10 Lessons Learned From 3 Years of Blogging
Building a blog can be a bit confusing when first starting out. What do I write about? How long should the posts be? How often should I write? Etc. Etc.
Blogging is not that difficult to do, but if one is new to blogging, it can be a challenge. And there are a few fundamentals that are critical to make blogging successful.
With all that’s involved in building a blog, it’s easy to not put focus on some of those fundamentals. Over the last couple years, I’ve learned several things that I feel should have made a major part of my blogging strategy early on in my blogging.
There are certainly other items that could need focus, but these are the things I’ve found needed more focus for me. These are areas that are fundamental to online business which I have not focused on as well as I could have.
So, here’s my list of eight things I’ve learned from blogging.
1. Don’t wait to start building your list
Many Online Business coaches have emphasized that the “money is in the list.” It’s a simple, known truth that building a loyal email list opens the opportunity for you to grow your business by offering future products, services or up sales to your list.
Too many of us wait too long before putting effort into building that list. Start early on, adding a lead capture form to your blog and offer something beneficial as an opt-in hook for readers. Offer an eBook, a Newsletter or something to attract sign ups.
The key is to start early on building your list. You’ll learn more how to improve sign up rates, etc. as you go, but first just start building your list.
2. Keep your design simple
So often, when starting a web site the tendency is to want something that’s flashy and pretty. The purpose of your blog is to attract visitors and to keep them on your site so they will trust your information and request more information, products/services, etc.
A flashy, bright site often distracts from reading the material and in some cases turns people away. You often only have a few seconds to keep someone on your site. It it’s too flashy or distracting, many people will just click off to another site.
It’s usually better to keep your site simple and clean so you don’t turn people away.
Keep your design simple.
3. Post regularly
Part of the beauty of a blog is that it’s easy to add posts and the more relevant posts you add, the better the chance of ranking in Search Engines. Blogs tend to be SEO friendly.
But part of the key to being SEO friendly is regular, relevant content. The more content you have the better the chance to have good SEO. Also, Search Engines tend to favor a site with fresh, updated content, so posting regularly, adds to SEO.
Set a schedule of posting and stick with it. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or daily; set a schedule and keep it. One of my mistakes was sometimes going for days and weeks between posts. By posting daily, you can have 30 posts at the end of a month. Posting only once a week only gives you 4 posts in the same time. Consider what difference that would make at the end of a year: Over 350 posts rather than about 50 posts. What a difference posting regularly can make.
The more you can post, the better. So post regular, relevant content.
4. Use legal images
Finding appropriate, relevant images for your posts can be a bit of a challenge. And if you are like many people starting out, you don’t have others to help and you don’t have much of a budget to put into paying for others to create your images.
So the temptation to just google for an image and use which ever one you find from someone else’s site if very strong. Don’t let yourself fall to that temptation. There are sources for free images and there are free programs you can use to crop and modify images to suit your needs. There are plenty of tutorials out there to help you quickly learn what you need to know.
Don’t fall to the temptation to use images without permission. Use legal images.
5. Use more video
Youtube is the second largest search engine behind Google. That is reason enough to get started with video. But there are other benefits to adding video to your blogs, as well.
For example, people more and more are tending to watch a video before they will read a post. Video converts. It makes people stay on your site and listen to what you have to say.
Video also, raises your authority. When people see you in a video, it gives you more authority as a subject matter expert. They are more likely to follow your suggestions and look to you for solutions.
Also, liking videos to your blog from Youtube, etc. creates backlinks that help in SEO.
There are other benefits as well, but you get the point. There are multiple compelling reasons to use video in your blog.
Use more video.
6. Add podcasting
Podcasting is also becoming more and more popular and beneficial. More people are preferring to listen to podcasts rather than read posts. So use podcasts on your blogs as an additional option for your followers.
Podcasting offers many of the same benefits as video; it gives you more authority, it provides backlinks, etc.
And as a side, since the audio is already in the videos, one method of creating podcasts is to just extract the audio from the already created video. There are free programs available for that as well. I know adding one more task onto your already hectic schedule can be overwhelming, that’s why I say perhaps try extracting audio from your video. Podcasting can also be basically reading your post and posting the recordings on a podcast host. Keep it simple starting out.
Podcasting is an area I haven’t worked with yet, but will be posting more on it as I progress in this area. Keep coming back for future updates.
Use Podcasting in your Blog
7. Be interactive – respond to comments
Blogging can and should be interactive. You should ask for comments and interact with those who leave comments. It is a tool to develop relationships which is often a large part of growing your business online. This is another area that I have fallen short on but am working to improve going forward.
So leave comments below and I’ll be sure to respond back.
Be interactive on your blogs.
8. Use Call to Actions
Call to actions are critical in your blogs. The can be built into the post themselves, they can be in the side bar or both. The point is to have call to actions.
People have taken the time to come to your site and hopefully read your post. You have their attention. Now is the time to ask them to take another step. Make it something that will benefit them. Show them the benefits of listening to what you have to say. Your blog should be good, useful content, but you should also have a call to action.
Give your readers the next step to take. Use call to actions.
9. Get help!
Blogging is relatively simple to do. WordPress and other options make the technical part of blogging simple enough for almost anyone. But there are still best practices that make blogging much more effective and can mean the difference between your failure and success.
Getting the proper help that will move you on up the road to success can be frustrating. There are many “gurus” out there offering their fast and easy method to riches. It can be hard to know who to trust to lead you towards your online success.
I’ve tried so many online methods and coaches, both free and paid. Many give good information, but still leave you floundering to put all the pieces together so you can succeed. I’ve compiled a list of resources I’ve come to trust and rely on for the help when needed. You can find those resources on the Resources Tab at the top of the page.
10. Never Give UP!
Building a business online takes time and persistence, but the results will come if you don’t give up. If you have to take it a little slower at times, take it a little slower. But Never Give UP!
What have you learned from your blogging? I welcome comments on what you’ve learned or suggestions on other good things to incorporate early on in blogging.
Please leave comments below.
Here’s to your blogging success!
Jerry D Ross