Blogging Advice You Don't Want to Hear But Shouldn't Ignore
My sister and I had a recording of Alice in Wonderland on LP when we were young with the accompanying record cover “book.” I still sing the White Rabbit’s song to my daughter when we’re running late. But most of all, as I get older, I hear Alice’s line, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”
We often have great advice for others that we don’t use ourselves. More often, we hear great advice from others and think to ourselves, “I know they know what they’re talking about, but I just feel like I know better.
How many pieces of advice have you come across in your blogging learning curve and thought, “I know I keep hearing everyone say the same thing, but I think I could make it work the way I want.”
We all do that, but in the blogging arena, we risk making costly mistakes, in both time and money.
Yes, you might defy the odds and create an entirely new way to blog that makes beaucoup bucks. If you do, please return to this post and share with us your secrets.
More than likely, you’ll try it your own way for a few months, learn some lessons and then radically transform your blog and find yourself at square one.
How do I know this? Let me count the ways.
Every piece of advice I’m going to share with you here, I ignored with I first started.
I didn’t start out intending to ignore good advice. In fact, I spent uncountable hours clicking on practically every pin that came up in my Pinterest feed on how to blog.
But when they told me things I didn’t want to hear, I rationalized my thinking with ways I was confident I could make it work my way.
Fortunately for me, I’m not too proud to say, they were right and I was wrong. I hope you find this post before you give up on your blogging journey. I still think you can do it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be reworking my own blogs and sharing this post with you.
So let’s not waste any more time and get started on this list, shall we?
Advice Not to Ignore
from blogging pros
Advice not to Ignore from Blogging Pros
Find Your Niche
I know, I know, right?! Enough with the “niche-ing” already.
I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger so badly. I believed if I put up enough miscellaneous posts with pins to catch people’s eyes as they scrolled through Pinterest, that I would have enough traffic that I could say, “Oh yes, I can do a lifestyle blog.”
Again, I know, you have so many interests and you want to share interesting stuff about them all. But can you take beautiful photographs of your food for your recipe posts? Yeah, I tried that and not so much.
And what about those DIY posts? Try one and see how much harder it is than it looks. Writing out directions for projects takes a specific skill set. And again, those pictures to go along with it.
And once you get into your Google Analytics and see that bounce rate which I didn’t understand at first, you’ll realize that if you content goes from one whim to another, what does your reader click on after they read the one post they came for? Nothing, because you offer them nothing else on what they want to learn about.
I think the phrase for lifestyle blogging is the same as what they say about planting a tree - “When is the best time to plant a tree? Ten years ago.” The blogosphere offered a more fertile planting field then. I think we missed our chance, so yes, we have to niche down.
This doesn’t have to be as painful as it sounds. I think blogging is an inherently positive activity. If you blog for the right reasons, you’ll find yourself drawn to certain subjects, These will most likely be the ones you know the most about and articulate most effectively.
As you narrow what you write about frequently, you accumulate enough posts on this topic to develop your authority. Before long, you’ll stumble into that niche naturally.
Refine Your Brand
Do you have a marketing background? Me, neither.
I had a little knowledge of the concept of branding, but not enough to implement a strategy of my own. And I couldn’t afford to hire an expert.
What’s a wanna-be-blogger to do?
Find inspiration and resources.
You know what you like when you see it, right? And you know the bloggers who have a style that pops out of the Pinterest feed? Put those two together and you have your role models.
Don’t steal their look, but copy their consistency.
When you choose photos or create pins, do they work with the other photos and pins you’ve used?
They probably won’t at first, and that’s because you’re a beginner.
But if you consciously work toward a look you’re proud of and that fits you, you’ll start to develop a “brand image” and can then refine it.
And before you know it, people will be scrolling through Pinterest, see a pin, and know it’s yours. You’ll have a brand.
If you don’t have a brand, what happens? You’re lost in the millions of posts that are published every day and no one ever comes back after that one random pin that caught their attention and took them to your site.
Write Long Posts
Have you read this entire post? I didn’t think so, and it doesn’t offend me.
I don’t read entire posts either. I skim them for the good stuff.
Which is why I believed I didn’t need to write long posts. If people want to cut to the chase, why shouldn’t I do that for them?
Because we have two audiences, that’s why. We have our audience that clicks on our post and wants good information in an easy to read format.
And our other audience? That’s Google, of course.
And whatever Google wants, Google should get.
And what Google wants is good content to serve up to their users searching for answers to their questions.
Now, I’m not going to ever attempt to understand the algorithms that dissect content for Google, but I do know that “long form content” provides one of the clues that what we’ve thoroughly answered the questions our readers have.
There are Google gurus who can answer your questions about the exact length you should be aiming for, but my advice is resist the temptation to cut it short.
And learn to use the word count feature on your word processing program.
Optimize for SEO
So, since we’re talking about Google…
Yes, you need to learn to optimize your posts for SEO.
No, it’s not enough to put in keywords on your pin and hope Pinterest brings you plenty of traffic.
You may be thinking what so many of us think - SEO is a complicated game with a set of rules we’ll never understand.
Yes and no.
It can be pretty granular and I’m not your expert, but I bet you’ve saved a lot of pins already with SEO guidance but you’ve avoided looking at them. Find the ones that give you simple tips to make a big difference and implement some of their strategies.
Don’t Monetize Too Soon
I know, you want to start making money and you see people posting they made money in the first couple of months.
Bloggers post their ad revenue earnings and tell you it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to start generating income. And that’s what we’re in this for, right? To make six figures and quit our day jobs.
We don’t want to hear advice that tells us not to try to make money too quickly.
And yes, I have ads on my site, but I’ll admit I shouldn’t have put them on as soon as I did. I had no idea what I was doing and no traffic.
But I assumed those various random posts I pinned would bring enough readers to make something.
And yes, it made something, but just barely. And that’s one of the reasons I’ve revamped my entire site, to get more eyes to see those ads.
That can be a discouraging place to be. And it’s easy to fall into the mistakes beginning bloggers make, including expecting traffic too soon.
Instead of spending time building up your content, you check your ad accounts and look to see which post saw six visitors instead of the measly five the other posts received. And before you know it, discouragement sets in and you’re ready to quit.
So lay the foundation for your blog before you worry about making money. I believe you’ll make more over the long run with a blog that sustains itself.
The learning curve in blogging is steep and those bloggers who are good at it make it look so easy. But there’s a lot more to it than writing a 300 word essay, adding some pictures and pinning the post.
And some of the advice we receive about how to do it well contradicts what we want to do. And that works fine if you want to blog for your own enjoyment, but not if you want to build a business.
If your desire is to create a blog that builds a community of loyal readers who come to you for information and inspiration, you have to find your niche.
To keep those readers coming back and identifying you quickly, you have to refine your brand.
To tell Google you have good content, you need to write long posts.
To be found on a search, you have to optimize for SEO.
And to make money over the long run, don’t monetize too soon.
Those gurus are onto something. They’ve made a lot of money following their own advice. Maybe it’s time we follow it, too.