Whether you dream of monetizing your blog to the point where it generates a healthy stream of revenue or you want to snag a position as a full-time blogger for a corporation, there’s no denying that blogging is big business these days.
However, this “job” still has some stigma attached to it, thanks in part to the fact that everyone from your six-year-old cousin to your Grandma can call him- or herself a “blogger” by tossing up a free WordPress page and writing something once per month. That’s like saying you’re an “actor” or a “writer” but you’ve never earned more than a few bucks at the job.
If you really want to make some money from blogging, it’s useful to look at the most popular blogs, who lead by example. They’re actually dishing up plenty of excellent advice for free if you know how to interpret it.
Many of the most popular blogs may not read as “blogs” at all, since they’re serious media outlets; game changers that have bucked the stigma that clings to some of the bottom-feeding web logs out there. Here are a few takeaway lessons from the most beloved sites around the globe.
Huffington Post and TMZ
Entertainment is a serious money-maker, but just like in the world of print, there’s a wide variety when it comes to quality. For example, there’s no denying that a publication such as US Weekly is “better” than the gossip rags that are printed on newspaper-quality paper.
The Huffington Post gets over 110,000,000 visitors per month and is considered an authority source. It’s rich with entertainment, but it also carries many other, more serious niches such as politics and health. Diversity is key here.
TMZ is more entertainment-focused, but with more than 30 million unique visits per month, it’s clearly doing something right. The thing to note about TMZ is that it doesn’t publish rubbish; it only reports after it appears that the story is solid, and it doesn’t discriminate on coverage.
If a celebrity is touting the benefits of steroids or a sports figure is overheard discussing his or her dependence on yoga, TMZ covers it all in digestible chunks.
The business of life
To have a successful blog, you have to reach a wide audience. Plenty of people are interested in business news as long as it’s not dry, and everyone wants to know how to make life easier for themselves.
Business Insider scoops up 28 million visitors per month, and even though it’s a traditionally “boring” niche by some standards, it doesn’t read that way. It’s accessible, gives the facts but isn’t long winded, and aims to reach people in every generation.
Likewise, Lifehacker and Mashable offer useful tidbits and nuggets of information, and they’re all about how-to’s and news with a fun angle. That’s probably why Lifehacker rakes in over 23 million visitors per month and Mashable gets nearly the same.
Both of these blogs only publish content that’s unique, interesting, or provides answers to solutions. If your posts don’t reflect at least one of these three elements, then your blog is never going to get off the ground.
What do all top-ranked blogs have in common? They have attractive layouts, feature good quality content, are updated regularly, and fill a need. Don’t forget about responsive design, too. You want to make sure every potential reader can get at your site quickly and easily.