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Today I am going to share some blogging lessons that I wish I knew before I started a blog.
This post is for all the aspiring and existing beginner bloggers out there. I am only trying to make sure you get something’s straight and actually learn from my own experience.
For me the idea for blogging came back in 2013 when I was still a student and my friend shared an amazing idea about a blog. At that time I really didn’t have an idea about 90% of the things related to blogging world.
However we couldn’t pursue that idea it was stalled for another 5 years. Then one fine day I came across a post on Facebook on how to start a blog and make money online.
The idea was very fascinating and appealing.
And why wouldn’t it be.
Make money online, anywhere in the world!!! THAT’S THE DREAM NO?
And to be honest starting a blog is not difficult AT ALL!!
It will be the only easiest task in your entire blogging journey.
- You find a niche a to write about (preferable something you know or are passionate about)
- Create a name for your blog
- Get a domain and hosting service
- Create the blog on wordpress.org
And that’s about it? YES?
Well this is just the beginning buddy, there is a whole mountain ahead of you, and which I wasn’t aware of.
So here are the lessons that I got with experience and I hope you can learn from them.
BLOGGING LESSON #1
Invest on yourself and in your Blog
I am not talking about the basic investment on your blog such as:
- Domain name registration
- Hosting services
- Mailing list provider
- WordPress theme
All these are but obvious cost that you will have to bear at any cost, yes there are ways you can start a blog for free, but then again you need to define the sole purpose of your blog from day one.
If you don’t set a vision you won’t reach anywhere.
Having said that, the investments that I am particular talking about are related to tools that will help you and your blog grow.
These would include essential plug-ins for your blog, your productivity, eBooks, online courses, AD promotions and other services.
I know at an initial stage you wouldn’t want to spend undue money on your blog. I actually used to think I will spend the money I will earn, once I earn it. However the bitter truth is you need to spend money to gain money.
That was the turning moment for my blog and I kept on looking for more resources.
Also check out:
Be Serious about it
You need to take your blog very seriously. If you have decided to start a blog, don’t assume good things will just start happening because you have published a blog or a few posts.
You need to take it up like a full- time business and dedicate adequate time towards its growth.
In the beginning of my journey I was active on my blog, I was really occupied with work and time management was a big issue for me. It would be for you as well, as balancing work, family and blog is really hectic.
However you need to develop a system that works for you, and commit to the blog. Decide what you want from your blog and define a time period. This is what I did and trust me from the day I did this my blogging experience changed.
BLOGGING LESSON #3
Build an Email List
One advice that I didn’t take seriously was to build an list.
There are many ways to grow your traffic and build relations with your readers. One of the most essential ways is through emails. I actually didn’t really show any interest in this matter to be honest.
Being a victim of spam emails I really abhorred emails that were pointless and unrelated to me. I found them annoying, so I didn’t want to victimize my reader’s as well.
Secondly I thought my email might end in junk. There is a fair chance that your email might end up in junk, but it’s OK. There is also a chance it might not end up in junk and actually become a reason for your traffic and income.
If you have a blog or just starting one, please make sure you have an email list or start building one now!
An email list will be your most valuable resource to drive traffic to your new post and eventually increase your income as well.
Though as bloggers we learn that Google and social media networks are a great ways for traffic. But you cannot totally rely on these sources as their policies are constantly changing.
With an email list you have the freedom to reach out to your readers whenever you want. Also it acts a back up if something goes wrong to you all traffic sources.
For me two methods really helped me to grow my email list:
This plugin has been one of my most rewarding investments. It not only helped me in increasing my conversions, it also helped me in content analytics, professional opt-in forms and amazing content sharing options, giving a very pro look to my blog.
The other thing that attracts subscribers are FREEBIES! I created 3 Freebies which had an amazing response. Find my freebies below:
BLOGGING LESSON #4
It takes time to make a successful blog be patient
Income and traffic reports are the most common things you would find in the online blogosphere these days. Almost everyone is actually producing and posting these reports every month. This can be encouraging and discouraging as well.
With all due respect to all the bloggers who are reading this post. Please don’t think I am accusing you of false claims. However there are some bloggers who actually exaggerate the reality as well; claiming fake traffic numbers or monthly earnings.
I always felt very intimidated with such numbers and wondered if I am doing the right thing or not. I would see bloggers with barely 10 – 15 posts and getting insane traffic and earning thousands of dollars in just matter of months.
To be honest this really discouraged my entire blogging process; it demotivated me and set me off track.
So folks remember, though the business model seems very simple and easy, but it’s far from that. You need to work really hard and need to be patient for results.
Don’t ruin your chances of success for some of the best ad networks and affiliate programs by applying to early.
My advice to you is to just stick to your guns and keep working hard and posting quality content. Success will only come following you.
BLOGGING LESSON #5
Invest your time in the right direction (don’t be a busy idiot)
We all know hard work pays off, however if you keep putting effort in the wrong direction you will just wear yourself out and eventually give up. Time is an important resource and you want to use in the most effective manner.
In my early days of blogging I was struggling with traffic, and then I found a post by a blogger who was receiving a substantial amount of traffic from Facebook threads.
Don’t take this in a wrong way; these threads do actually help you drive a lot of traffic, comments and clicks. But it’s all fabricated. Yes I will be criticized by many people on this.
But come on who are you kidding with. You join these groups to grow your traffic, all these comment, like follow threads that you join are all meaningless. NO ONE IS ACTUALLY REALLY READING YOUR POSTS BECAUSE THEY FIND IT INTRIGUING.
Promoting your blog or posts on these Facebook threads is very time consuming. You have to be really dedicated to towards liking more than a 100 pages every week, commenting on even more posts and at the cost of your account being blocked.
Where as you could use that time on something more productive, like on your actually blog content and Pinterest.
Pinterest is the key to building a sustainable traffic, so don’t be a busy idiot and follow the herd, try to focus on more important things.
I didn’t leave these threads but I found a perfect balance that worked for me and didn’t distract me from my blog.
Don’t post everyday (don’t overwhelm yourself)
The key to a successful blog is content. If you don’t have any content or a low quantity of content it will take you time to reach a suitable traffic. Having that said this for sure doesn’t mean you have to post everyday.
The thing you need to realize is you want to share content on your blog to attain and retain readers, not to bombard them with your posts. So the best thing you should do is plan to post twice a week.
Listen the only reason you came in to blogging business was to allow you some relief and freedom. Don’t burden yourself by thinking you need to post every day.
Having that said remember the frequency of posts mostly depend on the niche you choose. If you have opted for a niche which is ever changing then there might be times when you would actually need to post on a regular basis. So choose according.
Websites like Mashable, Lifehacker literally have teams working constantly to update their website so don’t just try to follow such examples. You need set your own pace, because content creation is not you’re only job, you have to promote it as well.
BLOGGING LESSON #7
Apply the right kind of Ad Networks
Oh dear what a lesson this was. Listen, out of desperation like me you would also want to monetize your blog as soon as possible. Then you will apply for Google Adsense and get rejected.
You would eventually try again, however you still don’t meet their criteria (so be patient).
In this desperation you start looking for other ad networks to start making money online. Then you will find a whole list of ad networks for beginners.
OH YAYYEE -_-
The truth is, yes you will be able to join and get approved from these ad networks, but they will ruin your blog impression and rating.
I happened to have joined a pop up ad network by the name of pop up ads (STAY AWAY FROM THIS AD NETWORK).
Little did I know it would actually mess my image online. People who visited my website were getting pop ups like crazy, some even got affected by malware.
This was a big hit to my blog. People were commenting on Facebook claiming my blog had viruses; some Facebook groups even kicked me out of their group.
So don’t rush, work on your blog and wait for things to fall in place themselves.
BLOGGING LESSON #8
Focus on Social Media for Traffic
In your early days of blogging, even before that you will realize the importance of traffic. In plain and simple words, it would be your blogs life line.
You can use your website traffic as a leverage to get sponsored posts, free products, affiliate programs, money etc.
However as important traffic is, attaining your desired number is not that simple. It takes a lot of effort and hard work to grow your traffic.
All the ways mentioned in the post are legitimate. They will help you drive and maintain a sustainable traffic. However one lesson that I learnt was the direction of my effort
In your early days it would be next to impossible for you to drive organic traffic to your website. The best way to attract readers would be through Facebook and Pinterest
I had tried all sorts of ways, but as you know networking is the key to a good following hence traffic. The best possible ways to network are these social media networks.
– Join different Facebook groups related to blogging.
– Interact with other fellow bloggers
– Share your knowledge and learn from their
– Participate actively in different threads
Now let’s move on to Pinterest.
Though Facebook really helps you become social and build relations. It can’t beat the traffic you will get form Pinterest
SO please focus on Pinterest from day one.
I have written everything you need to know about Pinterest, pinning and the strategies you can apply to increase traffic in these two posts:
BLOGGING LESSON #9
Networking is must
You can only survive in this blogging world if you do some networking. I was really bad at networking. Being an introvert I always found it weird to contact or reply to anyone’s message on Facebook, or personally contact a blogger.
I felt shy! However that shyness didn’t really help, I was way behind my blogging goals, I was getting traffic but I wasn’t able to build a proper following.
But then I realized this mistake and started to work on growing my network. I helped people on Facebook, commented on their websites, and followed them on Pinterest and basically everything to grab their attention.
This helped me to grow an audience and spread the word about my blog.
So try to focus on building your own followers even before you launch your website. This way you will have readers ready for your content.
BLOGGING LESSON #10
Plan plan plan
Don’t be in haste to start s blog. You need to plan everything out before you actually jump into this world. By planning I don’t just mean deciding on content or the niche you want to write about.
But every aspect after you publish your website. I wasn’t really a good planner. What I did either to brave or very stupid.
I developed a website, got my domain and launched it without any content. I thought I will write along and build my viewership along the way.
OH yes, It was a dumb move.
The fundamental element in any blog is its content. People don’t just come to see your website, or how well you have designed it, or what a cool innovate name you have chosen.
They want to read some content.
So before you launch your website here are my tips:
Try to write at least 2 months content ahead of time. Now the number of posts is totally dependent on the posting frequency you decide. However it’s best to post twice a week.
Hence try to write down at least 16 high quality posts before you launch, publish a few before you go live so that your readers can have something to read.
Make sure you have some freebies ready to draw in subscribers. This could be a list, a book, a course, or anything you think would be valuable for a reader in your niche. This would do wonders for your website.
This way you will be able to attract viewers, gain some subscribers and also build a rapport.
Over to you
These were some of the lessons I learnt over the course of time. If you want to share you experiences please don’t hesitate. We all will grow stronger by learning from each other’s mistakes.