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Blogging Best Practices and Guidelines for 2020
We're still in the first quarter of the new year, and I know that many of you are wondering what you should be focusing on this year with your blog.
As it turns out, there are a few things you should know about blogging in 2020 that have changed since 2019.
And there are also a few important things that have stayed the same, which you'll find in this post as well!
Let's dive in.
1. It’s Important to Diversify your Traffic
One important thing I'll be focusing on in 2020 is diversifying my traffic. Right now I get about 90% of my traffic from Pinterest, with the rest coming from organic Google search.
This year I plan to focus a lot more on both Google search traffic and YouTube traffic.
If you are just getting started with your blog or you don't have very much traffic yet, I still recommend focusing solely on Pinterest until you master it.
Traffic is one of those things where you really don't want to stretch yourself too thin, because you won't end up getting results. The best way to get long-term steady traffic is to build out one platform at a time successfully.
When I first started my blog, I focused only on Pinterest. I didn't think at all about SEO or social media or any other type of traffic building platform. If you've ever felt super overwhelmed by blogging and everything you need to do to get it off the ground, you know what I mean.
The brain tornado can get really crazy really fast, so it's important to focus on just one source of traffic at a time.
That being said, once you've essentially mastered a particular platform, it is a wise idea to start working on a second traffic platform in order to diversify.
So why diversify your blog traffic?
The truth is that the internet can be a fickle thing when it comes to blog traffic.
You never want to put all of your eggs in one basket for the long term. Algorithms change, whether that's for Google, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other platform.
In fact, you can pretty much bet on algorithms changing out from beneath you at least once or twice per year. This is why it's so important to NOT build your entire business based on one platform that someone else owns.
A few different sources of traffic, which you are consistently using to grow your email list, is the key to a successful long-term online business.
We'll get to your email list more in a minute, but before we do that let's talk a little bit more about traffic.
As I mentioned before, for most bloggers Pinterest is going to be the best way to start getting traffic in the beginning. Google often takes between 6 months and 2 years to start really ranking your blog posts based on your SEO efforts, which is one of the big reasons I don't recommend bloggers choose it as their first source of traffic.
The important thing here is to ask yourself where your particular audience hangs out. If women are your target audience, there's a good chance they are on Pinterest and Instagram.
Although that being said, Pinterest is growing quickly for men as well.
If your niche is really visual, Pinterest and Youtube are probably great options. Figure out where your “type” of person likes to learn about what you’re teaching, and start there.
2. You Need to Watch Out for Threads that Will Land You in Pinterest Jail
A new trend appeared last year that has had devastating effects on many bloggers who use Pinterest for blog traffic.
Any guesses as to what that might be?
If Pinterest is one of the platforms you use to get traffic to your blog, you need to know about the dangers of pin-all and share-all Facebook threads! Pinterest has been getting really serious about spam in the last year, and they've committed to it even more deeply for 2020.
With their algorithm getting smarter and smarter by the day, Pinterest is able to detect spammy practices very easily, which is costing many business owners who use Pinterest their accounts and all the pins they’ve already created.
Pin-all and share-all threads are typically threads you'll find in Facebook business groups that encourage members to post a pin or blog post of their own, and in turn share all of the other contributor’s work in that thread.
You can read a more in-depth analysis of this here, but suffice it to say that Pinterest sees this as spammy behavior and will not only suspend your account, but block your entire website for it.
It's a big no-no, and you can almost never get your website unblocked if you do it, so I highly recommend staying far away from any share all threads that require members to share every contributor’s pin or post.
3. Having An Email List is Still The One Thing
Surprise, surprise. Growing an email list is STILL a best practice in the blogging world, and I don't see that going away anytime soon!
Earlier we talked a little bit about why it's so important to diversify your traffic sources, and one of the big reasons is so that you aren't wiped out when Google or Pinterest changes their algorithm and your traffic suddenly drops in half overnight.
Having an email list follows the same vein, because it's the only thing you own and can control. While social media and search engine platforms will change their rules and algorithms several times per year or more, your email list is a constant.
Even if all of your traffic disappeared tomorrow, if you have a healthy sized email list your business will go on.
Without that, you are at the complete mercy of any platforms you use to drive traffic to your blog.
Pssst... Convertkit now offers a free account for users who want to start building their email lists. They've never done this before, but it's a new feature and you can get an account with email capabilities for your first 100 subscribers by using this link to sign up.
My recommendation is always to start your email list as soon as possible, even if you have nothing to sell at the moment. The point is that you start growing the list now so that down the road you have it when you're ready to create your first product or promote an affiliate relationship.
4. YouTube and Podcasting Are More Important Than Ever
Over Christmas I got a great deal on the Fincon 2019 virtual pass, which if you've never heard of is a conference primarily for personal finance bloggers that brings in dozens of experts to teach all of the ins and outs of blogging.
Even if you aren't a money-based blogger, I highly recommend it for all of the incredible info they give. I learned far more from that conference than I have from any course, and it was a steal at $99 when I bought it on Black Friday.
One of the things I learned from many of the speakers over and over is that adding a second platform to your blog is becoming more important than ever. This platform could be a book, a YouTube channel, a podcast, live events, or anything like that.
While you can still earn decent money from just a blog, growing your audience and connecting with them at a deeper level is becoming more expected and desired by content consumers.
YouTube and podcasts in particular are a really good way to reach your readers, because the sound of your voice and seeing your face is so important in human psychology.
(Yes, yes. I say all this as I'm still working on getting my YouTube channel set up!)
Several of the super professional bloggers who spoke at FinCon mentioned that their businesses absolutely took off when they added a second platform, and this was one of the deciding factors for me in making the decision to add a YouTube channel to this blog.
If you are just starting out, don't worry about this step! Spreading yourself too thin won't get you anywhere, so just focus on building a really high quality blog.
But once you've mastered that and are doing well with it, it's a very good idea to diversify and plan to reach your audience in a more personal way using your face and/or voice.
5. Creating Your Own Products and Services Is A Great Way to Monetize
The last point I want to mention for blogging in 2020 is that creating your own products and services is becoming a better idea than ever.
While sponsored content and affiliate relationships are still a decent way to earn an income with your blog, they may not always be.
I'm only speculating, but I wouldn't be surprised if down the road Google made affiliate marketing harder for bloggers to do than it is now, as their goal is always to provide the best possible results to searchers.
On top of that, selling your own products and services pretty much always makes you more money for your traffic than sponsored posts, ads, or affiliate products will.
This certainly isn't something you need to do right now, especially if you're following my free Profitable Blogging Blueprint to get your blogging foundation set up. Don't skip ahead!
It's important to do these things in order, so that you have the right systems in place to actually make sales from any products you create. That being said, as you get closer to finishing that foundation, I highly recommend thinking more about what products and services you could offer that your readers would really love.
A few things are staying the same in the blogging world this year, and a few things are new that you should know about! These are the top five blogging best practices and guidelines every blogger should be paying attention to in 2020:
It’s important to diversify your traffic.
Watch out for share all Facebook threads that will get you banned from Pinterest.
Having an email list is still the big thing!
Starting a Youtube channel or podcast is becoming more important than ever.
Creating your own products and services is a great way to monetize.
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