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71 lessons I learned while blogging

In this post, we’re going to see the lessons I learned while blogging. From the title you saw that I learned quite a lot of them. This isn’t surprising in view of the fact that I came to blogging with absolutely no knowledge.

Woman blogging on an apple computer
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I never planned to become a blogger. Prior to stumbling on it, I didn’t even know the word existed.

Dissatisfied with my teaching job which, in Africa, pays only better than a voluntary work, I went online to find a supplier ready and willing to sell me goods I would pay for after selling.

A tall order, I must admit.

Today, I can’t believe it’s been six years already since the day I started blogging!

It all began in 2015 and my blogging knowledge (as I’ve already said) was, to say the least, nil then!

The purpose behind my blog was to make money and live well. I didn’t even suspect I had to care about my readers. It was: create it and they will come.

I didn’t even know who my “they” were. My idea was anybody who reads a blog. Whilst anybody was nobody!

Mind you, I didn’t start my blog to get rich quick or become instantly famous. The blog and affiliate marketing instruction manual had warned me about that. But the idea that blogging could prevent my life from continuing to be these was inviting enough:

  • living payday to payday in a dead-end job
  • not having enough money for things beyond my most basic needs
  • frustration at seeing even my students get ahead faster than me
  • passed over for wage increases and promotions although I was working hard and well
  • lack of job security (I was a part-time teacher at an advanced age)
  • embarrassment at how my present had sunk me lower compared to the previous one
  • worry about the future in general.

Instead, I wanted to live at my own terms, not to have to compare myself to anybody, secure my future online, be proud of myself and
my achievements,
and control my future.

And blogging seemed like the answer to my prayer.

But between the dream and the fact, there could be quite a chasm.

It’s been quite the odyssey since I sat down that August day six years ago to create my site on the free blogger platform. I’ve known frustration, exhilaration, triumph, defeat, delight, sadness and all.

I am passionate about writing, business and imparting knowledge. So writing a blog seemed within my power.

But reality shocked me.

So, in 2016 I wrote 32 things I wished I knew when I started blogging.

Now, what are some lessons learned while blogging?

To really appreciate the different lessons at the various levels of my blogging career, I will divide this post into three parts:

  • Lessons I learned as a novice blogger
  • Lessons I learned as an up-and-coming blogger
  • Lessons I learned as a *confident blogger

*By confident, I mean neither novice nor maestro.

Please, watch this video:

 

Now, let’s see the first part:

New blogger, lady holding a laptop
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Lessons I learned as a novice blogger

The following are the 12 lessons I learned about blogging at the beginning of my career:

  • Create your website on the most popular and paid platform
  • Doing affiliate marketing without reviews
  • Chasing my dreams
  • The experience is worth the waiting, or is it?
  • A picture is worth a thousand words
  • Doing what you love doesn’t feel like work
  • Readers are important for my blog; I should always woo them
  •  Mastering the art of selling
  • You earn no money, little money or lots of money
  • Inability to strike a balance in your everyday life will bring social friction
  • Did they say you’ll have flexible hours?
  •  Doing what you love doesn’t feel like work

Don’t ditch your 9-5 yet or be reticent to take a job meanwhile

Now, let’s look at the first lesson.

 

Create your website on the most popular and paid platform

One major factor which made me create a blog was that I could do so on the free blogger.com platform. Cash was a problem for me and the idea was highly welcome.

But I had to change my mind later.

Using a free blog platform is not necessarily a bad idea as there are many great blogs created on them, especially on blogger.com. But know that you have no control over your blog and you could also lose it at any moment. This happened to my personal blog when the voila.fr platform closed down the free service.

Besides, you can’t even embed an email subscription form on a free platform. Yet this is crucial for the success of your blogging career. (More information on this later).

To avoid these problems associated with a free platform, I moved to WordPress, the most popular blog platform, a year later.

Related posts: 22 steps to having a blog for making money online

Want to be a great blogger? – Then follow these courses

25 tips tohelp you start your blog when you have no audience

Doing affiliate marketing without reviews

The training which gave me a crash course on blogging delved into affiliate marketing too. This was another new thing to me and the more interesting part. While using my blog to educate people, I could make money with affiliate marketing!

But I didn’t have a clue what this marketing entailed, no wonder I got it completely wrong.

One notable mistake was that I never wrote reviews about the products I was promoting. While people consult reviews before deciding to buy something online. How did I expect people to buy from me without first educating them about my product?

Chasing my dreams

Didn’t Martin Luther King say it? I also had a dream. It might sound funny to you, but it’s true. It was to chase those dreams that I started a blog.

Blogging has been an eye-opener since it has exposed me to 85 other reasons people started their blogs.

The experience is worth the waiting, or is it?

Becoming a successful blogger was something I always wanted to be right from the beginning. I knew how to write, how to sell and how to impart knowledge. But I lacked the experience and the wisdom to give it time for it to happen. I had the newbie mindset of wanting it all OVERNIGHT!

After publishing a certain number of articles (I got from affiliate managers) and plastering my site with flashing affiliate banners and raw affiliate links (even those long ugly ones!), I would go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning expecting to see my blog stats explode! I thought I would see the money rolling in like with a magic wand.

Instead of a popular blog the next morning, it was earth-shattering reality which greeted me.

Of course, that would have been great, but what I hadn’t realized at that time was that I would have missed the most important part of it all: the blogging journey itself.

When people are talking about their life experiences, they don’t dwell on the beginning and the end, which are nowhere near as interesting as what transpired in between.

The experience of starting a blog and watching yourself progress is something worth recounting. What with all the knowledge that you acquire along the way. This is what makes you become a better writer, teacher, and marketer.

Just looking back at my first blog created 6 years ago and this later one gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

My posts have changed a lot. They are longer, formatted better, and best of all, more valuable and entertaining.

But I realize I have to do more work, especially on my backlinks and SEO.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words

We humans are visual-sensitive creatures. We love pictures and images.

In addition to short paragraphs, a picture breaks up a blog’s solid text, making it more welcoming and digestible.

For my first blog, I took this to a much higher level. Not aware that free copyright images existed, I lavishly decorated my site with affiliate banners, thinking the blinking images would attract visitors just like neon advertising lights. But I learnt the opposite was true.

Use images in your blog posts but only when they make sense and when they add to the meaning of what you want to get across.

Readers are important for my blog; I should always woo them

I knew I needed readers to make money, but I ignored ways and means to attract them to my site and make them remain there longer.

My whole idea of blogging was “build it and they’ll come”.

But my problem was how to build it so that they come.

I could have learned this important lesson from successful blogs, but well, I just didn’t know it.

Mastering the art of selling

Having successfully sold goods offline made me think that I could easily transfer the same skills online. But blogging has taught me that the art of selling online was a bit different.

This came as a shock to me because every day of our lives, we sell. We sell our ideas and opinions while trying to convince others, the political candidate sells us their party’s policy, the artist sells us their viewpoint, the vicar in the pulpit sells us their faith, and we even sell ourselves to employers or to the people that we meet.

I must admit I still have a lot of work to do to master the art of selling online.

 

You earn no money, little money or lots of money

Blogging has made some people a lot of money. Some of them publish their income reports online, others just talk about it.

This image of successful bloggers is what newbies carry around about blogging.

The truth is that in blogging you can make no money at all, make a little of it, or amass quite a lot.

If you asked me what is the best lesson you ever learned about blogging, I might say give your blogging business time to grow.

 

Inability to strike a balance in your everyday life will bring social friction

When I worked in business, our German company (Pabu Trading Company, PTC) acted as exclusive agents in West Africa for the cosmetics products of Henkel, a major German manufacturer through an exporter in Hamburg calledComimpex. So, I often accompanied my boss on rounds to our sub-agents in the various countries. This left my wife and our young son alone in the house.

When PTC left my country Togo like many other foreign companies following socio-political problems, a school offered me part-time job to teach Business English.

Teachers are people who work at school, at home, during the weekends and holidays, and at other odd hours. Besides, there are lessons to prepare at home, papers to grade, exams to invigilate, meetings to attend.

This took up so much of my time that my wife told people teaching was my wife.

Then matters became worse when blogging hooked me and brought its own demands too.

Family, teaching work, rest, community, socializing, I neglected all of them for blogging.

In my unbridled attempt to succeed at all costs and in the shortest possible time, I became something like a hermit, spending untold hours on the computer.

“They say spending so much time on the computer can make you sick,” my wife often remarks.

I would nod quietly. But I prefer this to the hell you sometimes put me through now that there’s less money.

But the truth is, while it’s important to have passion, drive, and commitment when chasing your dreams, it’s equally important not to put the people and other things on the back burner.

You may find yourself working when your family needs you. But you want to work hard to succeed. If your circle doesn’t understand you, their reaction may run you crazy.

It all boils down to time management where you allot a set amount of time to each of your commitments. Going out for a walk, meeting friends, enjoying some time with your family, wouldn’t all the same kill your dream.

So try to strike a healthy balance among each of them for long-term success.

As Stephanie said in this blog post, “If you give it everything you’ve got, you may be left with nothing.”

Certainly that’s not one of the life lessons you want to say one day that you learned you’re your blog.

 

Did they say you’d have flexible hours?

It is said that one of the things which make people opt for working online is the ability to work at your own schedule.

But from the above, you know that this is a myth, at least in the beginning of your blogging career.

You will find yourself working all and odd hours. In fact, in the beginning of blogging, you must work so hard that you can relax when your business is established. Coming to blogging to while away your time is an ingredient for failure

Before becoming a teacher, I worked in business. But I have expended far more time and far more energy on blogging than I had on those two professions.

Working on the design of my actual blog (the first one was ready-made from Google), writing content, and promoting it appeared more than a full-time job. But contrary to my former jobs, this one didn’t feel like work. Because blogging being my passion, I was doing what I loved, something I enjoyed doing regardless of the time or effort it took.

This is what keeps me going despite the ups and downs.

 

Don’t ditch your 9-5 yet or be reticent to take a job meanwhile

You hate your 9-5, so did I when I started. But I had the gumption not to give up my job when I started blogging. The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t yet know.

That’s why Daymon John from FUBU waited tables while he built his business. Other bloggers took on a second job while they developed their businesses.

Under such a circumstance, it may take you longer to get your blogging off the ground. But it’s preferable to you being a starving online worker.

As the blogger Matt rightly observes, “If your passion can’t pay your bills just yet, stick with your unpassionate job a little longer.”

Those are the lessons I learned when I started blogging. What about others as I continued?

That’s what we’re going to see now.

Related post: Don’t quit your day job yet

Up-and-coming Blogger working on laptop ar desk
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Lessons I learned as an up-and-coming blogger

The following are the 16 lessons I learned about blogging as I progressed in the niche:

  • Blogging is like a stubborn suckling
  •  Improved writing
  • Don’t take editing lightly
  • Content is King – Take your time and put in the effort to write your best
  • Spend 20% of your time learning, 80% of it DOING
  • Work hard but especially, smart
  • Manage your time to get more value out of it
  • Always have your “why” in mind
  • A change is gonna come
  • Try new things – they may prove helpful
  • Nothing like the opportune moment to begin something exists
  • To err is human
  • Don’t underestimate yourself
  • Success takes time, so take your time
  • Discipline ensures results
  • Quitting should not be an option. Ever!

Blogging is like a stubborn suckling

Blogging will sometimes make you feel like you’ve spent all of the day’s 24 hours on it (researching, writing, posting, answering comments, tweaking, and others) and still you haven’t given it enough of your time.

That’s why Fat Mum Slim said “It’s a hungry, hungry beast, willing to take up as much time as I let it.”

To survive the hungry beast, she suggests taming it with a little time management. Else, blogger burnout will be the result.

Improved writing

Although I’m a published writer (numerous stories and articles, and a collection of short stories), I don’t think I’ve written as much as with blogging.

I’m grateful for it, for the more you write, the more your craft improves. I’ve seen how blogging has polished my writing dramatically.

Don’t take editing lightly

When I learned to write before discovering blogging, I was asked to lay my first draft aside and revise it after it has cooled off for days. A minimum of rewriting the first draft at least three times were suggested, with cooling off periods between them.

This was important because, unlike blogging, you were submitting your work to an editor who didn’t take his work lightly. The least typo and messy writing and they sent back your manuscript.

So I came to blogging with that mentality.

The blogger, being the writer and the editor, some stuffs which would never pass by even an inebriate editor, get published. The most common are digressions. Some introduction to blog posts are so full of chaff that an editor would have mercilessly weeded them out of the copy.

Blogging has made me too to fall into this lax attitude. Sometimes I write things which I know an editor will ask me to revise, especially for length requirements.

Yet editing should be one of the most important and meticulous tasks in blogging. Some bloggers do very well in this regard, making their tight pieces a joy to read.

Something that I learned from blogging here is that no matter how carefully you edit your blog posts, occasionally something will slip through your guard and when a reader calls your attention to it, it will leave you staring at your screen as if it had cursed you.

So, it always pays to have another pair of eyes have a look at your copy. It will save you embarrassment later.

 

Content is King – Take your time and put in the effort to write your best

When I learned to blog, it was made clear to me that both blogging and affiliate marketing needed content to succeed. But later, I learned not any content would do.

Killer content was what was needed.

This is the type of content Google will index and rank, for the bot’s objective is to serve searchers the most helpful information.

But what I’ve not heard until now is content is queen I found on the FatMumSlim blog.
I don’t know if she used “queen” to right gender bias. In any case, I love the expression.

FatMumSlim said that “You can have the prettiest blog on the block, but if it’s not worth reading, it’s not worth *reading. Fresh ideas, content you’re passionate about and words worth reading are the key to a good blog.”

*I’d have used the word writing here

Since I was good at English at school and had also learned to write, I thought my High School essay writing techniques and what I had learned during my writing course were enough.

I learned that was not what would serve me in blogging.

I needed to know how to write content using keywords and SEO techniques. I needed to have back links, etc., all of which will help my posts rank on Google.

Strong content will provide you with unexpected visitors.

Yet better content doesn’t necessarily translate into a more successful site.

Sometimes luck plays a role, sometimes writing style does the trick, other times it’s content, or your fan base.

 

Spend 20% of your time learning, 80% of it DOING

The day I read about the “20:80 rule”, my mouth fell open and I stared at the screen as if I’d stumbled upon a truth I’ve been searching for all along.

I hardly learned about blogging and spent almost 100% of my time doing. Whilst the more you learn about something, the less intimidating or difficult it becomes.

But at a point, your blog will grow only when you use most of your time to market it.

Work hard but especially, smart

We’ve already seen that blogging will take up much of your time. And you’re not guaranteed to see immediate results as your blog might not take off for 6 months to a year down the road.

Not aware of this fact, many people abandon their blogs before they ever had the opportunity to show some results. However, commitment to hard work on a day to day basis are what you need to see some great results.

Another ingredient to add to hard work is working smart. This entails depending on other people and tools. You can outsource tasks like website design, SEO, content creation, and the like to experts on fiverr. There are also blogging tools to help automate some of your tasks.

Related post: Work hard, earn less – work smart, earn more

Manage your time to get more value out of it

When I first started blogging, my time management was erratic indeed.

I would be doing something like researching blog post topics, then my mind would wander to things like blog posts I had to write, photos to edit, creating graphics, managing social media, scheduling pins, completing my online course and other blogging-related matters.

This proved to be overwhelming.

Then I found this little book How to Open the Door to Your Future. Now, I’m laser-focused on everything I do. I’m careful on who and what I give my free time to.

The book taught me how to govern the way I invest my time with goals.

It said setting goals obliges you to focus your thinking, then your resources, and finally your actions.

This is because your goals will make you find ways to deliberately invest some time to achieve them.

The takeaway is that you learn to have a “productive day”.

The idea was suggested by a consultant called Ivy Lee to Charles Schwab, the executive running Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills during the American Industrial Revolution. Charles was seeking to improve productivity in his life and in the mills.

Every night, write down the ten most important things you would do the following morning, in order of importance. Then force yourself to do the first before moving on to the next. Cross it off the list and do the same for the next item, until you finished all the items.

This simple idea so worked for Charles that he paid Ivy $25.000, a hefty sum in those days.

The blogs about life lessons I learned here is: time really is precious, so be careful how and where you spend it.

Always have your “why” in mind

When the going gets tough, your “why” will keep you going. But if the “why” you started blogging is just to make money, then chances are you might fail.

People don’t like being sold to. So, when they realize that’s your aim, they’ll avoid you like the plague.

So, your “why” must be something else. Like helping people in an area you’re passionate about.

Whatever it is, it must be something worth fighting for.

For example, in this post, I gave the 4 Reasons Why I Started My Blog as:

  • little or no costs or experience required to begin          
  • easy, profitable substitute for traditional work
  • opportunity to write and publish regularly
  • to continue imparting knowledge          

Remember why you started in the first place and never give up. And don’t fail to modify your “why” if necessary.

At the time I started my blog, I didn’t know that the most important ingredient to succeeding in any online work is to help people solve their problems. For “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.”

A change is gonna come

Your life will change, and so will your content and your readers.

At a certain time, you may want to write books, create videos, start a podcast, mentor more, or help in community work.

You may resist those changes, and remain just a blogger. But it isn’t wise.

Besides, your readers will also change. They will have new desires. They may stop reading your blog. They may want to read more of your blog posts.

Life changes for you and your readers.

Embrace change for “The only constant in life is change”.

Your body changes all the time, people get an education, get a job, lose a job, get married, have kids, get divorced, get sick, get better, get older, etc.

So in blogging, I learned to accept change and adapt to it. Else you be left in the dust of inertia.

Try new things – they may prove helpful

While blogging, you may find things that could advance your career but which you find scary to do. Such “uncomfortable” things like coding, tweaking your website design, creating video, pasting snippets of code into the section of your website, etc.

It’s by venturing into these unchartered or new territories that you discover new things about yourself, that’s when you grow as a blogger.

Nothing like the opportune moment to begin something exists

Beat the iron while it’s hot.

I waited to master video equipment before making videos. I held back taking photos for my blog until I did a course on photography. I dreaded using WordPress until my course with Wealthy Affiliate to create this blog.

The truth is, I was afraid to start things I was clueless about. Yet, the only way for one to actually master something was to learn about it and start and learn more about it.

You can’t wait for that perfect moment. If you wait, it’ll never come.

Begin somewhere. You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.” Luz Smith (Famous syndicated newspaper gossip columnist).

Practice makes perfect.

YOU CANNOT SCORE A GOAL SITTING ON THE BENCH. YOU HAVE TO GT I THE GAME!

The right time is now!

To err is human

In blogging, I used to be terrified of making mistakes, especially in technical matters.

Not being a native English speaker, I was afraid of making videos where my voice would sound strange to people whose mother tongue was English. Then I would remind myself that I had spoken with countless people in the English language and no one had complained about my accent.

What a stupid, irrational fear that was, given that native English speakers themselves had different accents!

Then, if I wanted to write about advanced topics like SEO, ranking, back linking, and the like, I held back, afraid to make a fool of myself in the eyes of the world.

What I forgot was that doubting myself was the first step to learning. And when what I wrote wasn’t perfect, someone would draw my attention to it. And that was an opportunity to learn further.

The other day someone drew my attention to a passive voice answer I had given on Quora to a complicated active voice sentence, and I thanked her for that.

Making mistakes is one of the only ways to learn. So if you happen to make them, learn to correct them and move on.

Don’t underestimate yourself

We’re taught that it’s not a good idea to blow one’s horns. But sometimes of you don’t do it, who will?

When I first learned that guest blogging was beneficial to bloggers, I lacked the courage to try it, even with modest blogs.

“What can I really write about that will interest a host blog?” I would tell myself.

The reverse also happened, when people would contact me to post guest articles on my blog. I would look at my poor traffic stats and tell them we weren’t taking any guest blog posts yet.

Similar requests were when brands contacted me for featured posts.

“I don’t have a ton of social media followers,” I would tell myself and decline the offer.

For people and brands to reach out to me, wasn’t that some form of recognition? Hadn’t they seen something in my blog which I hadn’t?

That was when I began to accept such requests.

I then learned that you should never underestimate yourself. You should always know your own worth, especially if people first recognized it.

Success takes time, so take your time

It was former French President François Mitterrand who said, “Give time time.”

At the beginning of my blogging career, I wondered why success eluded me. What were the other bloggers doing right that I was getting wrong? I used to wonder.

Having later realized that real success takes years to achieve, I decided to give it the necessary time. It took many successful bloggers years to turn their blogging into a living.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” says the blogger Matt in this post, “If you don’t have the patience for the long haul, you should find something else to do.”

Amen!

By the way, this reminds me of a Government of Ghana slogan meant to improve productivity in the civil service: If you have nothing to do, don’t do it here.

Discipline ensures results

Practice makes perfect.

If you want to be good at something, do it all the time. That’s why a blogger must discipline themselves to write every day. Even if you fail at it, continue writing. For you didn’t fail. You are only looking for others ways to do it better.

Discipline will also cast your routine into a habit. And as habits are difficult to undo, one day your effort will pay off.

Quitting should not be an option. Ever!

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up,” says Yousuf Rafi in this blog post.

Nothing comes quick or easy. If you want something badly, you will have to work for it.

When you find blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, you may be tempted to abandon it. No. Don’t. Rome was not built in a day, but it got built anyway. Your blog too will.

That brings to a close things that we should always remember when creating a blog.

With those lessons I learned as an intermediate-level blogger, now let’s see what i learned about blogs as I refused to give up.

Related post: Don’t quit (poem)

 

Old blogger sitting under tree with laptop on lap
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Lessons I learned as a confident blogger

The following are the 43 lessons I learned about blogging as I progressed further in it:

  • Starting early helps, but it’s not essential
  • Your earlier works will suck, but it’s natural
  • Avoid being paralyzed by the desire for perfection
  •  You become more and more knowledgeable
  • Association – A factor for success or failure
  • Write for humans
  • Writing is a craft, not a trade
  • Better excel in one niche than be quite good in a number of them
  • Try to wean yourself and be authentically you
  •  Networking
  • Truly value people for their time and energy
  • You have to build a strong following on social media
  • You need to update your favorite social media site(s)
  • Build your email list with an autoresponder
  • You’re the one people follow, not really your blog
  •   You become entrepreneurial
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Give, so that you may receive
  • Use reliable hosting
  • Create your own products
  • Other bloggers are a great source of inspiration
  • There’s more than one way to blog
  • Writing top lists helps to earn you recognition from Google and new readers
  • Be content and proud to be you
  •  Harsh criticism will come your way
  • Failure may haunt you
  • Remain positive at all times
  • You need timing and luck
  • The monetization of your blog will change constantly
  • Nothing fails like success
  • Engage in life-long learning
  • Honesty is the best policy
  • SEO is not nuclear science
  • Keywords are really key
  • Backlinks have your back
  • Google takes time
  • Google Analytics can be the most valuable tool for your blog
  • Join forums to increase your audience base
  • Quora will help you in diverse ways
  • It’s not the number of visitors which counts, but the quality
  • Blogging is a business, treat it as such
  • Outsource non-core tasks
  • Above everything else… HAVE FUN

Starting early helps, but it’s not essential

Frustration set in as I continued blogging at this level and saw my progress nowhere near that of those who had started before me.

When I started, blogging had come out of its infancy. Earlier bloggers had attributed their success to conditions which weren’t stringent then.

True, Google didn’t have much of its stranglehold at that time. The bot has gone through several updates since then. Besides, people could easily game the bots then. Starting before it became mainstream certainly helped contribute to the success of the earlier bloggers. One couldn’t deny that. Yet I ignored the saying that comparisons are odious.

Finally, I realized that it was not the most important ingredient for success. Many of those blogs I envied at that time have disappeared mysteriously. And many which appeared on the blogging arena have survived up to today.

What I think happened to those earlier blogs is that lack of competition made them complacent.

I think blogger Matt summed the situation up better in this blog post: “What matters more than being first is being persistent and innovative, creating quality content, offering something that solves your readers’ problems, networking, and many other things. ‘Being first’ would be low on my list of ‘things you need for success.’”

It would be low on mine too.

Your earlier works will suck, but it’s natural

Now I look at my first website and exclaim, “What the hell was I up to?”

I also glance through the blog posts on that blog, and even the earlier ones on this one, and gasp, “Why the heck did I expect anyone to read these?”

These two reactions are signs that you’ve grown as a blogger and a writer.

Practice makes perfect. You only get better by doing. So, don’t wait for perfection. If you do, you’ll never start your blog.

Avoid being paralyzed by the desire for perfection

Having invested so much time and effort into blogging, and in your desire to give of your best, you keep working or, worst, worrying about your latest article.

So you keep it on the back burner.

Know that there’s no such thing as perfection. As we learn and grow, the things we do will also improve.

Anyway, your blog post is not couched in stone, neither is it one of the Ten Commandments of God.

Nothing’s perfect.

This means you can always revise it, even if it is already published.

Which will you prefer: that people see your “imperfect” post or that perfection keeps it out of the public eye?

You become more and more knowledgeable

When you work in a certain field, you begin to think more intentionally about it, follow developments taking place in it, follow the experts in it, and so on, so that you can educate your readers better about it.

As a result, you end up become an expert in blogging, up to the extent of writing eBooks about it, holding webinars, speaking at conferences, etc.

The lesson I learned here is better paraphrased by Will Rogers, a Famous American “cowboy humorist”: “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”

That’s why Joshua Becker wrote in this blog post: “It’s true what they say, ‘Writers read.’”

Association – A factor for success or failure

IT IS DIFFICULT TO SOAR LIKE AN EAGLE IF YOU HANG OUT WITH THE BUZZARDS AND CHICKENS ALL THE TIME.

Did you know that there is a ‘principle of success’ called “The Power of Positive ASSOCIATION”?

What it basically preaches is that you advance or regress depending on the people you spend your time with the most. It is even said that you are the sum total of the five people you hang around.

This is because these people’s values, ideas, and directions will always affect yours.

Peer pressure can also be positive or negative, helping you to go in the directions you want to go or veering you off course.

Do you associate with people who complain about everything, never take responsibility, and are content to just drift through life? Do your friends’ ideas, experience, and encouragement likely to lead you to your dreams?

If the answers to those questions are not in your favor, you risk ending up too making excuses, playing the victim, and never realizing your potential.

You urgently need other people, a “support group” made up of family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, a mentor, teachers, and coaches. They must be people who share your directions, preferably successful bloggers.

When you surround yourself with these people, they will inspire you to be better, motivate you to do more, and lead by example.

If you want to be one of the top bloggers in your niche, link up with those who already are.

Through the Wealthy Affiliate Community, I’ve met some great people during my time blogging.

Just as the community is meant to function, members have taught me valuable skills, helped me several times when I got stuck, helped me redesign my website, motivated me to keep going, outsourced article writing to them, and inspired me with their success stories.

Surround yourself with people you can look up to, learn from, and lean on in time of need.

 

Write for humans

Yes, I learned in blogging that I had to optimize my content for Google to pick it up, but not to overly do so. That could make my blog posts difficult or irritating for people to read them. Ultimately, I was writing for humans and not the Google bot.

Know that people read a blog because they connect with the voice behind it.

So I repeat: Optimize for Google, but write for humans. Striking that delicate balance is what will bring you blogging success.

Writing is a craft, not a trade

One of the questions on Quora which make me smile with knowledge is: “I’m a newbie, how much can I earn with blogging?”

Blogger Yousuf Rafi says, “When I get this question in my inbox, I simply respond with, ‘not much.’”

This is not an attempt to discourage people about blogging but to prepare them for the reality. Besides, “it’s not the money you earn that makes you feel happy, it’s the work completed itself,” Yousuf adds.

When people talk affectionately about Bill Gates, they have Microsoft Corporation in mind; whenever we mention Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook springs into our minds; when we think about Jeff Bezos, Amazon is not far from our minds.

The lesson?

It’s your craft that serves as a legacy to help people learn and grow that actually counts the most, not the money.

How many people today know how much Andrew Carnegie was worth? But his name is still associated with steel during the American Industrial Revolution.

Better excel in one niche than be quite good in a number of them

Let’s do an experiment.

Lay a piece of paper out in the sun and see what happens.

Nothing.

Pick up a magnifying glass and fix the sun’s rays on an edge of the paper.

It catches fire!

Idem in blogging.

When you stretch your content along niches, you dilute its effectiveness. You’re writing for everybody and nobody in particular. So, who do you expect to visit your blog for which solution to which particular problem of theirs?

Besides, when you write in one niche, you’re concentrating its keywords on your blog, helping the search engines to favorably position you for searchers.

So, stick to one thing, do it well, then people can easily find exactly what they’re looking for.

Jack of all niches is master of none.

Related post: Online Value Proposition, 2, Find Your One Best Niche and Focus on it

Try to wean yourself and be authentically you

Somebody said artists (like writers) are people who copy a lot. Although, or even if, this is true, they end up being recognized by their own works.

Thus, you’d not mistake a Beethoven for a Bach, a Picasso for a Michelangelo, a Shakespeare for a Sir William Gerald Golding.

While at the beginning of my blogging career I copied the works and imitated the writing styles of successful bloggers, now I try to remain authentic.

I still seek inspiration and ideas from the great bloggers but I couch my work in my own view and style.

So, believe in your own voice, and it will make your work original, stand out and be recognizable as yours.

Networking

Networking with other bloggers wasn’t something which occurred to me early. And even when it did, I found it difficult to penetrate. With blogging, I learned how to connect with others and how to build new relationships; on both a personal and a business. The benefit has been immense.

Now, I no longer spend all my time working on my own blog, but also visit other blogs and leave feedback on their posts.

This helps me meet new people and create a network of friends (readers and bloggers alike).

These are people who can help you when you need blog advice, marketing, or any other thing in relation to blogging.

I think my mistake came from the huge community we have at Wealthy Affiliate. Networking and connecting through blogging has enabled people to have numerous people working online around the world that they can consider as true friends.

This has not only impacted their blogging but has also improved their lives.

Truly value people for their time and energy

In my language Ewe (pronounced ”Evay”) spoken in four West African countries (Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria), we have an expression for thanking people on the day they did you some good. Our ancestors went further by coining others for the following day and other days afterwards.

These expressions could be translated loosely as: “Thanks for today’s act”; “Thanks for yesterday’s deed”; “Thanks for the day before yesterday’s act”; “Thanks for the other day’s act”. Or, “Thanks for being kind today”; “Thanks for being kind yesterday”; “Thanks for being kind the day before yesterday”; “Thanks for being kind the other day”.

Unfortunately we modern day Ewes who have imbibed European culture and ended up acting neither African nor European but like people in some limbo, have somewhat lost this tradition.

Blogging made me reconnect with my ancestral heightened sense of gratitude.

Without fail, I express my sincere thanks to those who read, comment, and participate in the conversation either here on this blog or on social media.

They are the ones who bolster me in blogging. Without them, I might, well, have given up long ago.

You have to build a strong following on social media

I would compare a social media following for a blogger to fertilizer for a plant.

While the plant will grow without fertilizer, having some in the soil would make it grow faster, healthier and stronger.

In the same vein, having a following of say, 5,000 Facebook fans, and posting to them would have a dramatic effect on the blogger’s growth.

Unfortunately, I never included the official Facebook like box on my blog. I only had links on my pages asking people to share to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

This was an invitation for visitors to leave the page while the official Facebook like box required that the person click like and become a fan.

Guys, a strong Facebook following is key to blogging success.

For Twitter, you can use Tweet Adder to find people in your niche who are interested in learning blogging, and follow the followers of similar users. Then when they follow, you send them to your fan page or website, where they may become a fan. It’s the best free promotion that can be automated.

N.B.: Social media is created for relationships, not business per se. So try to build trust with people before trying to sell to them. Otherwise they will ignore your marketing messages, or even brand you as spam.

 

You need to update your favorite social media site(s)

At the beginning of my blogging career, everybody was rushing to Facebook. Then people started talking about Twitter. Then the attention shifted to LinkedIn. Next came Pinterest, then Instagram.

Today all the craze is about TikTok.

Seeing how much things are shifting, undoubtedly very soon there will be a new whizz-bang social media platform that we’ll be rushing to.

What’s sure, Social Media will continue to evolve, and constantly give us something to tinker with.

Build your email list with an autoresponder

People hardly react when they see a marketing material for the first time. Marketers say they need to see it at least seven times before they take action on it.

Email marketing, by enabling you to contact your list using an email autoresponder, assures you that.

Experts say you must start an email list right from the first day of blogging. This is because people miss your blog, Tweets, and Facebook updates. But no one misses an email.

This is because people check their inboxes all the time.

My greatest mistake was not starting an email list right at the beginning to have control of my audience that no algorithm can rob me of.

Related post: 10 ways to build your email list

 

You’re the one people follow, not really your blog

Although your email subscription form may say “Don’t want to miss updates from this blog? Sign up today”, when people do so, they follow you, not the blog per se.

That’s why the blogger Norbert said, “I want people to follow me if they feel inspired and entertained by my stories, experiences, and by what I have to say. I love it when I have the chance to connect with people on a more personal level through social media, tweetups, or making friends while traveling.”

Becoming entrepreneurial

An entrepreneur is someone who undertakes and controls an enterprise or business venture, especially one in which a certain amount of risk is involved to start it.

There is always a sense of risk associated with writing a piece and hitting “publish”. Your great post may fall flat on its face. But the more you practice your craft, the lesser the risk becomes.

By starting my own blogging business, from home, in my spare time, I’ve not only created an opportunity to earn extra income but also developed new and varied skills, greater self-confidence and useful contacts.

Many successful bloggers have later found a way to grow their spare time business into a full-time business, and become their own boss for life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back, is a famous Chinese proverb

I started blogging with only smithereens of knowledge in it. Creating this blog posed challenges to me. I thank the community at Wealthy Affiliate for their help which made me come up to the task. Ask any question, and bloggers and affiliate marketers of every level will answer in the next minute.

Other places to obtain help are blogging groups, other blogs, forums, Question and Answer sites like Quora, etc.

There’s no harm in asking, so ask and the answer will be given you.

Give, so that you may receive

Did you know that you get from your blog what you put in?

Therefore, it will be wise to provide first and expect to reap the rewards later. You reap what you sow, remember?

I said earlier that when I first started blogging six years ago, my main focus was making money. I was looking for an affordable way to replace my day job in a big way. Unknown to me, I was trying to reap the rewards without providing any service. A sort of putting the cart before the horse.

Rather I had to consistently provide valuable content to my readers through helpful advice and free reports instead of trying to sell things to them at outset. I should also be creating a relationship and opening lines of conversation with them through emails and blog comments. This will add value to my blog and make my readers keep coming back for more.

For the most successful online businesses are those that can help people improve their lives.

And who doesn’t want people and businesses that help them become better people?

So, whatever you do, do it for the sake of your readers.

For me, that’s helping them secure their future online through blogging and affiliate marketing.

By focusing on providing value first, you will no doubt receive the returns on your investments of time and efforts.

Those who give, receive.

Because you make your readers feel good, they will also want to help you succeed.

Use reliable hosting

The importance of reliable hosting cannot be emphasized enough.

What people often know about bad hosting is the slow loading time.

Google takes this factor into consideration to rank sites. Visitors also get infuriated by a slow loading site and click themselves out of it, increasing your bounce rate.

Another problem of bad hosting raised by the blogger Josh Dunlop claimed is that his website has gone down a couple of times because his website couldn’t handle surges of traffic.

In effect, Adobe Photoshop shared his like to 400,000 people on Facebook, and his site went down for 45 minutes under the strain.

His recommendation?

“I recommend talking to your hosting company and make sure that it’s set up properly, because that can make all the difference.”

Related post: Faqs about Wealthy Affiliate, Part V: Hosting

Create your own products

 

One of the best businesses of making money blogging is creating products such as e-books, courses, etc. You can create them yourself or let others create them for you.

Doing that means you don’t rely on others for your income where anything can happen at anytime.

Amazon could kick you out of its program or cut its payout in half, YouTube can close down your channel for violating their policies (they accused me of spam and failed to give me instance of it to appeal), influencer marketing could change, brands might be reluctant to continue working with you, an affiliate program or network can stop offering their program.

When 100% of your income is from other people, you are 100% at their mercy. Creating your own products allows you to be independent.

As much as possible, always own your income.

Related post: 75 eBooks free for you

Other bloggers are a great source of inspiration

There are so many inspirational bloggers out there. Some of my blogging inspiration comes from them, such as the best blogging topics, best blogging tools to use, best SEO tools for bloggers, and so many others.

There is so much to learn from other bloggers.

See the section after the next for what I recently relearned about blogging.

There’s more than one way to blog

What works for one blogger might not necessarily be successful for another. Therefore when you explore someone’s rules for blogging and they don’t work for you, try others. But above all, make your own rules for blogging.

Should you post every day, every other day or twice a week? Should you depend on Instagram or Pinterest? Should you use free copyright images, buy them, or take your own? Should you create videos or just use words?

For each of these and other blogging matters, there are some general good strategies to follow but the tactics are up to you. Find out what works for you and stick to it.

Writing top lists helps to earn you recognition from Google and new readers

The title and the idea are from Josh Dunlop in this blog post.

I knew list posts work wonders for bloggers, but never has anybody made me feel strongly to adopt it as Josh. Thank you, guy.

He claims nothing has helped him to grow his website the same way as a top list, “because over a couple of days you can have 10,000 new visitors and 500 new fans.”

Which blogger wouldn’t want that?

Especially for the fact that the people/products/websites featured in the top lists may share your post with their followers. And that could be traffic and even new readers, and why not, customers for you.

And the more people that take interest in your blog posts and shares them, the more Google sees your site as credible and starts to rank it higher.

Be content and proud to be you

A proverb goes something like, “When you’re envying people ahead of you, know that there’re others behind you.”

I can cite another one which says that, “When those ahead of you are pointing derisively at you, know that only one or two of their fingers are pointing at you while three are towards them.”

The problem is that we are in the habit of comparing ourselves and our works to others.

My site doesn’t come anywhere close toDarren Rowse’s problogger. MySEO knowledge is nowhere as good asNeil Patel’s. If only I could have as manyback links asBrian Dean has done forbacklinko, how can I have as muchtraffic and many followers asJon Morrow?

Another African proverb says that, “All the fingers are not equal.” Meaning that they’re not all of the same length, but each of them is important to help the hand operate effectively.

It’s natural to look at all the amazing things other people are doing and feel frustrated. Know that they were once in your position and that hard work (and luck too!) brought them where they are now.

No two people, even twins, have the same experience, perspective, or style. And, that gives us unique viewpoints which differentiates what you have to offer from others.

If we all have to give the world the same thing, life will be boring indeed. For variety is the spice of life.

Harsh criticism will come your way

There will be comments on your posts, reviews, videos and links. While most of them will be positive, some will be downright mean.

In fact, some people will get so mean that you will regret having gone into blogging and wish you could curl up somewhere like a millipede and cry your eyes out.

Except on external sites like Reddit or Quora, people don’t see these offensive remarks on your website since you have to approve every comment before it goes live.

It takes time to get used to this, but learn not to take it personally. It’s isn’t really about you. It’s about the problems and humdrum lives of those visitors. People really like to find scapegoats to feel better about themselves.

You have to learn to develop a thick skin because nothing is going to stop this. In fact, it is only going to get worse the more you blog.

So, just ignore the haters and move on. And take consolation in these wise words of Matt here, “for every troll, there are a thousand people who value what you do.”

Failure may haunt you

Four years after starting this blog, I realized to my dismay that although I had (unknown to my wife) burned about 75% of my life’s savings on it, there wasn’t much to show for it.

I had put money into paid traffic, some of which turned out to be outright scam, and the others just bot traffic. I ran email subscriptions but the few people who joined unsubscribed. I put out 75 eBooks free but they didn’t bring me any sales from the affiliate links in them. I had my site redesigned that made my traffic plummet. My videos seemed to have been buried in the inner recesses of YouTube where no one ventured.

My blogging journey was littered with a succession of failures.

But out of these came useful lessons that I used to improve my website and posts.

I have not failed. I‘ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thank you Thomas Edison.

Remain positive at all times

By now you know that a person engaged in blogging faces a lot of challenges. This can easily make you doubt yourself and your choice. Therefore a good dose of positivity is necessary.

Now, how do you remain positive when you’re so overwhelmed with lack of results?

VISUALIZATION and AFFIRMATION may help.

Visualization is forming and holding images of a successful you in your mind. Affirmation is “programming” the sub-conscious mind in that direction with positive “self-talk” or motivational posters.

This works because your subconscious mind accepts repeated affirmations as a “command” which it tries to fulfil.

This is a powerful reinforcement tool to the work you’re doing.

As Stephanie says in this post, “Every situation has a silver lining, you just have to look for it.”

You need timing and luck

Timing and luck will let you suddenly find yourself up or down. In other words, being at the right place at the right time can greatly condition your success.

Anytime I look back at failures in my life, I find that at crucial moments, I made the wrong decisions. And I blame hypothetical witches for that.

This sentiment was reinforced when a spiritualist said in a TV program that witches and wizards know your life right into the future. So, at a time, if turning right will make you meet your luck, they will program you long before that to turn left.

How I wish my life was like Matt’s!

He said, “I got lucky by starting when there wasn’t a lot of competition. I got lucky by having good teachers, seeing that Tweet that got me a New York Times interview, and that Facebook ad that got me an invite to a conference attended by the best business minds in the world. I got lucky when someone found my website and featured me on CNN, sending a ton of traffic and more interview requests. A lot of success is just being in the right place at the right time.”

I learned that success does not forcibly depend on what you do well but rather a combination of skill and luck.

The monetization of your blog will change constantly

The way people make money blogging has evolved constantly.

The first way was with Google’s ad network, AdSense. It added a few ads that looked like normal links and people clicked away, making you some money.

Next came banner ads, those boxes of images and text that people were invited to click in the sidebar for more information. Like ads, banner blindness nowadays hardly make people click on banner ads.

Then it was time for selling text links to companies trying to game SEO.

Sponsored posts followed and did the same thing as text links but were thought to be harder for Google to detect.

While bloggers thought each would last forever, they turned out to be fads.

What’s the new kid on the block now?

“Influencer” marketing, where a person with a large social media following gets paid to promote a blog or products.

People are raving about it too, but if the past is anything to go by, it will pass too.

So if you’re making money with your blog relying only on the current most popular thing, you are living on borrowed time. When the time comes (as it inexorably will), you’ll be left groping for the next big thing to make money.

This is true for every other thing you’re doing to make money blogging.

For example, people used to sell eBooks for something like $50. Then came Amazon Kindle books at $1.99. Then the eBooks market collapsed.

This page alternated between the first and second places of Google page one for a long time and used to get me a lot of AWeber affiliate income.

But then it dropped from page one and my income disappeared. Well, not entirely, because it was a recurring income.

The lesson?

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Nothing fails like success

I found this interesting title from this blog post on JeffBullas.

The writer Yousuf Rafi said when he first started blogging, the successful blogs at that time got so complacent with success that within three years all of them disappeared.

He blamed complacency for it.

So I would rather make the title “Nothing fails like success coupled with complacency.”

“One lesson I’ve learnt in five years of blogging is that you need to be wary of success, which can inject myopia into you by making you arrogant,” Yousuf said, and added: “… one mistake many bloggers seem to make after becoming successful is to stop doing all of the things that made them successful in the first place.”

Engage in life-long learning

Matt developed the above idea through another angle in this blog article.

What he said corroborates what I once read in an article citing the differences between successful people and the poor.

One of them is that rich people engage in lifelong learning, which is one of the five essential foundations of success in life. Successful people undertaking “lifelong learning” means that they continually read and improve in their own career areas.

Matt says no matter how good you are at something, be humble enough to recognize that there are people better at it than you. That way, you can learn from them and try harder.

Let me quote Matt extensively because what he says is very important:

Only fools think they are wise. People who don’t learn or find mentors are the ones that fade away. Most of the bloggers I know who stagnated or failed were also the ones that never read books, never found mentors, or never attended conferences. They never improved themselves. My success is in part because I always sought out new knowledge, books, and especially teachers. I wouldn’t be here without my mentors.

If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing.

What blogging lesson can be better than that?

Honesty is the best policy

Those were the words a wealthy man in my youth had on his numerous long trucks. Ironically he was said to have become rich by claiming all the money his corrupt politician relative had amassed in his name to avoid public scrutiny.

In this blog post, I gave one of the 22 reasons why people read blogs as:

5. To have an alternative to traditional media
Blogs are not like the multi-billion dollar traditional or mainstream media which, as the mouthpieces of the political divide, have entrenched stands on socio-political and economic issues which estrange some readers.
But one cannot do without information. Blogs represent a sort of citizen media. So people disenchanted with the old media resort to blogs to fill that gap as they see them as more credible sources of information.

That’s why honesty should be one of the most important traits of a blogger.

Let’s take product reviews for instance. Buyers give them more credence than advertising from companies. So, to build trust, which is important for selling online, the reviewer must be as honest as possible.

Concerning putting your views out there, the blogger must do it without fear or favor. Of course, they will face some backlash for their honesty, but that is the price to pay for what you believe in.

Don’t blog to please the feelings of others or to satisfy popular point of view but for what you believe strongly in.

SEO is not nuclear science

SEO is something that strikes fear in the minds of a lot of bloggers. But it shouldn’t.

On-page and off-page optimization lets you optimize your posts and website for the search engine bots to find you.

Remember, billions of people go on Google each day to search for answers to their questions. SEO is what will make your blog be the one they suggest on the search results page as having the answer to their question.

That’s traffic à gogo for you. FREE!

Learn SEO from guys like Neil Patel. It will pay huge dividends over and over again.

Related post: Highly effective SEO tips for bloggers

Keywords are really key

When you need answers to some questions, what do you do?

You go online and type your search phrase into the Google window.

What you’re doing is telling Google, I’m looking for this, help me find it.

Google then goes into its database and looks for websites and webpages which it thinks best satisfy your demand and serves them to you.

That being the case, how can you benefit from this boon?

By using keywords on your website and webpages.

When I was creating this blog, it took me a long time to find a name for it. My regret was not having looked for a keyword linked to my niche as a name for my blog. And further, for not having used related keywords as my blog categories.

What these do is enable your website to show up easily in common searches related to your niche.

Imagine the website above of my friend Bill Burniece. Type “High Paying Affiliate Programs” into the search window and you will see it come up with a flood of similar keywords. Also, with a name like that, people immediately know what the sites is about.

Fortunately I have learned to use keywords in all of my post titles, sprinkled sparingly throughout them and tags also.

Many bloggers neglect using tags on their posts, not knowing that quite often they actually show up in Google, rather than the posts themselves.

Using the right keywords, especially when it comes to attracting people to your blog and posts, is absolutely essential.

This is an essential lesson for my next blogging projects.

Related post: Summary of all about keywords – Part X: Getting real creative with keywords

Backlinks have your back

Throughout this article and others that I write, I link to other posts on my blog (called internal linking) and to articles on other websites (known asexternal linking).

Internal linking makes the reader spend more time on your site, increases pages per visit and finally the number of ads and links they click on. It also shows Google you trust your site so as to point readers to other posts on it. Thus, weaker articles may get some link juice.

External linking lets your readers have another opinion of your article. Neil Patel says he doesn’t do it because he wants readers to stay on his site instead of sending them somewhere else.

Whatever your case, add links where and when you deem them to be the necessary, instead of just flooding your pages with them.

Google takes time

 

When you create your blog, it takes about 3 months to 9 for Google to index it so that it shows in search engine result pages.

And, when you post an article to your blog, Google first indexes it. You can speed up the process to a few days or even hours by submitting the URL of your post in your Google Search Console (GSC) account.

Google next ranks it so that it can feature in the search engine results pages.

No matter how much you are itching for traffic from Google, there’s actually not a lot that you can do to obtain it.

But the number and the quality of your posts and your following for the site can help.

Google Analytics can be the most valuable tool for your blog

I knew there was a way of tracking visitors on my blog, but ignored that this could be done using Google Analytics (GA), and above all, for free.

I don’t quite know which article convinced me it was important to install it for my blog.

Since doing so, I now can find many things about my website, such as a new referrer, an increase in earnings, visitor locations, or spike in traffic. Others are number of users, sessions, bounce rate, session duration, how you acquire your users (traffic channel, source/medium, referrals), how your users are trending over time, how well you retain them, when your visitors visit your site, which countries they come from, your top devices (desktop, mobile, tablet), and finally the pages of your site your users visit .

One can even set up alert for statistics such as Facebook, so that you check out your traffic, and even find out where they’ve come from.

GA has been a boon for my blog to grow.

Join forums to increase your audience base

Anytime people write about ways to increase traffic to your website, they advise joining internet forums in your niche.

Proof?

“It wasn’t until I started to view the top referrers for my Google AdSense,” Josh Dunlop says in this blog post, “that I realized the website that was linking to me from their homepage was providing me with the most amount of money. I immediately emailed them thanking them for the link, and I joined the forum.”

Don’t just join a forum to flood people with your links. This will never end well and you may be branded as spam.

When you contribute in a forum without links, you gain credibility. You’d find more fans, people who’ll even share your links. This can get a few hundred people clicking on it to make it a popular post.

Josh’s advice?

“Find a small forum that’s still growing and join it.”

Quora will help you in diverse ways

It’s not by chance that I’ve put this almost last. This is a very recent discovery. Recent but not in the sense that I just found it.

I had created an account on the site years before but like many interesting things, put it aside for later and forgot all about it.

It was when another piece roused my interest in it that I went there to create an account only to find the obvious.

I learned how to optimize my account and how to answer questions and since then, I have been doing my best to use the site often.

Initially I did so well that I became one of the most read writers in affiliate marketing, and everyday people will ask me questions to answer.

I learned that Quora is an excellent site to find blogging topics that resonate with your readers.

You can also use Quora to build your website traffic.

It’s not the number of visitors which counts, but the quality

We’re all looking for more visitors to our websites. It’s a legitimate wish. But we should rather be concerned by the quality of our visitors.

Visitors which count are returning ones. Others are readers who visit more than one page and those who stay for longer than 30 seconds.

These are the people who can become fans and customers.

Learn how to track your conversions here.

Blogging is a business, treat it as such

Just as you need meat to catch fish, you also need money to make money.

Even if you’re blogging for pleasure, and, if you’re doing it well, a time comes when it no longer feels like just a hobby.

Then you must invest in yourself and in your business to grow it.

That may mean signing up for a course that will broaden your blogging skills.

You may have to stop using free themes (or buying cheap ones) and using cheapest designers. Instead, you must purchase a paid theme (or hire a great web designer), upgrade to a better hosting service, or even get a new laptop and excellent video equipment.

I was lucky to have hosting and tech support included in my Wealthy Affiliate premium membership. For financial reasons, I didn’t think of hiring a virtual assistant, and so worked myself to death.

Your blog may have the most valuable information for readers. But if they don’t know it exists, it isn’t helping anybody. Promoting your work to others is the key.

Although free promotion is good and works, paid advertising is better.

The social media platforms are also out to make money and therefore find ways to limit the reach of your free promotional materials. At the same time, they devise ways for you to promote your articles with paid advertising and grow your business.

Paid advertising gives you two advantages over the free. First, you know the amount of traffic you are getting. And, it is also targeted traffic, meaning, you get only visitors who may be interested in your business.

“… the day you decide to make this a business, put more money into it,” Matt says in this blog post. “Buy a nicer theme, get a better hosting platform, get a better email service, hire someone to help. This will help you grow quicker. And the quicker you’ll grow, the sooner you’ll start making up the costs of your investments.”

A wise lesson every new blogger should keep in mind.

Outsource non-core tasks 

Blogging is hard. You carry out several tasks yourself, such as doing research, taking care of SEO, writing content, posting them, sharing to social networks, answering comments, tweaking your site, creating video, etc.

You can easily get overwhelmed.

Looking for someone to whom you can outsource stuffs, will save you time, and enable you to focus on what’s really important.

The only person who can write the best content on your website is you. So that’s what you should probably be focusing on. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire writers to handle content for you.

Many bloggers who are excellent content writers also have other writers who produce content for them that’s just as good as theirs.

That leaves them time to work on bigger stuff, such as creating new products and entering into new business ventures.

When you outsource tasks, you can devote your time to your business of making money.

Above everything else… HAVE FUN

Blogging is a business. But if you handle it too much as a business, it can become overwhelming. Treat it as some kind of serious hobby and the personal enjoyment that comes along will make it easy to manage.

Good luck!

Wrapping it all up

Wow! A lot of lessons learned blogging.

Seventy-one (71) in total!

If you had taken notice, you would have observed that as I progressed from one stage to the other of my blogging career, I learned more lessons.

Thus, I leaned 12 lessons at the beginning, 16 at the intermediate stage, and a whopping 43 at a later time.

That is normal, as the challenges increased the more I approached proficiency.

Will there be more lessons to learn going forward?

Certainly! Otherwise, I would have stopped growing as a blogger.

Could I have learned these lessons if I hadn’t come to blogging?

I don’t think so.

It was blogging that forced me to explore, research, and develop these valuable skills. And for that, I am very grateful.

I hope the blogging lessons I have detailed above will give you a more meaningful blogging experience, and hopefully, quick success.

Your turn now

I would love to know what your views are about my blogging experiences. Please feel free to leave your feelings in the comments section below. Thank you.

You may want to read:

32 Things I wished I knew when I started blogging

26 major influencers in blogging and internet marketing

How to market your blog – 7 effective content promotion tactics you should try

This is how to succeed online

Whose perspectives will bring you success

Benefitsguestblogging for host blog

Do men have an advantage over women in blogging?

Inspirational quotes for children and parents

Akoli

Your personal guide to securing your future online

4 thoughts on “71 lessons I learned while blogging”

  1. What a brilliant and practical post.

    You have been very open and clear about your journey and how you progressed.

    I think we all want to succeed overnight, but it’s important to realise that we can’t.  It’s practically impossible in any job.  The flexibility is great but you will probably put in more work to get up and running, than in a 9 to 5 job.

    Content definitely is king and thankful practice makes perfect.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thanks for your appreciation of my post.

      Yes, I poured my heart out in this journey and how I progressed.

      No, expecting overnight sucess isn’t realistic.  Yes, working online can be harder than a 9 to 5 job.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  2. Hi Akoli, Just got about half way through your blog post “71 Lessons I learned while blogging”. I found it interesting and informative. However, I did think that describing each of the 71 lessons made the blog too long and I gave up. I would have divided it into three separate blog posts – for the novice, the up-coming and the confident. That is only my personal choice, of course. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed your writing style.

    Reply
    • Hi Jenni,

      Thanks for finding my post interesting and informative. It’s a pity you couldn’t finish it. My post is divided up into 3 sections, and each section has sub-sections for people to choose and read what interests them and not forcibly the whole piece. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

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