Blogging strategies and SEO tips I wish mom told me.
It’s not Diwali and Christmas is gone but at this corner of the web there are crackers and trumpets bursting and blowing in celebration as DigitalGYD has completed its first year in the blogosphere. I invite you to the celebration and thank you post for being so supportive. Blogging has given me a great exposure and after 365 days of blogging, all I can say is blogging is much more refreshing than a pair of new socks. All this year round, I stumbled, I fell, and I rose yet again, with twice the enthusiasm and love for blogging. Thank you, yes I am talking to you sitting other side of the screen, thanks a lot to appreciate me and my writing. You taught me the blogging strategies and SEO tips I wish my mother did. Sadly, she is not much of an internet person and I love her even more for this.
A quick recap of my blogging journey:
Though I have been blogging for past 14-15 months I officially got my first TLD “DigitalGYD.com” on February 6th last year and mapped it ready on 7th of Feb. I still remember the days during the last year of my graduation when I talked with a friend on what career to pursue after college as we were not very enthusiastic about our the then shaping career. I did not know that websites were actually web pages (and that were written by humans who made money from them by various methods we monetize our blogs with today). I had no idea how what they were and how websites were maintained.
What started as a normal Google search for ways to make a living by writing landed me on a website (I had no idea that a term “blog” existed) titled “makealivingwriting” ended up with a blog called “TechGYD” that taught me what a blog was and how to maintain it and everything you wanted to know about blogging. I have never looked back since then.
Today I earn a full time living from my blog. Though not through direct ads and review posts, I earn approx. 20-22K INR from freelance writing projects I have got through my blog.
I would have never been writing this post (and you reading) had you not given me the support and love to bounce back each time I dropped. It’s all due to my readers. Due to you!
And as I always say “You Rock!”.
As I said I did not know anything about blogging, neither do I know everything of now. But, I can say I have learned a lot and want to share the lessons and tricks I wish I knew earlier. Here is a “blogging brief” of what 365 days of blogging, with 36 posts (exclusive of 10 deleted posts) and 663 comments have taught me.
#1 Choose a niche you want to write for, years to come.
When you are hobby blogging you are free to write on any topic, your mom is going to read it anyways. When blogging seriously, often as a profession, you got to mark up a field you want to be known for. Something you can write for years to come. Here are some tips:
1) Choose a niche (forte) you are passionate about.
2) Is the topic so inspiring that it can keep you up writing while your family is sleeping?
3) Does the topic interest your targeted audience as much as you?
4) Is there enough to write on the topic, for years to come? You aren’t thinking of shutting the blog next summer, are you?
#2 It’s not about “me”, It never was.
When I started blogging, I posted stuff I thought were interesting (to me). I did not write more but whatever I wrote was more about what I wanted to share rather than what you wanted to read. Short, mixed topics and boring posts I would say. In fact, I had never used the keyword planner tool until very recently. I thought the topics I write will be read anyway.
But, it isn’t so. A blog can never survive when it isn’t aimed at one audience. Because we blog for readers and should therefore, try to focus what the readers want to hear from us. Writing what readers find valuable is a great secret to effective blogging. Here comes the “keyword tool” into play which suggests what the readers search for and how many searches. Life has become easier since then as you know what your readers want and what you are expected to write about.
1) Try talking about what your readers want to hear from you.
2) Go to forums, social sites and every possible place where your audience hang out in order to know what they are talking about.
3) Use a keyword tool to find keywords that people search for. Choose by the numbers, the high the volume of search the better. Google’s keyword planner is free, others include ubersuggest, wordstream, and paid ones include Moz tool and my favorite SEMRush.
4) If you still have no idea which blog topic to choose, you probably need some inspiration to re-kindle your love for blogging .
#3 Invest in your blogging business: Get WordPress and a secure theme framework:
1) How many top ranking sites have you seen that are on a free blogging platform like Blogger? One of my biggest regrets is that I did not migrate my blog to WordPress earlier than I did. I am not saying Blogger blogs are bad (nor are the blogs on any other free platform mediocre), or short of quality content, it was the platform that brought me into the blogging scene, but let’s be honest you can’t make full use of something you don’t really own.
Migrating to WordPress is not that difficult (Thank you! Atish bro) and I, after winning so many inner conflicts migrated to WordPress on 25th August, 2014.
2) When on WordPress, you are now exposed to more powers (of controlling your blog and safeguarding its content) and with more powers come more responsibilities. WordPress blogs are more vulnerable to attacks and hacks, not because there is a flaw in the CMS but because we often forget to adhere to rules you should follow. For example, getting a costly theme for free from a site might be luring and tempting but you are going to pay much more, in the long run. So you should get a fast loading, SEO optimized and secure theme framework rather than a free one downloaded from some site. I suggest genesis and grovepixels as the best theme frameworks. Genesis is the no.1 provider of secure themes all over the world. My personal blog uses genesis DigitalGYD is on the latter.
#4 Use images and other media:
People kinda get bored reading the same text in white and black. Images and videos and other graphical illustrations like embedding of social statuses tend to attract readers well. Human attention span is 8 seconds which is lesser than that of a goldfish. (Click to Tweet).
Try captivating your reader through visual attractions. Visual pages get more shares. ( Click to Tweet)
#5 Be giving:
Harleena Singh, my mentor, and guide has always taught me to be giving in life. You cannot expect others to be kind to you if you aren’t feeling the same for them. Being compassionate for others is the key to building relationships. Try mentioning others in your post. Link to a relevant article that you think will add value to your post. Love your social media followers equally. Social media followers are not mere numbers; they are the real strength of your blog. Targeting your readers on social sites is a must know blogging tactic.
Help others by promoting them, commenting your views on their post and suggest any changes that you think would for great for them. I started by sharing posts of friends and fellow bloggers. I did not know, then that it will help to give me at least a quarter of my total shares (by those friends who think) as soon as I publish my post.
You must join communities where you can build relationships.
If you want lasting relationships and a community where all members are ever intent to help the others join Aha!NOW blogging community. Read why Aha!NOW is better than Facebook for building lasting relationships with your audience.
If you want to amplify your blogger reach you should never ignore triberr. Triberr is a place where you connect with influencers. Thankfully, my posts get retweeted the moment my Feeds is synced by many influencers including contributors to Forbes and Business Insider. I am thankful to them for showing their trust in my posts and that they are with their global audiences.
#6 Recent news and seasonal posts are a big NO NO – if you want to be a blogger of the long run.
In my initial days I wrote very “current news” type articles. Though they helped me some good traffic during the season ultimately they are under the dust of time now. Nobody searches for those topics and now I fear Google may penalize me because of thin content over the pages. Here is what I learned:
1) Don’t write too much on events that are going to last a specific time, unless you are a huge media group or your blog niche is “news and events”.
2) If you have old content either update them, add more up-to-date information and make them an evergreen post.
3) You can publish a new post and then apply a permanent 301 redirect from that old post to the new one.
Blogging tips I regret not following:
#7 I did not build an email list:
If you are planning to build a long term blog with lots of traffic you are bound to have an email marketing strategy. Neil Patel says it is rare for a blog to get 100,000 page views daily without an existing email subscriber base.
1) Start building an email list right now, no matter how small your reader is.
2) Offer a free incentive; you need to give something away for free in order to attract subscribers. If you have nothing else, convert one of your popular posts into a PDF and give it away. Ana Hoffman has a great idea to turn your posts into PDF in less than 60 seconds.
If you want to know email strategies here is an epic post.
TIP: From the very beginning, have an ethic: Never spam a person who trusts you with his email id. (Click to tweet)
#8 I did not write longer and well detailed articles.
Did you know that the average length of content on a post in the first page of Google is 2032 words? This image by SerpIQ represents it graphically.
On an average 2 blogs are launched every second that’s roughly 1,72,800 blogs daily. Considering 90% of these blogs get shut down due to various reasons, you have a daily 17280 blogs to compete with, plus there already are over 42 million blogs as of 2012. That means you have to compete with 42 million blogs plus the amount of blogs developed over the years at a rate of 17200 blogs per day. That’s insane! How do you rank your posts then?
You have to be creative, and write well-researched articles on any topic you pick. Write everything you know about it, mke it detailed. Detailed posts get more natural backlinks.
I first wrote smaller posts and they took me nowhere, neither high in the SERPs nor user engagement. So I started writing in-depth and insightful posts, no matter two in a month.
Recommended Reading: The science behind how a long copy affects rankings and conversions.
#9 I did not update my blog regularly:
One of the best tips for blogging that I can give from my experience is you should blog regularly and consistently. Writing at a regular pace and time interval would let Google and your audiences know when to expect a post from you.
When I updated my blog regularly my posts got indexed within a couple of hours after getting published. Recently, I could not blog for nearly a month and my last post was indexed two days after publishing. Though there are manual ways to let Google know by pinging it what about the audience. Will they return to see a blog dead for almost 1 month? Probably, No.
If you have no time to write a complete new post, try to update and repurpose your old ones.
No blog has 100% updated posts. Wise is he, who repurposes them
#10 I did not interact with other bloggers and influencer:
Unless you are someone like Matt Cutts or a popular personality like Chris Brogan or someone like Pat Flynn who has working methods to teach how to earn a living online, you have to go find out friends yourself.
Being an introvert, this was my biggest challenge. I knew no one, being from a locality where internet is not that much of talk and working online means doing “data-entry” jobs with a 1$ per day wage, I had a tough time to balance the two worlds.
I however have learned how to deal with it and how to keep my personal and professional life separate. I reached out to bloggers on my own; made a forceful entry into their already going conversations (you don’t have to do this though) and got connected this way. Nowadays I am glad people are connecting with me from their side.
What are my aims for blogging, this year?
Having come a long way I now see I have a longer path to go. I have the must know SEO basics in my blogging checklist that hopefully will be accomplished this year. In addition to learning SEO and competitor analysis I have the following goals to cover this year.
My biggest challenge this year would be to revamp this blog into a subject I am passionate about and that is “Content Marketing” and “Social Media“. Initially, this DigitalGYD was focused on technology, but I noticed that I was not very vigilant on what I wanted then. Moreover, technology blogs are dime a dozen these days, there is hardly any space left to express yourself.
1) Get visible online through networking (I am going to have a tough time tackling this)
2) Learn coding (every blogger must know it, no matter how less)
3) Produce more epic content.
4) Create a pillar content strategy.
I am deeply touched by Pat Flynn’s strategy if creating pillar content. I want to write something epic tutorial based like his TBSTW (The Backlink Strategy That Works) which is in no way short than a resource for SEO and blogging personnel.
My friends, and inspirations in blogging:
Ah, my favorite part; I love you readers who have given me the courage to blog even in adverse conditions. It is because of your appreciation that I feel enthusiastic to blog all the way down with my 2G internet connection (I don’t have a broadband connection nor can I have soon because of the geographical location of the place I live in).
Harleena Singh: I, have nothing but tremendous respect for her. She is so giving and so inspiring and so helpful that words can’t describe enough. She was the first person who inspired me, pointed out my mistakes (Thank you maam!) and stood behind me giving the right directions, ever always. Vinay sir, the better half of Harleena maam is someone I cannot thank enough for all his guidance and motivational words.
Atish Ranjan: I admire this pro-blogger a LOT so much talented yet so down to earth. If you think good people have ceased to exist, meet Atish bro. He is the guy who helped me in every technical problem no matter how busy he was. From migration, to coding he was all throughout.
Ankit Singla, Jyoti Chauhan, Krishna Moorthy D, Rohan Chaubey, Vinay Katiyar, Angela McCall, Sasidhar Kareti, Abrar Mohi, Moumita ghosh, Ikechi Awazie, Priya Sharma, Diptesh, Ravi Chahar, Minakshi Shrivastava, Pradeep kumar, Swaviman Yogita Agarwal and everyone else thanks a ton for being wonderful friends, sorry if I missed your name out. Give me a hint in the comments and I will be more than glad to add you.
A special shout out to Sugandha Agrawal, my dearest friend, who helped me so much in building relations in the blogosphere. It’s through her blog and profile that I visited other blogs and made friends.
“My heart has been solaced and refreshed by blogging at times when it was weary”. – Swadhin Agrawal (click to tweet). I have been passionate about blogging, you friends and this whole online world for having given me an identity of my own. Learning tso much on blogging tactics would never have been an easy task without your support. I need the same loving support of yours to accomplish my blogging plans and serve you with better blog posts.
At times of despair, remember “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer”- Ralph Emersion. (Click to tweet).
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