It depends on who you ask, but I have believed blogging began sometime in the early 1990’s and began it’s explosive evolution sometime in the late 1990’s. I published my first blog post in March 2003. Since it wasn’t until 2005 that the word “blog” was actually added to the dictionary, I’ve always felt myself to be some sort of pioneer.
When I first began blogging, it was because I had something to say (and that hasn’t stopped since), however, since those early days, blogging has become one of the most popular forms of “word of mouth” advertising around. Much like when your friend shares a really good deal they’ve gotten on a product or service, bloggers are sharing those same juicy tidbits with their readers.
This has worked very well for both affiliate marketers and advertisers. So much so that a blue-million fake blogs (flogs) and spam blogs (splogs) have emerged. Thankfully the FTC is taking effort to wrangle those under control.
Over the course of eight years I’ve been blogging, the one thing I’ve noticed most often is many, would-be great bloggers get bit by the bug, start a blog and within a few months they give up and abandon ship for one of two reasons (or both) – not enough traffic and not earning.
The most absolute single ingredient these bloggers have failed to recognize and administer is VALUE. Successful bloggers must give value to their readers. They must do it consistently over time. Readers want to get to know the writer, trust them, trust their opinions, develop a real, yet virtual relationship with them before they will ever begin converting into “customers.”
The most money I have ever made while blogging came from my heartfelt efforts in a micro-niche where I was considered an “expert” – I was passionate about the topic, I was a trusted name, I had a face, I had a story and my readers knew me. They knew me on a personal level – in fact, on several business trips, complete strangers would approach me knowing who I was and once they’d share their email address or online name, I knew them too.
I never intended for those efforts to convert to profit, they just did.
I guess my point here is if you are passionate about a topic – IF you would write on that topic regardless of whether it made money or not – IF you establish real relationships with your readers and become of value to them – the money will follow almost as if by magic.
That, in a nutshell, is the secret to successful blogging. Value!
If you need a bit of inspiration to learn how you might add value to your readers, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Interaction – Ask questions, provide answers, respond to comments.
- Solve Problems – If you keep a close eye on your niche, you will see problems that need solving – you’ll find opportunity.
- Respect – In order to receive respect, you have to give it.
What are other ways you can provide value to your readers? Please share your thoughts.
As always, I am committed to my readers. If you leave a comment on any of my posts, I will visit your blog and “share it” in some way whether on StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook depending on if I can find a nice fit. This is my way of saying thank you!