Guest post by our good friend Joel Brown who started the largest personal growth blog, Addicted2Sucess and took it to $1mil in valuation in just under 3 years.
There has been some ups and downs a long the way, some technical issues and doubts that I have faced, but I am lucky that I stuck it out because I have learned over time, what does and does not work when it comes to creating a successful blog.
So here are 8 things that I have learned along the way that I feel are super important for any blogger out there to know.
1. Don’t Try and be an Ace at Everything
You will burn yourself out and spread yourself way too thin. Eventually you will want to be covering every angle but to begin with pick one avenue and dominate that field.
When I first started out, I chose Twitter to be the #1 platform to promote Addicted2Success.com. I made sure that it was a finally tuned channel, and the traffic from Twitter would then convert into Facebook traffic and mailing list subscribers. I then moved to Facebook and focused on that and so on and so on..
2. Don’t Alienate Yourself
Don’t forget that you are part of a community. The worldwide web is a community of people who are sharing information with one another. If someone has created a great article that you have been inspired by, why not refer to that article by linking to them. Other bloggers love this and in most cases (not all) will link back to you, visit your blog or tell others about you sometime in the future.
I used to think that if I linked out to others that this would take away from my blog. The truth is, people will look at other websites anyway. They will remember that you hooked them up with links to quality articles and bloggers and they are more likely to come back to you out of a loyalty for your quality at the end of the day.
3. No More Billboard’n
One big standout mistake that I see a lot of bloggers make is covering their entire site in ads. Choosing to throw an annoying ad right in your viewers face as soon as they enter the site, or even placing a video ad in the middle of a 500 word article is super douchey and people can tell that you are all about the money.
You don’t want your site to look like a billboard. It devalues your website and is very distracting. If your viewers wanted to see an overload of ads they would just google a video of Times Sqaure and stare at that.
4. Understand Your Audience
Do you know what niche’ you fall under? A lot of people are just throwing everything out there that they think will stick and they are not holding or attracting their viewer’s attention because their subject is a little too broad.
Work out what your niche is. If it is a website about “The Art Of Hackey Sacking” then stick to hackey sacks. Don’t expand it out to sports of all sorts because it loses its edge and becomes a website that is going to leave you in a cesspool of millions of others that are covering the same old topics.
One guy in the US pulls in $10,000 a month from his blog about fancy cactus designs. If he can make 10k from cactus lov’n, you can just about make it with any creative niche’ that comes to mind.
5. Don’t Copy Your Competition
In most cases in business it is a great idea to study your competition so that you can out compete them. In the world of blogging, don’t do it! The key is to have your own unique flair and to be found by YOUR like-minded peers through search engines. So if you are just writing articles the way that you would, and you are not writing an article for the sake of competing with an other, then you will position yourself in a place where you have no competition.
Multi Millionaire blogger Pete Cashmore said something that really resonated with me, he said:
We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.
And he hit the nail right on the head. Just do you! and you will be rewarded for it over time.
6. Use Your Blog As Leverage
Once you get a good amount of traffic in place ie..10,000+ a month then you can really start leveraging off that. Reach out to those with a large follower base and exposure than you and ask them if they would like to be featured on your site. Once you feature them, send them a ReTweet link or an e-mail blast out letter of the article that you featured them in so that they can share it with their network.
You can even reach out to companies in your niche’ area and see if they would be up for offering you a free product, service or discount to promote them on your blog and in turn you can give away the prize to your viewers. Competitions garner a lot of interest online and you can use competitions as a way to ask your viewers for feedback or input first to go in the draw.
Start being resourceful. Look for ways that you can platform and leverage yourself off other materials and connections you have in your reach.
7. Minimize Your Page Load Time
Google pays a lot of attention nowadays to page speeds when it comes to SEO. All you need to do is head over to Google’s Page Speed Test and run a test on your domain name and it will give you an idea of what changes are needed to speed up your website load time.
I run Addicted2Success through CloudFlare which not only secures my site from DDoS attacks but surprisingly speeds up my page load time by 20%. Cloudflare is free and easy to set up so you should check it out when you get a chance.
The more graphics, flash and plugins you have on your page, the slower your site is going to load. Sometimes you have to sacrifice big files for a faster load. So it is a good idea to go back through your site and see what is in your sidebar, what plugins are activated and what un necessary old content is taking too long to load.
8. Get In The Zone (a little feng shui blogging)
So this has got to be one of the most important parts of blogging, which I believe has played an important part in my success online.
So before you start your day with blogging make sure you have had something to eat, something to drink and you are comfortable in your environment. Make sure that you have a clear and concise idea of how much time you have to work online for the day. Remove any distractions around you and time block your social media explorations so that you aren’t wasting your time on Facebook, reading ridiculous stories about Miley Cyrus and cats.
Make sure you start your day right with a little stretching, exercise or meditation. Something that awakens a little energy in you, because you will need it when it comes time to be creative and to shine online. It may sound a little cheesy but if it helps you to feel more professional by wearing a suit, a beanie, or even having a coffee at arm’s length, then do it!
You have to be in the zone to produce your best material.
Can’t get enough? Learn more about Joel’s upcoming tribe for top professional bloggers all around the world.