It’s hard out here for a blogger!
The internet is a cut-throat environment, survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Persnickety readers are lurking behind every Publish button, waiting to chastise you for every little mistake you make…. Your competition is watching you (even though they won’t admit it) waiting for an opportunity to point out your incompetence….
What’s that you say? You’re new at this? Take it easy?
Wishful thinking. The fact is, you’ve got to hit the ground running in the online world. You’ve got to make your voice heard above the gushing hoards of marketers and copywriters spewing out nonsensical rubbish faster than you can say “click-bait”.
But fear not baby blogger! All is not lost! We’ve put together list of Do’s and Don’ts that is guaranteed to keep you from getting smacked down by the Blog Gods and jumpstart your journey in style.
Sit back, relax, and strap your listening ears (eyes?) on – CopyEffect is about to drop some wisdom on you.
The days of names like www.the-best-type-of-cheese-for-home-made-pizza.com are over. Forget about the niche site ways of the past, doing something like this can actually hurt your search engine ranking now.
You need a name that is catchy and cool, not overly descriptive. Instead of the ridiculous web address above you would name your site cheeseboss.com or homepizzagod.net. Even if you’re catering to a specific niche (which you should be), you don’t want to box yourself in with a name that is too specific.
If you’ve racked your brain and still can’t come up with a name, you can always follow suit with the myriad of Silicon Valley startups who combine two words to make a new one, or simply add ly to the end of a word.
cheesely.co, thehomelypizza.com, crustygoodness.net, hellopizza.me……you get the point.
Piggybacking on the Don’t above, one of the easiest things you can do to gain some blog-cred is to pick up a hosting package to go with your sexy new domain name.
Simply put, this means that you pay a tiny amount to have a domain that reads cheesely.com rather than the free alternatives cheesely.wordpress.com or cheesely.webs.com.
There are, of course, a ton of other reasons to host your own site, such as customization options, room to grow, etc, but all you really need to know is that you should do it. Leave the free blogs to new moms writing about the color of their children’s excreta and drop a few bucks with Bluehost to show people you give a damn.
Why? Because everyone else will.
While it may be super tempting to save some coin up-front by using a free theme for your site, you can set yourself apart from the herd by opting for a paid one. Look at it this way, you’re going to have to do it eventually anyway, so you can save yourself the headache of re-theming down the road by starting out with a sexy theme from a premium provider.
Premium themes offer way more customization options than their free counterparts, and some providers include free video training and user-friendly content builder interfaces. Sweet!
For the price of a dinner for two you can pick up a gorgeous theme from any of the following…
Thrive Themes– My favorite, hands down.
One of the first things you should do when you start a website is set up an opt-in form so you can start building an email list. The visitors to your site are your potential customers, so don’t let them escape without leaving their email with you. Your email list will become the lifeblood of your online business. It’s how you interact with readers, get feedback, promote products, and the big one… keep people from forgetting about you.
The best way to get signups is to offer something of value to the reader for free. No, you don’t have to go handing out Porches, but you should be offering something that they can only get by signing up with you.
Some examples that work well include…
Insider info that is not available to the public on your blog.
A free resource such as an ebook,video, or webinar.
Access to your weekly newsletter.
Special opportunities and promotions (invitations to meet-ups, discounts on products/services,etc.)
Remember, the key is to provide your readers with massive value. Go the extra mile to become their go-to resource in your niche and you will build relationships that last for years to come.
The early days are the hardest. You’re busting your ass day in and day out, pouring every ounce of creativity and energy into your fledgling venture. And you’ve yet to make a penny.
It’s only natural to want to start bringing in some cash asap, but you must resist the urge to become spammy. You’re not doing all this work to make .04 cents when someone clicks an AdSense ad, you want to build lasting relationships with your readers.
My advice? Don’t put ads on your site (unless their for your products). Not only do ads look shitty, but they drive traffic AWAY from the site you’re working so hard to build. The primary goal in the beginning is to build a loyal following and become a trusted advisor to your readers. If you do this right you will have no problem getting them to pay you down the road. In fact, they will want to reciprocate for all of the value you have given them!
The only thing worse than not having photos is having crappy pixelated photos. Take a few minutes to set a featured image for your posts, and sprinkle in a photo or two. Not only will a few well placed images help capture the readers’ attention, but they will instantly take your post from amateur to pro status.
Below are a few of our favorite sites that offer stock photos – for free. Unlike a lot of photo sites, the top 3 we’ve listed here all have a handy search feature, which saves a ton of time when you’re looking for something specific.
Stocksnap.io– Of the sites we’ll list here, stocksnap.io has the largest selection. Hundreds of new images are uploaded each week.
Splitshire.com– We love this site. It has a smaller selection than stocksnap.io, but the images are truly breathtaking.
Unsplash.com – Unsplash is home to a very unique selection of photos, 7 new photos are uploaded each week.
New Old Stock– The site is a great resource for vintage photos in the public domain.
Snapwire Snaps– Get 7 free photos delivered to your inbox every 7 days.
DO- Make Them Trust You
HERE… For your eyes only!… While supplies last!… Is the most surefire, most undisputed, most unmistakeable way to gain a loyal following that trusts you!!
………drum roll please……..
If you take nothing else away from this article, please remember this one.
You don’t have to look far to find gobs of spammy marketers and online con-artists. You see them every day. They regurgitate statements like…
“Learn how I made 19 million dollars while brushing my teeth by doing this ONE SIMPLE THING!!!”
“Join our super, top secret, premium VIP mailing list and gold coins will start raining on you! Beautiful women will flock to you in droves. Your every desire will come true!”
Don’t be that guy.
In a world busting at the seems with bullshit, people crave authenticity. They desperately want someone to believe in, someone to trust, someone to inspire them. Become that someone and you will have no problem being successful. This is, no doubt, the road less traveled. It’s easy to lie on the internet. But I assure you that if you are honest and upfront with your readers from the get-go then down the road when you put your seal of approval on a product or service and ask them to buy it, they will jump at the opportunity.
Keep in mind, building a successful online presence takes time. Even the most successful internet magnates started with exactly zero fans. It takes massive determination to put in all the work upfront and delay gratification, but by taking the long view and implementing tried and true tactics like the ones above you can reap the rewards of your efforts for years to come.
We’ve just scratched the surface of all that’s involved with building a successful business through blogging. Please feel free to leave a comment below with any tips you have for those just getting their feet wet in the word of blogging.