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I started out blogging several years ago with no traffic, very little following (not even my mom was reading), and one seriously boring blog.
Now I’ve got nearly 300,000 page views a month (16,000+ unique visitors), a blog in the top 50K on Alexa (yes, you may laugh that I’ve noted my Alexa ranking), and most importantly an awesome community of readers and fans who I adore and who bring tears to my eyes when they share that I’ve made a difference in their businesses and lives.
So What Happened?
What’s the magic that transformed my blog from nothing into what it is today and will continue transforming it into something even cooler in the future?
Here are the six things I’d say have been the most important mindset shifts I’ve made:
1. Shoot for Awesome
In the beginning, I was so worried about being “professional” and “perfect” that not only did I miss the mark on both of those, but I overlooked the more important targets of just getting it done, being myself, and creating something as awesome as I could.
Perfection is overrated. I’d rather get out the info and tips that can help you than to edit, edit, edit and never “ship” as Godin would say. I’ve learned to just hit “publish” and let it be.
2. Build Connections
Be brave. Get out there and connect yourself with people. Cherish those connections and it’ll pay off.
Anyone who takes time to leave a comment on your blog or share your work is awesome. Be thankful for them. Do your best to show that and give back (reply to them, visit their blogs, feature them, acknowledge them).
When a connection asks you to work with them say yes as often as you realistically can. Both the blogging challenges I run as co-host I was asked to join (so Lisbeth and Michele are the real brilliance behind the ideas). I said yes. Most of my guest posts and monthly columns are on websites that reached out to me and invited me to write for them. I just said yes.
Of course you should make your own opportunities, too. But don’t forget to say yes!
3. Learn from Brilliance
Last week I decided to check back into my blog archives for a specific post I’d written. At the time I wrote that post over a year ago, I would have told you I thought my writing was pretty good. It’s one of those areas where sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Now I realize both how far I’ve got to go and how far I’ve come:
- My headlines aren’t where I want them to be, but they’re much better than they used to be.
- My writing is less stiff and more personal.
- I’ve learned to write different types of posts and add images and video to them.
- I’ve learned to FORMAT my blog posts so they’re easier to read–with headlines, sub-headlines, use of bold/italic, and shorter paragraphs.
I haven’t taken any writing classes. I’ve been reading successful blogs. I’ve been watching what they do and modeling.
My regular blog readers know who I read (Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Copyblogger) and what I read (last few business books: Screw It, Let’s Do It; Brain Rules; Do the Work; Poke the Box; ProBlogger; Launch). I recommend all of that.
In my spare time… Okay, I don’t have “spare” time but I read while I work out. I run an elliptical machine which really doesn’t require much concentration so I read, otherwise I get really bored. I haven’t fallen off yet so I figure it’s working. And I fit back into my jeans, but that’s another post. I read Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, Emerson, Thoreau, Shakespeare and other compelling, interesting writers. Exercise your mind.
The best way to learn to write well is to read fantastic writing and lots of it.
4. Never Stop Learning
Invest time, energy and money in learning. I’ve attended seminars, enrolled in coaching groups and invested in masterminds. They’ve all helped push me to continue putting myself out there both here on my blog and in other ways.
You’re passionate about your topic, right? Then don’t stop learning. Keep learning and you’ll always have something fabulous to share with your readers.
5. Challenge Yourself
Don’t be satisfied with where you’re at. Challenge yourself to go bigger and do better.
I do blog challenges constantly both as a co-host and a participant (check my archives, I walk my talk and post consistently). Blog challenges work. Do I always feel like blogging? Heck no. It’s past my bedtime as I write this post and I’d like to grab my fleece blanket, cuddle my cats and drift off to dreamland. But feelings aren’t what builds a blog or a business! Blogging is like a relationship. You commit to and then you make it work. Of course it’s a challenge. If it weren’t, everyone would be successful with it.
What’s challenging about blogging? The writing. The promotion. The getting out there.
Not sure what challenge to give yourself? Tell me what scares or intimidates you. What do you think you might not be able to do? Go do that. Prove to yourself that you can do it. Then tackle something bigger next.
And never look at your adventures in tackling challenges as failures–they’re all learning experiences that help you do better each time.
6. Find Your Audience
Build it and they will come isn’t necessarily true on the internet with millions of blogs out there. If you’re creating awesome stuff then you’ve got to let people know!
Learn to market it and get out there to your audience. Become a student of marketing and seek out the best teachers you can learn from. Because whether you’re selling motorcycles or your knowledge through your own blog, you’re still selling and knowing how to do that well is all part of finding the magic that will propel your blog into success.
Photo Credit: Massonforstock/StockFresh