Technically I haven’t been blogging for long on this blog. Probably around 9 months on and off. Though I had strategized the articles to look like I started blogging in January. Terrible mistake. But that’s the thing, I am sharing lessons learnt from one year of blogging.
So for you my beloved reader, do not have to go through the same pitfalls I did. Unless, you choose to.
I started blogging a really long time ago.
For fun. Never to make it as a source of income. So when I started this project (even the name isn’t right for it), I never had a clear map of where I wanted to go.
Do I have a clear map now? No
Do I have a concise strategy of what I would like to achieve? Yes
And a big YES to that.
I started Startups Kenya (that reminds me I should change the about page before the year clocks out) to teach my sister a simple, yet not so simple idea.
That success is not achieved overnight as the media may purport it to be.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”2eYLm” via=”yes” ]Success is not an accident. Success is a choice. ~ Alan Stein @StartupsKE[/ctt]
Michael Phelps did not wake up one morning and become the best swimmer world wide.
Casey Neistat journey did not start on his YouTube channel.
Christiano Ronaldo’s career started way before he was 12 years old.
That is still the same message I would like to share with her but through a different way. A way I discovered from painful lessons. Well, not so painful but not appeasing either.
All these lessons can be summed up by Ernest Hemingway in the book “Death in the Afternoon” (non-fiction book). To paraphrase:
The problem with most beginner writers, is you start with confident and zeal about a certain subject or topic. Only to do extensive research and realize (what most experts know) that you barely know anything about the topic or subject. The good news about all this, is that it sounds like you’ve tried to start things a few times, and that makes you a better beginner. You might be able to offer a lot of insight to people starting out, and as you get to the middle and end parts of your journey you’ll be steps ahead of your audience enough to share your wisdom.
All that to say, by merely starting you are ahead of everyone who plans to start one day.
I feel I just overcame the first dip most bloggers experience (and I have experienced before) and this time, I chose to push through it.
Lessons learnt from one year of blogging
These are the main lessons I took from 2016 and approximately one year of blogging.
Stop writing articles no one reads
When starting… For anyone actually. You are excited. And you should be. It is a new project. New plans. New grounds to conquer. And the mighty dream in your head on how big this can go.
But when it comes to a blog (that’s what we are focusing on right?), The most important bit, is not curating one article to another. But getting eyes to that piece of content.
Getting people to know you. Who you are. What you are about. And you can only do that by interacting with as many people as you possibly can. Also reading the right books. Books on advertising and marketing.
After all, what you are currently doing is selling ideas to your audience.
Have a strategy
I could repeat this until I get all sore on the inside and my brain is splattered all over the walls.
Nothing much comes out of no strategy. Yeah, you may get a few swing wins here and there. But it does not compare to the number of wins you may get when you have a strategy.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”e8w_5″ via=”yes” ]If you FAIL to PLAN, you PLAN to FAIL. @StartupsKE[/ctt]
Have goals of what you would like to achieve by a certain period of time. Then reverse engineer your goals into smaller consumable bites you can measure and analyze.
Create a silo architecture
What is SEO Silo Theming? Silo Theming: “A website architecture based on a linking structure that segregates various themes into different ‘silos‘ so that people and search engines can easily identify the main topics of a website.
Look at it this way. Your blog is your home. There are some rooms you would like everyone to see like the living room and other rooms you would only invite your inner circle,like your bedroom.
Using a Silo architecture you get to dictate which rooms are seen first.
And create a symbiotic flow on how you introduce each content.
Your biggest shouters and broadcasters about how awesome you are will be your core audience.
You need to find a way to stay in touch with them. Know what they want. What language do they respond to? And the best way to do this is by collecting their emails.
This way you can be in touch whenever you need help broadcasting something you can ask them.
So as much as you gathering traffic to your site, analyze your conversion rates.
How many people are subscribing to you? What type of incentives are they responding to?
This video is what gets me going during the tough times.
And trust me, they are coming.
You want to get to 100,000 traffic per month on your site? You have got to be consistent.
You want to have a raging fire bull of a fan. You have got to be consistent.
You want to generate $$$ from your site? The answer still lies in consistency.
You have got to do it over and over again to generate momentum. Momentum is what will create a compounded effect. That over time, you will look back and smile.
As much as you want traffic, you want the right kind of traffic. There is no use of generating traffic that does not convert.
How do you know you need to work on the quality of your traffic?
When you are generating quality content but no one is signing up to your incentives.
You have quality content and bounce rate is shooting through the roof (high 80s) and people are spending less than a minute on your site.
No need to have traffic for the sake of traffic.
You need to get paid.
Your blog is a business.
So how can you capitalize on it? What exactly can you sell? Is it better for you to be an affiliate marketer to other people or create your own products?
Whatever it is, find a way to monetize your blog.
Clarity is what will get you to be remember-able to your audience.
They will know, if I want to know about SEO, I should go to Moz.
But if your blog seems to have no direction whatsoever, you will find it very hard to build a core tribe/audience.
Create evergreen content
As much as I would recommend using Google trends to curate content; let that not be the core way of generating content.
Especially if you are a lone blogger. Joho getting arrested maybe the buzz right now but how will it benefit people two weeks from now?
So how can you take what is trending and come up with an evergreen piece of content?
Instead of writing about Obama’s Farewell Address, how about lessons you can learn from Obama’s Farewell Address that can make you a better leader.
That way you are capitalizing on what’s currently trending but at the same time, the piece of content can serve today as well as six months from now and be impactful.
Stick to the plan
Whether you decide you are going to monetize your blog or not, stick to that.
Whether you decide you are going to start with high ticket items or low ticket items, stick to that.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”4gKad” via=”yes” ]That success is not achieved overnight as the media may purport it to be. @StartupsKE[/ctt]
Whether guest posting is part of your blogging plan or not, stick to it.
Whatever your decision will be, avoid the shiny object syndrome and allowing other things on the internet to distract you.
“if I had waited long enough I probably never would have written anything at all since there is a tendency when you really begin to learn something about a thing not to want to write about it but rather to keep on learning about it always and at no time, unless you are very egotistical, which, of course, accounts for many books, will you be able to say: now I know all about this and will write about it.” ~ Ernest Hemmingway
Are you a blogger? Which of these lessons do you relate to? Which other lessons have you learnt so far on your journey?