This week it’s been sunny in the UK, and I had no idea what to do with myself when that big orange ball in the sky finally surfaced from behind the clouds.
The sun hasn’t shone here since the summer of 1872, so I had to make full use of such a miraculous occasion. Blogging tips were the least of my concerns at this point – believe me.
I quickly put on my shorts and off I went, venturing bravely into the outside world without a single fear of what the local youths might shout at me from across the street.
Me and my pasty white legs set off on a short walk around the woodland area by my home.
I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try something different for this week’s post – I got out my phone and started to draft up ideas as I went.
It seemed a fantastic idea…for all of two minutes.
Needless to say, things didn’t go well.
It turns out I’m not great with the whole ‘walking on my phone’ thing, so whilst stumbling about I managed to get about 25 words written at most – the majority of which had been autocorrected to things completely different to what I was actually trying to say – and I stopped the ducking post there and then.
I continued on my walk, even though the sole purpose of it was to try and get some work done in different surroundings for once.
I must have only been a mile or so into my walk, when what do you know? The sun went in.
I’d been sweltering in the office all day, eagerly waiting to get out and enjoy some rays, and now this. Just my luck.
Worse still, combining looking at my phone whilst walking with my abysmal sense of direction meant that I had managed to get lost.
In the cold.
In my shorts.
In the woods.
It took about thirty seconds of trying to figure my way home before I got really pissed off.
Whenever I’m in a foul mood, my imagination tends to wander towards all of the other things that piss me off in life – the main one being money:
“WHY AM I NOT A GAZILLIONAIRE YET?” I usually end up asking myself in a bitter rage.
It always comes back to the same point – I haven’t worked hard enough for it. Yet.
Before I exited from my absolute shocker of a mood, I carried out my usual ritual of berating myself over and over in my mind, about why my blog wasn’t enough of a success yet. I have high standards – I can recommend them.
I thought of a whole range of things that I’d done wrong in the past, things that I perhaps hadn’t realised until recently, things that you are still doing wrong today.
Eventually, with the help of my phone’s Sat Nav, I figured my way home and began angrily venting my frustration into this post.
I warn you, there’s no beating around the bush in this post; I’m taking no prisoners.
Without further ado, I bring you:
The Blogging Tips You Really Need To Get Your
Thick Head Around
1) Emailing Is More Important Than Blogging
That’s right, if your blog isn’t established yet – I’m talking hundreds of thousands of readers here – then email isn’t just slightly more important than blog writing…it’s miles ahead.
“Uh, what the hell are you talking about you dirty lying toad?” Woah, I’m telling the truth!
If you’re just starting out then you aren’t going to be getting eyeballs on your content.
Sure, you could share it out on your Facebook and let your friends have a read, but getting all your friends to read it isn’t enough – not unless you’ve got 50,000 of them.
Simply posting it on Reddit and a range of other websites and forums isn’t going to cut it either, even if you do get a decent amount of views from doing so.
I’m not saying don’t do that, but just don’t only do that. Those types of plans are extremely short-term:
You post, you get views, the post goes away…and so do your views.
Always do more.
If you started a blog and wrote an absolute monster of an evergreen post – that’s a post that’s suitable all year round – then you potentially have a post you can promote time and time again; this could become a steady earner without even needing to write anything else if it picked up enough traction.
All you have to do to get eyes on your content is to email people and
NEVER STOP EMAILING THEM persevere for as long as possible.
You’ll get a lot of rejections, but the few that accept make it more than worth it; you’ll start to see growth like never before.
Once you see a few successes from emailing, don’t rest on your laurels.
The more you do it, the more you will grow. It’s as simple as that.
I’m going to let you into a little secret here:
Emailing 50 people isn’t impressive.
Emailing 200 people? You’re getting there.
Emailing 500 people? That’s impressive. If you do that for every post. Seriously.
Posting frequently is overrated (more on that later in this post at #7), you will reap MUCH bigger rewards by posting less frequently and promoting it a hell of a lot more.
I challenge you:
For your next post, spend a whole week churning out emails to people that you hope might share your content.
I can guarantee that if you put the effort in, you will see rewards like never before.
2) Industry Leaders WILL Share YOUR Content
Leading on nicely from the last point, did you know that the biggest people in your industry will gladly share your blog post?
Better still, your post doesn’t have to be the finest use of the English language since Shakespeare popped his clogs in order to get them to share it.
That’s right – if you produce a post that is great (that is great, not good, satisfactory or the same standard as any other Tom, Dick or Harry could produce) then both influencers and journalists, along with their readers, will be happy to share and link back to your content.
Back at the end of November 2014 when I launched this site, I wrote my first article about Hipster SEO. It was a joke post, and I couldn’t really find a suitable home for it, so I just built a site on this domain that I already owned.
How things have changed since then!
I had absolutely nothing else on this site other than a substandard ‘About’ page and a simple contact form.
However, I tried my hand at emailing some influencers and would you believe it – they were happy to share:
Unfortunately I had to amend the images in that post after realising I would have been violating some Copyright laws (everyone has to learn these things at some point) so the feature image is broken on the screenshot above.
Dennis Seymour of Leapfroggr was happy to share my post on his Google Plus page, this is despite the fact he’d just had a baby (I suspect it was his partner but I’ve never questioned him about it) and he was receiving a cold email out of the blue from a complete nobody.
Chances are, you’re a nobody just like me. For now.
It doesn’t take long to get your name out there and have your work distributed throughout the internet.
That post ended up being shared hundreds of times and has a few backlinks too – not too shabby for the sole post on a brand new site.
It just goes to show that combining a good enough post with putting the effort in to email people can really pay off.
This same strategy has had giants in the SEO industry sharing my most popular post about Comment Collection, my unique technique for increasing engagement.
You can repeat (and exceed) my successes simply by putting the effort in to create and contact.
Note: I use BuzzStream to complete all of my email outreach because it saves me hours every single time I wish to contact people.
If your post is good enough, and your ability to email consistently is good enough, there’s nothing stopping you from having your content land on some of the biggest sites in the world.
I’m not fucking around here, this is 100% real talk.
Journalists don’t write stories, they’re just on the lookout for the best stories to repurpose for their respective sites.
If you put the effort in, you could be tomorrow’s big story.
3) SEO Is Dead (But Only to Those That Can’t Do It)
If anyone ever tells you that SEO is dead, or dying, then it’s simply because they’re crap at it. Harsh, but true.
If SEO wasn’t worth doing, then companies wouldn’t be investing more money in it now than ever before all around the world.
It’s the reason that SEO experts like Brian Dean have thousands of readers eagerly anticipating (and replicating) their every move.
The reason many struggle with it is because it can seem a daunting task at first, and you’re unlikely to see instant results unless you’re correcting a royally messed up technical error.
It might be confusing to a beginner, but it’s really not that hard; here’s an on-page SEO cheat sheet courtesy of yours truly if you need it.
The truth is, SEO scares a lot of people, but it really shouldn’t.
All you need to know is it has the greatest ROI of any marketing method by an absolute mile, as long as you give it the time to succeed.
In fact, take a look at my friend’s small family business that just so happens to have a website:
If you can’t make out the numbers, that’s £1138.63 generated in the last two days alone (and I’m only writing this at 6pm!).
Not bad for a bit of extra money on the side of their offline work.
Do you know how much they spend on advertising? Absolutely nothing.
With a bit of search engine wizardry I magicked them to the top of the results after they started out just a few years back.
Well over a million pounds in revenue later, I’m still hearing people say SEO isn’t important?
Search engine traffic drives over 45% of their total page views, and over 60% of their total sales.
SEO is only unimportant to the ones that can’t be bothered to put the effort in to learn it or apply it.
Do you want to become the best, or are you happy being that aforementioned nobody?
4) Forging Friendships Is Essential (And Easy!)
Developing connections within whatever industry you’re blogging in is really important.
Some people refer to this as networking, but I really hate that term. To me, “networking” seems to remove any genuine feeling out of building real relationships.
Not only is building relationships crucial to the future success of your blog, but it’s easy to do – and fun too.
It’s not as if you have to make the awkward walk up to someone to chat to them in a bar.
You have so many opportunities to make friends and good contacts; when you’re outreaching to people be friendly and courteous if they decline and be generous (but not a brown nose) in thanking them if they agree to share your content; when you visit other blogs be sure to leave a comment and let the author know what you think; respond to comments you receive on your blog; respond to, retweet and favourite people on Twitter – the list goes on.
Being friendly with people can get you a long way, and it doesn’t just have to be with industry experts – put it this way, you’re unlikely to become their BFFL any time soon.
Forming friendly relationships with those in a similar position to you can have even more benefits than just social amplification, it can be used to further your own knowledge and experience.
For example, I’m regularly pestering Dre at The Branded Solopreneur for design tips, and she comes to me for advice about Google.
Dre is an absolute master at making friends.
She’s great at design, but she’s even better at entertaining readers and influencers alike.
By doing this, she’s rocketed to insane social popularity and this helps drive thousands of visits to her site every single week, all within just a few months of launching.
5) You Should Probably View Your Friends As Competitors
As you make new contacts, new connections, new friends, it will quickly become apparent that the majority of you are writing about similar topics.
Of course, you will each have your own focus, but if you’re operating within the same niche then you’re effectively competing against each other – it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and you want to be the first dog in that old saying.
Naturally, you aren’t fighting against your friends with every muscle in your body, but if you don’t go out there and achieve the greatest results then you aren’t going to end up earning the most amount of money possible (and they will be).
If you use your friends as competition, you’re going to become more motivated than ever.
Skirting around the fact is the typical thing to do in situations like this, but I don’t like to bullshit.
I’m happy to admit that I want to achieve greater results than those I admire. They’re only thinking the same thing themselves anyway.
I’m delighted when I see a friend do well, but that doesn’t mean jealousy doesn’t flow through my body like an electrical current when I see them scaling new heights.
I find jealousy is actually really good when situations like that arise.
Be genuinely happy for those achieving results and question yourself:
“Why haven’t I achieved that yet?”
If you don’t have that competitive streak in you, how are you ever going to reach the top?
6) People Will Subscribe To Your Newsletter If You Give Them Chance
Don’t like pop-ups on a website? Neither do I.
However, the truth is that they work.
They work well.
Give people as many opportunities to opt-in as you can physically stand on your site. Then add five more.
If you aren’t giving readers an easy enough opportunity to opt-in, they aren’t going to go looking for it.
Similarly, if you ask them too many questions, they aren’t going to fill the form out.
Give one field: email address.
If you insist on getting a name as well then go for it, but with every extra field you add, the lower your conversion rate will be.
The difference between 1 field and 3 is seriously significant when it comes to how many subscribers you can generate.
7) Quality Is WAY More Important Than Quantity
As I mentioned briefly in point #1…
If you’re struggling to grow your site and you think that what you really need to be doing is writing a new post every day so that you attract more people, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Anyone can write a post in a day – do you want to be known as just another somebody?
No, you want to be the somebody.
If you have the time to create content each day, you should do so to make sure each post you do is absolutely awesome.
1,000 words is an absolute minimum, but you should always be looking for more than that – put it this way, THIS is the 2,433rd word in this post; it shouldn’t be hard for you to do the same if my tiny brain is capable of doing it.
It’s not just words you need, but quality.
You don’t want to be another cheap and nasty wine on the shelf, you want to be the finest a person has ever tasted, or at least the most unique.
Keep people interested, keep people engaged and keep people coming back.
If you are truly committed to growing your site and becoming well known, you’ll realise that you have to impress every single reader.
Come on, you’re not stupid:
A quickly churned out article isn’t going to impress anyone. If you didn’t know this – you do now. There’s thousands of people already doing that.
Put maximum effort into every single post you write and that way you’ll guarantee maximum results.
Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you’re cold and lost in the woods wondering “what if…?”
8) Making A Blog Is EASY
Starting up a blog is easy. That’s not impressing anyone.
Making a blog successful is a whole different ball game.
If you’re not a master coder and you aren’t competent creating your own website from scratch, do what the rest of us are doing and install WordPress.
Over 25% of the entire internet is powered by WordPress these days. That’s pretty fucking impressive considering it’s only been around since 2003.
If you ever need something, chances are, someone else will have needed them too. And they will have created a plugin for it.
Within just the click of a few ‘install plugin’ buttons, this site was running at full force.
I’m not a genius – far from it – and neither are most of the other bloggers out there running sites. Instead of brains, the majority of us are heavily reliant on two things:
– Plugins, to make everything work that we’re too dumb to know how to do ourselves
– Effort, to ensure we’re always learning and always growing
There isn’t some magical formula to making a fully functional website or blog.
If someone makes out this can be tough or hard to do, they’re spinning you a web of lies.
Literally anyone can do this.
9) Literally Anyone Can Do This (And Will)
Oh look, that lead me onto another point.
Let me just say it again: ANYONE can do this. You don’t have to be Albert frickin’ Einstein.
If you’re reading this and wanting to make a blog that will become a success, there’s a good chance that there are other people reading it and thinking exactly the same thing.
What’s the difference between you and these people? Nothing, other than how much time you’ll commit to working hard.
I just told you how easy it is to make a fully functional blog – just use WordPress and plugins.
It’s also easy to learn anything that’s needed to be learned in order to grow; hundreds of posts are published online about this every single day.
It’s not just easy for you, but it’s easy for everyone.
The only thing that will make their blog a greater success than yours is that they will put more effort into their content, more effort into their emails and more effort into their SEO…or are you going to prove me wrong?
I’m still trying to prove myself wrong, but if you measure your success against your friends or people you admire like I advised earlier, you’ll be able to see where you’re doing well and where you’re not.
At first, you might get 50 shares on your latest post, whereas they get 500.
Over time, if you put the effort in, you’ll close that gap.
Of course, they’re likely to grow as well, but why don’t you race them to the 1,000 share mark?
10) The Only Barrier You Have To Success Is YOU
There aren’t any barriers to entry in this online world, other than access to the internet.
You don’t need a vast amount of money to buy a location and stock.
You don’t need a lifetime of experience either – anything you need can be learned or Googled with the touch of a button (or a few buttons, at least).
All you need is yourself and the dedication to put the work in. It doesn’t even have to be a full-time thing.
How many bloggers are out there that work a normal 9-5 job, whilst still having a personal and family life?
The vast majority of them, no doubt.
You can’t always make time to work, but every time you think “maybe tomorrow…” is another day where your competitor is thinking “lets nail this today“.
If they keep doing that, you’ll never catch up.
Likewise, if you decide to nail it today, you’ll overtake your competition and leave them eating your dust.
You don’t want to be the one eating theirs.
Their dust tastes like failure, and failure isn’t a part of a stable, balanced diet.
11) Reading This Is Only The Start
Do you have any idea how many times I’ve read a post and thought “I’m going to try that!…another day“.
So many times it honestly hurts.
I know deep down that if I’d have put more effort in previously, I would have being seeing even greater results today.
If I hadn’t put things off through sheer laziness (because that’s all it is most of the time) I would have more visitors, more subscribers and ultimately a bigger bank balance right now.
I bet you’ve done the same in the past.
Throughout reading this post, or any of the posts on Intergeek or other blogs, have any points ever made you think “I’m SO going to do that!”?
If they have, go and try them. Like, today.
You’re lazy, and so are the majority of your competitors.
However, you can’t stop them from sitting around and missing opportunities – but you can make sure you’re the one to take any opportunity thrown your way.
Your work is never done. There is always more to do.
Think you’re finished?
Go and send another email.
Your Thoughts, Please
Phew, things got a little heated back there.
I didn’t mean to lay the smackdown on your poor defenceless souls (and eyes), but if you’re in this for success then I’m sure as hell gonna make sure you’re ready for it.
I wasn’t, but I think I am now.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments:
What could you be doing to make your site a bigger success?
Is there anything you regret not doing in the past on your site?