To those considering starting a blog, the process seems easy: Choose a subject, create a site, and start sharing your brilliance with the world. How hard could it be to write about the stuff you’re interested in, take photos, and post it online?
Anyone who has found any success as a blogger can tell you, though, that it’s not really that simple. While many bloggers have managed to turn their sites into thriving businesses, doing so takes a great deal of hard work and commitment — and most aren’t able to do everything on their own. Not everyone possesses all of the skills, talents, and knowledge necessary to manage a successful blog. You might be a wonderful writer, but your photos always look like they were captured by a blind squirrel. You might understand the basics of SEO, but have no idea how to interpret your page analytics.
For this reason, it’s important for every serious blogger to take a page from the celebrity handbook and build a “squad” to help them make their blog the best it can be. Just like a cover model has a team of hair, makeup, and styling professionals to make them look their best, you need a team of experts to make your blog shine.
Who do you need on your squad? While you might not need all of these experts right away, you’ll want to start building your contacts in these areas.
Not all blogs are image-centric. Sometimes, a basic stock photo gets the job done. But if your blog is image-heavy, you want to make sure your images are as perfect as they can be. After all, no one is going to want to cook your scrumptious recipes if the pictures don’t make them look appetizing. If your photo skills are lacking, hook up with a local photographer who can help you out. Chances are you know someone who is looking for exposure and would be willing to help you jazz up your blog — even if it’s just taking better headshots of you.
Legal and Financial Advice
As your blog grows, you want to make sure you’re crossing all of your t’s and dotting your i’s to avoid landing in hot water. Once your blog starts earning money, you’ll have to file taxes, so consider meeting with an accountant or attorney who can help you set up your company properly. For example, you may wish to incorporate your blog business if you begin earning a significant salary, an expert can help you choose the right structure. Working with an attorney who is familiar with laws relevant to blogging, such as FCC disclosure requirements and copyright issues, can also help you avoid costly errors and legal battles.
Hiring guest writers for your blog accomplishes not only gives you a break, but also adds a fresh voice and fresh content to your site. Your options for guest writers run the gamut from new or up-and-coming bloggers who are looking for an audience, to other established bloggers who can bring their followers to you, to sponsored posts, where companies pay you (in cash or product) to post their content on your site. You can also hire freelancers to create content for you, using the style and subject parameters you provide.
Most successful bloggers use a combination of tactics, so as you grow, consider how you can incorporate other material into your blog. Just be careful that you are selective about who can post what on your site. A writer might be inexpensive, but you get what you pay for, so protect your brand above all.
If you are a blog owner, you need to take the time to learn at least the basics of web analytics, so you can look at your site’s performance and make adjustments as necessary. Without a solid understanding of what the metrics really mean, it’s possible that you can misinterpret the data and make incorrect assumptions — and unnecessary changes.
Until you have a grasp of analytics, though, it’s worth hiring someone who can do that analysis for you and help provide insight into your site’s performance. This doesn’t have to be a full-time job; you can hire a consultant or use an application to help interpret data. The bottom line is that you need accurate readings, and if you can’t do it, find someone who can.
Ask almost any entrepreneur about the keys to their success, and there’s a good chance they’ll tell you that it was the people around them that made all of the difference. Don’t try to go it alone while building your blog business. Assemble a squad, and increase your chance of world domination.