I started Fromcentstoretirement.com in March 2016 and this has been a truly amazing journey. I engaged with awesome thinking-alike people, was provided with multiple opportunities and the blog has helped me tremendously in keeping disciplined with my finances, looking for new income opportunities and keep updated regarding the world markets.
This page will teach you the most important stuff I’ve learned after blogging as a pro (despite I haven’t made that much money with the blog…) for 9 months. This is BS-free, direct information you can apply right away. Here we go:
Rule #1: You have views when you create value for viewers
I personally think that the best way to create a business today is by providing high value to people. Give them what they want. Yet, many businesses are still focused on spamming people, squeezing costs and improving margins, in the hopes that they sell a lot. Honestly, sounds wrong to me; I’d rather focus on delivering what people want and make them happy, creating recurrent costumers that will stick with the brand for years.
The vast majority of blogs out there are not businesses. Take my own example: even though I try to monetize my blog, I don’t really blog for money. I blog to keep myself motivated, to engage with people, to improve myself and to have people reading what I write and extracting value from it. I am a true believer of karma. Give so you can receive. That is why I intend to assemble one of the biggest online collection of summaries and reviews of books on personal finances (see it here, if you haven’t yet).
I do believe that creating value is the best way to drive traffic to your blog. Other ways of driving traffic should not be discarded – in fact, I’ve got a few things to say about that…
Rule #2: Attract viewers interested on your niche
My blog doesn’t really have a classic niche. I blog about personal finances, early retirement and financial freedom, but above all, my own finances! There are a few blogs with the same purpose, so we can call it a niche.
So, what do you do to attract viewers interested in your topic? I’ve got two specific suggestions in this matter:
- Create posts to solve the problems you encounter in your niche, there is no solution online and you end up solving yourself. You can probably relate to the problem of looking all over the internet for a solution, not finding it, and ending up finding it, right? If it is relevant for your blog, post it!
- Find bloggers within the niche who are not interested in exploring the very same topics, or exploring them to a much lesser extent. Tell them about your work. They may refer to you for more detailed coverage of the topics they blog about.
- Do good SEO. Search engines are the biggest traffic drivers. SEO is more important than we usually admit.
Rule #3: Do use social networks
Many bloggers forgo social networks. I did it myself – for the first 8 months, I didn’t set up a Facebook page. I thought it was useless or redundant at most. I was wrong. Follow the green, not the dream. People use social networks a lot, so you gotta be there to drive them to your website. Social networks are such a catalyst of warm traffic that I actually kick my ass for being way from Facebook for so long. I’ve noticed a huge boost of traffic when I started in Facebook.
Rule #4: Know what your blog is worth, so you can improve it
I knew zero about website metrics and what not, when I started my blog. Now, I still don’t know much, but I know a lot more than when I started. In particular, I know how important it is to be on top of the stats. But how do you check how well your blog is doing?
Today, we have many sites that tell you how well your blog is doing. I particularly like two of them: Moz and Similar Web. Similar web also allows you to see how you compare with competitor blogs. In my opinion, these are the most important things you should look at in these websites:
- Traffic Sources (given by Similar Web): make sure you have a balanced blog in terms of direct traffic, referrals, search and social. This also tells you immediately what you should work on: improve what’s behind. Right now, for me, that would be social and referrals. I will be working on that throughout December, promise!
- Domain Authority (given by Moz): this basically tells you how likely it is for Search Engines to catch your domain, in searches. I think that this is static for each domain, but I am not sure.
- Spam Score (given by Moz): ideally, you want a spam score of <=4. Mine is currently 5, so I will be working on that too. Moz says that I need more links and more diversity in the links I have. Will do Moz, will do.
- Page Authority (given by Moz): this basically tells you how likely it is for Search Engines to catch your blog. For me, this will mean keeping up working on SEO.
- Inbound Links (given by Moz): this measures the influence of your blog. I talk about this particular metric in Rule #5.
Rule #5: Promote your blog. Wisely.
My last rule is wise blog promotion. This is related to Rule #2, but attracting viewers and promoting your blog is, to my mind, something different. I’ve got these suggestions:
- Engage with other bloggers. For example, I’ve noticed a nice boost when a Portuguese fellow talked about my blog to his audience. I still have incoming traffic, but most importantly, his audience became part of my audience – many of those people reach me out through the contact form. Many people will promote your blog without expecting nothing back. If you have a blog with high quality content I think is good for my users, I will promote it – shoot me a message!
- Find places to promote your blog. For instance, there are blogs tracking the net worth of other bloggers who pursue early retirement. For instance, I was recently listed on this tracker.