I’ve been blogging now for a few years at various sites around the web. Some of the blogs I write on are for pay (I’m a freelance writer for hire) and others are my personal pet projects on blogs I’m trying to grow myself.
During the past few years, I’ve learned quite a bit about blogging. Hell, I’m still learning things today, and I’m sure a couple of years from now, I’ll still be learning even more stuff I wish I’d known earlier.
There are a lot of things I wish I’d known when I was just starting out as a blogger, but as they say, experience is the best teacher. Hopefully though, there are some newbie bloggers out there reading this post who can learn something from my experiences.
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned as a blogger.
1. The “design” of your posts matters—I’ve heard the phrase “content is king” so many times that it makes me want to put my head through a wall. Yes, content is important. Very important. But good content alone will not be enough to bring in readers by the droves. This is especially true if you’re trying to get a post to go hot on a site like Digg or ReddIt.
Simply put, the look of your posts matters too. You need to have a clean blog design, and your posts should contain images and be laid out in an easy-to-read manner.
2. Overnight success just isn’t realistic—Sure, we’ve all heard of blogs that have come out of nowhere to grab instant success (e.g. People of Walmart), but for the typical blogger, that’s just not how it goes. Unless you have a really special idea, it’s going to take you several months before you start building up a good audience. It might take even longer. You need to understand this in the beginning so that you don’t lose hope and give up.
3. Writing posts is only a small, small part of blogging—When I first started, I thought that blogging was just writing posts. Boy, was I wrong. That’s probably the smallest part of blogging. Not only do you have to add images and format your posts, but you also have to spend time promoting your posts, responding to comments, soliciting guest bloggers, and doing everything else that goes into maintaining a successful blog. Blogging is time-consuming, but if you work smarter, you can get more done in less time.
4. Hosting matters—Sure, this is a hosting blog, so you might be a bit skeptical when I bring up the topic of hosting, but the truth is, it’s incredibly important. When I first started blogging, I skimped on hosting. It came back to bite me in the @$$ whenever I had a post that was going hot and the servers crashed. Oops!
5. You don’t have to let old posts die—Too often, our posts have very short shelf lives. We write them, promote them, and move on. I’m the kind of guy who likes to get every last bit out of the toothpaste tube, and I take the same approach with blogging. I don’t let old posts go off to die. I link back to them whenever I can, RT them on occasion, spin them into articles for article marketing, publish follow-up posts whenever I have something more to add to the subject, browse the comments to get new post ideas, and much more.
What are some things you wish you’d known when you first started blogging?