Well I am now a little over half way through the second month of blogging here at Couchable. Here are some of the things I've learned or are confirmations of my own suspicions before beginning this little journey.
Everything I’ve discovered has been from trial and error, so take this with a grain of salt. What works for me may not work for you.
No One is Going To Help You Get Your Start
I already new this, but it was definitely reconfirmed over the first week. No one on the internet is obligated to share anything you post, write a comment or follow you without getting something out of the deal themselves. Essentially, you must provide a serious amount of value with your posts before readers will consider giving you back anything in return.
No One is Going to See Your Posts Unless You Promote Them
If you are in a competitive niche, like this one, there is absolutely zero chance anyone will just happen upon your posts. If Google is indexing your posts with any regularity, your posts will most likely be found around 700 pages deep in the search results. In other words, Google will be giving you no traffic. I think the most hits from Google I receive in a day the first month was eight. If you are happy with 8 visitors then great, if not, it will take a lot of hard work promoting every single post you write.
I would say an hour per post of promotion time during this first month is a good average number of time to spend. Of course most of this time will be spent finding places to promote your posts, testing them and seeing if they accept your entries. Then seeing if you actually get any traffic back in return.
If It Can’t Be Promoted It Isn’t Worth Publishing
When your blog is established you will be able to post some cute off-topic posts but until that time, don’t bother. During the first month but moreso in the weeks after, I was able to find some decent places to promote my blog. Decent as in 50-100 page views. But the posts they accepted have to fit into a somewhat narrow range of topics. If you write something and you know they will not accept it, you are wasting your time.
I had this plan early on to post regularly, 5 times a week, so I just dumped out posts every day. The ones I couldn’t promote didn’t get any traffic. Not to say they weren’t good posts, just that I couldn’t find any eyeballs to get them in front of.
If your posts cannot be promoted, don’t post them. No one will ever read it.
If you do write a post like this, that you know won’t be accepted by any of the places you promote at, try to shop it around at some blogs that accept guest posts. Maybe you can get some value out of it.
Pictures Drastically Increase Your Work Time
Finding pictures for your posts is a pain in the ass. Especially, if you do not have a good stock photography site to draw from. I would say adding 3-5 pictures to a post adds 30 minutes on to your time. That is two and a half hours of your week you could be doing something else, like promoting your blog or writing better content.
StumbleUpon and Twitter Are Your Best Friends
Of all the ways to promote your work and get traffic coming in, these are by far the best. Twitter is better for reaching a specific niche but StumbleUpon is full of curious people, willing to take a look at all kinds of things. I’m still struggling to put together a Twitter following and honestly, I never find anything good to look at on StumbleUpon myself, but they are still working.