10 Things I Did Right When I Launched My Blog
1. Investing in a good ebook cover for my free report.
You might argue this was a useless expense and I could have created a cool ebook cover without a designer (at least, I think it’s cool and since this is my blog, you better believe it). You might even be right with your own opinion – except I only paid $5 on Fiverr for the ebook cover. I’m happy with this deal because it helps people imagine what they are getting. But to tell the truth, I still have to split test it vs. no cover on the opt-in box and see which one wins. Another great site I used to create ebook covers was adazing.com.
2. Reaching out to people in my industry or niche.
This is something I have learned and fully understood when I started my beverage startup. You have to be connected in your industry. This will make things a lot easier. Not everybody will receive you with open arms. That’s life. But the great news is that most people are extremely friendly and willing to help. Linkedin is a great tool to achieve this. I have found most of my interview partners on LinkedIn.
3. Put some effort into creating your About page.
New contacts, influencers you reach out to and new visitors on your website want to know who you are. They want to read your story and see if you are someone they like and want to connect with. Make sure you tell the truth and don’t invent stories about yourself. Be authentic. I get a lot of responses if people telling me that they liked my story and that it is inspiring.
4. Listen to podcasts.
There is so much free advice available to you with all kinds of marketing podcasts – it’s unbelievable. Make the best use of time while commuting, waiting or driving your car by listening to podcasts on your mobile phone. This is like a free MBA in online marketing that you get. If you don’t have a fast internet connection on your smartphone, make sure to download interesting episodes beforehand. Some of the podcasts I enjoy listening to are: Superfastbusiness and Freedom Ocean from James Schramko, ProBlogger from Darren Rowse, Ben Settle’s podcast, the Email Marketing Podcast by John McIntyre, and many more.
5. Using the right plugins on my blog.
These include Yoast SEO, WP Smush or WP Super Cache and others. If you have to spend some money to get the right plugins, do it. Your website is your main asset and you should invest in maintaining and raising its value.
6. Guest blogging.
Publishing guest posts on blogs in the email copywriting niche was my start. I got my first visitors and subscribers from the articles I wrote for John McIntyre from themcmethod.com. But, this is a very slow way of growing your readership and list. It works, but there are more intelligent ways to do it. I soon realized that nowadays sites like CopyHackers have very high standards and most of them don’t promise you to publish the article even after you wrote it and send it for approval.
You don’t really have control over the whole process and end up investing hours and hours in writing a great post that you don’t own. In my opinion, only the ones that promise to share your post with their email list are worth the time. Most of them don’t pay you for it although there are some like IncomeDiary that pay up to $200 per post. I stopped writing guest articles because it’s really a lot of work and the results of it are mediocre.
7. Use Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) on your site.
The only change you will see is your URLs beginning with https instead of http. You can easily redirect from http to https through your hosting company so old links are still valid. Why should you use HTTPS? Besides having a higher security level, Google likes it. Especially in combination with opt-in forms you won’t get ugly security warnings. Another reason is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which the EU has imposed.
8. Optimize the load speed of your blog.
9. Being curious and exploring what others are doing in your industry.
When you are starting out don’t try to be smart and creative. Your job is to absorb knowledge and see what others are doing. If everybody is using webinars to sell and has pop-ups to maximize subscriptions to their email list, you should do it as well. Don’t try to be smarter than everybody else when you start out. Read. Learn. Implement. Test. And when you find things that work for you: rinse and repeat.
10. Using Linkedin.
For me Linkedin works great for getting traffic. It’s my main source of traffic. There are a few reasons for it and I will share all the details with you when you opt-in to my email list. It was definitely a great idea to get more active on Linkedin.
10 Mistakes I Made When Launching My Blog
1. Chasing the next best trick.
I think this is something all of us are guilty of from time to time. You get stuck and nothing seems to be working. But hey, what’s that? You’re on Youtube and you’ve just discovered a new “guru” so you get into his funnel. You decide to try his quick and easy tips. And naturally you get nowhere. Why is that? Because it’s not about cool secrets and tricks. It’s about the basics. Like learning to write decent copy. Or like publishing consistently on your blog. Or writing to your list. These are the boring things, not the new shiny new objects promising you riches overnight. It’s the same in martial arts or basically any sports. Do the basics well and you will move ahead.
2. Not clearly defining the target audience I wanted to reach with my website.
Although I knew from the beginning that it’s crucial to create an avatar, your ideal customer etc. I didn’t put much effort into it. To be honest, I can’t describe how boring this is. It reminds me of assignments at college. But it works. Looking at it from another perspective, I think the question is whether you even CAN create your ideal customer right from the start because there are just too many variables in your business. A lot of things just evolve and you get smarter as you keep building your online business.
3. Trying to get traffic and subscribers from Twitter.
Didn’t work at all. I managed to get some traffic from it. I experimented with automation and even posting every 15 minutes. The inspiration for this was basically Jeff Bullas and what he is doing with great success. When I was posting regularly a lot, the cumulated views of my tweets reached around 40K impression per month. The problem is: this only generated 30-40 clicks and no subscribers to my email list. I’m not saying Twitter doesn’t work. Nate Schmidt is very successful at it and even gets news subscribers. You can find more about it in the interview I did with him.
This is an interesting site. Basically, people post questions that you can answer. You can also post your own questions. It didn’t really attract new visitors to my blog. I had some success on it with one answer. It was upvoted by other users and if the metrics are true, it was viewed by thousands of people in a few days. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to anyone clicking on my profile and visiting my site. I thought about inserting a link in the answer afterwards to a post like “Funniest Spam Subject Lines I Have Ever Received” but backed away from it because this would only attract people looking for entertainment who don’t convert to buyers.
5. Wasting too much time with social media.
To be precise – wasting to much time with the wrong social media. Because some channels work pretty good for me. Like LinkedIn. I got some traffic from it from the start. On the contrary, I never managed to get qualified traffic from Instagram or Twitter no matter how hard I tried.
6. Collaborating with someone on social media to share each other’s posts.
I’ve tried it a few times but people either didn’t stick to the posting schedule or were not interested. I got this idea on collaborations from Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. It probably works if you find the right person but the effort to manage it is just too high.
7. Stay away from fancy premium WordPress themes.
In the online marketing agency I used to work at, the WordPress theme Avada was used as a standard for client projects. I had some experience with it so I thought it would be a smart move to buy it and run my blog on it. Biiiiiiig mistake. The theme is very hard to use and just sucks in general. What’s even worse, it makes your blog really slow which is bad for SEO. I can’t recommend it although it is one of the best-selling themes. Buying a great theme is a good idea, just make sure you test the free version of it first and then make an upgrade. (I use a free template now.)
8. Don’t try too many things at once.
This will be confusing to your readers. If you test different things make sure you concentrate on 2-3 approaches. The visitor should know what your site is about all the time. I made the mistake of creating a site about my email copywriting services and as I kept adding interviews with freelance copywriters it was sometimes confusing to immediately see what my site is about. And more importantly who it’s for.
9. Not reading daily.
Especially books. For example, I bought great books from Dan Kennedy and Robert Collier but didn’t manage to read them. This is bad because you can only learn certain things from online sources. For example how to get traffic. But if you want to learn more about pricing your products or time management, books are irreplaceable.
10. Trying to pay for blog posts written by ghostwriters.
I still think this is a good strategy because you can’t and shouldn’t do it all on your own. But in the beginning, it’s a waste of money. You are better advised to invest that money into ads that get people to subscribe to your list. That is where the money is. For content marketing, you should find easier and cheaper ways. For example, James Schramko from Superfastbusiness focuses on podcasts.
It’s easier to create a blog post out of an audio interview than to write it all by yourself. Darren Rowse from Problogger recommends cooperating with other bloggers to write posts. He says it’s so common for YouTubers and in the academic world to publish new videos or books as a team. Why don’t bloggers do it? I think he’s right. I just don’t have the right idea to implement this yet. What do you think? How could this be realized? Just write your suggestion in the comment section.