A new year brings with it a new beginning and a new start. You can look at it as the same old same old or you can look at it as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Here are some tips to make 2011 your best blogging year.
Take Your Blog Seriously
Because a blog cost next to nothing to start, most bloggers don’t take it as seriously as they should. If you want your blog to advance beyond the hobby stage, you need to take it seriously and treat it like a real business. Don’t let 2011 be the year you’ll give blogging a try or make a half hearted effort to start blogging again. Instead, make 2011 the year you take your blog to the next level because your blog is just as serious as a $100,000 “real” business.
I know many business that cost over $100K to start that makes no where close to what my blog makes. Yet, my blog was started for the cost of a domain name. Very few normal businesses can be started for the cost of a domain name and grow into a $500,000 operation in four years. But that is the power of blogging if you take it seriously and continue to work at it on a consistent basis. Treat your blog like you would treat a $100,000 business and your entire blogging outlook will change.
It’s Time To Get Your Own Domain Name and Web Hosting
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to give your blog a domain name and get out of Blogspot or WordPress.com and into a professional web host. Taking your blog seriously means having your domain name and a professional web host. Fortunately, the cost of these items are so low that any normal business would kill if that’s the only expense they have to pay for.
From my personal experience, I can tell you to that you should chose your domain name registar and web host very carefully. I do not have an official endorsement on where to get a domain name but I’ve heard good things about Name Cheap. Whoever you use, you should stay away from GoDaddy at all cost.
John Chow dot Com is hosted by HostGator and CDN is provided by MaxCDN. The two combination creates a blog that can handle virtually any amounts of traffic. Their service is top notch and I highly recommend them. HostGator offers John Chow readers their first month hosting for $1 by using coupon code JohnChowRocks at checkout. You can get 20% off your CDN bill at MaxCDN when you use coupon code JohnChow.
Make a Commitment to Post On A Consistent Frequency
Many new people read this blog and think it had always made a lot of money. The truth is, I started just like you did. For the first eight months of my blog’s life, it made zero and barely cracked 1,000 page views per day. It also didn’t look anything like it does today.
If I were to nail down one ingredient to blogging success, it would have to be a consistent posting habit. Most bloggers fail because they want instant gratification and mistakenly think that blogging is the quick road to riches. When they first start, they’ll post like crazy for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. When nothing comes from it, they quit and become a statistic.
The key is consistency. On again, off again blogging doesn’t work. I have averaged two posts per day since the day this blog was created. There has never been a single day when there wasn’t new post to read. Even when I go on vacation (like I am now), the posting frequency does not change. It is this kind of consistency and commitment that will lead your blog to success in 2011. You should choose a posting frequency and make a commitment to stick to it for the entire year.
Start That Mailing List NOW
You’ve heard me talk all year about how the money is in the list. Well, it is! I can not stress enough how important it is for a money making blog to have a mailing list. The list is the number one reason my blog makes the income that it does. If you don’t have one yet, then the first thing you should do in 2011 is get a mailing list.
My recommended mailing list provider is Aweber. They are by far the best in the business and have features that put them light years ahead of the competition. Aweber offers a $1 trial account for all new customers. The account is just like a normal Aweber account and includes unlimited email campaigns, newsletter, broadcasts and follow ups. If for some amazing reason, you can’t make the $1 back, then email marketing and making money by blogging is clearly not for you. Send Aweber an email and they’ll give you the $1 back.
Have a Marketing Plan In Place
Most bloggers think making money online is like the movie Field of Dreams, where the main character was told, “If you build it, they will come.” The truth of the matter is you can build it but if nobody knows about it, they’re not coming. Marketing is what separates the big blogs from the small ones. It takes a lot more than good content to build a big blog. There are tons of smaller blogs that have better content than me. The reason they don’t get bigger is because they do little or no marketing. If your blog is not where you want it to be, ask yourself what you’ve been doing to market it. Content is only half the formula. You have to get your blog out there. That means you need to have a marketing plan in place before you start your blog. How do you plan to market your blog? If you don’t have the answer to that, then you need to sit down and work out a plan.
Tell Your Story
Blogging is all about forming relationships. There’s the relationship between you and the readers and relationship between you and other blogs in your niche. Make a commitment to get to know them and form that relationship.
In addition to getting to know your readers, you should have your readers get to know you. If you haven’t done so yet, then make 2011 the year to create your about page and tell YOUR story. Where did you come from? What are you goals and dreams? Introduce your family members. The more the readers know about you, the more they’ll connect with you and trust you.
Be A Highly Effective Blogger
If you ever read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, then you’ll know about the time quadrant. Basically, Every activity we do during the day can be put in one of four quadrants:
- Urgent and important (crises, pressing problem, deadline)
- Not urgent and important (Relationship building, planning, exercise)
- Urgent and not important (Interruptions, some calls, emails, etc.)
- Not urgent and not important (Busy work, time wasters, pleasant activities)
Answer this question: What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life? Chances are, whatever you name, it’s a Quadrant two activity.
Quadrant two is the heart of effective personal management. It deals with things that are important but not urgent, like building your blog, forming relationships, long term financial planning, exercising – all those things we know we need to do, but seldom get around to doing because they are not urgent and can be put off until some other day. Well, we all know that someday never comes.
Don’t put off what you know you need to do just because it’s not urgent and you can always get to it someday. For many, someday will turn into years or never. I know people who said they were going to get into blogging years ago. I’m still waiting to see their blogs. The main difference between a highly successful blogger and an unsuccessful one is the successful blogger knows blogging is not urgent but it’s important enough to actually get started and keep going.