It has been just over two months since I started serious blogging. Yes, I have posts archived back to 2005, but it was not until the end of August that I started serious blogging. By serious blogging I mean:
- writing most of my own posts, rather than simple linking to articles on the web
- aiming to provide value for my readers
- working to bring readers to my blog (before August I averaged less than five visits a day).
For the last two months I have been diligent about writing my own original content that aims to provide value for my readers. I have also have consistently worked on marketing the blog to attract new readers. Hopefully some of what I have learned will also help you.
1. Writing Takes the Most Time
One of the biggest surprises for me was in how much time the writing process takes. I’ve always considered myself a pretty fast writer, and compared to a lot of people that is true. At work, I seem to be able to write quicker than many of my colleagues, when I was a student I could write faster than other students, and generally my writing speed is pretty high. Even with that, it still takes longer to write than I had expected. An average post takes about two hours to write, prepare and post. Generally the first draft takes an hour, and the review, formatting and posting takes another hour. The good news is that if I am consistent at putting in an hour a day, I can write and post about three articles a week. I have been generally fairly consistent at using my Power Hour for this purpose.
2. Marketing Can Be Done One Step at a Time
Because writing good material is my priority, it means that marketing must happen a little more slowly than I had expected. I have learned enough about promoting a blog that I could easily spend several 40 hour work weeks simply promoting the blog. However, I have a busy life including my job as a professor, and my rapidly growing home business. As such, I aim to take one step at a time in expanding my marketing efforts. I set marketing goals for my blog each week as part of my weekly planning process, and work towards those goals each week.
3. Network, Network, Network
Probably the priority in my promotion efforts has been to establish a presence online by networking with other bloggers and blog readers. Just like most traditional bricks-and-mortar small business, networking is the lifeblood of my blog. Blogs are not in competition with each other, rather the growth of one blog can support the growth of other blogs (Zen Habits author Leo Babauta has a great post about how success isn’t a competition). There are several ways that I network with other bloggers and readers:
- leave good comments, including links to my articles when appropriate
- help increase awareness about other good blogs and articles (through sharing links on my blog, submitting their work to Digg! or StumbleUpon.)
- be in email contact directly with other bloggers
4. Contribute with Guest Articles
Another great way of promoting this blog has been through writing guest articles for other blogs. Certainly this is a little more time consuming than some of the other marketing ideas, but it has been a very valuable way at connecting with new readers. I have only gotten started at making a serious effort to write for other blogs, but what I have done has made a big difference. Many of you may have first found your way here through guest posts including my recent guest article at Dumb Little Man. My current goal is to submit one article each week to another blog for a guest post.
Again, I’m fairly new to using StumbleUpon but it has been a significant source of traffic. If you are unfamiliar with StumbleUpon, it is a unique internet community that allows users to recommend websites to other users with similar interests. My two biggest days for visitor numbers have been when a post received a number of “stumbles”.
Here is a great post about how to use StumbleUpon to increase your traffic.
6. Switching to WordPress and Getting A Domain Name
The first thing I did when I was getting prepared to start blogging more seriously was to switch from Blogger to WordPress and get my own domain name. This entire process was easier than I expected. The actual switch process took less than an hour, and learning to use WordPress was very simple. I find WordPress easier to use and more functional than Blogger. There are many free WordPress themes to choose from and many Plugins to make it work best for you. If you are looking to make the switch you can read this post about the process.
Hopefully these six steps will be helpful for you and your blogging or internet marketing efforts. Between now and the New Year my blog goals are:
- Double the number of subscribers and daily visitors
- Continue to publish guest posts around the internet
- Make a few small improvements to blog theme
- Add a few more static pages such as a FAQ section
How Can You Help?
- Share this blog! Email your friends or add a link on your site
- Stumble the blog or your favorite article with StumbleUpon
- Comment on your favorite article
- Share feedback by emailing danny (AT) secondincometeam.com
Thanks for all of your support. Have a great day!