You might have read my short bio and wondered what the hell am I doing blogging? Why did I start blogging? You may also be wondering what I’ve learnt from blogging so far? If you’ve had these 2 questions, great. Continue reading and I’ll share with you what got me into this and the key things I’ve learnt so far. After reading this article, you may want to take a shot at blogging yourself or sign up to follow my ongoing insights and advice. If so, continue reading as well.
You might think that as a public company C-Suite executive, I’m making enough money not to have to have a side hustle. You’re right, I’m not looking to make money blogging. In fact, I reached a multiple seven figure net wealth a few years ago and actually became financially independent for a short time. The reason I didn’t remain financially independent wasn’t because of poor investments but rather I leveraged myself again to buy a beach house and invest in some further rental properties in Europe. Given the extra outgoings related to those two investments, I’ve calculated that I need another 3 years to reach financial independence again.
So, if it isn’t about the money, what is it about?
I’m a teacher at heart. I’m passionate about taking complex ideas and turning them into simple concepts, easy for people to understand. I’ve also had a wealth of experience running the finances of a large global company and I’d love to share that knowledge to help others get up to the C-Suite, make an ace of their careers, make more money and generally have more fun in their lives.
This blog is a perfect platform for me to share my ideas and experience. It helps me unleash my inner teacher.
To be honest, I’ve also learnt quite a bit in just over 6 weeks of blogging so far. I say 6 weeks, as it has been only in the last 6 weeks that I’ve been concentrating on this blog. I started it a couple of years ago, but was very sporadic about content.
In just over a month, so far, I’ve had:
* Over 3.000 page views
* Signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to publicize my blog with over 200 twitter followers, 1.2K unique monthly visitors on Pinterest, over 120 Instagram followers and over 50 likes on my Facebook page
* Over 17 new blog posts, averaging just under 3 per week
* a lot of fun
And that was starting from scratch.
Would you like to know some of the key lessons I’ve learnt in building this blog and generating traffic?
Here are the top 5 things I’ve learnt to build a blog and start generating traffic.
1. Sign up for WordPress and get a hosting plan with your own domain name
WordPress is behind about 30% of the current internet so needless to say it has the reputation and experience to handle your blog. In addition to being able to trust WordPress, it is an open platform, which means free plug-ins are easy to come by which can help you improve the performance and feel of your blog.
I signed up for a domain name and hosting package directly with WordPress as I found it simpler to have a one stop shop experience. I started with the basic plan (which gets you the custom domain name) but then upgraded to a business package as I got more serious about the site, as it gave me access to greater storage, more themes and SEO tools to help me drive traffic to the site.
However, I think it is important to start with the basic (or Personal) plan and get used to the tools and feel so you can figure out what works best for you.
I downloaded the following plug-ins:
* Squirrly SEO
* Instagram feed
* Mail Chimp
These above plug-ins help enormously getting my posts SEO compliant, managing my user lists and monthly emails. There are tons more to choose from, but I’ve found they were the basic ones I needed to start building traffic.
2. Get on Social Media to drive traffic
Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook have been key in driving traffic. You need to look around at the various techniques to build followers as there are loads of ways to do it.
Some basic rules:
For Pinterest, you need to have at least 10 boards with 10 pins in each board. At that point you start getting interesting for the Platform.
Also, you need a business account. Don’t worry it is free. Try and have a mix of own content and sourced content. For your own content, make sure you add your website to it, to make it easy to click through to your site. Sign up to follow other people with interests close to your site. Also try get onto Group Boards.
Use tailwind to schedule your Pins. You can even import from your site or Instagram, using tailwind. Remember to add your website to the Pins afterward.
For Twitter, find influencers that tweet about things similar to your own, and follow their followers. Don’t be scared to go strong on following at the start. Not everyone will follow you back but you will get a good percentage.
Re-tweet a lot and add comments to those re-tweets. Add some good, critical comments. For someone to follow you, they need to quickly decide on whether they think your comment or tweet adds value so be concise. The average tweet lasts for about 30 seconds, so tweet often. Up to 3 times, 3 times a day to start with. There are twitter schedulers that you could use, but I can’t comment on them as I have fun interacting with people on twitter for the moment so don’t want to get mechanical about it just yet.
Use manageflitter to clean out the people you follow who don’t follow you back after about a week. Remember you’re building a base, so don’t be shy about this.
For Facebook, sign up for Groups close to the topic of your blog. If you comment and add value on those boards, traffic will filter back to your blog.
Linkedin can be a good source of traffic as well, so be sure to start a company page and reach out to people to make connections. It is not as obvious as the other sites but shouldn’t be avoided.
Driving traffic is a little like fishing, you throw your line out there, reel it in slowly and after time the fish will realize there is something interesting on your line. Be patient.
3. Write consistently
This one may be obvious, but it is hard to do. I’m assuming you have a job and you’re working on a blog as a side passion to start with. Maybe you can see yourself writing full time one day?
Successful writers write good content, so focus on the content.
Don’t make it mechanical either. It needs to be fluid and be you. Authentic writing is very powerful.
Try keep a rhythm as you write, be it an article a week, once every 2 days or whatever. If your readership base know new articles are coming out on a regular basis, they will check back in and slowly you’ll build up a faithful fan base.
At a loss for inspiration? Read twitter and click through to sites similar to your own. You’ll always find topics that you can write about from different angles.
Remember everyone is writing about the same things, so just be yourself and explain things the way you see them.
One key addition to the written content is the imagery. Most people look at images first before clicking through to the text. I use Word Swag, which gives me access to tons of copyright free images and which allows me an easy interface to modify the images and add text if I want. You can also use different pictures for different social media platforms. Here the key is to experiment to see what works best.
4. Find aggregator sites and sign up
The internet is a vast space and the world is full of an insane amount of people that have access to the internet, so chances are you’ll probably find aggregator sites that are like the online form of conventions.
With these sites, you can usually sign-up and have your blog referenced. They often have featured blogs and feeds from current articles. They can be great places to discover new content and can help drive traffic to your site as well.
5. Do your homework on how to monetize your blog and don’t rush into it
I’m not going to get into detail about Adwords, Amazon affiliates or any other affiliate network, as smarter people have written a whole lot more than I could and it is all over the internet. Also, I am not doing this for the money (just yet).
What I will say is to take it step by step. First concentrate on your content, your consistency and having fun.
Your product is your niche and your key foundation to future success.
Then make your way around the various sites that talk about monetizing your site. Don’t buy anything and start slowly. It is fun to learn as you go.
If you have products you want to sell with your blog, then I would recommend adding those to your site from Day 1. The earlier you start, the more experience you can gain, and you can always stop and adjust and then start again.
Closing words on my first 6 weeks of blogging
Blogging has been really fun so far, but it has taken a fair amount of commitment to stay regular with content and focus on driving traffic to the blog. Driving traffic has been, by far, more time consuming than actually writing the content, but it is also very rewarding when you get great comments and see your readership grow.
Blogging can be a lonely undertaking, like all writing professions. If you don’t try, you don’t know what will become of it. Don’t be worried if traffic isn’t there to start with. Keep going and you’ll see that eventually you’ll find like minded souls that will love reading your blog.
The world is huge and we all have our place in it.