It’s been about six months since I started blogging. When I first started, I was just writing casually about everyday personal finance topics that came across my mind. I was just using my blog as an outlet for me to express my thoughts and as a tool to keep myself accountable for my financial decisions. However, I did not know that in order to be a great blogger, there are many must have blogging skills that I would need to possess or develop along the way. So for this post, I’ve composed a list the essential blogging skills to become a great blogger for those aspiring to start a blog and build an extra source of income.
For those that know me personally, they know that I am a very competitive person and I want to be best in everything I do. I have a lot of pride in my own work and I don’t like to settle for second best. Most of the time, my work may not even come close to the best work out there in the real world, but I feel content that I have often put in my best effort to produce the best possible work that I can. Blogging is no different. I am not even close to being the average blogger yet, but in time, I want to become one of the best Canadian personal finance bloggers out there. It may not be easy, but I am up for the challenge.
1) Decision Making Skill
Once you’ve started a blog, developing the decision skills is crucial. You’ll need to decide what niche to focus on and be the expert in that area. What tools do you need to install on your blog or which social media platform to specialize in to maximize your blog’s potential? Making the right decision can launch your blog to great heights quickly. On the other hand, making the wrong decision can have great setbacks that may even discourage you to continue blogging.
2) Creative Skill
To be able to churn out post, after post, after post, on a regular basis to keep your readers captivated, I consider creativity to be one of the most important skills for any blogger to possess. Without the creative writing skills, your posts will put your readers to sleep and they won’t be visiting your blog again. Personal finance is already a boring enough topic for people to read due to the fact that most people are not comfortable talking about money. So without a little creativity, your blog post is just another web page out there on the Internet.
3) Learning Skill
If you want to be a blogger, then you’ll definitely need to have your learning skills working in overdrive from the very beginning. You’ll be learning new things almost every day. One day, you’ll learn how to expand your reach through different social media platforms. Another day, you’ll learn how to customize your blog with search engine optimization (SEO) so that you can be found by search engines. Other days, you’ll learn how to convert the casual reader to subscribers. The learning never stops.
4) Research Skill
Some people may have a great deal of life experience that they can recall and share continuously. While others are great story tellers where they can turn a simple topic such as early retirement into tens or even hundreds of posts. For me, I do have some life experiences, but I am not a great storyteller where I can turn one topic into many posts. However, I discovered that with a little research skill, you only need to come up with part of the material and you can complete the rest of your post with research. In addition, with some research skills, it’ll help you to gauge which topics are competitive with too many posts and which topics still have room for you to contribute your opinion.
5) People Skill
Being a blogger, you’ll be interacting with my different types of people from all over the world. Some people may be nice, friendly and courteous, there are also some really awful people out there on the internet. Eventually, you’ll be meeting and dealing with all sorts of people. Having the people skills will allow you to keep the people that can help you in your blogging circle and brush away the bad ones in a gentle and professional manner.
6) Problem-Solving Skill
Being a blogger, you pretty much have to be a jack of all trades. Many bloggers will have a few great skills when they start, but they will have to gain additional skills in order to thrive as a blogger. Problem-solving skill is a skill that all bloggers will need to eventually possess. For example, you may need to solve business problems related to viewership, unforeseen technical problems related to your blog or when to post to maximize the blog’s traffic. Without problem-solving skills, it will be difficult for you grow your blog effectively.
7)Time Management Skill
I am not a full time blogger. I have a full time job with on-call duty. I am also a Realtor that owns a couple of investment properties. I volunteer as a board member of a children’s charity. On top of that, I am a father of two young kids and they require a ton of my time. As you can see, my personal life takes a lot of my time so to be able to blog consistently, I need to allocate my time efficiently. In addition, I also need to allocate time to visit other blogs to network, time to respond to my readers and time to be on social media to promote my blog. Without time management skill, I will not have the time to attend to my personal life and to work on my blog consistently.
8) Coping Skill
Before you succeed, you’ll probably fail in many attempts to grow your blog. For example, when I first started, I thought that I’d be able to buy my subscribers easily by providing a cash giveaway. Boy, did I learn the hard way. Not only did I get a miserable number of subscribers, but my self-esteem took a huge hit as I thought that my brilliant idea was a sure win and I’ll gain thousands of subscribers in a flash. The result is so miserable that I am just too embarrassed to even share with anyone. Without the coping skill, I may not know how to regroup after such a disaster and I may have probably given up blogging.
9) Technical Skill
Regardless of who tells you that you don’t need any technical skills to start a blog, it’s just not true. I know that you can outsource almost any functions on your blog, even the posts. However, to be a successful blogger, you’ll need to acquire some technical skills. For example, being able to setup and share your posts on multiple social media platforms is a technical skill. Being able to figure out what SEO is, or setting up Google Analytics and improving your blog’s Google Page Rank requires technical skills. The good news is, you don’t need to be at an expert level. You just need to have a fair amount knowledge to be able to get the technical experts to do what you want.
10) Writing Skill
If you do a Google search on how to start a blog, most of the posts will mention that quality content will be your bread and butter to keep your readers returning to your blog. Without a moderate level of writing skills, it’ll be difficult for you to produce great contents to keep your readers captivated. Having great content is one thing, being able to balance between post length and quality content of the posts is another. For me, I am still searching for this balance as I want to be as informative as I can in my posts and cover all the angles for a particular topic.
11) Entrepreneur Skill
When you are spending hundreds of hours or even thousands of hours on your blog, I suppose that you may want to be financially rewarded some day. To monetize your blog, you’ll need some serious entrepreneur skills. Will you be using Google Adsense or affiliate marketing or partnership or sponsorship to generate revenue for your blog? This is where your entrepreneur skill will kick-in to exponentially grow your blog’s revenue and make big bucks. I must admit, I am still learning this skill and I am only making a few bucks from my blog.
12) Client Management Skill
Regardless if you think your readers are your clients or not, because they are. Without readers visiting your blog, you won’t generate any revenue. Hence, having the client management skill to managing your subscribers on your blog or followers on your social media accounts is crucial. You’ll need to keep them up-to-date by sending out newsletters or encourage them to visit your site by providing recent posts that they might have missed. Great bloggers will be able to use their client management skill to gain more subscribers/followers.
13) Outsourcing Skill
As I mentioned earlier, you can outsource almost any function on your blog. For example, you can hire a virtual assistance on Fiverr.com to help you post on social media. You can also hire freelance graphic designers to create logos or images for your posts. How about managing your reader engagement on your blog and social media? That can be done too. The work that you can outsource is only limited by your ability to find the resources to get the most bang for your bucks.
14) Innovation Skill
To be a great blogger, you have to have the innovation skill to innovate industry leading ideas that set the tone for everyone else that comes after you. You have to be ahead of your competitors. A great example is the Rockstar Finance Forum. All personal finance bloggers hang out there and want to do a guest post on that site. If you are able to have your post accepted on that forum, then there is a good chance that you have gained the recognition as a personal finance blogger.
15) Selling Skill
One way to make money from your blog is to be sponsored by an organization or a professional for your post. Being able to secure a sponsored post here or there is great, but to make money with your blog, you’ll need to know how to solicit and land potential sponsors. You’ll need to leverage your current work to negotiate your fees or close the deal. To do this well, you’ll need to have some serious selling skills.
16) Social Media Marketing Skill
Before I started blogging, I only have a Facebook account and I was never on social media. After I decided to start blogging, I realized that I won’t succeed unless I use social media marketing to promote my blog. In today’s sharing world, all you need is just one post to go viral and you would hit the jackpot. If you’re not on a least one social media platform, then you will be missing out on the opportunity to reach millions of readers out there. In addition, different social media have different audiences and different ability to reach new readers.
17) Planning Skill
Planning skills goes hand in hand with time management skill. To maximize traffic to your blog, you’ll need to plan and publish your posts to synchronize with certain events or days of the week or time of the day. For example, I use the hype of people’s new year resolution during the new year to capture people’s interest for change by providing them with 10 passionate Canadian personal finance bloggers to follow. As it turned out, that post was one of the most popular posts on my blog and I am still getting on-going traffic on a regular basis.
18) Business Skill
Most of the time, an individual blogger can succeed by him/herself and doesn’t need to partner with someone else. What if there is another individual that can provide another dimension to your blog such as the partnership at The Mastermind Within? Or the collaboration to build the Canadian Money Forum founded by FrugalTrader at Million Dollar Journey with other partners? Your business skills will determine how much you can grow your blog. Depending on the opportunity and your business skills, the potential of your blog may be just another blog out there or the next Huffington Post.
19) Risk Management Skill
Being a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), I can never leave risk management out of anything that I do. Starting a blog does not require in-depth risk management skills. However, after you’ve started blogging, you need to manage risks. For example, operational risk is one of the most common risks out there as most bloggers will only have one site, which is their live site. What if you installed a new plugin and it crashed your site or your site is hacked? How do you mitigate these risks and recover your site as quickly as possible?
20) Self Promotion Skill
I am a terrible self-promoter as I often have trouble blowing my own horns. However, if my goal is to become one of the best Canadian finance bloggers, then I need to find a way to overcome this deficiency. Luckily, there are many ways that I can do it. One of the best ways to do it is to publish an e-book. I heard it’s quite popular with today’s readers. In addition, you can get great exposure if you post your e-book on Amazon as they have a vast customer based. You never know. If your e-book goes viral, it’ll make it easier to monetize your e-book and your blog. Coming soon … A Leo T. Ly Story – The Ordinary Millionaire.
21) Adaptation Skill
This skill allows you to adapt a popular topic by approaching it from a different angle. Originally, this post was supposed to be something along the line of starting a blog, but there are just too many posts out there on this topic and I don’t think I can add more value. So instead of showing people how to blog or how easy to create a blog. I am creating a blogger’s job description see if people wants to apply. If you don’t have the adaptation skills, it’ll be very difficult to survive more that 25 posts.
22) Networking Skill
To succeed in the blogging world, you need to network and work with other bloggers. While you may think that other bloggers in your niche are competitors, which is true. They are also your friend at the same time. It’s true that we are all competing for the same readers out there. However, we don’t need to outright have all those readers to ourselves. Readers can subscribe to multiple blogs. In order to grow your blog, networking in the blogging community is a must.
23) Branding skill
What makes some bloggers more successful than others? It’s their brand. It’s their differentiating factor that makes them unique from the average bloggers out there. Some of these bloggers have a great sense of humor or writing style, while other bloggers are very captivating or charismatic. They have unique characteristics that are difficult for other bloggers to duplicate. To be a great blogger, you need to become your own brand.
24) Multi-Tasking Skill
To be a successful blogger, you have to be able to wear many hats and performing multiple tasks at the same time. Being able to write your posts on a regular basis is not enough. You need to be able to visit other blogs to network and connect with other bloggers while providing insightful comments on other blogs as well as interacting with readers of your own blog. Have I mentioned being on multiple social media platforms to promote your posts and manage your readers’ engagement on each platform? These are just some of the tasks that great bloggers need to do and do it well.
25) Self-care Skill
Most bloggers doesn’t start out as full time bloggers. The majority of bloggers have a full time job plus blogging on the side. Blogging can take a lot of time and it can be a second job without providing a second pay for a long time. You will need to make some sacrifice at the beginning to be a successful blogger. Hence you’ll need to develop some self-care skills to take care of yourself and not burnt out. Otherwise, your blogging career will be quite short. I know that I almost quit a while ago because my health was deteriorating partially because of blogging.
26) B.S. Skill
B.S. stands for… yep, you guessed it, bullsh!t. What? Do you really need B.S. skill? From time to time, you’ve got to come up with something to expand your post. I know that I already have 25 skills listed. Do I really need one more? I don’t really need one more, but I am obsessed with 26 as it’s my favourite number. If you don’t believe me, check out my 26 tips to buy your dream home with confidence, or 26 money mistakes to avoid. Heck, even the final step to save a million dollars post contains 26 tips. See how I use my B.S. skill there?
My Two Cents
With great content management tools like WordPress, anyone can become a blogger nowadays. However, to be a great blogger and eventually make money, you’ll need to have the required skills to produce great content, to promote your blog, to reach and connect with your readers, to monetize your blog, and to satisfy your need to express your opinions.
If you are an aspiring blogger, do you think you have the required skills to succeed? If you are already blogging, what skills do you need to develop to take your blog to the next level?