Starting a blog can be overwhelming. I have made my share of big mistakes. The mistakes have caused frustration and extra hard work. Here are 5 Blogging Secrets Every Blogger Should Know that will prevent you from the same mistakes.
Blogging ‘AINT easy!
I am sharing blogging secrets that most bloggers don’t truthfully talk about.
I personally have made costly and devastating blogging mistakes. Some of those mistakes were led by other bloggers trying to make an easy buck. This infuriates me. I mean, we should all work together not against each other. Where is the honor code?
Because of these mistakes, I wanted to share what I wish someone sat me down and told me. Then perhaps my journey would have been a little less expensive and a little more easier. Time is money and if you calculated all of the extra hours I have put in FIXING my MISTAKES, then I would be rich right now.
First, let me lay out my credentials. I am in NO WAY on the Top Blogging list. But like “the little engine that could,” I have creeped up to a bit of success. I have been blogging a little over 3 years. I now have over a 150,000 monthly page views and it is creeping up every month. With that said, I am not trying to fabricate that I know everything and or mislead that I am making a million views every month. I WISH! I am just telling you I know NOT WHAT TO DO!
5 Blogging Tips Every Blogger Should Know
- MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!! Yep, you are going to start a blog and you are going to get rich. Fast. Easy. No Sweat. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone starts a blog thinking they are going to make money. If you say you are not in it for the money, you are either lying or not being honest with yourself. (There are the 5% that really do make a blog for a hobby. If that is really you, then I apologize.)
There is nothing wrong for wanting some green. You shouldn’t feel bad about wanting to earn money. You put a lot of work into a blog from photography, research, writing, graphic designs, videos, sharing on social media…. Then the expenses of equipment, education, hosting…. I mean this a job. A REAL job! You want your paycheck. NOW!
Where is the return on your time and your buck?
There are so many bloggers that claim you can be an overnight success…. just spend $100 and they will give you those tips…. No one tells you those tips for free, right? Have you fallen for them? I have. I would get ticked when I learned nothing relevantly useful. It was a waste of my time and money. Those Help-bloggers ARE making money. They are selling you a DREAM and they are earning good money from it.
Now before you get your panties in a wad and get mad at me if you are one of those bloggers selling the how to’s…. There are some blogging programs that actually help. My personal experience is that if you dig hard enough, you will find what you need on your own; but some of those blogging programs cut out the time and effort. (I just personally have not found one I can recommend at the moment. Nor have I been happy with the programs I have spent money on.)
Food Bloggers Central has been a FREE resource that I have gotten more out of than anything I have paid for. Nagi is coming out with a book and I will be the first to jump on that bandwagon. But she knows her stuff. She has already proven for FREE that she can deliver. So I am all about trusting her with my wallet in any future endeavors.
But I digress…. Money isn’t going to happen over night. It is going to take time and hard work. I didn’t see a penny the first year. (To be fair, I didn’t take blogging serious until my second year.) When I started making money, it dripped in slowly. Now I am making a fair amount, but I am three years in… and you will too. It just won’t happen a month into your blog. Just be patient.
There are bloggers that have become an over night success. They are the DREAM! But blogging is like the music industry. Only a few can be the super stars and you are competing with millions of talent. A little luck and timing can go a long way for the few. But for the majority of us, it will be like “the little engine that could.” You will have to keep trucking it little by little until you gradually make it. The journey is what weeds the out the weak. Which leads me to my second tip…
Work hard for that paycheck.
2. Work, Work, Work!!! Blogging is not for the weak and light hearted. You have to work your A$$ off to make real money. That means working 9 to 5 like a real job. The post itself is just 30% of the work and that has to be done regularly. Sharing your posts all over social media, interacting with other bloggers, and continually researching the latest trends in SEO and social media are the bulk of your work. If you treat it like a hobby it will grow like a hobby….not consistently.
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3. You need a reliable Host!!!! I should begin with this as my number one tip. I have been through hell and back because of my host choices.
Thanks to several blogger sell-outs that I trusted, I fell for the cheap Bluehost!
Most new bloggers start with Bluehost because several bloggers highly recommend them and they are cheap. I fell for it. You probably fell for it. Let me tell you about Bluehost. THEY SUCK!!!! If you are a newbie and not getting a lot of page views, you will be fine. But the minute you start growing, your site will be as slow as molasses and you will have to upgrade to get it at a good speed. Their help line also sucks. You will be on hold FOREVER!!! And when you have a problem, they usually convince you to upgrade again….
Because I didn’t know any better, I just kept upgrading and upgrading. Then one day…. to my surprise…. I had a post that went viral. It was my second year in blogging, and a week before Thanksgiving. Finally, I was getting somewhere with my hard work, right? I kept watching my page views go up and up. I was as excited as a kid in a candy store. Then BOOM! CRASH! My site went down. It was down from the day before Thanksgiving until 2 days after. I was traveling and there was nothing I could do about it. I called and called Bluehost and they just put me on hold. It was a NIGHTMARE! I had so much traffic that rather than Bluehost emailing me or calling me to recommend upgrading my plan, they just took my site down on the food blogger’s most busy days of the year. I lost trust of my readers and I lost ranking in Google. I was SICK!
I ofcourse gave Bluehost the middle finger and changed hosting companies the minute I was back in town. But the damage was done. I read some good things about Inmotion Hosting and tried them for a while. They didn’t transfer my site correctly. Half of my posts were lost. Another NIGHTMARE! It took a month to fix. It was HORRIBLE!
Inmotion Hosting was better than Bluehost. Their support team was very responsive and courteous. I never had to wait too long on the phone. However, their support team often couldn’t actually fix or answer my questions. They would email me an article and tell me to fix it myself. It was frustrating. Even with upgrades, by site was relatively slow. I finally had enough of them and went to Site Ground.
Site Ground has been the Holy Grail!! They have been TERRIFIC! I am never on hold longer than a minute when I call. If I need something fixed, they do it immediately on the phone or walk me through a support ticket that is taken care of within the hour. My site is running so much faster and I am just happy, happy, happy. OH! And when they transferred my site over, nothing was lost!! Miracle? Yes!
My only hang up is they all have strong accents and I have a strong southern drawl. They can’t understand me, and I can’t understand them. I am sure the recordings of our conversations are hilarious and I am probably some office joke. They do have instant online chats and I use that for quick easy questions. That helps. But their support team knows their stuff. They are reliable. And they are worth every penny.
Ironically, after my site started growing in high page views, I received an email from Bluehost asking for a partnership. I told him I wasn’t using Bluehost anymore, and he said that didn’t matter. He offered a high commission for each person that signed up. DING, DING, DING! This is why the other bloggers recommend them. Notice those same bloggers are not using Bluehosts themselves. This is why I call them sell-outs. I won’t lie. I was tempted. I threw away the email, so I can’t remember the exact amount, but it was enough to make me consider. I decided I couldn’t sell my soul.
Instead, I will make a referral commission if you sign up through me with Site Ground. You will be happy with them and much, much, much better off. I am saving you from tears, frustration, and banging your head on the wall. I promise. If you don’t use them, don’t use Bluehost. Just saying….4. Grow Your Email List. I personally hate email. I also hate getting tons of junk email. It is aggravating to sort through the bad emails to get to the good. Therefore, when I began my blog, I didn’t focus at all on email. So much so, that when I moved over my site to Inmotion Hosting and my site got all messed up, somehow the email plugin I had got deleted. I didn’t pay attention. For a whole year, I didn’t even have a way for my followers to sign up for email. Crazy, stupid mistake! I wasn’t sending out emails at the time, so it didn’t register that I didn’t have a sign up. Then I read Nagi’s, “Building Your Email List is your #1 Growth Priority” and a light bulb went on in my brain.
Your Email List is Crucial!
Social media is forever changing. Google SEO is forever changing. What works one day, may not work the next. Email is the one thing you have control over. It is also a way to connect with the readers that want to connect with you. I don’t do any gimmicks like, “Sign up here for a free e-book.” That stuff works, but half of those readers unsubscribe after they received the freebie. Because I have no gimmicks and a reader took the time to sign up, I assume that reader really values what I have to say and wants to stay connected.
I also use Optin Monster. Because I don’t aggressively pursue building an email list, this helps me in a way I am comfortable with. Unlike free email subscriber plugins, Optin Monster has an “exit-intent technology” that prompts a reader with a sign-up campaign at the moment they are about to leave. That means no aggravating pop ups the minute someone enters your site. If the pop up is aggravating to your reader when they leave, it doesn’t matter because they were already leaving. You can also program the pop up to only appear after your reader has gone to a second page or on a second visit. It does many many other cool things. It definitely is worth the extra money for me.
If you are not going to use the exit-intent technology from Optin Monster, then use a free plugin. The importance is to have a way for your readers to sign up for email. You can be as aggressive as you want.
I also don’t send an email out every time I write a new post. I am not saying this isn’t good practice. I just think if you send out too many emails, eventually, people become annoyed and ignore you.
My happy balance is twice a month and I cater to a topic that I think my reader can benefit from. I reference more than one link from my site to drive traffic to my site. For example, at Christmas time I did a “20 Christmas Appetizers” email campaign for my readers with a list of 20 of my favorite appetizer recipes. I use Mail Chimp to deliver my email because it is easy to use and free for the first 2,000 subscribers. It is pretty cheap after that. This is my happy medium, but you can definitely email more than twice a month.
You need a Blogger BFF.
5. Make Blogger Friends. If it is all about you and only you, you are going to remain “only you.” You can’t grow in the blogging world without making friends. The blogging world is so BIG and you will remain lost. Pick out some blogs that you actually enjoy and develop a relationship with them. Comment on their posts, share their Facebook posts on your Facebook Page, like their pics on Instagram, retweet their tweets, and pin their pins. Like any real friendship, you have to give to receive. Eventually some of them will reciprocate and you will form a bond.
Karma is real!! Do unto others what you want done to you. Kim Hardesty, from Low Carb Maven is a much bigger blogger than me. One day she reached out to me and emailed me that my image files were too large and were slowing down my site. I was a new blogger and had no idea. After I fixed my images, my site was so much faster. That little tip helped me significantly and I never have forgotten it. In return, as I have grown, I have reached out to other bloggers with some tips that I felt could be helpful to them. In doing so, I have made some pretty awesome friendships with bloggers from literally all over the world! I even have a blogger BFF, Karrie Holland with Tasty Ever After in Boston. I plan to take a “culinary trip” to see her soon. We talk on the phone almost every day and have never met in person. How cool is that? She helps me and I help her. As they say, “Two minds work better than one.” We make a great blogging team.
Enjoy the ride!!! Love what you do or don’t do it. If you love it, everything will work out. You will find a way to success. Good luck! xoxo