Here I am, writing another list. George is probably not that happy, but the truth is that I actually like writing lists. They provide one with a lot of mental clarity, whether it’s a step-by-step guide or a simple list of traits, skills, or habits.
And I also believe that an aspiring blogger should, above all else, work towards building the sort of clarity of purpose that enables them to figure out if they should invest a lot of time and energy into creating content and sharing it on the web.
So, yeah, here are a few things you should know about blogging before you decide if it’s worth it or not.
1. Everyone Starts With 0 Followers
Everyone, including the most successful bloggers, started with no readers at all. Zero. Nada.
It’s how the game is played.
This shouldn’t make you lose focus, motivation, or put popular bloggers on a pedestal, because your attitude when you have 0 followers determines how fast you will be able to build an audience.
There’s nothing you can do about it, so you should embrace this fact. You will have to struggle to slowly build momentum, and the hardest thing you will ever do as a blogger will be to go from 0 to your first 100 readers.
2. To Become a Successful Blogger You Need to Acquire a Lot of Skills
It’s not enough to be a great writer.
Don’t believe me?
Take a look at your favorite bloggers. I bet they all have acquired a set of skills. They are either graphic designers, online marketing experts, or have Ph.Ds in something terribly complicated.
Bottom line is this: they know stuff.
The most successful bloggers are those who know more than just about anyone else around.
The more you know, the more skills you acquire, the more you are able to connect the dots, to write from an angle that is unique and different.
3. The Moment You Think There’s Nothing New to Learn, That’s When Everyone Else Starts to Surpass You
The curious paradox is that you don’t know what you don’t know. You aren’t even aware of all the aspects, tips, tricks, and strategies that you could take advantage to grow your audience, increase your income, or provide more value to your readers.
The moment you think there’s nothing more to learn about blogging, that’s when you will notice everyone else outperforming you.
I know this because this is what happened to me. It was arrogance, it was a false sense of having arrived at the top of the hill, and, well, the thing is, the lion on top of the hill is never as hungry as the lion climbing the hill.
So don’t you ever dare to stop, thinking you have arrived to the top of the hill, and always push yourself as much as possible to learn, to do, to become.
If you want to stay ahead, keep learning, and always be aware of the ideas and insights that are being shared in the blogging community.
4. Be Aware of Your Excuses
When it comes to the mindset of a successful blogger, it’s important to assume responsibility for where you’re at, where you want to go, and what you have to do to get there.
Excuses are a luxury. They also rob you of the opportunity to take massive action in order to become a true blogstar.
That’s the truth. No excuses. Do the work. Punch the keys.
There’s no point in complaining, in telling yourself that you don’t have the tools, the time, the energy, the resources, or that you’ve come too late to the party.
It’s not over until you throw in the towel.[Blogging Mindset] Embrace Failure
Have you heard the phrase fail, fail often, and fail quickly?
5. Your Goals Dictate Your Habits
Every single day I receive an e-mail from an aspiring blogger telling me that they’d like more readers, they’d want their words to inspire people, that it would be nice to earn a bit of money…
What’s a bit of money? One dollar? Ten thousand?
What’s more readers? Ten more readers? Ten thousand?
Without goals, you cannot establish the proper habits.
For instance, my goal on Medium is to grow an audience of 5,000 readers and earn $1,000 per month by the end of the year.
As of today, I am close to 2,200 readers and am earning around $15-$17 per day, which translates into about $500 per month.
These goals that I have established allow me to adjust the time and energy I invest in creating content and networking, while also offering me clarity of purpose.
If you don’t know what you want, if you set vague goals, you will have vague results and no habits at all.
I often write that consistently producing quality content is the most important aspect of blogging, and it’s almost impossible to be consistent unless you set goals that inspire you. It’s as simple as that.
No goals, no habits, no consistency, no progress.
6. Figure Out Your Target Audience. Ignore the Rest
I’ve written a lot of articles on the importance of figuring out who your ideal reader is.
This is important because you can’t please everyone. If you try, odds are you won’t please anyone at all.
Thus, if you want to know what type of content to create, how to best market it, whom to market it, and where to find more readers, you need to figure out who your target audience is.
Who isn’t in your target audience doesn’t matter, and even though it’s not the most popular advice, their opinions are irrelevant.
The truth is that great content tends to divide people, meaning there will be quite a few who won’t agree with you. If they’re not in your target audience, you shouldn’t take their opinions into consideration.
They are not your readers, they just somehow happened to stumble upon your content.
Know your target audience, know what they want, listen to them, and aim to provide them with as much content as possible.
7. Don’t Make Your Blog Bigger. Make It Better
In other words, don’t chase followers, make friends.
Numbers are rather meaningless, which is why I’ve always hated the word “traffic.”
Numbers offer you a cold perspective, and the secret weapon of extremely successful bloggers is the relationships they build.
Don’t focus on growing the numbers, but focus on developing genuine connections with the people who read your blog.
Yes, this means having to engage with them, reply to their comments, read their content, and all that.
But, in return, this ensures that you will have readers, not just followers.
Let’s play a thought-experiment: Imagine you have 100 readers. They all adore you. I mean, they’re the kind of readers that don’t wait to be notified that you’ve posted a new blog post, they constantly go on your blog to read your content.
They always comment, they always share your content.
Just one hundred people.
On Medium alone, if you were able to build such a community, you’d gather a lot of claps in an incredibly short amount of time. If all one hundred gave you 50 claps, you’d get 5K for a blog post. That’s enough to bump it at the top of the most popular posts in most tags, and it would become irrelevant if you published it in a publication or not, or if it got curated or not.
That’s how a blog post usually goes viral. That’s how you can replicate this success with most of your articles.
You don’t need a thousand true fans, you only need about a hundred or so.
Don’t make your blog bigger, make it better.
8. Give Yourself Time to Experiment
Write at least a hundred different blog posts over a period of six to twelve months.
Write about all sorts of topics, write from different perspectives, different points of view, agree and disagree, write listicles, how-to guides, essays, wake up calls, you name it.
Experimentation is the name of the game.
Take a couple of your favorite articles, break them apart, and do your best to make them yours.
In order to write like yourself, you’ve got to write like a bunch of other people. That’s okay.
Figuring out your style, figuring out the topics you want to genuinely write about often happens by accident, but the more you experiment, the faster that accident happens.
I started out by writing about art, the artistic process, and writing. Then, once life became quite unbearable due to certain less favorable circumstances, I took a great deal of interest in personal development and self-improvement.
You never know what you might enjoy writing the most until you try.
9. Your Mission Is to Provide Massive Value to Your Readers
While writing about the things that set your soul on fire.
Write about what hurts, what matters to you, about the things that keep you up at night, but always try to add value to your readers.
Write to inspire, to motivate, to teach, to comfort, to disturb.
Write to make your readers laugh, to make them cry, to make them think.
Write in order to express an idea, but do it so that you also impress yourself. A bit of swagger makes all the difference.
If the post you are writing doesn’t make you smile, stop and work on something else. If you are not punching those keys, stop and ask yourself if you’d much rather write about some other topic.
“How does this benefit my readers?” is one of the most powerful questions that you can ask yourself.
If you’re not willing to provide massive value, then blogging won’t ever be worth your time and effort.
There you have it, 9 things you should know about blogging before you decide whether it’s worth it or not.
These are mostly tied to certain traits or abilities, such as the ability to be patient, the desire to grow, the mindset to provide value to others.
Blogging is simple. Share words that matter.
But blogging is also difficult. Share words that matter with those who most need to read them, over and over again, while you work on networking and building relationships. And you must do so for a long enough period of time, so that you can build an actual audience.
It’s that simple and that difficult.