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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 May 20, 2020

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

“Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

Visualization

Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

Critical Thinking

Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

Computing

Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

Problem-Solving

Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

Resource Management

Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

Below are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas

Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools

Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library

Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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4. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation

To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal

Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

Bottom Line

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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