Before we even dig in you already have an idea of what challenges you face daily. Instead of going at it blind, prepare yourself with the tools necessary to take on these common issues head first. You will be so happy you did!
1. Finding a Niche
Problem: Defining where to start is always a challenge, especially if you are new to blogging. A lot of your time is spent finding that topic that really calls to you. When I began I really only had a spark of an idea. Over time I have been able to refine what it is that I actually cover. Here are somethings you could find helpful.
Solution: If you are struggling to find a place to start. It is best to go all the way back to square one. In How to Start a Blog: My Journey, you can discover all the initial steps I took that got me to where I am right now. Perhaps you are further along in the process and really already have a topic in mind. Figure out how this topic is going to work for you and define some goals around it.
Remember: You must instantly communicate who you are and what you do as soon as someone lands on your blog. "People make snap judgements. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person, and websites are no different. It takes about 50 milliseconds (that's 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they'll stay or leave. (source)"
2. Producing Quality Content
Problem: You have developed a niche that is all your own, written in your own style and voice. Perhaps you even planned ahead and developed a content schedule that covers different facets of your topic equally and systematically over time. However after several weeks or months of writing you find it difficult to cover new and exciting content.
Solution: In addition to having a well thought out content calendar, keep a journal of topic ideas. I write ideas down all the time. It might be inspired by something I heard someone chat about, something I read or maybe it is a stroke of brilliance that hit me in the shower. I will journal them in my notebook and then add them to my Blog Post Brainstorm Wunderlist. This list helps prevent the dreaded writer’s block, I can go back and revisit it as often as I want and find it a great tool to pull from when developing my calendar.
Remember: You must continue to stay inspired to develop awesome content. Follow your favorite bloggers on Bloglovin’, pin your favorite articles on Pinterest and screenshot those inspirational images on Instagram. Review often!
3. Battling the Noise
Problem: There are millions of bloggers in the U.S. and even more from around the world. How do you compete in this sea of noise? Not only are people bombarded with other blog content, but hundreds, if not thousands of chance exposures to advertisements and media everyday. Just twenty minutes in Times Square and you could be exposed to over 500 messages (source). How in the world are you supposed to stand out?
Solution: You have to be yourself before you can be anyone else. Instead of trying to blend in, differentiate yourself and your content. On Friday I will cover in detail how to put more YOU in Your Business. Until then you might start with 5 Common Sense Ways to Live Your Brand.
Remember: You do what you do for a reason. It might help to reflect on why you turned down this path in the first place. I recently did this exercise and not only did it help me, but also my readers began to understand my motivation and purpose.
4. Connecting with Others
Problem: It is very easy to feel like we are on a lonely island in the middle of the deep blue sea, but I promise you are not alone. Creating connections in your niche and/or business are crucial to its survival. But creating these relationships on and offline can be a struggle.
Solution: So I have LOTs of ideas for how to connect, but I am sharing these awesome tips on one of my connection's blog later this week. Once it is live, don’t worry you will be the first to know!
Remember: In the mean time, you really ought to stop “networking” and start creating lasting relationships instead.
5. Monetizing Your Efforts
Problem: You put all this effort into creating content, getting it out there and for what. Well, hopefully, you are planning on getting some kind of return for all that effort. There are tons of articles out there to begin monetizing your site. Everything from adding google ads to your website or using some sort of affiliate marketing.
Solution: Before you go down the road of worrying about the cash money, you really need to focus on growing your readership. And you are only going to grow that if you offer quality content. And that quality is really only going to come if you put the time and effort into it. I personally have chosen (at least for now) to be a completely ad free zone. I find the advertising (especially banner ads) completely distracting and instead serve my readers with quality content. At the end of the day I am still a business, so I have chosen to focus my time and energy into offering quality customized services for businesses large and small, new and established.
Remember: If you are strategically trying to monetize your blog, making your readers aware of what you offer needs to be at the forefront. My services and pricing are not hidden, but rather a dominant part of my navigation. I also clearly explain to my readers what I do on my about page and in my blog sidebar.
What challenges are you facing as a blogger or business? How are you battling them?