10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

by Brook Lenox on August 27, 2009

top-10My first blog post was in December 2008, so I’m relatively new to blogging.  In the past 9 months I’ve learned tons about how to succeed in blogging.

Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned from my 8 months of blogging.
 

#1 – Have a Goal
#2 – Find a Mentor
#3 – Do Your Research Upfront
#4 – Use Word Press (not .com)
#5 – Don’t Get Stuck Designing
#6 – Write At least Weekly
#7 – Promote Right After You Write
#8 – Keep Learning
#9 – Track What’s Working
#10 – Make Connections

I’ll try to keep these brief.

#1 – Have a Goal

Like anything you do seriously in life, with blogging, you need a goal.  No goal = nadda accomplished.

My goal when I set out to blog was twofold:

1) Learn enough about blogging to help clients.
2) Generate more connections and interest for my consulting.

In the past 8 months I’ve definitely achieved those two goals.

#2 – Find a Mentor

It is easy to set up a blog, but it is not easy to set up a successful blog.  A mentor can help you build, publish, promote, and monetize your blog.

I’ve found two types of mentors to be helpful. The first is to read what people are writing by following them on RSS or Twitter.

Here is my favorite: Pro Blogger – Darren Rowse

The second is to take a course or join a service. I joined Blog Success and have learned a ton from that. Honestly, I find it a bit multi-marketing-level-ish (I just created a word), but still FULL of great information.

#3 – Do Your Research Upfront

That is one great thing I learned from Blog Success. You may have a passion to create a blog on a certain subject, but first research whether it’s the right fit. Maybe it’s too small a niche OR maybe there is way too much competition. You’ve got to learn how to research a market before you start a blog, if you want to acquire new clients or monetize the blog in some way.

#4 – Use WordPress (not .com)

I read a ton of stuff online about all the different blogging platforms and decided to create a blog using WordPress. I’m convinced it is the best platform because it’s written with both design and SEO in mind.  I’ve ranked on page 1 of Google for many keyword phrases and I think much of the credit is due to using WordPress.

#5 – Don’t Get Stuck Designing

Don’t make the same mistake I did. See the beautiful blog you’re reading? Not! It’s not perfectly designed and it never will be. My mistake was to put way too many hours in trying to get the design to where I wanted it. I had it at 80% of what I wanted, but that last 20% nearly killed me. Get to that 20% and move on!

#6 Write At Least Weekly

Blog Success had a 60-day marketing plan that called for you to post to your blog every day. I tried that for about 2 days and nearly had a heart attack. I saw the value in it, but just was too busy with work (and family) to do so. I settled into writing what I think is a solid article weekly and that has been fine.

#7 – Promote Right After You Write

Why write if no one will ever read it? I take 30-60 minutes after I finish an article to promote it. I won’t go into the details here, but I do things like post it on my remote blogs, share it on Twitter & LinkedIn, and use Ping FM to notify other places.

#8 – Keep Learning

I love to learn. That’s one reason I work for a company and also consult as well. It keeps me constantly learning and hardly ever bored! It’s the same thing with blogging. Don’t get in a rut. Keep a list of things you want to learn. Next on my list is video blogging.

#9 – Track What’s Working

I’m in customer acquisition, so I’m used to tracking everything. With your blog, if it’s more than just a hobby, you should track certain key metrics.

These include:

  • Visitors per day/week/month
  • People subscribing to your RSS or Twitter accounts
  • Amount of contacts or revenue generated

#10 – Make Connections

One great benefit from blogging is making connections. Maybe someone isn’t ready to be a new client, but they’d like to keep up with the articles you write for now. Maybe there is someone in your space that’s not actually a competitor (or maybe is) that you can exchange ideas or leads with. Figure out a way to make your blog a connecting point for you. It’ll keep you more engaged.

Hope that helps!