bit deeper on establishing trust.
Building Trust and Engagement
You’ve got seven seconds. That’s how long it takes for someone to form a first impression. A first-time visitor to your blog will take, on average, just seven seconds to decide whether they want to stay or leave. So, how can you use those seven seconds to convince them to hang around?
It helps to have a simple, modern, professional, clean, and clutter-free page design. Your home page should not look like one of those full-page advertorials in a newspaper (remember what a newspaper is?) or a magazine. White space, easy to read type, and easy navigation are all good design features for your home page.
Next, publish content that your audience wants to read. This should be second nature, and it will be if you know your audience. Who do you want to reach with your blog? If you don’t have an ideal customer in mind, that’s your first step before you even start writing for your blog.
Third, be you. This gets to the authenticity that Calacanis speaks about above. The connection that you make with your audience will come from who you are. Let your personality shine through everything you write. Show your human and humorous sides. There’s only one you (thanks, Mr. Rogers), so don’t fake being someone else. As one of my mentors says, put your smell on everything you do. That scent is what will attract and build your tribe.
Fourth, write in a conversational style. Right now, you and I are having a conversation. Your part of the conversation can happen in the comments section. I read every comment and respond (unless the comment is spam). Blogs are not the place for formal writing. Keep your writing simple, friendly, and casual, and you’ll build trust in your readers. Write like you talk. One more thing – make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct.
Finally, put your face on your website! This isn’t radio. People want to connect with a real person, and your picture shows your audience who you are. People like to know that there’s a human behind the content.
More Thoughts on Building Your Audience
- Use high quality, high definition images. Using anything less will make your site look amateurish and unprofessional.
- Use no more than three different fonts. This will help you maintain a professional look.
- Make sure that the colors you use on your website work well together. This will also help you maintain a professional look.
- Make sure that your website is mobile friendly. More and more traffic is coming from mobile devices – are you ready for it?
The Google Way to Build an Audience
Maybe you know this already, but it’s a fact. Google prefers long copy. How long? 2,000 words or more. Long-form content is an essential part of good SEO. Pros like Neil Patel sometimes stretch it out to 8,000 words.
But, honestly, do you want to read 8,000 words? Or would you prefer to get your information in shorter form that takes less time to read? My guess is that you’ll take a shorter read that takes you less time to consume, and I’m also guessing that you’re not alone.
So, instead of obsessing about the length of your blog posts, how about investing that emotional energy into creating BETTER blog posts. Ones that are really informative, enjoyable to read, chock full of valuable content, but not a tome.
The Key for Blogging in 2020
So, what’s new for 2020? The trend is toward using your blog not just as a place for dispensing information, as valuable as that can be. Make it a place where conversation happens. Make it a place where relationships are developed. Go deeper with your readers!
In fact, start the conversation here! What would you add? What do you believe will be a trend for blogging in 2020?
I invite your comments and questions, and your likes and shares!