Writing online is tough.
Especially if you don't know how to get started.
Or don't really know why exactly you're even writing in the first place.
And most people skip either one or both of these question.
Because these are hard questions to answer.
To be able to answer the first one (how to get started) you can spend weeks and weeks researching with close to zero progress.
There are millions of blogs out there that want to teach you how to get started.
And each and every one of them recommends other tools or platforms to get started.
So we get stuck.
We get stuck before we even started writing a single word.
And there are millions of roadblocks like these along the way.
Crushing comments on your blog.
No one even noticing.
And on and on and on.
And it's tough to get past those dips.
When no one seems to care.
When nothing seems to be working out.
When others get hundreds of likes while you get nothing.
Sometimes it feels like this whole thing impossible.
Sometimes it feels like you're pushing a car uphill.
That's at least how I felt when I was getting started.
Maybe that's just me.
I don't know.
But what I do know is that getting started is hard.
It's almost as hard as not giving up along the way.
That's why I've put together a quick guide on how you can get started writing online.
This is the stuff that has helped me to write more than 1000 blog posts and 10 books in the past 5 years...
# WHY DO YOU WRITE?
There are many different reasons why people want to write online.
Maybe you just need an outlet to express your thoughts and ideas.
Maybe you want to build your brand or want to acquire new customers for your business.
At the end of the day it doesn't really matter why you want to write.
What matters is to define your why.
The reason why you're even writing.
Because if you don't define your why, then you won't be able to measure your success.
And then it'll always feel like you're pushing that car uphill.
Not only this, but if you don't define why you're writing, you'll probably just quit at one point.
Usually sooner rather than later.
Here's the thing...
A lot of people want to start a blog or want to write because they want to make money.
Nothing wrong about that.
But you need to be aware of the fact that writing will most likely not lead to any income within the next couple of years. Maybe even decades.
So if the only reason is to make money, it's probably not enough.
Because that money might not come when you need it.
Maybe it'll take one year. Maybe two years. Maybe three years. Maybe even more. No one knows...
The truth is that making money blogging or writing online just doesn't work anymore.
Ads don't work anymore.
Just like self publishing books doesn't work anymore (for unknown authors).
So not only do you have to write, but you'd also need your own product or service to be able to keep writing.
Essentially you'd need to start a business on top of your blog so you'd be able to keep writing.
Most people write to make money.
But the truth is that you'd need to be able to somehow make money to be able to keep writing.
And creating a product and then trying to sell it is a whole different story than just writing stuff online.
And writing a book and uploading it to Amazon won't pay the bills either.
The average ebook generates $300 in sales.
And it's probably a lot less than that.
Because the average also includes the bestselling author who sold millions of copies.
So the median ebook probably generates something like $100 for an (unknown) author.
Why do you write?
[Related: How To Start A Profitable Blog In 2018]
# WHO ARE YOUR READERS?
If you don't define that, you'll most likely never be able to answer the next question...
# WHERE TO PUBLISH
Everywhere your potential audience hangs out...
# WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
The more general topics you write about, the harder it'll be to build an audience.
And the more narrow your topic, the easier it'll be to build an audience.
Just think about it....
If you're the guy or gal who's writing about coffee all day long, you'll be the coffee guy or gal.
If all you do is to write about cricket in India all day long, then you'll be that cricket gal to go to. You'll be the cricket expert. Or the coffee expert. Or the tea expert...
And then people will visit your blog, watch your videos or listen to your podcast whenever they need coffee advice. Or tea advice. Or chocolate advice. Or whatever advice. You'll be the one to call when there's someone needed to give a talk. When someone is needed to go on TV to be interviewed. Because you're the coffee guy...
On the other hand if you decide to write about many different topics (just like I do), it's going to be a lot harder to build an audience.
Simply because people will have a really, really hard time to figure out what you stand for if you write about all sorts of different things.
So what are you?
Who are you?
Are you the coffee guy?
Or the marketing gal?
Or that travel gal?
When you write and create content on many different topics it's all about the person. And not the topics itself. And when it's all about the person (you!), you'd need to build up credibility first. Because why would someone even read or listen to someone they don't know? Someone who hasn't achieved anything yet?
I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's just a lot harder.
Just think about it...
If you're the gal writing about coffee all day long, then people will find you on Google by searching for coffee related stuff.
And when people click on that link and end up on your site and you consistently write about coffee, then people will read a lot more stuff on your website. After all they were looking for information about coffee.
And because they can find a ton of information about coffee on your site, they'll end up spending a ton of time on your site. And the more time people spend on your site, the more traffic Google will send to your site.
It really is that simple. That's all you need to know about how to get traffic from Google. That's all you need to know about how people will find out about you.
On the other hand, no one is likely going to google your name when you're just getting started. Because no one knows who you are. And in case you get lucky and for whatever reason one of your posts is ranked high in Google and Google sends traffic to your site, they're probably going to leave again quite soon as you're writing about tons of different things...
Here's the thing...
The more you write about one specific topic, the better you'll rank in Google. And the better the information you share on that topic, the more people will end up on your blog. And the more time people spend on your blog, the more traffic Google will send you way...
I didn't write about one specific topic. And I still don't. And I can still remember that for the first years I was writing online, I was trying to get 30 views on my blog a day. On the weekend I tried to get 50 views a day. Needless to say that I failed pretty much every single day.
It was tough, really, really tough. No one really cared about what I was doing. I was losing money every single day. And nothing seemed to be working out.
But after a while people started to notice. People realized that I wouldn't disappear just like most of the other people. They realized that I was probably here to stay. But it took me a few years of putting out stuff and showing up as much as I could. And for the past 2.5 years I've shown up each and every single day. I published one post every single day for more than two and a half years...
That's what it needs to get noticed...
Be consistent, have something smart to say (every once in a while) and be around longer than anybody else. That's the secret sauce...
So even though I haven't achieved anything remarkable in my life yet (I didn't make millions, I'm not an uber successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a famous venture capitalist) people started to notice.
Because I showed up longer than most people. And now people read my stuff because I'm the guy who keeps showing up. That really is the only reason...
If you want to write about a very broad topic, then you've gotta be willing to eat a lot of dirt for quite a while. Because what you're signing up for is to essentially build your brand from the ground up.
But once you've succeeded, once you went from nobody to somebody you can write about pretty much whatever you want to.
Who are you?
# KNOW YOURSELF
When you're thinking about whether to create content on a very specific topic or on a broader topic, it pays off to know yourself.
Are you the kind of person who's passionate about one thing and one thing only or are you interested in many different things?
If you're like me and are interested in many different things it might make sense to write about all sorts of different things instead of writing on one thing and one thing only.
But make no mistake, this will probably take A HELL LOT longer to build an audience and credibility, especially if you're starting totally from scratch, are a complete nobody and have pretty much zero credentials.
That's how I got started. And it took me many years of blood sweat and tears to get to where I am right now. Wherever that might be...
Because at the end of the day this question will pop up over and over again:
"Who is this gal and why should I even listen to her?
Why does his point of view even matter?"
On the other hand if you're the guy who knows a hell lot about coffee, ping pong, or whatever, because that's what you're doing all day long, then it's a lot easier to establish credibility.
But remember, it's probably harder to switch to something else once you're that coffee gal. Or that wine guy.
It's tough, but not impossible.
Gary Vaynerchuk went from being that wine guy to being that social media phenomenon.
Nothing is impossible.
You just gotta know what game you're playing...
Are you playing the long game or the short game?
#WHAT'S YOUR THEME
Even though it might seem like Seth Godin is writing about whatever he wants to, he has a theme.
It's hard to find that theme, but he has one...
"Seth Godin's riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread."
And if you take a look at this theme, you can easily see that pretty much all his stuff falls into this category.
What's your theme?
# WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
Write about the things you know.
This is probably where most people are making a huge mistake.
Most people write about things they don't know nothing about.
And when you don't know nothing about a topic, then all that's going to happen is that you're going to run out of ideas sooner or later.
Or people who know a lot more than you are going to crush you.
Be an expert in the things you know and want to write about.
Be an expert in yourself...
Or be at least so passionate about your topic that you want to know everything about it and could see yourself creating content about it for the next 5 years or so...
That being said, if you're extremely curious and interested in many different things, you could also write about the things that you're trying to learn.
You could document your progress and make it accessible online.
There are tons of people out there who've successfully done that.
Tim Ferriss being one of them...
# HOW TO STAND OUT
Consistency. Knowledge. Expertise. Authenticity. Experience. Humor. Originality.
Those are probably the ones I'd pick.
And you'd probably need at least three of them I'd say.
I didn't have most of the above when I was getting started.
And the one I've worked on over the past few years is consistency.
Simply because the more often you show up, the more people will start to notice.
It's simple math.
And it really is as simple as that...
If you write one piece of content a week most people are not going to see it.
But if you write 7 pieces a week, then it's very likely that most people have seen at least one piece you wrote.
And the more often people see you or consume some of your stuff, the more they'll trust you.
And the more people trust you, the more they'll buy your stuff, recommend your stuff to their friends, colleagues, bosses and on and on and on.
Here's the truth...
All of the above items involve hard work.
Really, really hard work.
But the good news is that you can learn all of them while you're writing and creating content.
So how do you learn them?
So it's not a necessity to already be an expert in what you do when you're just getting started.
Simply because no one will even care about you and what you do when you're getting started.
People don't care about you when you're a nobody.People care about somebodies...
And people will only start to notice once you show up over and over again.
Because showing up over and over again is what makes you a somebody.
So use the time while no one watches to become better at what you do and learn more about the things you talk about so that when the day comes and you're the next big thing everybody is talking about, you're at the height of your game....
# WHAT ABOUT QUALITY?
Quantity leads to quality.
The more often you do something, the better you'll get at it.
It's as simple as that.
Saying you're not talented or not skilled enough is just an excuse.
An excuse for not putting in the work to get better at what you do...
# HOW TO GO VIRAL
The only way to go viral is to already have an audience and a backlog of content that helps you to go viral.
Because if you don't, then all that's going to happen is that you'll be a one hit wonder.
And after that one hit nothing is going to happen, other than you trying to engineer past successes.
And whenever you're trying to hunt down the past, you're going to be late to your future.
So instead of trying to go viral, try to work on building a backlog of content and an audience.
So when that big wave comes you're prepared and ready to ride that wave all the way to the shore...
# HOW TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE
The only way to build an audience is to be everywhere.
Especially where your potential readers are.
And then of course, to do the things that I mentioned above that help you to stand out from the masses.
Because if you don't stand out, you'll be competing with everybody else who's competing with everybody else.
And when you're competing with 7 billion other people out there, you're always going to lose.
P.S. If you're interested in building and growing your audience online, I've put together a report for you. CLICK HERE to check it out.
# MAKING MONEY WRITING ONLINE
There are millions of ways to make money writing online.
And none of them involves getting paid directly for your writing (unless someone hires you, which you probably don't want because if you did, then you'd already be working for that someone).
Here's the thing...
You can't make a living just by writing on a blog. Or by writing books.
You've gotta create products and services around your content.
Around your blog.
So your writing is essentially just a way to get people interested in everything else you're offering.
Just look at all the folks you're following online.
Almost all of them have multiple streams of income.
Because just doing one thing and one thing only doesn't work anymore...
# AVOID ROADBLOCKS
Whatever you do when you're getting started, try to avoid as many roadblocks as possible.
Try to minimize potential friction as much as you can.
And instead focus on building that habit.
Focus on building the habit of consistently putting out your art.
That in itself is already tough enough.
So you want to avoid all other roadblocks along the way.
When I was getting started I simply started posting my updates inside Facebook.
I didn't know how to setup a blog.
It was all too complicated for me.
All of this FTP, uploading, theme and whatever stuff was just way too much.
Now of course these days it's a lot easier.
But when I was getting started five years ago it was all different.
So I decided to just post my stuff inside of Facebook.
In a safe and friendly environment where I was surrounded by all of my friends with basically zero (technical) roadblocks.
And once I was comfortable enough and built some momentum I started figuring out how I could start my own blog.
But I was still so clueless that I just started using the same service Seth Godin was using.
And I still use it to this day. Not because I think it's so great (it isn't), but because I'm just lazy... and don't want to loose all the links that are pointing to my blog that sends me tons of traffic from Google...
Another thing I did on my blog when I was getting started was to disable comments.
I just didn't want to have to deal with anonymous trolls that would write stupid stuff that would only hold me back from doing what I really wanted to do.
And that was writing and not having to deal with comments from folks who only comment because they're anonymous...
Eliminate roadblocks and friction as much as you can, so you can focus on getting better at your craft and building your audience...
# SMALL WINS
Are the most important thing out there.
They help you to build momentum.
Big wins just don't work.
Simply because they don't exist.
Because big wins are the result of many small wins that added up over time...
# WHEN TO PUBLISH
It doesn't really matter what day you publish.
Or what time of the day.
All that matters is that you do your thing, create it and ship it.
And the best way to consistently put out stuff is to have some sort of schedule.
So maybe you decide to write every day.
Maybe every Monday and every Thursday.
But whatever you do, you've gotta have a schedule.
And stick to it.
If you don't, you'll stop. Sooner or later.
Because there'll always be things that are more urgent.
Not more important.
But more urgent...
[Related: How To Start A Profitable Blog In 2018]