Making the decision to start blogging is easy and we may think, in the beginning, that blogging is a piece of cake. It’s really a learning experience because there’s a lot more that goes into blogging than we actually realize. I’ve been blogging for almost ten years and in those ten years, I’ve learned so much that I want to share with you. If you’ve been blogging for an extended period of time I’m sure you can relate to these bullet points too!
Having a self-hosted blog is essential
When I started blogging almost ten years ago I had my blog on the Blogger platform. In fact, I had my blog on the Blogger platform for over 5 years and it was great. It was easy to use, it didn’t cost me anything and I was getting traffic because I was marketing my blog. However, I was just blogging for fun – it was my hobby.
Once I hit that 5-year mark and realized that I could actually make money from my blog I did a lot of research on how to succeed as a full-time blogger and how to turn my blog into a business. The first thing I saw and the most consistent advice that I found was that I should have a self-hosted blog in order to look more professional and be able to monetize my blog better.
Some monetization and ad platforms don’t favor blogs on free hosts.
And that’s the truth. Honestly, it’s better now and you have a little more freedom monetizing on free hosts but the truth of the matter is that self-hosted blogs are essential if you’re planning on turning your blog into an income-making business.
I was afraid to pay for a domain and a host because I thought it was going to be extremely expensive. After all, I was a young, single mother with a very limited income at that point in time. I quickly found out that self-hosting a blog isn’t expensive. It’s actually fairly cheap and an investment that you can recoup in less than a month.
If you’re looking for a way to self-host your blog I would really suggest Bluehost. Bluehost is an amazing domain host that offers award-winning 24/7 customer service, 1-click WordPress install and so many more features for a very low price. In fact, if you sign up with this link you can start your Bluehost site for only $3.95 a month. (+ a free domain) What is there to lose?
You need to learn the basics of SEO
I’ve been in the social media and search engine optimization field for quite a while so I was extremely familiar with optimizing my content & website but something that I learned early on is how important optimization and organic traffic is for your website. This is even more important if you plan on trying to gain sponsorship, join certain ad networks or even write sponsored posts on your website. Your website rank and Google analytics are extremely important. Most companies want to see a high rank (which is calculated by taking the last three months of traffic and coming up with a rank for your website) and even want to see a diverse source of traffic from your Google Analytics.
Learning the very basics of SEO isn’t complicated and is something that you can pick up fairly quickly. The most important thing you have to remember is that you need to use the keywords that you want to rank for in the first paragraph of your blog post and a few more times within the context of your blog post. If you’re using WordPress, Yoast SEO is amazing for this. This plugin allows you to change your meta description and lets you know how good your SEO and readability is. If you need to change anything for your post to be more optimized, Yoast will give you tips below your blog post and will show you exactly where you need some improvement. This is such a valuable plugin for most bloggers.
Affiliate marketing is an amazing way to monetize
When I first started blogging the thought of affiliate marketing was very overwhelming and something I didn’t know if I could successfully incorporate into my marketing strategy. It seemed so difficult and seemed like something I would never make money off of. I played around with affiliate marketing for a little while, joined some affiliate networks and made some posts with affiliate links but didn’t see results and soon quit. What I didn’t realize was that you need to persist on and need to heavily market your affiliate posts to be successful. Once you’re consistent with affiliate marketing, optimize your posts and market them on social media, you’re golden. You’ll start seeing a steady flow of affiliate income start to come in and this income will maximize over time once you start writing more affiliate posts and incorporating affiliate marketing into your social media strategy.
I actually just released an ebook “How to Rock Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy” and included all of the tips, tricks, and information that I used to grow my affiliate income over the past five years. The book is only $19.99 for another two weeks and after that, the price will go up to its normal price of $24.99. This book will help you to maximize your affiliate income and be uber successful at your affiliate marketing strategy + efforts! There’s nothing to lose!
Blogging can be a full-time job
“You’ll never get anywhere with blogging.” is something that I heard frequently from family and friends who didn’t understand. I proved them wrong and was able to say “I told you so!” Blogging can be a full-time job and that’s something that I learned pretty quickly during my time blogging. I saw many women making a full-time income from their blog and knew that with some effort and determination I could do the same — and I did. If you think about your blog as a business and a way for you to make money, it will happen. It won’t happen overnight, blogging is not a way to get rich quick but it will happen to you if you’re patient. You first need to build up your traffic, your blog, get a following, continue to market yourself every day and you can turn your blog into a business that you’re proud of.
You too can say “I told you so!” to anyone who doubted you.
It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality
When it comes to blogging it’s not about how many posts you can crank out in a week it’s about the quality of your posts. If you post once a week but write posts filled with value for your reader, you’re doing more than someone who cranks out 4 posts a week that are low-quality. It’s more important to focus on your writing, the value you’re bringing to your audience and the topics that you carefully choose for your blog.
Starting out as a blogger I would write low-quality posts every single day and I wasn’t sure why my traffic was pretty low. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was posting mostly personal posts about my day and my life without bringing any value to my readers. No one cared about my day or the fact that I took my kids to the zoo; they only care about the content that you put out that actually impacts them in some way. I’m not saying that you can’t write about your day or something that happened with your kids but you need to have a healthy balance of personal posts and posts that bring value to the table.
Concentrate on improving the quality of your posts and you’ll see a world of difference in your traffic.
You need to know who your target audience is
Not knowing who you’re writing for is a huge mistake that many bloggers make. They go into blogging blindly and write content that isn’t what their target audience would want to read. Before you write another post on your blog if you don’t know who your target audience is you need to figure it out. I actually wrote a post on my coaching blog that can help you to identify your target audience and included a worksheet to help make it easier for you. You can go ahead and check that out here.
Once you know who your target audience is and what they want to read it will be easier for you to come up with blogging topics that appeal to them and will also be easier to get that traffic to your website. Remember, you’re writing for your audience – not for yourself.
Never compare yourself to other bloggers
It’s so easy for us to envy other bloggers who have more success than we do and compare ourselves to them. But why? We’re all individuals and we all write about different things. Sure we may have the same target audience but why do we think it’s a competition? The blogging world is saturated with so many different types and niches of bloggers and we just have to make ourselves stand out instead of being envious of each other.
Instead of being envious or comparing yourself to another blogger, try to analyze what they’re doing and see what is working best for them that you may not be implementing into your own strategy. This is more formally considered competitive analysis and is something that large businesses do when they’re creating their business plan and strategizing your business.
You need to create goals
Everyone knows that you need to create goals if you own a business but when you’re blogging you should also create goals, especially if you’re blogging for business. When I first started blogging I didn’t create any goals and really had no direction. I was flying blindly and just blogging without a plan. This is ok if you’re just blogging as a hobby but if you’re planning on earning an income from your blog you should really put yourself into the business mindset, think of your blog as a business an create some short + long-term goals for yourself and your blog. Your goals could be as small as “Earn $400 this month from affiliate marketing” or “Create a paid opt-in that will bring in $200 in revenue” or as large as wanting to make a full-time income from your blog as a long-term goal.
Consistency is so important
While I did say the quality is more important than quantity, it’s still important to be consistent with your blog posts. Make a plan of how many quality blog posts you want to write per month and stick to it. You could write one blog post per week or even one every other week — it’s just important to be consistent. With all of the other blogs out there yours can easily be forgotten if you don’t stay up-to-date with your posting. Don’t lose any of your readers by being inconsistent, they’re difficult to get back once you’ve lost them!
It’s so important to be yourself
It’s so easy to put on a front when you’re on the internet. Your reader doesn’t know who you actually are, what you’re actually like or what your life really is. However, it’s very important to be completely transparent about who you are and it’s important to be yourself. Don’t be what you think your reader wants you to be — let your personality shine through! You’re not going to please everyone, not everyone will like you and not everyone will agree with you but at least you can know that, at the end of the day, you’ve been yourself on your blog and there are people who like you, like what you write and want to continue reading your blog.
What lessons have you learned as a blogger? Is there anything that I forgot to mention here? There are so many lessons that we all learn when blogging for an extended period of time because there’s a learning curve when it comes to trying to build a successful blog and trying to drive traffic to your blog!