Our roadmap for 2018
We had a quite an unexpected (and wonderful) ride in 2017.
Learned a lot of new things, that work.
Unlearned a lot, which didn’t work for us.
With current free time, it gave me chance to contemplate and pen down the thoughts here.
One thing that stood out most while analysing the year performance, was ‘focus’.
There is a short story to it, how it happened for us. Before that let’s talk about why this part is more important in for today and tomorrow in recent future.
Focus: What and how when earning online
Unless you are blogging purely for your personal expression, then earning money online is not your concern.
But for everyone else, it is. And why shouldn’t it be?
Creating an online source of income is certainly one of the best ways to increase your income.
You see unless you are in an occupation which requires offline transaction as part of the process itself, you can earn a lot more digitizing your skill and earning online.
More and more people are getting online and getting their work done online. As mentioned in this post, whatever your online business idea, blogging forms an important part of establishing yourself online.
And this is where the problem of focus occurs.
To establish yourself as an authority online, many of us get carried away in showing depth of our knowledge and know-how in as many as related fields as possible.
And that leads to two things:
- Your blog is not seen as an authority on any of the topic, alteast not until you have published 100s of articles on each topic.
- You are repeating what is already out there. Why not just provide a link to a more specialized blog for details of any topic you may have mentioned in your post?
Well, my friend, the truth is that nothing can hurt you more than a blog which focusses on articles which don’t have focus.
Focus of a blog
As a record around 2 million blog posts are published every day. And the numbers are increasing.
Which means, even if there are an increasing number of people getting online to learn and know about topics, they have more information available every day.
Which means for information on a single topic, a blog with the focus on a single topic is more reliable than a multi-topic blog.
But, then this is causing another issue in blogging scape.
The issue of focus on easy (to start) and low hanging fruit (as they are presumed).
How does a new blogger start his journey?
You ‘search’ for ‘how to make money online’ or something similar and bam! you see pages and pages of blogs who teach you how to set up a blog, start blogging, keyword research, email subscribers and then just see how the money rolls in.
Well, in simple words, yes it works that way. But not as smooth as these two lines typed above made you believe.
If you don’t believe me, start a blog about tech tips, or how to set up and start a blog or anything similar and you will know within 3 months.
You will learn about the importance of email subscribers, you will be bombarded with ad copies or videos who will want to teach you for ‘free’ how to get clicks, conversion and what not.
So, basically, you found what people were searching for, created posts about it and hoped that they will click on it to visit your site.
Where to focus
Well, It may sound rude. But success in blogging or your online business doesn’t happen this way. And it has nothing to do with your domain’s age, or length of your posts(unless you are publishing 200-word guides), or how many H2, H3 were there.
It has to do with what people will click and why should they click your link as compared to let’s say something about they have heard or read about somewhere else?
So what should you focus on, in your blog?
Focus on something that is either not there, or what you offer is better to what is already there.
There is no other way.
How to find the gap in existing market?
Whenever this topic comes into the discussion while consulting a client about blogging, there is one example that stands out from all the recent examples.
The business of convert kit.
You see, when convert kit was launched, MailChimp and other email marketer were already doing good. They had good presence and were providing more and more features with each passing month/quarter.
But still, when Nathan Barry was using them, as blogger/app developer who wanted to connect with his subscribers, he was facing one issue or the other.
This prompted him to ask other people who were using these services. He found them agreeing with his concern and wishes.
Thus he set himself to provide a solution ( which was also a part of online web app challenge) to such issues and developed convert kit.
And rest is, as it is said, is history. You can read the full interview of Nathan Barry to Indiehackers here.
Same applies to your blogging journey.
Read all you can about the topic you think you are good at. See, what you are not able to find (easily). Then check how many more people are facing the same issue.
Discovering gap is starting step, the main thing is execution.
Ideas are dime a dozen. It’s execution that counts.
The other way is to deliver better than what is already there.
Delivering better than existing content
This one is tricky.
There is no standard definition of what is better content. I have seen all types of content being read.
People differ a lot in their consumption of information.
Still, there are few ways in which you can judge if you are (or can) delivering better content.
- Language: Simple language makes it easy to understand and digest concept being presented.
- Visuals: As proven with multiple infographics you see on sites, visually presented data is way better than loads and loads of text. So, if you can create a beautiful infographic about any information/article (including this article then you have a winner in your hand.
- Videos: This is the new kid on the block. The way Facebook is pushing videos, if you can present information in short videos then you are presenting content in the better way. For example, slides being presented in a video with voice over explaining each slide.
You can read about changing and preferred trends at:
- Digital marketing trends for 2018 – Smartinsights
- Blogging trends to get a jump on before 2018 – Neil Patel
What we focussed on to increase our revenue?
Around mid of the year 2017, I sat down and analysed our performance across our services arm and blogging arm.
Quite frankly, it was no way better.
Though we gained around 1100 subscribers, that was mostly due to effective marketing technique than as compared to quality blog content or any of the growth hack.
Then I focused on what was giving us revenue.
Surprisingly it was coming from referrals that my pro bono consulting was providing me.
It started when someone asked for advice out of blue at one of coworking in Gurgaon, where I used to sit. Our conversation steered towards SEO to things that work to increase traffic to a website.
I was kinda burned out at that time, so it offered me a break to analyse someone else’s work and offer feedback.
One thing led to other and after 2 days of working Friday and Saturday, we had:
- Optimized nearly everything on his server. As he had Amazon AWS credits, we moved his server from shared hosting to light sail and then Ubuntu, Nginx, PHP7 and MariaDB
- Optimized the front end of his WordPress website. Which included the usual process of proper formatting of images, minification, typography changes(lots of hit and trial), removal of unnecessary plugins to improve loading.
- Reduced site load speed to under 4 seconds.
- Set up proper FB page, Quora profile, reddit profile and Google Plus profile.
- Set up marketing calendar.
- Outsourced content writing. We realised he was better at polishing content than actually creating it. Why waste time, rather use it to improve your skills in what you are good at.
- Started inline linking in the comments and answers he started to post. His calendar made sure that his contribution was consistent.
Over the span of next 3 months, his traffic grew from 100 visitors a day to 350-400 per day. All without spending a dime on marketing. This is good growth.
Did I do anything that was unknown? Nope.
It is just that if he had worked on his own, then he would have figured out these things. But, it would have been hit trial based ride and also a lot of learning on the way.
Plus, we got three orders to optimize servers from his friend network. And two content writers, whom we freelance to deliver content to clients.
And this is what we focussed on last 5 months, and it has paid us handsomely.
This is going to be our focus for 2018.
Providing more than 98% of what we know and learn as free blog posts here.
Feel free to comment, drop a mail to let us know what you are struggling with and I will make sure to either reply as soon as possible with what I know or I will find about that issue from my network and reply you back.