I opened my first blogger on the Blogger.com platform way back in November 2007. Within a year I started a new blog, and then a new one not long after that. They sucked, big time.
In 2009 someone suggested I get a “self-hosted” blog. It seemed like a great idea. I thought people would take me seriously if I owned a domain. And they did. More people were coming to my site and subscribing and commenting and linking. It was awesome.
But it was going nowhere.
It took a lot of time and energy to keep up, stole me away from my family and caused me to have sleepless nights (“I have to reply to someone before I go to bed or I won’t be able to sleep”).
I had to find a way to compensate my time. And I wasn’t able to do that with the blog I had.
So I started paying attention to the pro’s and the platform builders. I began a new blog. And not long after that I began to make money. And now I’m writing a book that’s gearing up to have a great launch. But it took ten years to get here. I hope this advice can shave a few of those years off your time and help you have a successful blog sooner.
10 TIPS TO NEW BLOGGERS
1. FIND A NICHE AND STICK TO IT
The best blogs are the ones that no what they are, who their audience is, and stays consistent. If you blog about birds one week, and politics the next, and theology the week after that, you’re never going to grow your audience. Because people who are interested in birds might not be interested in politics. And people who are interested in politics might not be interested in theology.
But if y0u just blog about birds then your going to attract new subscribers from every bird enthusiast who comes across your blog. You’ll build a niche audience of bird enthusiast who will wait anxiously for your book on birds to come out.
2. BEGIN TO COLLECT AND SEND EMAILS ASAP
From DAY ONE you have to collect people’s email addresses. If you are not, then you are wasting your time and missing out on future opportunities. For the success of your blog, everything depends on growing an email list. Sign up with Mailchimp for free, create an “ebook” out of a PDF document and use it as an incentive for people to join your community of subscribers.
3. WRITE LIKE A PRO (LEARN HOW)
Read the book Writing Without Bullshit or On Writing Well. You need to learn to write well. A lot of amateurs use big words and convoluted phrases to sound smart. But good writers know they need to be clear and concise if they want to be read and attract an audience. People don’t care how smart you are, they just want to know if you have something to say that can help them.
So rather than showing off, shoot for clarity.
4. HAVE A GOAL AND A PLAN
Decided on a goal from the start. Do you want to build an online business? Maybe write a book in the near future? Perhaps build a speaking career? Having a goal helps determine your purpose which helps establish your niche. Then you need to ask yourself how you’re going to make it happen.
Maybe decided once you get to a thousand email subscribers you’re going to have a three-part teaching webinar that people can pay to take. When you have a goal and a plan then you’ll be able to track and see results.
5. GO PRO FROM THE START
While people don’t care how smart you try to sound, first impressions do matter. Blogging is the norm, not the exception. Bad looking, low quality websites will not pass mustard anymore. The minimum expectation if you want to be taken seriously by more than just your closest friends is that your blog looks professional.
Fortunately, that’s not hard to do today. WordPress offers a myriad of free themes that will make your site look great out of the gate. You just have to decided on a theme and then spend a bit of time customizing it to your liking.
6. DON’T WAIT TO MONETIZE
It’s easy to monetize your website. Really easy. You could just sign up with an affiliate account with Amazon and start promoting items from the massive online retailer that you truly believe in. Or you could sign up with Google Adwords and start putting ads in your side column. There are a million ways you can start monetizing your blog right from the start.
Keep in mind though, that just because you’ve “monetized” your blog doesn’t mean you’re going to actually make money from you blog right away. That takes time. You need to build trust with people before they start to buy from your website. But by monetizing your blog form the start you’ll be training your subscribers to expect that you to sell to them in the future.
7. YOUR READER’S TIME IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOURS
Jeff Bernoff calls this the Iron Imperative. Most bloggers and writers think that what they have to say is the most important thing about their writing. It’s not. Your reader is. Michael Hyatt often says you have information that he needs, but he’s in a rush, so the sooner you could get there the better.
In other words, if you can say in 500 words what you want to say in 1000, do it. Cut your writing, cut your jargon and write only 500 words.
8. BUILD YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
There are three reasons why you want to build your social media platforms. First, it looks good to have a larger platform of Twitter followers. We call this “social proof.” You don’t want to come off as a pro at something and have 53 Twitter followers. I have a course that will show you how I build my Twitter platform from a few hundred to over twenty thousand in just a few months without using any scummy tactics.
Second, the more followers you have on social media the more people you can put your blog in front of. And third, if you want to write a book the first thing a publisher will ask if, how many followers do you have?
9. DON’T GIVE UP, IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN OVER NIGHT
Blogging with a purpose is not easy. And success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it takes years. But you can see success faster if you have a goal, a plan and a purpose. But whatever you do, don’t give up. The tortoise always wins.
If you platform isn’t growing, change your strategy. Tweak your plan. But stick to you. You will win. You just need to not give up.
10. FIND A COMMUNITY OF SIMILAR PLATFORM BUILDERS
You’re not the only person on the web who writes about what you write about. So find the others. Find their blogs and social media platforms and make friends. You’ve heard it said that all ships rise with the tide. If you have those people, you’ll find a ready audience of readers.
Important caveat: don’t find similar groups to yours for the purpose of spamming them with your content. Rather seek to build genuine relationships with them. Contribute to the community with comments and helpful articles that are not your own.
Question: What other tips would you give a new blogger? You can leave a comment by clicking here.