Hello friends and happy birthday to Success & Strength!
A little over a year ago, I decided to register the Success and Strength dot-com domain and bring this bad boy to life.
In fact, I can vividly remember what the first few weeks of building this blog were like.
If I had to describe them using one word it would be… frustrating.
Learning how to build a website and messing around with all of the back end technical stuff took forever!
Honestly, I almost quit this whole thing before I had even written the first post!
But like anything else in life, things got easier as time went on.
After completing my first full year of blogging, I’ve learned how to develop the patience of a saint.
And make no mistake about it, this was a very difficult thing for me to do!
Especially in this day in age where we’ve all been conditioned to want everything NOW!
Instant gratification is always expected.
As a result, many people who have the potential to achieve greatness give up their dreams long before success comes running to them.
I know this because I used to be one of those instant gratification seeking quitters. But now that I’ve made it through my first year, I’ve been given a gift.
The most powerful gift in the world.
I now know what works and what doesn’t and I see a clear path to achieving my goals.
Understanding The Game
Not so long ago, I had no idea how to build a blog that people would actually read.
Everything was a mystery.
But now all of the mysteries have been solved.
Suddenly, I feel enlightened and I want you to feel the same way.
So I have an idea.
I’m going to share some of my valuable knowledge with you.
Because I’m awesome.
Here we go…
15 Things I’ve Learned From One Year Of Blogging
1) You Must Learn WordPress
WordPress is the best content management system in existence. It allows you to easily customize your website and create new blog posts with a few clicks of your mouse.
Sure, there are plenty of other website builders out there, but none of them come close to what WordPress can do in terms of customization and cost-effectiveness.
While I admit that WordPress is a little intimidating at first, it all makes sense within a couple of days.
It also helps that someone on Youtube or Google has already answered just about any question you may have when figuring everything out for the first time.
Oh yeah, did I mention that 30% of all websites in the world (over 19 million) run on WordPress?
2) You Need A Custom Domain
If you are serious about starting a successful blog you must invest in a custom domain.
Free Domain Example: successandstrength.wordpress.com
Custom Domain Example: successandstrength.com
Not only does it make you look more professional, but it also protects all of the content you create.
You see, when you have a free blog on a platform such as wordpress.com, you don’t actually own your content! The blog platform does! And they could decide to delete your website at any time for any reason.
Obviously, that is unacceptable.
The good news is that owning a custom domain and web hosting is incredibly cheap.
You’ll pay around $10 a year for your own domain and as low as $3 a month in web hosting fees.
Always go with a .com domain!
Dot com’s are the easiest to remember and everyone is familiar with them.
The only problem that you may run into while picking a .com domain is that most of the good ones are already taken.
However, with a little bit of creative thinking, you’ll still be able to find one that is perfect for you.
Should Your Domain Be YourName.com?
I always tell people to write under a made-up phrase or brand name because those are easier for people to remember.
For example, I chose Success And Strength dot com because those two words perfectly describe what my life and blog are all about.
If I chose to write under my real name, nobody would be able to remember my website because my last name is difficult to spell and pronounce.
I guess you could write under your own name if it is easy to remember, but if your name is a common one it will almost surely be taken.
3) Setting Up The Technical Stuff Sucks
While good writing is the lifeblood of any blog, it is only part of the equation. The other part that nobody seems to talk about is the technical side.
You don’t need to have the flashiest looking website on the block, but it needs to have a clean, simple design that showcases your content and is easy to navigate.
The easiest way to accomplish this is by investing in a paid WordPress theme that looks great.
It took a couple days of tinkering before S&S looked good enough to share with the world, but when the job is done it’s done. You won’t have to worry about it again until you decide to pay a web designer somewhere down the road.
On top of that, there is plenty of content on how to customize every WordPress theme in existence, so you’ll have plenty of help along the way.
4) You Need Real Life Experience
The most important factor that will determine if you’ll be able to build a successful blog is whether or not you actually have experiences that are worth writing about.
This fact actually kept me out of the blogging game for a long time.
You see, I knew that it was possible to make a great living by starting a blog as far back as 2011.
But my problem was that I was just a 20-year-old kid who had done absolutely nothing in life. I literally had nothing interesting to write about.
The best I could do in my early attempts to start a blog was copy information provided by other successful bloggers and hope for the best.
Obviously, that wasn’t enough to gain a loyal following and my first 3 or 4 blogs went absolutely nowhere.
My advice to anyone who is thinking about starting a blog would simply be this…
Do something interesting!
- Move to a foreign country
- Backpack across Europe
- Build an amazing physique
Gain some sort of life experience that is worth talking about!
But whatever you do… don’t “fake it till you make it”.
If you try to write about things that you’ve never actually experienced, people will see right through that shit and leave your site in droves.
Instead, build trust with your audience by being honest and sincere at all times.
5) Content Is King
Whenever you sit down to write a blog post, your goal should be to answer every possible question that anyone could ever have regarding the topic of your post.
These type of in-depth articles rank better on search engines because they help people immensely and provide great value.
Simply publishing new posts just to publish isn’t good enough.
One 3,000 word in-depth informative blog post is worth a million half-assed posts.
All it takes is organic traffic from one solid article to help your blog grow exponentially.
6) In The Beginning… You’ll Suck
Regardless of how many articles you read about how to be a better writer, your writing isn’t going to be good in the beginning.
Some people might even tell you it sucks.
But like anything else in life, you will learn and get better as time goes on.
Each and every shitty post that you pour your little heart and soul into will get you one step closer to your goal of becoming a great blog post writer.
7) Finding Your Voice Is Difficult
In the beginning, finding your own unique writing voice will be difficult.
This is frustrating because you’ll know exactly what you want to say, but you won’t quite know how to write it.
It’s like knowing how to speak but having your mouth sewn shut.
This is okay and completely normal.
Hell, until just recently, I still hadn’t found my voice.
In fact, you can go back into the Success And Strength archives right now and compare one of my early articles to the articles I am publishing now. If you do that you’ll notice a night and day difference.
Some of my early stuff is so poorly written that I am now in the process of rewriting entire articles or trashing them altogether.
However, once you develop the ability to write just as clearly as you talk you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
It’s like going from crawling to walking.
8) Don’t Publish Just To Publish
Treat the publish button like Tommy Lee Jones treated the little red button in his Ford Crown Victoria in Men In Black.
Never touch the publish button… unless your post is perfect.
Do not publish articles that have spelling errors, issues with sentence flow, or broken images and links.
You must take great pride in your work if you expect others to follow your advice and become repeat visitors to your blog.
9) Let The World Know That You Exist
New websites get no love from Google.
Why should they?
Nobody knows you.
You are new to the game.
And you suck.
This means that you will get absolutely no organic traffic on your website for at least the first 3-6 months of its existence.
So how do you get your first readers to your site?
- Leave insightful comments on blogs related to your topics
- email other bloggers that write about the same topics as you
- join forums where your target audience hangs out
- register your blog on directories
You have to let the world know that you exist if you want to get some eyeballs on your website.
10) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Is A Joke
My experience has taught me that search engine optimization (SEO) is nothing but a scam.
Supposedly, if you buy some fancy keyword research software or use Google’s free keyword planner (both of which are incredibly inaccurate) you’ll be able to create content that has a good chance of landing on the first page of Google.
HAHAHA don’t make laugh.
You have to realize that the SEO industry is just that… AN INDUSTRY.
People or companies who claim that they can get your website onto the first page of Google by using certain tactics are liars and scammers that are trying to take your money and run.
The truth is that the top results on Google are bought and paid for by using AdWords or underhanded tactics.
Trust me, you can spend 10,000 years researching SEO and trying to craft the perfect blog posts that will game the system, but that’ll get you nowhere.
Instead of getting your panties in a bunch over SEO, simply write good articles that contain interesting and relevant headlines and let everything else take care of itself.
If you write good enough content and network with others YOU WILL BE DISCOVERED.
Trying to create content for a bunch of Google robots is a fools game that will result in countless hours of wasted time.
11) All Of Your Posts Should Be Actionable
In the beginning, every post that you create needs to have actionable advice.
I know that popular bloggers seem to just write about anything that’s on their mind, but they can afford to do that because they have already built a loyal readership that will devour any and all content that they provide.
Focus on giving tons of value for the first couple of years and then you can focus on creating literary art that has no rhyme or reason.
12) Niche Blogs Suck
Do not try to start a blog about one topic.
Those type of blogs are not sustainable!
You will only be able to write about one topic for so long before you quit altogether out of sheer boredom.
Chances are that you have many interests in life, so share all of them with the world. If you do this the right way something amazing happens. Each one of your articles on a different topic will become its own mini niche site.
13) Video Is Great
If adding a video will further enhance your blog post then DO IT.
People love videos and popular bloggers are starting to incorporate video into all of their new posts.
Personally, I have found that videos are especially useful when writing how-to content.
Getting in front of the camera takes balls and feels really awkward at first. But with time it becomes much more natural.
I am currently toying with the idea of adding a video to every article I write but we’ll see. If this is something you want, let me know in the comments below.
14) You Won’t Make Any Money
Myself and countless others I know (even those that go on to become blogging superstars) never made a dime from their blog during the first 1-2 years.
Building a readership is hard and only comes with time. You need to go through your lean years before you can become a good enough writer to actually gain a following.
Regardless of what the internet marketers say, blogging is not easy and the learning curve is steep.
However, as time goes on the fog begins to clear and you start to see the path that will take you exactly where you want to be with your blog.
Once this finally happens you’ll be ultra motivated to keep going until your goals are reached.
I can’t tell you exactly when this will happen to you, but for me, it took about a year.
15) You’ll Think About Quitting Often
DO NOT GIVE UP.
Take a break for as long as you need and then come back with your head in the game.
The only people that fail at building successful money making blogs are the ones that quit (which is almost everyone).
If you truly want the freedom that comes with owning your own successful blog business, you have to put in the time.
And There You Have It
Only after this first year of struggling do I finally feel like I have a good understanding of what it takes to build a successful blog.
I know in my soul that Success And Strength is going to go through a massive growth spurt and I can’t wait!
What are your thoughts on starting a blog?
Have you ever tried?
What’s holding you back?
Let me know in the comments below.
From The Man Himself –
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