A while back I came across an article by a very successful blogger. Not only does he get a ton of traffic to his blog, he also makes a lot of money with his blog. He has been a blogger for 10 years and in the blog article he shared his blogging lessons learned from years of blogging.
That got me thinking. I too learned many blogging lessons from my years of writing a blog. I had many ups and downs and at times I even thought I should throw in the towel.
In retrospect, I am glad I persisted. I love blogging. I even have a couple of different blogs on different subjects. I have learned from my many mistakes and now my blogs are successful little enterprises, each on their own.
So what made my blogs successful at last? I realized that it wasn’t just one thing, but that the success came from combination of many different elements I applied to my blogs and followed outside of my blogs.
Thinking back, a few of the implementations and lessons stand out and I will share those with you.
My Top Blogging Lessons I Learned Over The Years
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I take SEO seriously when it comes to my blogs. Without being too pushy, I definitely want to help the search engines find my blogs, find my posts and index them.
- Whenever I write an article I always think of the keywords I want to concentrate on. I may even do a little of a keyword search in Google’s Keyword Planner.
- I use different keywords for expressing similar ideas. So for example, if I want to write a series of article on how to make money blogging I don’t just stick to “how to make money blogging” but I choose other keyword phrases to use for different posts. This way I expand the number of keywords search engines will find on my blog and expand the array of keywords or keyword phrases, they can index. I’ll give you an example of the different keyword phrases I may have used. Each phrase is linked to an article so you can see how I used the phrase in the title of my article:
- I am a stickler for internal linking. I always link to other blog posts within my new posts. Not only is it helpful to search engines, it is also helpful to the readers of my blog and my Google Analytics results. It reminds search engines of my old posts, it navigates readers to other posts and it reduces my bounce rate.
- I also, as often as I can, link to external authoritative blogs or websites I may use for a reference. Google really values that. And, it is only fair.
- My image labels are also made up from keywords that I use within the blog post. So for this blog post which is titled “My Blogging Lessons Learned From Years Of Writing A Blog”, the keyword phrase is blogging lessons. My image, in my computer was labeled as blogging-lessons, which automatically became the title of my image on my post. So I gave the search engines the opportunity to index both the blog post and my image under the same keyword. When people search images, my image will also come up and they will lead to my post. Cool!
- As much as possible, I try to incorporate headings into my posts. So, for example, in this post the phrase “My Top Blogging Lessons I Learned Over The Years” is a heading, h2. It lets the search engines know that the heading is important and my keyword phrase just “happens” to be in it.
I want to emphasize that I never overdo it with the keywords. I watch that there are not too many of them in the post and that I interchange them with latent keywords. But most importantly, I take great care that my articles are not written for search engines but that they are written for my human readers!
2. Post Headlines
- I stick with headlines not exceeding 60 characters (I try to anyway). Beyond 60 characters post headlines get cut in the titles of SERPs (search engine result pages) and they may lose the meaning you intended with your headline. They also may get cut on social media, such as Facebook. This is a very crucial point because often people, both on social media and SERPs, click on the link if they like the title. If your title is cut, well….
- Although I am not yet a savvy headline creator I try to make my headlines interesting. This is important because when a headline is interesting and has an element of curiosity, people will click on it both on SERPs or on social media.
- I always incorporate my post main keyword phrase in the headline and build my title around the keyword phrase. I think about what people would search for and for that reason, the results from my keyword planner search come in handy.
3. Writing a blog
- I love my blog and I love to write for my readers. I honestly do. I believe that it comes across in my posts. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that my blog posts feel good (to me). I think a little of me is expressed in my posts and when I write, I think of the readers. I “as if” interact with readers to make sure I am giving them what they are after. For that reason it takes me longer to write a post, but I don’t mind.
- If I write consistently and often, the response is always overwhelming. This is the hardest yet one of the most important blogging lessons I learned from my years of writing. Everything directly correlates to my writing! Anytime I slack off my readership and my earnings spiral down into smithereens. It takes the blog a while to recover.
- I try to keep my blog posts error free, to the best of my ability. I think that my readers deserve it. I also learned that search engines catch errors and that they prefer that you don’t make grammatical mistakes. I think that it is possible for search engines to do from the time Google introduced technology that makes bots’ “reading” human-like.
- As much as possible, I try to organize my blog post such that it is “scannable”. Many visitors first scan the blog post to see if it is worthwhile to read. That’s understandable because people are busy and there is so much information to be found online. I make sure that my blogs has:
- highlighted sections
- bullet points when applicable
- short paragraphs
- decent amount of white space
You don’t want your writing all crammed together. When you finish writing, look at your post and think: “Is it boring and bland looking? … Is it something I would be excited to read when I would come across it?” Then go back and adjust it, if necessary.
4. Scheduling posts
I always knew that I can schedule posts but I rarely used this feature of the WordPress editor. I don’t know why. I generally published when I wrote an article. Interestingly, whenever I am writing, many ideas bounce of from my mind. In the past I may have, (or may not have) jotted the idea down for later, when I’d be writing another post. Well, later may have never come and the idea remained forgotten.
Now when I write and I come up with a blogging idea, I immediately start a new post and title it with the idea. As soon as I finish my original post I will start on my new idea and write at least a very brief outline. On my blogging day I may have several blogging ideas to chose from. Because I already have an outline, I am able to jump right in and finish several articles that day. Then, I schedule them into my routine of posting.
Since I started scheduling my posts I found that I post more frequently, always on schedule (and we know that consistency is essential when blogging), and it is an absolute joy and never a chore.
Of course, if there is something I want to say right away, I will post it immediately and it may be published outside of my posting schedule.
Scheduling your posts allows you to be very flexible and do other important things without worrying about blogging.
5. Posting on Social Media
- Facebook – Every new post gets published on my Facebook page. I also publish it on the topic related Facebook groups I belong to. You may not find huge traffic and a lot of readership on your own Facebook page, but publishing it on a Facebook group is priceless. I always get visitors to my blog from the groups I belong to. The bonus is that they leave a comment and the search engines love that.
- Google + – I also publish my posts on Google+. This is very important to do. If you do not have a Google + account set up yet, please do it. The reason that it is important is that Google tends to place your G+ post on top of SERPs for the relevant keywords. So the indirect link to your blog post is on the 1st page. It takes searchers to the post on Google +, but if they are interested in reading your post, they’ll click on the link within. Now, this effect is not long lasting, but hey, how can you argue against this awesome freebie.
Tip: There is a little trick I learned in a past few months. I always write my title first because it contains the keywords I am interested in. I never just write: “Hey guys, here is a great post… blah..blah…blah…” As well, I always include keyword in a hashtag. I always end up on the first page for a short while. Below is an image of how I might post a blog post on Google +.
Notice that the keyword “blogging for money” is at the beginning of the sentence. It is also in the hashtag.
- I started to blog-hop and leave comments on related blogs. I do it regularly and it significantly increased traffic to my blog.
- I always respond to the comments left on my blog. It is the least I can do for visitors who took the time to leave a comment on my blog. They need to know that I appreciate their effort. As well, responding to comments builds relationships.
- At the end of the post I always ask my readers to leave a comment and share their ideas. This practice significantly increased the number of comments. To Google it means a social proof and a plus towards ranking my blog.
I could go on and write a few more blogging lessons I learned over the years writing a blog. But I believe I covered the main points. It was exciting to write this blog post, I forgot how much I’ve learned over time. In this last paragraph I would also like to reference the blogger whose blog article gave me the idea to write this blog post. Finally, please don’t forget to leave a comment. I do value them.