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5 Smart Moves for New Bloggers

5 Smart Moves for New Bloggers

The feelings you have as you start up your first blog can probably be described as equal parts exciting, confusing, and terrifying. Although it will be awesome to finally have a platform for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and information, you probably also understand that the process of launching and maintaining your blog will be no easy feat.

Although building and growing your blog into a successful site can be pretty difficult, there are several smart moves you can make early on to set yourself up for success in the future. Here are five smart moves all first-time bloggers should make as they launch their blogs to facilitate success later on.

1. Identify your niche audience

One of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make is to neglect their blog’s niche. When you start out without a target audience in mind, it becomes more and more difficult to develop a target audience over time as you create more content.

Before you even start to check out potential designs for your blog, consider who your target audience will be and how your content will appeal to them. What insights do you have to offer and who might benefit most from them?

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Maybe recent college grads would enjoy your humorous posts on post-grad life. Perhaps working moms could benefit from your time-saving tricks and productivity hacks. Find your niche audience and tailor your site’s design, content, and social media efforts to fit its unique needs and interests.

If you need a little help identifying your niche, I recommend checking out this guide from Elle & Co design.

2. Invest in solid hosting

Although the free hosting offered by website template providers might be enticing to a first-time blogger on a budget, it’s important to remember that investing a small amount of money per month (probably less than $5) in hosting will help you build a secure and high performing site. Not to mention, paying for a solid site host will allow you to create a custom domain name which will be important for brand recognition later on as you work to promote your blog on third-party platforms.

If you’re not already familiar with the hosting industry, it can be a bit difficult to fully understand your options without doing your research. I recommend checking out this hosting guide to evaluate your options and find a hosting service that will best support the needs of your blog as it grows. This can help you identify some solid options that will keep your site not only running at optimal performance, but secure against potential hacks as well.

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3. Track user behavior

Understanding how your blog’s visitors behave once they land on your site will help you understand how you can keep them on your site longer and bring them back to view your content later. This is why it’s important to enlist the help of analytics tools early and often to understand your site’s visitors and what they want and need from you over time.

There are many tools you can use to evaluate the behavior of your site’s visitors like heat maps, AB testing, and surveys.

Instabug provides a solid list of user behavior tracking tools if you’re not familiar with website visitor tracking

4. Monetize your content

One of the most important things to do early on to ensure that your blog has a chance of turning a profit for you is to monetize your content. This essentially means that you implement sponsored content like relevant ads and affiliate links on your site.

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A couple of the most common methods bloggers use to monetize their sites include Google AdSense and Amazon Affiliates.

AdSense is an ad platform that runs display ads on your site and pays you when your site viewers click on one of the ads. Amazon Affiliates uses promotional links on your site to promote products within your content. For example, if you’re a mommy blogger writing about the best baby monitors, you could use an Amazon Affiliate link for the baby monitors you recommend to monetize your article.

These are only two of the many ways you can monetize your blog. I recommend checking out this guide to learn more about your options.

5. Use third-party platforms to promote yourself

Once you’ve created an optimized site with solid hosting and a target audience, it will be time to get out and promote your blog on third-party platforms. This is an absolutely essential step as potential audience members are unlikely to find your site through search engines when it’s new.

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One way you can promote your site is to exchange content with other bloggers. Pitch your ideas to fellow bloggers within your niche and offer to write a post or two for them in exchange for a byline that promotes your blog.

Social media will also be essential. Whether your platform of choice is Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or all three, investing in social media advertising is essential for bloggers looking to leverage the full benefits of social media promotion.

If you’re not sure where to start with putting together a social media marketing strategy, I recommend checking out Social Media Examiner’s guide for beginners.

Hopefully these five moves will help your site become profitable and successfulcin the future. Are you a seasoned blogger with a tip you’d like to add? Share with fellow readers below!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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