16 Top Tips from Blogging Experts for Beginners
I’ve heard blogging referred to a couple of times recently as a mixture between an art and a science. If this is true (and I think it is), there’s no ‘right way’ to approach blogging if you want to be successful. There are plenty of people who’ve done a great job of it though, and I thought it would be useful to learn from them.
This can be a great way to gather ideas of what topics people would most like to read about, which will help your blog grow! One of the best ways I’ve seen this in action is through blog comments or Tweets. In one example, here on FastCompany a lot of people requested a post that features more women entrepreneurs:
Understand your audience better than they understand themselves. It takes a lot of upfront research, and often means being a member of the very tribe you’re trying to lead – but it pays off.
A great technique for doing this is to simply ask your readers first on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn with an engaging quote. If people respond well to it, than this is probably a great topic to write about. An example for this comes from Andrew Chen who famously “tests” his blogpost ideas on Twitter first.
And so does Joel here at Buffer. Take this example from a recent Twitter post of his, where he simply tweeted one quote to see how well people liked a topic before he blogged about it:
Yes, since I’ve been writing for myself, I’ve found that I write more and I publish more often. I think though that the main reason for that is that I don’t decide whether to publishing something based on the traction / reception that the post will receive within my audience; instead if I want to publish something, I do so. For myself.
Start building your email list from day one. Even if you don’t plan on selling anything, having an email list allows you to promote your new content to your audience directly without worrying about search rankings, Facebook EdgeRank, or other online roadblocks in communications.
When you’re asking readers to sign up for your email list, you might want to try experimenting with different language. Willy Franzen found that his subscription rate jumped 254% higher when he changed his call-to-action from “subscribe by email” to “get jobs by email”:
Love the readers you already have. A lot of bloggers get quite obsessed with finding new readers – to the point that they ignore the ones they already have. Yes – do try to find new readers but spend time each day showing your current readers that you value them too and you’ll find that they will help you grow your blog.
A blog is really two things. One, simply a piece of technology, a platform. But, two, it is a promise in the minds of most readers, who expect that the blog should have actual content with some elements of value that is hyper-targeted to their needs. Much like with a newspaper. Readers don’t just look at a newspaper as newsprint that is delivered on their driveway every morning. They look at it as valuable information about their city, where they live, and the things that they do.
I screwed up for years. I’d blog and blog. Some of my posts were doing very well on places like Hacker News, but I had such hard time getting return visitors. And very few people bothered to follow me on Twitter.
Don’t rely on people to do the work to find your Twitter account. Don’t rely on them to do the work to find your details in a sidebar. People are blind to sidebars. Thanks banner ads!
Finish your blog post with some kind of call to action to signup for an email list or follow you on Twitter. When I started doing this, I immediately increased my Twitter followers by 335% in the first 7 days.
Setup Google Analytics from Day 1
You can’t grow your site if you don’t know how people find and use your website. Like many beginners, I too relied on “guesswork” and “winging it” to get the job done until I learned the importance of website analytics.
Google Analytics is the best analytics software in the world used by millions of websites. It allows you to see your most popular content, where your visitors are coming from, and more.
It also helps you track user engagement across your website, which helps you improve your business using real numbers instead of guesswork. If you are running an online store, then you can use it to track customers and boost your conversions.
Building an Email List
80. Choose an Email Marketing Service
81. Use an Optin Form to Get Subscribers
82. Add More Newsletter Signups
83. Create a Signup Page
84. Create a Lead Magnet
85. Start with a Welcome Email
86. Plan Other Newsletter Content
Most bloggers use their newsletter to let their subscribers know about new posts on the blog. But you can also send them exclusive content that’s not on your blog like interviews, quizzes, giveaways, coupons and promotions, and more.
87. Personalize Your Emails
Of course, you can’t write out emails one-by-one. Luckily, most email marketing services like Contact Contact offer features to help personalize emails like adding the subscriber’s name into the greeting. They also offer email segmenting features so you can send different emails to different types of subscribers.
Monetizing Your Blog
88. Google Adsense
An easy way to make money from your blog is by advertising with Google Adsense. With Google Adsense, you can automatically display ads on your blog that are relevant to your readers.
89. Affiliate Marketing
90. Write Sponsored Posts
91. Create Digital Products to Sell
Another way to make money from your blog is to create your own products to sell. You can create digital products, like ebooks or video tutorials, which are easier to make than a physical product.