What’s the difference between the hobby blogger and the professional, full-time blogger? It’s the motive. Hobby bloggers are happy as long as they get personal gratification from blogs. Professional bloggers try to meet readers’ needs and blog for success, money and fame. Here’s how you can transition from being a hobby blogger to a full-time professional blogger.
1. Get Your Own Domain Name
Professional bloggers need to ensure high site availability, excellent bandwidth and speed of access. These are privileges that come with an owned domain. If you already own your blog’s domain, well and good; if not, get yourself a paid domain and a keyword-rich site name.
2. Crisp Up Your Blog Design
Check any successful professional blog and you’ll see a crisp, user-friendly and visually appealing design. Invest in a custom template. Remove unnecessary widgets from your layout. Keep all necessary navigation on the sidebar.
3. Clear Up Your Sidebar
Clear your blog’s sidebar of its clutter of unnecessary ads. A clear and professional sidebar is necessary if you want other blogs, brands, PR people, retailers and your audience to take you more seriously. What’s more, you’ll take yourself more seriously as well.
4. Introduce Yourself Professionally
Professional bloggers always introduce themselves on their landing pages. You must do the same. Put up a good picture of yourself and add a brief but well-written introduction. You can provide links to your social networking pages and profiles on professional links, but keep the content brief. State your blog’s purpose.
5. Fine Tune Your Niche Writing
You need to write content that is targeted towards your audience and is niche-specific. You should write with an authority that makes readers bookmark your content, share it, tweet it, and subscribe to RSS feeds. You must maintain a unique and appealing voice throughout your blog.
6. Evaluate Your Posts From Audience Perspective
Make sure that through each post, you demonstrate your ability to teach something or solve a problem. This is where you will really transition from blogging for yourself to blogging to meet your readership’s needs, questions and problems.
7. Have Goals
One of the primary drives behind professional blogging is a set of clear goals. Set your long and short term goals in terms of audience, traffic, comments, conversations, comments, leads and conversions. Tie these to your short and long term financial goals.
8. Create A Strategic Business Plan
All professional bloggers need to create a strategic business plan that provides a map for goal achievement, both monetary and personal. Set timelines against your goals so that you can measure your progress. Then chart out a plan to meet these goals. This plan should incorporate a content uploading strategy, marketing strategies, timed promotions and launches and support activities and so on for every quarter.
9. Don’t Be Afraid To Spend Money
The idea behind professional blogging is to earn income, so think in terms of spending money to make money. Buying your own domain, attending a blogging conference or signing up for a professional newsletter service takes money. Don’t be afraid to invest, if you want your audience to invest in you.
10. Build A Community
Supportive communities exist; all you have to do is network with them. There are valuable resources, information and people on blogs such as ProBlogger.com, and CopyBlogger.com and so on. Become a member and leverage the great information, contacts and community support.
11. Be Social
Being social drives traffic, can be great fun and a wonderful learning experience. There are many ways to be social and network with people. Interact with other blogs in your niche area, drop comments, promote other bloggers’ content and establish your social goodwill. Leverage social media to the fullest by following and promoting other bloggers, posting your own content and establishing a fan following.
12. Monitor Statistics
Monitor your blog traffic statistics using a tool such as Google’s Web Analytics. Knowing your readership statistics and interest in your blog will help motivate and sustain you. It will also give you various ideas to monetize your blog.
13. Monetize Early
Even as you build an audience around your blog, start monetizing it. It’s never too early to do this. Start with Google AdSense. Later on then sign up for an affiliate program such as LinkShare, Commission Junction or ShareaSale. Try sponsoring tweets using MyLikes, and so on. These small steps will modify your hobby blogger mindset and get you used to becoming a business blogger.
14. Set Reasonable Expectations
Be realistic and set reasonable expectations of yourself and your blog. That doesn’t mean don’t plan or strategize. What it means is despite all strategizing, sometimes things don’t work out as fast as we want. Be patient. You may not notice your progress but others will.