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10 Steps To Help Turn Your Blog Into A Number 1 Bestselling Book

Image via Flickr user triedandtruetutoring

This is a guest contribution from entrepreneur and author Niall Harbison.

Although not everybody wants to make money from their blog, it is undoubtedly the goal for many. To make a living from writing at home often features high on the list of dream jobs! I’m lucky enough to have just published a book which got to number one in the charts, sold a business, as well as running a couple of businesses today, and most of the success can be put down to blogging. I wanted to share some of the tips that helped me first of all get the book published, and secondly, how blogging helped it to the top of the book charts. The book is called Get Shit Done and if you start using these tips that is exactly what you will be able to do. Hopefully you too can turn your blog into a bestselling book…

10 Steps To Help Turn Your Blog Into A Number 1 Bestselling Book

Find your niche

The really good blogs focus on one thing and they do it well. It doesn’t matter if you are a pig farmer in Russia, or a fashion student in New York, because whatever you do you will have an audience. The biggest mistake that most people make is they try and be to generalist and start straying away from their topics in order to get more traffic. Even though things won’t explode in terms of visitors at the very start, if you keep on doing what you are doing and writing in your niche with authority, you will eventually see the results and the audience grow.

Let Your Personality Shine Through

Think about all the big blogs that you read and the chances are there will be a strong personality or character shining through in the writing or through the content. Readers have millions of pages online to choose from so in order to keep them coming back and engaging with what you do there needs to be a part of you that stands out. It doesn’t mean you need to share your deepest darkest secrets like I did, but do try and be personable in your writing and give your readers something to latch onto.

Invest In Professional Design

The one thing that I think sets the truly great blogs and the average ones apart is great design. In my own early days of blogging I made the mistake many make trying to design the blog myself and using templates. If you are to be taken seriously and to get a book deal or start driving some serious revenue then invest $500-1000 on getting somebody to design your blog professionally. A badly designed messy blog will put people off straight away and make people think you are small-time.

Connect With Other Bloggers

This was the best advice I got in the early days and it has paid off over and over again. Some of you might think that people within your own niche should be seen as competition but the reality is that there is room for everybody. Like-minded bloggers within your niche will help you grow your audience, refer business to you, add value to your content, and share what is working for them. Most people ignore this tip but the community of bloggers is so strong and you’ll be surprised at just how welcoming most are.

Help People

There is no more effective tool in the world than helping other people. It could be advice. An Intro. A Retweet. A link in a post. For the first five years that I was blogging and on social media, all I did was help other people and give out favours to others. What that does is create a huge base of people who are willing to help you in return when you need it. As soon as I launched my book, I was able to nicely ask all the people I’ve been helping over the years to share my link, review the book, or even just buy it. Helping others is the best way to help yourself in the long run.

Network At Offline Events

You probably think that because you have a blog you can do all your networking online and that you never have to shake another hand in your life. The reality is very different. Some of the best connections and your biggest fans will come from the real world. I got a publishing deal by meeting people in the flesh. I met commercial partners in real life. You have to get out from behind the laptop sometimes and put yourself out there and meet people who are going to help you achieve your dreams.

Use Traditional Media And PR

Although the likes of print media are certainly dying, there is still huge leverage to be had by appearing in traditional media. I often write newspaper columns for free (newspapers love filling space for cheap these days) and I’ve found PR to be one of the most effective tools in terms of building brand. Your blog might be the best thing since sliced bread but people still put a lot of weight on seeing a photo or a name in a byline in a newspaper. Use traditional media to take your own brand to the next level.

Think International

Another big problem that most bloggers have is that from day one they pigeonhole themselves within a certain country. We live in a connected world where the internet knows no boundaries, so don’t limit the size of your potential audience by nailing your colours to the mast in your own country. Think big and talk in an international tones and you’ll be surprised at just how big your blog can get all over the world.

Speak At Conferences

I’ve found nothing more powerful in all my years of blogging than speaking at conferences on the subject that you are blogging about. If anybody is willing to give you a microphone stand up in a room even if there are only 10 people there. If you’ve never done it before you will be nervous the first time but get over that because speaking at public events is the quickest way to build your own credibility and take you to the next level. If you don’t have any conferences to speak at simply ask organisers. They are always stuck for speakers and you’ll be surprised just how many people say yes!

The 70/30 Social Rule

It used to be seriously hard to grow an audience for a blog. Now we have social media. The quickest way to grow an audience is not by constantly pushing out links to your own content but instead by interacting with people on social. Answering their questions. Sharing links. Showing your expertise. The way I think about it if you want to build a really big audience you should be spending 70% of your time creating content and interacting on social media compared to 30% creating content on the blog. It really is that important. Do that and people will slowly start coming back to your longer pieces over time and your audience will be huge after a while.

These are some of the tips that I used for the last 6 years and repeated over and over again. The end result was selling a business for a couple of million and publishing this book which has all the tips and which just got to number one. Enjoy.

Niall is an entrepreneur who has sold a business for millions and author of Get Sh*t Done published by Penguin. 

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. DNN discovered that building solid positive and sustainable relationships with fellow bloggers and people on social networks is a great way to get your site viewers to advertise your blog posts free which is a wonderful way to increase exposure to your site without doing extra footwork beyond creating unique content.When you mentioned thinking international, DNN has a mentality of being “globally vocal and refusing to be local,” and totally relates to what you mentioned in this blog when it comes to “the Internet knows no boundaries.” If all bloggers and content creators thought that way they would be much further in their blogging and Internet marketing endeavors today. Thank you for a very thought provoking post. :-)

  2. Ironically, this blog post had nothing at all to do with turning your blog into a best selling book.

    What it does tell you is, how to be a better blogger, how to become successful at blogging and other areas you can go into to to make money. It tells you NOTHING about turning your blog into a book. The title is misleading and has nothing to do with the post.

    • Hi LJD,

      What happens is, you follow each one of these tips. Then, when your blog becomes really popular, and your outreach campaign stretches out so you connect with publishers, then you’ll see the correlation.

      There may be more practical tips on the publishing end, I admit, but most people are in such a rush to get published, when their blogs are terrible, that Niall is providing us a great service…graciously teaching us how to build an authority blog, and network, that puts you on the radar of some media outlets, and of course, that hones your writing skills too.

      I haven’t written a #1 bestseller yet, so I certainly wouldn’t criticize Niall. What I would do, is make friends with him, learn from him, and trust his advice, because he’s been there, and I haven’t.

      Just a thought, to help bolster your outreach campaign.

      All the best, and have a great weekend.


      • Hi Ryan, just wanted to say thank you for explaining a follow up method. I was wondering the same thing as LJD. Thank you for clearing it up!

    • I totally agree that the post written above is useful on being a better blogger. But not on turning a blog in to a best selling book.

  3. Hi Niall,

    I see outreach being a big part of your success. That 70/30 bit sounds about right. Awesome insight. I’m spending so much more time on outreach versus creating content on my blog and sharing it on social networks. Having 100 or 1000 or 10,000 supporters in my corner helps me expand my presence, whether I’m promoting my blog or new eBook.

    The personality note is huge; I’m blogging from paradise these days – blog/brand – because I post images of me traveling the world all over my blog and I’ve fleshed out my writing voice, so that my personality shines through in all I do.

    It’s fun, really; you’re being genuine, and authentic, and for simply being you, you’ll become all the more successful with your venture, because your light will shine bright. In a world where many follow the herd you’ll be out in front, being yourself, and folks will appreciate this oh so much.

    I’d add, just to persist like heck. I’m learning all I need to know about blogging by being super persistent. I’m meeting the right people, connecting with the right folks, helping good matches and simply picking up so much brilliant information from guys like yourself, by keeping at this gig daily.

    Congrats on your bestseller Niall, and on this wonderful post.

    I’ll be tweeting shortly.

    Have a fun weekend.


  4. The content in the post is totally irrelevant to the title. However loved reading this article.

    • I felt the same thing reading it, great informative article yes but it needed a different title

      I found that using traditional media help although little bit expensive

  5. Hi Niall,

    These are really great tips and see them as very valuable and practical! There are lots of authors that aren’t utilizing the power of blogging to promote their blogs.

    It could be that they have not really considered the power of blogging or that they don’t do the right things.

    I guess these tips would serve as a tune up for many that cares to turn their blogs to number 1 selling book :D

    One of the tips that really got me thinking is the 70/30 Social Rule. It is very practical and I am sure your experience and the results you gained would be replicated!

    This post “kingged” or upvoted in kingged.com where it was shared for bloggers,social marketers,and online marketers

  6. Yes connection with other blogger and helping other people are key points for this. very Informative thanks

  7. Great Article Thanks for sharing this article..

  8. Great post. Its quite vital to follow the above mention steps to become a successful blogger. Here the author does not mean that you blog will become a best selling book after following these vital steps. In fact he means to say that if we follow these steps than we really can grab good amount of traffic which he compares with best selling book because if we get good amount of traffic than we really can earn good amount of money by selling affiliate products on our website or blog or book.

  9. Amazing tips! I have been blogging for quite some time now and I know from experience that the 70/30 social rule is extremely important if you want your blog to be successful.

    • That’s really correct! Although it’s hard to juggle things if you have other stuff to do like 9-5 job and such.

  10. I’ve been blogging for some time now. At first, just for fun, and that’s why I continue to blog, I have fun with it. I’m a published fiction author and now blogging has become a great way to connect with my readers and also to gather new audiences. I blog once a week and every day I learn more about the importance of social connections. Great post Niall. But I really was in luck when someone turned me on to Darren because he really knows how to get the word out about Blogging. Thanks!!

  11. Great tips! It’s important to interact with others through various channels to show your value. The 70/30 rule is instrumental in sharing information that brings people back to your brand.

  12. Finding a niche and laser targeting your audience is the hard part that most people fail, I do..sometimes :) Thanks for the guidelines, this is gonna be printed and pasted on my wall!

  13. I agree with the niche idea, but I think it is hard to find the right niche. How do you find the right niche? How do you validate it?
    I love connecting and networking with other bloggers. The bloggers I have reached out to have been very helpful.

  14. That is good tips and so helped thank you for your cool share because it is so amazing tip to me I think a lot of people should love it.

  15. Hello; That is good step that eneble every blog owner to earn money

  16. Nice article teaching us to communicate and help each other all over the world. I think it really is the future of blogging and site-making: globalization. Unfortunately, I undervalued such criteria as to invest in good modern design but I already made a lot of connections. I wish everybody became outgoing and high-cultural. And the busines ethics is leading us to it. That`s why to be a blogger and to be a succesful book-writer not differ to much.

  17. never heard of this yet. blog turns into a best selling book.. i think it’s the other way around, best selling books often times appear on blogs.

  18. For me, investing in professional design can sure can create a good outcome in selling a book, and eBook or a web design. People usually attracted to interesting and creative designs or covers, hence, consider it as one of the things you need to do.

    My second favorite here is “Connect With Other Bloggers” it’s important and connections or engagement with fellow bloggers is as powerful as we think.

    I have shared this comment in the content syndication and social bookmarking and networking website for Internet marketers – kingged.com where this post was found.

  19. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks
    like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any
    ways to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

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