5 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Blogging

We all make mistakes. I’ve blogged full-time since late 2008, after roughly a year of going at it. While I love the lifestyle of blogging for a living, I can’t help but kick myself every time I think back about my first year or two blogging, and what I wish I could change.

If you’re just starting out, here are some powerful concepts that are important even when you’re beginning — delaying and waiting could be essentially costing money and maybe even any long-term success at all.

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started:

I could write a small library on what I didn’t know that I should have known, but here are the most important to bloggers just now starting out:

Email Marketing.

    This is the big one. Nearly 75% of my income now comes from my email newsletter, even though I launched it in 2010. That means I have literally years worth of email subscribers I could be making money with that I don’t have — I always planned on setting up a newsletter, but just never did. Learn from that mistake, and set up your email list today.

Personal Branding.

    Writing isn’t just about bluntly talking about your topic — it’s about creating a voice that allows your readers to picture you in a certain way. Try to add a personal story to every post, figure out how you want your readers to “see” you in their mind, and start playing the part. The first year of my blogging I focused on the topic — while forgetting about myself. Focus on your brand and your content — they’re both important.

Info Publishing.

    The most profitable week of my life so far has been writing a relevant report/ebook for my readers, and sending an email pitching it. Unfortunately, I only did this for the first time a year ago. Several books later, I just wish I’d started my website with a report for sale — it would have sped up the journey. Write a report on something important to your readers, set up a sales page, and sell it — worst case scenario, you only sell a few copies — but it’ll make you seem at least a little more of an expert in the eyes of your readers.

Real-World Authority.

    If you’re not an authority on the topic you’re writing about, then you have two legit options: become an authority by learning, or hire one. One of the most important projects I’ve launched was a debt web site where I hired a debt collection specialist who had worked for the New York Times Company. It was amazing to watch how people linked to her content, shared it on social media — while ignoring mine. I learned my lesson: there’s nothing wrong with bringing in a real live expert if you’re not personally one.

Legitimate Networking.

    Internet marketers love to “network”. Almost every day someone in one of my niches will send me an email literally saying “we should network!” Unfortunately, they don’t bring anything to the table and end up making me click the delete button. Looking back, the most important marketing campaigns I’ve worked on involved at least one other friend in the niche. No blog is an island — make legit friends, and use each other to become more successful.

Blogging is all about growth and conversion — grow your traffic while converting it as efficiently as you can, and you’re destined to a fantastic income. That’s why every systematic tip and every actionable concept can literally take you from doing pretty good to doing better than you thought possible — don’t put off anything, or you’ll regret it later.

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