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Building a Successful Blog From Scratch Pt1

Unless you're backed by a Venture Capitalist, chances are that you'll pretty much have to build your Blog on limited resources and manpower. I've seen a lot of Blogs fade to nothing, some for obvious reasons and some due to mistakes that crept up on them unnoticed. In this brief series, I'll be giving you practical advice that'll come in handy in your quest to make your Blog successful. This series will come in 3 parts:

  • Part 1: The Pitfalls
  • Part 2: The Tactics
  • Part 3: Q & A

If you have any questions then simply drop them as a comment, I'll address a collection in Part 3.

The Pitfalls The decisions you make when starting out your Blog could make or break it. I'll be addressing a few mistakes you might have made (or are still making) and telling you why they're not a great idea. Here we go. Being afraid of making mistakes and being uncertain about what you want to doLook, its OK for your Blog to get hacked (and your content probably deleted) by some bored Moron. Its OK to get banned from that Ad or Affiliate network you're relying on for funding. Its OK to get penalized after a Google Search update. It's OK for your Blog's traffic to drop. It’s OK to get in trouble for copying someone else's content. It’s OK not to know what you really want to do with your Blog. It’s OK for your Blog to get spammed by Bots. As unpleasant (and avoided) these things are, they could and do happen…it comes with the territory. What you need to do is see mistakes as a learning curve and learn from them. Try your best to avoid these storms but if you find yourself in them, savor the moment and weather the storm, you'll come out stronger and more experienced.Trying to give what you don't haveToo often, I come across Bloggers in a niche they know very little about. If you really want your Blog to be recognized then you need to actually be good at what you do. Copying someone else's post won't get you there. With time, people who visit your website will realize that you're not the original source and don't know much about what you're blogging about then ditch you. The initial traffic increase you experience (from copying other people's posts) is a mere illusion. Your traffic will increase rapidly (not dramatically) and then Tank (drop sharply due to penalties & desertion). There's nothing wrong in not being a Guru in your niche, the problem is you not learning (and therefore not growing); afterall, the only difference between a Guru and a Novice is the time they have devoted to acquiring knowledge Not having a brand identity for your BlogAs a Blogger, if the contact details on your website are your personal contact details then you're not thinking much about the future. Not separating your Blog's identity from yours is a mistake you'll pay for dearly (for several reasons). I'll give you a brief example. A few years back, I met a Blogger. The name on his personal Facebook account was the same as his Blog's name. Not only Facebook actually, all his personal accounts on other websites were the very same as his Blog name. Now, here's where the time bomb went off. As usual, you could get into personal skirmishes with people online. Nothing stops you from joining the fray or falling out with someone online (even get in the mud), the problem is when you do so with your Brand's name. If someone throws a personal insult at you, the name that insult hits is your Brand (as that's the name seen). Of course his Blog died a slow but very steady death and is no more.Trying to make the most money out of practically no trafficI've come across some new Blogs with really heavy ad presence. I've been on the internet for well over 15 years so you can imagine when I say really heavy Ad presence; Popups, Popunders, Banners all over the Place, Interstitial Ads, Floating Ads, Text link Ads, Recommended content Ads all on one thin page. Anybody who consciously returns to such a website will most likely be armed with an Ad Blocker and such a website will be the last to be visited. When you try to make as much money as possible from the 10 people that visit your Blog daily (to the detriment of user experience) then you're determined not to grow. I salute you for such courage because I don't have it!Copying from other BlogsThere's this sense of satisfaction you get when you publish a Blog post. After the Adrenalin has begun fading (You might also know it as initial gragra) and you're now hit with no idea what to post & no traffic, it could be tempting to start lifting content from more popular websites just to stay active. Well guess what, if you do that then your Blog will always remain a fly in the City and be prone to getting crushed anytime. If you think visitors are loyal then think again. Once there's a better website, they'll jump ship. By copying, you're merely advertising better websites and not getting any better yourself.No Financial planI've seen too many Blogs fail because the owners handled the Blog like a hobby and not a Business. If you think the goal is to pay for your domain name, hosting and data then pocket the rest, you're not seeing the bigger picture. Do you ever consider numbers like how long you could maintain the Blog if your income dried up suddenly and nothing came in for a while? What of numbers like the ratio of your increase in income to your increase in cost as your Blog grows? Do you even keep a ledger of your Blog's income and cost? Paranoia towards other Bloggers in your nicheIts quite normal to see other Bloggers in your Niche as rivals but don't be blinded to benefits both parties could enjoy from an association. A few years back, I knew a Forum owner. I decided to contribute at his Forum and his members loved me. I was surprised to have received a warning from him accusing me of trying to woo his members over to my website. I'd not posted any links so I of course replied to know how I was being manipulative and what rules I'd violated. I got no reply because even he knew I'd broken no rules; he was just being paranoid. I shook it off and continued contributing. A second warning came with no Post of mine referenced (or deleted) or forum rule quoted. I read in between the lines and just stopped being active. He'd naively scared off many other brilliant minds from his Forum this way and its now been taken over by spammers. Even his Moderators ditched him. If you've been building walls then those won't help you grow.The Lure of quick successIf you've been fooled by tales of 'Bloggers' who buy cars and build houses from their blogging income then wake up, there's always more to the story. They've only shown you the success part, there's a work (or underground) part which they hardly ever mention (to make their success look effortless). It takes time, consistency, wit & devotion to build a successful Blog.See you in Part 2 (courtesy of hovatek).

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