Blogging is a risk-free trial where you don't lose anything if you fail at it, says Pardeep Goyal.
If you want to become an entrepreneur but do not have enough resources for starting your company, you could start with blogging.
Blogging is not just about writing; it is a complete business that involves in-depth understanding of a topic (domain), digital marketing, and sales.
With blogging, you learn the art of content marketing.
There are some companies that became successful based on content marketing only.
Similarly, you can build your future business based on your content marketing skills; I know people who have taken up blogging as a full-time career.
Let's explore ways you can start blogging.
#1. Get inspired, Get some courage
Why can't most people do new things? It may be because they lack motivation and inspiration.
You need to come out of your comfort zone and give new things a try.
Blogging is a risk-free trial where you don't lose anything if you fail at it.
You could decide later on whether you want to do it full time or keep your passion alive by blogging part time, along with your job.
Successful blogger and brand ambassador of Payoneer Jitendra Vaswani got the courage to start a blog.
"I got inspired seeing many top marketers who are living their internet lifestyle by blogging.
I read their stories, how they failed and succeeded in their businesses.
I learned from their failures. Doing a 9-to-5 job was not my thing; it was monotonous and too restricted.
I always wanted to have my money freedom, having USD 500 per month salary was enough to keep my life rolling."
Mansi Zaveri, founder of kidsstoppress shared how she started:
"I was working full time for almost two-and-a-half years after my first daughter was born and would spend hours in front of the computer screen thinking and trying to assimilate and information without physically getting there.
"The biggest push was when I wanted to share something, and a fellow parent said 'real moms don't share what they do with their kids. It's always a secret.'
"I was also very sure of the concept, and that's why I never missed a single day of writing.
"I quit my corporate job to do this. I just knew I had to do something in the parenting space and had to be online."
#2. Find your niche
No one can write everything on any single topic.
You may think no one will read your blog as there are so many books and blogs already out there?
Yes, they would, if your content resonates with their problems, and you are able to provide them solutions.
The most important thing is that you should be comfortable with the topic.
You should also be passionate about learning and sharing on that topic.
It could be cooking, parenting, gossip, jokes, criticism, fashion, marketing, finance, travel, product development, software language or anything you feel connected.
Selecting a broad topic is not sufficient.
You should know who your customer is and what problem you are going to address with your blog.
If you are writing on parenting, then narrow down your target market to mothers of infants, toddlers or teens.
Content useful for mothers of infants will be only minutely helpful for mothers of toddlers.
The more you narrow down, the better your reader will connect with you.
Let Mansi explain how she selected a niche for her blog:
"I defined my niche as parenting because I thought it was a strong niche with absolutely no relevant Indian information at all.
I also ensured that every time I write a piece, it's honest, it's well researched, and it did complete justice to my readers' time.
"I valued their time as much as mine. If I thought it wasn't worth their 120 seconds, I would not add that piece. I also bared it all to my readers.
"When you write every single day, there is no room for pretence. Your readers know you better than anyone else.
"Kidsstoppress became my identity.
"People were watching me at parks, beaches, gardens, schools, plays, restaurants, so there is no faking it.
"What works well is they saw me as just another mom like them, who had the same struggles, chores, duties like buying groceries, playing with my kids, birthday parties, school admissions, running errands with my girls."
Amit Kumar, the founder of ApnaPlan, found his blog niche when he started learning financial products:
"After getting my first job, I was clueless about investments.
"I started getting a lot of advice from advisors and relationship managers. Being a bit analytical, I started reading about financial products on the internet and found most of the options were just "DUD".
"I talked to my friends and realised awareness on personal finance is very low even among people passing out from elite institutes (IIM/IIT).
"This came more as a surprise to me, and I started posting analysis that I was doing for my own investments.
"In few weeks I started getting questions around the same, which in turn made me investigate even further and write more -- I found my blog niche in personal finance."
#3. Test your MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Now you have idea and motivation to start your blog. You need to test it first.
You can purchase a domain name and hosting under Rs 1000 and install WordPress to start writing. But it may take few days to learn about the plugins and theme settings. You may lose your momentum in the mean time.
Start writing today, in fact just after finishing this article.
Create your account on free writing platforms like Medium or Blogger.
Finish your first article and hit the publish button. What did you lose? Nothing.
Testing your blog on free writing platforms has additional benefits.
- You don't have to bother about technical set-up.
- No cost for hosting or themes
- You will get seed audience. These platforms promote your article to their audience based on the tags and your article popularity. More you become popular, more they promote you. It's a chain reaction.
- You may find influencers on these platforms who can help promote your article by sharing on their social media.
- You will get free analytics of your article performance.
There are some drawbacks as well: you do not own the domain, there is limited customization and you can't display ads to make money. But this should not matter with the first article.
These drawbacks do not compare to the benefits of starting up a free blog. Once you have enough confidence, you can move to your hosted blog.
#4. Learn basics of marketing
I hope you will find your passion and test out MVP.
You may decide to move your blog to your own domain, but you will struggle with getting regular traffic. This is a reason why most bloggers fail.
They write brilliant content but struggle with average footfall on their blog.
To become a successful blogger you have to learn basics of marketing.
There are so many blogs on marketing which teach you basic to advance concepts of running a blog.
I follow Neil Patel (QuickSprout), CopyBlogger and ProBlogger.
There are some company blogs I admire like Buffer, HubSpot, Groove, and Moz.
These are not exactly about blogging but cover a wide domain of content marketing, search engine optimisation, social media optimisation, productivity, and growth hacks.
#5. Figure out how to make money
The main concern that bothers people is how to make money off their blog.
Is it by displaying ads that may annoy readers?
How much traffic is required to make sufficient money to take care of the expenses? Is there any other way to making money from the blog?
Initially, you should focus on building a loyal audience. Once you have a good number of visitors per month (say 1,00,000) you should figure out monetisation channels.
You can figure out your own monetisation technique once you understand the requirements of your audience.
Apart from running ads, you can earn money by affiliate marketing, selling products directly to your audience, asking your visitors to fill out surveys and reviews, writing sponsored articles and providing consultation (once you become domain expert, people may seek your guidance)
This is a wide topic; I will share the details in a separate article.
Convince your parents/spouse/girlfriend
Last step is to ditch your job and get full time into blogging.
The biggest obstacle is to convince the stakeholders in your life -- your closest family members.
I think it becomes easy to convince once you have some income to show from your blog, even as small as Rs 5,000 per month.
You can convince them that you can grow from Rs 5,000 to 50,000 to even five lakh per month if you put 100 per cent focus into blogging.
Over to You
Rome was not built in a day. You need to put your efforts to make things work.
Blogging is emerging as a full-time career option, and, chances are, you can earn more income from the blog than your current salary. The good news is that starting up a blog is risk-free.
I would be happy to interact with you if you have something to share with me.
Write few words in comments or tweet me your thoughts.