When I started blogging, wordpress was primitive, plugins were buggy, and there was no such thing as a 6 figure blogger. There really was no one classified as a “blogging guru” leaving me to learn from good old-fashioned trial and error. Expensive, time-consuming, trial and error.
Here are just a few lessons I learned the hard way, and tips I wish I had known back when I started blogging…
1. Put the reader’s needs and interests first. Most new bloggers take at least a year to truly understand how this works, even if they think they know. Constantly focusing on what your readers want will not only build your readership quickly but also help all your blogging strategies fall into place more easily. For example, this results in well-targeted advertisers and affiliate partnerships more likely to interest your readers.
2. Read other blogs, talk with other bloggers. You will learn far more about blogging through interaction than through reading and at a much quicker pace. This is also great exposure for joint ventures, back-scratching guest posts, and my favorite- blogging buddies that help keep you updated on recent news and changes in the blogosphere, even before you read them on Mashable.
3. Always test before implementing major changes. I once changed ad layouts across my entire site after reading a blogging tip that was “guaranteed to increase my earnings.” Big mistake. This cost me about $8,000 in a few short weeks, plus the time it took to reverse the changes and make friends with Google SERPS again. ALWAYS test first and implement changes slowly.
Own Hosting – Only if you are Committed
4. Avoid free blog hosting sites. These are great for casual bloggers with no MMO blogging intentions, but for the serious blogger who plans to take over the world in their blogging future… a shared hosting option is your best option, and ALWAYS have your own domain. The flexibility this offers will pay for the $5 monthly hosting fee many times over and save you the headache of having to move your freebielog later. Not convinced? Last year, a blogger came to me asking for advice. It seems they’d set up their blogger.com blog over a year before and had around a $3,000 monthly AdSense income from the site. Imagine his dismay when Google came along and shut his blog down. He had no domain of his own to turn the traffic, and no backup of alllllll that content he’d worked so diligently to build up. This brings me to my next tip…
5. BACK UP YOUR BLOG. Oh yes, this is one every single blogger I’ve ever known has learned the hard way… so simple, you’d think we’d have figured it outright? Back up your content x 4. Back it up through wordpress and have it emailed to you using a wp-backup plugin or any number of others. Test the files delivered periodically. Back up your databases from the server. Back up your theme. Back up your reading lists. This only takes a few minutes, and trust me when I say, there will be times when you need all of these!
There you go- my top 5 blogging tips I wish I knew back then… a few simple tactics that will potentially save you thousands of dollars and hours with minimal effort.