It's been 5 years since I started my blogging journey, and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what I have learned in the process. There are so many “RULES” when it comes to blogging for profit, and I'm happy to say that I broke almost all of them over the years. And, to be perfectly honest, I am SO glad that I did!
When I first started blogging back in 2012, I think it was actually a lot easier! Not because of competition or anything like that. But because of all the “RULES” there are now for blogging. Back then, there weren't so many people teaching others how to blog, blogging income reports were not common and blogging wasn't really looked at as a real business.
Many people like myself started our blogs as a hobby, not a way to get rich…But, hey, a lot of us did!!! Or, at least make a good living from it.
I've been quoted many times saying “I just didn't know the rules, so I didn't know I was breaking them.”
Not doing things the way I was supposed to do them is the thing I credit the most to being successful in my blogging and information creating journey.
Now that I know all the rules, I often find myself getting caught up in them and spending a lot of time stuck, instead of just going by instinct and letting the chips fall where they may.
That's why I have decided to go back to NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES!
You see, I'm at a place in my blogging journey where I feel like I'm starting over. I'm adding a new niche to my site where I talk about how I've made millions with my blog and creating my own digital products. It's been one of the hardest transitions I've made. I find myself spending hours reading about “how” to blog…Isn't that crazy?
I already know how to blog! I just need to do it.
In this post, I want to share with you the rules I DIDN'T Follow when I first started my blogging journey and if I feel like they mattered or not.
Choose The Perfect Domain Name
I started my blogging journey breaking the #1 rule of blogging! We are all told (and I even say it) “Choose A Great Domain Name”. Make sure it has SEO qualities and describes exactly what you want your site to be about!
I had no clue what my website would turn out to be, and I didn't even know exactly what I wanted to talk about. So, I used my own name instead of a clever domain name. It was actually kind of confusing to a lot of people. Because I had a different website name. And that even changed a few times over the years.
So, my domain name was just my name, JessicaLarrew.com but my site was called “Successfully Selling With Jessica Larrew”.
Since I started the site to share about my life and business (which was selling stuff online) I settled on Successfully Selling With Jessica Larrew.
This is a rule I would take more time thinking about now, but I am happy to share that it did not break my business!
A few years after blogging on my name's site, I rebranded into something that felt better than just being an individual as a brand.
Recommended Take Away: If you started your site with a domain you don't LOVE, feel free to change it at any time (just make sure to do it properly with redirects and everything). You don't have to start over just because you have a domain that isn't perfect for where you actually end up in your blogging journey.
Make Sure To Have At Least 3-5 Posts Ready And Then Launch Your Blog
As I write that, I say it with a fake smile and perky voice. Because seriously, who the heck cares?!? No one is really reading your blog in the beginning anyway, so just write and put it out there!
My first post?
“Who I Am and What I Do”…Obviously! Because shouldn't all of our first posts be about who we are and why we are blogging? Honestly, I think this inagural post just helps us to get the courage to write something, and tell OURSELVES why we are doing this crazy thing called blogging.
Then, I wrote a blog post a day for the next few days…And clicked publish!
This is one of the rules I am so glad I broke and I highly recommend you do it too.
Launching your blog without a bunch of posts (or even a ‘launch plan') helps you keep the initial excitement that you had when the concept of blogging popped into your head.
I've seen so many people get burned out with their blog in the first couple of months, because they are so worried about doing everything just right.
Sure, some people magically start a blog and then a few months later are rolling in the dough…They've created a beautiful website, and launched a signature course with all the big name affiliates.
But, my guess is, most of them already had a few failed blogs where they didn't follow any of the rules either.
Our websites should be embarrassing when we first start them! Just like we all come into this world as babies, we all start out as brand new bloggers. No one expects or thinks anything less of you, because you are new.
This is how I launched my site:
This plain site helped me get my feet wet and figure out what I really wanted my website to turn into. It gave me the chance to experiment, make mistakes and find my voice.
Recommended Take Away: Allow yourself to be a brand new blogger! You don't have to have it all together from day one. Blogging takes time, and there really is no “overnight success”. Enjoy the ride along the way.
Always Make Your Blog Titles Click Worthy And Full Of SEO
How is “Staying On Track Daily” for an amazing blog post title? It could be written for anyone in the world right?
This was the title of my second blog post ever. It could have been written for people trying to lose weight or people studying for their master's degree. But, my title didn't tell them who it was for.
It certainly didn't help with SEO because it wasn't specific enough.
My next post wasn't any better!
“To Buy Deep, Or To Buy Wide?” This was actually a topic I got asked all the time, so I really wanted to write about it. And that title was my way of being clever.
Again, didn't do anything for SEO. But, I didn't care!
Since that topic was an important one, years later I did end up re-writing that post and tried to make a better title. As you can see, it's still not something I am amazing at.
But, that just goes to show that we don't have to be perfect and know how to do everything!
Here is the new version of that post:
I try to explain who the post is for and what the post is covering in the title.
Recommended Take Away: Although I think that writing good titles IS important, it's more important to actually write posts. Just like a domain that doesn't quite work for your business, a post title can be changed later. You can either just change the title that people see, or you can change the entire URL and Title. You just have to redirect the old post to the new one.
Don't Charge For Anything Until You've Provided Enough Free Value
This is another rule I'm so glad I didn't know anything about!
Although I didn't expect to get rich from blogging, I definitely wanted to make some money along the way. I'm not a fan of working for free, and blogging is a lot of work!
So, I was looking for ways I could monetize my site from the very beginning.
I started my blog on October 12th, and less than 3 months later I was starting a paid coaching group. I created my “Inner Circle” where I mentored people who wanted learn how to sell on Amazon. This was the main topic of my site, and what I was an expert in, so it seemed natural to me.
I didn't see any point in putting everything I knew out there for free (I mean, if I did, then what would I be able to sell later?), and people wanted to learn from me one on one.
I was already making a full time living outside of my blog, so this was a way for me to compensate myself for all of the hours I had been spending on my site.
Charging for group coaching was a win-win for everyone involved and stayed part of my business model for a couple of years.
At this point, I knew nothing about “effective sales copy” or how to create sales pages! I created a page, talked about what I had to offer, and people paid!
If you are a rule follower, and know all of the blogging rules…Can you believe that I filled all 20 of those spots?!?
That was a big deal to me. That meant that I was going to be making almost $1,000 a month working with awesome people, teaching them something I was so passionate about.
Recommended Take Away: If you have an idea to monetize your site, go for it. There is only one way to find out if people will buy it…By putting it out there and giving them the opportunity to say yes or no. Whatever rule you have heard about waiting to charge for something, throw it out the window!
Create New Content At Least Once A Week - Forever!
This is a rule that I break now.
When I first started blogging, I WAS creating a lot of content. Because I had a lot to say about my topic and wanted to have a lot of content.
I am a believer in having a significant amount of content (which will be different for every site). What I don't believe is that you have to keep creating new content on a set schedule for ever. Since I am starting to talk about a new topic on my site, I will be adding new content for awhile. But, after 5 years of blogging, I only have 100 posts live. Many of them should even be deleted at this point!
Because, guess what? People aren't reading all of those posts any more 🙂 And some of them shouldn't have been posts in the first place (they should have been emails, or social media posts).
I think it is more important to PROMOTE the content that you already have, than it is to create NEW content all of the time. So, you will find me updating old posts, promoting them on social media and emailing them out much more than you will find me writing NEW posts.
This is one of the rules that people who have been in the blogging industry a long time just can't believe I don't follow!
For me, the business of blogging has become pretty passive. I can go weeks (and even months) not working on my blog. This is because I DID do a lot of work in the beginning to build up my content and promote my site.
Now, I get to spend my time enjoying life, not slaving away to my blog!
Recommended Take Away: Creating content in the beginning is very important (it's how people find you and relate to you), but spend more time promoting that content than creating NEW content all the time.
There you have it!
These are the 5 Rules Of Starting A Blog I didn't follow.
I would love to hear about the rules you do / don't follow in your own business.
Next, I will share the rules that I DO follow in my business 🙂
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