#1. Selecting a niche
that not only benefits your readers and followers from your expertise, but also something that is not already in a crowded market place.
- It will be hard to be heard and followed when there are hundreds of other bloggers in the same or similar niche. You need to come up with very creative and unique posts to standout.
- You would ideally like to choose a niche that is more conducive to selling your own or others’ products and services.
- The google adsense or other pay per click ad networks should also need to display advertisements not only relevant to your blog, but also should give a decent pay per click amount. Some niches have pay per click as low as 10 cents. In my experience, I struggle to get more than $4.0 per RPM (i.e. revenue per 1000 impressions).
So, you need to do your homework and compromise on things to get the best possible outcome for yourself.
My experience: When I started blogging, there were far too many blogs on Java tutorials, How to do in Java, etc. If you google for “How to convert String to int in Java”, you will get hundreds if not thousands of pages. Hence, I chose “Java interview questions and answers” as my niche, and it was well received. I also quantified it to stand out with “500+ Java interview questions answered with lots of diagrams”.
#2. Beating the “Internet Entitlement Syndrome”
Subscription based blogs are more conducive to generating better income, but it can be quite challenging to get subscribers to pay for your content. For example, if you charge $10.0 per month for the subscription, all you need is 1000 subscribers to make $10,000 a month. But the catch is that it is not easy to get 1000 people to subscribe. As mentioned by Guy Kawasaki in his book “The Art of Social Media”, the sufferers of “Internet Entitlement Syndrome” believe that “Everything on the internet should be free, and tailored to themselves”. They fail to understand that not all contents are created equal. They also fail to understand the fact that in some cases you need to invest to get greater benefits.
So, to win those readers with “Internet Entitlement Syndrome”
- You need to give away some of your quality posts and work (i.e. PDF downloads) to make them realize that you provide superior content.
- You need to engage your readers by solving their career problems, technical issues, etc. So, you need to have a fair amount of free content as a hook.
- You need to engage your readers with your unique style and value add.
My experience: Lots of hours went into creating my content with easy to understand explanation complimented with good diagrams and industrial strength examples. The content was also properly categorized to be able to easily prepare for the job interviews. Quality Java interview questions and answers are complimented with other career making resources like “Job hunting know how”, “sample Java resumes”, blogging, self-publishing books, freelancing, etc to be a complete career making website for the Java developers to empower themselves to get multiple job offers, negotiate better salary, expand their horizons into freelancing, etc. I am also lucky as there are not many other “career focussed site” for Java developers.
#3. Getting your site/blog out there
How do you promote your site or blog in a very crowded internet space?
My experience: I used a number of avenues like
- Paid “Google adwords” advertisements. I did not have the patience to wait for the organic SEO to kick in. Luckily, I was channeling some of my revenue from my self-published Java books. self-published Java books. Personally, the return on investment (ROI) for me was not at all good via this avenue. It may work for others or other niche.
- Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Don’t be afraid of pissing people off with your posts. As Guy Kawasaki had said, if you are not upsetting people at times, you are not properly using the “Social Media”. But don’t over do it. Respect other those social media platform users. Recommended way to promote, especially the “LinkedIn user groups” are excellent and free.
- Publishing articles via already established Java sites like JavaLobby.com and publishing your links to DZone.
- Participating in Java forums to help others, which not only increased my knowledge, but also helped me promote my site/blog via the signature at the bottom. My JavaRanch profile
- Word by mouth: Writing quality & unique posts encouraging your readers to not only bookmark & read several times, but also prompting them to talk about them and share them. If you had watched a great movie or been to a great restaurant, you are most likely to talk about it and share with your circles.
So, my picks are #2 to #5, and #5 being the most effective one.
#4. Blogging is a marathon & and not a sprint
It takes a long time to make a decent supplimentary income in blogging. You need to be very very patient. So, how do you keep your motivation up to keep posting quality content if you are not making much revenue at all. It is a different story if you keep making a decent income to keep your spirits up.
My experience: Firstly, I blog because I am passionate up Java programming, and my primary source of income come from working as a full time freelance or contract based Java developer for medium to large companies in solving their problems. Getting a good handle on the 16 technical key areas will go a long way in gaining a reputation as a “go to” person. I enjoy solving problems more than blogging. So, you need to pick a niche that you are passionate about. Otherwise, you will loose focus and motivation very soon. Secondly, you need to set your expectations right. When I first started blogging in 2010, my main focus was to learn and as a repository of my valuable hands-on experience.
#5.How to continuously come up with topics to blog about?
Firstly, people are more interested in your own experience as opposed to reiterating what is already out there. If you google for blogging tips, you will see hundreds of pages saying the same thing.
Secondly, your style of writing. You need to get across the key points very concisely and interestingly. Good diagrams, bullet points, and examples are very important. Readers don’t have the time or patience to read paragraph after paragraph to get key points. Finally, your readers will be interested in your opinion.
My experience: My inspiration for blog posts are
- Java interview questions being asked in many of the job interviews I faced. As a freelancer, I get to attend many job interviews.
- Technical and non-technical challenges faced at work or something new that I learned.
- Light bulb moments from solving others’ problems via Java forums and articles/books I read. Commuting time is my real think-tanking time.
Finally, whilst blogging is a wonderful tool with many intangible benefits, it is not everyone’s cup of tea to make a decent passive income. If you are planning to blog to just add a few advertisements, you will soon be disappointed.