Is there anything easier than starting your own blog?
You can have your site up and running within minutes which is why hundreds of thousands of new blogs are created every day.
But how many of them stay in business 6 months or a year down the road?
As soon as the early excitement of starting a new blog fades away, most newbies find it difficult to come to grips with the demands of blogging.
Despite publishing new content regularly, they fail to build an audience and generate organic traffic.
As a result, they lose motivation and their blog dies a slow and painful death.
Successful bloggers, however, do it differently.
They have a plan from the start and understand what it takes to establish a thriving blog.
Do you want to know the secret to their success?
Let me give you some hints.
1. They Build an Email List from Day 1
“I’ll start building my email list from tomorrow”
For most newbies, this particular tomorrow never comes.
Successful bloggers understand that building an email list is the most important part of establishing a blog.
Which is why they prepare for it before publishing even a single post.
Leading marketers like Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse, Glen Allsopp and even Zac himself are huge advocates of email list building.
According to research, email marketing has a long-term ROI of 3800%, gives your message 5x more visibility than Facebook and drives 3x more social shares.
So how exactly do the super successful bloggers build their email lists?
By adding a “Subscribe to My Newsletter” opt-in box in their blog’s sidebar?
They create irresistible and laser-focused lead magnets that turn first-time visitors into loyal subscribers.
For example, just look at the lead magnet Zac uses
Zac knows his audience and has created a free giveaway that’ll lure any newbie to his email list.
Your lead magnet should address a very specific problem of your audience and should have a high perceived value.
For starters, I’d recommend using a well-designed 10-15 page eBook as a lead magnet on your blog. You can find lots of eBook ideas in this post.
Placing a lead magnet on your site from day 1 gives you a great chance of converting any traffic generated to your site into email subscribers.
2. They Understand the Needs of Their Audience
Newbies get flashes of inspiration and creativity by seeing the success stories of other bloggers.
But pro bloggers don’t jump into any niche without first understanding their audience.
In fact, research is perhaps the biggest difference between successful bloggers and mere hobbyists.
So how exactly do you research your audience?
Let me quickly share a few tips
- Use Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users. It is one of the best places to research and understand the needs of your audience.
To do that, go to Facebook Audience Insights inside Ads Manager.
In Audience Insights, search for the key interests of your target audience. For example, if your blog is about SEO and content marketing, you can search that in the interests tab
As soon as you search for your interest, Facebook will show you tons of data about its users who’re interested in SEO.
For example, in the snapshot above you can see the tabs marked as “Demographics”, “Location, “Page Likes” etc.
Each of these tabs has loads of information you can use to understand your audience.
Let’s take a look at the “Page Likes” tab
It shows you the other Facebook pages your target audience likes.
You can go to these pages and see the content that they’re publishing.
This will give you a great idea of what your audience wants.
- Google Trends
Google Trends shows you the level of interest in a topic over a certain period of time-based on the searches on Google Search.
For example, here’s the interest level in social media marketing
If you scroll down, you can also see the related search queries that people interested in this topic are using
You can sort them by “Rising” to see the recent trends.
It also gives you other related topics that you can use to expand your research.
- Keyword Research
Successful bloggers never start a blog without extensive keyword research. But since it’s a detailed topic itself, I won’t be able to cover it in this post.
I do, however, strongly recommend reading this keyword research guide by Brian Dean. In my opinion, it’s the most comprehensive keyword research resource on the web.
3. They Create Actionable and In-depth Content
The days of thin, poorly researched 500-word articles are long gone.
If you want to engage your audience and rank in the top 10 Google search results, you need to create authentic, high quality and in-depth content.
According to research, the average word count of the top 10 Google search results is 2000+ words
But apart from SEO, longer and more in-depth content also delivers more value to the readers.
Successful bloggers know that which is why they invest in high-quality content and try to make it as actionable as possible. In simple words, their content helps people take action and move forward in their businesses.
4. They Diversify Their Traffic Sources
“Never keep all your eggs in one basket”
You must’ve heard this famous saying by Warren Buffet, an American billionaire businessman.
The same principle applies to your blog traffic as well.
Newbies depend completely on search engines and SEO to generate traffic. Which is why the moment their rankings go down, their blog dies.
Successful bloggers also generate traffic from Google, but they focus on building online assets to diversify their traffic sources.
Here are a few ways to do it
- Build your email list, we’ve already discussed that.
- Guest post on other high engagement blogs in your niche. Ryan has written extensively about this topic.
- Create and grow your own dedicated Facebook Group. I personally know bloggers who generate more traffic from their Facebook Groups than Google Search. Neil Patel has a detailed guide on this topic
- Build your presence on Quora, Inbound.org, Triberr and other industry-specific forums.
- Grow your audience on social networks like Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit etc.
Diversifying your traffic sources minimizes your risk and reduces your dependency on Google.
6. They Aggressively Promote Their Content
Last but not the least, successful bloggers don’t forget their content after publishing it. Instead, they go out and spread the word.
That’s the only way to consistently drive traffic to your blog.
Don’t stop after sharing your post once on social media. Develop a sharing routine and automate the process using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.
Here’s a good example of how to do it.
The most successful marketers like JeffBullas, Neil Patel etc. keep sharing their content for months and even years.
This keeps sending them new visitors to their archive content and keeps their blog alive.
Blogging isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a walk in the park either. You need to have a clear plan and the willingness to execute it day in and day out. Ask any successful blogger and they’ll tell you how hard they’ve worked to grow their blogs to a level where they can sit back and relax. Hopefully, the tips I’ve shared in this post will help you move in that direction.
Are You Afraid to Color Outside of the Blogging Lines?
I am coloring with my 2 year old niece now.
Blog post idea; after 2 photo snaps and a quick analogy realization I figured coloring with a 2 year old conveys a blogging success lesson to you.
My niece does not fear coloring outside of the lines. She is smart as a whip but has yet to master the concept of coloring inside of the lines. Few 2 year olds get this idea.
Scribbling like mad, her work consists of zags, hard lines, zigs, and you better believe she colors almost exclusively outside of the lines. She is as happy as a lark to break the rules, to just be coloring. Coloring is fun to her. Who cares if she stays in the lines?
I instantly thought of my blogging career.
I retired to a life of island hopping through smart blogging by coloring outside of the blogging lines, choosing to do what feels fun to me versus doing what bloggers said I should do.. No email list at Blogging From Paradise. Not much search traffic either because I don’t do the SEO thing. I publish up to 4 blog posts daily. No doubt; I follow certain rules and do color inside of the lines sometimes but largely succeeded because I blog outside of the box, following my fun, pursuing my passion.
You may look at me and wonder how in the heck I do it? You follow all common blogging rules diligently. Yet you may struggle. What gives?
Blogging is an energy game. If you do what feels fun to you, you will succeed wildly. Even if you break rules in the process.
Even though I promote 1 blogging eBook above all else I still wrote 126 eBooks. Big time rule breaker guys. Most bloggers only write 1 eBook and promote the stuffing out of it before moving on to the next eBook. Nothing wrong with that but this is usually a scarcity mindset in action. I preferred to think abundantly and wrote my rear end off. Coloring outside of the lines. Blogging outside of the box.
Follow Some Blogging Rules But Break a Bunch
Nobody becomes wildly successful or lives a dream life through blogging by following all the rules. Rule breakers stand out from the crowd.
Breaking some blogging rules is just like coloring outside of the lines. Some bloggers believe your blog looks a bit sloppy, or disorderly, or that you are doing things wrong, if you color outside of the blogging lines. But these bloggers are usually totally obsessed with doing things perfectly, struggling like heck because nobody is perfect and when you try to be perfect you will fail. Perfection is the fear of failure and the fear of criticism, combined. Don’t let bloggers who color inside of the lines fool you.
How to Succeed by Coloring Outside of the Blogging Lines
Follow your intuition guys.
Listen to the small, still voice.
Trust your gut.
Do what feels most fun to you; not what bloggers say you should do.
I do not build an email list. This is coloring outside of the blogging lines.
Yet I live a life few bloggers live, spending months in Fiji, Bali, Thailand and Costa Rica among other tropical paradises.
No SEO on Blogging From Paradise because I do not want to depend on search traffic. Yet I have circled the globe for the past 7 years as a full time digital nomad.
Break some rules guys.
Do freeing, fun and highly uncomfortable things. Even if doing so pulls you away from the blogging herd.
Color outside of the blogging lines guys.
Live your wildest dreams.
How Do I Teach Bloggers if I Am a New Blogger?
I see that question popping around in your head.
The same question danced around in my head 10 years ago. How could I teach people how to blog if I did not know how to blog? Plus I had no connections. No skills either. Big time problem.
Here is how to solve your problem:
- learn how to blog from top pros
- write 500 words daily offline
- publish 1-2 posts weekly, turning around and teaching what you learned
- continue to learn both about blogging and your blogging niche
Learn then teach.
Or absorb then teach.
Jan Verhoeff published this post yesterday:
She led off the post explaining how she watched one of my Facebook Live Broadcasts recently and delved deeper into the topic I discussed, said topic being blogging overlap.
Jan is a seasoned veteran blogger but she and I both use this concept of learning or absorbing then immediately teaching the concept to our readers. Knowledge ain’t getting stale in our brain boxes.
Newbie bloggers; I get it. You may feel intimidated to learn, then to teach. But being a blogging student is hands down your most important role as a new blogger because learning and studying gives you confidence to turn around and teach your new found knowledge quickly.
Check out my guest post on Janice Wald’s Mostly Blogging:
Janice regularly shares this post and noted it still drives blog traffic.
New and seasoned blogging veterans alike know deep down we are all perpetual students. Plus we know that in order to teach we must first learn, being open and willing students.
Newbie bloggers; you better become a voracious reader of blogging tips and tips aligned with your niche. Learn to gain confidence and clarity. Then you better practice writing like crazy. Pen 500 words daily offline to become a confident writer.
Being armed with knowledge and improving writing skills sets the foundation to learn, then to teach.
10 years ago when I was a new blogger I read a post on Ray Higdon Dot Com.
This iconic network marketer introduced me to the simple concept of how you can teach folks how to succeed in your niche, even as a newbie. Learn. Teach.
Allow little time to elapse between learning and teaching. Teaching does not require 10,000 word blog posts or 45 minute long videos or eBooks or courses.
Practical Examples of Teaching
Peep these examples of how you can learn a concept and teach as a new blogger:
- record and upload a 1 minute long video on YouTube
- write and publish a 600 word post on your blog
- record and upload a 5 minute long podcast
The idea is to learn a concept and to be comfortable teaching the concept without being an expert. Fraud energies may arise guys. Fears attempt to shame you into remaining quiet. Don’t trust these fears. Don’t believe these lies.
If you want to become a blogger you better get comfortable with being a teacher because blogging is teaching. If you want to become a teacher you better be a hungry student, learning the in’s and out’s of blogging and your niche and practicing your writing to more easily convey your blogging message.
Hit the ground running as a new blogger.
Nobody begins blogging as an experienced blogger.
Nobody begins blogging with blogging skills.
We need to learn and practice persistently as a new blogger to become a successful blogger.
Just don’t hesitate to turn around and teach what you have learned immediately, to drive traffic to your blog.
Do I Look Lucky to You?
Many people believe me to be lucky.
Folks think I am so lucky to travel the world.
Like a magic fairy alighted on my shoulder, tapped me with a magic wand, and sent me to that location in Bali you see in the featured image.
As if I lucked out to circle around the globe for the past 7 years.
Not quite guys.
Luck does not exist.
Smart, generous work helped me retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.
Peep this link:
Does that sound lucky? Was I lucky to write and publish 583 guest posts on Blogging Tips alone? Am I lucky to have written and published thousands of blog posts during the past decade I spent online?
Have I been lucky to work hundreds of thousands of hours during my life, in order to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging?
Did luck make me a full time digital nomad? Have I been lucky to write and self-publish 126 eBooks?
Luck does not exist.
Smart, energized, years of work, this brings blogging success.
Convenience Store Luck
Back in New Jersey for a bit.
After spending a few moments at the local convenience store I saw no less than 5 people buy lottery tickets.
Folks spend money on a wing and a prayer, hoping, praying, begging to make money through a game of chance.
Forget building a sustainable online business. Forget rendering service to become successful with your blog. Don’t even bother investing money in solid vehicles.
Leave your life to chance. See if you get lucky.
Terrible mindset to have guys.
Luck does not exist. No magical fairy blesses some folks and curses other folks. Nobody suffers from bad luck. Chance does not exist.
Smart, intelligent service, persistently applied, exists. Learning and practicing the skill of blogging for 2-4 years of your life exists. Spending 10 years writing and publishing thousands of posts exists. Commenting on 50,000 blogs exists. Being generous exists. Helping folks for months before making a dime exists.
Luck does not exist.
Luck Is a Jailer
If you believe successful bloggers are lucky, that limiting belief jails you. Since you believe you are not lucky you naturally will always struggle and fail. Not a good belief to cling to guys.
Many bloggers think I am:
- a natural
but I am not. I just spent years of my life learning, practicing and mastering the skill of blogging. I wrote almost 600 guest posts on Blogging Tips alone. Does that sound like luck, or chance, or like a blessing? Smart, persistent work guys. I committed fully to blogging so blogging committed fully to me. Simple equation but goodness does this journey feel uncomfortable at times.
Early Friday evening, here I am writing this guest post as my 2 year old niece hangs all over me, bopping me on the head. Hardly a crazy challenge but still a bit of a challenge. Try thinking through a post and writing it while a hyper 2 year old does all in her power to grab your attention.
I am not writing this post because Lady Luck sent me the idea. I am writing this post because I have written 2 million plus words during the past decade of my life, so words flow easily for me.
- Creating, connecting and polishing my blogging skills by patiently writing and broadcasting live videos daily helped me craft a neat life for me and for my readers.
- Generously commenting on other blogs and promoting other bloggers helped me become a pro blogger.
- Persisting through thick and thin created my blogging success.
The next time you explain someone’s success as a simple matter of luck, think again.
Luck does not exist.
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