One of the most important things you need to do if you want to attract a significant audience and actually make money as a blogger is to build trust. While SEO content and social media will bring people to your blog, you want those people to sign up for your newsletter, buy your products, and come back to your blog again and again. In order to do that, you’ll need them to trust that what you’re saying is honest. Without trust on the internet, your blog won’t grow into something great.
Every huge blogger out there now – the ones who have made it big and have a loyal following- got into that position because they were able to gain the trust of first-time visitors. That is something you will have to do too. But don’t worry because, if the likes of Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits and Darren Rowse at Pro Blogger could do it, then so can you. After all, they were once beginners looking to build up an online business too.
So this all begs the question, how do you build trust with your audience?
Create a Professional Looking Blog
There are no two ways about it; if your blog looks like it was put together in half an hour using the least amount of effort possible, it is unlikely to instill trust in anyone who comes across it. People will not take it seriously and are unlikely to come back again. Making a professional looking blog doesn’t have to cost a fortune. For the first few years that I blogged, I used free themes that I found on the internet. I spent a little bit of time teaching myself how to add hyperlinks and images to the sidebar, and it cost me absolutely nothing.
Get Your Own Domain
If you want to be taken seriously and have people trust you as a serious blogger, then do away with sub-domains like eternal-expat.wordpress.com. When you don’t host your own website, you don’t own anything on it, so this is an added problem if that company decides to change things. Host your own website. People will take your website much more seriously and as an added benefit you will have much more control over pretty much every aspect of your blog.
Add Your Contact Information
This was something I totally forgot to do when I started blogging. First of all, I didn’t think anyone would want to get in touch with me anyway, but I also figured that social media was an easy enough way to get in touch if people really had a question. If you want brands, companies, or readers to contact you, add as much contact information as you feel comfortable with. It’s a great way to earn trust by showing visitors that you are a real person who exists in the real world. If you aren’t comfortable with using your own personal details, then using a service like the one at https://physicaladdress.com. It is a good workaround which doesn’t give your private email address away, but will still give your readers access to you.
Have a Reason for Blogging
This might seem obvious, but if you go into blogging solely to make money, people are going to come to your blog and be able to tell that you are only after their money. That is not a great way to build trust. If you are serious about blogging, get serious about what you want to write about and why. I love to travel. It’s something that I do regularly and I love helping people figure out how they can travel more often. I love chatting about cities around the world and I love writing about the world.
Figure out what you’re passionate about and how you can help others who want to learn more about your passion. Whether you want to document your travels to show people more of the world and inspire or assist them in making their own journeys, you want to educate people about animal rights because it’s a passion of yours or you want to teach other people how to build successful blogs of their own, having a purpose that you’re invested in will help you to appear more authentic because you really will be, and this will build so much more trust than just blogging about any old thing you think will make you a few bucks.
Do Your Research
Of course, if you want people to have trust in you, you have to give them accurate information. If your blog is littered with inaccuracies or downright lies, then people will quickly lose trust in you. If you’re not sure about something, look it up! Share those other resources for free with your readers so that they know you are there to help them. You don’t have to be some perfect know-it-all to build an audience, just be you.
Reach Out to Your Readers
Reaching out to people who visit your site, whether it’s through the comments or through social media, is a great way to open communication with your audience. Show them that there is someone behind all of the words, write with personality and honesty, and answer people’s questions directly as much as you can.
I do my very best to reply to people’s emails whether they’re asking about Mexico City, about blogging, or about how to move abroad. I also love opening a dialogue on Facebook with my followers over there – it’s a great place to have discussions and people often come back to the thread to reply or comment on other people’s questions. It’s a fun and helpful way to build trust among your audience.
Decide how often you’re going to post and stick to your schedule. I’m not always great at this, but I notice a HUGE difference when I’m posting regularly on my blog and on social media versus those weeks when I’m inconsistent.People stop commenting or asking questions, I get fewer emails, and I lose contact with my audience. People lose interest in you if you fall away from their periphery.
Are you a professional blogger? How do you build trust and authority?