The great thing about the internet is also a blogger’s biggest obstacle: there is information out there on literally any and every topic in the world – so it’s hard to carve out your own little niche in the blogosphere and start making some money a difference in the world. But here are a few key ingredients to the Amateur Blogger’s Soufflé of Success:

Hard Work

Yes, blogging is hard, no matter what your extended families’ raised brows and subtle eyerolls suggest. Blogging is the kind of hard where you give and give and give and maybe after a year or more you start to see a little something coming your way in return.  Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who are raking in the ad revenue mere weeks after starting a blog – but remember that’s the exception, not the rule. A successful blogger usually follows a strict regimen of posting on a frequent schedule, coming up with varying topics, and making an effort to connect with their first few stalwart followers in order to keep them coming back. Bloggers with the greatest potential know they have to keep blogging, even when they’re in the depths of despair thinking they will never make a career out of writing thought provoking posts on their home computer in their underwear. Don’t get frustrated, just remember that when it comes to blogging: the more you put into it the more you can eventually get out of it.

Google +

Of course, hard work and commitment are two of the most important elements of a successful blog, but there are a few little tricks that can help your blog grow just a little bit faster. If you haven’t yet, get yourself a Google + account and sign up for Google Authorship. This allows you to link your Google + profile to the bottom of your blog posts, making it easier for Google’s search engine to pick up your articles and bring them to the front page.

Social Shares

Though it’s great for getting recognized by search engines, Google + is not the biggest or most powerful social network on the web. If you want your content to be shared, you need to make it easy for your readers to do so by adding share buttons for all their favorite sites: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc… Sure, if your content is good enough, they might make the extra effort it takes to copy and paste a URL, but why take a chance? Adding easy social share buttons and sharing your content yourself will boost your chances of gaining a larger audience with minimal stress involved.

Speak to your Audience

If you’re new to the blogosphere, you are going to have to write a lot of different kinds of posts In order to figure out what your audience likes. Then keep track of what gets noticed and what doesn’t. If you can get just one post that really resonates with your audience, it will naturally set itself apart from the others and hopefully blow up your site with views. After that, it’s just a matter of continuing to produce valuable content for your growing audience to come back to and enjoy.

Becoming a successful blogger is all about trial and error, but mostly about consistency. While you’ll write both popular articles and flops, each post will help you fine tune your writing skills, see what kind of topics get the best reactions, and provide another touch point with your readers. Most importantly, when you’re just starting out it’s important not to let the numbers, or your relative’s questioning glances discourage you. The more you put in at the beginning, the more you’ll get out later, and the more they’ll be wishing they could work from home, too.