An early Blogger

OK, maybe a slight exaggeration. My blog has just recorded an amazing 20,000 views (now almost 21,000 actually!) which is not strictly the same as 20,000 readers. But unless someone is reading this blog A LOT I’m going to take it as a huge compliment! A compliment I have to add has completely humbled me (I know, I know).

And here are some of the other amazing stats for your favourite completely free sales advice blog you may be interested in (don’t worry, the lessons bit is coming!)

My top post (the home page) has the highest traffic, almost 3000 individual views 

Its been read in 99 Countries since the start of this year! UK and USA Canada and Australia miles more than many of the others, but hello to Peru and Mongolia, Slovenia and Kiribati (me either) thanks for your support!

Over 1200 people have been awesome enough to follow the blog (blows my mind!)

Around 150 posts have attracted almost 800 comments (around 6 per blog)

The most searched for term leading people to the site is unsurprisingly ‘completely free sales advice’ (good marketing!)

Bizarrely the second most searched terms is ‘easiest job in the world’ – not sure what that means 🙂

And for search geeks the number one referer to the blog by miles is LinkedIn, the combined power of the worlds search engines providing the second highest traffic and Twitter third, and at almost a third of the level of LinkedIn. Interesting huh?

Be sure, I am not claiming expertise here. I just want to share what I’ve learned, and I hope it will help someone else get into blogging, this most brilliant of pastimes.

Anyway, here’s what I have learned and in some cases had beaten into me over the last 10 months or so.  In order of importance to me. Hope its useful

1. Be yourself. No point in trying to be someone else, you wont be able to keep it up, and people see through it anyway. If you are going to be called out on your opinions (see point 6) then you might as well have them as fundamental parts of your make up!

2. Learn to Self Edit. You may be the greatest writer of prose ever born, but nothing beats paring a sentence back to its simplest most efficient form. Plus your readers will appreciate it. There is an argument that you can learn this by using Twitter excessively (but that might be just me)

3. Stay on target – It’s easy to drift around in the blogosphere and consume everything from recipes to insight on the reformation. But your readers are likely to come to you for one thing. Whatever that thing is, keep the blog about that. Related topics to keep it interesting are great. But if you are a business blog, don’t descend into politics. Of course, personal bloggers are exempt this advice, as the joy of these blogs is the exact same stream of consciousness I am advocating you stay away from.

4. Keep it Simple Stupid. Don’t worry too much about explaining everything you write down in explicit detail. a) Give your audience credit, they will probably understand what you are getting at, and b) You can always expand and answer queries in your comments section. c) consider splitting particularly complex ides onto multiple posts

5. Keep it short. There is no need to stick to a word limit (though I try to) but ensure you are not using 10 words when 2 will do. Your audience don’t have time to wade through your hyperbole.

6. Don’t take it personally. While the VAST majority of the lovely people I have interacted with through this blog have been awesome and hugely polite and helpful, some people think the fact you have put yourself out there as a blogger is a reason to attack. Ignore them. They aren’t worth the effort (see point 8)

7. Publish a lot – then some more. The golden rule for all successful blogs is that they publish a lot. In fact, all the time. How often do Mashable or Huff Post publish? 15 times plus PER DAY! I’ve tried it, it works. There is no substitute.

8. Engage. The best part, in some ways is getting to meet and talk to amazing people. Take time to answer your comments, and to follow people back to their blogs and engage with them over at their place! I have discovered some amazing blogs doing this. Like Social Steve, GristPresent and Jojet

9. Promote it. This may be down to my background, but I’ve no interest in recording my musings for posterity. I want you guys to read this, for all sorts of reasons I know, but I want you here! Be honest, and bite the bullet, you don’t want all that effort to go unnoticed either do you? There are tons of posts out there in terms of learning to do this stuff, I’m just advocating that you do it. It’s not a dirty word, and it doesn’t make you a bad person 😉

10. Enjoy it. I have learned this last of all, but weirdly, probably the most important lesson in some ways. The reason I do this is that I enjoy it.

I enjoy putting my opinions out there, I enjoy the interaction and response from my readers (that’s you!) and I enjoy the process of writing and editing so much. When I am not enjoying it, I don’t do it. I don’t force it. The ‘publish every day’ experiment is over for now. Sometimes I post multiple times a day (like today) sometimes a couple of times a week.

Whatever, I do it to enjoy it, and I hope you enjoy it too!

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  1. realandsmoothscotland
    realandsmoothscotland says:

    Being a good story teller and presenter must be a heck of a good attribute to bring to the table where blogging is concerned! Unfortunately I am mediocre at best with both of those traits, therefore struggle to come up with unique content! Perhaps I should just stick to the numbers!
    Informative once again – I shall try to add your suggestions to my repertoire!

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Don’t underestimate your own abilities! You don’t know what you can do until you put your mind to it 😉
      One of the many lessons I’ve left out of this blog is the fact your audience will find you. The way you write and the stuff you write about attracts the appropriate people for you
      Give it a try!
      And thanks for the kind words, I’ll have to buy you a pint at the xmas do!

  2. RightSaidJames
    RightSaidJames says:

    Great post Tony, and an amazing achievement. As a new blogger I found myself agreeing with each and every piece of advice; some of these things (writing concisely, being myself) came instinctively, whilst others were lessons learnt (the importance of self promotion and being proud of what I create). My blog views are currently shy of 1000, a completely different scale to yours, but I know that if I hadn’t followed the principles that are described described so eloquently in this post I’d probably still be in double figures! Great post as always.

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Thanks James, means a lot coming from a fellow blogger! Another point I should have made was to keep going!
      At the start it can feel a bit hopeless, but just keep going, simple as that
      The more you post, and the longer your post for, the more people will read
      Thanks for the comments