This is the 100th post on Faith and Finance! I’ve learned a lot in the last six months and wanted to share my experiences – some of which you might relate to if you’re a blogger or entrepreneur!
100 Things I Learned From Blogging
1. If you’re not passionate about your subject, don’t try to jump into the blogosphere. You’ll fall on your face.
2. Prioritizing is crucial…don’t spend 80% of your time working on something that won’t matter next week. (For me this is website design elements)
3. Websites can be tricky – but WordPress is incredible.
4. Other bloggers are people too – even the ‘famous’ ones.
6. These networking sites won’t guarantee huge traffic to your site – and that’s ok!
7. Facebook should be used to engage your audience…a challenge I’m still figuring out.
8. Your RSS feed will multiply by 10 times as you try to follow everyone’s new posts.
9. It’s ok to post about something that has been written already by someone else. i.e. What is an IRA?
10. Unique content is an art form.
11. My brain is always in motion…usually to think up new ideas for posts.
12. It helps to keep a notebook of topic ideas – I keep mine on my phone.
13. Giveaways don’t guarantee huge traffic.
14. Neither does an ebook – but they’re good things to have if you’re in it for the long haul.
16. Finding your writing ‘voice’ can be tough, but it’s possible if you write consistently.
17. Google analytics is addicting.
18. You can learn a lot about your readers through Google Analytics, but you can also waste a lot of time checking your site stats.
19. Google Adwords takes time to fill…penny by penny. It’s like a giant piggy bank that you had when you were 8…the one that didn’t have any money in it. :)
20. Guest posts are a great way to reach a bigger audience.
21. Give your best posts away – you won’t regret it.
22. Don’t give away articles that you wouldn’t put on your own site.
23. Being asked to become a staff writer is an awesome feeling!
24. Become friends with other bloggers and always be willing to help. It’ll come back around.
25. Balancing life and your blog can be hard, but it’s important to draw a line at times.
26. Finding your writing groove (morning, afternoon, evening) can make all the difference in article production.
27. Taking the time to outline your posts can make for faster output – and higher quality!
28. Your article’s title is extremely important. Make it compelling.
29. SEO for WordPress is a tool you should use on every post. No questions about it.
30. You will get visits from interesting search terms
31. Warning: your daily mood might fluctuate depending on the number in your RSS feed counter.
32. Sometimes you just have to close the computer and start fresh the next day.
33. Some articles you put together on a whim will generate the most attention.
34. Other articles you spend hours on can have 0 comments.
35. Getting an email notification that the first comment has been posted on your article makes you sigh with relief at times.
36. Seeing that the comment was spam…makes you angry. Installing Akismet and conditional captcha will make your life simple.
37. Writing about money makes you really notice all the things you need to tighten up in your budget.
38. If I see one more article about 10 Tax Tips…I might pass out. Just kidding – those are good too.
39. WordPress plugins are sweet! (The ones that work anyways)
40. Knowing that people from countries all over the world are reading my articles is humbling. (100 countries so far as of today!)
41. In the middle of a conversation with a friend, you might jot down an article idea because you’re afraid you’ll forget it.
42. Anything can turn into a J-O-B, including blogging so try to have fun with it.
44. CSS is a foreign language for starters.
45. PHP is like trying to read a foreign language backwards…still confusing to me.
46. You want to redesign your site after the first month, but it’s really ok.
47. The first few months will fly by and you’ll probably ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
48. Writing posts about Biblical wisdom in finance is refreshing on a personal level.
49. Writing a strange sounding post that titled 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Tithe will draw readers and comments.
50. You’ll find quickly that people have different opinions about the topic, and that’s ok!
51. There are A LOT of personal finance blogs out there…a lot.
52. Standing out from the pack is possible, but it takes time and commitment.
53. Joining a network of bloggers is a great way to meet new bloggers and encourage each other.
54. Using a variety of posts will help your blog feel less boring. (video, list posts, how to’s, etc)
55. List posts, like this one, can make for an interesting read.
56. It’s ok to ask other bloggers for advice. Just do it in a respectful way and understand that they’re busy too.
57. Reading as much as you can about your area of interest will help you grow in your expertise.
58. Finding time to read can be a big challenge. :)
59. Photoshop skills are helpful. You can also use GIMP to edit images.
60. Making a ‘pillar’ article like “The Ultimate Guide To Building Church Websites” can be a nice change to the average blog post and can also be a great resource for readers.
61. Being invited to be a staff writer for a second blog is humbling and exciting!
62. You can make some nice side cash when writing for other blogs.
63. Don’t let your own posts suffer from it!
64. Have goals in mind for your site. Create 6 – 12 months goals and share with your readers to keep accountable.
65. Don’t be afraid to try new things like creating videos or designing images for your own site.
66. You might have ideas for other blogs…so you go on a domain name buying spree.
67. After six months of holding a few domains, you realize that it was a pretty dumb move.
68. Newsletter emails should be set on autopilot with a few excellent emails of great content. I’m just now getting the hang of this.
69. The idea behind a newsletter is to bring value. (BTW, let me know what you think of the Faith and Finance newsletter and follow up emails when you subscribe.)
70. Outlining your ideas before you write will help your posts tremendously.
71. Finding the balance between controversial, how-to, list, and personal post types can be tricky.
72. Having a few backup posts for those really busy weeks can make life easier.
73. If you’re writing for other sites, be on time with your articles and be willing to make changes if needed. I think people appreciate these two qualities.
74. If you plan to write a book review and write a post for each chapter (like Money Mischief on Faith and Economics), you need to know that it will take twice as long to get through the book.
75. It’s ok to start another site (like Faith and Economics) but don’t let your original site fall behind.
76. Listening to NPR and other relevant podcasts will help you stay connected to the outside world. (It’s easy to separate from the news when you’re trying to build a business/website)
77. Limiting your email consumption will help you to focus on your tasks much better…at least it worked for me.
78. Also, checking your google analytics stats fewer will not result in fewer visits. In fact, you’ll probably have more time to make better content, thus more visit potential.
80. Blog carnivals are a great way to get noticed and to find other great sites.
81. If you honestly promote others, they’ll reciprocate.
82. The way you layout your article is important – make it easy for the reader to skim/peak their interest in reading the entire thing.
83. Having a call to action with your articles can make for good conversation among readers.
84. Doing something that makes you stand out from the crowd is crucial.
85. Good content is not a way to differentiate your blog; it’s a prerequisite to blogging.
86. Taking the time to link to previous articles is important if you want traffic to stay.
87. Linking to great articles from other sites as a nice way to pay it forward – and it helps your readers find the best of the web.
88. Stay organized and use a system for saving articles so that you can find them later! The same is true for images.
89. Using Evernote or mind node is a great way to organize projects and even article ideas.
90. Committing to a blogging schedule is important – even if it’s only three times a week. Just be consistent.
91. Reinvesting advertising/staff writing income back into your blog can help you reach your goals faster.
92. Just be careful not to spend it on every new feature for websites…that will nickel and dime your money away.
93. Having a proofreader (like my beautiful wife) really helps!
94. Be sure you implement a backup strategy for your wordpress blog.
95. Ask your readers what they want to read. (Always open for suggestions tim[at]faithandfinance.org)
96. Writing for your readers is 100 times more important than writing for Google. In other words, don’t write for SEO…write for your readers.
97. Proper planning prevents poor performance. If you start your day/week with relevant tasks (like a to do list), you can accomplish more than you imagine.
98. Don’t wait until tomorrow to do what you can today. Procrastination is a silent killer of blogs.
99. Stay true to your mission and you’ll start to see good things happen with your blog.
Are you a blogger? What tip would you add as the 100th?