If you’re looking for a cutesy article that’s going to give you a high-level vague overview of some blogging tips for beginners, you are NOT in the right place.
This is going to be a deep dive.
Both rookies and blogging pros are going to gain massive insights from this article.
We’re also going to give you the blogging street smarts that we’ve learned along the way to becoming six-figure bloggers.
Growing and monetizing a blog can be
- Much more
So we’re going to give you our best tips to help you become a successful, six-figure blogger too!
Here is a brief timeline of our journey to blogging success with our health and wellness blog, Avocadu:
- It took us 6 months to make any income with our first blog.
- From that point, we doubled our revenues in our first 5 months of business.
- We hit our first goal of $10,000/month from our blog a couple months after that.
- We ended up making $103,457.98 in that first year with our health and wellness blog.
- In the two years that followed that, we started this website, Create and Go, and now make over $100,000/month with both of our blogs.
As you can see from the summary above, our income has grown exponentially over those first 3 years.
In this article, we’ve turned some of our most important lessons into successful blog tips that will help you along your path to success.
Each of these tips CAN make a serious impact on your bottom line, so we’re also going to give you actionable steps for each one so you can implement them in your own business.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Get Organized or Go Broke! (Free Downloads)
I don’t care if you just started your blog yesterday or you are 10 years into this sh*t, organization is growth fuel.
Running a blog can be a tough job because it’s generally a one-man show and you have to be good at everything.
As a blogger, your job includes…
- Writing content
- Email marketing
- Product marketing
- Product sales
- Customer service
- Managing finances
- Graphic design
- Web design
- Social media marketing
- And more…
Large companies have whole departments for these jobs because each one of these tasks generally requires a special set of skills.
If you are really in touch with your creative side and great at writing, you’re probably not as naturally good with numbers and managing finances.
But you have to learn to be.
As your blog grows, you will grow with it and learn to develop all of these skills over time.
Sure, some of this can be hired out at some point, but most people can’t afford to do that until they’ve started actually making money with their blog.
So, how do we do this?
You stay organized.
Prioritize Your Sh*t and Focus on the #1 Thing
This is one of the better tips for new bloggers simply because you have a lot more work ahead of you when you’re just getting started.
It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed when you feel like you have a million things on your to-do list and just never enough hours in the day.
You scratch one thing off your list and add 5 more.
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes go for the low-hanging fruit and “easy” tasks just to feel the satisfaction of crossing a few things off the list.
Forget your growing to-do list. Tear it up into little pieces. Light it on fire. Toss it out.
Your new to-do list is going to have ONE thing on it.
What is the #1 most important thing you can do TODAY that will have the greatest impact on your blog?
- Is it writing those first 10 blog posts that will establish your blog’s foundation?
- Maybe designing your home page?
- Or taking that Pinterest course because you REALLY need to get some visitors to your blog?
Whether it’s related to traffic, monetization, email marketing, writing content, or something else entirely, figure out what the ONE most important thing is to your bottom line right now.
Add that thing to your to-do list and FORGET everything else.
It can wait.
Whether it takes you one day or one week to get the most important thing accomplished.
When Alex and I were creating our courses, we could generally knock them out in 2-3 weeks when we tag-teamed them. But that’s only because we let everything else go during that time.
We often stopped working out and let ourselves snack and drink some wine a little more often than usual. We stopped sending emails and writing new articles.
Finishing the new course was the #1 priority because it was going to have the greatest impact on our business when we launched it.
The same has been the case when we have purchased a new course and implemented a new strategy, whether that relates to Pinterest, SEO, you name it.
We put EVERYTHING we have into the prioritized task and because of that, we stay hyper-focused and usually do a far better job at completing that task.
Compare that to when your brain is trying to accomplish something but you’re still semi-focused and aware of the million other things you have to do…
Staying focused will help you stick to your deadlines and get tasks accomplished faster.
Download this One Thing To Do List and use it as a guide to work on your one thing – every day.
Track Those Dolla Bills Properly
You’re probably not an accountant, but I am.
Here is one of my best blogging tips for business: Keep track of your finances from the very beginning.
Why is it important?
Because being on top of your finances can save you a LOT of money – money that you can and should be reinvesting back into your blog.
This is Lauren talking here, and I was a Certified Public Accountant working in tax and auditing for over 5 years before I became a full-time blogger.
I’m a numbers gal, for sure, but it’s perfectly okay if you’re not. As long as you stay organized, you can easily stay on top of it.
Did you know that you can generally deduct your blog expenses against your income?
Your blog hosting, email marketing software, blogging courses that you purchase, that Starbucks coffee you bought while you were writing that article…
Those are generally all tax-deductible, but only if you keep track of them.
Not only is it important from a money-saving and tax standpoint, but it’s also important to see where you are spending your money and how much money you are spending on a monthly basis.
Here’s what you need to do.
Download this simple Blog Finances spreadsheet to track your expenses.
Each month, review your bank statements and input all business-related expenses (and revenues) into the spreadsheet.
There are formulas in the spreadsheet that will automatically carry these numbers over to your yearly overview, so you can compare your finances on a month-to-month basis.
At the end of the year, these totals are all you need to complete your tax return for your new business! You won’t have to dig through a year’s worth of statements and try to remember what the heck that charge was from 7 months ago.
Pro Tip: Consider using a separate credit card for business expenses so that you don’t have to dig through personal expenses each month.
We personally like Chase Sapphire card because we get travel points back for our business expenses.
2. Invest More in Your Blog (3 Investments
This is probably the #1 most important thing that we did to begin earning money with our blog.
We tried EVERYTHING, and it cost us more than a few pennies to do it.
We bought software and courses and everything we could get our hands on that we thought would help our business grow. And most of them didn’t work. Wasted money, it would seem.
But it’s not about that.
It’s about the ONE THING that did work.
If you’re lucky enough to find that one thing on the first try, props to you.
I should take you to Vegas.
For most of us, it’s a massive trial and error process and you HAVE to invest some money along the way because the free information on the internet is generally fragmented and limited at best.
If you try to cruise by on free information and software, you’re going to get cheap results.
Newbies don’t spend money because they aren’t committed enough. Veterans don’t invest because they think they know it all.
One is based on fear, one is based on ego, and they’re both dead wrong.
All that being said, it IS important to invest your money wisely.
Here are the three most important investments you should make for your blog.
Software (Design and Efficiency)
The very first investment you should make for your blog is for the right software.
- Starting off with the right blogging platform and hosting plan (we recommend Bluehost).
- Choosing a good blog theme (more on that later in this article)
- Using an email marketing service geared specifically towards bloggers
- Upgrading to better software as your blog grows.
On that last note…
Make sure you are constantly evaluating where your blog is at and that you aren’t waiting too long to invest in something your blog really needs to grow.
Paid software works far better than free software, and you’re going to get a poorer return on your investment if you wait and invest at the wrong time.
If you’re getting some steady traffic to your blog and you don’t have the best software to collect emails, your email list will grow much slower and you will earn a lot less money when you begin to monetize your blog.
Courses (Get Your Learn On)
INVEST IN COURSES!
We have bought courses on webinars, product launches, Google, SEO, Pinterest traffic, and so much more.
While it was painful to spend the money before we were making any money from our blog, we knew that in order to be successful, we needed to learn from people who were already successful.
When we first started out, we bought a lot of the wrong courses because we didn’t yet identify with the term “blogger” yet.
We simply thought we were trying to make money with a health and fitness website.
If we had bought courses specifically geared towards bloggers from the very beginning, we would have been able to start making money a LOT faster.
This is why we created our blogging courses – because they are based on everything we wish we had started with in the beginning.
Our hope is that the bloggers learning from us can avoid some of the costly mistakes that we made in those first few months.
And while we’d love for you to check out ours, we really don’t care what you buy! If you don’t think our courses are a good fit for you, find another blogger whose courses are a better fit.
The point is…
If you keep searching through the masses of free information, you’re going to spend far more time searching and far less time taking real action (and making money).
Time (Worth More Than You Think)
Lastly, it’s imperative that you spend as much TIME as possible on your blog if you really want to make a successful business out of it.
When Alex and I started our first health and wellness blog, I was working full-time as a CPA for an accounting firm and Alex was working full-time as a personal trainer.
We had to make some serious sacrifices in those early days to start our blog and get it off the ground.
And the worst part is…
While your close friends and family will probably support you no matter what, they almost certainly won’t understand.
They’ll think you’re crazy when you turn them down for brunch yet another weekend in a row to work on your “blog.”
Or when you tell your dad that you’re quitting your comfortable job at an accounting firm as a newly-licensed CPA to work full-time on a blog that hasn’t made you a single dime yet.
You’re on a VERY different journey than most of the world, and it can be very isolating and lonely at times because of that, but know that you ARE on the right path.
When you start traveling the world like we have (or achieve whatever else it is on YOUR list), your friends and family will finally get it.
They’ll understand why you gave up your nights and weekends for MONTHS to make this thing work.
If you don’t quit, you can’t fail.
It sounds dumb and cheesy but it’s totally true.
Spend every spare moment you have on your blog. It will be worth it.
3. Understand That Blogging is an A to Z Thing
This is an extension of what we discussed above about being a one-man show as a blogger and needing to both know and also be good at everything from sales to marketing to customer service.
There is no ONE THING that you need to be good at to be a successful blogger. There isn’t one key to success or one thing that will make or break you.
Blogging is an A to Z thing.
First, you must work on letter A, then letter B, then letter C so on. If you start with F, you’re going to Capital F – F*ck it all up.
It’s not just about getting good at everything, but more about doing the right things in the right order.
Here is an oversimplified illustration of the process:
It’s only those that can connect A-Z that end up with six-figure success.
There are tons of bloggers who have a great product, but they can’t get anyone to buy it. There are other bloggers who have great content, but they can’t get any visitors to their site to read it.
It’s about having all the right pieces to the puzzle and putting them together correctly.
Letter A is the purpose of your blog, and Letter Z is the moment that people love your product so much that they’re sharing it with their friends and family.
Why Our First Blog Failed [Spectacularly]
Did you know that our very first blog failed?
(Like spectacularly failed…)
It failed for a variety of reasons, but most of it boiled down to the fact that we made all the right moves in all the wrong places.
We created a product before we knew anything about our blog readers or what they were even interested in.
We also drank too many mimosas while trying to get our new business off the ground.
True story. These are actual photos we took for our first blog. *sigh*
We created a product based on who we thought our target customer was and what we thought they wanted.
That meant that our marketing message was ALL wrong and we sat around waiting for sales that never came.
It was frustrating and disappointing and just an all-around really tough time for us after we had poured our hearts and souls into this product.
And you know what the crazy thing was?
Our product wasn’t the problem.
It was a GREAT product and we recycled most of the content and repackaged it into our highly successful diet program, the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge.
It was just that we tried to run before we could walk.
We tried to jump right into monetization before we spent the time on the steps that come before that – getting email subscribers, collecting feedback, adjusting your content strategy, etc.
You can’t take the shortcuts because you will miss out on SO many learning opportunities along the way and only set yourself back further.
If you’re wondering what those steps are, you can check out our definitive guide to make money blogging for the exact steps we took (minus the mistakes) to start earning six figures with our first blog.
4. Collect More Emails, NOW!
After that first blog failure, the most important thing we did to get turned back around in the right direction was to learn more about our readers.
In order to know who your target customer is and what problem you can help them solve, you need to know them.
And you know what the best way to learn who they are and what they’re looking for is?
That’s it. Just ask.
We ended up scrapping the first health and fitness website and starting a new one. Completely from scratch. A fresh start.
This time around, we focused on collecting emails and getting subscribers before we did ANYTHING at all relating to trying to monetize the blog.
We created tons of freebies to give to people to sign up for our email list.
Most of which ended up failing or not converting enough, but some of them began to bring in subscribers in droves…
Seriously, take a walk down our memory lane to see some of the opt-ins that we created that were ultimately scrapped:
Our weight loss content became very popular on Pinterest and we soon began building an email list of people interested in losing weight.
In our very first welcome email to our new subscribers, we asked them if they could tell us what the #1 thing they were struggling with when it came to losing weight.
And guess what we learned from that?
EVERYTHING we needed…
Including their age, their gender, their current weight, how long they had been trying to lose weight, what they had tried that had failed, and most importantly, WHY they were trying to lose weight…
This information was GOLD, and it gave us everything we needed to know exactly who our target customer was and how to design our content around this target customer.
Do NOT underestimate the importance of building an email list of raving fans right away.
How to Build an Email List of Raving Fans
Most of the people that visit your blog will never come back again.
Just think about the behavior of the average user on social media…
- You click on an interesting pin, read an article, maybe you love the content or maybe you don’t.
- If you don’t absolutely love the content, chances are you will never remember the name of the article or the blog you just read.
It’s sad but true so you need a way to maximize the number of people that will return to your blog.
Below is a screenshot of our email account from our health and wellness blog. You can see that in January, we average a net of 253 new subscribers every day.
These are people that may otherwise may have never visited our blog again. But we now have a way to contact them and send them additional content and try to build a relationship with them.
You do this through converting someone from a reader into a subscriber and then into a raving fan that absorbs every piece of content you put out.
Let’s talk about how to do that.
Create an Opt-In to Turn Readers into Subscribers
In the earlier internet days, all you needed to get people to sign up to your email list was to offer a free newsletter.
Unfortunately, the days of the free newsletters are long gone.
Here’s an example of an old newsletter signup page that we had on our health and wellness blog:
This page received very few email signups because it’s too generic and doesn’t offer the reader much in return for signing up, except for a vague promise for some additional healthy information.
People are aware that everyone is trying to sell something to them and they’re very reluctant to give up their email address without the promise of something in return.
You need to entice someone to sign up for your email list!
How do we do this?
By far the best way to do this is by offering some kind of freebie in exchange for their email address.
The more free value you provide up front to your reader, the more they will trust you and want to build a relationship with you.
You collect subscribers through forms and landing pages called opt-ins.
Here is an example of a form we built using ConvertKit that we use to get subscribers that read our blog articles:
As you can see, we offer a free course in exchange for a reader’s email address.
This is also called a lead magnet.
Most lead magnets have some kind of free download or other resource. Some examples of free downloads and resources include:
- Mini eBooks
These freebies should be related to your main blog topic and should serve to solve some kind of problem your reader is facing.
Another way to collect subscribers is through landing pages like this one for the same free course above.
You can link these directly on your blog, on Pinterest, or wherever else you are driving traffic from.
- Sign up for an email marketing service so that you can create forms like ours above to start collecting subscribers.
- Create a freebie to offer to your readers in exchange for their email address.
- Create your first form and link it in your articles on your blog.
- Create your first landing page and link it in your menu and other places on your blog to collect more subscribers.
Once the subscriber opts into your email list, you need to send them their freebie + some additional content to start building that relationship with them.
Create a Welcome Sequence That Stands Out
A welcome sequence, also referred to as an email funnel, is a series of emails that are automatically sent to a subscriber once they sign up for your email list.
You can set these emails to send out at specific times and specific days of your choosing.
It’s important to begin sending emails to your subscribers right after they opt in because this is when they are the most familiar with you and your content.
Subscribers turn “cold” when they haven’t heard from you in a while and they become less engaged with your content.
A good welcome sequence should include:
- An email that says thank you for signing up for the free download and gets them excited for it. (Remember to ASK why they are here!)
- A couple of follow-up emails providing additional value through free content. This can be by directing them to other blog posts or writing brand new content right in your emails.
We personally prefer ConvertKit to the other email marketing services we’ve tried because of the simplicity and the ability to create and edit all emails in one screen:
Once you create your sequence, you simply connect it to your forms and landing pages and your new subscribers will automatically start receiving your emails after they sign up!
5. Facts Tell and Stories SELL
As simple as this sounds, it’s actually one of our more advanced blogging tips because ow how easy it is to forget this.
People don’t just want to read your basic How-To article. They want to read WHY the steps did or didn’t work for you.
They want to hear your story.
There is a reason why we start out most of our articles and emails with our personal story:
People make most purchasing decisions based on their emotions and how your product makes them feel – not based on your statistics that tell them that it works.
You can tell someone all day long that your product has helped over 1,000 people lose approximately 50 pounds in 5 months and back it up with all kinds of photos.
But not without their story.
It’s not just about the end result and the facts that represent that end result.
It’s about the story behind the results.
Alex and I very often reiterate the fact that we now earn over $100,000/month blogging and we provide the proof in our monthly income reports.
Because this is why people read our content. They want to earn an income online.
But we talk even MORE about where we were BEFORE we started earning money with our blogs.
Because this is why people purchase our courses. They relate to where we were before and believe that if we can do it, so can they (which is something we totally believe and know as well!).
We often use phrases like this below (from one of our sales pages):
If your reader can relate to what you are saying, they feel like they’re in the right place (and your product is right for them).
We talk about working full-time jobs, feeling like we weren’t making enough money or getting enough vacation time, and we talk about the hard times before we started making any money.
Because that is where the majority of our audience is at right now and how they are feeling.
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and tell your story as much as you can in ALL of your content.
6. Don't Pretend to Be the Expert. Become the Expert.
One major roadblock we see many people get hung up on before they start a blog is that believe they have to be an expert in something to blog about it.
These are the questions and concerns we hear a lot from new bloggers:
- What if I’m not good at anything?
- I don’t feel like I’m qualified to teach someone about this.
- But I don’t have a degree or certification in that…
These doubts turn into fear and hesitation and they hold people back from TAKING ACTION.
And taking action is the ONLY thing that will make you successful and keep you moving forward in the right direction.
Your credentials and certifications don’t matter.
You know what does matter more than anything else?
Alex and I don’t have degrees or certifications in blogging, but we do have over three years of experience as bloggers.
We teach courses on blogging based on those experiences.
Most of what you learn these days is on the job through personal experience.
We did take courses and learned a lot from others along the way, but it was implementing concepts and ideas and adjusting them to fit the rest of our strategies that taught us the most.
Know Yourself and Trust in Your Strengths ??
It’s not about trying to be someone you’re not.
It’s about being YOU.
Know yourself and what your strengths are. Play to those strengths and derive confidence from them.
If you try to sound like you know something that you don’t or that you’re some kind of expert when you’re not, it’s going to show in your content.
People can see through you.
If you write with genuine confidence about topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about, it will also show in your content.
And you can guess which one people are more interested in.
One of the most common comments we receive from the content that we write on Create and Go on our blog and in our YouTube Channel is how transparent we are.
Here are just a few examples of some of our YouTube comments:
We never purposely tried to be transparent in any way.
We were just honest about our struggles and our journey and told our story often.
Alex and I are so passionate about our blogs that we wake up every day excited to hop on our computers and continue building our online businesses.
We literally can’t shut up about it when anyone asks what we do for a living and it’s all of these things that give us the confidence to teach others about it.
- Don’t ever lie or be dishonest or pretend to be someone you’re not.
- Know what you’re good at what you do and have the confidence that you can teach others how to achieve what you have achieved.
- Tell your story as often as you can because it will naturally make your content more honest and transparent to your readers.
It seems self-explanatory but it’s easy to lose sight of these things when you get started and tend to feel more overwhelm, fear, and doubts.
If you’re looking for some additional tips for starting a blog, make sure to check out our post on how to start a successful blog here.
7. Keep Your Blog Design Clean and Professional
This is another area that we see tons of new bloggers get hung up on.
And we weren’t any different.
I once spent DAYS trying to perfect our logo and header image on our blog, neither of which we kept on our blog for more than a week or so anyway.
The truth is that your blog design doesn’t matter a whole lot. You’re going to want it to look super fancy, but really, it should be a reflection of YOU.
You’re not a pro blogger yet, so don’t try to make it look like you are.
This is what our health and wellness website, Avocadu, used to look like:
We had this design for over a year and our blog earned us as much as $40,000 in a single month while it looked like this. ??
This is what Avocadu looks like today:
And guess what?
It doesn’t make any more money than it did back then.
We upgraded to the Genesis Framework theme for our blog because we wanted to increase our page speed, but it’s not a very-beginner-friendly theme when it comes to blog design.
So, we hired a web designer for $1,000 to redesign our website.
Now, we only did that because, at this point, we were making plenty enough money from our two blogs that we felt that it was the right time to reinvest that money for a new design.
Your blog design should, above all, be simple, clean, and professional.
Blog Design (Make That Sh*t Look Good!)
The first step in getting your blog design down is to start with a good theme.
Getting a good WordPress theme is the difference between driving across USA in a used red pickup vs. a yellow Ferrari.
Yes, the used pickup (also lacking AC) will save you a few hundred bucks and [maybe] get you where you need to go, but it will take much longer.
You will also likely have all sorts of random malfunctions and headaches to deal with along the way.
Your canary yellow Ferrari will get you there in a third of the time with half the headaches.
This illustration is obviously an exaggeration because who can afford a Ferrari, really?
A good blog theme IS affordable and is definitely one of the things you should invest in from the very start of your blog.
It makes all the difference in the world and will provide you with the customizability (without all the headaches) to make your blog look exactly how you want it.
Our favorite WordPress themes:
Divi Theme is incredibly customizable and very user-friendly. When you purchase Divi, you also get access to the entire Elegant Themes market.
So, if for some reason you don’t like Divi, you have over 70 other themes to choose from and can switch them out whenever you want.
Genesis Framework is definitely the fastest theme on the market in terms of page speed and is what most professional bloggers use. It is, however, not very beginner-friendly or customizable.
We only recommend upgrading to that theme when you can hire an expert with coding knowledge to help you design it.
Blog Writing and Other Design Tips
The other aspect of your blog design relates to the display of your content on your blog.
Your sidebar shouldn’t look like an episode of hoarders.
Not only does it look crappy, but it can slow down your website.
The more content and plugins you have on your sidebar, the longer your page will take to load and high load time = high bounce rate.
Now, it is important to have other links to your blog posts. This can help with Google SEO and user-friendliness for site navigation.
But you can easily overdo it. At one point, we had our latest YouTube video available to watch on our sidebar. It looked great, but it had a very negative impact on our page loading time, so we had to ditch it.
This is what we recommend having in your sidebar:
- A photo of you + a quick introductory ‘about me’ statement.
- Links to a few related or popular blog posts
- A sticky widget that provides a good call to action (This can be to an email opt-in or to a product, and the plugin Q2W3 Sicky Widget is a good option).
- We also have some ads on our sidebar on Avocadu, so that’s a good option if you are monetizing with ads.
Keep it simple!
Let’s talk about paragraph size for half a second.
Do you want to know what’s really hard to read? A long paragraph like this. One that is huge and the text is long and the sentences run on and on and on. Even if you start out with a compelling first sentence, eventually people are going to get tired. It’s just too much of a task to take on to read this entire thing. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It makes people’s eyeballs hurt. They want content that they can easily scan over and pick and choose what they want to read. So please, unless you are a writer for the NY Times or moonlight as a ghostwriter for Steven King, do not write blog posts like this.
Break up your text with bite-sized paragraphs of 1-2 sentences each.
Underline stuff. Bold Stuff.
And start sentences with “And” and “But” just to piss the grammar police off.
It’s okay. This isn’t English Comprehension, and I’m not your teacher.
I can’t tell you how many comments we’ve received over the last 3 years from people telling us that we have misspelled something or used bad grammar.
It still happens all the time and we still make six figures every month despite it all.
Yes, grammar does matter and we do proofread and try to minimize errors as much as possible, but we ain’t perfect.
You don’t want your audience to think you’re stupid, but don’t worry about being perfect. The only one who is rewarded is the one that effectively communicates their message with their audience.
Make things fun and enjoyable to read, and your readers will thank you for it!
DO THIS NOW:
- Open up one of your blog posts in a separate window and give it a quick scan. Make some notes about what you can do to improve the look of your content.
- Download Grammarly. It’s a great tool to help with spelling and grammar when you don’t have time to proofread every single word you wrote.
For more blogging tips for writers, make sure to check out our complete guide here.
Get a good theme, keep your message simple and focused, and move on to the only thing that really matters — writing great content.
8. Traffic > Monetization - in the Beginning
This is a biggie because most bloggers are SO overly focused on monetization.
And if you have some steady and consistent traffic coming to your blog, you absolutely should be.
Otherwise, you can forget about making money with your blog completely – for now.
Blog traffic can translate into…
- Email subscribers (which can translate into customers later on down the road)
- Helpful feedback (remember the ASK method we talked about earlier)
- Test dummies for optimization (learn what opt-ins are converting best and what content people are most interested in)
- Money (if you have properly monetized your website)
Compare that to monetization… A good method of monetization can translate into one thing and one thing only: MONEY.
But guess what?
Without traffic, you can’t make any money anyway.
So, think of all the benefits you get from focusing on traffic compared to focusing on monetization.
This ties into EVERYTHING we have discussed so far, including:
- The importance of building an email list
- Learning who your target audience is and what they need help with
- Our first blogging failure because we created a product no one wanted
- Prioritizing the ONE most important thing that will help your blog grow (traffic > monetization FIRST)
- Taking the right steps at the right time (blogging from A to Z)
Focus on getting a solid source of steady and consistent traffic FIRST, and then work on monetizing that traffic.
9. Master ONE Source of Traffic Before Moving on to Another
Sticking with the theme of blog traffic…
Our Pinterest account for our health and wellness blog has over 100k followers, and this has been our main source of traffic for over 3 years now.
But do you want to know the real secret behind our growth?
Instead of jumping on every social media and search platform on the internet, we chose ONE source of traffic and put ALL of our efforts into mastering it.
If you try to do everything at once, you’ll end up mediocre at most and great at absolutely nothing.
Choose YOUR Source of Traffic
How do you decide what source of traffic will work best for you?
Well, there are a few different questions you can ask yourself to help figure out where to start.
Where is your target audience hanging out at?
Consider the demographics of your target audience.
If you’re targeting after middle-aged women, YouTube and Instagram probably aren’t going to be your best bets. If you’re targeting young men, Pinterest will have far fewer of them than YouTube.
Where does your skillset lie?
Are you really great at getting on camera and recording videos? Are you an entertainer?
If so, YouTube is your jam.
If you have a recipe blog and you’re good at taking professional photos, Instagram or Pinterest is going to be a better platform for you.
Here’s an example of how one of our blogging students, Bola, is killing it on her Instagram Account:
She uses a combination of motivational posts, videos, and other photos to connect with her audience.
What best suits your blog and content?
Think about how you plan to advertise your content.
If you’re a recipe blogger, your pictures will matter VERY much and you, therefore, want to select a very visual-based platform like Pinterest or Instagram.
If you have a lifestyle blog and you want to be an influencer, Instagram is probably going to work best for you.
What do you already know?
This might not be as important, but if you’re already super familiar with a platform and how it works, it might be a good one to start with.
If you already have social media account that you’ve been growing personally, you can consider turning it into a business-branded account.
Consider the behavior of the platform.
This is THE most important question to ask yourself when you are deciding which platform to go with.
People interact differently with content on every platform, so you need to think about what you want your reader to DO when they see your content.
If your goal is to get a reader to click on a blog post, Instagram and YouTube aren’t going to be ideal for you because it’s VERY difficult to get people off of those platforms.
When a video is ending on YouTube, most people have calls-to-action on their end screen that are meant to keep the user on the platform like this one from our video end screen below:
They want to keep scrolling through new IG posts and watch other YT videos.
They are, however, great for building trust and relationships with customers because they are more personal than other platforms.
Search engines like Google and Pinterest are GREAT for driving traffic to blog posts because the whole point of the search is that people are LOOKING for your content.
Why We Recommend Pinterest
We recommend most bloggers start with Pinterest traffic because…
- It’s a search engine. This means that your content will continue to get searched and found over time. The longer you are on the platform producing content, the more your content will get searched for years to come.
- The traffic is organic (not paid). Compare the above organic search traffic to Facebook traffic. When you post on Facebook, the post generally only gets traffic for a day or two unless you pay for ads to the post. This gets very $$$.
- Competition is far lower. Most people just don’t understand the platform or know about it’s potential. Most marketers give up pretty easily because they’re too focused on bigger platforms like FB and IG. This means that both organic and paid traffic are less competitive.
Now, it isn’t for everyone.
The demographics of Pinterest are mostly middle-aged women, so if your target audience is mostly guys, it might not be for you.
Also, because there are fewer people on the platform, the traffic potential is also lower than other platforms like Google and Facebook.
But that being said, competition is also far lower.
Overall, if it fits your target audience, we personally think it’s the best place to start because of the lower competition and potential for quick, organic traffic.
One of our blogging students, Liesel, started a pregnancy blog at laborteen.com, and these were her results using Pinterest in her first 5 months of blogging:
In her first month of blogging, she had 28,893 page views from Pinterest. That’s pretty incredible just from ONE month of starting to drive traffic!
As a new blogger, you should be investing your money in other things rather than on paid ads. Plus, most people can’t afford them anyway.
Get Started Driving [More] Traffic to Your Blog:
- Choose ONE source of traffic to start with (using the steps above).
- Consider purchasing a course. Remember that you will start off eons ahead of others if you can learn from the people who are already successful on the platform. Find a couple of successful people and follow closely to see what they are doing.
- Create a strategy based on what you’ve learned. Lastly, take what you’ve learned and create a strategy that fits best with YOUR blog and YOUR content. Continue to test and optimize based on your results.
10. Add These Free Blogging Tools to Your Arsenal (1 Hour)
You’re blogging game is only as strong as the tools that you use!
Never underestimate the power of the random and helpful blogging software and tools that are available on the internet.
There are SO many tools out there to help with SEO, site speed, web design, and so much more.
Here are some of our favorite free tools. Some of these do have an option for a paid version, but the free version will generally give you everything you need!
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it basically means optimizing your content to increase your chances of being found in Google search.
Google SEO can be very difficult and competitive depending on your blog niche.
But even if you aren’t actively trying to get Google traffic, this free plugin will help you optimize your posts so that they have a better chance of being found when people are typing in keywords related to your content.
It’s a great blogging tool that helps you to get more Google traffic organically and passively without having to do much extra work.
Yoast SEO uses a red light/green light system to help you see how well your post is optimized for Google. When you have a red light, it will tell you what you need to work on to get the green light on your posts.
You can download Yoast SEO plugin for free here.
When we started our first blog, I used to use a lot of stock photography and download the largest image with the highest quality so that it looked the best on our blog.
What I didnt’ know was…
This was a MASSIVE drag on page speed and I was actually doing the opposite of what the best practice for website images was.
These big, beautiful images that I was uploading had large file sizes and took up a lot of space on our blog.
This caused our blog posts and pages to load a lot slower and would ultimately lead people to leave our blog rather than wait for the content to load.
The images that you upload to your website should generally be the smallest file size possible without losing too much quality.
To minimize the file size, you generally need to first resize the image and then compress the image before uploading it to WordPress.
These are the tools that we use for image optimization:
- BeFunky – Free tool for resizing and other image edits
- Tiny PNG and Optimizilla – Free web-based image compressors
- Resize Image After Upload – Free plugin that automatically resizes photos to the right size in your content to improve page speed
Canva (Image Design)
While we’re on the subject of images, Canva is the best tool around for creating custom images and graphics.
This tool is what we use to create all of our Pinterest pins, YouTube thumbnails, sales page images, eBook covers, and other graphics.
If Adobe Photoshop intimidates you, you’ll LOVE this free software! It’s super intuitive and easy to use.
It also saves your designs, so you can go back and edit them again in the future!
Remember how I said earlier that I had no idea how much I was tanking our website speed with the large, high-quality images?
It was only through page speed tools that I learned about this massive mistake.
If you haven’t ever checked your page speed, you need to open up a new window and do it RIGHT NOW.
Your page speed matters more than anything else because if your website takes too long to load, your reader is gone before they’ve read the first word.
It also negatively impacts your website’s ranking for Google SEO.
TONS of different elements can impact page speed, including plugins, too many images that aren’t properly optimized, certain blog themes, redirects, caching, and more.
Recommended tools for page speed:
Give all three of these a try and see which one you like best! Try to get your page speed below 1.5 seconds loading time.
Here are some additional plugins that can help increase page speed:
Additional Free Blogging Tools:
- Readability Checker – It analyzes the content on your page and lets you know how to improve the readability of your content.
- Pixabay (Stock Photography) – You can’t use photos you find in Google search safely and without fear of copyright infringement because you don’t own them. Stock photography provides professional-looking photos for your website that are legally free for all to use.
- Google Analytics – Make sure you’re tracking your blog traffic with Google Analytics because it’s more accurate than tools like JetPack. It also provides all kinds of other stats and demographics on where your traffic is coming from.
You can also view our complete guide on the best blogging tools here.
11. Stop Fearing Failure and Learn to Embrace It
First of all…
Fear is what keeps you alive and you can’t eliminate it.
Fear of losing your apartment keeps you paying the bills. Fear of getting fat keeps me from eating fudgesicles for breakfast.
Get comfortable with knowing that fear can actually be a good thing. The goal in life is not to eliminate all pain or fear (what are you, a robot?).
The goal is to learn how to deal with fear and act accordingly.
Confidence is feeling fear, embracing it, and taking action anyway.
It’s being unsure of yourself and pressing on rather than hypnotizing yourself into not feeling something that is perfectly natural and very common.
So, how do you learn to embrace fear?
How to Turn Fear into Confidence
We were able to turn our fear into confidence by framing all of our mistakes as learning opportunities.
Remember our story about our first blog that spectacularly failed?
We learned from these mistakes and made sure that we didn’t make them again when we started our new health and wellness blog.
We were able to transform our first failed product into our highly successful weight loss program that is still selling today:
We made sure that we made entirely new mistakes the second time around and also learned from those as well.
These mistakes and learning opportunities became the arsenal of knowledge that we now teach in our courses on blogging.
And I can tell you that we sure as heck don’t have any regrets now!
This ties back into what we discussed earlier about drawing confidence from your experiences and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Tell YOUR story.
And you will naturally be more confident than when you’re trying to spit random facts and statistics at your audience.
12. Make Sure Your Blog is Mobile-Friendly
Did you know that anywhere from 50-80% of all visitors on your website are accessing it from their mobile devices?
That percentage tends to fluctuate depending on the demographics of your audience, but it’s still a HUGE percentage of all web traffic.
Here is a screenshot of our traffic by device for our health and wellness blog:
You can find this information in Google Analytics.
As bloggers, we tend to get overly focused on how our website looks on a desktop or laptop because that’s primarily how we write, design, and view our own content.
I know I personally ALWAYS used to forget to check my blog posts on mobile after I set them up.
I often wouldn’t know of problems with my site on mobile until a reader told me. At that point, it had often been messed up for weeks. Yikes.
There are a couple of different factors to consider here.
Mobile Page Speed
The first one is page speed.
Now, we won’t get into the details here because we discussed it in the tip on blogging tools earlier.
People tend to have even less patience waiting for a page to load on their mobile devices than they do on a desktop.
If your page speed on mobile is lacking, people are going to bounce to another article on another blog.
Make sure to implement the earlier steps on page speed and to use the page speed tools to check mobile page speed as well as desktop speed.
Here’s the next step…
Make sure you’re using a mobile-responsive theme, which just means that your theme was designed to display your content on multiple screen sizes.
You can see some tips and suggestions from this screenshot of one of our blog posts on mobile:
Basically, in super no-techie laymen’s terms…
The coding in your website’s theme will automatically resize and display your headlines, images, margins, and content according to the screen size they are viewed on.
Most good blog themes are mobile-responsive these days.
BUT you need to always check new content on mobile after you add it to make sure everything is spaced correctly and displaying properly.
You’ll often find that certain images, headlines, or other content doesn’t quite show up like you want it to on mobile and you’ll need to play around with it a bit to get it to display correctly on mobile.
Remember that with THAT many users viewing your content from a mobile device, the display of your website on mobile is generally going to be even MORE important than desktop.
13. Successful Blogger = Successful Marketer
Do you know what running ANY type of online business is really about?
Without a good marketing strategy, you won’t get people reading your content, signing up for your email list, or purchasing any products from you.
So many people believe that blogging is just about writing good content, linking relevant products, and waiting for the money to just roll in.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reason Alex and I were able to achieve success so quickly while those around us struggled is because we understood the importance of marketing.
Alex had been following and learning about internet marketing from companies like Digital Marketer for years before we started blogging.
He successfully sold his first eBook out of college while the rest of us were playing beer pong and in my case, soaking up the Florida sun at the pool every weekend.
Our first product that we created to sell on our blog didn’t fail because the product sucked.
It failed because our marketing message was off (because we didn’t know our target market).
We do now, and that is the reason you see this banner at the top of our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge sales page:
Most bloggers simply don’t understand the importance of marketing and therefore never realize their full potential because of it.
Many of them are so overly focused on their product and sales that they completely forget about marketing.
If Person A has a mediocre product but a strong marketing message and Person B has an incredible product but a poor marketing message, guess who is going to be more successful?
Person A, 100% of the time.
Despite having a lesser product, they will sell far more products because their marketing game is stronger.
Affiliates will also gravitate towards the product that sell better over the one that performs better because they are driven by sales numbers.
How to Up Your Marketing Game
Let’s talk about how you can shift your focus from a sales perspective to a marketing perspective.
Approach EVERYTHING you do from the standpoint of marketing, and you will quickly begin to rise above your competition.
Here are a few examples of what we mean by EVERYTHING:
- Blog Titles – Your headlines matter. Problem-solving, keyword-optimized titles > cutesy, clever titles.
- Blog Content – Write content that solves your readers’ problems in a way that also educates them about the need for the products that you are selling.
- Email Opt-Ins – If your freebies aren’t converting enough readers into subscribers, your freebie offer or product is missing the mark. Try a new one.
- Product Names – Same applies as above. Cutesy titles < Problem-solving, keyword-optimized titles.
Here is an example of our product title and headline for our Make Money Blogging for Beginners Course. You can see that it’s very specific and targeted towards our target customer (beginner blogger):
- Sales Pages – Remember who your target customer is and speak to that ONE person throughout your entire sales page.
- Traffic – Use images and headlines that directly speak to your target customer and people will naturally be more drawn to your content.
- Customer Service – Provide the absolute best support possible for your products and people will naturally provide higher ratings, better testimonials, and share their results with others.
These are just a few of the ways you can begin improving your marketing strategy throughout your blog.
If you want to be a successful blogger, you must be a successful marketer.
14. Focus on Selling High-Priced Products
Here’s a quick example to illustrate this concept:
Let’s say my goal is to earn $10,000/month with my blog, which was Alex’s and my first real monetary goal that we set.
- If I’m selling an eBook for $47, I would need to sell 212 products in a month to hit my goal.
- If I was selling an online course priced at $297, I would only need to sell 34 products in a month to hit my goal.
Depending on how much traffic you are getting to your blog and what niche you are in, that difference of 178 products can be HUGE.
Some niches and topics naturally get a lot more search volume than others (i.e. “weight loss” compared to “blogging”).
So, depending on your blog niche, massively increasing your blog might not be an option if there is far less search volume for your topic.
But here’s the other thing.
It’s also much harder to sell high-priced products.
The higher the price of the product, the more you will need to pre-sell the customer before they land on your sales page.
How to Sell High-Priced Products [Well!]
This process can be used both for affiliate marketing and for selling your own products.
The focus here is on pre-selling the customer.
This means that you need to provide valuable content up front that both needs to build trust with your target customer as well as educates them on why they need your product.
There are two main steps you need to take in order to accomplish this.
Create sales-centered content.
The first step is to create sales-centered content designed to bring in your target customers.
Unless you are monetizing with ads, you don’t want traffic just to have traffic. You want targeted traffic that is interested in what you have to sell.
To get the right kind of readers, you need to create content centered around the topic(s) that your product(s) are about.
For example, if I’m selling a weight loss program for women, I would create content focused on…
- the different ways to lose weight,
- some problems my target customers might be facing,
- and some solutions to solve those problems.
Here is an example of a few blog posts that were designed specifically around common weight loss struggles that our customers are facing:
At the end of all of these articles is a call-to-action to purchase our weight loss program!
Get their email address.
We discussed in one of our earlier blogging tips, but this step relates back to using opt-ins to get email addresses.
If you’re selling a product at this point, the goal is NOT to get as many email addresses as possible.
Remember that you want targeted email addresses.
When we were first experimenting with opt-ins, we offered a freebie of weight loss recipes that converted VERY well. We got tons of email addresses from it.
But the problem was that those people weren’t interested in our weight loss product. We were targeting the wrong group of people.
We found that a freebie of weight loss tips converted fewer people but those that did convert were far more targeted towards our weight loss product.
Compare that to this opt-in designed by one of our Six-Figure Blogger students, Natalie Bacon:
Her free eCourse is called “Design Your Dream Life Training,” and it was created to help sell her course, Design Your Dream Life Academy.
She also explains that the course is on mindset, productivity, time management, goal-setting, and habits, which is what her full course is about.
Create a lead magnet (freebie) that attracts your target customer and is directly in line with the product you are selling.
Create a sales funnel to sell the product.
Once you have their email address, you need to start sending them emails to start building that relationship with your potential customer.
An effective sales funnel provides a significant amount of value up front before eventually introducing the product and asking for the sale.
First, send your target customers at least 2-3 emails of free content relating to the product you are selling.
Here is an example of the structure of the beginning of one of our funnels for our Launch Your Blog Course:
We actually provide 7 days of value up front (free 7-day eCourse) before we have a hard pitch for our product.
This content can be similar to the sales-centered content you created in step 1, but try to be more personal in your emails. Tell your story whenever you can.
It’s okay to link your product at the bottom of your emails, but don’t try to sell too hard too soon.
If you don’t provide enough value upfront before asking for the sale, your customer will get turned off and feel that you’re only trying to sell them something.
After you’ve provided that value up front, it’s okay to introduce your product with a strong push to purchase.
Remember that this is a big trial and error phase as well.
If your emails aren’t selling your product, write new emails, create new opt-ins, and continue to test out different ideas until you get it right!
15. Create a Serious 'About Me' Page
I think this is one of the best blogging tips (and most valuable) simply because it’s the most recent tip on our list.
These tips come from 3+ years of knowledge and experience blogging, but this last one came about only just a few months ago.
I honestly don’t remember where Alex originally learned this from, but I do remember the day that he told me he wanted to “beef up” our About Us page.
He basically wanted to turn our original 1,000 – 2,000 words into 7,000+ words.
My jaw just about dropped to floor.
I thought, “Why the heck would anyone want to know THAT much about US!?”
Boy was I wrong.
As soon as we added the extra content and tons of photos to that page, the comments started pouring in. So many people told us that they read EVERY word, and I was totally blown away.
Our story was giving our readers the inspiration and motivation that they needed to get off the fence and make the next move in their blogging career.
We now have over 50 comments just on that page! It’s crazy!
People WANT to hear your story, and this is one of the easiest ways to give your readers an opportunity to get to know you better.
DO THIS NOW:
Create a timeline of events that tie your story into why and how you started your blog. Include tons of photos and honest thoughts and feelings.
Check out ours for reference.
Your audience will love it!
16. Your Blog Isn't About You (80/20 Rule)
Another big mistake that we made in the beginning with our first blog is that we assumed that we knew what our audience wanted us to write about based on what WE wanted to write about.
We ended up with a bunch of well-intentioned but completely useless content.
Woohoo! That’s what you aim for as a blogger, right!? *facepalm*
You can see that we used a lot of words like “shit,” “bangin’,” and “badass” because we thought our audience was full of fellow 25-year-old singles looking to stay in shape.
We were totally guessing at everything and creating content that we thought other people would be interested in.
As we got better at blogging (aka tried and failed at many more things), we began to get the hang of things and found that there was a specific ratio of content that seemed to work out really well for us.
Create Content People Searching For (80%)
The best type of content you can create is based on the topics and keywords that your audience is actively searching for.
There is very little guesswork or assumptions here and they are searching because they actually want or need something.
It’s a win-win situation.
So, how do you find what topics and keywords your audience is searching for?
You can use software to see what keywords people are searching for and how much search volume specific keywords have.
If you can afford it or if you are actively working on your Google SEO game, these are the best tools on the market and are definitely worth the cost.
We have used both of them at different times, but we personally prefer SEMrush because of the additional analytics the software provides related to our domain and traffic.
If you can’t afford one of these tools, that’s okay too.
There are a couple of free options that you can use as well.
The first one is a keyword research tool called Ubersuggest by Neil Patel.
To use this tool, simply type in a suggested keyword into the search bar. We used “Yoga Poses” for this example.
You can then see some data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.
If you scroll down, you can also see related keywords and other information on who and what is currently ranking for the selected keyword.
It’s a great free tool to use to get started!
Another method is through Pinterest search.
This is a great resource if you are using Pinterest as a major source of traffic for your blog.
To use Pinterest search to find keywords, simply type in your keyword in the search bar. We’ll illustrate how to do this with the same keyword, “Yoga Poses.”
If you type in the term “Yoga Poses” into Pinterest search, a number of additional suggested keywords will appear under the search bar.
In this example, you can see that some of the other suggested keywords include “yoga poses for beginners, yoga poses for flexibility, yoga poses for abs, etc.”
This is a great way to find popular keywords in your niche on Pinterest.
This keyword-based searchable content should make up approximately 80% of the content on your blog.
Experiment with New Topics, Ideas, and Trends (20%)
This is the part where you get to have a little more fun with your content and really express your creativity.
You can dedicate 20% of your content to the following:
- Trending topics in your industry
- Personal testimonials and experiences your customers may have with your products
- Your personal experiences, tips, and lessons
- Anything else you think your audience might be interested in or need!
One good example of an article of ours like this is our article on The 4 Phases of Blogging Success: Poop to Profits.
This article has virtually no chance of ranking for any keywords in Google search and it has the word POOP in the title…
But we wrote this article specifically with our audience in mind.
We knew that many of our bloggers were struggling with fears, doubts, concern, and overwhelm and we wanted to write something that would inspire them.
So, we wrote an article on our blogging journey…
It’s divided the ups and downs we experienced and overcame into four different phases that we have found most others experience as well.
It was written for our bloggers stuck in the trenches, not making any money yet, and feeling like they were never going to make it out the other side alive.
We wanted to show them that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel and help them know what to expect in the coming months and years.
The article received an overwhelmingly positive response and TONS of comments.
Brainstorm some creative content that you think would be the most useful to your audience, even if it’s goofy, personal, or has zero chance of ranking in Google!
Your audience will LOVE you for it!
17. Shut Up and Blog Already!
If this is your fifth time reading an article searching for blogging for beginners, it’s time to read less and do more.
We tried to provide as many actionable blogging tips in this article as possible because you will only find success by taking action.
Most of the tips in this article came straight from lessons that we learned from the actions that we took along the way.
Remember that it’s about trying new things, embracing failure when it happens, and turning all failures and mistakes into learning opportunities.
Please go back through this article and make sure you implement as many of these tips and strategies as possible if you haven’t yet!
Here is a summary of what we covered in this epic article:
- Get Organized or Go Broke! (Free Downloads)
- Invest More in Your Blog (3 Investments to Consider)
- Understand That Blogging is an A to Z Thing
- Collect More Emails, NOW!
- Facts Tell and Stories SELL
- Don’t Pretend to Be the Expert. Become the Expert.
- Keep Your Blog Design Clean and Professional
- Traffic > Monetization – in the Beginning
- Master ONE Source of Traffic Before Moving on to Another
- Add These Free Blogging Tools to Your Arsenal (1 Hour)
- Stop Fearing Failure and Learn to Embrace It
- Make Sure Your Blog is Mobile-Friendly
- Successful Blogger = Successful Marketer
- Focus on Selling High-Priced Products
- Create a Serious ‘About Me’ Page
- Your Blog Isn’t About You (80/20 Rule)
- Shut Up and Blog Already!
You can also start by leaving a comment under this article to tell us what action(s) you are going to take TODAY to implement these successful blogging tips and keep yourself accountable!
We’d love to hear from you!