101 Things I Learned While Building This Blog

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photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

WeBuildYourBlog is now 3.5 years old and so far it’s been a fun adventure.

It’s been exciting, hard, frustrating but so worthwhile as the site now provides me with a full-time income.

These are the things I have learned in the last 3 and half years (no particular order – just me listing my thoughts!):

  1. Secure your site
  2. Add the relevant ‘compliant’ pages like Disclaimer, Privacy, DMCA, etc
  3. Get a mentor
  4. Only start a blog in a subject that you love
  5. Buy your own domain name and use WordPress.org
  6. Outsource things you don’t like doing or don’t understand
  7. Ensure the domain name is short and easy to remember
  8. Invest in blogging tools that save you time
  9. Publish blog posts in a weekly schedule (i.e. every Monday and Thursday for example)
  10. Publish blog posts at least twice a week
  11. Get someone to check your writing for mistakes before hitting the ‘publish’ button
  12. Build on-line relationships
  13. Guest post on other sites
  14. Comment on other blogs
  15. Be the first to comment
  16. Backup your blog using Backup Buddy
  17. Remove the sidebar Meta login
  18. Use blog carnivals
  19. Write the best content you can
  20. Ask your customers/visitors questions
  21. Leverage social bookmarking
  22. Write list type posts
  23. Use tags
  24. Use pings
  25. Write “How to” articles
  26. Use a decent sized font like 14pt
  27. Be generous with your knowledge
  28. Use Feedburner
  29. Allow readers to subscribe
  30. Have 2 weeks’ worth of blog posts…all ready to publish
  31. Add an RSS subscription icon
  32. Build your email list
  33. Use “series” of posts
  34. Reply to comments
  35. Use standard readable fonts
  36. Use a light background
  37. Use images
  38. Don’t add AdSense
  39. Use Google Analytics or even better, Pro Blog Stats
  40. Only check your stats once a week
  41. Don’t copy other people’s content
  42. Don’t publish your content on other blogs or article directories
  43. Use an RSS reader or Alltop to keep up to date with other blogs
  44. Read other blogs for keeping up to date
  45. Read other blogs for content ideas
  46. Have an “About” page
  47. Have a picture of yourself on the “About” page
  48. Learn SEO
  49. Only have one or two ads
  50. Be patient
  51. Don’t have a blogroll
  52. Link to other blogs from within your blog posts
  53. Internally link to your other blog posts
  54. Make it easy for visitors to contact you
  55. Add your services with prices
  56. Learn how to use blog post titles properly
  57. Allow visitors to subscribe via email
  58. Enable commenters to subscribe
  59. Share your opinion
  60. Ask your customers for feedback
  61. Take a break
  62. Get feedback
  63. Act on the feedback
  64. Add what your blog is about in your header banner
  65. List your popular posts in the sidebar
  66. List your recent posts in the sidebar
  67. Change the permalink to a more SEO friendly one
  68. Use your footer area wisely
  69. Make your blog load as fast as possible
  70. Optimize the images you use – use WP Smush It
  71. Use a reputable hosting company like HostGator
  72. Allow visitors to contact you in real time using a service like Zoopim
  73. Have a search facility
  74. Show off your testimonials
  75. Add a Google+ page and ensure you link to it
  76. Use a Premium WordPress theme
  77. Check for broken links – use Broken Link Checker
  78. Don’t believe the hype about making money via your blog…quickly
  79. Ask for help
  80. Ask others to social bookmark your posts
  81. Create/join a ‘traffic club’ where you promote each other’s work
  82. Invest in your knowledge
  83. Make your blog mobile friendly
  84. Create a Gravatar
  85. Keep a track of what works and what doesn’t
  86. Ensure your Gravatar is a real picture of you
  87. Involve your family
  88. Don’t tweak your site too often
  89. Don’t follow or buy every flavour of the month
  90. Don’t believe the hype of fast / easy money
  91. Use a proper author display name (rather than ‘admin’)
  92. Only have a few categories
  93. Study ‘how to use the best headlines’ to entice your audience
  94. Don’t use spun content
  95. Allow guest posts
  96. Have guest post guidelines
  97. Check the guest posts you receive for plagiarism using CopyScape
  98. Develop and sell your own products
  99. Share some personal (not too personal!) things
  100. Organize and plan your working day
  101. Love your customers

 What have I missed?

What have you learned while building your blog?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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49 Responses to 101 Things I Learned While Building This Blog

  1. Corinne Edwards October 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Dear Andrew –

    Thats all?

    We can do that.

    • Andrew October 5, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      Corinne

      That’s all there is to it. We can all do it!

      Andrew

  2. Debbie October 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Wow Andrew, great list. As for 24. Use Pings, what is this one? i have never heard of it before. Maybe you have me using it and I just don’t know it. (Your so good and keeping my site on top of things,thanks).

    I really don’t think you missed anything, As far as family goes, other that hubby knows a little as for others, they don’t really have a clue to what i am doing.

    This is ok Guess maybe i should use FB more. They sure know how that works. LOL

    Thanks for hitting my refresh button. I need that for the new blog.
    debbie

    • Andrew October 5, 2012 at 1:58 am #

      Debbie,

      re: Pings. Yes your site is all set up for pings.

      Pings tells other websites that you have added new content and that informs Google and other search engines to come and crawl your site again.

      So in simple terms, pings gets your new content indexed faster.

      Andrew

  3. Michelle Vandepas October 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Awesome list. I could have used a couple of those points myself a few years ago… Great job building your online business and blog these last 3 years.

    • Andrew October 5, 2012 at 1:59 am #

      Michelle

      I think we all could do with a list like this…when starting out or just as a refresh.

      Andrew

  4. Shilpan October 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Great tips, Andrew! It is really helpful to all the bloggers.

  5. Andrew October 5, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    Thanks, Shilpan.

    I hope it helps thousands of bloggers!

    Andrew

  6. Evan October 5, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    Having a way to decide what to do next? There is always lots of advice – and it can conflict.

    • Andrew October 5, 2012 at 4:23 am #

      Evan,

      Very ture!

      Conflicting advice is a major problem. Hence…find a mentor you trust and like!

      Andrew

  7. wparena October 5, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    excellent points, some of them I am following but need to follow more, the sequence you made is also well manage, for example security should be at the top and it is..

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:43 am #

      In that case, the last one should not be last!

      Andrew

  8. Jane October 5, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    A great consolidated, handy list Andrew! Indeed it is so nice to have a record of things we learned (like this one) – good to look back after a few years. Also newbies and others who are starting out and need help can use this list!

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:44 am #

      Jane,

      …and not just newbies. I would guess many experienced bloggers could also benefit.

      Andrew

  9. Steve Faber October 5, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Andrew,

    You’ve got to stop leaving things out! Seriously, great list. You could expand it into a nice blogging guide, and that may be your plan, who knows?

    #4 is huge for new bloggers, or they will never be able to do #9.

    On the subject of posting frequency, there is new research out that indicates postng at least once per day is more than 50% more effective at increasing traffic from both search engines and referrals than posting a few times per week.

    Great list!

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:46 am #

      Steve

      You are right about #4 and #9. I’ve tried a few blogs where #4 did not come into it. They became a chore and I gave them up.

      Not sure I could post every day…I wouldn’t get anything else done like client work!

      Andrew

  10. Linda Hewett October 5, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    S***! Now I’ve got to compile a list too!

    lol, scratches head, bites lip, makes another coffee… and another…

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      Linda,

      Remember…visitors like lists…so go for it (after a coffee).

      Andrew

  11. Joel October 5, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Awesome list Andrew. I think you missed out “have fun” as if it doesn’t feel like work then you’re more likely to spend time doing it.

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      Yes…good one Joel.

      I wouldn’t say it’s been fun everyday but most!

      Andrew

  12. Shout for deals October 5, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    its interesting and helpful for all the bloggers.thanks for sharing this information #8,#44and #45 are the best tips

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:48 am #

      I would find it hard to pick the best tips. All are important.

      Andrew

  13. AnneV October 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    What an excellent list for a novice such as myself.
    My problem is time and energy, I am aiming for at least a post a week,
    I’ll move up from there! Sort of like exercising 🙂
    This gives me a guideline I can refer to when I am floundering.

    Anne

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:50 am #

      Great, Anne.

      Posting once a week is fine…as long as you do.

      Have you tried long and short posts? Do you see a difference in the number of visitors?

      Andrew

  14. Amy LeForge October 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    Holy moly, what a list! I’m going to have to work on several of those options myself.

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:51 am #

      Amy,

      Which ones? When?

      Andrew

      P.S. Oh…and I hope they make a difference to your working days!

  15. Gavin October 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    How fantastic, what a list! If I had to pick the most salient point (and there are an awful lot), it would be #41 – don’t be tempted to copy, even though it may be so tempting. #61 – Take a break, time to freshen up the brain! Thanks for the list, you have my admiration.

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:53 am #

      Gavin,

      Many commentors here have mentioned their best ones. When I re-read the points I think…yep I agree.

      No matter which point they mention…I think it is important and having your own unique content is VERY important.

      Andrew

  16. Ashrin Srithika October 6, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Hi Andrew..
    Really great post. Many fresh bloggers will be guided by this list. Each and every point is very true and every blogger should follow, if they are not aware about it. Thanks Andrew. Be proud to be a blogger.

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:54 am #

      Ashrin

      Not just fresh bloggers…right? Experienced ones as well?

      What do you think?

      Andrew

      • Ashrin Srithika October 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

        Yeah it’s Correct Andrew. Even experienced bloggers will do mistakes by forgetting these things. Your post will remain them to remember these things to be successful.

  17. Beat Schindler October 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    What a list! It packs immense value just by itself, but when you add the freebies at the end of each link – you ARE generous with your knowledge. Love your list. Will periodically use it to pick the next 3 things. A 101 things I cannot do. Couldn’t even read through it in one go. But three a time – piece of cake [everything being relative]. Thanks for making and sharing the 101 experiences!
    ~Beat

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:55 am #

      You are welcome, Beat.

      I’m glad you liked the list.

      And picking 3 at a time is a great approach.

      Andrew

  18. Raina Bright October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing all of your hard-earned insight! I especially like the idea of having two weeks worth of posts ready to go. Then, there’s a bit of a cushion if you are unable to write for a couple of days, or get sick, or, or, or… 🙂

    • Andrew October 9, 2012 at 2:57 am #

      Raina

      Having 2 weeks of posts is a good approach. It takes time to get to that position…well it did me!

      Andrew

  19. Felicia October 12, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    That is certainly a comprehensive list of what you’ve learned while building your blog. I can’t say that I even come close to the list that you’ve got here, but then again I’m not a professional blogger either. Great list by the way, hope I can snag some of the things I’ve missed.

    • Andrew October 16, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      Felicia

      Feel free to ‘snag’ as many as you want – I hope they help!

      Andrew

  20. erda October 17, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    These are some very interesting insights.

    I would say that what it all comes down to is focus. Focus on your passion – otherwise you won’t enjoy it in the long run. Focus on your own product i.e. website – and don’t spend endless time reading all possible sources of information. I think it’s best to pick three blogs that you can really trust and avoid reading to much other stuff.

    As much as it’s important to be on top of new strategies and tools you mustn’t forget that if you want to be successful you will have to create something new to be able stand out. To get feedback from a consultant seems like a very good idea.

    • Andrew November 6, 2012 at 4:51 am #

      Erda

      I agree focus is important AND knowledge…that’s where the mentor can come in.

      Andrew

  21. mohan October 18, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    wow what a list of 101 facts. its very informative post i love to reading i hope i will used in my website thanks lot

  22. ChangeYourLife.net October 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    What a great list, Andrew. Only check your stats once a week? Any suggestions on HOW I can wean myself off this addiction?!

  23. Adam October 22, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Yeah! i already make this list as to do list.. This lists can be my blueprint to build new blog later on.. TQVM!
    =)

  24. Rob Mayer October 26, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Hi Andrew,

    I really love your site! I specially like the left social media side bar. I assume that it’s a plugin. Would be nice to know what plugin is that lol.

    I went over your 101 list and found many useful advice. I will use some of them to implement in my blogging.

    Thanks and have a nice day
    Rob

    • Andrew November 6, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      Rob,

      That social media side bar is aplugin called GetSocial.

      Andrew

  25. prabhat November 2, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    oh my god…a huge list but i read it. and its amazing. i have learnt a lot from my own blog posts and i learn more from others blog post. this is how a blog post should be. sharing our own experience is the best thing we can do

    • Andrew May 8, 2013 at 4:22 am #

      Prabhat

      yes, sharing experiences is a good thing. It’s nice to share your knowledge and help others.

      Andrew

  26. Laurie November 29, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I just found your list! That should keep me going for a while! I’m going to take AdSense off my blog then 🙂

  27. Radu Gabi May 5, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    Glad to find you Andrew. Your blog it’s like a gold mine. 50 of these thigs didn’t know about them. Alot of great stuffs i’ve found on your blog, where i didn’t found in anywhere else on the web. Cheers Andrew and keep it like that.

    Sry for my english,
    Gabriel

    • Andrew May 8, 2013 at 4:23 am #

      Gabriel

      I’m glad you like the site and the post!

      Since commenting, what actions have to taken from the post and applied to your own site?

      Andrew

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