So this week’s adventure is a little different but I thought it would be worthwhile talking about my blogging journey so far because it feels like everyone is blogging or at least playing with the idea of doing it. Truth is, it’s not all what it seems to be. I am no expert at blogging so don’t expect a tutorial or anything. It’s just about what I have learnt so far and a few links to sites I find most helpful.
Call me naive but I got into this blogging lark thinking if I wrote lots of great stuff everyday people would love it and follow my blog, make comments and together we would grow a community of awesomeness.
I’ve been a writer for 15 year so I should know what I’m doing, right? Wrong. Big fat slap in the face for being such an idiot.
After a few days of bashing away at my keyboard and publishing to the world on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I reaped very few followers so I started to look in more depth about how to find more readers. I was pretty sure that more people than my friends would be interested in my blog. Embarrassingly, my mother was the only person who had commented on one of my posts. Thanks mum, I love you too 😉
So I jumped down the rabbit’s hole to find out about the world of internet marketing and what was really going on behind all those successful blogs.
Shocker! Number one – everyone wants to get in your pocket.
The moment I typed blog and followers into Google I was inundated with blogs about blogging. There are so many courses, webinars and experts selling their knowledge and when I say sell, I mean the hard sell. The psychological sell.
They understand how you feel. They tempt you with some free information, They get you to subscribe. They make you want more and then, bang. They want you to pay hundreds, sometimes even thousands of pounds, for their tutoring.
Shocker! Number two – You will have to wait years to organically grow a blog.
Blogs with huge followings started years ago when having a blog was not trendy. There were less bloggers out there vying for space in the market and those early birds have caught the worm but what about newbies like me? I’ve seen a lot of new blogs recently that have been around for one to two years and have more than 100,000 followers on Bloglovin’ already. I thought. Okay. Let’s aim high. If they have 100,00 followers already then it must be possible to get at least 500 in a month? I was soon to discover that there is a way but organic it is not.
Shocker! Number three – You will have to start writing for other blogs as well as your own if you want to get readers.
The most popular piece of advice to get more readers in the blogsphere is to guest blog. Write for others and include a link back to your own site. Erm. It’s enough work trying to fill the never ending pages of my own site but if I want anyone to know they are even there I will have to guest blog on more successful blogs to reach their audences and hopefully nab a few readers. Twice as much work.
Shocker! Number four – Bloggers pay to get there content seen.
Blog sales sites are a great source of information on how bloggers develop their sites and get readers. On sites like Flippa, sellers of blogs usually state how they get their traffic. Time and time again I read that bloggers were using a company called Outbrain, which promotes content on popular websites, including The Guardian, The Washington Post and Huffington Post. Outbrain is not the only one that does this. A rash of businesses offering this service have popped up. Basically whenever you see ‘promoted stories’ on a site. They have paid to go there.
Shocker! Number five – Blogs aren’t using bloggers.
The one thing we love about blogs is that they have personality but some are totally faking it. This of course doesn’t go for all blogs but I have come across some bloggers on Flippa that stated that they use an autoblogging plugin to pull in articles from online content resources. It is so cold, it literally sends shivers down my spine. There are thousands of poor journalists sweating over their keyboards for two cents a word all over the world to fill the coffers of the content providers, who sell cheap and in bulk. This is soulless and you’re telling me blogs that use this content are competition? Surely people would prefer to read something honest, real and with substance…
Shocker! Number six – There are a whole lot of unsung heroes behind the scenes.
My little heart deflated somewhat when I realised that I was not being realistic about my one-woman quest to create a successful blog. Some of my favourite bloggers were not these superamazingwebexperts doing everything by themselves. They had teams of people behind them, not to mention guest bloggers. There is a new wave of media companies to support these web stars and hep them make money. Companies like Social Talent (click to see) bring bloggers and brands together so they can make some money from the various types of advertising. There are lots of companies like this.
Also all those gorgeous photographs you see on travel blogs are not all snapped by the hand of the fair blogger. No. They crawl the internet for gorgeous pictures and post them on their own site with a credit link back to the photographer’s website. When I realised how many credit links there were I was surprised.
So there you are. Maybe you knew what was going on behind the scenes or maybe, like me, you didn’t.
Just thought I’d post some links to my favourite sites for advice on blogging to say thanks for the tips.
Shout Me Loud is the blog for bloggers that is my go to site for practical advice that won’t cost me money. Click here.
Nichehacks offers good tips on creating a marketable blog. Cick here.
The Moz Blog is awesome for SEO and online marketing skills. Click here.
Bost Blog Traffic is heavily based on online marketing hacks. Click here.