A guest post by Venli.
In this post I share with you the mistakes I made when I started out in my vlog and blog journey. This information should be of value not only for bloggers or YouTubers but also for authors, artists and other creative professionals. Today, instead of static sites, it your YouTube channel or a blog that serves as a marketing platform for your creative product, and it is important that you optimize it well. I hope the following post helps you in avoiding the YouTube and blogging mistakes that I made.
7 things I Learned from my YouTube and Blogging Mistakes
I created potpourri.
When I started-out, I thought I had a lot to offer and as a result, my blog was a mishmash of mountain-climbing, romantic stories, art and career-tips. Neither my visitors nor Google knew what to make of my blog. My blog dried-up as expected.
Not having a niche is a huge mistake. Don’t compete with general-purpose news-magazines like NY Times or Wall-Street-Journal. Don’t squeeze-in disconnected topics in the same blog even if you have different categories for them. Have separate blogs for separate topics.
I dismissed all SEO advice as mumbo-jumbo.
I took to heart what people said, “blog your heart and visitors would come.” Well, no-one came!
SEO is a science involving both on-page and off-page actions. It DOES work. The problem is that most people writing about SEO just slap together a few bullet-points to get themselves noticed as experts.
My wake-up signal came when I became privy to the huge investments in SEO that a Fortune-500 company had planned. I thought, “SEO can’t certainly be all hogwash if hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on it by intelligent people in a major corporation”.
I did in-depth study of SEO and my blog took off.
I did not have faith.
I did not have the confidence that my blog can be successful in the face of millions of blogs and videos out there. That’s why I gave up too soon.
In my heart I believed I could not succeed until I have a magic idea.
The fact is that with perseverance anyone can be successful. You don’t need a magic idea.
If you like traveling, run a travel blog. Do it consistently. Examine other travel blogs, and first try to copy them, and then try to improve yours. Choose a niche you like and go for it.
People say that 180M blogs and 400 hours of YouTube videos are posted every-day. However, you have to remember that the total world population is 7.6 Billion and growing fast. You have as much chance of winning today as you had 20 years back when blogs started.
I had no strategy.
I did not have a blogging strategy. If I plan to post daily, then what are the 30 blog-post headlines I will write on this month? Where will I promote them? What are the key-words to use in each blog-post?
I did not have any clue who my target audience is. Is it an American mom, or a Timbuktu teenager? What are the keywords and themes I can offer my target audience?
You got to have a long-term strategy.
Constant hustling after new trends doesn’t work. I read a post about a YouTube superstar whose channel had started dying. The general consensus was that “she was trying to fit in with the trends on YouTube and not posting what she wanted to and was hiding her personality”.
Things are much easier if one day a month you sit down and plan it all out. That way you would not be running helter-skelter every-day trying to come up with a topic.
I did not focus on email harvesting.
Put-off by those ugly pop-ups asking for email, I resolved never to have such things on my site. I did not realize that there are FAR more elegant ways of collecting emails which DO work.
The proven way to harvest emails is to offer gated content, to access which, people need to put in their emails. You can go even a step-further and offer mini-courses in exchange for eMails.
Most comments and traffic on my blog or channel happen through eMail, not through social-media or search-engine.
You are wasting your time blogging or vlogging, if you are not harvesting emails.
I believed in quick-fixes.
Quick-fixes like “1000 twitter followers for $5” don’t work. Oh-yes, I got those followers. But they are dummies with no meaning.
Even when you want to run paid ads to get traffic, you must have a game plan in mind. What do you want out of the visitors who come to your site through the ads?
You need to think out your sales-funnel strategy before investing in paid ads. Simply driving people to my book landing-page hoping they will click on buy-button is a blunder I made in my early years.
I let myself get lost in the internet-jungle.
The internet is choke-full of advice. Many bloggers and YouTubers take a non-brainer approach by researching the top-ten ways of doing something and then publish this text-book advice as a blog or video. Even well-meaning experts post a lot of advice which is difficult to piece together in a structured framework. Most of the content which is now getting created is simply camouflaged advertisement.
I wasted months and years hunting for some systematic approach to success in blogging, author marketing and videos.
In Conclusion: Avoid the YouTube & Blogging Mistakes & Make Your Videos Fun and Useful
One day, when my friend Marianne grumbled about a tiresome YouTube video, I asked her what she didn’t like about it. She said, “It didn’t have any fun aspect, it didn’t tell any story and it was simply a bunch of text-book advice.” This was an aha moment for me. I promised myself then that I shall always try my utmost to create videos that are truly enjoyable and of value for the viewer.
This post is a transcript of this video: How to Grow Your Blog or YouTube Channel
I try to make sure that the videos I bring for you don’t end up being a boring waste of your time. I would love to have your comments on the video so we can continue improving this channel and Zavesti.