This isn’t by any means a complete list. Rather, just some observations on the things I wish I knew when I was just getting started. I’m sure you have a list of your own, so feel free to add to it in the comments.
- First of all, writing is hard work (just like any other job). Some days, you can’t type words fast enough, and other days, you’ll just sit there staring at a blank screen. Still, you’ll have to motivate yourself to show up and publish every day, or risk losing your audience.
- At first, you’re writing is going to suck. Still, you have to overcome the fear of sounding silly, and hit publish. Otherwise, you’ll never get better. It’s like training for a marathon, you can’t run whenever you feel like it. You have to train every single day to build your strength and your stamina or risk never finishing the race.
- There is no finish line. You know how they say, “writing is a marathon.” Well, that’s true, except there is no finish line. No prize at the end. Just you, and your audience day-in and day-out.
- Nobody cares about you. They only care about finding solutions to their problems. So focus on becoming a problem solving information source to them and you’ll win their attention.
- Readers won’t always comment on your posts, but that doesn’t mean they’re not reading. Take a real estate blog for example, there’s not much to comment on when you’re reading a market report. It doesn’t mean your reader isn’t interested, they just might want to reserve a conversation for a private discussion on the market and they’re real estate needs. The point is: keep writing, and don’t use comments as a gauge for growth.
- Borrowing other people’s audience is a great way to grow. By this of course, I’m referring to guest blogging. To date, I’ve been featured here, here, here and here. Each article resulted in a great deal of traffic and (at least) a couple of hundred subscribers per mention. Here’s the thing, when you’re featured as a guest blogger, it’s the ultimate testimonial. The author who’s publishing your guest post, is essentially vouching for the quality of your content by presenting it to their audience. It works!
- Build your email list early. Period. Don’t wait until you’re ready to monetize your site to start building your list, that’s a mistake. Start building that list early, even before you’re ready to monetize. Get a free account at MailChimp. Aweber has a great service too. (I use both). Ultimately, your email list will grow to be your biggest asset. (Related: Read Copyblogger’s tutorial series on Email Marketing).
What do you wish you knew when you were first getting started?