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17

Nov, 2014

10 Lessons from Our First Year of Blogging

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About a year ago, the first post went up on this blog. We are growing old! 44 posts later, it has been a terrific journey full of lessons. You know what they say about teaching; “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” Blogging is fun and it gets more fun when you see results. Here is what we have learnt about blogging at Belva Digital.

1. Write for your audience

If you write with the audience in mind, thinking of what affects them and what they need to learn about a subject, your post will be read. If you are an agency or individual in Kenya, where your target audience is, write about Kenya and Kenyans. Be different. Do not focus on writing for an audience in another world where they are already saturated with content by people who know them better. A Kenyan will breathe a sigh of relief when reading about something they can actually relate to, unlike one where they are struggling to connect to the foreign examples given or impractical advice on the ground. Write something you would want to read yourself. Write about a topic you would Google yourself. Otherwise, don’t write at all.

2. Identify tools

Use tools that enhance your blogging, both for you and for your readers. Tools that help you in your research, writing and analysis. Read more on some of those we have discovered on our journey here: 12 Invaluable Blogging Tools. A great place to discover more tools is Buffer’s blog. Great advice. I know because its advice has been a big part of this blog’s growth.

Identify tools

3. Comment spam

There are spammers who raid your blog once it has gained traction in the space we call the web. Especially once your posts are quality and attract a significant amount of traffic from search engines. You have to know how to distinguish between real people’s comments and spammers. Spammers will most likely say the same thing that is completely unrelated to your post, have strange names and attach links to their comments. Get a spam tool like Akismet and always set it comments to be approved before they go up. You’d rather have no comments than spam. It reflects badly to any shrewd person who visits your blog and honestly wants to comment.

4. Social media

Leverage the power of social media. You may not have huge numbers on your social accounts, but once you write a great post, do not be afraid to share it and tag relevant parties. Most times, if it is really quality, they will reshare it, especially when it is touches on their business or cause. Good content will not be discovered if you just sit on it and wait for traffic from heaven.

5. Research

Read, read, read. Read on industry trends from both industry leaders and laymen alike then aggregate them into a post once you have weaved it together in your head and in paper. A blog post should be something you do over time. That does not mean that you need to write it for days. No. this post, for instance, has been in the pipeline all year, it was just written down in one day. You know what I am saying?

Read. Read. Read.

6. Experiment

Take time to review what works and what does not. Do not neglect your blog. Do not be afraid to experiment. For instance, we started out writing a lot here, then work caught up with us and we cut down the number of posts. All the same, that did not mean we stopped blogging. We just take time with fewer quality posts.

7. A blog post is not just text

Post different kinds of content. Pictures, videos, news, listicles. Oh, yeah. People love lists. Clearly. That’s why you probably clicked through to this particular listicle. If a listicle delivers what it promises, it gives you great results. Just don’t lie about your content on the title. That’s what we call click-bait/link-bait. It does not go down well with most people. No one wants to be swindled, even on the Internet.

8. Design matters

Design is important. If you want people to subscribe to your blog, do not hide your button somewhere that would require one to look for it. Let it be prominent. It does not need to be an annoying popup or anything of the sort. If a reader reads your post and loves it, then is met by a subscribe button right after it, chances are they will subscribe, because you offered value first, not the other way round. Same goes for your comment box and general blog appearance. Speaking of which, how do you like our new design? :)

9. Time pays

Blogging is a venture that requires patience, practice and teamwork. You do not get to the point where you are first on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results’ Page) in one day. It takes a mastery of the above and more. In a nutshell, it is about taking your passion and putting it into a blog space that you also make a part of your passion to reach out to people with value.

10. Get to work!

You will read many lists and pieces about what works and what doesn’t. But you know what? Simply because something worked for us does not necessarily mean it will work for you. And that is why you need to get to work, rather just read about what works. In a matter of months, you will know what does. Don’t just sit there, write something!

What have you learnt yourself from your personal or corporate blog? We’d love to know!

What do you think?