- A pro blogger makes a schedule and sticks to it.
- A pro blogger will emphasize page design over ad space.
- A pro blogger interacts with his or her readers.
- A pro blogger is active in his or her online community.
- A pro blogger understands all facets of blogging, from WordPress to SEO to Google's myriad rules, and more.
Here's another trait: pro bloggers don't skimp on expenses. The pro blogger makes money and understands that the key to growth is re-investment. This isn't arbitrary reinvestment, but well-planned expenditures that make a difference.
1. EquipmentWhen bloggers first start out, equipment is no big deal. All you need is a computer with an internet connection. But as bloggers advance their amateur ways and approach professionalism, the game changes. While a blog can always be run on bare bones, pro bloggers can leverage the world of gadgets to make the process easier, allowing them to focus on the bigger issues.
- Microphone and headphones for podcasting.
- A second monitor, which increases productivity.
- A smartphone or tablet for working on the go.
- A powerful computer that can handle a heavy workload.
2. Learning ToolsOne of the items left out of the list atop this post, but perhaps one of the most important traits of a pro blogger: he or she is always learning. It's not enough to know something. There are always different angles to explore. And so the pro blogger seeks out knowledge even when it seems she knows all she needs.
Learning tools always cost us time, but that can prove a more powerful investment than money. Yes, some learning tools do cost money. But some can be found for free. For instance, the new Grow to Greatness course can help any blogger grow a business. It costs nothing, except your time and attention. A pro blogger wouldn't hold back on an opportunity to learn.
3. ConferencesTo be knowledgeable is crucial, but it is not the end-all of blogging. The best bloggers are not only knowledgeable, but personable. They make connections all around the industry. That keeps them open to opportunities not available to less personable, less networked bloggers. The true professional makes him or herself known (though does not make him or herself the center of attention).
Going to conferences is an easy way to gain deeper ties into a blogging community. Whether it's a conference specifically for bloggers, or it represents a particular niche, it's an opportunity for any involved blogger. Go there, talk to people, make connections, and develop relationships. It's the fastest path to growth.
4. DesignConventional knowledge says that content is king. Create quality content and they will come. To a certain degree that is true. Quality content will keep people coming back to your blog time and time again. But it's not the only factor. In fact, there are some factors that will turn people away from your site even before reading a single word. Poor design can ruin even the best written blogs.
There are a few paths to quality design. A versatile WordPress theme can take care of plenty, but even then there are certain tweaks and hacks that can make a good design great. Bloggers can take the time to learn design themselves (see No. 2), or they can pay a professional designer to create something breathtaking.
Think of it this way: while content is conversation, design is how you dress. Slap on jeans that haven't been washed in a week and a musty old t-shirt, and some people won't bother talking to you. Show up looking dapper, though, and your conversation skills can thrive. Quality design puts your best foot forward, allowing your other skills to shine through.
5. HostingWhat good is a blog that always crashes? Yes, you can typically get your blog back online by calling your host, but what if it keeps happening? Do you have the time to continue calling? Do you have the patience? Or, the most important question: do your readers have the patience?
Your blog might be great. Your readers might love what you do, and you might have hundreds of passionate fans who read every word you write. But even the most loyal fans can take only so much. If your site is constantly crashing, leaving them without access when they want it, they will stop visiting and patronize another blog.
The lesson: shell out money for good hosting. Your entire blog depends on it.
About The AuthorJoe Pawlikowski writes, edits, and consults for many blogs across the web, with a focus on technology. He maintains Prepaid Reviews and the Prepaid Reviews blog, which focuses on prepaid wireless phones and service.