I hope you enjoyed part one of what I learned the first year.
The original post was packed with so much information that I had to break it down into two parts or otherwise risk being labeled as verbose as Nitty.
The following are the remainder of the tips I learned the first year of blogging.
Take action. Do a little bit everyday.
It is easy to get caught up in reading, learning and planning on the internet. Plan away but if you don’t take action then you will get nowhere. If you don’t know where to start, then break your blog down into baby steps.
Take a week to map out your niche, then the next to map out what you want to include in your site? The following to come up with a logo and tagline and so on. You may need less than a week for each task.
You don’t have to get fixated on logos and taglines but eventually they will make a difference. If having a logo made is daunting then take a look at this post I wrote about my experience. It was easy and risk free if you do it the way I did.
If you have trouble structuring what you do each day, take a look at Anna Tucker’s DMO: Daily Method of Operation. It has changed how I do things everyday. You can get consumed with to do lists that do not provide time for moneymaking activities.
Learn what you can for free.
I learned much of what I know for free. Initially I was using the Internet Business Mastery podcasts. They were instrumental in getting me started. One of their best podcasts was episode # 82 entitled “How to start an online business with the least amount of money”.
The episode walked you through how much it would cost to run a blog/internet business. All the past episodes are available free through iTunes. (Episode 82 is only available on iTunes and not on their main website) While I found their information invaluable, they are all about the sell.
This is not a bad thing but ignore the sales pitch and enjoy the information.
Other podcasts I have enjoyed are those of Pat Flynn’s of Smart Passive Income and Marin Kate’s of Escaping the 9 to 5. Marin renamed her podcasts to The Escapist on iTunes. She hasn’t posted a podcast since April 2011. And Pat Flynn recently released a page of the best of his blog, which is packed with information that I am slowly devouring.
And you should be devouring too. Pat acquired 10,000 email subscribers in 13.5 months and his feedburner count and twitter followers are over 30K and over 50K respectively. Numbers are not all that matter but there is a reason why he is so popular and making 40,000 USD/month.
Google anything you need to learn with “video tutorial” at the end and a plethora of videos will come up. It is easier for me to learn if I can visualize it rather than just read how to do something. I had to do this to upload my thesis theme via FTP. I was naïve. I didn’t even know what FTP was when I started online. But with one video tutorial, it was a snap.
It is easy to see why Srinivas’ recent post on “5 Ways to give yourself an education that kicks the crap out of the one you got in school” went viral.
Know when to pay for help.
After this initial learning period, I chose an all-inclusive seminar that really got me going. It put me forward at least 6-12 months. The one I went to was 3 days, specific to my field, hands on and covered a lot about a lot for the price of what some seminars charge for only one aspect of online business.
After any course, take action about what you learned. The information is no good if you don’t put it to use. (The course I took is now closed but becomes available intermittently)
You can get sucked into buying things you don’t need or will never use. Ask yourself, do I need it now? Will I use it now? Will it help me reach my goals? Is the price right? If you answer yes to all these questions then you have your answer. I along with many many other bloggers have file folders full of eBooks we may never read.
Every blogger will plateau at some point. When you plateau, ask yourself what you can do to get yourself out of the plateau. If after awhile, you cannot push forward, consider coaching.
I am at the point of wanting to go to the next step. I have found a mentor who is ahead of me and offered his advice. After this, I am lining up some coaching. It is difficult for one person to know it all: SEO, marketing, traffic building etc.
If money is a roadblock then consider using meet up to find an Internet business mastermind group in your city. Let the group serve as your coach. Or start your own group if meet up is not available.
I learned a lot by just observing. It really helped to put the popular post plug-in in my right sidebar. I look at this everyday and know what my readers want:
- Reviews of healthcare that immediately impact their health like my sunscreen guide
- Anything about business where I had a unique insight.
- The parenting ah ha moments like in my post: letting go of an era
What I also learned was not only what to write about but what wouldn’t work on my site. I had considered a forum but after being part of several forums I knew I wouldn’t have the stamina or time to hold a forum on my healthcare blog.
Most forums do well if they are member run. If I were the only “expert” on the site then, I would have to read and respond to all the questions on the forum.
I also learned that for now, there doesn’t seem to be a need for a paid membership site. I know there are a lot of virtual medical sites charging for services and perhaps if I marketed myself this way the numbers would go up but, the numbers are not there to support this venture for me at this point in time.
John Falchetto adds several more steps after Observe: Orient, Decide and Act to make the OODA loop, a powerful tool for decision making in business and life. Orient is how we tackle the observation: integrating our upbringing, education, training and emotional. Decide is making a decision about our options. And Act is obvious but something most of us forget to do.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Every blogger will at some point run out of things to write about. Here are three interesting posts that have helped me. Marcus Sheridan blogged about a simple 10-minute exercise on how to come up with 100 blog articles. Or peruse Ana Hoffman’s list that I have printed out. Or look at Erica Allison of Spot On’s recent post on how to influence people with your posts.
You could drive yourself nuts on length of post, which commenting system to use etc. etc. Just know it is your blog and you can do it your way as was well said by Jim Connolly in his recent post.
When I started, I was under the impression that your posts had to be 750-1000 words. But it should not be about the number count. It should be about the message and quality of content. Two bloggers who continually impress me with their concise posts are Jim Connolly and Danny Brown.
Perhaps I am too verbose or it is my nature to focus on details, which makes it hard for me to write shorter posts. This blog post by Frank Dickinson on word count also helped to hammer this point home.
Another ongoing question is whether to date your posts. Some of the A-lister’s argue that you keep your information evergreen if you don’t date them. This only serves to disorient me when I am on someone’s blog. So, I date my blogs.
So these are the lessons I’ve learned (and acted upon) since my first year in blogging – but I’d love to hear your top tips to new bloggers. Let’s get the dicsussion going!