There are lots of things I never knew when I was starting out as a blogger. I made lots of mistakes; from ignoring the SEO to rushing to ways of making huge sums of money with my blog. A few months after launching the blog I thought it was going to generate me lots of cash. I gave up. I failed. Terribly.
You are possibly reading this because either you are already a blogger or yet to launch your first blog. You don’t have to make the same mistakes.
Hint: If you don’t have a blog yet, this article explains a step by step guide to creating a self-hosted WordPress site on Bluehost.
In this blog post, I’ll be outlining some great lesson I have learnt throughout my blogging career. I hope you learn from my mistakes.
1. Keep it real.
I have seen bloggers brag about the fancy lives they live. Fancy cars. Fancy vacations. All these in the name of blogging. The truth is, they want you to buy what they are promoting.
Don’t be like them. Don’t lie that you’ve been blogging for over 5 years when in the real sense, you are only 3 weeks old in blogging.
Be who you are. Be real. Share with your audience the lessons you learn while blogging. You may be new to blogging but very experienced in internet marketing. Let your audience know that. Don’t be shy about it. No one will run away from your blog if you say that your blog is only one month old. People are interested in your content. Not your blog’s age.
2. Invest in your blog.
Look at your blog as a business and you as an entrepreneur. Trust me, in a few weeks your going to create great products that are going to earn you legit cash. In short, you are going to start running a business.
To ensure that you don’t end up failing in this industry, invest. Buy a domain name. Buy quality web hosting package from a trusted web hosting company.
Hint: Here is an article i wrote about the top 13 features you should be looking for in a web hosting package.
What you must also give to your blog is your time. Set aside time to answer emails, reply to comments, work on new blog posts, write email campaigns and so much more.
3. Set realistic goals.
There is nothing more discouraging to me than setting a goal and then failing to realise it. And that is why I like to set a goal that I know I can be able to achieve. And I know they are goals relevant to what I’m doing.
That’s exactly what you need to do. I know it’s advisable that you dream big but look, these are goals you are setting. And don’t forget, you are not a superhuman.
“Here is how I set my goals: I write down a list of my goals. I pick only one from the list and set a time line of 90 days to achieve it. For example, let’s say my goal is to increase my blog’s pageviews. I’ll write down all the activities I’ll need to undertake within the 90 days to ensure that I realize this particular goal.”
The key point: you must be able to realize the goals you set.
4. Promote your blog
I see new bloggers publish good content and then do nothing afterwards. It doesn’t work that way. Don’t publish good content and expect people to come and read it. You must promote your blog and the content you publish.
Find out where your audience hang out and lure them to your site. Be helpful to them. Answer questions they ask in a professional way. And if you have a blog post from your site to support your answer/tip, include it. Don’t spam these places with your content.
Use social media and any other channel to promote your content.
You are starting out as a blogger and trust me, it’s going to take some time before people start streaming to your site. Don’t ever be shy about promoting your own blog.
5. Don’t listen to naysayers.
People will try to bring you down. Don’t listen to them. Some will tell you that it can’t be done. Just focus on the bigger picture. Don’t lose sight of why you started to blog. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
A few weeks ago I saw a certain blogger promoting her eBooks on how to increase pageviews using instagram. She had a huge following on instagram. One of the bloggers told her that she might have bought her following and so the ebook might have as well been fake. What I liked about her is that she never gave up. She continued to promote her product. She didn’t listen to that other blogger.
If anyone tries to bring you down, play deaf and continue doing what you are doing. Because you are a winner.
6. Be active in the social media.
I’m not saying that you should sign up for all the social media platforms. No. Find out where your audience mostly hang out and join them.
Facebook is a universal platform. Everyone is on Facebook. Just pick on two to three platforms and actively participate in them. Join relevant groups on Facebook and take part in relevant conversations on Twitter.
Be helpful to other bloggers or your audience on social media.
Create social media pages to your blog. That way, there will be some legitimacy to what you are doing on your blog.
Communicate with your audience through these pages. Share updates and run challenges. Just try to be active on social media.
7. Learn. Learn. Learn.
As a blogger, you should be ready to learn. Learn new tricks to help you solve your problems as you blog. Read other blogs. Buy eBooks and courses from other bloggers. Learn.
You shouldn’t pay for every service on your blog. Learn how to do most of the stuffs on your own. That way, you’ll find it very economical to run your own business.
8. Keep off stats.
This goes to the new bloggers. Avoid checking on the stats all the time. Just keep working hard. I’m not saying that you should avoid checking on the stats completely. What I’m trying to say is that don’t be checking on your stats like after every 30 minutes. It might be discouraging when you’re starting.
9. Publish consistently.
This point is coming at #9 but I think it needed to have come at #1.
Have a realistic publishing plan.
If yours is to publish one post every week, then so be it. Remember, your audience plus the search engine crawlers will be expecting a fresh post from you on a weekly basis.
A consistent publishing plan is not only good for you and your audience but also for the purposes of SEO.
10. Don’t forget to SEO your blog.
SEO is very important for your blog.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Meaning, there are certain things you must do to your blog and your content so that your content can appear on the first pages of search engine results.
Hint: Here is an article on simple seo tips to help improve your website’s ranking on search engines.
Activities like adding your site to Google search console is very important for SEO. And if you do it correctly, you won’t have to worry about running paid ads on Google or Facebook.
11. Take care of your blog.
Be alert on the new updates. From the version of the CMS (Content Management System eg WordPress) to plugins to the WordPress themes you are using.
Remember, hackers are always waiting for you to make a mistake. Don’t let them invade your blog.
Updating these features and installing security features to your blog will help reduce such cases.
12. If you can’t DIY, hire someone.
You are getting into blogging and I know, there are lots of things you might not be comfortable with. Don’t struggle doing them yourself because you might end up making huge mistakes.
Sites like Fiverr and freelancers.com exist so that people like you can get help with their blogs at affordable prices. There are experts from these two and other sites that will help you with stuffs like designing logos, optimizing your site to content writing at affordable rates.
13. Why don’t you avoid displaying ads at the early stages…
Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make money out of your blog. No. What I’m trying to say is, build trust at the early stages.
Usually, readers get bored when there are few blog posts but too many ads.
You might be pushing your readers away with lots of ads when you still don’t have enough content on your blog.
Also, applying for the Google Adsense when your blog is barely 3 months old will make you feel discouraged because of the numerous disapprovals. Work on your blog first. Start displaying ads when you finally have enough content and receiving good organic traffic.
14. Search and reach out to the people you admire.
I personally admire Darren Rowse of Problogger.com. He is an amazing blogger. When I sent him an email about something I needed help with, it took like a week or so before getting a reply from him. And when he finally, replied, I tell you, it was super awesome. An email from Darren Rowse! I was so happy about it.
What am I trying to say? Reach out to the people you admire. Send them emails. Not too many emails. They’ll push your emails to spam folders if you send too much of them. Be patient. Learn from them. Don’t copy them. Learn from them.
15. You are not going to make millions of dollars overnight.
One of the reasons, in fact, the main reason why people get into blogging is to make good cash. Well, it’s a fact that blogging pays. And it pays really good. It’s just that it takes time. Don’t do lots of things so fast at the same time thinking that they’ll drive you millions in a day. Instead, pick one of the methods of monetizing a blog and focus on it.
Hint: Read this article to find out which method of monetizing a blog is suitable for you.
You won’t regret this. If it’s creating courses, let it be that. If it’s affiliate marketing, focus on that. If you can be able to combine the two, that’d be great. Just don’t use like several and irrelevant methods on your site. You’ll lose your readers. And you will fail. Terribly. And you don’t want that, do you?
16. Think of blogging as way of having fun.
I have read stories of bloggers that started their blogs just for fun. In fact, to them, it was like a notebook where they could go and pour their experiences and thoughts. And then what? People began to love their blogs. And then they compiled their blog posts into super eBooks, sold them and made good cash. They also created courses and realized that their blogs had become their major source of income.
If you are doing something for fun, trust me, you’ll do it with all your heart. And without pressure or fear of making money or turning it into a huge business empire.
Have fun. Enjoy.
17. Make time for your blog.
Your blog becomes a part of your family. Family members don’t like to be ignored or neglected. You must therefore make time for her.
18. Use WordPress
There is no other blogging platform better than WordPress. It’s a simple, customizable and easy to use CMS.
Hint: Here is an article on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com and why WordPress.org is the best choice for setting up your WordPress site.
19. Start building your list from the word go.
Email marketing is the most reliable method of marketing in this century. The following you have on Twitter or Facebook or instagram can disappear in a single second. And you won’t be having followers. Email lists on the other hand, you own them. I mean, if someone decides to give you his/her best email address, they like your content and they’d love to keep being in touch with you. These are people you can sell to.
Building your email list from the beginning will help you grow a huge audience within a short period of time. It’ll also enable you to develop trust with your community as you and your blog grow.
20. Connect with others.
Networking will help you create new friends and learn lots of things from the web.
Through networking, you will also get Guest posting opportunities which is great for link building.
You never know, that Blogger you meet online might end up being your long term best friend or even a business partner.
If you can be able to observe and practice everything I’ve mentioned in this blog post, you will definitely become a great and successful blogger.
If there are some of the things I’ve not talked about, feel free to share them with us in the commenting section.
As I always say, happy blogging folks.