I causally started blogging way back in 2006 writing a personal diary on Google's blogspot platform. After 4 or 5 months, I deleted that blog and almost forgot about blogging. In the beginning of 2008, I noticed lot of literature about blogging popping up all over the internet and decided to take a deeper look into this awesome publishing medium. This resulted in birth of my first niche blog, in March 2008 which you're reading right now. Since then, I've never looked back and now I run 3 niche blogs and one personal blog. During all these years, I learned tons of things that made me change my blogging strategies several times. Today, I'm going to share some of the blogging lessons I got while nurturing and building my niche blogs.
Readers First, Search Engines SecondThere was a time, when bloggers used to generously stuff keywords and links while creating content for their audience. It was like a race to rank on the first page of Google for targeted keywords. Thanks to new changes made by Google, these old tricks no longer work and publishers producing junk on the web are literally kicked out of Google's index.
It's all about creating useful stuff for the target audience rather than attempting to please crawlers for getting more visibility on SERPs. Think about this, you somehow gain good rankings and manage to pull decent traffic, but what after that? Absence of quality content is only going to dry up that traffic with passage of time. Write for your audience and look for providing solutions to them. Do it and you're automatically going to get your share from the organic sources.
SEO Isn't Rocket ScienceAs a newbie, I used to spend lot of time reading about
If you look at what the search giant suggests about search engine optimization, you'll notice there are no bells and whistles that need to be implemented for formulating a killer SEO strategy. Use the KISS principle and only focus on the basics. WordPress bloggers are blessed with several out-of-the-box SEO advantages and you only need to tweak it a bit for maximum benefits.
Free Blogging Platforms Handcuffs Your GrowthAs a beginner, I started with Google's blogger platform. Although, Google has recently added tons of features to this popular free blogging engine, still it lacks in some of the key areas. First disadvantage of using a free blogging service is that you never own your blog. It's service provider's property and can be deleted or suspended anytime without any notice. Secondly, you never have complete control over your blog when it comes to customization or extending new functionalities.
If you're an absolute beginner and simply want to test the waters before plunging into a full-fledged professional blogging business, you may try these free platforms, but the sooner you switch to a self-hosted WordPress blog, the better it will be. This will give you complete ownership and control of your blog and will let you extend it the way you wish it to be.
Great Content Doesn't Markets ItselfGreat content will automatically pull readers - that's what every confident newbie swears. The reality is just the opposite. Brian Chappell sums it up very well through his tweet. Churning out pillar content on a regular basis doesn't guarantee success. If you want to expand your reach, you must master the art of seeding your exceptional content on targeted hubs where it can be further shared and discussed among your targeted audience.
Content is NOT king - seeding and promotion tactics of said content is king.— Brian Chappell (@brianchappell) July 17, 2009
And that's where social media plays a big role by providing you the right kind of opportunities that disseminate your content to the masses giving a boost to your blog's overall growth. Learn the art of connecting with power users within your niche to get more eyeballs for your content. This is an era of aggressive content marketing done on various social media platforms, without which your growth will move ahead like a snail.
Own Product or Service Beats Everything ElseThe most common and popular method to earn from blogging is monetization through different kinds (ppc or affiliate) of advertisements. But, if you really want to make it big, work on creating your own product or service. This is the best way to earn handsome money from your blog even if you're not getting tons of traffic.
For example, if you're a mommy blogger running a food blog, why not create your own eBook filled with your very own cooking secrets? That way, you'll not only generate decent revenue but will also establish yourself as an authority within your niche. Bloggers who're technically sound have more opportunities to come up with different kinds of services and products, provided they do it in a correct way.
Investing In Blog Design Does Makes SenseNewbies often hesitate to spend money on getting a custom blog design or for purchasing a premium theme framework. Readers are getting smarter these days and they now expect nicely designed blog devoid of any clutter with fast load times. Sometimes, all your energy spent on creating exceptional content is simply wasted because your blog's design instantly repels new visitors.
If you cannot afford a premium solution, you must find some ways to tweak your existing theme to get a unique and branded skin to stand out in the crowd. This design optimization is extremely effective in increase sales and traffic on your blog. When I was using blogger platform way back in 2009-2010, I designed custom theme for this blog and found that the traffic increased by about 35% soon after activating the optimized blogger skin. Analyzing the traffic revealed that visitors were comparatively spending more time on the archives due to easy access for the same provided through deliberate design tweaks.
Invent Your Own Ways to Get Things DoneIf you look out for advice on a specific blogging activity, you'll find more or less similar kinds of suggestions and techniques all over the blogosphere. It's not that these techniques are wrong or ineffective, but what matters is that how effective or productive are these techniques when used for your blog. A strategy that's bringing tons of traffic and business for a blog may not necessarily work the same for another one.
Here's where innovation and creativity comes into play. Successful bloggers always come up with unique ideas to get things done that works perfectly for their blogs. This involves identification of problems in time and formulation of unique strategies to get optimized and result-oriented solutions. I've advised it earlier and I myself regularly practice it for all of my niche blogs.
Put All Your Eggs in One BasketI'm sure most of you will disagree with this, but that's what I've learned after spending all these years blogging for myself and for some of the clients. This is applicable on almost every kind of online business. If you're good at something, focus all your energy in growing it as quickly as possible. The more you spread your tentacles, the more you divide your energy in different domains.
This results in missed deadlines, incomplete products and under-optimized strategies. It's good to think about multiple sources of income that can increase your earnings by ten folds. But how about working on a single solid income source that comparatively gives you much higher returns on a consistent basis? And that too without putting too much stress on mind and body. Think about it, and if required, make changes in your existing strategy to build a core service or product built around your blog.