Blogging track – everything I learned about blogging the hard way

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Hi and welcome to the Blogging track. If you don’t know what tracks are, please read more about them here. In short, tracks are the recommended order of blog posts that you should read to really master the topic you have selected. Following a track will help you acquire knowledge step by step in the fastest possible way. Now let’s get started.

In 2016, I decided to become a full-time blogger. It wasn’t an easy choice, since it’s definitely not a piece of cake to monetize content on the internet and stand out from the big crowd of more than 200 million blogs and 2 million daily blog posts. In this track, I share everything I’ve learned about blogging the hard way, so you can save numerous hours and thousands of dollars. If you don’t believe me, here is my blogging progress report, where you can see exactly how much I’ve invested into this blog and knowledge.

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By following the Blogging track, you will learn how to set up your blog, what are the technical traps you have to be aware of, how to structure your blog and create outstanding user experience, get ideas for different blog posts and which are the best strategies for promoting your blog. I spent hours and hours on those issues and am still learning a lot. Everything I learn, I share.

It’s true that you can find many online resources about blogging, but there is no really simple, structured and step-by-step guide that would teach you all the skills necessary for becoming a successful blogger. This is your kind of guide, if that’s what you’re looking for.

There are a few key areas of blogging covered in this track:

  • General and technical issues of blogging
  • Content production
  • Content distribution
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General and technical issues of blogging

General and technical issues cover the pure basics (and often confusing topics) like how to start a blog, make infrastructure decisions (hosting, CDNs etc.), understand different technologies and also measure your blogging progress, organize your workflow as a blogger and so forth. Here are the articles currently available:

How to start a blog – It’s a very simple and to-the-point guide for how to open you blog and publish your first blog posts. It covers the basics of starting a blog, like how to register a domain, how to choose hosting and the right platform to blog. This blog post will also help you decide if you should go for a self-hosting blog or hosted solutions.

Creating a WordPress child theme – Creating a child theme enables you to update your theme without losing the custom changes in your code. You create a new set of files that you can use for customization and that aren’t overwritten after a parent theme update. The best thing to do is to create a child theme in the beginning, you haven’t made any changes to the theme yet.

Optimizing your page load time – Page speed or page load time (how fast the page loads when your URL is entered) is a very important part of the technical search engine optimization (SEO) and assuring a good user experience. You only have a few seconds to convince a visitor to stay on your page. If your potential visitors have to wait too long for the page to load, they will simply click the back button. In this blog poage you will learn 40+ tricks how to speed up your Wordpres blog page.

Everything you need to know about optimizing images as a blogger – Images are an important part of every professionally designed blog. They make blog posts more appealing, they can smoothly break long blocks of text, refresh tired brains after reading, and add additional meaning to the content – you probably know the saying that a picture says more than a thousand words. Adding images to your blog posts can also help with search engine ranking.

That’s why it makes sense to use at least one image per blog post if not even more, especially for longer blog posts. Nevertheless, adding images to a blog is not as simple as it might sound; especially if you want to do everything right – from choosing the right format to optimizing image size and adding metadata for search engines.

Metrics that matter for bloggers – Metrics for bloggers is a five blog posts series covering all the major metrics every blogger should follow, including financials, website metrics, distribution channel metrics, content production metrics, and so on. It comes with an extensive list of how other bloggers are making money and other resources that will help you build a successful blog and measure your real progress.

Because it’s a really long read, you can also download the blog posts series as a free eBook. By downloading the eBook, you can learn and update your blogging knowledge anywhere you are.

Blogging and content production

Besides taking care of the technical issues (if you aren’t outsourcing that), there are two core activities a blogger must be doing. One is content production and the other is content distribution; or, in other words, marketing. The basis of all successful blogging is to produce quality content. There are just too many shitty articles published online and you have to stand out somehow.

Below you can find a lot of advice and guidelines for quality content production, like how to get ideas for new blog posts, improve your creative writing skills, improve English if it’s not your mother tongue, write catchy headlines, and so on. Everything important related to content production for bloggers.

Getting ideas from your competition – One way to get good ideas for your content is your competition. In this blog post, you’ll learn everything necessary for analyzing what your competitors are doing online and what their most popular content is, in order to get new blog posts ideas. Competition analysis can also help you get new distribution and partnership ideas that will make your blog even more successful.

The Skyscraper technique – The skyscraper technique is a special internet marketing technique where you find the most popular content from your competitors and make it a gazillion times better. If your competitor found 10 ways how to do something, you find 100 ways. In the second step, share it with those who liked your competitor’s content, because there’s a great chance they will like yours even more. It’s also a great way to build new connections.

How to improve your English – If you aren’t a native English speaker and you have any doubts regarding your English skills (and you want to blog in English, of course), you simply have to improve your English really quickly. The best way to do that is to write in English as much as possible and work with a proofreader to help you correct the mistakes you’re making. But there are also many other ways of improving your English skills. In this article, you will learn the best ways for taking your English to the next level. In addition to that, the article also includes many additional resources that can help you improve your English.

Blogging and content distribution

Content distribution is nothing other than the marketing of your content, in other words. You don’t want to only write your awesome blog posts, you also want people to actually read them. For that, you need excellent content marketing and distribution skills. In practice, that means that you must master different channels as a blogger. Don’t be fooled by the belief “write and readers will come”. That may have been the truth a decade ago, but today it’s the worst wrong assumption a blogger can make. The first rule of blogging is that you should spend at least 50 % of your time on distribution.

So what is distribution all about? In general, we know organic and paid traffic sources. Since most bloggers don’t have a budget for buying lots of advertising (and many times it doesn’t make sense to spend it that way), they bootstrap their blog with organic traffic sources. That especially means mastering search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, levering personal contacts and posting on many different social media networks.

The problem is that every distribution channel has its own secrets of how to get real traction. It’s easy to post the content on every one of them, but attracting huge amounts of traffic is difficult.

In the blog posts below, I share everything I learn about content distribution along the way. My strategy is first mastering Search Engine Optimization and Email marketing, and then the most popular social networks. That’s also the order in which new articles will probably be added.

Search Engine Optimization

Keyword research – The very basis of Search Engine Optimization is keyword research. In this blog post, you will learn everything you need to know about keyword research, from different types of keywords, which tool to use to analyze them, how to track your search engine rankings, and even more. As a bonus, you can download a list of 150+ tools that can help you with your keyword research.

On-site Search Engine Optimization – Before you publish your first blog post, reading this article is a must. When acquiring new knowledge, I had to continuously update my blog posts to follow the best SEO practices. And that is a real pain in the ass. In this article, you will learn how to properly use keywords in your blog posts, how to use images for the best SEO practices, manage categories and tags, form URLs and take care of other on-site issues, if you want your blog posts to be well-optimized for search engines.

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