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4 blogging secrets to success

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I’ve done my share of blogging mistakes. I started out, thinking that every single blog post I wrote had to be perfect. I did an outline, I did another one. I wrote the post. I re-wrote it. I edited it some more. And finally, I published it. Looking back. I am not sure why I was thinking that it had to be perfect, but I think it was related to fear. I was afraid of what people would be thinking of me, and I was afraid that somebody would think that I was really bad at what I was doing, and that they would make fun of me, and talk behind my back. It’s little similar to what I am experiencing using Facebook today.

I am not afraid anymore.

Now, several years later, I’m thinking that there are four specific things I would have done differently if I started blogging today.

Be genuine

I started writing about things that I hadn’t experienced. Sometimes, I think that I started a blog for all the wrong reasons. I read that blogging was a way to earn money online. That’s not why I started though. I started blogging, because I wanted to learn from the best and connect with the best, and I wanted to share what I was experiencing.

I started writing about marketing, but mostly, I wrote about things I didn’t know much about. I didn’t write about my experience. I didn’t create any stories. What I was doing wasn’t genuine at all. It sure wasn’t anything like a purple cow. I was just writing about what others had told me. I was more or less just linking to review and other high quality blog posts.

I didn’t develop a voice or a personality. Looking back, I can’t find hardly any reason why someone should be subscribing to my newsletterΒ or reading my blog.

What I am doing today is different. Now, I am more or less focusing on telling my story. I am sharing what I know, and my unique experience is what I want you to read about. My main focus is on helping, but I am doing it my way.

Write often

I wasn’t sure that I wanted start a blog. It was just something that looked interesting. Starting a blog was kind of the new thing to do. Most of the time, I just adjusted the settings, and I was focused on the design. I hardly did any writing, and most of my posts, they were less than 300 words.

I didn’t know how important it was to write every single day. I really enjoy writing. To me, writing is a way to relax, and it’s a method I use to get whatever I am thinking of, out of my system, and it just makes me feel really good. But, I didn’t know that writing would make me feel this way, not in the beginning.

And, I didn’t know the importance of writing high quality blog posts and that the only way to write high quality blog posts was to write often. It’s not that I should publish blog posts every single day. I just need to keep writing, and adding words to the posts. The more I write, the better I become at writing. And, the more time I use writing (and editing) a blog post, the more quality is added to it.

Build relationships

I thought that I could be the invisible blogger. The man who wasn’t there. Nobody had any idea that I am from Norway, and that I am vegetarian. I could just keep writing my short blog posts once a week, and that was it.

During my first years of blogging, I just published blog posts. That was what I was doing. I didn’t do anything to promote them. Building relationships through commenting on other blogs is a way to promote the blog posts and it’s a way to build relationships. And, blog commenting is by far the method I have had the most success with, when it comes to promoting my blog.

The reason I build relationships online, is because I am interested in networking with people. I want to get to know them. And, I want to help out. But, at the same time, I believe in Karma; what comes around goes around. If you focus on helping other people, you will get help in return.

Blogging is about people. That’s why, as a blogger, we need to focus on building relationships. This is how we get loyal readers, and it’s how we build a community.

Create a strategy

I didn’t plan my content. I didn’t use an editorial calendar. I just wrote blog posts about ideas I got five minutes before I started writing them. What happened was that people arriving at my blog, they wouldn’t understand the theme. There was no way that they could anticipate what would happen next on my blog. I was writing about marketing, but it wasn’t consistent.

It was really hard to come up with new ideas. I didn’t use a system to capture any of my thoughts. At the time I was going to write a new post, I had to use most of my energy to come up with a topic to write about. Now, I capture all of my thoughts,and most of the time, I have the topic and even the headline ready before I even begin writing. This makes it a lot easier to write, and it makes everything much more fun.

Your turn

That’s my mistakes. Now, what have you’ve been doing differently, and what are your blogging secrets to success?

Let’s discuss.



18 responses to “4 blogging secrets to success”

  1. Lisa says:

    Jens, I too used to write under 300 words and publish almost daily. Now I publish 1-3 times weekly. I have a “loose” schedule of posting on Minday, Thursdays and sometimes Saturdays. Sometimes life happens and those days change. I agree having a title helps but sometimes I change it after writing a post too. I was notbone to wait for perfection, I would publish too fast with errors. I was always in hurry to mske it happen πŸ™‚ blogging is a art form I believe that we develop as we go Jens πŸ™‚

    • I change my titles as well, but I always have a title for a blog post before I start to write it. I don’t like to hurry anymore. I used to think that I am suffering from the Ticking Clock Syndrome, and I just need to finish everything I start in just a matter of a few minutes. Now, I can start to write a blog post on Monday and continue to write on it every day for the whole week and publish it on Friday. I am not saying that this is how it usually is, but it happens once in a while πŸ™‚

  2. Jane says:

    The most valuable thing about blogging is it becomes a lot easier to build your brand and spread the word if you keep on building genuine relationships πŸ™‚ And I love to connect with people, so that’s easy for me.

    And yes, a strategy is absolutely necessary. Without a strategy in place, we will simply be wasting our time and energy. THanks for the wonderful tips Jens πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jane,

      Yes, it’s a lot easier to build strong relationships with blogging. That’s how I’ve met all my “online friends”. It’s not as easy to get Norwegian customers by writing a blog in English, so that’s why I have started a Norwegian one as well.

  3. Hi Jens,

    The practice of writing (not posting) every day has helped me quite a bit. Even if you don’t feel like writing, you’re soon into a flow state. What helped me more than anything though? To stop chasing meaningless numbers and to focus more on quality content and a consistent message. Unfortunately I spend less time commenting than I used to because I’m doing a lot more behind the scenes πŸ˜‰

    • Hi Craig,

      Many times, I don’t feel like writing at all. And, I am sure that I won’t be able to write at all, just because I don’t have any energy and I don’t want to write. But, many times I feel that I’ve done some of my best writing when I don’t really want to. That’s exactly why I think that it’s important to keep writing no matter what. I set a time every day that I need to write, but I don’t publish most of my work.

  4. Mark Ford says:

    Hi Jens

    I can definitely relate to your point about not building relationships.

    It’s only recently I’ve started connecting with bloggers and following that up on social media.

    It’s made a massive difference to my readership lately

  5. Glori Surban says:

    Agree on all four points!
    I can relate on wanting to keep adjusting and tweaking your blog design! I think we’re especially susceptible to this. πŸ™‚
    May I ask how you usually plan your content?

    • Hi Glori,

      I started out thinking about the design of my blog on a daily basis. Now, I don’t think much about it. I just keep writing and trying to convert people who visit my blog into loyal readers.

      I usually plan my content for the week on Monday morning. I don’t have a plan other than I look at all the ideas I’ve added to my list, and I think about what I want to be writing about and I pick what I’m interesting in that particular week.

  6. Adrienne says:

    I think I actually made a lot of the same mistakes that you did Jens.

    I wrote to make money and not connect with people. I never commented because I was intimidated by others so there was no relationship building taking place at all. I just did so many things wrong but at the time I was being taught to do those things so it wasn’t until much later that I realized I should have done what felt right to me.

    I look at my time online as one big lesson after another. I think we all have to find out place here and now they’re shouting that your content has to be epic, all of it. I’m sorry, that’s probably not going to happen with me but I’ll just continue to give it my all.

    We all make mistakes but if we can learn from them than we’re much better for it right!

    Thanks for sharing these because you’re so spot on Jens.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    ~Adrienne

    • No wonder why you’re having such a big success Adrienne. I’m also looking at what I’ve done and what I continue to do as lessons. Every tiny part of my experience is something I’m learning from, and it’s how I continue to grow as a business man and as a person. Without failure I wouldn’t have experienced success.

  7. Yusri Big says:

    Top bloggers have been blogging for a long time and they’ve learned many secrets along the way. It’s time for us to learn some of those tricks, too. Top bloggers understand the importance of internal linking, particularly at the beginning of a blog post. Those internal links are great for search engine optimization and they help to keep people on our blog longer, so be sure to link to other posts in our blog archive early in our blog posts. Also, try to hold off on including external links in our blog posts until at least after the first paragraph, and don’t use keyword phrases in the anchor text for external links. Save those keyword phrases for internal links.

  8. Suraj Pande says:

    These are very good points,. You know that I am not typical blogger nor I am a writer, so this information is coming useful for me, but keeping to motivation for writing is more difficult. I can write 20 articles in one day and after that for 20 days I may be passive and work on SEO and web development on my web projects.

  9. samarth says:

    You’re right Jens, most of us are already aware of these things; it’s just that a lot of us also are not too keen on implementing them religiously. Perhaps some are just not serious enough to be in this business; however, for the rest of us, these tips are gems and useful reminders that we have a whole lot of options at our disposal any time that we want. Thank you for sharing and more power.

    • Thanks for the feedback Samarth,

      To me, building a strong relationship with other bloggers is what I believe is the most important part of success. If we continue to focus on relationships, we’ll learn from others and we’ll get the help we need to finally make it. That’s why we also need to focus on helping our readers, the more we help others, the more people will end up helping us. That’s what I believe.

      – Jens

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