Blogging has changed my life both personally and professionally and I consider it an integral part of who I am now. It is also a critical part of an author's online platform these days, even advocated by huge publishers like Simon & Schuster.
As part of my continuing education, I was part of the inaugural Problogger event in Melbourne, Australia the other day, and learnt so much as well as meeting some amazing people in many different niches.
Here are just a few things I learnt from the day that you might also find useful for your blog.
- Focus on the lifecycle of people on your blog, not just getting traffic which is only the first step. This includes: Attraction, Retention, Conversion and Referral. Think about ways you can engage with people at each step.
“A blog is a loyalty generator” [Chris Garrett].
- Keep people coming back and over time they will know, like and trust you. This creates relationships and they are also more likely to recommend you to others, as well as buy your books/products.
- Don't just hang out on your own blog. Go where your readers are. Find out where else they hang out and hang there too. Then some of them may follow you back to your blog. This is also relevant to authors with books to market. Go hang out at book review sites/GoodReads/Get Glue etc and interact there.
- The best blogging is at the intercept between what you know, and what people want. If you can hit this target, then your blog will be popular. Find out what questions people have with surveys e.g. SurveyMonkey
- People like people so personalize to stand out. People also like stories with a meaning, so share your own experiences if you want to touch people. Check out this great story with a message => On Dying, Mothers and Fighting for your ideas by Jon Morrow
- Doing a series of posts keeps people on your site longer, creates anticipation and boosts subscriber count.
- Create reader profiles for your blog. These are ‘made up' people who you write directly to, ensuring you satisfy that type of person and provide information they want. Here's an article about reader profiles from Problogger. [It's a great tip for authors too – who is going to read your book?]
- “The first year of blogging is the hardest. It gets easier as the snowball gets bigger.” [Darren Rowse, Problogger]
- Anticipate big events and blog on them before everyone else is. For example, blog about the 2011 Rugby World Cup now and your posts will index well by the time everyone else is blogging about it.
- Build community around your blog so that people have a sense of belonging. You share values and beliefs. Then you provide value, not just information. This might be a forum, a Facebook page/group or other community sites. Then be the community you want to have, model the behaviour you want and keep the tone positive. Be a leader. Be a model. Invite interaction on your sites and reward people for contributing.
- Monetising your blog can be done in 3 main ways: Advertising, Affiliate Income and the sale of Products/Services. For advertising, it's best to have a very niche blog and/or large traffic. Affiliate income is selling products for other people and taking a commission. Selling your own products can provide the biggest reward.
- It is important to have an email list in order to market products and make income from your blog. It also helps if you have a great free resource to encourage people to be on your list. [Check out the Author 2.0 blueprint!]
- Multimedia blogging is becoming critical. Video is ranked more highly and you can now load transcripts to YouTube as well as longer videos. Make sure you are combining text, audio and video for all senses (and live events for touch!)
My own biggest learning from the day
The bloggers who are making an excellent income online have been blogging 4-10 years. They have been in the market longer than most people and haven't given up in the face of criticism or failure. They have persisted, tested, worked at their blogs and promoted themselves consistently over time. They provide amazing free information, they are useful, interesting, humble and generous people. They also sell brilliant products that teach people.
I have been blogging 18 months and am just starting to make an income from it. I have been writing books for 3 years and am starting to see improvement and benefits of being out there, being seen. The biggest authors are those that have been in the market a long time. The big names have 20+ books, so this lesson also stands for authors as well as blogging.
So, the secret is keep going.
On that note, here are 41 Blog Success Tips from 10 years of blogging you can learn today – from Chris Garrett
Images are my own from Problogger day, iStockphoto and Flick CC Garrett Crawford