95% of bloggers give up. I could have been one of them. Fortunately, I had mentors who offered me valuable tips for beginning bloggers. I followed their advice and now, years later, I continue to seek out counsel from experienced writers in the blogosphere to keep growing my blogs. (Yes, “blogs” in the plural.)
Other bloggers have not been so fortunate. They start out with excitement and fearlessness and maybe even good writing skills. But more than nine out of ten of them abandon their blogs.
You don’t need to be in their camp. You can be among those whose blogs succeed. If you understand why so many bloggers fail, you can make simple tweaks in your mindset from the start and keep yourself motivated for the long haul.
Let’s assume that you have a blogging goal. Maybe it’s to journal about your experience as a caregiver for your dad who has Alzheimer’s. Or you are looking for a creative outlet because your day job is accounting. Maybe you’ve started a blog to share about your interest in the history of golf or maybe you want to build a blog that makes money.
No matter what your goal is, these tips for beginning bloggers will help you have a running start operating a successful blog — and sustain you when dry spells hit.
A successful blog contains many, many high-quality posts. Those posts take time to write. If you blog about a topic that is interesting to you — one that’s a passion or one about which you’d like to learn– then you’ll be inspired to churn out valuable content for weeks, months, and years. But if you must force yourself to write about your topic, then growing your blog will be a struggle.
You needn’t choose a topic that’s your primary passion. Your subject matter can be a secondary interest. For instance, I’ve always loved to garden but I had little time for iris and zinnias while raising my children. Once they left the nest I was able to devote more time to my flower beds. When I decided to start a hobby blog, I discovered a keyword opportunity in growing tomatoes. Although my husband is in charge of our vegetable garden, I help him occasionally and have channeled my love for gardening (and the keyword demand) into my hobby blog, Tomato Dirt.
One of the most important tips for beginning bloggers is this: be patient with yourself. If you’re new to the blogging game, you may need to learn a few skills. Work in extra time before your launch to become familiar with:
You may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of learning new skills at once. Give yourself time. Help is available. Work at mastering one at a time.
Tens of thousands of blogs flood the internet. You need to identify what makes your blog different from others. Block off time to research your topic before diving into setting up your blog — and plan to continue to research process for as long as you publish posts. This is a key step in writing and sustaining a successful blog, yet it’s one of the tips for beginning bloggers that is easy to skim over. Don’t make that mistake.
If a writer already blogs about your topic, never fear. Your research can uncover a special slant, niche, or approach so your blog stands out and solves a problem in a different way or fulfills an unmet need in the marketplace.
Center your research on collecting information about keywords — terms and phrases that define a piece of content. What will your site be about? Use a spreadsheet, list, index cards — whatever works best for you — to gather information. Here are some steps to help you get started with your research.
Your research will yield a significant list of keywords, ideas, and subtopics related to your main topic. Take time to organize all that information into a preliminary (and yes, rough) outline.
At this point, your main goal is to see what ideas fit together. As you identify groupings, you’ll discover secondary keyword phrases. They can become anchor pages on your site and form the backbone of your blog’s navigation. You’ll link to them from your navigation.
Over time, you’ll add more to your list of secondary keyword phrases and build a more robust site structure. But at the beginning, aim for at least five secondary keyword phrases to use to write anchor posts (in addition to your primary keyword for your homepage).
Why wait until after research to choose a domain name? Because your research uncovers high demand, low supply keywords. You’re now best able to choose a domain that includes your primary keyword — one that’s supported by readers’ search habits.
I know, I know. You’ve written your first blog post and you want to share it immediately with the welcoming world. Resist!
Instead, keep writing. Accumulate at least 5–10 posts. They play an important role because they …
Once you amass a passel of 5–10 blog posts or more, load them online in succession to build goodwill with both search engines and new readers alike.
For instance, let’s say you’ve created home post content and an additional ten blog posts. You plan for five to serve as anchor posts in your navigation and for five to offer additional sub-topic content for each of those pillars. On the day your blog goes live, publish your home page and your five pillar posts. Then for the next succeeding five days, you publish one of the additional five posts.
That schedule earns you time to write additional content beyond your ten initial posts (eleven, when you count your homepage). On Day 6, you can publish another post. On Day 7 or 8, another. And so on. Search engines like that consistency. And in the meantime, you’ve reduced the stress associated with producing a new page of content each day when you have nothing in the hopper.
Your blog gains traction as you continue to “feed the beast.” That is to say, you accumulate views as you steadily add quality content to your blog over time. Make a plan to succeed. Take these steps.
I assume you want to build traffic to your blog. If you learn SEO basics, you have a good start. But even the savviest keyword optimization takes time to “take.” You can help along the process of building visitors in a myriad of ways.
The best growth tactic for your blog is to publish well-optimized, valuable content consistently. Once you have that habit in place, you can choose from dozens of methods to grow your blog.
Surprisingly, the number of choices is a problem, albeit a good one. You may be eager to jump in and use multiple traffic-building strategies right away, only to abandon them when you don’t have enough time to carry them out … or worse, abandon writing more posts.
Tip for beginning bloggers: start slowly. Choose one growth tactic at a time, implement it, and then add another. Among the most fruitful:
“Consistency is one of the most important things that bloggers tend to forget,” says best-selling author and online marketing guru Neil Patel. “It’s much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up, so make sure you consistently blog.” (See Tip #7).
It’s tempting to track daily ups and downs. Doing so can make you giddy one day and despairing the next. Discipline yourself to study your blog statistics at intervals (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) to identify trends.
One of my blogs is business focused. Its traffic dips on Saturdays and Sundays, which initially threw me into the doldrums until I realized that fellow biz owners spent less time online on the weekends. My hobby blog, Tomato Dirt, has seasonal trends. Its traffic builds from March through September and then tapers off during winter months in the northern hemisphere.
“Plan to invest in blogging for a long time before you see a return. The web is a big, noisy place and unless you’re willing to invest more over a greater period of time than others, you’ll find success nearly impossible,” says Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO software suite Moz. “If you’re seeking short-term ROI, or a quick path to recognition, blogging is the wrong path. But if you can stick it out for years without results and constantly learn, iterate, and improve, you can achieve something remarkable.”
Build your site to at least 25–30 pages before you apply to become part of an affiliate network, seek out advertisers, or accept sponsored posts. Otherwise, search engines may reject your application as an “only-in-it-for-the-money” site.
Do the preliminary work in launching your blog and you’ll circumvent much of the angst that nine out of ten bloggers experience … the angst that leads them to fail. “The reason blogs don’t grow and become popular,” says copywriter Jackie Pearce, “is because the writer behind the blog decides to quit writing.”
That’s why one of the best tips for beginning bloggers is simple. Do the prep work. Then start blogging — and don’t quit.
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