People make things too complicated.
I see it all the time in the world of blogging. A lot of bloggers out there trying to build up traffic, get recognition and make some money. They read blogs about blogging, which are (hopefully) written by people who have actually done that. Too often, however, I find that they get mired down in minutia.
Perhaps you know the type of minutia I’m referring to. Stuff like:
- “I’m going to keep tinkering with this theme until it is just right.”
- “I’ll launch my blog in 3 months, when I’ve got everything perfect.”
- “What little tid-bits of secret tactics are those successful bloggers doing that I’m not?”
- “I wonder if I have my meta tags right.”
The list goes on.
If one looks at blogging like that, it seems really complicated. It seems impossible to get off the ground.
I’m a big fan of simplicity. It isn’t that I can’t deal with complexity, but it is that I believe that complexity often means we failed somewhere along the line. When things seem really complicated, it means that too many arbitrary things have come onto the scene, which only invites more of it. Pretty soon you have wheel spinning, but little to no results. I think blogging sees this sometimes. There are a bunch of people out there teaching others how to blog. We’re under the gun to keep publishing things, so we find new, creative ways to essentially say the same things. Underlying all of that is actually a simplicity.
So, let’s iron this down to basics. And that simplicity, I believe, comes in two related facts:
- Blogging is a form of communication between real people.
- Those are real, living, breathing, thinking people. They’re out there interacting. They have needs and wants. Your job is to interact back and serve those needs and wants.
If you’re not comfortable dealing with people, you’re going to have a harder time blogging at any higher level than a personal hobby blog. This is a people business.
At this point, you might be thinking, “OK, Dave, seems right, but how the hell can I use this information?” I’m glad you asked.
Applying That Simplicity
Instead of looking at this blogging thing as a bunch of comments, trackbacks, meta tags and themes, let’s just look at the people. You want to form a solid line of communication with readers. You want them to have a certain mindset when they look at your stuff. So, the purpose of all that you do should be to form that line.
Does screwing with your meta tags help you communicate with people? Likely not at all. It can have a minute effect on your search ranking, but you’ll get more bang for your time by just authoring a guest post and submitting it to another blog. Those are PEOPLE reading that blog. And you can TALK to them. So much more effective than “talking” with Google’s spider.
If we look at the topic of traffic generation, it simplifies if we look at it as people. There are people out there and you want them to check out your blog. So, what would you do in real life? Well, if you walked into a party and didn’t want to stand there and look awkward by yourself, you’d need to go where the existing conversations are and get in on it. That’s what we do at parties and it just makes sense. If you don’t, then you just have no friends – that’s all.
In the world of blogging, this would translate into guest posting (tapping into the existing conversations) and a lot of networking with other people, including other players in your niche. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, just do it. Twitter, Facebook, instant messenger, comments, forums – hell, use snail mail if you want. But, connecting with ACTUAL PEOPLE is your ticket to getting a blog going.
I mean, look at what most new bloggers do and you’ll see why it doesn’t work. They launch the blog and start posting. Then they post again. And again. And again. Check Analytics and see essentially no traffic. So, you keep posting. What?!?! You’re just talking to yourself! You’re the awkward little person in the corner at the party. You’re not connecting with people. You’re just talking in a loop to yourself and hoping people come by. Well, that’s a recipe for failure. You’re not thinking about people.
How I’ve Done It
When I launched this blog, I went into it with authority. I came out swinging with good content and I held nothing back. But, if I had stopped there, it wouldn’t have turned into anything. So, I started connecting with people. I would get into Twitter conversations with others in the blogging niche. I took those conversations into private and offline settings. I did guest posting on blogs like ProBlogger, John Chow and many others. I went to BlogWorld and met a bunch of these guys in person. I quickly went into product creation mode, created Blog Masters Club which then gave me potential fuel for JV relationships with these others bloggers. So, now many of these other bloggers have made a bunch of money off me. And I’ve promoted THEIR stuff.
It all happened because I didn’t just sit here on my WordPress admin panel and talk to myself. I reached out. I hopped on planes to go meet people.
I connected, then I served. With my audience, I serve. I write stuff all the time and just give it away. And when people buy things from me, they get served even more. And on the JV level, I connected with others in my niche. I promoted their stuff. I interacted. And, as I said, many have made money off me, too. And they like that.
I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, and here is some further reading for you to check out:
So, take a moment and ask. Are you spending more time messing with the minutia rather than connecting with actual people?
Keep your eye on the bigger game.