5 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging While Blogging
Nearly every great blog is a meta-blog. That is, it can’t help but consciously refer back to itself. Think of it as meta-blognition (blogging about blogging). The fact that bloggers are always talking about blogging, how to blog and how they even make a living off of their blog is part of what makes these sites so entertaining and keeps readers coming back for more. The blogging society or industry, depending on how you view it, is unique from any other field or group of people I’ve ever studied. If you decided to be an actor tomorrow with zero experience and zero contacts and moved to Hollywood, what kind of response would you get from the entertainment industry? I can think of a few colorful responses and none of them sound like,”Welcome to Hollywood! I’m going to teach you EVERYTHING I KNOW so you can be just as good as me or better because your success becomes my success! And there’s room for everyone in this town! The more the merrier, come on in!” And yet, that is the exact message of almost every one of the great blogs I have discovered in the past few months. Kevin from 20smoney.com says, “As the blog grew, I started to make a little money. I kept thinking about how anyone could do this. Really, anyone.”
And I’ve been blogging for about a month now, so I think it is time for me to join polite blogging society and shared what I have learned so far from my own blogging adventures and from the much more sophisticated blogs that I read regularly.
5 Things You Should Know About Blogging
1. The Best Bloggers Share Everything (Part 1). Everything I need to know about how to blog, how to monetize, how to build traffic, how to make my content more relevant and a million other important ideas on growing a site is available on hundreds and maybe thousands of popular blogs. ABDPBT has a free ebook on maximizing online revenue by becoming your own ad network. Geniustypes spells it out from the very beginning of starting a blog. And Frugal Dad wants everyone to start a blog as a side hustle. 20smoney.com gives you detailed online income reports and gives you lots of ideas on building your own site. When it’s time to start adding some aesthetic quality to your site, check out Hongkiat and Creattica. There is no end to the amount of information and ideas that people online are willing to share with you, and most of it for free. Sometimes it’s hard to pull myself away from learning all of these things and focusing on building my own site, but overall, the excess of information out there is an incredible tool that new bloggers have.
2. Good Content Takes Time to Write and Edit. Dude, freaking tell me ’bout it. I started this blog just over a month ago and I have at least 20 posts in draft stage that I am working on and I have new ideas every day for future articles. But as I’ve said before, I’m an ideas person. I come up with ideas constantly, but I’m not great about following through with them. But good blogs are about consistency, and a good post can’t just be a one-liner like “I have noticed that people are getting fatter.” This might be true, but it is not enough content for a post. Why are they getting fatter? Why are you noticing it? Is it because you’re also getting fatter? Who’s been talking about fat people in the news? Is there a new study you can link to? So you get the point. You want to develop a story for each post. A good post takes at least a few hours for me, and then I let it sit for a day before going back to look at it and either edit it or add a few final touches to it. But in the end, you’re only going to get readers based on the content you are providing, so this is where most of your time should be spent.
3. The Best Bloggers Share Everything (Part 2). Blogs usually have a niche topic (or a broader lifestyle idea like Pioneer Woman), but in either case, they offer LOTS of information on their chosen topic. The great bloggers are good at getting into the nitty gritty of exactly how to do something, are honest and straight-forward, and sometimes talk about controversial or uncomfortable topics. I think the reason some of the personal finance blogs are so popular is because they are honest. People talk about the mistakes they have made with money, but also offer tons of step by step advice on finding a new path out of debt (like this excellent article by Brian of Geniustypes), finding additional income streams and changing how we view money. It’s easier to relate to Dave Ramsey when he tells you he has lost millions of dollars, and he learned what he preaches now the hard way. There are of course other great blogs outside of the personal finance arena, like Steve Pavlina’s site or Design Mom, who’s just lovely in everything.
4. There is Always Something You Could Be Doing On Your Blog. This is related to #1, in that there is so much information to learn and apply about blogging, which means that there is always something you could be doing to improve your site. There are lots of ways to monetize your site besides Google Adsense, and with Amazon Associates out of California, bloggers have to look for other opportunities, many of which can actually make more money than Amazon.com Associates program offered. One avenue is Text -Link Ads, which I plan to use but not until this site has at least 20 good posts and is getting more daily page views.
5. If You Write It, They Will Come. Another piece of invaluable advice that is repeated all over the blogosphere (I finally got to use that word non-ironically!) is that you have to keep writing. Writing and blogging are just habits. How do you form a habit? Well, I’ve heard it takes 30 days to form a habit and that goes for creating new content for your blog on a regular basis. My goal is about 2-3 good posts a week. It’s been a month so far for the American Debt Project and it has become a part of my daily activities to work at least 30 minutes a day on my blog. The other thing about blogs is that the traffic builds up very slowly at first, but you will start to see results after one year of posting regularly. So according to the blogosphere (twice!), I should be rolling in C-notes by June 2012. No? Ok, well maybe not rolling in them, but hopefully I will be generating at least one C-note a month just from advertising on my site. The more exciting part will be having readers and comments to respond to. Oh how I look forward to my first comment!