The aim of this checklist is to start you growing at speed by changing some of the worst habits that 99% of bloggers have (including me). Most blogs feel like a slog, because people only focus on themselves. To scale, you need to post on other sites, gain links and write focused, long-form articles which have a chance of getting ranked.
I’m going to show you how to break that pattern. But first, see your current website potential.
How are you getting on so far?
Here are some tips to fast-track your online influence.
Ten tips to help your online business grow, faster
1. Focus on what you don’t want to do… now
There’s a good chance that the next thing on your checklist (which keeps on getting pushed back) is also the most effective step you could take to grow faster.
How do I know?
Because it’s the same for everyone.
We push back on all the ugly stuff, like promoting articles or videos, in favour of more fun tasks, like redesigning our websites (again) or tweaking the colours of a logo.
Unfortunately, the next thing on your checklist that you don’t want to do is also the MOST important.
Top tip: Get up and do this in the first hour of tomorrow. Once it’s out of the way, the feel-good factor will carry you through the day.
2. Don’t write when nobody is listening
Yeah, yeah, I know you want to write your next piece about the way that AI is changing the world, or how blockchain technology is transforming healthcare.
All the subjects that are fun to write and research, also have very little impact on your business.
Instead, you need to match up your articles with things that people are actually searching for.
If you’re in the digital space, that means writing about things like YouTube thumbnail sizes, or WordPress Plugins.
You simply HAVE to match what people are searching for, otherwise you’ll barely make a dent on organic traffic.
That’s not to say it should be boring – you can find your own most creative angles. For example, in my blog about Instagram templates I harvested the 40 best designs I could find and made them into cool assets like the one below. I then reached out to their owners, who said lots of nice things about me, and shared the images (and my piece) on their channels.
Top tip: Find the creative angle in high volume keywords.
3. Don’t go into totally uncharted territory
Newsflash: most ideas have already been done. Trying to find a super specific niche that hasn’t been touched is a slog – and you’ll likely need a load of investment to get it off the ground.
There is nothing wrong with doing what someone else is doing – but to a far higher standard. That’s a business idea you know is going to wrk. It just comes down to your skill in pulling it off.
Top tip: Follow a business model that you know works, and then execute it brilliantly.
4. Build real relationships & grow them
The online world is really just like the real world. Relationships are the most important asset for any business.
This is why Google values backlinks so highly. They are like votes of confidence for websites.
If people write comments on your blog pieces, then reply to them quickly with useful insights.
If they share your content, then take the time to thank them.
My most shared article was the one I wrote about Instagram grids, because so many of the people featured within it shared it with their own networks. They were desperate for their friends and colleagues to see my article.
I even got sent a nice thank-you present from one of them :).
Top tip: Be helpful, friendly, collaborative and cherish every relationship you get.
5. Work like a dog
Anyone that says there’s a quick way to success isn’t telling the truth.
And ask yourself – why would you want it like that anyway?
Building a blog or online business is THE fun bit. Watching it grow, making mistakes, getting great feedback, learning as you go.
Don’t deprive yourself of the real pleasure with a false dream about getting 10,000 subscribers on day one.
In the online world you have to build authority before people listen.
Enjoy that journey.
Top tip: Don’t believe your own hype. Attack the day!
6. Invest in yourself when you need to
I’m not talking about throwing away money on every tool and template in sight.
There are plenty of brands willing to take your money, but you need to filter out which ones are right.
Trying to make it in the online world without a keyword tool is frankly silly. You’re fighting a competitive battle with one hand tied behind your back. Without one, how will you know whether anyone is even searching for the keywords you’re painfully optimizing in your long hours of research?
Likewise, having a slow web host is pretty inexcusable. People aren’t going to wait around for your page to load.
Top tip: Believe in yourself and invest smartly when you need to.
7. Make loads of mistakes
If you don’t then the chances are that you’re playing it too safe and not pushing boundaries.
For whatever reason, only about 10% of the articles you write (even the ones keyword optimized) will struggle to get near the top of Google. There are no guarantees.
If you keep trying new things, new interactive features, new ways of annotating your images, or structuring your H2 and H3 tags, then you’ll hit on some great formulas. You can read all the advice in the world, but you need to so it.
Top tip: Make as many mistakes as possible and learn from them.
8. Stick to the 80-20 rule
I think it was Tim Ferriss that said that 80% of impact comes from just 20% of actions.
Finding that 20% early and being relentlessly focused about it will give you a monster advantage in the online race.
Work out what shifts the dial and what doesn’t. remember that not every incredibly successful website is pixel perfect.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s about the quality of your content…
Top tip: Be strict about focusing on what really matters and leave the rest for another day.
9. Start an email subscriber list today
Who will listen when you speak?
Who are you most likely to sell to?
Who will spread your word without asking?
The answer to all of these questions is the person (or people) who care enough about what you say to subscribe. You can send them targeted knowledge, treat them like royalty.
Subscribers are YOUR people.
Read this blog on 1000 true fans if you’re still in any doubt about whether you should start a subscriber list.
Top tip: Have different calls to actions for your subscriber list, depending on the content of that page.
10. Publish better content than anyone else
All the knowledge, tricks, gimmicks aren’t worth anything if your content sucks.
If you answer a question, answer it better than anyone else.
If you dive dee into a subject, dive deeper than your competition.
Create great images, build nice videos, make sure your site is easy to navigate.
Google’s primary aim is to serve people the best content. So make this your mantra.
Top tip: Whatever you write about, make it better than anyone else.