Mar 3 2008

23 Things I’ve Learned Blogging

Carl from Carlocab recently sent me an email telling me about 32 things he learned and that he was trying to promote it. He asked me to give it a mention. Instead I responded that I could do my own version of it and give him a plug that way. So thats what I have done.

I have put together 23 things I’ve learned blogging. This is from my own experience of being a blogger.

1. WIIFM or What’s In It For Me

Why read a blog? Why visit everyday?

When I first started seriously blogging my girlfriend asked me a golden question. Why should someone visit your blog?

This has given me words to leave by. Think of your reader, set yourself apart, and offer incentive to your readers. Make them want to be apart of your blog and continue to come back.

2. Content Is Not King, Marketing Is

You could have the best content in the world, but without any readers, it makes no difference. Content is King when you are building your base, but that can only take you so far.

An important thing for building my blogs has been social media. With it I’ve been able to build a successful stumbleupon account that has not only helped me, but everyone I stumble.

3. Always Show BIG Numbers

My advice has been not to show your rss count below 100 readers. Don’t show your traffic when it’s low either.

When an advertiser is looking to advertise with you these numbers are what they are going to look at. When you have the big numbers it’s going to turn them on to your offers.

4. Act Now, There’s No Later

This is a perfect example of the John Cow moo’vement (get it?). Have you had the idea of copying John Chow, but didn’t do it? Some even have, but weren’t nearly as successful.

John Cow is now cashing in on his blog. He took one silly, simple idea and made it huge.

5. Experience is Everything

Browse some of my posts from the beginning of Blog about your Blog’s posts. You’ll see the difference in not only my posts, but many of our other authors as well. I had to find out what works and what doesn’t the hard way. That’s the only way to learn.

6. You Won’t Make Money Blogging – ALONE

Again, Blog about your Blog wouldn’t be what it is now without a core of writers and the support of our readers. Without that, we’d be broke! By networking I’ve been able to expand, grow, and form friendships and partnerships with other internet entrepreneurs.

7. Blogging Is A Job

“Writing an article everyday, sponsored review deadlines, blog commenting schedules? What’s the difference from your ordinary day job? Ah well at least, you’re at home.” Carl

Exactly, blogging is a job, it’s my job. Some friends and family don’t understand how I could be making money online this way. Basically discounting it as a job. I may be sitting in a chair in front of the computer, but I’m working just as hard. Or maybe harder, because I want this more.

8. Very Good May Not Be Enough

I’ve seen lots of good bloggers come and go. They were creative enough and bought the traffic or readers, but just didn’t have the time or ‘endurance’ to keep up posting.

9. You Don’t Have To Be Passionate About Your Niche

This is definitely a myth in the blogosphere. You don’t have to be passionate OR knowledgeable about your niche. I’ve started several niche blogs without knowing very much about it. This goes for celebrities, toys, etc. As long as you learn and research your content.

10. Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin

Time is valuable for blogging, if you don’t have it your blog can suffer. Time management is a huge key for a lot of bloggers.

If you stretch yourself, your time, and resources too thin you may come up with many unfinished projects. Several of my blogs could do a lot better, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to them.

11. Don’t Wait To Monetize

This is another myth in the blogosphere that A-listers tell you. Just because they don’t monetize their first 6 months and now make $10,000 doesn’t mean you will.

There is no harm in throwing in an adsense block or two as long as it blends. There is no harm in putting a block on your sidebar as long as it blends. Don’t compromise your site by throwing a bunch of widgets and cluttering your blog.

12. Be Truthful

Being truthful and being controversial are two different things. If I had to pick, it would be truthful. Don’t be afraid to tell it like it is. It may get you some respect. However, be smart about it. Picking a fight is asking for trouble.

13. Experiment!

Don’t be afraid to take a risk, experiment. Have an idea for a new blog or concept? Go for it. Creating a website and adding to it gives it value. If you idea flops, guess what? It’s still worth something! Websites and blogs hold value.

14. Gurus Don’t Know Everything

It’s true, they don’t. You have to keep in mind that what works for them, may not work for you. For a long time I didn’t read Problogger or John Chow. I only check in there once in a while, but try to generally do my own thing.

15. Set Blogging Goals

I’m not very goal oriented and haven’t followed this lesson much yet, but after reading lots of blogs it has helped many. Whether it’s to have 100 rss feed subscribers by a certain date, a goal is important. More importantly, a direction is important.

16. Be Lengthy, but Not Too Lengthy

Give your readers the information they are looking for, but don’t bore them. Keep them interested in your article so they will continue to come back. I generally don’t write novels for posts, but some do.

DoshDosh comes to mind. He’s a great blogger, but unless I’m really into the topic I don’t make it to the end of his articles. However, that style and method works for him, he’s showing his RSS subscribers now. (12,000)

17. Design Is An Important Factor

In an edition of Comment Friday I asked “Does design of a blog matter?” Everyone who responded (35) said yes it does. I was pretty surprised to have such a strong response when it came to a simple design. So make sure to clean up your blog!

18. Be Personal

People like to read blogs where they feel like they know you. Put a face to your blog. I haven’t been ‘too personal’ but I do try to connect with my readers with more than just blogging.

This all starts with your about section. Make sure not only to write about the blog, but yourself as well.

19. Make A-List Blogging Friends

This is something I haven’t been able to do effectively. Someone like John Chow is a great resource to have when you are promoting something new on your blog, or really, anything.

I believe Nate Whitehill was able to launch his websites even better by having friends in high places. Thats where I first heard about him, now I check out his websites regularly.

20. Make People Feel Important

I love doing this when someone asks a great question. I write a post about it and mention them. Not only are you promoting them but you are also showing them they really matter.

I’ve been lucky to have a lot of the same people stop by and leave great comments and questions. It makes me feel like I am doing something important with just a little blog.

21. Read Other Blogs

A lot of times I’ve gotten inspiration for posts by just reading other blogs. With most ‘good blogs’ you can take away something from the majority of their articles. “Hey thats a good idea, but I’m going to do it this way.”

I hope you take something away from this article!

22. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Come out of your blogging shell and ask! Whether it’s for help, sponsors, promotions, information, or maybe an interview.

The biggest act of blogger kindness I have seen has to be for RT Cunningham. To make the story short, he needed help with money due to illness of his wife. He reached out to bloggers and his readers and raised $3,000. Amazing.

23. Money Helps!

A few months ago, when we were just really finding our own voice there were a few up and coming blogs. What frustrated me most, was that they bought their way in. Within a month they would have 1,000 subscribers and tons of traffic. Not taking away from their writing ability, just hard to swallow.

I couldn’t possibly cover every lesson I’ve learned blogging, but I hope you enjoyed the ones I mentioned. Thanks to Carl for this idea. I stole a couple of his headlines for my own ‘lessons’.

What lessons have you learned from blogging?

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  1. Forest Parks said:

    Thanks for the tips.

    I just gave up my job to go full time blogging and it is hard but hopefully will be worth it. Like you I want to hit the niche sites idea but it is hard enough controlling the 2 blogs I have already!

    $600 a month is what I get now but hopefully I can make this grow. $2000 is my goal.

    March 3rd, 2008 at 1:57 pm
  2. Kat said:

    I have just recently gotten serious about blogging, and these tips came just at the right time!
    Thanks!

    March 3rd, 2008 at 3:52 pm
  3. Ruchir Choudhary said:

    I’ve also learned that content is NOT king. Don’t know why people keep saying it is. Marketing is king, and your content is part of the marketing. Great post.

    March 4th, 2008 at 6:13 am
  4. Lori said:

    I still think content IS king because if you don’t have it, what good does it do to market. Your readers will come and then leave if the content stinks. Just my opinion.

    March 4th, 2008 at 11:33 am
  5. David said:

    I have just about had it with blogging. And your post helps me understand why. Primarily I think that blogging has not helped me feel good about myself. Too many bloggers in higher places and not enough time to answer an email. As far as asking for sponsors! Right. With enough money I suppose it might work. But the effort I have put in is fifty times what I have gotten out of it. It will be nice looking back at it in future years though. A nice diary with photos. I always wanted one of those.

    March 5th, 2008 at 12:35 pm
  6. George said:

    Matthew,

    Excellent post! I think 1,3,4,19,20 are extremely important for blogging success.

    stumbled

    March 6th, 2008 at 1:05 pm
  7. Frank C said:

    On the monetization point, you don’t need to wait 6 months but do wait until your posts are being indexed by Google reliably. Part of Google’s anti-spam/Made-for-Adsense algorithm is to discount new sites with heavy monetization.

    March 7th, 2008 at 1:44 pm
  8. ANCA said:

    Great post! Hopefully I’ll make my own list of things I’ve learned blogging in a year or so. Now I’m just getting started. And it would be sooo nice to be able to quit my job and make a living from it! Definetly a goal to work hard for

    March 9th, 2008 at 3:12 am
  9. Matthew Henrickson said:

    You can’t have marketing without content. But you can’t take it to the next level without marketing. If John Chow never marketed his blog, hit digg front page all the time etc, would he be where he’s at?

    Thanks George: 1,3,4,19,20 are:

    1: What’s In It For Me
    3: Always Show BIG Numbers
    4: Act Now, There’s No Later
    19: Make A-List Blogging Friends
    20: Make People Feel Important

    March 9th, 2008 at 10:20 am
  10. Rhys said:

    Hey – Really to the point with these points.

    Only problem is the days are too short to put it all in place.

    May 22nd, 2008 at 6:59 am
  11. Santanu said:

    Hi,

    Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it and learnt quite a bit of effective blogging. I am relatively new to blogging. By profession I am a freelance photographer and want to use my blog to network with my (potential) clients, patrons and sponsors of my photo projects. So my blog is about my photography.

    Regards
    Santanu

    September 18th, 2008 at 6:30 am
  12. Norhafidz said:

    Thanks for this comprehensive list of tips! :)

    November 27th, 2008 at 4:38 am
  13. Emma Smyth said:

    Great article, Im new to blogging and ive still alot to learn, thanks for blogging it ;)

    April 17th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

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