A few days ago, Mark Evans wrote a post outlining some of the blog lessons he has learned since he began. I can definitely relate to most. In light of that post, I will now outline some of the lessons I have learned since I began blogging in September 2006.
1. Content is king. This cannot be over-emphasized enough. Always provide quality content for your readers. If you find that you are unable to come up with interesting, pertinent content on a regular basis, post less often. Do not allow the quality of your content to degrade.
2. NEVER take your readers for granted. Your audience is your basis for being. Thank them for their participation, be sure to respond to their e-mails, and never insult their intelligence.
3. Blogging is a huge time commitment. Well, it can be if you post regularly and plan on successfully marketing your blog. Often, new bloggers underestimate the time needed to successfully operate a blog.
4. Become a part of the blogosphere community. This means commenting on other blogs, adding trackbacks to your posts, linking to other blogs via your blogroll, and leveraging community widgets to enhance your blog experience for readers. This will help build your traffic, provide incoming links, and ensure a certain level of exposure for your blog. Furthermore, community participation will also provide valuable networking opportunities with other bloggers, Internet enthusiasts, and company exceutives.
5. Have a goal and a vision when you begin blogging. What is your reason for blogging? Do you want to provide an update for friends and family, or do you want to write articles on a given niche? Everyone has a different reason and underlying motivation for blogging. Money and financial returns should not be a primary motivator, nor should notoriety and fame.
6. Make yourself extremely accessible to readers. By prominently displaying your contact information and allowing easy communication with readers, you will be bridging the gap and creating a more loyal, trustworthy following. Having said that, you must also make a strong effort to reply to comments and e-mails in a prompt, thoughtful manner.
7. Post on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean you need to post daily. What it means is that you must post on a consistent basis, whether it be once every two days, weekly, or even monthly. This way, your readers will know when to expect another post and do not become frustrated by an inconsistent posting schedule.
8. Stay on topic. Don’t sway too much from your initial niche and begin posting off topic. This not only disgruntles readers, but also ruins trust and loyalty. Providing high quality content in a given niche will help shape your space in the blogosphere and showcase your expertise.
9. Don’t regurgitate other blogs’ content. Numerous blogs simply choose to paraphrase other blogs or re-write articles in their own words. This provides no value to the reader, as he/she can simply visit the cited location. Every post must provide a unique perspective or view.
10. Don’t be discouraged by stats. It takes time to build a reader base. By posting quality content on a regular basis and participating in the blogosphere community, increased readership is inevitable. Stats can be discouraging at times, but you must stick with your initial vision. Quality and consistency will translate into surprising success.
11. Make design changes every once in awhile. In other words, keep a fresh look. This may mean changes to the overall design, colour schemes, widgets, layout, etc… By making regular changes, you will be providing a fresh look for you and your readers, creating a more enjoyable experience.
What lessons have you learned from blogging? What have been your biggest hurdles and obstacles to overcome? I encourage you to write a list of your own.