Working On A Website? Here Are Nine Things You May Want To Know
It can be daunting to start a blog. It may be hard to know where to start. I love to write, and I have been writing for years—ever since I accidently wrote my book Goodnight Beau. I published the online newspaper the Gold City Gazette for my hometown for two years until I moved to Fort Bragg, California. Then I published the travel guide the Mendo Coast Critique for two years. So, writing comes easy for me—it’s like therapy to me. Even so, when I started this blog at the beginning of the COVID pandemic I was not really sure how to grow it. I had a pretty good following with the Gold City Gazette and Mendo Coast Critique but those were somewhat limited due to the localized focus. I want Cookie’s Cabal to be bigger than that. My other sites were viewed in eight different states, but I want nationwide noticeability for this site, and I wasn’t really sure how to accomplish that. You may be in a similar situation yourself, so hopefully what I have learned over the past few weeks can help you achieve your goals too.
I have seen some videos on YouTube put out by bloggers and other site holders that looked like they contained pointers, but I hadn’t really had time to watch any of them. At the beginning of 2021 I decided I was going to find a way of reaching my goal of making my living from publishing my blog. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to accomplish that, but I was – am – determined. Writing is what I love to do. I also like to help others and provide information to them, so I really want to do this. So…I kept adding posts and worked toward getting a job writing online part-time so I could focus more on my blog. I achieved the goal of finding an online writing job, so I am pretty happy about that. It’s nothing glamorous—just typing fact sheets for a cosmetic surgery site—but at least I am writing, and I get to spend more time on my blog.
Where Can I Find More Helpful Information?
One day a few weeks ago when I was on YouTube one of these helpful videos popped up. It was published by Pat Flynn. Awww man—I went over to YouTube to get a link to make it easy for you to find his site and found a video I hadn’t noticed. Now I’m going to have to watch it. But first—I haven’t subscribed to a lot of YouTube pages because I mostly use it to share videos, but I subscribed to his. He has some really helpful information in his videos. The only thing is, he focuses more on topics for sites designed for selling services and things. I may do some of that in the future but for now I am happy just publishing informative and entertaining articles. You may find the information he shares helpful for whatever you are working on—or thinking about working on.
A few days later a video popped up from the Income School site. The title looked interesting, so I watched it. Then I watched another one—and another one. I can’t stop watching these guys. Not only do they provide awesome information that pertains to just about all aspects of web publishing, but they are pretty funny. They have a course that you can sign up for to get more detailed information, but the videos they put out are pretty detailed too. They were so helpful to me that I subscribed to their channel too. At some point, I will be signing up for their course but for now I am content watching the short videos they have put out. I think I will get more out of the course if I absorb these little tidbits first and start implementing them. Then when I take the course maybe I can make my site explode. I won’t be waiting too long but I feel if I take smaller steps I will get more out of it and be more successful in the long run.
How Has All Of This Helped You, Cookie?
Anywho—the whole point I am trying to make is I have learned a lot during the past few weeks, just by watching some videos. I found out that I have done a couple of things right, but I have also done some things wrong. That’s not really a big surprise to me and it doesn’t upset or deter me because I love to write and want to continue to provide good posts for my readers. Before I started watching these videos and putting into practice what I was learning I had anywhere from 20 to 100 views a day. That wasn’t really a whole lot, and the numbers weren’t really increasing. That’s the main reason I even started watching the videos. I wanted to figure out how I could get more viewers. And I did! Every day the numbers are getting higher. I was really hoping that today I would get 500 views. I was 8 views short. I was bummed not to reach the number I wanted but still very excited. I want to share what I have learned with you so that you can benefit from the information too.
2. Another thing that was discussed in these videos is the importance of being consistent. That I already knew. Of course, wanting to write and put out content that might be of interest to others always motivated me. I tried to publish something as often as I could. But I have to admit that at times I was not regular when I was publishing my last blog, which is why I haven’t really mentioned it here. A couple of years ago I watched a video that stressed the importance of regularity in putting out material. So, when I started Cookie’s Cabal, I made sure I published at least once a week and many times twice a week—sometimes more often. Before I started my 30 day blitz, I had three days that I was publishing material each and every week. When I finish my blitz, I will continue my three day a week posts while I clean up some of my articles. After I get them all pretty, I will determine how I will proceed. I know I will resume a segment I had started doing regularly for a while but had to stop temporarily, so I will have at least four days a week I will be putting out new information.
3. One other area I needed to change my thought process in was the length of my posts. I had the thinking that shorter articles are better. The reason I felt this way is because people are crazy busy these days and many people have short attention spans. I’m here to tell you I’m one of those. I’m like that dog off of the movie Up. WAIT! Was that a squirrel?!?! LOL. I learned from these videos that posts over 1,000 words typically do better. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this one. But I figured—what do I have to lose? The worst thing that could happen is I write a few long articles and it does no good and I can go back to what I was doing. Wellll…I have to admit I was wrong. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! As I mentioned above, my views have been continuously climbing—and I am ecstatic about that. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in my life. LOL. And I just want to tell you that as I have been typing this post I have been cheering about my progress because now I have typed over 1,500 words. 😊
4. Something I just knew was that there was no point in trying to monetize my site by adding advertisers yet because I simply did not have enough traffic on my site—nowhere near enough. Well, today I found out that I was wrong about that too. I have been hearing a lot in these videos about affiliate marketing, which is something I really want to do. It turns out that you can make money from affiliate marketing with virtually no real traffic. I was blown away. So, I signed up to be an affiliate for a site and placed a couple of links on my blog site. Of course, I will increase my relationships in this area as I progress, but at least it’s a start. If you have a blog and haven’t taken this step yet—or if you are getting ready to start a new site—make sure you watch some of these videos. They will really help you to figure out how to move forward.
5. Something else that is becoming etched into my mind is lists are key. I kinda knew this because I have seen things over the years about lists. There are even sites that have nothing but lists. The thing is, if you really want Google to notice your post, turn it into a list. But be sure to actually number the list so Google will be more likely to notice it. For instance, if you want to write a post about the ten best candy bars you could write an introductory paragraph followed by a paragraph for each candy bar and a concluding paragraph. However, if you actually number the paragraphs for each type of candy bar, it will be more noticeable to Google and more likely to rank. Another thing to keep in mind when writing lists—and this is something from one of the Income School videos. Make sure you have a list of nine or more items in your list posts. This is because when Google features lists, it can only show up to eight items at a time. To see the ninth item viewers will have to click on the see more option. That means increased stats for you.
6. Another thing that will make your posts draw more viewers are pictures and videos. Pictures and videos help to break up the written words and make your post more appealing. I prefer to use my own images but there are a lot of sites out there that can be used for a fee and some sites that even have images you can use for free. There are some things that need to be considered though in order to make sure the pictures chosen from other sites end up being the right size once they are placed on your site—and you want to make sure they won’t be too grainy either. I don’t have quite enough knowledge about this yet to really give a whole lot of guidance on this, but I have seen a couple of videos about this on the Income School YouTube page. Can you tell I really like their videos? 😆
7. Subheadings are really good additions to a post too. Like images, subheadings help to break up the print, so readers don’t get lost or bored. The last thing you want is a viewer getting bored in the middle of your post and leaving. You may have put the most important or interesting thing toward the end of the article. Besides breaking up the monotony that can come with reading, subheadings can help readers see the main thoughts of the post. This can encourage them to keep reading to find out the full story—or they can skip to the part that they find most interesting. Making the subheadings stand out with a different font type and size is a good habit too because it separates the various ideas even further.
8. I was including internal links but feeling kind of bad about it. I thought maybe it was a sneaky, underhanded thing I was doing just to get people to read more of my articles. It turns out this is actually a good thing, and I really should include them in my posts. Now, you don’t want to just randomly link one post to another (which, by the way, I think I may have and that will be one of the things I watch for as I clean up my posts) but internal linking is a good habit to develop. An example of this might be if you do a list article about the ten best camping accessories and you posted an article about a camping trip where you might have used some of these items, you could link them together. Viewers may be interested in seeing how your experience turned out and the link will help keep them on your site longer. To take this a step further, if you went out in a kayak on that camping trip and published a separate post about that, you could link the kayaking post to the camping post. Chances are if a person likes camping, they quite possibly enjoy kayaking too.
And For Number 9...
9. Now for a biggie—the title. I listed the title last because I don’t always know what my title will be when I first start a post. It is important to have a good title, but you don’t necessarily have to come up with a title before you start writing. Many times, I think of an appropriate title as I’m typing the post because I write something that triggers a great title for the piece in my mind. And just remember—just because you decide on a title and hit that publish button doesn’t mean you can’t change it later if you think of a better one. You have total control to make any changes you want at any time you want.
I hope you have found this post helpful. If you liked a certain suggestion or have had success with other techniques, be sure to comment below to let me know. If you have been wondering about any particular topic or technique, let me know that too. Maybe I can do a post about whatever it is you have questions about.