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5 Life Lessons I Had to Learn The Hard Way About Blogging

5 Life Lessons I Had to Learn The Hard Way About Blogging

Have you ever dreamt of being an influential blogger earning a 7-figure income and working from wherever you want?

For some people, blogging is just a hobby. But, for others… it’s much more than that. It’s a means to be free and earn an income doing what you love.

In the past year of my blogging career, I have learned a lot of important lessons that could have saved me a ton of time if I knew earlier.

So, whether you’re a new blogger or just thinking about it… here are the 5 lessons I would like share with you today to save a few months of your time…

1. Nothing Happens Overnight

A popular blog typically gets an average of 100,000 visitors per month. Unfortunately, such amounts of traffic don’t come overnight. Okay, maybe you already knew that. But let’s start with 10,000 visitors a month. How do you achieve that?

Google!

If you ever want a chance in succeeding, you need to rank on the first page of Google. Over 50% of most traffic comes from Google for most blogs. A good start for a beginner is to write a skyscraper post. That also means you need to learn white hat SEO. (Please don’t approach black hat SEO or you’ll risk getting penalized).

The next highest source of traffic for most bloggers comes from your email list.

That means you need to work hard to converting your visitors into subscribers. So create a free report or email course and offer it to visitors in exchange for their email. There’s nothing more useless than a blog that get’s traffic but fails to convert them into subscribers.

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I was so afraid of putting opt-in forms on my blog because that would look spammy and annoy visitors. But, guess what? Once I put them, my email list started growing. Complainers will always complain. When it comes to blogging you need to follow the data. And the data says opt-in forms are essential for growing a list.

Another good source of traffic will come from guest posts and backlinks (links to your blog from other articles/websites).

In fact, your first few trickles of traffic will usually start to come from guest posts. So to end this, I recommend beginners to start off with a skyscraper post and heavy guest posting on popular blogs.

2. You Won’t Make Money if You Don’t Help People

If you’re just trying to make a quick buck… it won’t work.

If you’re trying to build your expertise and influence… it won’t work.

If you’re trying to build a popular blog… it won’t work.

Why?

Because frankly nobody cares about your goals. People only care about themselves. Let’s be honest… we’re all somewhat selfish. Everything we do is about us. I mean, you want to build a popular blog… why should anyone else care?

The grocery store down the road wants to sell more groceries… do you think anyone cares? Of course not. People want good groceries, they don’t care about the stores goal.

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But, here’s the good news… You don’t need them to. What a relief right?

So what should you do?

Your job as a blogger is to help people with information. You’re an educator. A teacher. If you can make people smarter, they’ll want more. If you can solve their problems and teach them how to do stuff, they won’t be able to live without you.

So if you want any chance in succeeding as a blogger, then you better start helping people.

3. You Can’t Do It Alone. You Need Influencers.

Networking with Influencers is essential when it comes to growing a blog. It’s not a luxury or nice to have… No, it is required if you ever want to stand a chance against the competition.

That doesn’t mean you can’t grow a blog without influencers… it just means it’ll take much longer than needed. So unless you can wait for another few years, I recommend you start building relationships with some influencers.

It’s not hard or intimidating. Just look for a relatively popular blogger in the same niche as you and start helping them… you know… like you’d do with a friend.

If I did it. You definitely can!

4. No Ideas Are Completely Original

We all learn from one another. Ideas circulate. Every single new idea you see is just a set of old ideas combined together. So don’t be afraid of repeating what others say. But, that doesn’t mean you should be a parrot.

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I’ve taken several courses on writing, copywriting, blogging and a lot of the advice sounds similar.

Yet, just because you and another 1,000 people heard something, doesn’t mean everybody has. There will always be beginners. It’s much easier to target beginners and if you search in Google, you’ll realize a lot of the search terms are for beginners.

Try Googling it.

“[Your Niche] for beginners”

Let me give you a real life example:

“SEO for beginners” according to the Google keyword planner gets 1,300 monthly searches. Which is a pretty good search volume. Typically, if you’re trying to write a skyscraper post you should target a keyword that get’s 1,000-10,000 monthly searches and low competition.

5. Giving Up Is Easy If You’re Not Passionate

Building a blog isn’t an easy job. It takes months of hard work. Blogging isn’t the same it was 10 years ago. Your content needs to be more in-depth and unique.

That means instead of smacking out blog posts every 2 hours, it will usually take over 6 hours to write a post.

Sometimes you’ll spend hours and days on a guest post and then have it rejected by the blog. The amount of frustration you’ll feel after that makes you want to give up.

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Then once you do get your guest post published, you’ll get little email subscribers. Which will make you question if guest posting was even worth your time.

And when you publish a skyscraper post a lot of people will ignore you when you ask for links. You’ll need to send hundreds or even thousands of emails to other bloggers in hopes that they’ll link or atleast share your post.

I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m saying this to let you know what you’re up against.

Growing a blog to 100k visitors a month is a tedious job.

It is for the elite few who will do whatever it takes.

And for you to read this far means you’re one of them.

So, are you ready to take on the storm?

Featured photo credit: claes krantz/Flickr via flickr.com

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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