When I look back on the 10+ years I’ve been blogging I always think about what I would have done differently knowing what I know today. I think everyone can relate to that at some point in their life regardless of what the issue is, hindsight being 20/20 and all that.
I’ve started 6 blogs in my career and some were more successful than others. There is no question I’m a better blogger today than at any other time. Suffice it to say I got to this point by making a ton of mistakes and learning from them.
I want those of you just starting out in the blogging world to have an easier time of it then I did. You don’t need to make the same mistakes I did so allow me to drop some knowledge on you.
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Here are the 4 things I wish I had known when I first started blogging:
1. Be Social
I cannot emphasize enough how important social media is. If you’re not going to be all over social media you should forget about blogging and go do something else.
Kylie Jenner built her cosmetics empire and amassed a $900 million fortune by just using Snapchat and Instagram. No stores, no advertising, just social media.
The top 3 traffic sources for this blog are LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook.
So get as active as possible on social media. Join relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, connect with influencers in your industry on Twitter and build relationships. Really focus on building up your social media profiles and gaining followers. The larger audience you have the more engagement you’ll get with your content.
Find as many places as you can to share your content. There are many sites beyond the major social networks to post your content that you may not even know about.
If you have money to spend you can “Boost” your posts on Facebook or run Facebook ads. You can do the same on LinkedIn and Twitter.
What you should definitely NOT DO is buy Twitter followers, Instagram followers, or Facebook Likes on Fiverr or those other sites. Buying fake followers will get you nowhere. It’s a dumb waste of money and could cause your account to get shut down.
I did this years ago because I thought it would look better if I had a huge following on Twitter and Facebook. Yeah, it looked like I had a following but it’s total window dressing. You’ll have 10,000 “followers” and every single post you make gets ZERO engagement.
Take that $5 or $10 you were gonna use to buy fake followers and Boost a post on Facebook.
2. Be Consistent
This is a huge one and definitely something I wish I had realized early on. You will never have a successful blog if you blog for a week and stop, then start blogging again 2 months later. Unless you’re a Pulitzer Prize winning writer with an audience that hangs on your every keystroke it’s not gonna fly.
It’s definitely good to put out as much content as possible as long as it’s good content. That said, you can blog every day, every week, or every month. Just be consistent about it. So figure out how much time you can reasonably put aside for blogging before you commit to a posting schedule.
3. Write For People Not Search Engines
The best blog posts are the ones that flow naturally. Don’t cobble together a bunch of robotic content stuffed with keywords because you want to rank higher in Google. That stuff doesn’t work anymore. Google rewards quality content that is written for people not bots.
What to focus on when writing content:
- Avoid big blocks of text – Break up huge blocks of text into easily digestible paragraphs that will make is easier to read. This is especially critical because of how much content is consumed on mobile devices.
- Use a conversational style – I find that writing in a conversational style as if chatting with a group of friends works best.
- Write quality content – 1 post per week that is amazing, informative and well written is better than 5 posts a week of mediocre fluff content. Take the time to write really great posts and readers will take notice (and so will Google).
4. Blog About Your Passion
You should blog about something you truly love. When you write about something you’re truly passionate about it shines through. You’re going to write about that topic better than anyone else.
Don’t start a blog about something just because you think it would be popular if you don’t really love it. You will never be able to compete with the bloggers who actually do love it, and inevitably you’ll get bored and move on.
I made that mistake early on with a blog about celebrity gossip. My thought was it’s an interesting topic that gets a ton of clicks so I’m gonna become the next Perez Hilton!
Yeah, not so much.
After a couple of weeks I got bored and just stopped posting. I don’t love celebrity gossip and I’m not passionate about it. I just figured it would be a good idea for a blog since that kind of content is popular.
It just doesn’t work like that.
Write about what you love and you’ll love writing.
Blogging can be super fun and super rewarding both personally, professionally, and monetarily. Hopefully, with this post as your guide you can avoid some of the mistakes I did.
Find your passion, write great content, and don’t take any short cuts that could harm your long term growth. If you do that then you have a better chance than most at having a successful blog.
Feel free to share any blogging mistakes you have made in the comments section below.