Is there anything easier than starting your own blog?
You can have your site up and running within minutes which is why hundreds of thousands of new blogs are created every day.
But how many of them stay in business 6 months or a year down the road?
As soon as the early excitement of starting a new blog fades away, most newbies find it difficult to come to grips with the demands of blogging.
Despite publishing new content regularly, they fail to build an audience and generate organic traffic.
As a result, they lose motivation and their blog dies a slow and painful death.
Successful bloggers, however, do it differently.
They have a plan from the start and understand what it takes to establish a thriving blog.
Do you want to know the secret to their success?
Let me give you some hints.
1. They Build an Email List from Day 1
“I’ll start building my email list from tomorrow”
For most newbies, this particular tomorrow never comes.
Successful bloggers understand that building an email list is the most important part of establishing a blog.
Which is why they prepare for it before publishing even a single post.
Leading marketers like Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse, Glen Allsopp and even Zac himself are huge advocates of email list building.
According to research, email marketing has a long-term ROI of 3800%, gives your message 5x more visibility than Facebook and drives 3x more social shares.
So how exactly do the super successful bloggers build their email lists?
By adding a “Subscribe to My Newsletter” opt-in box in their blog’s sidebar?
They create irresistible and laser-focused lead magnets that turn first-time visitors into loyal subscribers.
For example, just look at the lead magnet Zac uses
Zac knows his audience and has created a free giveaway that’ll lure any newbie to his email list.
Your lead magnet should address a very specific problem of your audience and should have a high perceived value.
For starters, I’d recommend using a well-designed 10-15 page eBook as a lead magnet on your blog. You can find lots of eBook ideas in this post.
Placing a lead magnet on your site from day 1 gives you a great chance of converting any traffic generated to your site into email subscribers.
2. They Understand the Needs of Their Audience
Newbies get flashes of inspiration and creativity by seeing the success stories of other bloggers.
But pro bloggers don’t jump into any niche without first understanding their audience.
In fact, research is perhaps the biggest difference between successful bloggers and mere hobbyists.
So how exactly do you research your audience?
Let me quickly share a few tips
- Use Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users. It is one of the best places to research and understand the needs of your audience.
To do that, go to Facebook Audience Insights inside Ads Manager.
In Audience Insights, search for the key interests of your target audience. For example, if your blog is about SEO and content marketing, you can search that in the interests tab
As soon as you search for your interest, Facebook will show you tons of data about its users who’re interested in SEO.
For example, in the snapshot above you can see the tabs marked as “Demographics”, “Location, “Page Likes” etc.
Each of these tabs has loads of information you can use to understand your audience.
Let’s take a look at the “Page Likes” tab
It shows you the other Facebook pages your target audience likes.
You can go to these pages and see the content that they’re publishing.
This will give you a great idea of what your audience wants.
- Google Trends
Google Trends shows you the level of interest in a topic over a certain period of time-based on the searches on Google Search.
For example, here’s the interest level in social media marketing
If you scroll down, you can also see the related search queries that people interested in this topic are using
You can sort them by “Rising” to see the recent trends.
It also gives you other related topics that you can use to expand your research.
- Keyword Research
Successful bloggers never start a blog without extensive keyword research. But since it’s a detailed topic itself, I won’t be able to cover it in this post.
I do, however, strongly recommend reading this keyword research guide by Brian Dean. In my opinion, it’s the most comprehensive keyword research resource on the web.
3. They Create Actionable and In-depth Content
The days of thin, poorly researched 500-word articles are long gone.
If you want to engage your audience and rank in the top 10 Google search results, you need to create authentic, high quality and in-depth content.
According to research, the average word count of the top 10 Google search results is 2000+ words
But apart from SEO, longer and more in-depth content also delivers more value to the readers.
Successful bloggers know that which is why they invest in high-quality content and try to make it as actionable as possible. In simple words, their content helps people take action and move forward in their businesses.
4. They Diversify Their Traffic Sources
“Never keep all your eggs in one basket”
You must’ve heard this famous saying by Warren Buffet, an American billionaire businessman.
The same principle applies to your blog traffic as well.
Newbies depend completely on search engines and SEO to generate traffic. Which is why the moment their rankings go down, their blog dies.
Successful bloggers also generate traffic from Google, but they focus on building online assets to diversify their traffic sources.
Here are a few ways to do it
- Build your email list, we’ve already discussed that.
- Guest post on other high engagement blogs in your niche. Ryan has written extensively about this topic.
- Create and grow your own dedicated Facebook Group. I personally know bloggers who generate more traffic from their Facebook Groups than Google Search. Neil Patel has a detailed guide on this topic
- Build your presence on Quora, Inbound.org, Triberr and other industry-specific forums.
- Grow your audience on social networks like Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit etc.
Diversifying your traffic sources minimizes your risk and reduces your dependency on Google.
6. They Aggressively Promote Their Content
Last but not the least, successful bloggers don’t forget their content after publishing it. Instead, they go out and spread the word.
That’s the only way to consistently drive traffic to your blog.
Don’t stop after sharing your post once on social media. Develop a sharing routine and automate the process using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.
Here’s a good example of how to do it.
The most successful marketers like JeffBullas, Neil Patel etc. keep sharing their content for months and even years.
This keeps sending them new visitors to their archive content and keeps their blog alive.
Blogging isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a walk in the park either. You need to have a clear plan and the willingness to execute it day in and day out. Ask any successful blogger and they’ll tell you how hard they’ve worked to grow their blogs to a level where they can sit back and relax. Hopefully, the tips I’ve shared in this post will help you move in that direction.
Writing: Your Best Blogging Friend
Writing helps you succeed with blogging. Because writing gives you credibility. Credible bloggers land clients, sell eBooks, place sponsored posts and drive steady traffic, too. Write your rear end off. Write 500-1000 words daily. Write to be confident. Write to be clear. Write to gain credibility in your blogging niche. Of course, most bloggers struggle because few bloggers practice writing offline, daily. Bloggers only write when they publish a blog post or guest post. BIG mistake. Most bloggers publish posts infrequently, meaning you get in little writing practice. Not good.
Why do you believe you can just show up, write and publish a post and become successful quickly? If blogger were this easy, guys like me could have gone pro within weeks of buying my domain and hosting. Alas, it took me thousands of hours and years to go full time because I had to practice writing, creating and connecting to be REALLY good at blogging. Skills, exposure and credibility flow to bloggers who tirelessly practice all aspects of blogging. Everybody else fails and quits.
All money you make through blogging flows to you because people trust you and your blog. Writing skillfully – with confidence and clarity – is the only way people trust you and your blog. The more you write, the more skilled a writer you become. The formula is genuinely simple. But quite uncomfortable to put into action, sometimes. Few bloggers want to practice writing with nobody watching. Some bloggers foolishly skip writing practice because they believe writing offline for practice wastes their time. This is like saying you waste your time practicing shooting hoops in a lonely, empty gym if you aspire to make it to the NBA. NBA stars practiced 10,000 hours or more, often times in quiet, lonely gyms, and always *in private, out of the public eye, with nobody watching*, to become skilled enough to go pro. Expect to take a similar journey in order to become a professional blogger.
Writing is your core skill. If you write well, you make money online. If you write poorly, you do not make money online.
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Every way to profit – out of these 15 strategies – can work quite nicely if you practice writing offline daily. Practice to become confident. Practice to become clear on your writing. Confident, clear writers write with authority. Writing with authority inspires trust in your readers. Again; this is a simple process. But sometimes, this process feels uncomfortable. Nudge through discomfort. Write, write and write some more. People who trust you based on your writing skills tend to buy your eBooks, hire you to coach them, hire you to freelance write for them and buy sponsored posts on your blog. Be diligent in writing. The money flows to you based on how much you practice writing. Plus, practicing your writing makes you prolific. Being prolific increase your blog traffic and blogging profits, too. No downsides exist to writing offline daily. Only upsides. So….write!
Practice in private. Shine in public.
Any successful blogger you envy now practiced writing so diligently that you would never envy their writing practice. After having written millions of words both online and offline, nobody envies the work I put into going pro. But being free to circle the globe? Worth it!
Do You Assume too Much?
One of the biggest problems in blogging; bloggers assume too much. Perfect example is someone emails looking for your best sponsored post price. Right away, most bloggers fear losing money to a cheapie because they ASSUMED someone looking for the best price is cheap. Based on past experience. NO! Do NOT do this. Because based on NOT assuming, but being open and in the moment, more than a handful of folks looking for the best price placed orders at my full price, when I shared it was my final price. I rarely if ever assume because assuming cuts you off from traffic and money, based on past experience and future expectations.
These days, I am more in the moment. I am open. Let’s say a blogger quotes their sponsored post price as being $100. A blogger outreach service pro asks for a lower, better price. In that moment, you can do one of two thing: make a foolish assumption that the individual cannot afford $100 or simply share how $100 is your flat, final price. Assuming they cannot afford $100 INSTANTLY robs you of $100. I mean, instantly. Labeling their email as spam or being nasty with them immediately robs you of $100, based on your ignorant assumption. Choosing not to assume anything opens you up to making a quick $100. Wealthy people with large budgets sometimes seek the best price. Rockefeller would be worth $280 billion today – by estimates – and he balanced his books to the penny. He sought the best price but had billions to invest and did invest billions to be the wealthiest person the world has ever known.
This is why I wrote Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger for you. How you choose to think and feel dictates how you act. How you act dictates your success. Failures cling to the past and wander into the future by assuming future scenarios based on past experience. But wise bloggers remain grounded in the present, never assuming. Of course, many cheap bloggers willing to pay only $5 for a $100 sponsored post emailed you with “the best price” reply, in the past. But never rob yourself of $100 by assuming these folks do not have $100 to invest in your guest post. I leave no stones unturned. The way I see it, spending 1 second to read a “Give me a sponsored post for $5” email here and there is worth the “OK, let’s place it for $100” email I see more often these days. Assuming cuts you off from abundance. Being open-minded tunes you in to abundance. Make more money. Be open-minded. Stop assuming.
A few moments ago, our Uber driver told us he originally hailed from Jordan. He has been in the USA for 20 years. My silly mind made a quick assumption; he must live in NYC, like many folks do who immigrated to the USA over the past few decades. He still had a heavy accent. But I refused to assume this and asked him where he lived in the USA. He said in the same New Jersey suburban development where we lived. Small world! Not assuming opens you up to fun, fascinating experiences. Stop assuming online. You’ll make more money, too, and will enjoy your blogging journey.
Blogging Success Is YOUR Choice
Blogging success is your choice. Blogging failure is your choice. YOU choose. Never blame anyone or anything for your blogging failure. Everything in life begins and ends with you because life follows your thoughts and feelings. People or things may *appear* to slow you down or get in your way. But all appearances are illusions. Illusions are not real, not true. You and you alone choose to succeed based on your chosen thoughts and feelings, independent of situations or circumstances around you.
For example, I had a tough time falling to sleep last night. Didn’t pass out until after 6 AM and only slept to 9:30 AM. Tossing and turning, my mind raced with fears. I feared being exhausted and getting sick. I feared work I’d be behind on, today. I also feared simply sitting with my racing thoughts and feelings, being in bed for hours, since I lay down in bed at midnight. I could choose to lay in bed to observe the fears or I could watch Netflix. I chose to observe fears. Eventually, I chose to get up and write my first blog post of the day at 5 AM. I feared waking to work due to fatigue. But nudging into the fear allowed me to create content, positioning myself to expand my success.
I also chose to wake at 9:30 AM after limited sleep to do 20 minutes of intense Kriya yoga, to meditate for 30 minutes and to spend 30 seconds in an icy cold shower. Heck yeah I feared doing each on 3 hours of sleep. But successes CHOOSE to BE the people that succeed. Life unfolds as a series of personal choices. Either you make comfortable choices based on fear, struggle, fail and quit blogging. Or you make uncomfortable, freeing and usually fun choices based on love, leading to your blogging success. You choose. No one can choose for you. No one can wade through fear for you. No blogger can glide through the discomfort for you. This is an intimately personal experience that you need to face, embrace and live, to succeed in blogging, all based on your choices.
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I observed these cute little – actually big – guys during my 4 month trip to Savusavu, Fiji. The little dog men swooped in every night like clockwork, working the papaya trees on the front lawn on dusk. The fruit bats never missed a night; their survival depended on feasting at sundown every single evening. Develop the same attitude with your blog to guarantee success. Be like clockwork. Show up daily. Work. Shine bright in a world of blogging failures who choose to work in fits and starts before choosing to quit. Blogging feels uncomfortable but the journey gets easier success-wise by choosing to wade through scary, unpleasant periods. You have a personal choice to make: generously help people for hours daily over years to succeed online. Or choose not to, guaranteeing your failure. You choose. I believe in you. I know you can choose success. Choose not to fear burnout. Choose to be happy about your future blogging success.
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