19 Lessons I Learned From 3 Years of Blogging
In February 2014, I created tipsfromtim.com, which generated 2,400+ leads and earned me my first $10,200+ online.
It was my first try at blogging and I made every mistake in the book.
So, I wrote these 19 blogging tips to help you avoid those mistakes, so you can fast-track your blog’s growth and ROI.
By the end of this post, you will feel 10x more confident about how to create a successful blog.
#1- Shrink Down Your Customer Avatar
“Imagine taking all of your best customers and prospects and then combining them into a single person that has all the key traits of people that buy from you.”
I wish I knew this when I started.
I had content about affiliate marketing, SEO, network marketing, blogging, social media, leadership, and branding.
I didn’t know who my ideal buyer was, either.
My conversions really suffered.
After a while , I shrunk down my customer avatar to “Bob” and “Sarah”.
Here’s what I mean:
“Bob is 30-55 years old, has a wife and two kids. He works a full time job, and he does alright for himself… BUT he stresses about his retirement, his kids’ college funds , and treating his wife to romantic vacations.
He has been dabbling with internet marketing for over a year with very little results. He subscribes to several guru email lists and purchases products on everything (SEO, affiliate marketing, Amazon, niche blogging, etc.)
Now he’s in a state of information overload, feels frustrated…and a little jaded. He is a little afraid of his wife and friends judging his failures. He loves digital marketing, personal development, and leaving an impact on others.
His biggest goals are quit his job, travel with his wife and kids, play more golf and smoke more stogies.”
Then there’s Sarah:
“Sarah is 30-45 years old, married with two kids and works a job.
She has dabbled with internet marketing for 1-2 years with very limited results. She has bought tons of products, just like Bob, and has even attended a live event or two.
She loves digital marketing and personal development. Her goals are to stay home and raise her kids, and to build an internet business that impacts people just like her.
When you know your hungry buyer, you can tailor your marketing and copywriting specifically to them (and boost conversions).”
#2- 80% Content Promotion, 20% Content Creation
Creating a library of content means nothing if you don’t have traffic coming to your site.
I relied on search engine traffic, but that’s a dangerous game because you’re ONE Google Algorithm update away from being toast.
Try one of these 36 proven ways to promote your blog post.
Personally, I would use Facebook ads to promote blog content (more on this later).
#3- Outsource Busy Work
Running a blog eats a lot of time and is a big responsibility.
You have more important stuff to do like email your list, place ads, and run webinars.
I tried to be a one-man show- doing ALL the content writing, promoting, technical setup, etc.
The sooner you outsource your blog, the better.
#4- Create a Content Calendar
I blogged like a maniac for the first 8-months and then burnt out.
I didn’t have a real routine. I just blogged when I felt like it.
That didn’t work out so well. I took a 3-month break from blogging, and the guilt built up inside.
I felt mad at myself for not being consistent, and it wasn’t fair to my fans, like Nash, who were expecting new content.
I learned that it’s important to have a realistic posting schedule and stick to it.
#5- Have a Guest Posting Strategy
Guest posting is a great way for bloggers to get traffic, build authority and penetrate new audiences.
I did 5-6 guest posts in my first few months…but then I stopped doing it consistently.
Instead, I did it when I “felt” like doing it, which is a horrible way to run a business.
That’s why it’s important to have a guest posting strategy in place.
Here are some helpful resources:
- Quicksprout’s How To Get Your Guest Post Published
- Nichehacks The Ultimate Guide: How To Guest Post Like A Pro
- Matthew Woodward White Hat Guest Posting
#6- Ask For Guest Posts
If you look at all the top authority blogs in any niche, you’ll notice a trend.
Most of them offer guest posts.
Blog owners love this because they get new content without having to write the article themselves.
And they can share it with their audience which adds value and builds trust.
#7- Build Your Email List From Day 1
Most online marketers make this mistake right away, but building your email list should be your #1 focus.
My mentor, Zach Crawford, taught me that each subscriber on your email list is worth $1 per month.
So, if you want to make $500 a month, then get 500 email subscribers.
Want $10k a month? Get 10k email subscribers (assuming your leads are high quality).
That’s the standard. If you have a great relationship with your list, then it’s possible to earn more.
So if you’re running a blog, focus on optimizing it for conversions by having exceptional content, irresistible lead magnets, and multiple opt-in forms (pop ups, sidebar opt ins, welcome mats, 2-step opt ins, floating bars, etc.)
#8- Segment Your Email List
I remember hearing this advice and ignoring it because I thought I could get by without it…
I had people coming to my blog who were interested in different topics, but I offered the same blogging lead magnet to everyone.
Imagine if I would have created separate lead magnets for visitors who were interested in blogging, social media marketing, or email marketing.
I’m confident that my subscribers, email open rates, click-through rates, and sales would have increased because my marketing would’ve been very targeted.
#9- Email Your List 3x+ a Week
The more you email your list the more you stay relevant in their minds, and the more money you will make.
This is especially important in competitive niches, like internet marketing and fitness because your lead is probably getting 5-10 emails from other marketers, too.
I studied the top influencers in my niche and noticed they were emailing almost every day and sometimes twice a day.
I hate the phrase, “the money is in the list,” because it’s misleading. The truth is that the money is in the RELATIONSHIP you build with your list.
I know marketers with lists of 10,000 who make more money than marketers with lists of 100,000.
The bottom line- email your list at least 3x a week.
#10- Have a Sales Funnel To Convert Traffic Into Leads & Leads Into Sales
It’s every marketers dream to ring the cash register overnight while they are sleeping.
If only creating a sales funnel wasn’t such an enigma, right?
Thankfully, Ryan Deiss over at Digital Marketer has an amazing post about this.
I’m still learning how to create high converting sales funnels, but once I added this ingredient to my blog, sales started popping IMMEDIATELY.
If you want to steal my sales funnel swagger, get it here:
#11- Promote Your Content With Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is the best way to scale your blog traffic and get your content seen by more people.
Even $5 a day can generate good results.
Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t do this at all. I focused on free methods and my traffic hit a plateau.
Facebook ads are going to be an important element to this blog’s growth.
Did you know you can install a Facebook tracking pixel to your blog?
This lets you serve a Facebook ad to anyone who visits your website, so you can drive them back to your blog in the future.
#12- Network With Other Bloggers
“Your network is your net worth”
You can drive tons of traffic and generate tons of social shares if you have a network of blog evangelists who will share your content.
All it takes is a little strategy and hustle to build your blog network.
#13 Writing Vanilla Content Sucks
The marketplace has shifted. People are demanding in-depth and actionable content that they can apply right away.
Google wants to see this, too.
So when you’re writing a new blog post, keep this “11-step blog post checklist” in mind:
- Is the post length 500+ words or more (ideally 1,000+)?
- Can the reader walk away with actionable strategies?
- Have you included relevant images?
- Have you included a relevant video?
- Do you have at least 1 internal link to your own content?
- Do you have at least 1 outbound link to another authority’s content?
- Less is more – is every sentence as short and concise as possible?
- Have you included data/facts that backup your claims?
- Did you write for the reader and NOT for the search engines?
- Did you keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences max?
- Did you use headlines & bullet points to break up the post?
#14- Pay Attention To The Data
It’s important to know how many people are visiting your website, where traffic is coming from, which pages are most popular, etc.
That’s where a web analytics service comes in handy- like Google Analytics.
It tracks all the data so you can make adjustments that will make your blog more successful.
Check out this dummy’s guide to Google Analytics for more tips.
#15- Write More List Posts
You’ve probably seen and clicked on an article like this before:
“26 Signs You Grew Up In [YOUR CITY].”
People go nuts for list posts because they create open loops.
List posts work really well because:
- It can drive a TON of traffic
- People love to engage and leave comments
- People love to share these posts
- Bloggers like to link to these posts
All of these things contribute to ranking you higher in the search engines, too.
#16- Wordsmith Blog Titles To Get Better Click-Through Rates
People will decide to read or skip your post based on the headline.
That’s why copywriting is one of the highest paid skills on the planet.
Here’s a helpful resource to writing killer blog titles: 74 Blog Post Title Template.
I also recommend reading copywriting books by Dan Kennedy and Joe Vitale.
#17- Have a Fast Website Loading Speed
The faster your website loads, the better.
- 47% of users expect your web page to load in under two seconds.
- 57% of your website visitors will abandon your page if it takes 3 seconds or more to load.
- 75% of online customers opted for a competitor’s site instead of suffering through inordinate delays.
I use GTMetrix.com to analyze my site speed and help make it faster.
Here’s a look at one of my sites:
Versus the other:
Granted, this site is brand new and doesn’t have as much on it.
However, I still wanted a fast page loading speed when I created it.
It starts with your blogs infrastructure- or the theme you’re using.
I recommend installing a premium WordPress theme because they are designed to improve factors like page loading speed, search engine optimization, and user experience.
#18- Focus On Giving Value > Money
I came online to make money, but the more I chased it, the faster it ran away.
When I shifted to giving value, the money started showing up.
Because value creates trust, and trust creates transactions.
Give your readers what they want; if you don’t know, ask them.
#19 Edit. Edit. & Edit Again.
It feels embarrassing when you have lots of spelling mistakes, run-on sentences, and incomplete sentences.
Edit your post a few times before you hit publish, or hire someone to do it for you.
So there you have it, my best blogging tips after 2-years in the trenches.
Hopefully, I saved you from making some of the same mistakes I did.
So what do you think?
Did you find this post helpful?
Post a comment below and let’s talk about it…