Although blogging and the way people interact with blogs is constantly changing, it’s been boiled down to somewhat of a science. Naturally it’s a mixture of creativity and proven techniques, along with some networking knowhow and web development skills. One thing is for sure, there’s no secret recipe for success and if you want to be successful, you’ll have to do a little experimenting.
I’ve been blogging as a hobby and professionally for a few years now. I kind of just fell into it and it’s become something I love to do. I don’t know if it was dumb luck or just thick headed persistence but I was able to blog about things I enjoy and make some money doing so.
Of course I am still a noob in many senses. I’ll admit, much of my work at the very beginning was rushed and horrid due to lack of time and/or planning and my portfolio isn’t organized. Some of my stuff I spent too much time on nobody reads. A lot of work I’ve done I got partial credit because I ghostwrote for another writer who’d cut up the piece into something altogether different like this one on chess.
My journey through the blogosphere so far has been short, but I have learned a few things along the way. Luckily during my tenure as a web writer I have found some success and helped bring in traffic to a many sites ghostwriting or guest blogging. I’m not going to pretend like a lot of the blogging I’ve done is high art, but every once in while I am very pleased with the outcome.
It’s a lot like golfing, you have to keep at it and every once in a while you find your sweet spot and nail the ball straight down the fairway. The trick is to be persistent, measure your progress, and most importantly keep at it. This post may be a little different from our normal tips posts like for blogging for WordPress SEO, or common pitfalls to avoid in WordPress. Following are some tips for bloggers to help you find your groove and reach your goals. Whether it’s making money, managing time, or connecting with an audience.
Finding time when you have a busy schedule
There’s no doubt that there are going to be times in your life where you just have too much on your plate, and something will have to give somewhere. Times where there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do. And at times it seems like everything goes wrong at once. The kids are sick, your website has a virus, your boss needs you to work late, there’s a blackout and you have no internet at your home for hours etc. Sometimes finding the time to blog as often as you should is tough.
If you are someone who’s managed or written for a regularly scheduled blog, you’ve definitely run into this problem. But for if those that can find the inspiration and desire within to write, it’s critical to put aside the time to write down and publish your important ideas. Below are a couple tips on making the time to get your work done.
Prioritize your efforts
Sometimes this means working with others who can help you keep the blog running. Blogging isn’t just about writing content. That’s just one piece of the puzzle. In order to have a successful blog you’ll need to focus on networking, designing your website, marketing the content and a lot more. If you are struggling to find time to write the content, than I guarantee you will have trouble taking care of all the odds and ends needed to present the content. Because of this, it’s essential to prioritize your efforts.
One way to go is to assemble a team of people you trust, then decide how you are going to get things going. Maybe first collect the content, then find an audience, build a community and then monetize your blog. Another way might be to have a viable product, market other similar products, produce content and then connect with a community. It’s up to you, just find a strategy that fits with whatever niche you are in and get started. This will take an investment in time and probably some money as well.
Once you have your priorities mapped out you figure out the best ways to build an awesome blog. Even if you have a jam packed schedule you can find the time to blog if you really want to. You might have to shuffle things in your busy schedule around to create time to make it happen. My advice is drink coffee and wear a watch that runs slightly fast. Or get a watch that functions properly and drink plenty of coffee anyways.
Tips on Drawing Web Traffic
Some other things you can do which have proven to draw traffic is to write useful, timeless content. On the web content can get stale pretty fast and become irrelevant. Things like how to’s and tutorials are great, plus you get to learn everything you know backwards, giving you a better understand of the whole process. Create a resource such as one of my favorites, openculture.com.
Using video to your advantage is a very powerful approach as well. Sadly I haven’t had any video posts on this blog, but many of my favorite bloggers have. I will post some videos soon since they are very helpful. I’ve learned so much from reading tutorials that include videos. Good examples are posts on things like creating a child theme in WordPress, or how to open a pomegranate.
I’m no mathematician, and pictures are great, but if a picture says a thousand words, than a video says a million words. Either start your own channel on YouTube or talk to somebody who has one. You can start sharing videos and attract much more attention for your efforts.
Consistency is more important than quality
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still important to create something readable and give your visitors a quality experience; but consistency is more important than quality, especially in the first year or so. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Imagine if you wanted to order a pizza…
Who are you going to call? The place that is known for delivering the kind of pizza you like no matter what – guaranteed? Or the place that is known for showing up late, getting your order completely wrong or not even showing up? Now reading a blog usually isn’t quite the same as eating pizza, but you get what I’m saying.
Bad similes aside, sometimes just showing up is half the battle. This doesn’t mean you show up and don’t do anything worthwhile, but if you do anything long enough you’ll naturally gain some sort of competency. If you want to post a certain amount of blog posts within a time frame, a successful way to grow an audience is to consistently post.
This means taking a measured approach, not necessarily just churning out as many posts as you can. If all you can do is once a week, but you can do it consistently, go for it. It’s better than overburdening yourself with a pace you can’t possibly maintain with your schedule.
The problem of with taking on too much work and burning out too quickly is that it can have a negative effect on your long term success. I’ve done this with exercising as well as blogging. I once rode my bicycle 60 miles in a single session at a time when I was doing something like 8 miles a day.
I couldn’t ride let alone walk very far for a week or two, this setback my overall progress big time. Focus on little victories and gradually increase your volume when you are ready. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, as long as you are consistent you will eventually see some growth on your blog. Someone famous once said:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent…Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Be persistent. This perhaps goes along with being consistent, but it means having the will to keep on even when things are tough. Call it whatever you need to – being relentless, steadfast, determined or any other synonym you might find at thesaurus.com.
Don’t worry so much if you aren’t the most talented writer, or don’t have the most talented writers on your side. If you have persistent folks who are inspired to write for you, or you are that persistent, inspired folk, then keep at it.
It doesn’t matter what your topic is, people will stick around for your unique voice. Yes your mother was right, you are that special! But it’s important to find your niche anyways. If you are writing about something you are passionate about, it will come across in your posts.
There are plenty of others who do a great job blogging and it’s useful to learn from them just by reading their blogs. I get inspiration from successful blogs like the WordPress gurus at WP Tavern and the Elegant Themes blog.
Watch the experts, try to out stuff you’ve seen from blogs you enjoy like adding hilarious non sequitur links such as this one. It may not always work but you’ll figure out what does and doesn’t. Which brings me to my last point, which is about marketing. Don’t waste your efforts. User experience is number one priority if you want to reduce your bounce rate and gain an audience.
After you have figured out how to deliver something useful to your audience, learn to analyze your metrics. This can help you figure out who’s visiting your site, how long they are staying and what you can do to better serve your demographic. Remember, be consistent and give your blog time to develop like the unique flower that it is. Don’t get down if you don’t see any real results until up to a year after you’ve been blogging. Do you have any tips on blogging, time management or marketing from your experiences? Let us know in the comments section.