11 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Blog
Whether you’ve just started your painting blog or you’re a few years in, there is always something to learn.
Like every other business that blogs, I have made many, many, mistakes starting out, encountered frustrations, and wasted time and money in my early blogging days.
In this article, I’ll share 11 things I wish I knew before I started my blog, and lessons you can learn from them:
1. Design And Setup Matters
There are many content management systems out there, but I believe WordPress is the most efficient.
Whichever blogging system you’re using, you need to make sure you choose an intuitive and clean theme.
The navigation and layout of your website/blog should be set up in such a way that visitors can access all the essential information they need, within one place.
Go beyond the default blog theme settings and customize elements like the background color, font size and font colors, menu, icons, and logo placement, etc. to reflect your brand and preferences.
Besides, having an easy to use and sleek design will keep people coming back.
2. Quality Content is Key
Content is what drives conversations and actions on your blog.
If you don’t have excellent blog content that really appeals to your readers, you can attract massive visitors through other means, but your visitors won’t stay, and they may not come back /:
Create targeted, engaging, informative, and valuable content that provides practical solutions to problems your customers may have.
Make the content ‘scannable’ for casual readers by including:
- bullet points
- numbered lists
- short paragraphs
When it comes to content length, I come to learn that 1000- to 1500-word articles work best for my blog; however, for your painting blog, you will probably experience more success with posts between 500 words and 1000 words including videos and images in them
3. Building an Audience Takes Time
When I first started this blog, I thought it would be easy for the masses to find it.
There are very few instant success stories when it comes to building blog traffic, but for the rest of us, you need to work tirelessly at acquiring and retaining an audience.
When I first started blogging I would get a view or two per blog (one of them being my mom or dad).
Since then I’ve learned that it takes much more than just throwing some keywords around…
If you take away one thing from this blog post, here’s what’s important:
Know who your target audience is exactly
Think like your target audience, and what they may be searching in Google
Know their problems or pain points
Then give the solutions to those problems, or answer their questions without holding back
Once you’ve got the relevant content, you will need to share your posts on all of your social media accounts, create and send out email campaigns, and even encourage friends and family to share theme as well.
Most importantly, be patient!
It can take 6 months before you see a difference in your viewers.
4. Get Social
As earlier mentioned, you won’t get plenty of organic traffic from search engines if your blog is still fairly new.
It could take months or even years before a significant amount kicks in.
So how do you get readers in the meantime?
Well, what worked for me, (which also seems to work for my clients) is leveraging the power of social media.
Promote your blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google My Business.
*Tip: DON’T create business profiles
– people love interacting with real people not, a brand or logo.*
Share your stories, participate in your community, and respond to comments, be VERY enagaged.
5. Consistency Is The Key To Growth
When you’re in the start-up stage, or even in the first year or two, you may still be working a lot in the business instead of ON the business. (Understandable)
When I first started blogging, I would pump out blog posts as fast as I could, but because I didn’t see a result after a few weeks I felt like there was no point, so I stopped for months.
It wasn’t until I learned about a handy-dandy thing, “SEO (Search Engine Optimization” and “Algorithms”, that basically run the internet.
If your unfamiliar with SEO here’s an in-depth post which explains the importance of SEO and what it can do for your painting business.
One thing Google loves is CONSISTENT blog content.
Since I started blogging consistently, I noticed a considerable increase in my audience and bookings for my services.
6. Build Your Email List from Day One
An email list might not sound like a priority when you’re just getting started with your blog, but it should be, and I wish I had known that much earlier.
Having a mailing list allows you to reach out to your subscribers on-demand with a high success rate -why? Because you already know they’re interested based on the fact that their either a prospect or current/previous customer.
An email will help you to stay in touch and stay top of mind to anyone that doesn’t book your painting services at first visit.
For example, offer the “25 Questions a Painting Contractor Should be Able to Answer ‘YES’ to Before Your Hire Them”.
Also, if you use a scheduling tool like You Can Book Me or Acuity, make sure to keep track of those emails so you can add them to your list.
7. Engage Your Readers
When I first started out with my blog, I was all about setting up a beautiful landing page and delivering the best quality content that I could.
However, I’ve noticed that you need to keep readers engaged in order to promote loyalty and drive them to your “Call to Action.”
The best ways to do that include creating engaging and interactive content, responding to blog comments, and offering giveaways or contests on Social Media.
Once you have lots of readers, here’s 9 ways to convert them into paying customers.
8. Know When it’s Time to Ask for Help…
It’s normal to feel like you should be in control of all the operations on your painting blog, and that’s ok, at least in the first few months.
As your audience grows, responsibilities add up, and you start getting more bookings, you quickly realize that you just can’t do everything by yourself…
If you’re the blog admin, developer, designer, AND writer chances are you won’t have enough time to focus on your core business operations.
If you don’t have in-house personnel or the budget for it, consider hiring a virtual assistant that specializes in painting contractors so that you can outsource blog writing.
This will free up a lot of time and save you thousands of dollars in admin expenses.
9. Getting New Readers is Easy, Retaining them is Hard
When you’re just starting with your blog, it’s easy to get new readers, but retaining them can be a large task.
Here’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Painting Contractors so you can save time and skip the brainstorm session.
Retaining traffic is extremely important because many people aren’t sold right away upon their first visit.
If most of your visitors aren’t coming back, you could be losing business opportunities.
To keep readers engaged, offer engaging content, address your audience’s pain points, and find out which kind of content they love.
Additionally, keep your readers engaged by responding to their blog comments and emails promptly, sharing your business social media profiles, and as earlier mentioned, build an email list.
10. Optimize Your Blog and Content
The practical importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something you learn along the way.
Choose a premium WordPress theme that is already optimized both for the PC and mobile devices.
To make sure your blog posts don’t get lost in a sea of other posts, consider the following optimization tips:
• Utilize keywords throughout your post –(Title, Headings, subheadings, introduction paragraph, title tags, and meta descriptions)
• Optimize your images –fill out the Alt text and include the keyword
• Reference others with links
• Link internally when possible -Link to other blog posts you’ve written
• Create evergreen content
11. Expect To Put Some Money Into Your Blog
While I mentioned that blogging is the best way to get free, organic traffic, there’re some costs involved if you’re not an experienced writer, or if you don’t have the extra time.
If you haven’t set up your blog yet, here are some of the things that might cost you:
• Domain registration -GoDaddy, Host Gator, BlueHost, NameCheap, etc…
• Web hosting -Bluehost, DreamHost, HostGator, etc…
• Mailing list provider -MailChimp, Constant Contact, Drip, etc…
• A great WordPress theme
• Automated Scheduling tools -YouCanBookMe, Acuity Scheduling, Calendly, etc…
As time goes by and your business grows, you may not have enough time to update your blogs regularly.
Luckily for you, it’s part of what we do here at DYB Virtual.
While interacting with our clients, we noticed that outsourcing different services to different assistants could be quite costly.
This is why we created DYB Virtual, a virtual assistance package to help painting contractors save time and money, and minimize frustrations –all in one place.
Remember, your primary job as a business owner is not blogging for your business, so if things get a little overwhelming and confusing, outsource!
At DYB Virtual, we’re more than happy to offload some of the activities from your to-do list and allow you to focus on your core business operations.
Happy blogging! (: