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Don’t be surprise when I say ‘the 10 commandments of building engaged blog.’ Truth is: everything in life has principles.
Commandments in this context are guiding principles. For any blog to succeed in terms of readership and value, ‘engagement’ has to come in.
It’s a good to own a blog and quite easy to set up – and considering the benefits attached to it, joining the blogging chariot is delectable. But building an engaged audience that can trust your opinion, click an affiliate link and make purchases is often very difficult.
A few bloggers have succeeded in breaking loose from this menace. They’ve followed a clear line of instructions – and they’ve become the reference point in this industry.
Please note: These 10 commandments are not set on stone; you’re expected to learn from them, find a unique angle and achieve your goals.
1. Commandment one: Set Clear Goals
In every organization, goal setting is a crucial aspect of growth. Blogging is truly an ‘organization’ of its own. You should see that sleek or quirky domain name as your office space. That is where business acquaintances and clients will meet with you. Until you set clear goals of what you actually want, nothing works.
A potential goal must be realistic, credible, simple and obtainable. Setting a long-term goal might not be ideal for a new blog. But when you set simple and short-term goals which can be achieved within 3 – 6 months, you would be able to keep pace, monitor your growth and make further decisions. Goal setting is a blogging principle – don’t neglect it!
2. Commandment two: Plan Your Attack Wisely
Before you can build an engaged audience and make money, plans has to be in place.
A Goal is different from a plan. Both are like two Siamese Twins that cannot be separated. A goal reveals the visions of where you want to be, while a plan shows the way to achieve such visions. Does that make sense?
My vision is to make $2,000 monthly with my blog. But this cannot be achieved if I fold arms and pray. I’ve got to do something, perhaps take steps that are extraordinary but legit. I can’t continue doing the same things and expect different and cherished results; I’ve got to take the right actions.
If I want to earn that much, I need to network with other bloggers, write 10 quality guest posts a week, or more, and optimize my blog for search engines. All these simple tweaks and steps are my plans. Plans motivate actions – goals do not.
3. Commandment three: Have a unique voice
Do you’ve a unique voice?
It’s so unfortunate how everyone wants to be like Darren Rowse. Blogging is supposed to be a platform where you express your deepest thoughts on a given subject or topic. It doesn’t matter what a professional have said, you’ve rights to air your views.
“Imitation is limitation” – John Marson
Learning is a continuous and necessary aspect of blogging effectively. You can learn from a successful blogger, but don’t try to coin words the way they do. You’re a rare gem and within resides the ability to transform the world with words. Imitation would only degrade the potentials of discovering your inner voice. Blog readers want to connect and engage with a ‘unique person’ who does things differently.
4. Commandment four: Become a Leader
“Leadership has nothing to do with age or years of experience!”
In order to become a leader, you need to recognize that exceptional trait in you, which the world needs. A blog is like a world of its own and to motivate and command this world, being a leader is important.
Experts oftentimes are leaders in the making. Some of the engaged blogs I know are manned by thought-provoking leaders. Ex. Zac Johnson, Brain Clark, Pat Flynn, Yaro Starak, Derek et al. Even when they’re not totally right on a given topic, we still believe and trust their opinion. Why?
They’ve built a strong fan-base in the past few years. Honesty, transparency, and a willing heart to help someone else will move you closer to leadership status. Think about it!
5. Commandment five: Solve ‘at least’ one problem
My blog is an SEO content marketing blog. It helps small businesses generate targeted prospects and sales easily. That’s the problem I solve. If you look at it critically, I’ve been able to solve more than one problem, but I actually wanted to solve one: SEO – optimizing web pages for organic traffic.
What does your blog do?
Can you explain that to a 2-year old without sounding like a Rocket Scientist? If you can’t, it means you’ve not really been solving a problem. And this principle of building an engaged blog is so vital to your growth – readers have problems and they’re looking up to you to provide solution(s).
But believe me, readers will not prosecute you for not solving all their problems, but they’ll hold you responsible if you fail to solve ‘at least’ one problem. Engaged blogs have solutions to problems faced by its readers. Is your blog doing the same?
6. Commandment six: Listen to your readers continually
When last did you get a feedback from readers?
Do you know that ‘writer’s block’ doesn’t exist? I’m sure a lot of bloggers will disagree with me. But that’s the truth. If you experience writer’s blog, you’ve not been listening to readers. “The blog is by you, but not about you.” So, listen to them and over time, you’ll discover the pattern of what works.
Listening more to readers is the only cure for writer’s block. You can read the entire blog in your niche and still experience knowledge breakdown – but when you listen, you write better, engage better and increase conversion rate ultimately.
If you write a blog post that no one reads and comments, it indicates ‘lack of understanding’ of your readers. A blogger who understands her readers doesn’t guess or take part in trial and error marketing practices. He knows what to write, and how to write it.
7. Commandment seven: Mind Your Business, Not Twitter’s
Are you addicted to social media?
It’s no longer news that social media has become a part of blogging, and if properly harnessed, the rewards are tremendous. But come to think of it, what has social media truly done for you? How much targeted readers do you attract from Twitter and Facebook?
If you’re not getting leads from these social networking sites, it means you doing the wrong thing.
You need to mind your business – build your blog and not Facebook’s or Twitter? These social media giants are growing at WAP speed because of bloggers, webmaster and avid internet users.
When exactly will your business grow? Is it when you’re tweeting blindly or liking every Facebook fan page out there? No matter how engaged your twitter followers are, it’s still a waste of time until you channel them to your blog.
Social media is powerful, recommended for bloggers and everyone who wants to connect and network, but don’t be engrossed in it and neglect your responsibilities.
Henceforth, mind your business – eliminate every social media addiction – be wise!
8. Commandment eight: Fail Forward
The 8th commandment is very simple, but vital to future exploits of your blog. There are two ways a blogger can fail: Fail forward or fail backward!
We cannot deny the fact that both are failures. But the former is a great life transformer. Every successful blogger I know have failed in one way or the other, but they picked up the shreds and started again – this time, fully girded for excellence.
When a person fails backward, discouragement and dilemma sets in. A blogger friend of mine actually shut down his blog when his expectations of making money from it didn’t materialize.
We both started together, we both failed. But I failed forward. Leant my lessons, asked intelligent questions and began a new journey and today, I’ve no regrets whatsoever.
For your blog to be engaged, you mustn’t give up. The wind of failure may blow hard, situations may not fall in your favor, but don’t be distracted. Focus on your goal (commandment one) and scale it through. As you stay on course, there will be a time when failure becomes a ‘stepping stone’ and push you closer to the top. Wait until the time comes – be strong and give readers what they want.
9. Commandment nine: Write guest posts every week
Take note: If you can write quality guest posts every week and get featured in A-list blogs, you’ll drive targeted readers easily.
Can I tell you something? One vital and powerful blog promotion strategy you should be addicted to is ‘guest blogging.’
Ironically, the handful of bloggers who discovered the importance of guest posting and how it can transform a blog didn’t do it right. It’s true that most bloggers are contributing to other blogs, but how many are getting significant results.
I once read an article published by Danny Iny of Firepole marketing and he clearly pointed out the mistakes people make when guest posting. According to Danny, if you’re a freelance writer, you don’t have to write a guest post on a freelance blog.
The reason is simple, you can’t build engaged blog filled with freelance writers. You need to guest post in business-related blogs since you’re searching for clients.
Freelance writers cannot hire you, but entrepreneurs can!
So, before writing a guest post, research the blog you’ve in mind. Study the readers. Are they job seekers or business owners? The success of your guest post is determined by the readers and the blog. Be creatively and invest your time wisely.
10. Commandment ten: Reply to every comment
Thank God I didn’t forget this commandment of building an engaged blog. Blog comments is a strong arm of blogging, and should be tamed.
How do you tame commentors?
You do this by replying and answering every question they ask. Not every blogger has time for comments participation, but it can encourage or discourage future comments. I didn’t realize the importance of this in my blog until recently, when I attended a Blog Conference in my city.
I was actively involved in a popular blog, but because my comments and questions were not recognized or replied to, I vowed never to visit again. Established blogs may survive comment’s neglect, but if your blog is pretty new and still building readership, ensure you reply to comments and throw lights on complicated issues.
How do you engage readers?
There you’ve it, the 10 commandments of building engaged audience. This is proven to work for you. But before I leave, I want to know how you’ve succeeded in engaging your readers. What motivates them, why are they still interested in your posts? Share your comments and don’t forget to take action on these simple commandments. See you ahead!
Image Credit: netural
Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?
Some people love attention.
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I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.
I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.
If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:
- small talk
- general BS
people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.
100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.
How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries
Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.
I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.
If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.
You Are Walking into a Word Office
Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.
What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?
I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.
I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.
I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.
People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.
Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.
Who Do You Surround Yourself with in Your Blogger Network?
Some bloggers cannot see the forest for the trees, like the beautiful, lush, thriving national park I visited in New Jersey recently.
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The masses tend to be caught up in fear, pain and struggle because they cannot see the big picture.
Birds of a feather flock together.
You have heard that one, right?
I circle the globe and change time zones like most folks breathe. Would I be wise to surround myself with people who tremble at leaving their home town or home neighborhood? Nope. Such people would teach me the world makes for a scary, dangerous place. I would get advice like play it safe, be comfortable, get a job, buy a home and take it easy, from such folks. Such folks also live a bland life because if you rarely or never leave your comfort zone, you cannot:
- face your fears
- serve humanity
- be a bright light for people to follow
- live your deepest, wildest dreams
Obviously, I chose to surround myself with bloggers who happily circled the globe as successful bloggers. I also surrounded myself with happy, successful, home body bloggers too; to learn the basics of building a rocking blog effectively. I learned how to succeed from my blogger friend network, sponging up their knowledge, inspiration and insight.
Meanwhile, if you surround yourself with new, struggling or failing bloggers you will get advice on how to struggle, fail, or flounder through your blogging day.
Do bloggers around you complain about losing $50 on blogging? Lose these zero’s immediately and surround yourself with bloggers who invest thousands of dollars on their blogs. High rollers teach you to succeed. Broke jokes teach you how to fail.
Do bloggers around you see making $25 as being a huge amount of money? You better lose the low-aiming crowd to surround yourself with bloggers who see $1000 and $10,000 and more as making coin.
Do bloggers around you circle the globe as swash buckling travelers? Check out this photo from my trip to Vietnam. Kong: Skull Island was filmed here.
Time to ditch the comfort zone crowd to hang with adventurous types.
Don’t get me wrong; I celebrate every cent I make online. But if you think I’m placing a sponsored post for less than $1000, you are insane. Like a famous super model who said she didn’t get out of bed for anything less than $10,000 a day, you need to develop a prosperity consciousness that demands big money and ignores appearance of poverty, lack, limitation and fear.
Who Do You Hang With?
Who do you count as blogging buddies? Happy, highly successful, prospering bloggers? You better, to increase your success.
For example, observe my blogging paperback on profiting. The aftermarket price is $45 USD. If most or all bloggers in your network would feel uncomfortable receiving $45 in royalties for a paperback, you better lose that network and surround yourself with bloggers who believe in abundance. I know John Chow feels comfortable receiving $45 for anything he offers online. Who cares? It is just money. It is only money.
Surround yourself only with bloggers who:
- have posture
- have authority
- charge top dollar
- profit freely
- prosper freely
- exude confidence
- have a highly developed prosperity consciousness
You learn from the best, gain inspiration from the best and become the best by surrounding yourself with the best bloggers on earth.
But you need to be honest in who you choose to hang with in your blogging circles. Be clear. Be truthful with yourself. Maybe you feel comfortable trading comments with struggling bloggers you befriended 10 years ago but nothing spectacular happens for you if you surround yourself with struggling bloggers, being firmly fixed in your comfort zone.
Release all bloggers who are not happy and prospering.
Fill your blogger friend network with empowered, inspired, happy, successful, prospering bloggers.
Just your blogging success at stake.
Are You Chasing the Flavor of the Month?
My first fundamental of successful blogging focuses you on being present.
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All of our power resides in the moment.
None of our power resides in the future or past because neither exists.
Time is illusion.
Only Now is real.
Look at that brilliant featured image. I snapped it from the front porch during our trip to Fiji. Sweet things happen when you are in the moment, focusing all power on the present.
This marks my 796th blog post on Blogging Tips. I feel grateful to Zac for the opportunity to serve you. Plus I feel grateful for all success that flowed to me through these guest posts.
How in the heck did I write and publish nearly 800 guest posts on one blog?
I am in the moment, mostly. I am present. Plus I never, never, ever chase the flavor of the month.
Bruce Lee and Blogging
Being patient, persistent and present helps you tap into immense powers, including the power of being creative *and* prolific. See my 800 blog posts on Blogging Tips as evidence of such power. Toss in my 2,008 articles (between posts and pages) on Blogging From Paradise and you understand: focusing on one core task, or core purpose, in the present, leads to amazing things.
Bruce Lee spoke of fearing not the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once, but he did fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times. He embodied this mindset in his genius, Renaissance Man type ways.
Lee’s wisdom and physical prowess are both timeless because he understood and lived this great truth: do 1 thing so frequently, with a focused energy, being in the moment, that you do it incredibly well. He understood the truth of how I live my life: where your attention and energy goes, grows.
The Flavor of the Month
Most bloggers struggle because they practice 10,000 kicks once, chasing hot niches, running after trends, and choosing to blog today, and podcast tomorrow, because everybody runs a podcast these days. Wait a second; live video reigns supreme? Time to become a live video expert. Meanwhile, as you jump from niche to niche, and from blogging to podcasting to live videos, I just wrote and published 800 posts on Blogging Tips alone. Plus I wrote and published 1,000 more guest posts on other blogs.
While most bloggers chase hot trends, profitable niches and the latest game changing opportunity, guys like Alonzo and I thrive by doing one thing alone so we do it incredibly well.
Success is yours, but success is not an overnight or week-long endeavor.
Stop chasing hot niches. Visualize your dreams in detail. Focus on your blogging wins. Invest in coaching and courses from top bloggers. Surround yourself with positive vibes and positive people.
Write, publish and connect with top bloggers by helping top bloggers.
Success Finds Specialists
I took a nap this afternoon. A calm, peaceful breeze kisses my face right now as I write and enjoy the day.
Imagine if you could work from home every day? Visualize that fun and freedom.
Specialists are the only folks who work from home full time. People who do 1 thing persistently, practicing this skill, so they become super skilled in a single, specialized niche.
I gave all of my professional energy to being a blogger for the past 10 years. I became really skilled at blogging because I never chased the flavor of the month.
Avoid program hopping, niche hopping and all forms of flavor-chasing.
Do one thing. Do it well.
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