I’ve learned a lot over the last 5 years of blogging. What a bumpy ride it’s been.
Some things went smoothly while other things caused a lot of headaches for me.
I wrote this article to help you understand some of the things that I went through so that you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made, and so you can learn more and come out much farther ahead than I was when I first started.
When you’re done reading this post, let me know what you’ve learned since you started your blogging journey!
1. Blog about something you’re passionate about
I cannot stress this first point enough.
It’s easy to write and come up with ideas when you’re writing about something you’re passionate about, but if you’re not passionate about your own blog topic, you’ll eventually lose the motivation to write and your blog will die.
My very first blog was called Neat Stuff to Buy, and it’s where I blogged about neat products I found on the internet. It was cool at first and the traffic was growing at a steady pace, but then I noticed myself writing fewer and fewer articles for it as time went by. I guess it got boring for me because I realized I didn’t actually enjoy writing content for that blog.
After investing almost two years into it, I shut the blog down because there was no reason for me to pay for and keep a blog I wasn’t consistently writing articles for.
I wouldn’t call it a waste of time though because it was definitely a good learning experience for me and it introduced me to the world of blogging.
However, I’d would’ve much rather learned from a blog I was going to keep!
Related Article | How to Choose a Blog Niche You’ll Actually Stick To
2. Don’t focus on too many social media platforms at once
When you divide your time between too many too many things at once, you’re unable to put 100% effort into any of them.
I think it’s safe to say that this is the case for everything we do in life, whether it’s school priorities or work. The same goes for social media. Focusing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat all at the same time will end up reducing the quality of your posts and interaction on those platforms.
I remember trying to do it all when I first started. I thought it was a great idea for promoting my blog. However, I felt drained and had no time for anything else and knew it wasn’t good for me.
If you have more people working on your blog, then it’s definitely okay to use more platforms! But if you’re flying solo like me, limiting the number of platforms you use will not only allow you to output quality content but give you time to do other important things—such as publishing new content for your blog.
Start by picking two channels to share your articles on when you first get started, get comfortable with them, and then decide whether you can take on another platform or not. Just don’t jump into too many platforms at once.
3. Locations matter
When you don’t feel like working on your blog but know you’re due for publishing an article for your readers, sometimes all it takes is a change of environment.
At times where I didn’t feel like working at home, I headed on over to a nearby cafe and instantly, my productivity went up.
Maybe it was the breath of fresh air I received on my trip to the cafe, or perhaps fewer distractions from being away from home. I’m not sure. All I really know is that a change in environment is what gets me up from my seat and ready to work.
4. Keywords and SEO are extremely important
If you want to grow your organic traffic—that is, traffic from search engines such as Google, you’re going to need to write your articles with keywords in mind.
I’ve mentioned this before in other articles, but if you just spew out articles without paying attention to keywords, you might end up with an amazing blog that nobody’s even going to see.
That’s what happened to me when I first started. I knew nothing about SEO and when I found out about it, i didn’t think it was all that important. I realized the hard way when I blogged for months and months and still received no traffic from Google. I had to go back to every post and optimize them and that took a loooooot of time.
Keyword research before every article is something you should always do. I personally use Google Keyword Planner to find out which keywords are being searched. You can access it below but you’ll need to create a Google Adwords account first if you don’t already have one.
Tools | Google Keyword Planner
Use this tool to search for keywords that people commonly search for on Google, then add those keywords to your articles and I guarantee you’ll notice a boost in your organic traffic.
Be sure to use keywords with less competition though, since big companies are already using the competitive keywords so the chances of you ranking for them won’t be as likely.
5. Longer posts get more traffic
Based on research conducted by Yoast— the developer of the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, we should try to aim for writing articles with 1,000 words or more.
Ever since I started writing longer articles, I’ve noticed a growth in traffic. I mean, it just makes sense. Longer articles contain more keywords and more keywords mean a higher chance of my blog being found on search engines.
If you’re thinking of writing longer articles as well, there are a couple things you need to keep in mind:
- Make sure it flows properly – Everything should relate back to your main topic in some way
- Invest more time in longer articles – Obviously, longer posts will take more time to write than shorter posts, but that’s not what I mean. You need to spend more time making sure everything is well structured, that you have good keywords, and that you’re not just spewing nonsense just to meet your word count.
6. Always ask for opinions
A common mistake that many bloggers, including myself, have made in our blogging careers is not asking othe people for their opinions.
The thing is, after we spend so much time on our articles, we become really proud of our content and so we end up thinking “my blog is the best and deserves all the traffic in the world.” But is it really the best and does it actually deserve that much traffic?
Often, we’re actually doing something wrong on our blogs but we don’t see it because we’re blinded by our hard work and our accomplishments.
Other people can sometimes see what you don’t see. This is why it’s good to hear what other people have to say.
Lately, I’ve been much more open-minded about learning from others how to improve my blogs. I’ve been asking friends, people in the same niches as me, and followers from my audience how they felt about my content and blog overall.
I’ve heard many positives and some negatives and I appreciate it all. It’s a good habit to take in all feedback as constructive feedback and use it as a way of self-improvement and blog-improvement.
7. A good web host makes all the difference
Moving your blog(s) from one web host to another is one of the most complex things that can happen to you. That’s why it’s good to choose a great web host right from the start.
I’ve used several different web hosts in the last 5 years which includes Dreamhost, Host Gator, Blue Host, WP Engine, Digital Ocean, and Siteground.
During my time with Dreamhost, Host Gator, and Blue Host, I’ve never had any good experiences with them in terms of speed. Despite installing several caching plugins, I still noticed that my sites were really sluggish. When I started reading up reviews about them, too many individuals were also complaining about speed. Now I stay away from them.
WP Engine was the fastest web host I’ve ever used but it’s just a bit too pricey for what I need right now (at a whopping starting price of $29 USD per month). However, if you can afford it, it’s well worth a try because WP Engine is designed to host only WordPress sites and no other platform, so it’s optimized for lightning speeds.
I really enjoyed my time with Digital Ocean… when I finally got it up and running. Digital Ocean requires a bit of backend coding to install WordPress. If that doesn’t bother you, you can give them a try as their plans are affordable and you get your own dedicated servers with them.
Siteground is what I currently use for all of my blogs and I couldn’t be any happier with their services. This web host has amazing speed (I use it to get my website faster than 80% of all other sites), customer support, security, and reliability, all at a reasonable price of $3.95 for your first year, and $9.95 afterwards.
I always recommend Siteground to all my customers and you can read my in-depth Siteground review to find out why or switch to Siteground. If you plan on switching, Siteground will migrate all of your files over to their servers within 24 hours so it’s hassle-free!
Learn from my mistakes and choose Siteground from the start, I guarantee you won’t regret it!
8. Never stop doing research
Ever since starting Aspiring Bloggers, I’ve been constantly conducting research for my own blogs and for my readers. I can honestly tell you, there’s never a single day where I don’t learn something new and beneficial.
The more you research, the more blog-growing info you’ll find.
A good tip for doing research is to focus your research on what you’re not good at. Whether it’s marketing, writing content, or earning money from your blog, these are all topics that can help your blog grow.
Learn from other blogs, learn from other bloggers, and never stop researching.
9. Follow marketing trends to gain traffic
One obstacle we all face is that social media platforms and search engines are always changing their algorithms which means tactics that work right now, may not work in the future.
This is scary for most bloggers, including myself, because in some cases, we have to relearn how to promote our blogs. But that’s all part of the blogging game.
As a marketing major, I can say that marketing is about adapting to the market and finding the best way to reach your audience. If you can do that, you’ll have no problem getting traffic on your blog.
I’m always looking for new ways promote my blog posts and I do that by seeing what others are doing and identifying what works for my blog and I advise you to do that too.
10. Track your blog and then utilize the data
How do you know that your blog is growing? You track it.
Using a tool like Google Analytics will allow you to see the number of page views, where your views are coming from, information about your audience, and other important metrics.
This data is useful for comparing current results with past results to see how much your blog has grown within the specified time frame.
While most bloggers are already using Google Analytics to track their blogs, many of them are not doing anything with the data gathered by it. It’s easy to act in accordance with your data to generate even more traffic. Here’s how:
Page views – The posts that have the highest page views are your most popular posts. That means you should be promoting these ones more as they generate more traffic than your other posts. Re-share your popular posts frequently.
You can also use posts with high page views as a reference to find out why they’re so popular compared to your other ones.
Acquisition – The acquisition metrics tell you what your main sources of traffic are. By knowing this information, you can choose which platforms to focus your energy promoting on. If Facebook is your main source of traffic and Twitter is your weakest source of traffic, you should probably put more time towards Facebook or learn why Twitter isn’t getting you too many views.
Audience – This section shows you information about your audience. You can find out where your audience is from, what their demographics are, what they’re interests are, etc.
This information is necessary for identifying your target audience and knowing who you’re promoting to the next time you think about sharing your posts.
Above are just examples of what I use Google Analytics for. It’s up to you to find more ways to utilize the data you track.
The WordPress I use for tracking is called Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Analytics. It connects your blog to Google Analytics and prevents it from tracking your own page visits.
That’s all guys! I hope you found some valuable takeaways from this article and I would love to hear what you’ve learned during your time blogging. Let me know in the comments.