Wednesday is my official one-year blogging anniversary. If it comes as a surprise to you that my blog has been around for one year, than shame on me! It seems this week will be a silent anniversary for me since my blog basically didn’t exist for about the first five months of its career. And it’s all thanks to all the really dumb stuff I did when I first started My Money Design. So for anyone out there just starting out (and for those of you who just want to laugh with me – not at me), here is a tally of all the stupid things I did over the last year and my blogging tips on how you can do better!
My Dumb Blogging Tips:
1. About six months before I actually created My Money Design, I would write articles in Word as if I was a blogger. I don’t know who was going to actually read them – I think I was just trying to psych myself up into actually believing I could do it.
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 01: Don’t wait. It’s not that difficult to start a blog. If you’re even thinking about doing it, then go for it!
2. My original logo was really lame. I mean REALLY lame. It was a diagram of a little dollar sign going into a box and turning into a bigger dollar sign. I really don’t know how I thought I was going to make this cool. And to make things worse, I did it in Microsoft Paint so it looked extra terrible.
The first time I uploaded that logo and realized how bad it looked, I substituted it with an equally lame logo – A giant lime green block (where my current header logo is today). My intention was to use it as a place holder until I thought of something cooler. Unfortunately I think I had it up there for about 2 months.
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 02: Before you launch your blog, give a little thought to what you want your logo to be. Don’t be lame like me and do it in MS Paint. Use an affordable logo service like eLance or 99designs so you can at least look halfway professional.
3. And that’s where I finally developed my current logo. I knew I needed something fast and I wanted it to do with money. So grabbed several twenty-dollar bills from my wallet that I had just withdrew from the bank, laid them on my dresser, and shot a few photos using my cell phone. Here is the original photo:
A few adjustments later, I finally had my logo! Coincidently, it is very fitting – Andrew Jackson and I have very similar haircuts!
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 03: Okay, if you don’t want to use a service, get creative and just snap some photos. There’s a lot of easy programs out there that you can use to make your photos look descent.
4. As you can probably guess, the name MMD is just My Money Design shortened. I really wish I had put some thought into this and came up with a really cool Matrix-like name like Morpheus or whatever. On the first carnival I ever submitted to, the headline read “[Title] by My Money Design on My Money Design”. I thought that looked pretty stupid. So the next time I changed it to MMD. Not very creative …
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 04: Whether you’re going to blog anonymously or use your real name, put a little thought into who you want to be known as.
5. Early on, my blog was littered with ads. Tons and tons of crap. Like a poorly designed porn site. I really wish I had taken some screen shots because you would laugh. I unfortunately had the “field of dreams” attitude that if I put them up there that people would come and I’d be rich. That was REALLY dumb! You know how everyone tells you to build your traffic before you monetize you blog? They’re absolutely right! When the ads generated zero revenue and one person actually told me my blog looked like spam, I decided to take them all down and re-think my strategy. Sometimes the truth hurts …
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 05: Don’t put the cart before the horse. Forget about ads until you start to notice some traffic. Sign up early for free with Google Analytics to monitor your traffic. If you really wants ads, sign up for Google Adsense and use them very subtly.
6. My first attempts at commenting were not very encouraging. The first few blogs I commented on either deleted my comments within a few days later or never made it past moderation. Thanks a lot for kicking down the little guy My Money Blog, Get Rich Slowly, Smart Passive Income, and Problogger!
After that sour note, I tried a different strategy of commenting on popular media sites like MSN Money or Yahoo Finance. Not only did all those comments also eventually get deleted, but I also had every Tom, Dick, and Harry with an Internet connection bashing everything I’d say. Can I just say that even the worst comments I’ve experienced on this site do not compare to the evil, heinous things people will say to you on the major media sites?
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 06: Don’t try to reach out to the big boys or mass public. Start by observing who is in your niche and form relationships with the people like you – other bloggers who either just started or have only been at it for a few months.
7. My first comments ever on My Money Design turned out to just be spam. One day I checked my site and found I had +30 comments. Hooray!! I thought one of my articles must have gone viral or something! What’s even dumber is that I responded to them. And that’s when I noticed that the comments started to repeat themselves … and that they weren’t real ….
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 07: Spam is everywhere. If you don’t want it on your site, install a great plugin like Akismet. If the comment doesn’t address anything specific in your post, have a real URL, or simply appears spammy, it probably is.
8. My first real comment (as far as I know) from a real human being didn’t come until nearly five months after I started my blog. And it came from Kevin over at Invest It Wisely. To this day, I still visit Invest It Wisely often to see what Kevin is up to. Call it gratitude. Fortunately, shortly after that first comment I started to get more comments. And it was a good thing too because I had given myself an ultimatum to get some traffic or give up blogging in about one more month.
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 08: Your fellow bloggers are your allies. Install an RSS reader like RSS Owl, signup to receive free feeds from your fellow bloggers, and start commenting on their sites. Build your relationships. Just like the Beatles said, the love you take is equal to the love you make!
9. I had never heard of Alexa or Google PageRank until about five to six months after blogging. And even then, I wasn’t being aggressive enough to improve my scores.
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 09: If you want to monetize your blog, then focus on your Alexa and Google Pagerank stats. And start early! Install the Alexa toolbar right away and follow my other tips in.
10. I did absolutely no keyword research. And as you can guess, my organic traffic was terrible. Until only a few months did I realize the value of doing your homework and finding good keywords. Unfortunately I was naïve enough to believe that if you just wrote about a topic that people would find it …
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 10: Get found on the Internet – Do your keyword research and write about the stuff people are looking for! Test keywords and pepper them throughout your text. Use the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
11. In addition to not doing enough with keywords, I put little effort into SEO (search engine optimization) in general. Again – not the best results in organic traffic.
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 11: You know how everyone always says just write great content and everything will take care of itself? Well, you DO need great content, but there is a whole science of things behind the scenes that I now know will improve your SEO and chances of being found. Study SEO and use a plugin like WordPress SEO to help keep you in line.
12. I had no social media setup for about six months. That’s just plain dumb. I’m not sure why I was like a cow on rail-road tracks when it came to social media. Even now, I still don’t use it enough …
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 12: Right away setup your Twitter and Facebook accounts for your blog. Automate them to update whenever you publish a new post with plugins. And use your social media accounts – more than I do!
13. I completely underestimated the amount of time investment. Writing two to three articles per week was basically the absolute minimum investment required. I didn’t even think about how much extra effort was going to be needed to figure out programming, coding, formatting, setting up accounts, responding to comments and emails, networking, commenting, etc.
Dumb Blogging Tips No. 13: Be prepared to invest time and patience into your craft. Blogs don’t just happen overnight – you have to work at them. Work with other people and try to get into a rhythm of writing, posting, and networking with other bloggers.
Readers – What were some of the dumb blogging mistakes you made and what would be your blogging tips to help others avoid them? How long have you been blogging and how long did it take you to actually get noticed?
Photo Credits: Unknown, MMD