How to Become a Professional Blogger: Lessons from Pro bloggers
Table of Contents
- Who is a Professional Blogger
- How to Become a Pro Blogger
- What Are the Qualities of a Professional Blogger
- 6 Steps to Become A Professional Blogger
- Milestone: 200 Posts on Aha!NOW
I keep getting requests from people on social media to guide them about how to become a professional blogger. In fact, some of my fans refer to me as a pro blogger, which is a short form of professional blogger.
Although I respect their views and thank them, honestly speaking, I don’t think I’ve reached that level to become one.
I’ve seen many people use the term “pro blogger” casually. But what do they really mean by that and who exactly is a professional blogger?
Let me put it across to you – do you consider yourself as a professional blogger? If yes, then what do you think makes you one?
These are some of the concepts that I’ll try to clear in this post.
I’m sure after reading through you’d know the criteria you need to fulfill so that you too can become a professional blogger, if you aren’t one already!
I’m also going to ask a few top bloggers some questions, which are specifically about how to become professional bloggers and what makes probloggers different and special.
So let’s go ahead and take the lessons directly from the pro bloggers, about being pro bloggers.
This is a special milestone post on Aha!NOW that you’ll get to know about at the end of this post. Hope you enjoy it!
Who is a Professional Blogger
You know that a blogger is a person who keeps and updates a blog, which is primarily also called a web log.
You also know that every blogger needs to write content and promote it. So, what are the things that a professional blogger does that other bloggers don’t?
I thought from different perspectives and came out with different viewpoints. You might agree with some, and not with others.
Do let me know in the comments what do YOU think a professional blogger is. Here are the different outlooks about a pro blogger:
1) A Blogger Who Earns a Livelihood from the Blog
Here’s what one of the pioneer and popular blogger thinks –
When I asked +Chris Brogan, who is a publisher, keynote speaker, and a New York Times Bestselling author, besides a blogger at ChrisBrogan.com, about what makes a problogger different from a blogger, he was very clear about it.
According to Chris, “The only difference between blogger and pro blogger is that a “pro blogger” has quit their day job because their blog now pays for their livelihood.”
That makes sense, doesn’t it? If you want to call yourself a professional, you should be able to relate what you do in terms of money.
I also infer that being a professional, you need to devote all of your time to your blog. If you work part-time, you’re perhaps an amateur, hobbyist, or a part-time blogger.
Well, if I say that, then I might hurt many bloggers, who blog part-time but still earn decent amount of income that helps them in a good way.
I guess they too qualify and deserve to earn that coveted title, don’t they?
2) A Blogger Who is Highly Skilled and Perfect
Some people use the term “professional” to emphasize that the person is highly skilled. I know nobody’s totally perfect.
Such a person is dedicated and does everything that a job asks for – perfectly like an expert, as if it’s his or her profession and not a hobby.
If such a blogger is professional in this respect but does not earn money out of the blog, whether due to lack of skill, interest, or desire, would you still call him or her a pro blogger?
Well, to further your understanding, let’s consider the definition of “professional”, which means “engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood.”
So, your definition of a problogger would depend on your outlook whether you consider a profession as related or not related to livelihood.
Digging deep into definitions, occupations too can be called as profession. They can be many activities that occupy a person’s attention, even being a voluntary priest can be a profession!
In that case, a passionate and expert blogger, who doesn’t earn his or her livelihood from the blog, too is a professional blogger! What’s your opinion?
However, there’s one more aspect.
3) A Blogger Who is a Teacher, Inspirational, and Popular
An authority qualified to teach beginners is also called a professional. A blogger with considerable experience is able to guide and lead new bloggers on to the right path.
So, if a blogger becomes a role model to learn from, does that blogger become a problogger?
I guess that is why a few bloggers call me a pro blogger because I know that neither is my blog source of my livelihood, nor am I an expert blogger.
I can only inspire and help bloggers and I’m popular just for this fact. 🙂
But I do not think that makes me a pro blogger.
To come at a definition of professional blogger, I’d add up all the aspects:
I’d say that a part-time or full-time blogger, who becomes an expert authority besides being popular too, and earns a respectful income from the blog, is eligible to be called a professional blogger.
Am I being too liberal in the definition? 😉 What do you think? Which viewpoint or definition of problogger do you accept?
Chris adds more relevant information, as he says, “I am not technically a problogger. My business isn’t built around the blog. The blog is just a great marketing tool for my business.”
It is evident from his words that a problogger is essentially a blogger whose blog is his or her business or prima earning source.
Therefore, if you’ve a popular and successful company and you run a blog to support and promote it, you don’t call yourself a pro blogger, unless the blog too is a major part of the total revenue.
But maybe not all bloggers or probloggers think so. For me, even Chris is a pro blogger.
So, we learned that becoming a pro blogger is not only about writing quality content that go viral, having mass loyal following, or even high ranks.
It is mainly about having a respectable revenue producing blog and being an authority.
But we do have a good matter for discussion, don’t we?
Meanwhile, let’s go by the standard definition, and that connects problogging with the aspect of livelihood. In that case, I don’t know about you, but I’m very clear that I’m far from becoming a problogger.
So, I’m keen to know how to become a professional blogger. Aren’t you too?
How to Become a Pro Blogger
Only a pro blogger could tell me what I should do to be a professional blogger.
He is very clear in his views, and starts from the basic.
He said, “I believe to become a professional at anything is first the choice to do so, then the dedication to follow through and keep working on it every day.
The fruits of that work – in this case the money you make – is the final stamp of proof that you are a professional, however you should consider yourself a professional long before that.
It’s about mindset first, then outcomes next. You can’t have one without the other.”
Isn’t this good and inspiring to know?
You and I too can be professional bloggers, if we’ve the right mindset – if only we start believing and considering ourselves as pro bloggers.
Pumped up with motivation, I asked Yaro about how he became a professional blogger. Candidly, he narrated his success story.
“I started blogging in 2004 as an experiment for a small business I had at the time, then I created my current entrepreneurs-journey.com blog at the start of 2005.
It was a hobby and I considered it one for at least the first six months. However the moment I started testing methods to make money felt like the switch for me to become a professional and see my blog as a new business, not just a hobby.
I didn’t earn a full time income from my blog for at least a year, so in terms of outcomes, the tangible income was a result of my mindset shift made half a year earlier, which led to me treating my blog in a very different way.
I focused on how I could increase my income and increase my readership, instead of just writing casually when I felt like it when it was a hobby.”
Doesn’t this seem similar to your story too? I can so very well relate to it, because I too hadn’t had the shift in my mindset until recently.
I totally concur with what Yaro says and I take it to mean that the right mindset makes your belief stronger. This gives you the right direction, besides the courage and confidence to carry on.
If you’re persistence, hard-working, as well as smart, you’ll achieve success in becoming a professional blogger.
Adding more to make things easier and explain how to become a professional blogger, Chris says, “Finding a community that you can serve and that someone else wants to sell into. That’s the fastest and easiest path to that.”
Reiterating, Yaro puts in his final words, “I believe mindset is everything.
I’m reading Yaro’s free e-book Blog Profits Blueprint (Aff link) and would recommend the same to you if you too want to transform yourself into a professional blogger.
What Are the Qualities of a Professional Blogger
Now that you know who is a professional blogger and how to become one, you should also know what qualities you should possess as a pro blogger.
According to Kristi, “The main two things you need to become a problogger are passion for your niche and dedication to make your blog a success. Without the passion, it’s hard to find the motivation to keep working toward your goals.”
Passion is what drives the professionals, whether they’re in the field of sports, music, arts, or for that matter blogging. Isn’t it?
Kristi adds, “The reason you need determination is that problogging is not easy.”
I totally agree with her.
It’s not an easy and smooth road to be a professional blogger. As you move forward, the tasks become more demanding, and if you’re not determined, you might just quit midway.
Not only bloggers and probloggers, but every person who wants to be successful should posses the 4D’s, which are the personal qualities of devotion, dedication, determination, and discipline.
Read more about them here.
I further believe that probloggers always have aces up their sleeve – in fact, they’ve three of them or possess the AAA advantage!
ATTITUDE. APPROACH. ADEPTNESS.
It’s not that the rest of the bloggers don’t have these qualities, but the professional bloggers have more of them, which become a part of their core personality. 🙂
Pro bloggers have a strong belief in themselves. They are full of confidence and always helpful.
Professional bloggers are full of passion about what they do. They’ve a problem solving and a go-getter attitude. Of course, they love and enjoy their tasks!
Pro bloggers are highly principled and have great values. They’re assertive or aggressive as and where required.
They plan their blogging career in advance and have a blogging strategy in place. They’ve a road map. They dare to be different and take everyone along with them.
Pro bloggers choose an area of expertise for which they’ve an aptitude, and become highly skilled in it.
They keep themselves updated, embrace new technology, and innovatively create new benchmarks and milestones.
Even imbibing and imitating these qualities of probloggers can create a mindset that will help you find a way to be a professional blogger.
Besides possessing these qualities, pro bloggers are very methodical, assertive, punctual, responsible, and most importantly, have great business skills. They are leaders and pioneers who make their own path.
These bloggers have some expertise that makes them shine through. This expertise can be in any aspect of blogging or any other field of work.
When you develop the qualities of a pro blogger, what steps would you take finally to become one?
6 Steps to Become A Professional Blogger
If you wish to be a pro blogger, then you better have a strategy in place. You should know exactly what steps to take and which process to follow.
Amit says, “The thing that helps is consistency and sticking to your niche. Write about topics that you are an expert at and respect reader’s time.”
That’s true, isn’t it?
You become a leader only if you’ve followers. You’ll have followers only if you’ve some value. Conclusively, unless you don’t provide value in your posts, you can’t be a problogger.
Let me remind you that here I’m talking about active and real followers, who’re your loyal supporters and not the ones that are purchased!
How could I not include +Ana Hoffman in this roundup of pro bloggers! Ana is a successful internet entrepreneur and one of the best traffic generation guide for your blog. As most of you know, she blogs at trafficgenerationcafe.com.
When I asked her the steps to become a professional blogger, she shared her wise insights and practical suggestions from her own rich blogging experience that are going to be your gold nuggets! 🙂
Here are her 6 steps to professional blogging:
1. Keep your day job – it will take time to “make it”. Don’t be disappointed if your timeframe doesn’t align with reality. It WILL take time.
2. The earlier you discover what sets you apart from the pack and why your readers should read your blog over theirs, the better.
3. Have a great professional (doesn’t mean paid or expensive) design – first impression is everything.
4. Be generous: promote others without expecting anything in return. Link out to others in your blog posts, share their posts on social media, contribute thoughtful comments, etc. – much like Harleena does.
5. One great post is better than 5 mediocre ones.
6. Leverage your content in different ways: do videos, audios, Slideshare presentations, etc. Your readers will appreciate it and share your content more and it’s a great way to establish your presence and authority across multiple platforms.
Wow! This is inspirational, gives you the right clues, shows you the right path, and tells you the right tricks to get going. This is what you expect from a pro blogger, don’t you?
Well, while Ana was about to send her prescription for problogging success, I made my own general points that can help any blogger to go to the next level.
Taking cues from the lessons of all pro bloggers, I conclude that you can become a professional blogger if you take the following 6 steps:
1) Select a Niche and Become an Expert Authority
I understand if you say that I’ve a multi-niche blog so why do I tell others to have a single niche blog. Well, I guess I’ve been lucky to be successful with a multi-niche blog.
You can say I’m a jack of all niches, and master of a few. 😉 But if you want to be a problogger, you need to make yourself valuable or an authority in some specific field.
I got recognition for my compelling content, blog commenting, and social media promotion. However, not everyone can get away having a multi-niche blog, can they?
2) Make a Blog Plan or Strategy
Okay, I’ve said this before. You need to have a detailed blog plan like the one you’ve for your life, a life plan.
Since you want to be a professional blogger, you need to treat your blog like a business. The first thing you do when you start a business is have a business plan.
Know what product or service you can sell, where is your market, how you can make money or become an authority, how long will it take, what will be your expenses, and so on.
I too need to do that, and that’s why I’m reading Yaro’s book as mentioned before. 🙂
3) Choose the Right Tools
When you want to be exclusive and a have a successful image, you can no longer do with the free things.
If not all, at least you need to have a premium theme, self-hosted blog, and a unique domain name.
Apart from these, you can have premium keyword research software, SEO software, expert analytics, email marketing services, and other things to help you enhance your blogging.
Let me tell you that I hardly use any of these myself. I’ve yet to try out the expensive SEO tools and other things..
4) Write Quality Content
This is a no brainer, isn’t it? If you’ve observed, the content that pro bloggers write are appealing and magnetic because they’ve their own opinions and voice.
They’re called professional because their content is professionally crafted. They usually come up with something innovative and different.
Usually, probloggers write from their own experience. They research enough to validate their content and make it informative and useful.
Many probloggers reach to a stage where they outsource their content and later transform it into their style and voice. That’s good if they can afford to, as it saves them valuable time.
The content should be full of resources. It has to be presented in an effective way that it can easily be read.
5) Offer Some Unique Product or Service
I think you can’t be a professional blogger if you don’t have a product or service to offer, whether they are for free or not.
It can be an ebook, a book, a blog audit service, consultancy service, or any other way through which you can show your authority and help your blog visitors.
I need to work in this aspect, and probably this is something that keeps me away from being the contender for the title of a pro blogger. 🙂
6) Develop Relationships and a Loyal Following
You cannot be a problogger by being alone. You need people to support you, follow you, and praise you.
If you don’t have a large following and a good amount of traffic, majority of people won’t recognize you for what you’re.
For this to happen, you need to develop relationships, interact and engage with people, develop a community, and make yourself available.
Of course, all this happens only when you write unique content that people find useful and can relate to.
To make professional blogging easy, you need to master the art of blog promotion to increase your traffic and engagement.
You may like to join Kristi’s Blog Post Promotion course (Aff link), which is an ultimate course that few of my friend’s too have joined. I have yet to read about it in detail, but I know it’s good!
* * *
Remember, that a pro blogger is a leader, and to be a professional blogger, you need to have all the qualities of a leader and a successful person.
You need to understand your community, be able to inspire them, be a role model, be creative and have a positive attitude.
You need to be honest, helpful, focused, self-motivated, and passionate. Besides, be a visionary and a person of action, and most importantly, have your own voice!
But remember that becoming a professional blogger takes time.
Yaro did mention it took him considerable time, and I read some other probloggers mention that it took them about two to three years.
Kristi explained in detail, “In my case, it took a year to find out what I really was passionate about, and then another two years before all of the work started to pay off. Of course, it was worth the wait as it allowed me to quit my 9 to 5 and become a freelance writer.”
Being a freelance writer and a blogger is not easy. You might like to read my post on how I became a freelance writer.
So, if you’ve been blogging for a year and feel the wait is too long, hang on!! Learn from the pro bloggers themselves, who waited and enjoyed the fruits of their labor.
Milestone: 200 Posts on Aha!NOW
This was a special post on Aha!NOW because it is the 200th post, and for me this is a milestone. I know it’s not great an event, and there are probably thousands of bloggers who’ve crossed this level. Still, it means something to me. 🙂
200 posts, 12000+ comments, 3+ years, and about 26,000 Alexa rank. It could’ve been better, but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved.
I may not have earned a lot of money from my blog, but I earned the love from my wonderful blog community that has accepted me as I’m, supported me through the thick and thin, and given me a place in their hearts and minds.
For me, that holds a lot more value than money! It brings me immense happiness when someone tells me my posts inspire them, or they find them useful. It’s like I’ve earned millions in a day 🙂
It’s time I change my mindset. This is the first time you might see a few affiliate links, but now you’ll see more of them, and even sponsored and review posts. If the pro bloggers are doing it, why shouldn’t I try them too? 😉
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it worthy enough.
Now that you know how to become a professional blogger, what’s your plan of action?
Over to You –
What is your definition of a professional blogger? Do you consider blogging as a profession? What qualities and steps would you add to become a pro blogger? If you’re a problogger, share the experiences of your blogging journey in the comments below.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos