365 days into blogging. Things I learned, experience I got & the growth

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Okay, this is a special post. It has nothing to do with teaching how to make money online (you can find this in other posts on Btricks-blog) but this is to share my gratitude with you. If you are a new visitor and don’t know about me & Btricks, I have dedicated a page about myself and Btricks.

For those who are not new, this post is to thank you for believing in me and sticking around. Since this is Your Btricks’s annual progress report, I will share the following with you:

  1. Initial set up & transition into full-time blogging
  2. What I learnt in these 365 days
  3. My personal & Btricks’s growth
  4. Tips for beginners
  5. Aims for the upcoming year

So let’s begin 😉

Wait! This is a 3000+ word long post, filled with experience and learnings. Get yourself some caffeine.

Initial set up of Btricks & transition into full-time blogging

I was running in a wrong lane until May 30th, 2017. I was into an MNC, secure job, consistent income, but unhappy. My growth was sure but dead slow, the reason being my involvement. I was not involved enough in the job so I was not productive enough. Hence, instead of being an asset, I was a liability to the company I was working for.

The last lap in the company was unplanned, i.e. I was not intending to quit my job but suddenly things turned in my favor and I quit. Nothing was planned after that (at least not for long-term), but I was determined about my future. If there was failure ahead, I chose to fail in this career. If not, I was prepared for succeeding too.

Let me tell you,

I did not ditch my source of income completely. For those who’re aware, I am into blogging since late 2012, so I had a couple of reliable clients since then and a clear vision of what I will be doing ahead & why.

Those who are planning to quit job and get into making their passion as a career, make sure your transition is smooth. 

For a couple of months, after I quit my job, I worked for my clients, kept the money flow-in and continued blogging for my website. Soon, I had this thought of switching to self-hosted wordpress as I’d have better control over my content. Before that, I had my blogs hosted on Blogspot and WordPress.com which I found irrelevant to my requirements. However, both WordPress.com and WordPress.org are great in their own ways, I chose wordpress.org over the free wordpress blog.

The transition from free to self-hosted wordpress website

The requirement was clear, a completely customizable wordpress website. To which self-hosted wordpress website suited the best. Obviously, this transition needed some investment in the form of :

  1. Hosting space: Hosting space is where all the documents/ files related to your website resides. I chose Bluehost, as it’s one of the best-known hosting providers and featured hosting service by wordpress.org community.
  2. Domain name: Domain name is the address of your website, I got a free domain from Bluehost (you can get yours too, click here to get a free domain)

Apart from this, all you need to invest is your time.

It was 19th of July 2017, that Btricks was born, officially. As I said, I was into blogging since late 2012, so I had content that has performed well on Blogspot, wordpress.com and I migrated that content on the self-hosted wordpress website.

Read Also: How to get started with creating a brand new self-hosted WordPress website in 30 minutes

The real journey starts herewith, keep reading.

What I learnt in these 365 days – The real chunk

Though I was having that exposure to serious blogging, turning into a full blogger was totally a new experience. The biggest challenge was to manage my time. It was juggling between spending time for my clients & myself (both learning & creating content), trust me it is still tough to manage the time.

However, I, with help of a few friends, came with a plan to manage my time. Since I had to manage both, clients and my own work, it was a tough call to chose more important one. And I chose, clients. What I had in my mind was to learn from client’s business and save time learning it separately.

One of the biggest mistakes I did was to reject working under someone in this industry. I was partially mistaken because the choice I made, was what time demanded at that moment. Having said that, I got one more chance of learning everything I missed by rejecting to work under someone, and that would come by working for clients(which is technically working under someone)

As the time passed, I realized a need to upgrade my skill set to match the requirement of my clients and readers. Hence, I spent a lot of time learning the technicalities of being a digital marketer. This includes basics of HTML, CSS, PHP, web hosting, database and lot such cool sounding stuff.

Thanks to self-hosted wordpress website, I got to (I still get) get my hands dirty in PHP, HTML-CSS, & web-hosting. What did this do? It helped me make my website load faster, more beautiful and presentable. Guess what? I learned to make this happen.

One of the biggest learning in this phase was content quality. I took it really seriously since the beginning. I have learned this the hard way, so this is going to stay for long.

Technical aspects I learnt in this phase

I was illiterate when it came to managing a self-hosted wordpress website, back then. But since I had no funds to hire a wordpress developer and had all the time in the universe, I chose to do it myself. Here are the some of many things I learnt while cultivating content on a self-hosted wordpress website:

  1. Settings up a wordpress website(s)
  2. Web-hosting
  4. Database
  5. Migrating data
  6. Server settings
  7. Customizing themes
  8. …..and a lot of other stuff

The learning curve I was expecting came a lot more early. On the learning grounds, self-hosted wordpress is straight & simple. You will have a ton of things to learn & a ton of things to implement. All in all, the learning experience has been superb since the day I chose professional blogging as my career. This takes us to the next segment of this progress report.

How I & Btricks grew, in terms of revenue, traffic & milestones

The very first thing I would like to mention here is content quality. I was a not that good content developer. I had quantity without quality type content, years ago. Which was the major change and reason for growth. I still may not be a good writer, on the grammatical front, but boy I know how to sell stuff with my words.

There’s no science for coincidence

Soon after I got into full blogging, I suddenly started seeing the sponsored post of digital marketers in my feed on Facebook, Youtube, twitter etc. It sounds creepy right now, but thank god it happened. While I regretted rejecting to learn from someone, these sponsored posts were soothing against the regret.

I learnt a lot of digital marketing tactics. There’s always to be learned, always. This learning helped me take my SEO strategy seriously to the next level. Furthermore, I started blogging about the experience & experiments.

Time played the key role in the growth of what you are reading right now. I spent a lot of time researching what people are getting troubled with. What is stopping them achieving their business goals on the digital medium. A lot of issues came in the light. Soon, the solutions came in form of textual content and got published in form of blog posts.

Now, here’s a catch.

I used to do the same thing on Blogspot and wordpress.com also, but never got this exposure from the search engine. How did this happen? Thanks to search-engine friendly nature of self-hosted wordpress and the best SEO plugin for WordPress – Yoast. However, the plugin alone cannot bring you on top of SERPsa bit of on-page SEO, on-site SEO is also needed from your side.

The plugin helps you create SEO friendly posts that the search engine will consume to show it on search engine results page. The plugin can help you have a great on-page SEO but keyword research is something that you have to do. In terms of SEO and page rank, Btricks shifted gears up and appeared quite a lot. Furthermore, a couple of posts ranked in top 3 for multiple keywords. It still ranks on top 3 and page one.

That being said, for those who are wanting to get into professional full-time blogging. Here are some,

Blogging tips for beginners who want to start a blog & grow it

For me, this one year has been as if I’ve started blogging recently. Totally new experience of self-hosted wordpress and here are some tips that would help you save a lot of time ahead:

Tip #1: Have multiple sources of traffic

This thing has misunderstood by many beginners. Even I used to spend time on facebook posting my blog posts on groups, comments, pages etc. Back in those days, when the population on Facebook was comparatively less, things worked out really well. But soon, there was a sudden boom of the population on Facebook and it turned less organic with time.

Lately, I switched from social media to forums Q&A platforms. Quora is still one of the biggest contributors to my referral traffic. The idea is to reproduce content on other blogging platforms like Quora and Medium. Video marketing on Youtube is also a great source of traffic and it’s highly authoritative.

#Pro Tip: Create a unique tag and embed that URL on Quora, as the backlinks are no-follow links. So it will not pass the link juice. On the other hand, use ‘import story” feature on medium, it will automatically add a canonical tag which will help you gain the SEO link juice from a high authoritative site, Medium.

Tip #2 Write longer content

This is my personal favorite. Take any post on Btricks blog and see the length, on average you’d find at least 1800 words per blog post. Major change after the switch to self-hosted wordpress website. Longer content attracts a lot of organic traffic. How?

Well, longer content lets you target more keywords, intentionally or unintentionally. With this, you have a chance to appear on search engine page results for more keywords. Also for those keywords, you did not intend to rank for. Furthermore, longer content has a chance of ranking for long tail keywords. You must be knowing how long tail keyword helps you boost SEO to the fullest.

See how longer content tends to rank on SERPs.

Btricks annual report

Image Source: Backlinko

Alternatively, longer content helps you have more information that is thorough. Something your end users are looking for. Longer content also helps you increase the session time, i.e. end users spend more time on your site. This is a good signal to Google algorithm, which will increase chances of ranking your content higher. However, just longer content will not help, it should be meaningful and useful.

Tip #3 Focus of growing user base

This is crucial which I did not focus on until lately. A lot of visitors on my blog went unsubscribed. Anyway, there’s always a second chance. The game is to convert visitors into subscribers, be it in form of:

  • Email subscribers
  • Push notifications subscribers
  • Youtube channel subscribers
  • Social media followers
  • Events followers
  • …. or more

How does this help?

Well, the readers who come to your website/blog are precious, you don’t wanna lose them. Making them subscribe will keep them on your radar and reachable. You can target more content to them and bring in more traffic. Again, your content should be appealing enough that the readers feel happy to subscribe.

There are so many email marketing software like:

And push notification software like:

One thing to note here is that if you are promoting your own YouTube videos (to gain subscribers) in your blog posts, make sure it is two way linked. That is, the link to the blog post is in the description of the YouTube video and link to the YouTube video in the blog post. This ensure that both the content type gets enough exposure from two of the world’s biggest search engine.

Tip # 4 Social Media Marketing

This will take time but once you have a good number of loyal readers/followers, you’d love every inch of it. Social media marketing is growing in length and breadth, day and night. With more and more people getting on social media platforms, social media marketing is only growing for good.

Invest a good quality time in building genuine community on social media platform(s). Where you can engage with followers in many ways to market your content and grow the community even further. By doing so you will not only establish yourself as a brand, you will also bring in more traffic and leads. If you want to take this a serious business, LinkedIn is a power-house of leads.

Social media engagements is a key to getting traffic from social media platforms. You can engage with your followers with images, videos, notes, offers, giveaways etc. Furthermore, almost all social media platforms are search engine friendly, i.e the posts appear on search engine results page. Using this as an advantage, you can prepare content that will bring organic traffic to your website/blog via the social networking platform.

The cherry on the cake is, social media platforms have high DA, so traffic coming from those platforms are going to signal Google algorithm about your domain. This will increase chances of appearing higher in search engine results page. This is the strategy I am using for Btricks pages on various social media platforms.

I just can’t emphasize enough.

#Pro Tip: Include Quora and Medium in your social media strategy. It has helped like a miracle to me. I’m super active on Quora. A case study on Quora is coming soon.

Tip #5 Guest posting

This is orthodox but effective. At the same time, it’s a tough nut to crack. Guest posting is saturated these days, every other blogger is accepting guest posts and guest posting at the same time. But wait for a second, and think.

Do you really need guest posting?

I think guest posting isn’t mandatory for every niche. However, there are high authority niche like digital marketing, education, medicine, law & finance etc that do really great with guest posting. That being said, I don’t mean other niches are not authoritative. All I mean is, guest posting in these niches are more fruitful and worth the time. Other niche bloggers can republish content on Quora, Medium or relevant forums.

The problem is, finding the high-authority blog. And if you find a domain, a topic to guest post on is the toughest nut to crack. Most of the bloggers demand the topic and overview of the guest post before your post is published. In most cases, the topic is already on their blog. Instead of thinking a topic for a guest post, why not write it on your own blog?

But wait, guest posts are important.

Yes, it is. Find a good authoritative blog, find an even better topic to guest post on. And you are ready to launch. It is really helpful if you are patient enough to find a proper platform to cultivate backlinks on. Till then, try the traditional way of generating backlinks.

Read Also: What are backlinks? How does it help you gain traffic to your website/blog?

Final thoughts and goals for the upcoming year

Btricks has shown exponential growth in one year considering the time I have put. The internet has tremendous power that is a key to your freedom. Talking about freedom, you’d be thinking what makes me continue blogging as a profession.

Well, I’m selfish. I have sensed the freedom I’d have years from now. In fact, I already have the freedom. Apart from writing, I also am passionate about Photography. Now that I don’t trade my time for money anymore, I can spend the time to photograph everything that catches my attention.

Photographers are nomads, so am I. Who hates traveling? I get to travel anytime, no limits on the duration, no permissions needed for leave, no LOP & I can work from anywhere.

I have a life, I don’t need a vacation from.

Talking about goals for the upcoming year, I am planning to get into video marketing, email marketing and grow in numbers. Following are the Btricks’s current stats

  • Organic traffic on Btricks is almost 2000-2500 a month (that’s a lot for the time I’ve put in) and I’m working to make this number grow to at least 1000 to 50000
  • 600+ email subscribers and I am aiming to grow this number at least 2000 to 2500
  • Publishing at least 10 blog posts on each category(many categorical posts are in the draft right now)
  • Hire a full-time digital marketing content writer
  • Grow social followers to at least 10000. Currently, it is around 1000 across all social media platforms
  • Have enough content to make Btricks, become one stop solution for all your marketing needs.

In terms of revenue, I am not materialistic, However, revenue growth percentage is set to be at least 30-50 percent. I will soon get into direct marketing, as affiliate marketing is bringing reliable revenue for now. In the next post, which will be coming next year, you will have detailed stats (with screenshots where ever possible)

If you’ve made it till here, I am determined to help you earn passive income online. Stay tuned and subscribe to my mailing list, where I share exclusive content and offers which I don’t share anywhere else.

Over to you. Are you planning to start your own blog? Or if you have already have, what your SEO score? Let me know in the comment section below. Even if you have any problem, just put them down in the comment section below. I will help you as soon as possible. If it’s something that you cannot put in the comments, you always reach out to me on my personal email.

See you soon in next post!

I am an SEO consultant by profession and photographer by choice. I have 5+ years of experience in SEO consulting and content marketing. I aim to become the one-stop for all your digital marketing needs

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