4 Years of Blogging: Lessons Learned and Success Nuggets for 2013!

How time flies; but, as it’s commonly said, when you are doing what you truly love, you barely notice the time!

It was difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that it’s been 4 years since I first installed my first . Yes, 4 good and eventful years!

Over this period I’ve setup different blogs, tried my hands in different aspects of making money and of course have learned a whole lot of things.

Before I became a I was an affiliate marketer doing mainly article (bum) . Looking back, I discovered that there is so much I’ve learned as a blogger than when I was an affiliate marketer.

In this post I want to share with you some of the I’ve learned over these 4 years and also offer a few tips which I hope will be of help to you this 2013!

So, without wasting much of your time (this post is well over 1500 words!), let’s begin.

4 yrs of blogging lessons

. Stop Looking For The Next Big Thing

Now, I have to put this at the top of the list because I know that now that the year is still fresh, many would be asking, “What is the next thing I should do?”

Now, if you are asking that question because you are already experiencing good in your present blogging and wants to expand, it is a good thing.

However, if you are asking that question only because you are seeking for the next tactic or strategy you want to try out in your present business, then my advice is, please DON’T!

Instead of looking for the next thing, take a second look at what you are already doing and do more of what worked for you in 2012. Concentrate your effort on that strategy (ies) until you make good sense of it. The more you do it the more success you will achieve.

2. Build Your Own Strategy

This is a build up from 1 above.

You must understand that it is not a must that because it worked for blogger A then it will work for you. During the 12 Days of Christmas Inspiration series I asked the question, “Why are you here?”

It is important you answer this question.

Why are you into blogging?

What is your vision and mission?

It’s only when you know the WHY that you can design a roadmap (plan) that answers the HOW TO. And you need your own strategy to do this. Something peculiar to you. Built on your experiences, skills and knowledge but firmly rooted on the basics of business success.

To understand what I’m talking about, go out there and read those internet marketing sales letters. Do you notice how the person tells a story of how they struggled for years without any success until they surprisingly hit on that super duper strategy that no one else has ever used?

Do you now see that what he wants to sell to you is really his strategy? Now, for sure you can make money with that but it is his strategy all the same! And, remember, you are not the only one buying in to that strategy. But doing so means creating hundreds, if not thousands, of competitors for yourself from day one!

But building your own strategy will save you from that.

3. Diversify – Throw Your Net Really Wide!

I must say that within these 4 years the blogosphere has changed tremendously. Like I have mentioned, I was into article marketing before venturing into blogging. My switch over was partly because of the changes introduced then by some of the article directories like ezinearticles.com and partly because of the success stories of probloggers like Yaro Sarak, John Chow, etc.

The earnings reported then by these probloggers were really enticing. But a careful look around the blogosphere right now will convince you that posting such income figures from just one blog is a herculean task.

Today sponsored posts and blog advertising are not what they used to be. Google has tightened the noose on link buying; blog readers have become more educated and can sense a sponsored review from a mile away and they have become so banner blind that your affiliate banners are nothing but space eaters!

And so, if you are still dreaming of making enough money from that one blog to travel the world like Yaro Sarak did some time ago, then you’re right on track because you’re DREAMING!

Year 2013 should be your year of diversification. Use your skills as a blogger to start another business. Throw your net wide this year 2013!

4. Collaborate

When I was into internet marketing, my popular saying was, “Do not compete; Create!” Now, as a blogger I have changed that to, “Do not compete; Collaborate!”

As a blogger you should go beyond being creative and collaborate with other bloggers in your niche. Never allow the thought of competition cross your mind. Find ways to join forces with other bloggers if you truly want to move up the success ladder as a blogger.

I think this is the concept of online tribes, groups and communities as we are seeing today on the sites. Go out there and find a community or tribe that will support you in your endeavors.

5. Beware On Whose Land Your Storefront Is Built!

Running an online business demands your buying a domain name and a webhosting service. This is just like you renting a piece of land to build your store front – your blog/site!

Now, I have discovered that your webhost is as important as your business itself. Don’t just go out there and pick any webhosting company.

Within these 4years of blogging, I’ve changed webhosts 6 times. Yes, you read that right – six (6) good times! Now, it will interest you to know that of these 6 times, it was only once that I voluntarily changed webhosts.

Now beyond that, you must beware of webhosts that promises unlimited this, unlimited that. Don’t be taken in with the promises of unlimited space and bandwidth. Experience has thought me to know that the real thing is memory usage. Unfortunately, none of the webhosting companies ever show that on their salespages and even when you ask, they will never tell you!

Your way out?

Ask for recommendations. If you look around you will discover that many bloggers recommend Hostgator . Another used by most top bloggers in the market right now is OutstandingSETUP – a wordpress dedicated webhost. Get the opinion of a friend and you will never regret down the road.

6. Build A List; And Do It Now!

When I started blogging there was the general belief that a blog should make do with RSS subscriptions. In fact, then many bloggers regarded email marketing as a dead strategy. Today we can agree that rather than die, email marketing is becoming the next big thing.

Take a look at your favorite blogs right now and you will discover that every one of them have a newsletter signup form beside the RSS subscription. And so? If you have not started a list, now is the time. If your aim is to build a business with your blog, then building a list is something you must do right away.

7. Be A Helper And Not A Seller

Over the past 4 years I have witnessed a whole lot of changes online. Online social media have become more popular with many more entrants. has seen a major evolution with Google at the wheels!

These changes are not without any effect on blogging. To make an impact right now as a blogger you need more than just good content. You need valuable content; content that is helpful and that gives the readers just what they want. Providing such valuable content demands knowing your target audience, their needs, pains and pressing questions.

You have really been good in keeping up with your publishing schedule doling out content every day. Now make that content truly valuable. Instead of quantity, because you want to keep up with a schedule, turn your blog into a platform that is truly helpful by providing nothing but valuable content.

Recommended: Content Marketing: 2013, the Year of the Helpers!

8. Ignore SEO Optimization To Your Own Peril

Allowed, many bloggers would disagree with this. But I still maintain that SEO is not dead! Don’t be deceived, Google’s various updates in 2012 were not aimed at discouraging you from optimizing your content. Google has actually made it easier for all of us to produce content that would rank high on the search engines. As a blogger you should take advantage of the Panda, Penguin and other updates introduced in 2012.

It will interest you to know that a recent marketing research by ExactTarget put SEO and email marketing among the top marketing strategies for 2013.  The industry leaders know better!

9. Outsource Where Necessary

When you are just starting out you may want to work on every aspect of your blogging business yourself. However, as your blogging activities increases, outsourcing should be your best option. This is more important if you want to diversify as I mentioned earlier.

The good thing is that there are different freelancing services out there.  You can post a projects for any service you desire and leverage your time and resources and your blogging business will be a thing of joy.

10. Sell Your Skills

This is another big lesson I have learned over these 4 years. Like many bloggers, I started blogging with the mind of making money through selling ads and promoting affiliate products. But as you do know, that market is not what it used to be a few years ago. If you want to make money blogging through selling ads and promoting affiliate products, then you have the big players to contend with!

A better way to make your dream a reality is using your blog as a platform to promote yourself and sell your skills. Whatever that skill is, present your expertise on your blog. Use it as a platform and then promote yourself to the big time companies who are looking for such services. Here’s an example of a site promoting my SEO content writing service.

11. Hone Your Managerial Skills

Head over to LinkedIn and take a look at some of the profiles of many bloggers. Did you notice that many bloggers have titles such as: CEO, COO, Founder/ President, etc on their profiles? This only shows that many bloggers regard themselves as business entrepreneurs. But it goes beyond appending some title to your name. If you must be a successful business manager then you need the skills and knowledge required to run a business.

As the chief executive in charge of all operations you cannot rely simply on some title. You must be ready to show proof. If you don’t have the necessary business training in these areas nothing stops you from learning it. If possible go for a part time course to improve your managerial skills. You need it for the sake of your business growth.

12. Invest In Your Business – Get The Right Tools

Can you imagine a craftsman or woman who doesn’t have the tools of his trade? You too cannot hope for real success if you are not ready to invest in getting the right tools for your blogging business. Research the market to understand what tools others in your target market are using and budget part of your earnings to be reinvested in these tools.

Run your blog as a business and not as a hobby.

13. Look Back In Order To Move Forward!

There is the saying that if you are running a race and you are constantly looking behind you, you cannot make any progress. That is indeed true. But as a blogger aiming to make money online, taking time to reflect on your operations will give you the opportunity to make good decisions and take strategic steps that will move you forward with much ease. These times of reflection should be decided by you. It could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly.

Your turn: The above are some of the lessons I’ve learned over 4 years as a blogger. How long have you been blogging? What lessons have you learned? Please share with us in your comment below.

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About Chadrack

Chadrack Irobogo is a web entrepreneur, blogger, business coach and author. He’s a vastly experienced online marketer and runs a digital marketing agency where he helps local businesses drive valuable online leads. On this blog he shares business strategies and proven marketing tactics that delivers tangible results for SMBs and enterprise bloggers.

View all posts by Chadrack →

29 Comments on “4 Years of Blogging: Lessons Learned and Success Nuggets for 2013!”

    1. @Raplus,

      Oh, shouldn’t wait any longer. Frankly, I’m just starting mine after much analyzing and trying to come up with the perfect offer! 🙂 But you know, there is really no perfect offer. You just have to “do it” and if need be readjust things as you go on.

      Thanks for the comment.

  1. Wow, Chadrack – you’ve given us a lot to think about here! It makes me realize how much I have to do. Building a list is high on my list of priorities at the moment.

    I think the most important thing I’ve learned so far (and I’m only just beginning – been blogging for just over 6 months) is the need to develop my own strategy and to go at my own pace. In the past I’ve sometimes felt pressurized to take too much on, before I’ve developed the necessary skills, and to go too fast. One step at a time. Slowly, slowly catchy monkey, as the saying goes.

    I think the other thing I’ve learned is not to drop the ball – I reckon one of the biggest secrets of success is simply to keep taking action, consistently, not to give up – and not to be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck.

    Thanks for all this great advice, Chadrack – it’s really very helpful stuff.

    Sue

    1. @Sue Neal,

      I must say you have learned so much even when you have not been in the game for long. Must be honest with you many struggle for years without learning anything. Those two, taking it step by step and consistently taking action is just the sure recipe for success online. If you can steadily hit on a particular strategy, tactic or method until you make good success of it and never give up no matter the situation of things, the god of success have no option than hand you the success you desire!

      It’s a pleasure reading your comment.

  2. Hey Chadrack, congrats for completing the 4 years of blogging period. All of the lessons you shared in this post are great,

    HOWEVER, I kinda disagree with first point because looking for new strategies and tactics is good. Doing what you’re already doing which isn’t working for you is useless, as they say “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll still get what you’ve been getting”.

    1. @Ehsan Ullah,

      Hi Ehsan, glad to see you around. It’s a pleasure to hear from you and thanks for the congratulatios!

      I must say you got the flow wrong somewhere. I never said looking for new strategies is wrong. The point here is not to be always on the look out for new tactics when you have not done anything with the ones you know. For clarity here again is what I said:

      “Now, if you are asking that question because you are already experiencing good success in your present blogging business and wants to expand, it is a good thing.

      However, if you are asking that question only because you are seeking for the next tactic or strategy you want to try out in your present business, then my advice is, please DON’T!

      Instead of looking for the next thing, take a second look at what you are already doing and do more of what worked for you in 2012.”

      I hope that clear things up.

      Once again, thanks for joining your voice to the conversation.

  3. Bravo bro,
    4 years is not 4 days of course, which means you must have gotten a bag of experiences in the field just as you stated here.

    I agree with you on the issue of looking for the next big deal, most of us are very fund of that, always looking for the newest method forgetting the saying that…….. its only the old broom that knows all the corners of the house.

    Every other thing you mentioned here rocks my man.

    More greeze to your elbows.

    1. @Theodore Nwangene,

      You can say that again! Frankly, it’s been years of fun and satisfaction. I must say blogging is one great thing where you decide to hold up your head no matter the situation or get sucked in by the current and be drowned. The lessons of life I’ve learned as a blogger are truly more beneficial to me than the financial gains so far. I count them more beneficial because I know they will definitely be of great help to me in life.

      I agree with you so much about that wise saying. You are true African teaching great lessons with a few words! May 2013 be great for you!

  4. @Chadrack

    I particularly like the points you make about collaborating with and helping people.

    Collaborations, interconnections and providing useful info are, of course, what both SEO and the web as whole are all about.

    If you give your readers something useful and helpful then they’re more likely to become advocates of your content + so give something back in terms of links, following your blog, Facebook Likes, +1s, etc.

    Yep, I also totally agree with the concept of collaborating rather than competing. But it seems that many other people in this game still don’t get it.

    1. @Kevin Carlton,

      You truly got the vision of this post! 🙂 The internet is nothing but connectivity and collaboration. It’s about give and take. But many people look at it only on what they can take from others. I really think that why blogging is becoming so popular and successful on the net is because it has the spirit of the internet at its heart. It’s really about collaboration and sharing.

      Thanks for joining your voice to the conversation.

        1. @Kevin Carlton,

          Thanks for pointing this out to me. =Fact is, I consider the comments section of a blog as the real community area where readers and the blogger can interact. I really love it when a reader say it makes them feel good whenever I reply to their comments.

          Once again thanks!

  5. Hello dear
    My first visit to this blog and glad to say that i ve found it very informative. Really thanks to you by sharing such a nice information.keep it going..
    Thank you

    1. @Mohammad ismail,

      Thanks Mohammad. It’s really a pleasure to know that this blog has given you something worthwhile. Just knowing that your visit was not a waste of time gives me great pleasure. Looking forward to seeing more of you!

  6. You have listed some great tips here. I think building a relationship with your readers is a must, before you even think about making money from your blog you must focus on getting traffic to it.

    1. @Cudjoe,

      You can say that again. It’s really pathetic to see that many online business persons carry in their minds the picture of competition in every thing they do online. I really believe that collaborating with other businesses is the quickest way to getting what you want.

      Thanks for the comment.

  7. HI Chadrack

    Great info shared!

    #10, para 2, is what I really like the post, I’m a programmer. I took to blogging with the aim to market my skills in a better way, but now just drifted away from the goal, as blogging itself requires great effort.

    Thanks for the great reminder.

    Sapna

    1. @sapna,

      I can understand your position there. In fact, a few days ago I wrote about this situation where many who got into blogging as a business marketing tool turned out to focus more on running their blogs than the business.

      But anyway, do you now consider yourself a blogger than a programmer? Are you getting more from blogging than your programming business?

      1. HI Chadrack

        I have many good friends like you through blogging which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. This really inspires me to remain in blogosphere.

        Thanks once again.
        Sapna

        1. @sapna,

          Love to hear that Sapna. Like I mentioned in the post I referred, it really depends on what you are after. If your blogging business is making more for you than what you set out to do in the first place, then focusing more on blogging is just the best bet. However, if you are still very much interested in taking blogging as a tool to build your business, you simply need to find a way to do that without your blogging activities becoming a hindrance.

          About building relationships and getting to know new friends in the blogosphere, this is really one big area where blogging can help you with your business. This community of friends and followers you create around your blog is what will turn out tomorrow to be a big business for you.

          But come to think of it, don’t you think you are more of a graphics artist than a programmer?

          1. HaHa

            I was never a graphic artist, now since it is coming from a seasoned blogger like you, I’m going to accept it. I’m honored.

            Thanks for that Chadrack.

            Sapna

  8. Amazing tips and a wonderful truly motivational post. Yes, the market of selling ads on blogs is now overcrowded and totally different from what it used to be a couple of years ago. Selling skills and helping others are the best ways for succeeding these days.

    1. @Jack Milgram,

      Thanks Jack, it is really a pleasure to know that this post resonate with you. Ii is a desire that we make this best use of these tips.

  9. @Leon,

    It’s really clear that many more bloggers are thinking in this line also. Bloggers have seen that collaborating is better than trying to outwit the other person. Get it right and your blogging business will indeed be a thing of joy! Thanks for the comment.

  10. I agree with you on the point you made about choosing a path that works for you. What works for Blogger A might NOT work for you. But aren’t many bloggers doing just the opposite? I see a lot of people copy methods without looking at how closely their skills approximate those of successful users of those methods.

    For example, some people are very good at networking (much better than the average person). Such a person has to focus on a model that allows their networking skills to shine. If someone who’s more of a loner adopts the same strategy, he or she will struggle and it won’t be because the method doesn’t work but because the are NOT best suited to such a method or strategy.

    1. @Chimezirim Odimba,

      You’ve just hit that loud and clear! In fact, this is one of the things many of us a struggling with – simply copying what someone is doing. Like this issue of networking you raised, I’ve discovered that not even every blogging model needs it.

      For example, if you are promoting some network marketing product it is really a good thing to build a large following of fellow bloggers who might turn around to join you seeing the success you are building.

      However, if your focus is a product that is a B2C target, you may network with fellow bloggers and see a large following on your blog but no real returns because most of those bloggers are not looking to purchase such a service or product.

      So, I really think as a blogger you must understand what your focus is and find the model that suits that market. Like I said, many have come into blogging with the mind of using it to promote a business but along the way they have abandoned their business to concentrate on blogging because of what is involved.

      Thanks for joining your voice to this.

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