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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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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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