This experts guide is the final post in the series about blogging for personal branding. If you are just starting out, check out my beginners blogging guide. If you have been blogging already and looking for ways to take it to the next level, refer to my advanced guide to blogging.
As an advanced blogger, you want to do things that will help you get your blog in the mainstream. You want to work towards driving massive traffic to your website. You want to generate revenues through your blog and grow your business.
Important Things Expert Bloggers Do
Let’s discuss some of the important steps you can take to achieve your goals. You may not follow everything. But if you do, you will reap the benefits of these steps and grow your business and your online presence tremendously.
1. Optimize Your Website Content For Search Engines
Your goal as a blogger is to get more people to read your blog posts. Put it another way, if people aren’t reading your blog posts, it isn’t helping your blog much.
It is true that you can drive some traffic by sharing your posts across your social networking accounts. But at the expert level, where you want to drive thousands of people to your website everyday, you want your blog to have a good exposure to search engines. You want your blogs to be indexed by search engines where most people come when they want to know something about anything these days.
SEO optimization of your website’s content is key to getting organic search traffic to your website. You know it by now, and I want to show you some of the things that you should take care of everyday dealing with your blog and its content.
If you want to know what to do and how to optimize your content and how to configure your website for optimal SEO, I encourage you to participate in the website setup course I offer for free on this blog. You can do so by filling the sign-up form in the right sidebar.
2. Secure Your Website Through CloudFlare
At this level, you know the importance of your website’s security. You know how important it is to protect your website from various malicious activities on the internet that can disrupt your website's functionality.
Recently, you may have heard about the Brute Force Attacks on WordPress websites that caused so much heartache for many bloggers and other webmasters around the world. Check out my post about brute force attacks, where I have shared some of the methods to protect your blog from such attacks.
CloudFlare is such an awesome service when it comes to providing that extra protection to your website that I simply love having it enabled on all of my websites. CloudFlare is not just good for your website security, but also great for your website’s performance. It is a basic CDN service as well. It dramatically reduces the page load time of your blog, if configured correctly. You should definitely try them on your website.
3. Implement CDN To Ensure Faster Page Load Time
CloudFlare does a good job of speeding up your website. It takes care of basic optimization for much faster page load times, when compared with the speed of your website without CloudFlare. If you have implemented CloudFlare, and you are happy with your website’s performance, you probably don’t need to worry about this step.
However, if your website is a bit complex and you have a lot of images and attachments, you may not be able to get optimal performance with just CloudFlare. In such cases, it is a good idea to consider implementing a full fledge CDN (Content Delivery Network) service. It ensures that your website loads much faster from anywhere in the world.
I use MaxCDN as my favorite CDN service provider. I am very happy with their service and I encourage you to check out my post where I discuss how to implement MaxCDN along with CloudFlare for maximum performance benefits.
Alternatively, CDN77 is a new CDN service provider that I tried for a while just to test their service. They seem to have a good service as well in this space. In case you want to know more about them, check out my post where I discussed about CDN77 and how you can configure CDN77 on your website.
4. Take Regular Backups Of Your Website
Having done so much of work on your blog, do you think it is a good idea to keep your blog backed up on a regular basis? I don’t think any advanced blogger will ever say ‘No’ to this question.
Especially if you are using a shared hosting service, your website is at a major risk because of many things that are out of your control. Things such as these can take away your website from you if you aren’t careful:
- If the server where your website is hosted crashes.
- If the server where your website is hacked through another less secured website that is hosted along with yours.
- For any reason, if there is a police investigation on the server where your website is hosted and cops take the hard disk in their possession for investigation. I have seen this happen to a few folks I know. It can be very frustrating when it happens.
And when any of these happen or for any other reason that isn’t listed here, if your website goes offline, your backup is the only thing that is in your control. It is absolutely critical for you to take regular backups of your website and keep a copy with yourself. Following are the posts I have written to help you choose the best backup tools for your website:
5. Start Building Your Email List
As an expert, you are an entrepreneur with an online business. You need to treat your blog as a business and plan the growth.
Every business needs customers. That means every business needs prospects. Having a list of prospects is the biggest challenge for every business, and you need to build your list as well. Your blog needs an email list. More about why you need to build a list and how you can have that feature is discussed in the following post. I encourage you to go ahead and take a detailed look at this post before proceeding further:
Important thing to remember is, your mailing list and your blog should promote each other. That means you should use every opportunity to promote your list building form on your blog. At the same time, you should also send regular blog updates to those who are in your list and ask them to share your content with others. Your list building is the most important project for you for long term success of your blog.
6. Establish Google Authorship
Google Authorship makes you eligible to get the Authorship Rich Snippet in search results, something like this:
As you see, it shows your picture along with your blog post in search results along with the number of Google+ circles you are in. This type of search result, along with your picture, is known to create credibility for your post, and it increases your click through rates.
Google is moving away, slowly but surely, from keyword based search to make the search represent real world things. They are taking Google Authorship as a step forward in that direction. Here is a video from Google’s Matt Cuts talking about Authorship and Author Rank:
Google Author Rank seems to be something that is going to come in future. But when it comes, it will be based on your Google+ Profile linking to your content on the web through a mechanism called Google Authorship.
I highly encourage you to setup your Authorship right away if you haven’t already. Here is a detailed post where I have shown step by step instructions to setup Google Authorship for you:
7. Drive Traffic To Your Website
Driving significant traffic to any blog takes anywhere from about 6 months to 1 year from the time the blogger starts to follow the best SEO practices. Well, at this stage where we are really talking about being an expert at blogging, I assume that you already have been taking care of basic SEO for your blogs.
If you are just starting SEO work on your website, you need to go back to your old posts and edit them to adjust them for a better SEO. It may take about 6 months before organic traffic (traffic from search engines) starts to grow on your blog.
Meanwhile, you still can drive massive traffic to your website through social media, other blogs and forums. Let’s discuss some of the methods of driving traffic to your blog.
Drive Traffic Through Social Networking
I hope you have a strong presence on some of the most popular social networking websites. The places where I regularly go are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. You don’t need to be everywhere, but it is a great idea to choose a couple of channels and then stay active there.
Create a strong, well designed profile on the social networking sites of your choice. Now, stay active and keep sharing useful information with your connections. Don’t just share your stuff on social media. It is very important to find useful information pertaining to your niche and also share them so your audience may benefit from it.
When people start to recognize you as a source for useful information, your posts will start to get attention and when you post your blog posts, you will start to get some significant traffic from social media websites.
Especially, if you write a post that goes viral, you can see huge spikes in traffic to your website through social networks. I have seen that happening many times for my website and you can do the same if you stay consistent and intentional about driving traffic from there.
Did you know that search engines also look for social signals while ranking your website for your keywords? The more social sharing your blog post gets, the better your ranking. Be intentional about social media traffic because it matters!
Regularly Comment On Other Blogs In Your Niche
I know we touched a bit about this in advance guide to blogging post. But this topic needs even more attention. Therefore, I wanted to bring it up one more time and emphasize a few things about blog commenting.
First of all, you and I both know that blog commenting is an effort. But, it is something you must do in order to establish yourself in the marketplace. There are many benefits of blog commenting and just to list here are some:
Every time you comment on other people’s websites, you strengthen your relationship with the owner of the blog. I have cultivated many great relationships in the blogosphere through blog commenting.
It gives you an opportunity to later approach the blog owner with an idea of a guest post.
Every time you comment, you earn a backlink to your website which, in turn, is very helpful for your website’s search engine ranking in the long run. Yes, most of the links will be “nofollow” and some will be “dofollow”. But you need both to have natural and organic growth.
Regular blog commenting gives your website a consistency in garnering backlinks. It is important that your website keeps getting backlinks on a regular basis for better search engine rankings and blog commenting helps you do that.
When you are genuine about commenting on other blogs, you read the blog post before commenting and that gives you knowledge that may give you new ideas to write new posts on your own blog. Reading and commenting on other blogs is a great way to come up with new blog ideas.
Write Quality Content That Can Go Viral
This is a no brainer. The web is filled with junk. The web is filled with bloggers and SEO agencies who are spamming the internet with duplicate content or content that absolutely adds no value to anybody.
However, that gives you an opportunity to shine. If you can write and share your ideas and post your original thoughts and provide what your target audience is looking for, you can shine. Your posts can go viral. Your posts can drive massive traffic to your website.
Quality posts do not mean that you have to write something that has never been written before. It simply means that you share the idea in your words, in your style and write in a way that your target audience will love it. That’s the key to writing a quality blog post.
Write Quality Guest Posts
Guest posts have similar benefits as blog commenting, except only much better. Guest blogging takes efforts and time to get published. But guest posts bring much more value in terms of traffic to your website and more valuable backlinks for search engines that dramatically helps your SEO.
It is important to write quality guest posts (just like quality blog posts) when you approach a blog owner with your proposal to write for their blog. Follow their guidelines and work with them to get your post published.
If your guest post gets published on a website that has decent traffic, you can see a lot of traffic coming from there to your blog on a regular basis. It is a great way to build relationships and also drive traffic to your website.
Check out this incredible post from Neil Patel about writing guest blog posts. Check it out, and you will know exactly what to do to get yourself published as a guest blogger in your niche.
Use Social Bookmarking Sites To Drive Traffic
Social bookmarking allows people to save their favorite webpages online so they can access their favorite bookmarks from any computer and share them with other people. The bookmarks are easily found through tags – single words that describe a page – making it easy for people to search for similar bookmarks of find bookmarks they have saved.
The list of social bookmarking sites is endless . Some are niche specific (which is a good thing), but others like Digg offer a wide array of categories. You can use these sites to share your content and not just traffic, but also improve your search engine rankings because these links will count towards your SEO.
Just to name a few, here is a short list of social bookmarking sites that you can start using to begin with:
8. Write an eBook / book
You may have written several blog post by now. You may have a good control on writing, especially if you have been writing consistently.
When you are building your email list, you need something to offer as a reason why people will sign up to your list. An eBook is one of the most commonly used and effective tools used for this purpose.
After writing so many blog posts, you will find it natural to tie your writings into a book. You may also want to create an eBook based on some of the ideas you have shared in a few of your blog posts. You can then offer that eBook for free to those who sign up to your email list.
If you think that your book has some premium content that others will want to pay for, you can sell the eBook and market it on your blog.
The thing about books is, if you’re interested in having a physical book printed, you’ll want to have more original content for that. However, an eBook doesn’t have to always be original. You can even combine some of your blog posts and turn them into an eBook.
This is something you definitely want to do as an expert. It adds so much credibility to your personal brand image and your blog and it helps you in your list building activities too.
9. Monetize Your Blog With Some Advertisements
Monetizing your blog is an important step. It is also an easy thing to do if you have built some traffic on your blog. One the ways you can begin monetizing your blog is by running advertisements.
There are many different kinds of advertisements you can place on your blog to drive revenue (passive income). One of the most commonly ways to start earning advertisement dollars is the programs such as Google AdSense or the Media Net (a collaboration of Microsoft and Yahoo Ad Networks).
Another way to earn income through advertisements is by selling advertisement space on your website. Many top blogs sell advertisement banners and even text links on their blogs directly to advertisers and if your blog has a decent traffic, you can make some good money by this method.
To find advertisers, you should Google terms relating to your blog theme and check out the companies that are paying for AdWords. You can email them your proposition and then a link to your advertising page/spots to help them make a quick decision. Here are some of the sizes of advertisements you can sell on your blog:
- Text links
- 125/125 graphic
- 468×80 header banner
- 300×250 single post banner
- Product / website review posts
- Sponsored blog posts
For sponsored reviews or sponsored blog posts, you should check out sponsoredreviews.com and reviewme.com websites. These are the marketplaces dedicated to helping you find these opportunities.
10. Start Your Audio/Video Podcast
Podcast typically means you publish your audio or video recording. Many bloggers record their voice or an interview through the telephone or a voice recorder and then publish it. It is called an audio podcast. Many others record their video, upload it on YouTube and then share as a blog post embedding that video in a post.
If you are comfortable podcasting, you can do the same and there are services that will aid in the publishing process.
People can get a sense of you from reading your posts, tweets and social network messages, but when it comes to real interaction and emotional connection, video is king, no doubt. If you are comfortable and ready to start your podcasting, buy a webcam or a video camera and start recording yourself.
However, if you aren’t ready yet, like I have not started any podcast yet on my own blog, you can keep this for future. It is something I am planning to start in future for my own blog and therefore I wanted to bring it to your attention as well. You should also plan for it.
11. Monetize Your Blog Through Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards an affiliate for referring a new customer. You only get paid a commission when people click on a referral link placed by you on your website and pay for that company’s products or services.
There are many affiliate programs out there. Almost all e-commerce companies offer one or the other form of affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates. There are many affiliate marketplaces as well such as ShareASale and Commission Junction and Click Bank. You can pick and choose the programs that fit your blogging style and theme.
Affiliate marketing surely can generate huge cash for you if you have a decent regular website traffic. However, you shouldn’t expect huge returns unless you already have a lot of inbound traffic to your website. That one more reason why you need to work really hard on your SEO optimization and growing your website traffic.
12. Invite Others To Guest Post On Your Website
There are some benefits of having guest posts published on your blog. First of all it helps you get some variety in your blog posts due to multiple contributors to your blog. A variety of voices, more diverse content helps your readers a bit. It also saves your time a little for other purposes such as marketing the blog and SEO work.
If you are using WordPress, you can give bloggers permission to write entries directly on your website and then submit them for your review. I have done that on my blog, and I encourage you to refer to my invitation to guest bloggers to get an idea.
Use Your Blog As Your Platform
Your blog is your platform to communicate with the world. It is your home on the internet. It is the place where people come to interact with you and to get to know you and your thought processes. It is your platform that represents your personal brand.
Your blog can lead to bigger and better things professionally as long as you have a vision. You may use your blog as a platform to secure consulting clients, speaking engagements (like people like Michael Hyatt, Robin Sharma and many others) or even new joint business venture opportunities. By showcasing your interest in receiving those opportunities, you are more likely to garner them.
When you are ready for such opportunities, setup pages with those titles on your blog and if you’ve spoke or consulted in the past, use endorsements, video etc. and demonstrate your expertize through your platform.
Over To You – Share Your Thoughts, Ask Your Questions
With this, I think I have covered a good amount of detail on getting you to the expert level of blogging. If you have any questions, please use the comments section to ask. If you have any suggestions or testimonials, please share it now. I love to hear from you.
Please click here to ask your questions or share your thoughts. Thank you kindly!
Great info as usually:) It’s very useful, because everything is presented step by step.
Thank you Aistis. Glad to know you found it useful.
You’ve done a great job laying everything out.
There are many things I have yet to accomplish, but I have bookmarked this page to come back to as a reference.
Once again, you’ve added tremendous value. Thank you very much!
Thank you Bill. It’s great to hear that this post added value to you as well. Appreciate you taking time to leave your words of appreciation.
How beautifully presented information on multiple topics (like search engine, cloudflare, CDN, Backup etc. to make money and also writing ebooks ) has been wrapped up in this post! It is awesome. Thank you Kumar for such a wonderful article. I’m not an expert blogger, but I want to be, and this blog showed me a broader picture of same.
Once again, thanks you very much. I really enjoyed the post and looking forward to see additional post exploring the same topic.
You are welcome Ranjan. I am sure you are making progress each day towards becoming the expert. Just keep up the good work!
Thank you so much, very valuable information
This is such a valuable post. I should not scratch my head to search it after few days when I need it again.So I have bookmarked this post for my reference.
Awesome Ankit! I am glad to see your progress!
Resourceful post on the necessity of improving blogging techniques towards the enhancement of personal branding.
This is one helpful post. I wish I had had all of this in the beginning. Maybe I just rushed into it and learnt it all myself the hard way!! I am sure many a new blogger will appreciate what you have done here and I will certainly share it on social media for you.
have a great day
Thanks Ashley for your words of appreciation.
You will be surprised, I learnt the same way 🙂 Back in the days, I used the same Social Oomph (It was called TweetLater at the time) to schedule my auto-follow DMs and I now know how many people I might have annoyed. But it’s better late than never.
Thanks for the share and you have a great week ahead.
Wow, Kumar, I feel like I just found a secret goldmine. Your post has so much practical advice, especially the part about Google Authorship. I have seen it but had not tried to implement. Your instructions made it soooo easy. Thank you so much.
Hi kumar, seriously you provided some good things i appreciate you. If you can, you can educate me regarding SEO Techniques to bring up my keywords to the top.