I was just flashing back and I noticed that it’s been a little over 14 months that I started this blog. I could remember myself being a little confused and afraid when I started. Even though I used to be bold and certain of my future I still would have done better if I had someone give me the advice I’m about to give in this post when I started.
I recently got an email from Danny Iny asking me to contribute to a question along the same lines and the email ignited the fire in me and you can see this post as a getting started guide for a new blogger. If I were to start again as a blogger, what would I do differently? Below are 14 great lessons I learnt from blogging in the past 14 months and I hope you also can learn a great deal from them.
1. Your Design Matters – It Defines Your Brand
I started blogging with a free website theme but I kept on changing my design every week because I wasn’t satisfied with it, and every time I changed my design I announced it on the blog and then apologize to my readers. This process went on for some time and it eventually ended up pissing off some of my readers. I eventually learnt that there is no amount of free website template that can be as robust as a premium template so I invested in buying the thesis wordpress theme and eventually changed to my own custom design when I began to make enough money.
Your design is a part of your brand and your brand determines the success of your business. As a new blogger you might not necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend on your blog design but there are several great wordpress themes like the Thesis Theme and Elegant Themes that are been sold for a few bucks. Implementing some of these designs on your blog can result in a significant traffic boost for your blog.
2. Your Email List is Your Most Important Asset
After conducting an experiment I have discovered that with an email list you are five times more likely to make a product sale compared to a blog when exposed to the same amount of readers.
A lot of bloggers believe having a very successful high traffic blog is the key to making more money as a blogger but the reality is that your email list is your most important asset. The reason for this is that people have to see your message several times before it is registered in their mind, and with an email list and the right email marketing system you can easily achieve this and get more traffic to your blog while making money at the same time.
P.S. If you want to triple your email subscription rate in less than half the time, make sure you check the Viral List Plugin.
3. Procrastination is Very Sneaky – It Isn’t Your Best Friend Either
You might not like to hear it or accept it but the reason for the failure of so many bloggers is procrastination.
I have written a lot of blog posts on this blog and guest posts on other blogs and I have often come across comments from readers telling me that the post isn’t unique or that they couldn’t find any new point. You better face the truth right now because there is nothing new under the sun so instead of looking for the next new shiny blogging success formula, why not start taking action based on the one you know henceforth?
4. Don’t be Afraid of Your Competition, be Unique in Your Own Way and Success Will Come
I used to be someone who is used to taking a look at other blogs in my niche to see what they’re doing so that I can copy one or two things from them and then implement it on my blog, but it only took so long for me to realize that I was on the road to killing my blog.
A is different from B and no amount of comparison will ever make A B or B A. That’s the fact, and you have to face it, NOW!
Instead of copying your competitors or observing what they’re doing that you’re not why not focus your efforts on being the best you possibly can? Your readers are looking forward to read and learn from you, they don’t just want a rehash of what they have seen in other places. You are unique, don’t try to be someone else!
5. Try to be as Specific as Possible With What You Blog About
I made this mistake for a long period of time and I didn’t correct it until recently.
The mistake I made was trying to blog about business and entrepreneurship and blogging and making money online at the same time. The truth is while all these topics are closely related they are all different topics on their own and in most days I will be thinking about how to write articles on entrepreneurship so that I can satisfy my entrepreneurial readers but little did I know that I was making a huge mistake that is affecting me and preventing me from delivering the best in me.
Trying to write on as many topics as possible while at the same time wanting to be an expert will only tear you apart. Focus on choosing only one topic, and then do your best to be the ultimate as far as that topic is concerned.
6. Content Alone is Not Enough, Neither is Marketing
I always knew content is king but I have both overestimated and underestimated marketing.
If you want to build a successful blog you have to realize that writing great content alone is not enough to build a successful blog and that the same thing goes for marketing. I had to learn this the hard way by writing tons of great guest posts that will bring about an influx of traffic but won’t stick. I also tried to write great content but did little to promote it and at the end it was very clear to me that I have been on the same page for a long period of time.
I now have a great formula that is helping almost every post I write achieve thousands of views. That simple formula is Write Great Content >> Send it to Your List >> Expect the Traffic to Come. Believe me, it works wonders and even though I hardly write guest posts nowadays, my traffic is increasing continually.
Do your best to give the best content you can and market it as if your life depends on it (to some of us, it does!).
7. A Single Well Planned Traffic Generation Technique is Better than 100
I still find it difficult to believe that after writing great blog posts on how to get traffic to a blog some people still complain that they need more tactics or that the ones I listed isn’t enough.
When it comes to being successful as a blogger, you don’t need 100 techniques to succeed, you only need one carefully selected and carefully planned tactic. I presently have two well-planned traffic generation tactic at the moment, the foundational tactic is writing guest posts for other blogs and the new tactic is emailing my new blog posts to my list. Both tactics are very simple, but they bring great results and the sky is the only limit if you could master them.
Stop looking for ways to get traffic, start focusing on implementing the ones you have.
8. Search Engines Provide the Best form of Traffic
Even though this form of traffic isn’t automatic at first and can take months or years of hard work to achieve, you will discover it is the best on the long run.
I’ve been spending my time and efforts lately on increasing the search engine traffic to this blog because it has been the only consistent and most effective traffic source on the long run. If you take a look at the traffic to this blog around 8 months ago it was traffic from guest posts that was dominating. Now, it is traffic from search engines because even though the traffic I was getting from search engines then was minimal, it has kept on increasing and it will keep on increasing for years to come even if I don’t lift a finger.
If you want your traffic to crumble as soon as you stop updating your blog you can neglect search engine traffic but if you want more traffic to your blog irrespective of you not updating your blog or how often you update your blog make search engines your best friend.
9. The More Successful You Are, The More People are Likely to Disagree with You – Embrace Criticism, Don’t Dwell on It
I’m a positive person but I find myself going down and feeling discouraged at some point. In fact, I keep on considering some my actions and I keep asking myself if I should stop doing what I’m doing or I should improve on it. There is one reason for this, CRITICS!
You might not like the sound of it but critics are your best friend because they help ensure you’re careful of your actions. As much as I hate critics, I wouldn’t deny the fact that criticism is one of the building blocks to the success of this blog. Even though I’m not above criticism, I’m trying my best to deal with it and I also ensure I do things in a way that very few people will have a reason to criticize my actions.
If you want to succeed as a blogger PLEASE don’t dwell on criticism, EMBRACE IT! It can be your best friend and it can also be your worst enemy, it depends on how you deal with it!
10. The Amount of Traffic You Get is Not Really Synonymous to How Successful You are or How Much Money You Will Make
This blog is a testament to that.
It all depends on your approach to things. Instead of obsessing over getting a million visitors to your blog monthly why not focus on getting the best from the few thousands you’re getting.
Traffic is the building block of a successful online business but you have to realize that it isn’t the only thing that determines the success of an online business. Several other factors have a say, some of which are copywriting, split testing and customer support.
Don’t only try to get more traffic, always do your best to maximize it!
11. More Blog Posts Don’t Necessarily Mean More Traffic
Some of the blog posts I wrote on this blog have only been viewed a few hundred times, and I have blog posts that have been viewed by thousands of people – I also have a blog post that was viewed by over 2,000 people the day it went live so writing successful blog posts that attract visitors isn’t only about the numbers, it is about learning how to craft blog posts that bring traffic.
Most of my blog posts are bringing in more than average views nowadays not because of the frequency at which I post them but because they are what people want to read.
One secret I have learnt about writing winning blog posts is to observe your most successful blog posts and be writing your blog posts using the same approach with which they are written. By this I’m not trying to say you should be repeating the same posts over and over again on your blog, all I’m saying is to look for what works with your audience and use it to decide what to write and what not to.
12. Guest Blogging is the Single Most Important Marketing Tactic for Bloggers
Why? Because guest blogging isn’t a two edged sword, it is a multiple edged sword.
With guest blogging you can kill 5 birds with one stone.
With guest blogging you can easily build links, get traffic, get subscribers, create awareness for your brand and also network with other bloggers. It is better said that guest blogging is like a means to an end so make the best use of it.
If you’re guest blogging because of the traffic then select the blogs you write for carefully and if you’re guest blogging for the links focus on writing for as many quality blogs as possible while at the same time making the best use of your anchor texts.
13. The More Personal a Blog Post is, the More Chances it has for Success
When trying to write a blog post I take a lot of things into consideration, but one of the most important things I always try to do is ensure as many people as possible get to read my post. This has led me to analyze my blog and I have noticed that the most successful blogs posts I have ever written are my most personal posts.
People are always interested in knowing as much as they can about others, and even though a lot of people might never admit to this they will never be satisfied with what they know about you. That’s why people want to know how much I earn. That’s why people want to know how much traffic I get. That’s why people want to know who my clients are etc. In most cases, these people won’t necessarily take action based on what they know about you, and in some cases they will be inspired by your story but as a blogger you need to learn how to use this situation to your advantage.
Always write personal posts that can convey lessons to your readers. This could be case studies about your blog and how you’re achieving success and it could also be your story on how you went from poverty to limelight. As long as it has lessons to convey, people will be happy to read it and spread the word about it.
There is only one reason why personal posts will always be successful, and that reason is that stories move people, and no matter how much they try, they can NEVER avoid reading stories.
14. Build a Social Media Presence from Day 1
It took long before I created a Facebook fan page and the funny thing is that Facebook now sends close to 1,000 visitors to this blog every month.
Don’t delay building your social media presence because the faster you start building it the better.
You should realize that we’re in a ever-evolving world where things are never stable and where there are always new trends. The present trend now is social media, it is a currency, it is a planet, it is now an integral part of today’s world. Embrace it and take your blogging to the next level!
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