I have started this blog exactly three years ago, after having spent most of 2015 writing my first book No More Bullshit about Getting Laid. Even if the latter might not have neither been a masterpiece nor become a commercial success, it planted the first seed of writing and exposing myself to the world, creating this habit of sharing what I know, what I experience and what I have learned throughout all these years.
In the beginning, my goal was just to do things whenever I felt up to. Heck, I did not even have a goal and I did not know what I was doing back then. Still, slowly and without any kind of pressure, I began to release articles, roughly one about every month.
Nowadays I find it funny, because being regular is one of key elements, if not the most important, to keep a blog alive. However, since it was far from being my priority, that’s what I did, turning my blog into a laboratory of experiments (even for myself), not really paying attention whether I was actually building an audience or a “legion of fans”.
So if the years of 2016 and 2017 served as an experiment, the last year of 2018 served to not only gain a new awareness of the state of things but also level up what I was doing. Being because I decided to quit my job early in the year or simply because I was tired of “writing to nobody”, I began giving it more importance, especially in the second half of 2018.
First, I totally changed its appearance, giving it a much cleaner look. Then, I started attracting more eyeballs to it, being through “wider” articles such as the The 6 Best Websites for Real Men or by joining Twitter in September, a tool which I had completely ignored until then (I must thank Dylan Madden for this suggestion).
So putting everything together, and considering that I already have some experience but still a long way to go, this is what I have learned in these three years, something which can eventually help you, in case you are beginning or even thinking about starting a blog.
A blog is the worst way to build an audience nowadays
If you are reading this blog and thinking “well, I suppose I could also start my own too”, I strongly recommend you to read what I have got to say, as this is not 2008 anymore. Yes, the golden days of blogging are gone.
Or, at least, the days in which very few would come in, post some (quality) articles regularly and soon gain a legion of followers who would wait impatiently for the next piece of content to be released.
Today, on the other hand, because the market is so flooded and the offer is so vast, to release content on a regular basis, even if it is high quality and coming with the best of intentions, may not reach the audience the author would expect in the first place.
Hell, many times it will not even reach anyone, so you will face the painful sound of silence – no new followers, no comments, no shares.
If you want to build a strong social presence, then you have better options such as Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram, where a couple of nice pictures, with perfect lighting, can skyrocket your audience.
Because if it were just for gaining followers in the first place, I would have given up already for a long time.
(I believe that in the first thirty months I did not even have a single follower).
Also to earn any kind of income
If you are just blogging for the sake of it – sharing knowledge, experiences and thoughts through the art of writing – then most likely you’ll not earn a cent from it.
Even if you are releasing quality content regularly (just see previous point), you may not be reaching a lot of people. And if you already have a dozens of followers, it will still be very difficult to monetize your site.
In the way I see things, I do not like to put on my site neither advertising/publicity nor affiliate marketing links, unless they fit an article I am writing – otherwise, it does not make sense and for me it goes against of what blogging is all about.
For me, it is all about expressing yourself in the best way possible, so that you can also influence or help the life of some people around the globe.
Only when you eventually already have a legion of devoted fans, you will eventually have room to produce some products or offer some service which they will be keen to acquire.
Otherwise, if your audience is not that large and you are just trying to earn pence with people clicking on links, there are certainly other more effective ways to do it.
99% of the ones who visit your blog will be people who were searching for a specific topic in google and will never come back
When people visit our place, even if that location is online, we have the tendency to take things personally. If someone has come here, he or she must now have some kind of commitment to us, right? Sorry to disappoint you my friend, but that is galaxies away from the truth.
People are selfish by nature. If they want something, they will look for it, extract what is important to them and then leave. But hey, you can not blame them, as you are also a person and you probably do the same thing.
Just think about the endless times you have looked for something, have entered someone else’s site and used the information there (which took time, commitment and eventually a lot of research to this person), to then leave without even remembering the website’s name you have just visited twenty seconds before.
So do not think that when it comes to YOUR OWN blog, things will work differently. As a blogger, I have just gotten used to see 99% of visitors using my information, to never come back again. These are the rules of the game, so either you accept them or I can clearly tell you that blogging in not for you.
Still, there is hope, because the other 1% will like something you wrote or have an “aha” moment while reading one of your articles, and will consequently return to your website and look forward to check new things from you.
95% of the people who actually lose a second to look at your blog, will not look at it for more than one minute
Now, because almost everybody just enters your site to then immediately leave (or just read a couple of lines of the article which they had come to read), that does not mean that there aren’t a few which will not stop and take a look around.
Yes, to check what your blog is all about, who you are and what your base your writing or videos on.
During these three years, based obviously in some WordPress statistics and in the number of people who have subscribed to my blog, I have noticed that people stay for a short period of time.
In today’s world, most of us suffer from the distraction syndrome, which is the same to say that we have a very short attention span.
A study made last year showed that the average American has nowadays an attention span of 8 seconds. A domestic gold-fish has 9.
Even if you offer a valuable free gift (e-book, pdf), 90% of people will still not sign up your mailing list
Taking into consideration the last points of retaining people in your website, it becomes crucial to draw people’s attention through something which is immediately eye-catching.
And regarding a blog, this comes usually through the form of a short welcome video, of a powerful introduction or, of course, through a pop-up with some kind of offer.
I must say that I have started using this since two months ago – even if in the summer I have already completed renewed my website and put my books highlighted in the side bar – allowing the people who come in my site to download my free e-book Get in Shape and Never Get Sick.
Now, not because I am the one who wrote it but, having an e-book with just 44 pages, containing all the information you need to reach the physique you have always wanted to, supported by an excellent health, should be a no-brainer for people to download it. But guess what? I have a conversion of less than 1%. Actually, less than 0,1%!
I understand that many people are already in shape or simply do not give a damn about fitness but, if you are a guy and you are someone coming to my blog attracted by a certain topic I write about, then signing up my newsletter should be more than logical.
But logic is something which actually does not work when it comes to attracting people and drawing their attention.
And sad but true: the offer nowadays is so vast and that everyone is offering something, that most blog visitors will not give a fuck about free stuff anymore.
It will be your pillar/hallmark and give you credibility
Do you know when business cards were the norm and used to give you credibility? Well, nowadays they are just a waste of ink and paper. If you want to show that you have a name, then you must have some kind of online presence.
But unless you are a teenager or a young guy, whose Instagram filled with photos showing off will be more than enough, if you want to show that you have some kind of value, then your webpage or blog will be worth 1000 business cards.
(Of course that this fact may not be so linear. For instance, in my blog, I talk about topics which are not “mainstream” and can offend many, that is why I can not present it to everybody)
More important than that, is the fact that it will be an extension of your personality, a live record of your on-going experience and life in general. If you are a person who is not hiding in a basement, then you will meet people, visit new places and go through situations which will be worth telling to others.
And that is basically what I feel about my blog: that it serves as an extension of myself, my personal mind-reader who puts many of my thoughts and ideas in the form of words. It is, basically, a presentation of myself to the world.
It will create a sense of responsibility and urge on you
In the beginning, when I started writing, I did not even know what I was doing. I was just releasing about an article per month, based on things I was going at that moment, including places I visited and, of course, experiences I had with women.
Until there was a moment, especially when I decided to quit my job last year, that I started giving my blog a little bit more of attention and, why not say it, of importance. Not that suddenly I believed that I could extract extra benefits from it, rather that I began feeling the urge to give the credit it was already deserving.
As I said before, this is the channel where I can spread my message with others, therefore it is also a matter of respect to myself to treat it properly.
In addition, the fact that I suddenly began to have more visibility and eyeballs on my blog made me take it more seriously. In the end, it’s like my reputation is suddenly at stake, so I must do everything I can to preserve my image and present it in the best way possible to the visitors I receive everyday.
You will develop your writing skills
If someone had told me five years ago that I would be writing in English, I would laugh my ass off. Neither being a native nor having ever lived in any Anglo-Saxon country, I was aware of my limitations – there was this insecure part of me who was telling me not to do it, because I would never really be able to convince anyone.
But somehow I started. I know that I could have started in my mother tongue, but I just took the risk, also because nowadays English is the universal language, a means of expression which will reach almost everybody in this globe.
In the beginning I was lousy, making silly grammar mistakes or even putting many sentences together, ending up with long blocks of text which were everything but pleasant to read. However, there was a moment which I really started to improve and nowadays, also based on others’ feedback, I am someone who can already make an impact on others through the art of writing.
Of course that this is an ongoing challenge but it shows that you will only be good, or really good at something, if you do it everyday (yes, the power of habits).
Twitter and other influencers will be your best shot to put eyeballs on your blog/gain audience
If you could do it alone, you would be there already right? Because if there is one thing that I have learned, during these three years, is that it will be almost impossible to reach somewhere if you are on your own and doing it alone (as a matter of fact, not just with blogging but with everything in life).
In the first 30 months of my blog, I haven’t talked to anybody who had, let’s say, a significant online presence. So I kept releasing posts to the air, with no strategy whatsoever, hoping that eventually the world would catch up with it. But it didn’t.
As a matter of fact, everything in life is about marketing, so if you overlook this part, you will always be invisible. Being in your blog or even in case you want to sell a service or product online.
So it is better that, before everything, you start building your online presence. And if you want to find other like-minded people, then I strongly recommend you to use Twitter, so that you can engage and meet guys who are already where you want to be in the future. However, do not think that things will show up overnight.
No, you just need to tweet, retweet and comment on other influencers profiles, adding value and powerful affirmations, but not expecting anything in return.
In the end, it may happen that a handful of them start noticing and liking your interventions, and they can become eventually the engine you need to jump to the next level.
Do it ONLY because you like it (being the writing, the sharing or simply the part of expressing yourself)
I left the more important to the end: you can only start blogging if it is something you REALLY WANT. If you see yourself releasing regular content for months in a row, eventually years, so that you can eventually influence and change the life of others.
Otherwise, if you are entering this world for some kind of fame and money, you will fail miserably.
Blogging is never about the destination, but actually about enjoying the process. Because you will go through a long walk in the desert where the only thing you can grab yourself to will be the pleasure of writing. To know that, tomorrow or just in two years, someone will read that article written from the depths of your soul and will eventually engage with it.
But all of these are just suppositions, something which you will never be sure about. Ironically enough, you can however be sure that you will go through endless periods of invisibility. Plus, that you will need to work your ass off and to provide value constantly, with no promises of any return (aka comments, likes or shares).
Even if you must be clever and have a strategy so that you get traffic to your website, understand that deep down blogging is just like that old diary, where you write your ideas and thoughts regularly and freely, but never with the intention of being seen.
However, if you put all your soul and commitment in it, there will be a moment where this diary will slowly open itself to others, eventually creating a huge impact in their lives. And just knowing that you have the power and possibility to achieve this, to really help others, will for itself be worth all the hours and effort put in it.