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How to Decide What’s Important as a New Blogger
Guest Post by Jennifer Anastasi at jenniferanastasi.com
I was staring at that blinking cursor on my computer screen, willing it to move. I had so many things on my to-do list and no idea where to start.
I was a brand-new blogger. Actually that’s not true. I had run a blog in the past but we’re talking ten years ago before all this fancy stuff.
Before I used to sit down and just write, but somehow that doesn’t work these days. Should I be focusing on SEO? What about Pinterest? Should I be writing an email instead of a blog post?
And how exactly should I be collecting these emails? Was my opt-in okay? Should I try testing something else out instead?
I know I’m not the only blogger who’s wondered about these things. I see it all the time in Facebook groups. Everyone is so quick to jump on those post to give out the latest advice. Typically that advice has to do with something that they’re selling.
We all know how important blogging can be to a business, so we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it perfect from the start.
As a new blogger it’s so incredibly hard to figure out what you should be focusing on and what you should be looking at. It’s also just as easy to get distracted by things that quite honestly, don’t matter.I'm going to walk you through what to focus on and when as a new blogger, as well as some of those things that you should just forget all about. #blogtips #beginnerblogger #blogginghacks Click To Tweet
Creating Quality Blog Content
Creating quality content should be at the forefront of your blogging goals. New bloggers often struggle with how many posts they should write per week so that they get noticed. What’s actually more important than numbers is that the content is really good. With so many articles being written every day (over two million!!), it’s crucial to make sure that your work stands out from the rest.
One of the things that gets lost in the shuffle is that at the core, your blog is about your message. And your message is communicated through your blog post.
So often we get distracted by the idea of ”traffic” that we forget that people are behind each one of these statistics. These are real life people that are landing on your blog post. These are the people that you want to serve.
So first and foremost, we have to make sure that we remember that there’s a human factor to consider.
Without content, you don’t have anything to drive people to. You don’t have anything for them to look at once they land on your site. You have nothing for them to peruse, buy, or even just laugh at.
So the first thing you should be focusing on, no matter what, is creating amazing content for your readers. You don’t want anything else to get in the way of that. Don’t ever sacrifice amazing content because someone told you that you should be doing XYZ in order to get more traffic.
Create high quality blog posts that answer questions clearly and completely. Make sure they are easy to read and give the reader everything they are looking for. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
Driving Traffic to Your Blog
Once you have amazing content, the next thing is making sure that you’re getting eyes on it. But again, the first priority is amazing content.
In this amazing content game, you’re going to have different readers. And essentially, you want to go where your readers are hanging out.
Before we get into things like social media or search engines, I bet you have a few people in your personal network to help you get started. I’m not talking about spamming your Facebook profile what’s your new blog post. However, I am talking about leveraging the assets that you already have, including personal connections.
You can always go into your personal Facebook profile and create a list. Make the list of all your friends that you feel you could help with your message. Now when you publish your content, only publish to those people.
For example, if you have a list of working moms and you publish a blog post that helps moms figure out how to make dinners quickly and easily, wouldn’t it be great to share with all of your working mom friends?
Start Maximizing on Pinterest and SEO Early
Now that we’ve exhausted those options, it’s time to start thinking about focusing on two areas. For most bloggers, the first area is going to be Pinterest. The second would be SEO, or search engine optimization.
When it comes to Pinterest there are a lot of free resources out there and some great paid ones as well. Make sure you do your research first.
SEO it’s the same. There are so many free resources out there that can get you started in beginner SEO. There are also a number of free tools that you can use. Don’t let anyone suck you into paying for an expensive tool before you’re making a lot of money on your blog.
Now that you’re getting some decent traffic, I’m going to remind you that this is all about amazing content. That traffic represents people. It’s easy to get sucked down the “traffic” wormhole, but you’re better than that.
At this point in the game, it’s probably best to go back through your content and make sure that it’s as amazing as it could be. This is also a great time to add what you learned about Pinterest and SEO to your old post.
Make Email Marketing a Priority
Next up? Email marketing. You can’t have email marketing without traffic, and you can’t have traffic without amazing content. Everything builds on each other but often that message gets left out of the conversation.
Once you get going with email marketing, then it’s time to go back and start to learn more traffic methods. But you should be getting some decent traffic at this point, maybe you have a few product ideas that you’re working on, and you should be pretty used to writing amazing content.
There are a few things that I didn’t mention and for good reason. There are a few different tasks that are floating around there as big giant shiny objects. People think that they matter, but they don’t.
Building Your Personal Brand
Let’s talk about branding. Am I saying that branding doesn’t matter? Of course not! Branding done right can be huge! That being said, branding is much more than your colors and font.
I see a lot of bloggers and other small businesses that struggle because they spend days trying to decide what their color should be and what their font should be. Or they agonize over their logo. At the end of the day, have you ever landed on a blog and immediately left because the color of pink was “wrong”?
I’m going to take a guess the answer is no. Having a cohesive brand can certainly help you, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all. This isn’t something that should take you days to decide. This is one of those, go with your gut instinct, type of tasks. Remember, you can always rebrand later.
A Note About Creating Your Blog Logo
I’m going to take a wild guess that a logo that you spend three days trying to make in Canva most likely isn’t as good as if a graphic designer were to create it for you. Unless you are a graphic designer.
Having a logo is great. But it’s not worth obsessing over or spending a lot of time on. Again, you can always have one created for you later by graphic designer once you have your message and traffic down. At the end of the day, it’s not worth all the time and effort that most new bloggers pour into it.
Steer Clear of Social Media Drama
Oh, the comment wars. I guess the question is, are you really a blogger if you don’t have at least one or two comment wars? That’s an easy question. It’s also a tricky one. Yes, you are a blogger without a comment war. You’re a smart blogger!
Quite frankly, comment wars are a waste of your time. Another waste of your time? Comment threads on Facebook. You will have much better success, long term success, from focusing on content, then traffic, then email marketing. Comment wars are a distraction, especially when they are on someone else’s post.
I tend to bow out of comment wars- not because I’m intimidated, but because I know that my time is better served writing a blog post about my thoughts on the subject. Then I can promote it, draw people to my website, and potentially grow my following.
So to Recap… Here are the Most Important Things to Focus on as a New Blogger
Content is king in the blogging game. Weak content will null and void pretty much all of your other efforts. Once you create amazing content, it’s time to focus on using your connections to grow your following and then focus on Pinterest and SEO (for most bloggers).
You know not to waste your time on comment wars, spending a bunch of time getting your branding “just right” or spending a bunch of time on creating a logo in Canva.
Need some more help? Check out this downloadable checklist for blog posts.
After completing a Masters Degree in Software Engineering, Jennifer started working as a software developer, specializing in user experience (which is designing software in a way that makes sense to the people using it). Her first love was always web development, so she switched back into that atmosphere only to learn that many were struggling with concepts that she had perfected years before. She took her knowledge and turned it into a course to help others create highly converting websites that attract followers and fans. You can learn more at her website, jenniferanastasi.com.