Darren from ProBlogger is having another Group Writing Project and, of course, I’m submitting a post. This time, the subject is Reviews of 2006 and Predictions for 2007. The deadline for entering is midnight Thursday, December 21 and Darren is kind enough to accept submissions according to your time zone.
2006 has been a big year for me in a lot of ways. I learned a great deal about blogging, internet marketing, search engine optimization, traffic generation, link building, and life in general. With the solid foundation of 2006, I expect that 2007 will be even bigger, too. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned during the year:
1. The best time to start blogging is now. I had thought about starting a blog for a long time, but never got around to it until January of 2006 when I started a blog on Blogger.com. It took me several months of blogging and getting very little traffic as well as dealing with crashes and slowness on Blogger to decide to get my own domain and hosting. If you have any interest in blogging, start right now and don’t be afraid to try out the free services of Blogger, WordPress, or any of the others at first. Later on you can move to your own domain after you’ve gotten your feet wet.
2. Think more about your niche at the beginning. This is kind of a tough one. In the first point I said to go ahead and jump in and I did mean it. However, when you get started, it’s a good idea to think about where you want to go with your blog and what exactly you’d like to write about. If you’re just interested in having a personal blog, niche isn’t that important, but if you’d like to generate lots of traffic and make significant money from it, your niche is vitally important. Have a goal in mind so that you know what you’re shooting for.
3. Monetize your blog right off the bat. This is important if your goal is to make money and even if it’s not, a little advertising to help pay for hosting can’t hurt. I waited a bit before I did anything with AdSense or any other advertising, but I could have started sooner. Make sure to put your ads in the best places and also to make them relevant to the content of your blog. Also, remember not to overdo it; this can really turn off new visitors and even loyal readers.
4. Research pays off, but know when to switch your focus to action. I’ve spent a lot of time during the last year researching all of the different aspects of blogging and ways to increase traffic and make money on the web. At some point, though, I realized I had quite a bit of information compiled, but that I’d made use of very little of it. Because of the almost infinite amount of information that’s out there on the web, this is an easy trap to fall into. You may feel that you never know enough since there is so much more to read. Don’t worry, though. Take what you’ve learned from authoritative sources and begin to put it into use. Don’t wait until you’re an expert. That could take forever.
5. Accept things you can’t change and then make the best of it. This has been a year of great turmoil for me in my blogging life, my professional life, and my personal life. There have been a lot of things that were hard for me to deal with. It took me a bit to realize that there are some things you just can’t change or control in any way. You can’t force a million visitors to come to your blog, you can’t undo mistakes, and you can’t change a person’s mind. Once you really get the fact that you have a limited sphere of influence, you can begin to focus on those things you can change and begin to deal successfully with those you can’t.
Good luck to everyone in the new year. Here’s to a bigger, better, brighter 2007!
Note: If you’d like to read my previous submissions to ProBlogger’s Group Writing Projects, you can find them here: