Expert Blog Tips: 3 Renowned Bloggers Offer Unforgettable Advice

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Starting a blog can be a ridiculous challenge when all the little things start to cloud your mind. In this entry 3 amazing big bloggers stopped by to help us cut through the fluff and start a blog that actually helps people. I hope it makes launching a blog easier!

Which bloggers should be reading this?

Just to be sure I’m not wasting my time on any of you phonies 😉 let me be clear in that I’m writing this one for:

Mommy bloggers:
For some reason I get at least one email per week from a mommy blogger who has isn’t sure the best route to go and has a lot on her plate.

How-to-ers:
As a how-to blogger myself I totally love you guys and understand your passion to truly help. And it’s the worst when it doesn’t work.

People full o’ ideas:
I think most up and coming bloggers would fall into the category of people bursting with good ideas but not quite sure the blueprint to set them off. This is the blogger’s dilemma and the sad result is often too much clutter (which we’ll talk about below).

Yep, that means you

As I said most up-and-comers are full of good ideas. You have a knack for thrifty travel or a way with the camera, but aren’t sure if you should talk about both or just one. Well, good news, this post will help you choose.

And there’s an awesome silver lining at the bottom, too.

How to help people

First off, if your blog is going to help people then you should make choices on Day 1.

Not just choices like “I’ll blog at least one a week,” but choices on what topics you’ll cover and which points you want to drive home.

The internet is a crowded place and you simply can’t land all your points at once.

So, where do you start?

Write about your expertise, and that’s it

How brutal, right? Who am I to say you can write about this and can’t write about that. Well, you’re right, I can’t make this call.

But someone has to.

If you write a blog about multiple expertises and even come close to blending niches, you will not help people. You won’t help people because people don’t want to read about too many things at once and don’t have the time.

Be specific with a welcome post and even more specific with an eBook. Really, there is no limit to the benefits of being specific.

Choose a topic you can write 3 posts on

I’ve always believed in writing 3 posts to launch a new blog. These consist of one cornerstone piece, one controversial piece and a welcome piece. If you can write 3 solid posts on a topic and be darn proud of them, you can write the 100 more that will follow.

Make your design practically naked

You’d be pretty shocked to see what Dear Blogger looked like onDay 1. It was gross.

Delete everything. Delete the near-empty Facebook box. Delete the Google ad. Delete the silly social icons and the badge for this app or that. Delete it all and make people focus on your content.

Love every comment

Like it’s your last.

Ask a friend if things look OK

You need to ask someone like a friend or a family member or anyone who knows you can take their harsh feedback on how things really look. This is to idiot-proof your blog. If your good friend tells you your blog isn’t structured in a way that will help people, then you had better listen.

Use numbers wherever possible

Numbers don’t lie.

Try to help 10 people in the same way

If you can help one person do one thing, there are probably ten more people who need that very thing. Don’t move on and up quite yet.

Write out of your comfort zone

Because it’s the only way to really find out how far your comfort zone can go.

Say things you shouldn’t

Because if you don’t, who will? It’s your knowledge that’s going to change the world via blogging, so if you don’t start off and say it, then what’s the point?

I guess I should provide an example here to back up what I’m saying, because saying things you shouldn’t is not easy. Here’s a video I spent four weeks filming, editing, then creating a Part 2 for. It’s one of my favorites in terms of content, but Google certainly doesn’t think so – they won’t even index it in YouTube for how much I bash YouTube search results right at the beginning.

Make your work seamless

The last thing I can say is that if you really want to help people your work has to be seamless. I don’t mean this in reference to seamless.com though I often do order from the computer on long sessions. I mean you have to be thinking blogging 24/7.

You have to wake up stoked on blogging and go to sleep chewing on a new idea.

It’s not rare for me to borrow my friend’s Air to answer a blog comment or fully leave a concert because I finally figured out why a certain plugin isn’t working. It’s something necessary and it’s your focus and you need to guard it.

Do not underestimate your ability to help people. If you are meant to go far in this blogging thing you might, or you might not. It’s up to you.

Just wanting to help people, however, if you don’t do any of the above, isn’t nearly enough.

Expert blog tips: 3 renowned bloggers help clear things up

At this point I figured I should back up my ideas with some proof. So I asked 3 top bloggers their thoughts on helping people, how to do it, and what’s really important.

This is what they said

I think the first step for me is to have a clear idea of the target reader than I am trying to help.

If you can define your ideal reader and you know what challenges they are facing and what they want from you, it is a lot easier to help them. With this knowledge, you can craft posts that will be genuinely helpful, rather than just publishing random posts that fit loosely around some larger topic. — Marc from ProfitBlitz.com

In my opinion, the important thing is to focus on value.

That is, you need to discover how you are going to add value to the life of your visitors and loyal readers. Unless you do that, and do it in a clear fashion, people will have no reason to visit your site day after day.

Once you have a clear value proposition it also becomes easier to decide about other aspects of your site, including which posts you should publish and not publish, which advertisers you should take and which you should not, and so on. — Daniel from DailyBlogTips.com

When you start a new blog, the closest you can get to ‘knowing’ it’ll be helpful is ‘hoping’ it’ll be helpful.

Creating a helpful blog is all about listening and tweaking. Listen to your visitors. To their questions. To their problems. To their feedback. If you are not getting much feedback, ask for it.

If you get a “Great blog!” comment, ask why. What did they like about it? What would they change? What would be more helpful?

A successful blog is an ever-changing blog.

Traffic Generation Café certainly wasn’t born the way you see it today. Took me some time to figure out what kind of format/topics would work best for my readers.

So don’t be afraid to start even if you are not entirely sure you are on the right path. Blogs are not written in stone. — Ana from trafficgenerationcafe.com

Well that blew me away, but what about you? Save it for the comments 🙂

Sticking to your strengths

The silver lining I mentioned above is that if you stick to your guns early on and decide what to focus on, you can definitely open up a bit later.

All the bloggers who started as SEO or tech or fitness nuts at first will divulge their hobbies now – post-success. This makes them more human.

You can post vacation photos to Twitter or start side blogs that become virally popular.

But at first, it’s stick to your strengths, and that’s it.

From the community

Who are you helping? Has this post given you ideas on how to help more people? I’d love if you dropped a comment, or even better, a real example on where you’ve been able to help the world through blogging.

Remember, helping just one person makes your blog big enough…

Go for it!

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18 Responses to "Expert Blog Tips: 3 Renowned Bloggers Offer Unforgettable Advice"

  1. LOVE this, Greg. So informative! I DO wake up and go to bed thinking about my blog. Unfortunately, I’m becoming very discouraged because I can’t figure out how to build my blog in WordPress. I spent hours looking at the installed themes and just couldn’t find one with the right “feel”. I uploaded “Cute FramesVersion: 1.0.7 By Ying Zhang. Created by pure-essence.net”. I was attempting to follow your WordPress Beginners tutorial, however, I got stuck as soon as it went to “Theme Options”. The only thing on that page is a box to add “Custom CSS”. I can’t figure out how to change the layout… my Home page all of the pages I created are listed under one category…can’t load the frames onto the pages…etc. ARGH! What do I do? Do I have to change themes? Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Thanks, Debbe! 🙂

      Soo, I feel your pain. But you will find the perfect theme.

      My Beginner WordPress Tutorial uses Virtue free theme.

      Other than Virtue, Simple Catch and Responsive are really good free WordPress themes for learning the ropes as they come with lots of Theme Options.

      Check out the right sidebar list here https://wordpress.org/themes/

      If you’d like to buy a theme, my choice is always Theme-Junkie. They don’t have the flashiest themes, but they very intuitive, don’t break down, and come with a forum where the creator answers all questions very quickly.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  2. The blogger category I fall into is “how-to”… but I gotta go along with the wisdom you quoted from Ana Hoffman regarding how her blog doe snot look today like it did when she started.

    “Blogs are not written in stone…” Apropos.

    I also have to agree with this one of yours: “Blog about your expertise, and that’s it!”

    Shut UP if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Well… so if we’re to blog about our expertise…. and we’re also to help others and change our blog as we go to continue to do so… seems that we have a responsibility as bloggers to continue to ADD to and hone our expertise(s).

    Blogging can be an exercise in self-improvement or self-importance. It makes sense to me pursue the former and avoid the latter.

    Hey thanks for the brain fodder. Gonna go chew on this a while.

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt

    Reply
    1. Great start-o-the-week wisdom there Kurt, thanks for that!

      Self-importance is (I think) tempting for a lot of us to pursue. Better method (least in my history) is to put out honest, real stuff and let the people be the judge and determine if it’s important.

      Of course, you’ll fail a lot, but the successes last longer!

      Cheers, thanks again…

      Greg

      Reply
  3. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who falls asleep, and wakes up, thinking about my blog! I think creative types are the worst about trying to narrow down their focus. I want to write about everything! But the more I write, the more I see what people are responding to, and that helps me find out where the value is and follow it. I thought I was going to be an art blog, but it turns out I’m a DIY blog. Who knew? Certainly not me, but it sort of took on a life of its own…

    Reply
    1. Yeah, wake up basically on the blog. It makes Mondays fun!

      I think you were on point with the art category, but DIY is just an even more awesome space where you can give AND show off your art, instead of like just showing off kinda thing. So cool, Meredith.

      Reply
  4. I needed to read this to reinforce the way I’m leaning. I have a new interest (Zentangle—don’t ask 😉 and I have done quite a few posts about it, but I bury them off my home page. I was trying to think of a way to incorporate that topic (Zentangle) into my current blog which deals mostly with travel. My rationale is that a good bit of my blog traffic now comes from folks interested in that topic. I hate to siphon them off onto a new blog (new url, etc.), but most of the advice I’ve received has been to do that. I take it that you would agree with those recommending a second blog for that topic.

    Reply
    1. Yep, I love a good 2nd blog! (or 3rd or 4th… 🙂 )

      But I wouldn’t worry about burying this stuff if the SEO on these articles is good, as it sounds like you’re saying, Suzanne.

      You could setup a new menu tab or maybe load this topic into a newsletter.

      BTW, what is Zentangle, haha?

      Also I’m going to share this for readers http://www.boomeresque.com/about/about-us/ because it’s an awesome list!!

      Reply
    1. Thanks for reiterating that one, Megan. However helps you write best – picturing one reader, or a huge stadium full of readers – is the method to go with.

      Reply
  5. Lots of great advice here, but the words that really resonate with me are “Don’t be afraid to start even if you are not entirely sure you are on the right path”. If you get going, stay with your strengths and listen to feedback, the path will become clearer.

    Reply

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