I remember blogging hell. The 0 attached to most of my blog posts. Zero comments, zero likes. No shares.
I remember clicking the publish button as if to send my articles to die an undignified death.
I also remember the effort it took to go from 0 to 100 readers: taking massive action when networking, commenting on dozens of different blog posts daily, replying to every single comment.
I remember who it all felt unfair somehow. How it felt like a battle that I could never win.
Learned a lot during my eight years of blogging. I also figured out that the most important aspects of blogging are some of the least talked about, which is why I am sharing these lessons with you today.
- Your blog posts should help people solve a problem, it’s the most powerful way to keep them coming back for more. If you can share actionable tips, or inspire your readers to take action, then you are well on your way to becoming a blogging superstar.
- Differentiate yourself. There are so many blogs out there that if you don’t stand out, you’ll get lost in the crowd. What is different about your blog? What does your blogging voice sound like? What seemingly unrelated dots can you connect?
- Blogging takes talent, effort, and patience. Only do it if you love to write and have something to say. Be prepared to invest a lot of time before seeing any serious returns, both in terms of readers and money.
- If you’re not sure a post is good, sit on it for a day. If you still aren’t convinced, delete it. Publishing a sub-mediocre blog post is worse than not publishing anything at all. At the same time, beware of the articles you’re sure are brilliant. Sometimes, they’re not. Sometimes, it’s just the rush of having finished something whispering words of greatness, and the bitter truth is that you’re not saying enough to be worth your readers’ time.
- Write for your readers first. Create useful content that takes your readers on a journey.
- Content is king. Never spend too much time promoting your blog, engaging with other bloggers or your readers. Don’t get lost in the trenches of self-promotion. Content comes first. No content, no readers. Simple as that.
- You’ll inevitably run out of ideas after about 3–4 months, depending on how often you post. Do your best to stick it out and refrain from posting anything that’s absolutely lame. The inspiration does come back. It always does.
- You do have to network. You do have to promote. Failure to do this means you fail to gain any real momentum. Yes, there will come a time when the best promotional tool is publishing new content, but you’ve got to build a tribe of loyal readers first.
- Adapt, overcome, improvise. Your readers will always provide you with more than enough feedback to make your blog better. What are your most read articles? The ones with most comments? What are your readers saying?
- Do not try to impress anyone, no even yourself. Those posts rarely get much attention. Write in order to express an idea, write in order to provide a bit of comfort. Pretty words that mean nothing are the last ones to ever get read. And in a world of 2 million blog posts being published daily, your pretty words might not ever get read.
- Headlines and intros can make or break a blog post. Only one out of five people will ever read past a brilliant headline and introduction. Take extra-care to the way you present your idea in your headline.
- Formatting matters. A lot. And it only takes about fifteen minutes to properly design a blog post for maximum readability.
- Replying to those who take the time to comment, even if it’s a simple thank you, impacts your traffic by at least 50%.
- Social media is a great way to bring more readers.
- Tags and categories. A clean design. First impressions matter.
- Keep it simple. Write in a conversational style, this seems to do the trick. Fancy words often alienate readers.
- Always ask yourself what good does you writing that piece will do in this world.
- It’s often hardest just at the start. Then it gets easier, you get better, you get tougher. Do not whine because it hurts being a beginner. Be grateful for the opportunity to reach for mastery, to inspire others.
- Enthusiasm and motivation do not last. Being committed always does. If you want to succeed as a blogger, you’ve got to promise yourself to never give, never take unnecessary breaks, and to always deliver on your promises to the readers.
- Winning is not that important, it’s the desire to win. If you want to become a blogstar, you’ve got to think like a blogstar. A bit of entitlement backed by massive action goes a long way.
- Have fun. Write the kind of stuff that makes your heart smile. Your readers will love you for it.
- Write the truth, even if your fingers shake against the keyboard. Write your truth, even if you’re afraid you’ll be rejected. 99 times out of 100, your readers will love you for it.
- Be brave. If you aren’t, do your best to act like you are.
These are some of the lessons I’ve learned in eight years of blogging. There are other rules, as well, but the truth is that these are some of the most important aspects when it comes to taking a blog from 0 to at least a couple thousand readers.
The basics, so to speak.
It’s all about quality content, consistency, and having the proper mindset.
If you think you can, nothing can stop you. If you think you can’t, there’s nothing that can help you.