7 Lessons I Learned During My First Year of Blogging

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  • Blogging Tips
  • Oct 25, 2017

My first year of blogging was like riding a seesaw.

I went up.

I went down.

This is a typical experience for many new bloggers.

Excitement leads to dread.

Elation leads to depression.

Potential profits lead to goose eggs.

I did learn a few valuable lessons early on in my blogging career that may smooth your blogging journey if you are a new or struggling blogger.

1: Promote Other Bloggers to Drive Your Traffic Quickly

I was stunned at how easily I could generate traffic – even as a dyed in the wool, newbie blogger – by promoting other bloggers.

I would:

  • retweet their posts
  • Facebook Share their posts
  • G Plus Share their posts
  • LinkedIn share their posts

to build friendships with fellow bloggers.

Many of my blogging friends promoted me in return. Even though my writing skills paled in comparison to my writing skills today.

As more bloggers promoted me I received more blog traffic.

I am beyond grateful to learn this lesson so early because it cut my online learning curve by years.

2: Grow Your Email List for Traffic on Demand

Not building an email list from day 1 as a blogger is one of my chief online mistakes.

I observed how growing an email list is like generating traffic on demand when I addressed this error but only after I struggled for a bit with building an email list.

I eventually saw how building my list allowed me to attract instant traffic and increased social shares and comments within minutes or hours of publishing a post.

Folks may bookmark your blog or stuff your feed into their Feedly Reader but will definitely see your latest blog post in their email inbox because we all check our email at least 1-3 times daily.

3: Your Skills Are the Money Maker

I got lost in a hyped up maze of opportunities for making money online back in the day.

Remember guys; I started blogging nearly 10 years ago. Maybe it wasn’t the “Golden-Age-of-Hyped-Out-Opportunities-for-Making-Money-Online” but it was darn close.

If you added enough !’s or ????’s or CAPITAL LETTERs to your ad copy you were guaranteed to make some coin back in those days.

I soon found out though that your willingness to practice developing your skills is the ultimate money maker.

I observed how any money I made as a new blogger responded to some type of skill I developed through diligent practice. Other bloggers who tried to manipulate folks into giving them money – without developing useful skills – either struggled to make money or watched their money flowed in and out like the tide.

I noticed too how over the years these bloggers who used hype, cyber smoke and deception were caught scrambling every time a Google update occurred or some other major change happened online. They paid the price for not developing a helpful, valuable skill set through diligent practice.

Develop your:

  • writing
  • video creating
  • copy
  • networking

skills.

Developing these skills helps lays the foundation for a prospering blogging career.

4: Pay Up to Play Up

You need to pay up to play up.

As a newbie blogger I gradually learned how dropping $3 a month on my blog was not going to cut it. I clung to cheap hosting, a crappy-looking free theme and didn’t have a CDN back in those days.

I became aware that established, professional bloggers paid money for premium hosting, a premium or bespoke theme, a VPN and various other bells and whistles to move up in blogging circles.

Few bloggers took me and my blog seriously during my first year. One look at my blog screamed “amateur hour.” If my blog was actually up and running.

At a minimum, invest in:

  • premium hosting
  • a premium them

Convey a positive brand image to move up in blogging circles.

5: Monetize Your Passions Not for Profits

I quickly learned that monetizing your blog just to earn profits is a big mistake.

I opened a few cash flow streams because I believed I could make money through those streams. I gave zero thought to whether or not I would enjoy working those streams.

Massive blogging boo boo here.

I struggled like a fish out of water to earn dollars, let alone thousands of dollars, because I chased profits versus following my passions.

I slowly began to add income streams that I enjoyed working and developing, like establishing a freelance writing business.

Never choose an income stream based solely on your earning potential through that channel.

Monetize your passions.

As a new blogger this means:

  • listing your passions, like your love of writing, or creating videos, or designing infographics
  • picking a few income streams which resonate with those talents; for example, if you love writing consider freelance writing, writing and self-publishing eBooks and creating text-based online courses
  • adding 1 income stream to your blog every 3-6 months

6: Follow the Best Bloggers

I followed big dawg bloggers like Darren Rowse at Pro Blogger and Brian Clark at Copy Blogger early during my blogging career to get on the straight and narrow.

Even though I did struggle for the first few years of my blogging career I shaved months off of my learning curve by following advice from pros.

Pros know how to build successful blogs. Stop trying to experiment with unproven blogging methods if you are a new blogger. Follow the best bloggers in your niche to learn and practice the blogging fundamentals.

I suggest you:

  • join top blogger’s email lists
  • buy products from top bloggers
  • hire top bloggers to coach you
  • buy top blogger’s eBooks
  • read their posts
  • take notes on their posts
  • study their posts

7: You Have to Love Blogging to Go Far

I am writing these words at 10:30 PM on a Sunday evening. After a long day of work – and some offline play – I blog because I feel passionate about blogging.

During my infant blogging days I quickly understood that top bloggers live, breathe and eat blogging. If I wanted to go far in the blogosphere I too needed to fall deeply in love with:

  • writing daily
  • networking daily
  • doing freeing but uncomfortable things to grow my traffic, to build my brand and to expand my business

This journey gets difficult sometimes. But if you are excited to dive into blogging every day you will cultivate the enthusiasm that propels you past obstacles which trip up most bloggers.

You will go farthest in the blogging game by being among the most passionate bloggers in your niche.

Some think I outwork most bloggers in the blogging tips niche but I am really out playing them.

Summary

Tips 1 through 6 are important but I had to end with tip 7 to stress the need for being passionate about blogging.

You can’t fake it until you make it. You can’t manufacture passion. Blogging needs to be in your blood if you want to reach the top of your niche.

This is the #1 lesson I learned during my first year of blogging and I see more each day that your passion will carry you and your blog to levels you never imagined you’d reach.

Article by Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who’s been featured on Richard Branson’s Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging at Blogging From Paradise.

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