Pretty much every blogger in Nigeria and worldwide dreams of being a super blogger that can drive huge amounts of traffic to their site, and generate high income through adverts and selling products online.
Fortunately for me, this isn’t why I started blogging. Although I wanted to build MyNaijaNaira and attract an audience, I didn’t see it as a lucrative business idea. I wasn’t chasing income and assuming that all I had to do was set up a blog, post ocassionally, display a few adds and then the traffic would instanty start flowing. Believe it or not, some people believe this to be true, and have been sold this dream.
MyNaijaNaira was set up to attract like minded people who are interested in business and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide. And like many businesses in Nigeria, I attracted customers to my business consultancy through blogging. Blogging helped me create a stronger market presence online.
Like most people, when I started blogging, I was oblivious to the advantages of blogging and the key skills required to succeed.
Believe me, it has been a huge learning experience. So what have I learned after 6 months of blogging? This is what I want to share with you, because if I had known these tactics earlier, things could have been different.
What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging
1. Blogging requires a specific niche
It’s important that you find the right niche, and focus on a a particular subject or industry. It helps if it’s an area that you are passionate about.
This is essential. It will help you target a specific demographic and attract a steady stream of like-minded individuals. For instance, if you were writing a food blog, food enthusiasts from chefs, foodies, housewives and husbands would take an interest in your blog posts. Similarly, writing on sports or more specifically a sport such as football will attract a specific group of people.
If your blog lacks direction, nobody will be directed to it.
2. You do not achieve success instantly
Blogging brings long-term results; therefore, it is a long-term investment. “Rome was not built in a day”, this old-age saying says it all. Success demands hard work, commitment and conviction.
Hoping for instant success is quite frankly naive and foolish because your blog needs time to get indexed in search engines and time to build a following. Like most things in cyberspace, people and search engines trust blogs that have a history.
Sometimes you just have to let yourself be discovered by the audience you’re trying to attract. The more content you produce, the better you become as a blogger, which will have a direct impact on your results. But building content takes time. Be patient and don’t lose focus of what you are trying to achieve.
I’ve noticed a 40% increase in traffic to MyNaijaNaira since I posted over 20 blog posts.
“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” – Eddie Cantor
3. Your content never grows old and will drive long term traffic
The great thing about blogging is that it brings in long term traffic compared to paid search, which will give you much quicker but short-term returns. And those quick wins come at a hefty and continuous cost in order to maintain the level of traffic.
For example: 90% of the traffic that is directed to MyNaijaNaira through keyword searches is generated from two blog posts I published in December 2014 – ‘How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeria’ and Top ‘20 Lucrative Businesses in Nigeria That Make Millions of Naira’.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate tasks and responsibility
As an entrepreneur you get used to taking responsibility and ownership of most tasks. You learn how to be resourceful and self-sufficient. Admittedly, I like to do things for myself and be completely independent. Although I love a challenge. Sometimes, you just haven’t go the time do everything.
I learnt this the hard way after I spent a whole month putting this website together. Although it gave me great satisfaction, it also took a look of my time that I could have used completing core activities that I actually specialise in. Take it from me; there are times when you need to get someone else involved in what you’re doing.
This can be help with research, marketing, content writing, design and inviting guest contributors to write for your blog.
This tends to involve money unless you can find someone who is willing to exchange a service for your service.
But delegating and outsourcing work will save you time, energy and stress. And if the person you pick is a specialist in their trade you may be happier with the end result than if you did it yourself.
Here is a list of websites that I’ve used to find specialists to help me with with my blog and other projects that I’ve been involved with;
Take your time when picking someone to work with, and if you find someone great you should rehire him or her for future projects. If you know anyone personally who offers similar services, ask them. It’s important to find people that you can rely on to deliver quality work on time, and on budget.
5. You can never run out of topics
I can assure you that you will never be short of topics to blog about. We live in a highly volatile world where changes are happening each passing minute. Whatever you niche or industry is, there will be continuous changes taking place. You just need to spot them. Everything that exists has multiple angles, perspectives and dimensions to write about. Explore the possibilities and trust me, they are infinite.
6. Aiming for perfection will slow you down
Most of us like to consider ourselves as perfectionists. This is a great trait to have, but when launching a product or service, “you don’t learn until you launch. If you are continuously searching for perfection you will never launch, and never learn. The aim is to move forward.
Since launching this blog I’ve learned to stop perfectionism negatively impacting my work. I always aim to release quality blogs that connect with my visitors, and to use their feedback to improve what I’m offering, and meet their needs.
It’s been a challenge, and a huge learning experience, but that’s what life is all about.
“If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” – Steve Jobs
7. Continuously improve you and never stop learning
I’m a huge advocate of continuous improvement, both personally, and in the work place. I believe this should also be applied with your blog.
Everyday is an opportunity to grow and get closer to your goals. I’m happy to say that I learn something every day, and I always set some time aside to read a new blog post or discover a new blogger. It helps me keep motivated. I get ideas and inspiration from reading other peoples blogs. I can anticipate the direction the blogging community is moving towards, and what trends are breaking through. I can spot new trends in blog layouts and plugins that will better optimise my site.
We now live in a digital age. The beauty and consequence of this is that things move quickly. There are always new tools and tactics – if you don’t keep up you will be left behind.
8. Build Your Email Subscriber List
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started blogging was not collecting visitors email addresses, and building a subscriber mailing list.
It’s hard for me to explain how important this is. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how much traffic is generated from our blog subscribers.
Every time I write a new blog post I send it out to my subscribers. These subscribers are a guaranteed audience who enjoy reading and sharing MyNaijaNaira posts. Our blog subscribers are more engaged with our brand than the average person who visits the site.
Our mailing list has increased traffic to our site by almost 15%.
9. Reach out to Other Bloggers
Being stuck behind a computer and typing away can sometimes get tiring, and you sometimes feel like you’re talking to yourself. Especially if you have nobody to share your content with.
No matter what you write about in your blog, there are other people out there who are blogging about the same or similar subject.
You should network and Join a community of bloggers and share your work.
I’ve been blogging consistently, and inconsistently for the last 6 months, and I’ve hit that wall many times, due to writers block and lack of motivation to write. But I quickly realised what gives me a buzz and keeps me motivated is discovering new blogs, and having frequent interaction with other bloggers. Especially when we give each other feedback on our blog posts, share ideas on formatting and what plugins to use to optimise our sites. I find it a very fulfilling and exciting experience. It’s also a great way to get more people to read my blog posts and even recommend them to others.
10. Think about the design of your blog
This sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Well it should be. But a lot of blogs look like they were designed in a primary school competition, and have the user experience of a rubix cube. Complex menus. Hard to read text. Unclear links. Meaningless or useless graphics that slow the speed of the site. Annoying banner ads. We all know the type.
These days, templates can be purchased so easily and cheaply so there is no excuse. Visitors shouldn’t have to figure out your site, it should be simple to navigate. Even now I’m thinking of new ways to improve my site, and I’m in the process of redesigning this site. Please feel free to share any recommendations you might have for me to improve the MyNaijaNaira website.
Keep your design simple so visitors can focus on your content.
Hopefully this list has been useful, and you can avoid making the same mistakes I made when I first started blogging.
The key is consistency and finding a format that works for you. Don’t try and solve everything at once. Take gradual steps, and focus on solving one problem at a time. Don’t try to implement all of the tactics above at once.
What problems have you faced since you started blogging?
Please share your thoughts and experiences.