Hi All – I have a question. When you compare your early days of blogging to what you are today – Is there anything that you wish, you hadn’t done?
I started blogging just an year back and today when i look back, there are certain things that i wish i shouldn’t have done. I won’t call them mistakes – but rather “Experiences”, because those are the things that taught me a lesson or two.
1 – I should’ve selected the template with care.
I was looking for free blogger templates and as and when i came across one, i picked it up almost instantaneously.I did not check for cross-browser compatibilities, I did not even check if the comments link is working, I didn’t check if the columns(it was a three column template) are all placed well at different resolutions. And heck, i didn’t even check as to how big and ugly the code was.
All that mattered to me was the look. And somehow in my browser(FF), it looked all good. But not to everyone – i received emails from my friends (i didn’t even have a good number of reader’s at that time) saying that the columns are all over the place. Thanks to them, i started to tweak the code but in vain, there were certain things that i could not get away with – I was done! One fine day i decided to change the template once and for all -hah! what a relief, that’s the template I’m using right now.
2 – I shouldn’t have worried about the traffic or monetization.
All that mattered was quality. Quality of the posts and how frequently you delivered them but instead i worried about traffic, incoming links, page rank and as you guessed i had a not-so good in shape blog. Later, i managed to get over the “reputation” thing and concentrated only on my posts and their quality. I managed to make it fairly OK, i must admit.
3 – I should have interacted more with the blogosphere.
As you may already know, even if you have a fantastic blog, it’s not going to attract people if you are unknown to them.
When i started blogging, i did not spend even half of the time i spend today for interacting with bloggers. I was too busy tweaking and posting. Later, as i read from other professional bloggers,(though hesitantly), i started to interact with other bloggers and that’s when i realized that this phenomenon called blogging could be more fun and learning hand in hand, and not boring as it used to be.Today, i have an entire list of readers with whom i share ideas, get feedback, ask opinion etc and it’s truly amazing to know people. Study them and you have answers to your questions most of the time.
4 – Linking more.
Though i thought that i was writing great articles, others didn’t think so. They might have, but they didn’t tell me may be. I never linked to other blogs. I only linked to wikipedia, Google products etc.Honestly, i thought that linking to others may bring down my chances of ranking high on Google. I was wrong.Linking to others will only help you get appreciated by friends and readers. It also creates and urge for “invisible readers” to react – so that they make sure that you note them, and one day you link to them too. After all, everybody wants to be in the loop.
5 – Keyword research.
I would say it’s my impulsive nature that made me write articles. When ever i came across a rubbish or an excellent product or a service – i used to get excited, because it’s the passion in you – and i wrote articles based on it. Sometimes it used to be products, sometimes a blogger’s comments, or an article on a news site. Although it satisfied me,ti could not generate much traffic because, what i wrote was interesting to me, my wife and my friends (i guess) only. Had i done some keyword research, i could’ve picked up some interesting topics from the most searched keywords on Google and written articles that created traffic.I didn’t -i struggled to get the traffic.
I doubt if anyone would agree to me on the above points, but this is the truth – just what happened to me. It could happen to young bloggers too, and I’d like to nudge them, make them aware that these are the things that could get you carried away. To sum up, my advice to young bloggers who pursue a successful career in blogging (do i sound like a brag – boy ???) is to- Select your platform wisely – be it wordpress or blogger, pick a cool template and forget it. your viewers get a bad idea about you when you keep changing the template every week. you can tweak, that’s improvisation but make sure you have a template that you are likely to use for a long time.
– Don’t worry over traffic or money, believe me those are things that’s proportional with the quality time you spend on your blog. The more the quality, the more the time – the more the return. you should forget about it totally – and concentrate on the articles you write, how appealing they could be.Everything else, fame and money will follow.
– Interact with people, talk to them, get their ideas, study it, brood over them, try to implement them, pull off what you can’t – get on with others.Find your fan, find your critic. It will help a lot in self analyzing you at least, expel some wrong notions you cultivated about yourself and your blog.
– Link more with others, it’s a way of telling them that you appreciate their work(even thought you criticized). So link, get linked, exchange links, don’t panic about the google algorithm or the page-rank.
– Do a bit of research.Yes you should follow your heart, write about things that you are passionate about, but also make sure you are not losing the platform. See what’s happening around you, what people are searching, write about it, contradict, agree and do all that.Mix it with the topics you are passionate about. It will take you a long way in getting quality traffic.
P.S – I’m not trying to be a brag-boy or a “professional blogger” here, just trying to share my experience with young bloggers – hope it helps.