Invaluable Lessons by 10 Bloggers

Back in September, I celebrated my one-year mark as a blogger.  As I reflect back on all the things I have learned on this journey, I would like to share my own thoughts and those from ten talented bloggers to impart their invaluable blogging lessons with you.

I contacted ten bloggers and asked them to share three or four tips on, “What invaluable lessons would they share with someone that is just starting out with a blog?” I will introduce them to you later in this post and their timeless tips on blogging.

For me, blogging can be challenging because English is not my native language.  However, blogging can be lots of fun, it lets me be creative, and it gets easier once you find your voice.

Here are a few valuable blogging lessons that I like to share with those who are just starting out with a blog.

A key ingredient to blogging success is to have an editor check your writing, especially when English is your second language.  I have learned that it is always good to read your post out loud to hear the flow of your writing.  Then, I still go back and edit my post after it is published.

I saw this tweet from @ShellyKramer, “Bloggers: Stop what you’re doing.  Go read three other people’s blogs and leave a comment.  You GET what you GIVE.” #thatisall.

I love Shelly’s tweet and try to do this on a weekly basis recently.  I also use StumbleUpon to Stumble other bloggers’ content.  I do this as a way to say ‘thank you’ to those who have shared my blog or have left a comment on my post.

Here’s an example of how I thank my blog readers:  I added a Facebook share button on my page when @cammipham left me a comment on one of my posts, “Thank you CamMi because now my blog posts will travel much further because of your valuable feedback.”

Sometimes, I will Stumble an author’s blog article just to share without any expectations in return.  I also repost it if it’s a popular post, this stays in my StumbleUpon library, and it’s a great reference that I use.

I want to thank the following ten bloggers who took the time to share these timeless lessons that they have learned from blogging.  Below are some amazing blogging tips for you.

Start off with a blog plan with an end in mind. Why are you starting a blog in the first place? Come up with a plan that helps you get there.
Use a custom design for your blog if you can afford it. This makes you stand out as unique in the vast field of the blogosphere.
Integrate lead generation mechanism into your blog. Without a lead form on your blog, you’re missing a great opportunity to foster a deeper relationship with your readers.
Follow your passion: Don’t be scared to go niche. It might seem like you are closing yourself off from other opportunities but it helps you create, curate and build community.
Be and Use yourself: Trying to write like anyone else or using others experiences is never as powerful as your own. Let your experience, strength and hope into your blog. It might feel awkward but will help others relate to you.
Try to make your blog useful for your audience by providing information and tips that benefit THEM! It’s great to chronicle your life, but unless you are a celebrity, constant broadcasting of just yourself may not be as interesting to others. Try to give them something they can’t get anywhere else.
Knowing your mission leads me to the second lesson that I would like to share about blogging. Your mission will determine the type of blogger that you are and whether or not you share your own personal experiences or not.
My blog, Work Smart Lifestyle is not about me, it is about the lifestyle entrepreneur and while I do share some stories from my life, I choose not to focus on my personal life or family in many posts.
Know what type of blogger you are. Are you an informative blogger who shares resources and information or are you a personal blogger who shares deep aspects of your personal experiences? Just know who you are and why you are doing what you do.
The goal of blogging (no matter what you write about) is to start a conversation about your message, to spread the word. This means that comments and shares are the ultimate goal for each post.
Don’t beat yourself up about writing your blog every day. It’s better to write less frequently and place the emphasis on more powerful content than to burn out trying to keep up with the Joneses.
When we take some time off to get inspired, we return to a much more prolific mindset. Forced writing is not going to get you any accolades, and if it’s not your best stuff, it could potentially dilute your brand. So, it’s best to make an editorial calendar that includes time off for inspiration and relaxation. This way, you can systematically cultivate an atmosphere of blogging creativity and happiness.
Work with people you trust and who are positive – if you plan on working on a collaborative blog, find a partner that you trust, believes in what you are doing and shares the same passion and interests as you. It is important to support and encourage each other.
Write evergreen content – write content that will be relevant to your niche. Evergreen content is content written with the goal of driving traffic to a website for a long period of time. This will allow you to develop thought leadership in your chosen field and will allow you to be a good resource over time.
Success will not come overnight – never fall into the trap of thinking that after you build your blog, success will come overnight. It will take a lot of work. You need to continually write good content, promote your blog and build a community consistently over a long period of time to achieve meaningful success.
Promote your blog – If you don’t promote your articles no one will. Share it via Twitter, Facebook, Google + and other social media sites that you are active on.
Read and write, write, write – There is nothing that can boost a blogger’s writing skills more than writing and writing often. As in any skill that you want to develop, practice makes perfect. Try to write a story, a fictional piece or maybe a review. Maybe even try to write poems, or write something humorous. You can also try reading other literary works, not just blogs. Read novels and books that you find appealing. Try reading magazines and how-to books. This will allow you to see what other options you have when you write. Reading also allows you to expand your vocabulary and your horizon in terms of topics.
Write a strong title for your articles and keep them short – Did you know that keeping your article title to 4 to 5 words is the ideal length? You can usually get away with up to 10 words maximum. It’s a good way for your article to get the most coverage. Most search engines give high relevance to the first 8 words of your title. The display limit for MSN and Google is 10 while Yahoo is up to 16 words.
Research on Content Type – Many people might not agree with me, but in time a blogger will realize that there is short-term and long-term content. Short-term content has a short time interest or influence on that specific topic, for example, news items. On the other hand, long-term content is more like evergreen content. Long-term content brings the audience back to the site over and over again. A simple example of long-term content would be, A joy of Simple Things.
Research on Audience Type – It is upon the blogger and their interest to find out content related to their audience, this audience mostly surrounded by the readership of a blog. Having said that, a new blogger needs to research the activity of content types. Topics can span about anything a blogger can think of. List type posts are advisable at the starting point. Remember, blogging can vary, so feel free to try different styles and find out which works best. Additionally, always carry value on your content.
Monitoring – Regardless how new your blog is, monitoring your content and traffic activity will teach you much better solutions. Get Google Analytics (Free) set up on your blog on the day you start your blog publishing. Monitor once a day and check which contents are getting more interest, find out where your readers are coming from, and finally which search engine is sending you traffic. Blogging is an evolving process, you get smart by learning what, where and who is your audience.
Blogging isn’t for the faint of heart. To some, blogging may be very personal – and that fine. It’s time consuming, however, and isn’t something for the faint-hearted. You’ll be starting out fresh, with no traffic and very little (if any) concrete plan on what you’re going to write. You have to make a commitment to write and grow despite your urges to quit; not only to yourself, but also to your readers.
Build a following: Communication is the new currency, and a blog is a good place to put your words into action. Whether you’re writing about children, pets or neuroscience, be engaging and personable. Tell your story, and don’t be afraid to bring in your ooo’s and ahhh’s. Just make sure it’s grammatically correct with as few spelling mistakes as you can manage. We aren’t your English teachers, but many are wanna-be editors.
Fresh content and smart business sense: I couldn’t possibly advise anyone to write a blog without my input for better SEO. You probably know that Google continually changes their algorithms to look at different signals; fresh content is one of those signals. That means, unless you’re changing your site daily or weekly, you need to have fresh content appearing in the search results. It’s not only smart business sense, but it will also give search engines a clue that you’re a contender and participant in keeping fresh content and information alive.
There are so many blogging platforms out there, and several are free to start out with. However, I recommend starting out hosting your own blog and using WordPress to get yourself out there. With tons of free themes and hosting averaging less than $10.00 a month, it’s a small price to pay for making sure all of your content is owned by you!
Don’t take IRL (in real life) connections lightly. Whether it’s a social media conference, a tweet-up or an amazing event, these connections can add fabulous opportunities for your life you hadn’t even thought of. Several of my friends have received career opportunities, started new businesses, connected with companies that they would have never met and even started relationships from these venues. Meeting the “face” behind the blog is imperative to the success of your online world.
Lastly and most importantly is a concept I would like to share called “Blog Karma”. Remember what is was like when you first started a blog and never forget no matter how “big” you get. Share those great plugins that make everything easier, re-tweet your new blogging friends, comment on others blogs, basically just help anywhere you can.
Spending just 15 minutes a day doing this is more than enough to take your blog to the next level. Some I have talked to are worried about the “competition” but be assured there is plenty of room for all of us in the blogosphere and you never know what YOU may learn along the way.
Be a real person – whatever your reason for blogging you are more likely to succeed if you show your personality. Add your name and image to your about page and don’t hide behind a logo when you are presenting yourself to the world via Twitter, Google+, Facebook and all the other social media platforms. Engage and connect with other real people and you will see the benefits to your blog.
Don’t clutter your blog – There are so many plugins, widgets and badges available that it’s tempting to add them all at once. Apart from ruining the look of your blog too many can lead to conflicts and problems with the way your blog works. Just add what you need, test how effective they are and get rid of them if they are not adding value, keep things simple.
Help your readers to return, to comment and to share your content – Add suitable subscription, comment and social media sharing options, find ones that look right and work effectively for you by experimenting with a few different options. Include Google+, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn sharing options in addition to the more obvious ones and make sure that you have the settings so that when people re-tweet your content the tweet will look right and include your Twitter handle.
Be passionate! People don’t care reading anything if it’s not written with any passion or strong points of view. With the amounts of content on the web people are sensitive to content that’s personal and oozes passion.
Be personal! I found that being personal adds a lot of humanness to whatever it is you write and helps people to relate with what it is you’re telling. This is a great springboard for further engagement and conversation.
Be bold! Don’t be afraid to be polarizing, or make bold statements. Even if people disagree with what you say, it shows what you stand for and people will always respect and remember you for it.
Don’t be boring! Sounds obvious, but never forget!
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44 Replies to “Invaluable Lessons by 10 Bloggers

  1. What a fabulous and helpful post Ann! Totally perfect timing too as I’m about to launch my first blog 😉 Such wonderful nuggets from everyone! I found the overwhelming consensus to be so encouraging….Blog your passion, be yourself, be bold, and show that gratitude love 🙂

    Thanks so much!

  2. Some of my favorite bloggers on here….including you, Ann! Thanks for the awesome post!

  3. I really liked the idea behind this post. Very innovative!
    Of all the tips, if I were one of the bloggers asked this question, I’d have probably gone with @mistygirlph
    If you write on your blog and let it lie, nobody is going to see it. You have to put a good lot of effort to let the world know you have something interesting, and social media is the way to go!

    Thanks for this great post.

  4. Thanks, Ann, for all your useful blogging information. I have just started a travel blog and I have already made some great changes based on what I have read here. Thanks again!

  5. Thanks for bringing together great advice from multiple sources! As a beginning blogger, I sometimes find myself getting stuck, but the advice in this post will help me push past it!

  6. I just started my blog so this is very timely. Thank you for such great information. Some of the lessons confirmed things for me and others I plan to put in action…starting now by writing this comment! 😉

    1. I plan to make my rounds this coming year to spend a few minutes each week sharing comments with other bloggers. Such a wonderful way to give other writers feedback. I’ve learned quite a bit as a blogger this past year. Thank you all!

  7. Ann, you are the best. I’ve learned so much from you and all these wonderful people you’ve listed above. Being included was an honor. I’ll admit it’s put a smile on my face and a pep in my step to do better. Grazie mille Ann!

  8. This is truly inspirational to me. As a brand new blogger I found myself trying to write about things that don’t really resonate with me. Being real and passionate was my biggest take away from your advice and I am running with it! Super thanks!

  9. Thank you Ann and thank you to the bloggers here who gave their valuable input. I could relate to so much that was shared here. Blogging does take a lot of time and patience and there certainly is no such thing as over night success. I have had the usual roller coaster feelings of good and not so good days as far as visitors are concerned, but I am learning to just enjoy and have fun and simply strive to remain focused. It isn’t just “if you build it, they will come” but you have to keep building! I am happy to have come to read your blog Ann! Keep up the great work!

  10. Thank you for sharing. I have been blogging for a while and reading the article has helped me pause and think am I doing all of this as a blogger. I have gained a few ideas from reading this article.

  11. Wonderful post, Ann. Any blogger would do themselves well by following these wonderful lessons. Thanks for putting this together!

    All my best, John

  12. What a delightful post, Ann. And I’m honored to be included here, amongst so many great friends and wonderful people.

    Thanks for always doing what you do – sharing, supporting, inspiring, teaching.

    You’re the best!


  13. Ann, what a great post! I love the feedback from so many different backgrounds. Sometimes, I get so caught up in blogging for SEO and these tips bring back to “Content is King!” Thanks!

  14. This is such a timely and wonderful post, thanks Ann.

    Blogging is so easily misunderstood by many first-time bloggers as useless if not going anywhere, and so they give up. I almost did myself!

    I hope more and more budding & experienced bloggers read this post of yours, I’m now going to share it on all social platforms I’m on as well as my own blog.

    Cheers and blog-speed to you!

  15. Congratulations Ann for putting together an amazing collection of great advice for bloggers from those who have been there and done it. (And thanks for including my own humble efforts in such eclectic company!)

    I particularly like your own thoughts in your introduction – you are a great example to us all 🙂


  16. Thanks! So..the first thing to think is how to build the blog as a place for good contents..This post makes the idea that I have had about blogging clearer.

  17. Yes, when I was just beginning (only a few months ago), the hardest thing for me was to remove what I thought I was “supposed” to sound like and just be honest and a little vulnerable. Thank you for validating that!

  18. This is a great list of bloggers and the lessons imparted here one can see come from experience in writing and sharing content everyday. I am honored to be part of the list. Thank you Ann and more power!!

  19. Great post Ann and a great group of bloggers!! Like Ruhani said, lots of very helpful tips and strategies for anyone looking to start a blog and experienced bloggers as well.

    Thank you for asking me to be part of this wonderful post!! =))

  20. I blog in two places, my own word press system-yourway1 blogs and at blogger. Getting ranked blogs is an important factor in blogging to. As a web master with a name my blogs get ranked from doing html in a “web way”. My blogs at blogger are customized css and sized to fit my content. I generally do not niche, because I get ranked. But also blog more for fun than income. Though I have noticed that if you are signed up with adsense, your far more likely to get your blogs ranked by Google. Just some tips-very nice blog-Thanks!

    1. Thanks for all the great advice. jessica’s really resonated with me, I often worry that I am blocking myself off from many people because of my niche (black female expat and blogger) LOL It’s a niche but I do hope that my words are universal and people from all walks of life can enjoy my story and information

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