You can look at 2013 as the same old same old, or you can look at it as an opportunity for a fresh. I do not believe in making new year’s resolutions. What I do like is making clearly defined goals and then creating a plan to get them. If one of your goals is to make 2013 your best blogging year, then taking the following actionable steps will help get you there.
Get Your Own Domain Name and Web Hosting
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to give your blog its own domain name and get out of Blogspot or WordPress.com and into a professional web host. I am continually amazed at the number of emails I get from bloggers wanting to make the big bucks but aren’t even willing to pay for a domain name. I’m sorry, but it really does take money to make money. Fortunately, the costs of these items are so low that it shouldn’t even enter the equation.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that you should choose your domain name registar and web host very carefully. I do not have an official endorsement on where to purchase a domain name but I’ve heard good things about Name Cheap. Whatever service you use, you should stay away from GoDaddy at all cost.
John Chow dot Com is hosted by HostGator and content delivery is provided by MaxCDN. The two combinations create a blog that can handle virtually any amounts of traffic. Their services are top notch, and I highly recommend them. You can get 20% off your content delivery bill at MaxCDN when you use coupon code JohnChow. HostGator offers John Chow readers 25% off any hosting plan when you use coupon code JohnChow25. You can also get WordPress installed for free.
Your Blog Starts with The First Post
Do not be like 90% of the people who order a free WordPress installation from me. I did a random check on some of the blogs I’ve set up for others over the past 12 months and more than half of them still have the “Hello, World” as their only post.
Your blog starts when you make your first blog post, not when it’s first set up. If you think all you need to do is have me set up a blog for you and then the money will roll in, you are sadly mistaken. Yet, more than half the people who ordered a new blog won’t make a single blog post on it, and 90% will stop blogging after a month or two. This brings me to the next point.
Post On A Consistent Basis
Many new readers (and there are a 1000’s of them) come to my blog thinking it had always made a lot of money. The truth is, I started just like everyone else. For the first eight months of my blog’s life, it made zero income and barely cracked 1,000 page views per day.
If I were to nail down a key ingredient to blogging success, it would have to be a consistent posting habit. Most bloggers fail because they want instant gratification. They think, mistakenly, that blogging is a quick and easy way to get rich. 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.
On again, off again blogging doesn’t work. The key is consistency. I averaged two posts per day for the first five years of the blog’s life, and there has never been a single day in the blog’s history when there wasn’t a new post to read. Even when I was in the hospital, the posting did not stop. It is this kind of consistency and commitment that will lead your blog to success in 2013. I highly recommend you choose a posting frequency and make a commitment to stick to it for the entire year. If you do that, amazing things will happen.
Have a Marketing Plan In Place
Way too many bloggers think making money from blogging is like the movie Field of Dreams, where Kevin Costner’s character was told, “If you build it, they will come.” You can build it, but if nobody knows about it, then they’re not coming!
It takes a lot more than good content to build a big blog. There are tons of smaller blogs that have better content than my blog. The reason they don’t get bigger is because they do little or no marketing. Marketing is what separates the big blogs from the small ones. If your blog is not where you want it to be, ask yourself what you’ve been doing to market it? Great content is only half the formula. You have to get your blog name out there. That means you have to create a marketing plan.
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. The marketing plan should begin with the next item.
Start That Mailing List TODAY
You’ve heard me say many times that the money is in the list. Well, it really is! I cannot stress enough how important it is for a money-making blog to have a mailing list. The list is the foundation of my marketing plan and the number one reason my blog makes the income that it does. If your blog doesn’t have a list, then the first thing you need to do in 2013 is to start one.
My recommended mailing list solution is Aweber. They are 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 making money online is clearly not for you. Send Aweber an email and they’ll refund your dollar.
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 in 2013.
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 2013 the year to create your about page and tell YOUR story. Where did you come from? What are your goals and dreams? Introduce some of your family members. This is the reason why you’ll see posts about me going to Disneyland with Sally or celebrating New Year’s Eve with the family. The more the readers know about you, the more they’ll connect with you and trust you.
Attend At Least One Industry Trade Show
If you have never attended a show like New Media Expo or Affiliate Summit, then make 2013 the year you attend at least one industry show. Not only will you learn a lot, but you’ll also meet many interesting people and form many new friendships that will help you down the road.
The sold out Affiliate Summit West starts this Sunday. I look forward to it every year. For many people attending, it will be a turning point in their online ventures. The fact that it happens at the start of the year is a major bonus as it can be the push they need to take their Internet business to the next level.
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:
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 most, someday will turn into years or never. I know people who told me they were going to get into blogging seven years ago. I’m still waiting to see their blogs. The difference between a highly effective blogger and an ineffective one is the effective blogger knows blogging may not be urgent, but it’s important enough to get started and keep going.
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 2013 be the year you’ll give blogging a “try” or make a half-hearted effort to start blogging again. Instead, make this year 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 businesses that cost over $100K to start that makes nowhere close to what my blog makes. Yet, my blog was started for the cost of a $9.98 domain name. Very few normal businesses can be started for $9.98 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.
The Biggest Obstacle Standing In Your Way
I get asked what’s the biggest obstacle standing in the way of blogging success a lot. The answer is not something most will want to hear.
When it all comes down to it, you are the only thing that is stopping you from achieving whatever it is your heart desires. Success is an attitude. It is not money, wealth or power. Take away the money of a successful person and he’ll have it all back and more in a few years. Give an unsuccessful person a million bucks and chances are he’ll lose it all in a few years. The difference is their attitude.
The unsuccessful person blames his misfortunes on outside factors – it’s the tax man’s fault, the economy sucks, Obama didn’t change a thing, prices are too high, my wife won’t let me, etc. He’ll blame everything else except the one thing that is truly keeping him down. The successful person doesn’t blame outside factors for failing. He accepts failure as a requirement for success and learns from it.
They say successful people think differently than unsuccessful people. That’s not entirely true. They don’t think differently, they think opposite. An unsuccessful person hates failure. A successful person welcomes failure. An unsuccessful person works hard for money. A successful person has money work hard for him. An unsuccessful person takes. A successful person gives. An unsuccessful person will let someone else write his paycheck and determine his net worth. A successful person writes his own paycheck and determines his own net worth. The list goes on, but the point is a successful person has an opposite attitude from an unsuccessful person.
If you want to be successful, the first thing you need to change is your attitude. If you have the attitude of an unsuccessful person, then no amount of reading, couching or training is going to make you successful. Once you change your attitude, things will open up for you.
At the end of the day, it’s not going to me or any other make money online blog that’s going to make you successful. You are the only one standing between where you are now and where you want to be. Stop blaming outside factors and start to take responsibility and change your attitude to that of a successful person. You are the problem, but you are also the solution. Success begins, and ends, with you. I look forward to reading your success story.