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How to Become a Blogging Success Story, Part 1 – Getting Started

How to Become a Blogging Success Story, Part 1 – Getting Started

    Blogging isn’t something that only the nerdy types or teens do anymore, and it most certainly goes beyond posting pictures of your children (or pets for the childless out there) and griping about your job.  Blogging is, for some, a business or a source of extra spending money.  It’s also a source of money, power, and satisfaction.  But as it goes in professional sports, there are millions playing in the neighborhood little leagues, but a very small minority will ever make it to the big leagues.  So how do you improve your chances of taking your blog from beyond just a hobby into something that you add to your resume and turn into cash?

    1. Be prepared to pour in your blood, sweat and tears.

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    Very rarely does a blog go from a readership consisting of your family, friends, co-workers, and admirers (or enemies)  that have figured out how to stalk you online, to an overnight success.  Sure, if you break a big story and CNN picks it up and gives you a shout-out, you might get an instant influx of visitors, but the chances of that happening are slim.  So instead of banking on a miracle, be prepared to slave away at it for a bit.  Know that you will at times doubt yourself and your ability to go on, that you will have to force yourself to blog when you really don’t feel like it.  Be prepared, perhaps, not to know what “free time” is anymore.  This may not be true in all cases, but for someone like me that runs a news oriented blog, it’s a 24/7 operation.  A blog focusing on, say, technology might not have to be so vigilant in covering breaking news.

    2. Before you start blogging, think about what you will be blogging about.

    My interests are so varied that I couldn’t pick just one topic to blog about, and I knew I’d probably get bored writing about the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. That being said, if you want to establish yourself as an expert in a field or topic area, then a more focused blog will be most suitable.

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    3. Avoid free blog services.

    Resist the temptation to start with a free blog on Blogger, WordPress or any of the other free, hosted blogging services.  You will kick yourself later, trust me.  If you’re serious about taking your blog beyond a recreational activity, do yourself a favor and buy a domain and web hosting.  You can start with something as simple and cheap as GoDaddy, and move as your site grows. I started out with shared hosting, and since then I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been kicked off hosts due to my site’s growth and resource usage.  These days, we have our own server.

    4. If you use a premade template, at least customize some parts of it.

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    A unique design will make your blog more memorable.  If you do use a premade template that thousands of other people have also installed on their blog, which I have nothing against, try to customize it at least a little bit.  At the very least, pay someone $50 to make you a nice logo.

    5. Consider a collaborative effort.

    You’ll have to share the profits, but sometimes two (or three or four…)  is better than one.  It takes some pressure off of you as you’re not the sole blogger, and if you need to step away for a few days, there’s someone else to cover for you.  Just choose your partner or partners wisely, and strongly consider getting your partnership arrangement in writing, just in case things sour one day.

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    6. Socialize and network with others.

    Join Twitter and Facebook and start a conversation with your readers.  Make sure to reply to comments on your blog.  By talking with your readers, you’ll keep them checking back in and you’ll be at the forefront of their minds, making them more likely to become a repeat visitor.  Repeat visitors are very important in establishing your blog.  Fly-by traffic is still worthwhile, but building a loyal readership base is crucial.  Making friends with other bloggers and website owners can also be beneficial as they can help drive traffic your way.

    It’s not as easy as it looks or sounds.

    Many have tried and failed. It can be done, and it doesn’t take a huge advertising budget, a staff of writers, or luck.  However, it does take some degree of talent (if you are a horrible writer, I’d advise against pouring your heart into making a career of blogging) and a whole lot of dedication and drive. Having a plan also helps, although if you don’t have one you can still become successful, it just might take you longer as you figure things out along the way.  I’ve been doing this for years now, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

    In Part 2 – Mistakes to Avoid of this multi-part series on becoming a blogging success I’ll talk about what NOT to do, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls.

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

    The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

    In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

    Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

    1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

    What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

    Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

    2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

    Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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    How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

    Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

    Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

    3. Get comfortable with discomfort

    One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

    Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

    4. See failure as a teacher

    Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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    Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

    Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    5. Take baby steps

    Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

    Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

    Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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    The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

    6. Hang out with risk takers

    There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

    Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

    7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

    Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

    Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

    8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

    What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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    9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

    Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

    If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

    10. Focus on the fun

    Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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