When it comes to blogging, you need to have a plan in mind before you get started. This is something I continually talk about on this blog. With more than a billion active sites on the internet today and more than 300 million of them being blogs, it’s no longer a matter of just creating content — now it’s more about the promotion of that content. At the same time, it’s also been reported that 72% of all sites on the internet today are created with WordPress. These are some staggering numbers, and with more websites and blogs being created every day, it’s extremely important for bloggers to understand what it takes to find success online.

To help with this process, today we are going to look at what it takes to create a blog with meaning and purpose, while also zoning in on increasing traffic, revenue and brand growth. Be sure to follow through each of the actionable tips below, while also checking out each of the referenced guides and articles in the process. These will each help with the overall success of your blog.

Niche Down and Have a Blog with Purpose

Many people have different reasons for starting a blog. Some people like to have their own little spot on the internet where they can talk about what’s going on in their lives or what they are passionate about. Others will start a blog for their brand or business, while others have the goal to try and make some money online. No matter what the reason is for starting a blog, the important thing is that you niche down as much as possible.

With so many active websites and blogs already online and creating millions of new articles daily, your own blog will never be able to compete on a generic scale. A great example of this would be if you wanted to focus on sports. Instead of writing about your favorite sports team or players, it would be best to focus on something more specific, while also providing a service or value in the process. Niching down from ‘sports’ to ‘sports training’, then a level even deeper to ‘basketball jump training’ is a great example of how you can start a blog focused exactly on what someone is looking for. At the same time, this type of targeting also allows for easier monetization and marketing of your blog.

Create an Online Course and Monetization Strategy

When it comes to making money with a blog, you have plenty of options to choose from. Google Adsense or Media.net are one two common methods for newbie bloggers, but the problem with this method is that you are going to need a lot of traffic to your site in order to make any decent money. At the same time, everytime someone clicks on your Google Adsense ads, they are going to be leaving your site. This might be fine if you have a general content and audience blog, but not so much if you have a site where you are selling services or trying to obtain new customers.

With more bloggers focusing on their passions and selling their expertise as a service or online course, this is where the big money is starting to come in. To learn more about this process, I recommend you take a look at this guide from Neil Patel on the best ways to sell courses online. This is something I’ve personally been getting more involved with, as the blogging and make money online space is huge and new people are entering the industry all of the time. With such a demand in place, it means there is going to be a requirement for online learning and training material at all levels (from beginners to advanced users). This is something all bloggers should consider when selling courses online, always making sure they have all audiences covered so they can secure themselves as an authority within their space.

Analyzing the Competition: Creating Better Content and Ranking Higher

If you want to compete in the world of blogging and online business, you are going to need to always keep an eye on the competition. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of website analyzer tools. Such tools will allow you to keep an eye on the competition and see where they are ranking in the search results. At the same time, you can also analyze the performance of your own sites as well.

With all of this in mind, it’s also important to make sure your site is creating quality content that is not only better than the competition, but also better in value, SEO standards, and probability to get linked and referenced from other sites. To get an idea of what the best type of content that is currently out there, simply search Google for whatever keywords or terms you would like to rank for. It’s very likely that all of the first page rankings are really high-quality stuff. Analyze each of the sites rankings, then see how you can create even better content. For example, if some sites online have text and images, why not create an infographic or an original video to better compliment your content. Content with visuals gets up to 94% more views. Always keep this in mind when trying to outperform the competition. Once this is done, be sure to put in the necessary outreach and promotion to get some quality backlinks and mentions from other relevant sites in your niche. If you follow this process through step by step, you will start to see your site content rank higher in the search results and rise against the competition.

Personal Outreach is the Key to Winning the Blogging Game

As mentioned earlier, the world of blogging has changed a lot over the years. It’s no longer a game of whoever creates the most content is going to win, now it’s all about the promotion of that content and who can do it better. A great example of how to create killer content for your blog that will continue to bring in new traffic, backlinks, and ROI for several weeks and months to come, is through the use of expert roundups. The concept of these posts is simply to make a list of 30+ industry experts and leaders within your niche, ask them all a question and then compile all of their answers into one big mega post. You can see an example of one we did here for best web hosting services.

While the concept is easy enough, it’s the outreach process that is quite time-consuming. Not only is it a matter of building a list of experts to contact, it’s also an issue of cold emailing each of them and building a quick relationship. This process can be done manually, or through any of the many email and marketing automation and follow-up solutions currently out there. To get the most out of your email outreach and content creation efforts, be sure to follow up with everyone who has participated in your expert roundup after the post goes live. This will help with the actual social sharing of your content, while also allowing your blog to reach new audiences and followers from each of the experts you’ve featured in your roundup.

It’s also important to note that email outreach isn’t just done for expert roundup style posts, it also works extremely well for infographic marketing, outreach to PR and media editors, requesting interviews on other sites and also for creating new business relationships or blogging partners. If you are still looking for ideas on how to create better content than your competition, be sure to run through this list of seven content creation ideas that are working well in 2017.