Monday, April 20, 2015

What I Learned From 5 Years of Blogging

I starting blogging a little over 5 years ago as an experiment to try out for fun. I didn't have any expectations or clear goal but it was something I wanted to try out. Over the years my writing has improved and I have learned how to make better articles and attract more readers. Here are some of the things I have learned from blogging over the past 5 years.

1. You never know what is going to be popular.
This is one of the most interesting things I learn from blogging and that is, you never really know for sure which articles are going to be popular. There will be times when I write what I think is an good thought provoking article and it will get very little traffic while other times I will write some random article that might be not much longer than a paragraph and it will get lots of traffic.

2. Which articles tend to do well with traffic.
With unpredictable traffic being said, I have learned a few tips on the kinds of articles that do tend to get more hits. Usually it is articles that are more specific and niche in nature which many people have not written about yet. The trick is to find a high interest topic that has not been widely covered yet. Localized articles tend to do well because they are more specific and do not have as much national and global competition. Also articles that do not get outdated fast tend to do better in the long run (ex. a how-to article) vs articles that might only draw interest for a week or so (ex. a current event).

3. Optimize your articles with tags, images, and good titles.
I'm no expert in search engine optimization but I have found it is wise to add tags to your articles to help them get found in searches. Also adding images helps make them more visually appealing. For titles, make sure is is something that describes your article well and is something that people would search for.

4. Don't expect to get rich quick.
Making money from blogging is hard. Usually it is done from putting ads on your site, but this only brings in a small amount especially if you do not have a lot of visitors. If your site becomes very popular then you may be able to start making a steady stream of income from ads. Start with a goal to write good content that will attract readers. Once you have an audience, then you can look into ads and ways to monetize your blog.

5. Be careful what you put online.
This is one of the most important lessons I learned and that is to be careful what you put online. This can be anything from text to images to links. For text, obviously be cautious about putting too much personal information online. Also be careful what you write about other people or companies especially if it is negative. If you are adding images, be sure those images are ok to use and do not belong to another person or company who does not want their images used. For links, be sure you are linking to trusted content and that the site you are linking to is ok with you sending traffic to their website.

6. Back up your work.
Not only should you back up files and data on your own computer, you should also back up your blog and or website. Just like a computer can crash and lose everything, so can a website. Most blogs are pretty easy to back up with a download that will at least save all the text and articles. Making a blog can be a lot of work and you don't want to lose it in the rare chance that there is a server crash so make sure you are backing it up frequently.

7. Update old articles.
Over time it is inevitable that articles will become outdated. Links to older websites and videos may not work over time as 3rd party content changes. A lot of times you will find your opinion on what you wrote years before has changed and will require an update. Another things is that old articles tend to not get as much traffic, so updating them with new information can help make them fresh and relevant again without writing a brand new article.

8. Blogging is fun!
Making a blog and writing about topics you are interested is fun! You get to express yourself and share your opinion with the world. Others with the same interests will find your blog and comment on your articles. It is great to get the feedback to reinforce that what you are writing is actually getting read and people are taking the time to respond to it. I recommend everyone try blogging as it is free to get started and can be a great way to get your ideas and thoughts out there in the world!

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