10 Ways You Are Destroying Your Blog

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Did you ever think that instead of making your blog sizzle that you are actually hurting it???

Yes, it’s possible. And too many bloggers are guilty of this than you’d think. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Blogging is a huge investment of time, focus, energy, and money. Just like any other business, the more you put into it, the better the output.

Are you guilty of hurting your blog? You may be and not even realize it. Take a look at 10 big ones I’ve identified below and see if you fell victim to any (or all) of them.

10 Ways You Are Destroying Your Blog

1. You picked the wrong niche

If you don’t pick the right niche, you’re in for loads of trouble. Picking a niche where you can be successful is important to do right away. If you start off blogging in a niche you know nothing about, you are going to have a hard time selling confidence to your readers. Trust me when I say you should pin down the right niche well before posting your first piece. It’s so much easier to switch your niche before you’ve purchased a domain name, designed your blog, and written 10+ posts.

When I was thinking about what my niche was going to be, I wrote down topics that interested me. I’m a dad, so naturally writing about my parenting experiences made sense. I also enjoy helping others learn how to blog, so that was another opportunity. If you are a basketball player, does it make sense to start a baseball sports blog? Probably not. Same holds true with any other niche. Don’t dive into a world of unfamiliarity. Stick with what you know and what you are good at. Remember, you are writing for your readers. If you sound like you have no clue what you are talking about, you are going to lose your readers’ trust (and probably see a spike in unsubscribe emails!).

2. You’re too focused on making money

Far too many bloggers only start a blog to make money, but fail to realize that connecting with their readers and instilling value in what they write is what drives more affiliate sales. If you are too focused on banner ads, affiliate links and other monetization tactics, you become less focused on creating high quality content. The advice I always give other bloggers is to establish a readership first, then jump into monetizing.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to want to try to earn money from your blog. Monetizing a blog can be a great way of earning extra income. As a daddy of 4 kids, and a household of 6 people, I’ll take any extra side income I can get. Don’t let the idea of earning money take over. Yes, you should try to monetize with affiliate links, but it should be a background to your main content.

3. You aren’t self-hosted

If you are serious about blogging, and I mean serious enough to want thousands of followers, you must go the self-hosted route. When you don’t have a professional domain name and stick with a free blog URL, you limit yourself and you tarnish your reputation from the start. To be taken seriously, you have to look serious.

Which blog are you going to visit first? www.makemillionsofdollars.com or www.makemillionsofdollars.wordpress.com? Probably the first one, right? Some bloggers have actually argued with me that it doesn’t matter as long as the content is superb. I politely disagree with them that your blog is like your marketing material. Spend the time and money necessary to make it WORK FOR YOU not AGAINST YOU!

4. Your blog’s design sucks

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the overall design of your blog is crucial to its success. If everything isn’t displayed and organized wisely, your readers will become confused. Make sure you have a theme that’s mobile-friendly, and a layout that puts your best foot forward.

Do not use the default WordPress theme. I know it’s simple and already ready for you, but resist the temptation! If you do, you are going to shout to the blogging world that you didn’t take the time to make your blog unique. Need a theme? I highly recommend ThemeIsle.

5. You don’t plan ahead

Are you guilty of this one? I think all bloggers can say that we have sometimes felt rushed to get a post published versus planning ahead to make sure the post will perform well. One way I stopped myself from doing this is by creating an outline for every post. An outline forces me to stop, organize all of those potentially great thoughts in my head, and make my post flow with a great introduction, a sizzling body, and a well-planned call-to-action. If you do this every time, your blog posts will look more organized.

6. You don’t provide any value to your readers

I can sit here and write all day until my hands are numb, but if the content I’m spitting out isn’t helpful or valuable, I’m just wasting everyone’s time. My rule of thumb is that if my post doesn’t teach someone something, or provide valuable information to help them, I don’t post it. I see so many other bloggers just writing to write. That’s fine that you chronicle every freaking marathon you run, but how does that help me?

7. You aren’t using social media to your advantage

Social media is so important to my blog. I depend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to help spread the word about my posts, as well as give my readers an insight to who I am when I’m not blogging. If you aren’t already connecting all of your blog posts to social media, now’s a great time to start. If you are using WordPress, you can connect most of them through your sharing settings.

8. You focus on yourself first

I want to elude back to the blogger that only writes about running marathons. Every time I read one of these posts, I wonder when he/she is going to focus on what their readers want and need. Focusing on yourself makes it very difficult for your readers to become engaged and see value in following you.

You may argue that your blog’s content should be about you, because you are the blogger after all, right? Wrong. If you are trying to gain followers and their trust, you have to focus on their needs. Does this mean you can’t ever write a post about yourself? Of course not, but not every post should focus on you. This post I wrote today focuses on my own experience as a blogger and how that experience can help other bloggers succeed.

9. Your images are low quality

If you aren’t using high quality images on your site today, you are damaging your reputation. Images add so much engagement and value to your site. While there are multiple free stock image sites available, try taking your own pictures to make your site more personal. Images do a great job of driving SEO and also are good ways to break up your content. I’m a visual learner, so if I see a picture that goes along with an idea, I do a better job of making connections and understanding what I’m reading.

10. Your email marketing strategy isn’t working

How many of us can say we are actively emailing our subscribers? If you can’t say it, you are missing out on talking directly to your readers. Use your content marketing system already in place to reach out to your readers and gauge their wants and needs. Selling affiliate products? Email marketing is a great forum to announce a great product you support and use. DON’T use this as an opportunity to spam your readers. Not only will you look spammy, but you’ll lose readers in the process.

Sound off…

What other ways have you found that have been detrimental to your blog? I’d love to add them to this list. Let me know in the comments!

10 Ways To Successfully Market Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links

It isn’t enough to write a gem of a blog post, hit publish, then go out for a night on the town. I mean, if you still want to go out for a night on the town, fine, but don’t expect a massive amount of traffic to show up in your stats when you get home.

When I first started my blog 2 years ago, I never thought of it as my business. I looked at it more as a hobby. That was a critical mistake that I had to correct right away. My blog earns me income, so it’s my business. Treating my blog like a business is much different than treating it like a hobby.

Today, I’m going to give you 10 critical tips you must do to successfully market your blog correctly. This post is for both new and seasoned bloggers. Are you following these tips? If not, what’s holding you back?

10 Ways To Successfully Market Your Blog

1. Know Your Audience

When you first started blogging, I hope you immediately identified your blogging niche. If you didn’t, it’s time to pick to whom you are writing, and cater all of your blog posts to that particular audience.

I started off as a pure dad blog. All of my original posts had something to do with parenting. As I discovered there wasn’t much of a niche for dad blogs, I switched to helping others blog successfully and to writing product reviews.

All posts I write for Go Ask Your Daddy today have my blogging audience in mind. Knowing who you are writing to is the first step in crafting the perfect post that will attract a lot of attention and send a lot of traffic your way.

2. Don’t be boring, be truthful

There are millions of blogs out there, and many of them spin out the same content over and over again. Don’t be like them.  You can write about similar topics, but put different spins on them.  Definitely do not copy other content for your own site! Not only is this plagiarism, but it’s not your true voice.

Write with honesty. Sometimes that means pissing people off with the truth, but that’s okay. Be true to yourself and don’t cover everything in ribbons and bows. Your readers will appreciate the honest truth even if it’s bad news.

3. Make the most of social media

Since the explosion of social media, there are more and more opportunities to promote your content than just email and your website. The one important thing I advise my readers to pay attention to is to make sure to follow each social media account’s rules. For example, if you are promoting affiliate links on Facebook, you have to indicate that the link is branded content. Promoting products on Facebook is a good way to get your account suspended.

Establish a solid social media promotion plan. Know when and how often you are going to share posts every day. A great free tool I use is Hootsuite. Although there is a paid version, the free version is sufficient for me to schedule multiple posts in advance.

4. Promoting affiliate products? Don’t overdo it.

The temptation is going to be there to throw dozens of banner ads and affiliate links all over your blog. Resist, my friend!  Too many ads will discredit you as a serious blogger and a subject matter expert in your niche. Only promote products you believe in and actually use, and link to those products in your post. I only put a few affiliate banners in my sidebar because too many makes it too cluttered.

Once you’ve made a few sales through your affiliate links, you’re going to want to promote them even more, but it’s important to plan ahead before you do so. Promoting everything under the sun is not a plan – it’s almost the equivalent to spam.

5. Use specific keywords

Bloggers who bring in a lot of traffic didn’t bring in that level of traffic overnight. They did serious research on which keywords worked best and implemented strategies. When using keywords, try to be as specific as possible. For example, if I’m promoting a pickup truck, it would be better to talk about red Ford pickup trucks. The more specifics you include with your keywords the more search traffic can find you. I’ve actually read that search engines can push generic keywords to the bottom of results so that the better, more specific results can show up first. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

6. Allow guest posts? Be smart about it.

One thing I don’t do much of any more is allow guest posts on my site. This was a personal decision I made because I realized the guest poster was only about spreading THEIR content and not my own. I like to keep my voice on my blog and let my personality shine. If I’m allowing every guest post under the sun to appear on my site, I lose my voice and personality.

If you do allow guest posts on your site, create specific ground rules and make sure you abide by them. Make sure you proofread for errors and read over the content for accuracy. If the post doesn’t match your niche, just say no. You have the power to control the content, so don’t just allow anything to come through.

7. Make an About Me page that shines

Your “About Me” page is like your resume. It needs to be about your readers’ needs more so than about you as a person. While you can talk about who you are and where you are from, do it in a way that lets your readers know you understand where they are coming from and can help solve their problem.

8. Write how you talk

So many bloggers think they need to change how they write to be more impressive and authoritative in their niche. This is simply not true. Write how you talk. Let your voice carry over into your writing so that those who follow you and read your content know without a doubt who you are and what you are about.

Although you need to spell check and speak professionally, don’t remove your personality from any piece you are writing. Let your personality shine, because that’s why your readers are following you. If you don’t use big words when you are talking, don’t use them when you are writing, unless you absolutely need to.

9. Utilize your mailing list

You more than likely have a place where your readers can subscribe to your mailing list, but if you aren’t actually sending emails to them on a regular basis, what’s the point?

Just like you need a social media strategy in place, you also need a email marketing strategy. I’m not talking about only emailing when you are trying to promote a product (but this is a good idea if done right!), but ask questions in emails that drive responses. You hopefully have calls to action on your blog posts. Do the same for your emails.

10. You need Pinterest in your life

Okay, you may be sick and tired of me talking about Pinterest, but here I go again. Remember Jan Brady when she said, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha?” Well, “Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest!”

Pinterest is one of the top sources of traffic to my blog. It didn’t happen that way overnight, though. I created group boards that would drive a lot of interest, and then purchased Tailwind to help automate sharing my pins. I share 80 pins per day automatically across 24 boards! There is no way I could have shared that many manually.

Your turn now!

Do these make sense to you?  Do you use any or all of these tips today? If you use any I haven’t listed, what are they?  I’d love to give you credit and add them to the list in the future. Let me know in the comments below!

How To Skyrocket Your Email List in 30 Days

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This post contains affiliate links.  If you decide to make a purchase using those links, I’ll receive a small commission that helps me keep Go Ask Your Daddy rolling. Thanks for all of your continued support!

As a relatively new blogger (less than 2 years), one of the hardest things I’ve found in this career is growing my email list. I don’t know why it has been a struggle for me, but in reading other blog posts and Facebook group comments, I see I’m clearly not alone. That’s why I’ve finally put together a successful strategy to keep my email subscriber list moving in the right direction.

Email subscriber list growth depends on how well you are promoting your blog. If you are just writing and publishing without sharing on any social media channel, how can you expect people to find it? Spending a good amount of time coming up with and implementing the right strategy is key to jump-starting your email list.

How To Skyrocket Your Email List in 30 Days

Set a goal

So I’m a manager full-time in my day job, and I know how critical establishing achievable goals are in business. It’s absolutely no different with your blog. The first thing you need to do is determine where you want to be in the next 30 days. Are you reaching for 50? 100? 500? 1,000? Establish a goal that’s reachable in the time frame. For this post, I’m using 30 days as the time frame to really get things cookin’!

Here’s a list of ways I’ve personally grown my email list. Not every strategy or tip here will work for everyone. Find what works best for you and stick with it. Oh, and don’t be afraid to shift gears if you find the strategy doesn’t work the way you want.

1. Simply Ask People to Join

Word of mouth is still as effective today as it was 100 years ago. Before the digital age, people learned about things by word of mouth. Ask your family, friends, or co-workers to check out your blog, and to sign up with your mailing list. You’ll be surprised as to how many actually follow through. You can also ask your Facebook and Twitter followers to join too. If you have a Facebook fan page (I hope you do!), there is an option to send an invite. Don’t be shy and think people don’t want to see it. Take the leap and invite your entire list. What’s the worst that could happen?? Seriously? One word of caution here is to not put it out there like they are obligated to join. Make it a casual conversation like: “Hey, did you know I run a blog? Check it out! I’d love for you to join the mailing list if you’d like.” Don’t force the issue.

2. Write Content Worth Sharing

No matter how hard you promote your blog, if your blog posts are garbage, you can expect garbage in return. Posting for the sake of posting will get you no where. Plan out your post. I guarantee you can write an effective blog post in under 30 minutes! If you write content worth sharing, you will gain your readers’ loyalty and your mailing list will reap the benefits.

3. Offer an Incentive for Subscribing

What value does subscribing to your email list have for your readers?  Are they going to get anything free? Write an eBook, create a free webinar, design a worksheet, offer a free design service. Do something. Give them something they’ll love for free. Here are a few ideas:

4. Use a Reputable Email Marketing Service

Don’t be one of those bloggers who sends out campaigns using a personal email account. How unprofessional! I highly recommend and use MailChimp. It has all of the tools you need to get your email list started up for free. It comes with tutorials to help customize your email form, helps you schedule automatic RSS feed emails, and even gives you tons of design options. MailChimp also gives you statistics on how your email campaigns are going. It tells you how many people are on your list, how many opened your email, and how many clicked on links within the email. Once your blog grows, though, you’ll have to opt in for the paid service, but it’s totally worth the effort. Whatever email marketing service you use, be consistent with it and actually use it!

5.  Join Facebook Groups

I have met so many great blogger friends on Facebook groups. Many of us started out not knowing one interesting piece of information about the other, but as we continued sharing our content with each other through these groups, many of us have subscribed to each others’ blogs. Use Facebook threads as a way to network with others and share your content.  The more eyes that see your content, the more your mailing list will grow. Start by joining my Facebook Group, “Blogger Share and Promo Group.” I created the group with the sole purpose of sharing blog content and boosting traffic.

6. Be Genuine

No one wants to subscribe to a blog that’s going to blast 2-3 emails a day trying to sell something. If you are doing this today, I guarantee you most of your readers will unsubscribe in a heartbeat. Be genuine and you will gain followers. If you are using affiliate links in your blog posts, do so subtly, and don’t make it appear that earning a commission is all you care about. Trust me, people can see right through your intentions. It’s ok to include affiliate links in your posts, but only do so when you truly want someone to see the value in the product you are promoting.

7. Write Down Your Strategy

Above all, you need to document your email marketing strategy. Put it in a place where you can refer to it and make changes as your blog changes. I’d even go as far as to share your email strategy on your blog like I’m doing today. Let people know you truly care about the quality of your posts, and for all of those who choose to subscribe to your blog. Let them see you have a clear plan in place and that they are not wasting their time by signing up today.

8. Make it Easy to Subscribe

Nothing’s worse than going to someone’s blog and not seeing an opt-in form clearly on their blog. Don’t make your readers work to find out how to become a part of all of that great content you’re writing. Make it obvious. If you’ll look over in my right sidebar, towards the top of the page, you’ll see I’ve done just that. I want people to be comfortable when on my site, and I want them to find content with ease. Analyze your current site and find ways to improve the way you direct traffic to your sign up form. If it’s hard to find, you probably need to make some updates.

9. Send regular emails

Today, I have MailChimp set up to send a weekly email on Fridays to all of my subscribers. This email is tied to my RSS feed, and sends an excerpt of every blog post I’ve published during the past week. If you want to see what that looks like, subscribe to my blog today, and the next Friday that passes you’ll get an email. Feel free to mirror your email blasts like I have. I also recommend sending an addition 2-3 emails per week. These can be on any topic you want, but make it VALUABLE to your readers. Don’t just email to email. Make it worth your readers’ time to stop what they are doing and pay attention.

10. Use Pinterest to Market Your Mailing List

Ok, you’ve probably heard me rant and rave about how well my site performs because of Pinterest traffic. I’m telling the truth when I’ve really seen my traffic and mailing list grow because I’ve implemented a consistent strategy with Pinterest and with using Tailwind. You can market your mailing list on Pinterest by creating a visually-stimulating image and then link it to your subscribe form. Make sure to explain in the description what your site is about and why readers should join.

Were these tips helpful? Let me know what you think!

Hey, don’t leave my page just yet. Let me know whether or not this post was helpful for you in the comments section below. I’m always looking to improve all of my blog posts to help you succeed.