I ran across a Shoemoney post today that was a few months old that talked about the real way to make money online (read the full post here: What People Trying To Make Money Online Blogging Don’t Get). It wasn’t what the typical blogger wants to hear, but something we’ve all probably heard a thousand times. And for some reason today it got me thinking. Shoemoney said, “You need to actually give value…and do it consistently over time.”
Sometimes I think it’s easy to lose focus of why we’re blogging (or why we SHOULD be blogging) and get caught up in making the almighty dollar. The interesting thing I’ve found is the harder I try to extract money from a blog, the harder it is to make money from that blog. Yet when I just commit to writing every day (or whatever frequency I’ve chosen for that blog project), it’s infinitely easier to monetize my efforts. In the latter scenario, my blog content grows in depth and quality and my readership grows more rapidly.
Today I thought I’d throw out 5 ways you can add value for your readers. This is not the end all, be all list, but rather some things to get you thinking to generate your own list adapted to your specific needs and style.
On with the list!
1. Respond to your audience.
When they ask for help or ask a sincere question, respond. When you have an additional question about a post you or someone else on your blog wrote, put it in the comments. When you have a thought about it, put it in the comments. The post should be the conversation starter while the comments are what get your blog community really rolling. You will build a reputation more quickly and people will value your blog all the more if you take the time to interact with them.
2. Use your blog and other tools to solve problems.
Your blog, Twitter sites, podcast, etc. are all tools you should be using in unison. Use them to try and solve problems, both big and small. People love problem solvers. You may be thinking, “Great, but what kind of problem can I solve?” I have no idea, but I would venture to guess that if you kept your eye out in your niche, you’d find something people are bumping up against on a regular basis. It could be something as simple as a regular conduit for updating people about something pertinent to your niche, or something more complex such as a new software or service to help the entire industry function better. Whatever it is, try and be a problem solver. If you find a problem, but don’t know how to solve it, throw it out there along with some suggestions at possible solutions. Get the ball rolling.
3. Add plugins that add value to your blog.
One that I think of right off the bat is a comments plugin that makes it easier and more enticing for people to interact with your blog, each other and you. Another might be the Flickr plugin to bring niche related pictures into your site. Or how about a plugin that sends out a Twitter update every time you create a post. Look for plugins that add value to your blog, it’s content, and the experience you’re creating for your site visitors. One note of caution though, don’t just add plugins because you’re gadget happy or think something looks neat. ONLY add them if they’ll actually add some value. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers.
4. Be generous.
I’m sure everyone feels they’re generous most times, but are you really? Are you generous with your time, your knowledge and your abilities? You can gain some real traction with your readers and others in your niche if you are a generous person and give freely of yourself. This relates heavily to #1 above. One of the best ways you can give of yourself, aside from writing well thought out content is by interacting with readers in your comments. Another thing you can do to be generous is give something away. Run a little contest, giveaway or drawing for your readers. It can help you gain readers, but can also be a great act of generosity. And there’s nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone!
5.Treat everyone with respect.
I really debated on #5, but it’s something I’ve been trying to do everywhere I “am” online. It’s sometimes easy (okay, oftentimes easy) to get annoyed with what seem like stupid people asking stupid questions. At the end of the day, though, they’re still fellow human beings and deserve to be treated with respect. This can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to add value to your blog or pretty much any online or offline project you work on. Think about it. People want to be around others who respect them and value them as human beings. An expert or guru that treats people with respect usually gains a significantly greater number of followers much more quickly than someone who knows their stuff but is a jerk. This really hit home for me while reading some comments on a blog recently. The blog author was calling people out, saying they were idiots and dumbasses. I don’t care to read any more from this particular guy no matter how good the advice or info is.
Hopefully that gives you a few things to think about as you look at your blog and how you can continue to build it. If you have some more suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below.
This guest post was written by Ryan Burglehaus who writes about blogging, making money online and entrepreneurial tips at Blueverse.com.