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 nine 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.
- 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 and energy before seeing any serious returns, both in terms of readers and money.
- 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.
- 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 the 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.
- Unrealistic expectations are going to break your heart. Read that again. And again.
- 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.
- Replying to those who take the time to comment, even if it’s a simple thank you, impacts your traffic by at least 50%.
- When in doubt, keep it simple. A clean, minimalistic design. No images. Focus on your words. Don’t embellish articles with GIFs, different fonts, or bold and italics.
- Write in a conversational style, as if you are sharing advice or trying to entertain a friend. Don’t use words you wouldn’t normally use in conversation.
- 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 always deliver on your promises to the readers.
- 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.
- If you want more readers, then you need to consistently produce quality content. That’s it.
- Every day you keep punching those keys, thousands of others quit. Keep writing. It will all be worth it soon enough.
- Invest in your blogging. A premium theme, a great tool, and a fantastic course can help you jumpstart your blogging success.
- If you do not feed your brain on a daily basis, you will soon run out of topics to blog about. Read articles, books, news stories, listen to podcasts, watch TV shows, movies, and documentaries.
- Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. Take care of your mindset.
- Consistency beats talent, luck, and even quality. Just keep punching those keys. While everyone else finds excuses, you work towards the results you want.
- Overnight success is a lie. I’ve spent 8 years behind the scenes, working, until I published my first blog post.
- Most niches are overcrowded and ultra-competitive. It’s no longer enough to produce content that’s better than the worst that’s out there, you’ve got to produce content of quality that’s similar to what the top bloggers are creating.
- Derivative content is the future. Repurpose your content by creating podcasts, infographics, slideshows, our YouTube episodes.
- Networking matters. A lot. If you do not interact with others within your niche, no one will know you even exist. For an optimum strategy to network, check out our guide here.
- There’s no such thing as a brilliant first draft. Don’t even try writing one into existence.
- Great blogging is reblogging. Trust in the power of recurrent themes, and promote them across all channels, writing about them from different angles and perspectives.
- Authenticity matters an awful lot. Write your truth. Even if your hands shake against the keyboard.
- Write until your hands hurt. And then write some more. The only way to become better is to produce a huge volume of work. You don’t even have to release it on the web.
- Going from 0 to 100 readers is the most difficult thing you will ever do. Do not dare give up until you’ve reached this milestone.
- The best way to make money from your blog is to be so good they can’t ignore you. People will e-mail you to give you money, to advertise their products. Even affiliate marketing is only as powerful as the influence you have over people.
- If you think that giving others advice on how to blog, write, or make money is a shortcut to gaining readers fast, you’re in for one hell of a surprise.
- No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Build genuine relationships with your readers, and that trust will help you become an authority within your niche.
- Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work. Don’t waste your time wishing to be better. Work for it.
- Sooner or later, you will have to learn the art of marketing.
- Some rules are meant to be bent, others to be broken. But first, you have to learn them.
- SEO isn’t a thing anymore. It used to be. But not anymore. Write for humans, not for robots.
- The reader is always right.
- Good is the enemy of great. It’s better to publish 2 articles a month than 6 that are mediocre.
- If you don’t have the time to consume the most influential articles that are being shared, linked to, or mentioned within your niche, you can never be part of the conversation.
- If you can’t write, start by using a quote at the beginning of your articles. It’s easier to find your words when using someone else’s first.
- You can’t be crazy-productive day in and day out. Some days I write 4,000 words in one sitting. other days, I can’t write a single word. Have a failsafe in case that happens. Do other work. Network, engage others on social media, take care of your blog’s layout and design.
- A bit of swagger matters a lot. 99% of the content out there is boring. Spend some time figuring out a different style. Develop a nonchalant yet friendly demeanor.
- Develop a proper branding experience with your blog.
- Your blog’s header is valuable real-estate. Use it to visually convey what your blog is about to first-time visitors while offering everyone else an easy-to-use navigational tool.
- Invest in your blog. If readers see you’re too cheap to invest in your blog, why would they invest in you?
- You only fail if you give up or blame someone else. Assume responsibility.
- Sometimes, you just have to sit at your desk and bleed for a few hours in front of your computer.
- Great content tends to divide people. If you don’t have (a few) haters, your content isn’t good enough.
- You can only make a living as a blogger if you provide massive value. There’s no shortcut for that.
- The basics of blogging are a Google search away. More than that? You’ve got to pay for it, either in time and energy, or by purchasing the advice of those who have paid their dues long before you.
- Why is the best way to create persuasive hows. Teach people how to do something by first telling them why they should be doing it.
- Don’t worry about frequency, post length, or target audiences. Offer great insights to your ideal reader, not a faceless crowd.
- The numbers offer but a cold perspective. Don’t obsess about statistics. It’s all too easy to forget the numbers are actually, human beings.
- Because your readers are actual human beings, you have an obligation to be mindful of the words you use. They are powerful. They can break hearts, but also heal them.
- If you’re scared to write about a certain topic, the solution is simple: write about it.
- You can easily beat perfectionism. Just schedule an empty draft to go live within a week. If you don’t your article until then, you will have to explain to your readers why they’re staring at a blank screen.
- Great content can only get you so far. Once you reach higher levels, your relationships (and how to leverage them) matter a lot more.
- When you’re starting out, focus on the topics that feed your enthusiasm. What sets your soul on fire? Write about that.
- There are people out there who do this for 15 hours a day, every single day. Don’t aim to be like them unless you’re willing to work just as hard.
- Experiment. That way you don’t find yourself the prisoner of a comfort zone that might soon become a danger zone.
- Don’t just think outside the box. Think like there’s no box at all.
- Trying to be original will become your creative prison. Everything that was worth writing about has been written about a long time ago. What matters more is your voice, your perspective, and connecting seemingly unrelated dots.
- If you try too hard, you will fail.
- No feedback at all is the worst kind of feedback. Don’t brainwash yourself into thinking you’re a misunderstood genius.
- It’s not just about sharing useful information, but also about the emotional undertone of said information. How do your words make others feel?
- Be as clear and concise as possible. You need to know what you want to write about, how, and why. You also need to know why someone should read it, why, how is that going to benefit them, and what they should be doing with the information you share with them.
- Your choice of topics will change as your blog grows. Don’t be frightened by it. Usually, the topics that you add are related to your main topics.
- Some days you will feel like giving up. Don’t. Read the comments of those who love your content.
- When you think there’s nothing left for you to learn about blogging or about your niche, that’s when everyone else starts to surpass you.
- Reaching the top is not as difficult as you might think. Staying there, on the other hand, is twice as difficult as you might think.
- Post sucks? Don’t delete it. Save it as a draft and come back to it a few weeks later.
- Don’t chase followers. Make friends.
- Share your best content now. For free. Waiting until you already have an audience to share your best articles is like waiting until you’re old to have sex. It’s also one of the main reasons most bloggers never actually grow an audience.
- Don’t blog about a certain topic because it’s popular, or because you think you’ll make money. Don’t fake passion. It literally means to suffer. And you will. And you will give up.
- If you’re not willing to network and promote your content, then you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. It will just make you bitter, and you will end up hating blogging and other bloggers at the same time.
- One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. You can always do more, you just have to figure out a way.
- Blogging requires that you take care of a number of different aspects. That’s why it’s a balancing act. And you will often feel like walking on a tightrope. Failure is the only way to avoid this.
- Know your strengths. Work on them. Focus on them. Delegate other tasks. Or pay someone else to do them for you.
- The best (and most underrated) growth strategy is to comment on other people’s content. That’s how you get started.
- How often should you blog? Easy. Space your blog posts apart so that a conversation can develop in the comments section of your blog. If it takes a week, so be it. If it takes longer, okay. Of course, the more popular you become, the more often you can post.
- It’s not enough to be good. You’ve got to advertise it. Social proof matters. Showcase your numbers, the feedback you receive, and the testimonials of others.
- People will follow a great community builder even if their content is mediocre at best.
- Marketing works best if the article is something you’d gladly pay to read.
- Email marketing is one of the best ways to directly reach your readers. And it’s here to stay.
- Spend at least 6 months working on your blog before you decide if it’s worth it.
- Spend 12 months after you set up a monetization option (selling courses, affiliate marketing, coaching, etc.) before you decide if it’s worth it.
- The best monetization option is the one that offers you enough creative freedom to share content that inspires you.
- A logo is not supposed to look cool. It’s supposed to visually entice potential readers. If it’s not clear what your blog is about from the logo, it’s not a great logo.
- Blogging is not exactly writing. There’s a bit of copywriting in there as well.
- Develop your own strategies. Especially when it comes to content marketing. You know best your creative output.
- Without a clear plan of action, you are actively pursuing failure.
- Focus on the distribution channels that you own (your blog, email newsletter) and less on the ones you have to rent (social media, YouTube, Medium.com, etc.)
- User generated content is great, but don’t rely solely on it unless you’re a great marketer.
- When in doubt, ask your readers. They’re more than willing to provide feedback.
- A simple to-do list can help you break down even those tasks that seem impossible. Take it one step at a time, and you will see that impossible is only 2 letters too long.
- You won’t always feel inspired, but you can always work.
- Keep human. Don’t lock yourself away in your office.
- Great blogging is a conversation. Don’t teach, don’t preach, don’t talk at your readers. Talke with your readers.
- Sure, you can use hacks and gimmicks to grow your audience. But it won’t be worth it in the long run.
- Punch the damn keys. Feel the weight of each word as you type it on your computer.
These are some of the lessons I’ve learned in nine 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 mostly about writing 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.
After working with tens of bloggers and experimenting with hundreds of principles to get to the bottom of what really attracts readers, I came to the conclusion that growing a community around your blog comes down to:
📜 Content & the Reader Experience
⚡️ Distribution Channels
Without any one of them, growth stagnates, or worse… never happens in the first place.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but blogging is not about writing the best articles, or even having the money to invest in ads. It’s not even about building and nurturing relationships with the right people.
It’s about having all four of these factors working together. If you neglect one of them, the rest won’t matter.
That’s why I’ve designed the From 0 to 5,000 Readers in 6 Months course, a monumental work comprised of hundreds of tutorials, frameworks, and downloadable resources to help you take your blog to the stratosphere.
Join hundreds of other bloggers (all part of our growing community of ambitious bloggers) and enroll in this course today.