In 2010, I attended my first BlogHer conference in San Diego. There was much to learn and do and some of the best workshops I have ever attended. I have attended the conference yearly ever since and now have a professional relationship with the company. Here is what I have learned from those conferences over the years.
Invest in your own hosting. I will never forget when a girl I know lost her blog because Google shut it down. Apparently, she had some kind of widget or code in her sidebar, Google flagged it as spam and shut her blog down. She was on the Blogger platform. She eventually got it back, but it was months later (Can you imagine MONTHS going by with no blog??) and she had absolutely no control over the situation. This is the perfect example of why you need your own hosting. When you own your hosting, nobody can shut you down (unless you don’t pay your hosting bill). The content is yours, you own it, not Google or any of the other free blogging platforms. Those are fine when you first start out, but if you are serious about moving forward as a brand and writing as a business, self hosting is the way to go.
Build your audience. Interesting content is only half the equation of building your core audience. The other half is frequent postings. People will visit often for regularly updated content, but if they return a few times to the same old posts, eventual they will stop coming back. In order to make money from your blog, you have to put some serious time into it. Make sure you are prepared for the commitment. Don’t get discouraged or quit either, if you build it, they will come.
Advertising. Be careful with this one because the key to becoming a wage earning blogger is not only to be well known, but to earn the trust of your influential community. Always make sure that your ads match the interests of your readers. (for instance, if you have a fashion blog, don’t run ads about drain cleaner. Your readers may need this product but they don’t want to see ads for it while they are on your site) If you’re only in it for the money or the swag, it will be difficult to write with passion and integrity. So choose a topic you care about and have fun writing. The money will follow.