SEO without an established brand is a waste of your time.

I know that I ramble a lot, so I am going to try to keep this brief.

First and foremost, if anyone doesn’t know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. 

In layman’s terms – SEO is trying to make your webpage appear at, or near the top, of google, bing, duckduckgo, etc… when people search certain terms.


SEO without an established blog and brand is a waste of your time.

But why?

Well, the idea of SEO is ranking your blog/website high on search engines so that when people search certain terms, your blog/website is one of the first things that they see. It’s the idea of gaining raw, organic traffic to your site.

But, and this is a big but, if your brand and blog are not established, what’s the point of ranking at the top of search engines? Heaven knows, if you actually write something that goes viral, without an established brand for your blog, people are going to accidentally stumble on your page, read only the searched term and leave.

Now, if you’re thinking ‘hey, at least I got that traffic!’ I would strongly recommend you readjust your thinking. Successful blogging involves building a community. You want readers to find your blog, read your blog, fall in love with your blog and want to come back. You want them to hit that follow button, like your posts, or submit their email address for subscriptions. Why? Because this is blog growth.

If you write something that does happen to go viral, you want people to read it and to want to come back. If your blog isn’t established, what are people coming back for?

I see a lot of bloggers feel the desire to jump on the SEO bandwagon right away. As much as I hate the statement, you really ought to learn to walk before you can run.

Build that blog. Create that community and that space which you’re damn proud of. Make it a place for people to come, fall in love with you, what you share and who you are. Make it yours. Design a layout. Talk about your passions. Make a safe space for thoughts, hopes and dreams, and everything that you love to write about.

Picture it like you’re building a house. Jumping on the SEO bandwagon before your blog and brand are built is like moving into your master bedroom when the roof hasn’t been put on the house.

SEO is a great tool, when you’re established. And when you’re established, it’s something that you’ll find a great deal of fulfillment in learning and trying to master. But, until you’re established with your blog, any of your posts ranking highly on search engines will likely garner only temporary attention. A day or two of a lot of a traffic might be exciting in theory, but in reality, it’ll show a fatal flaw in your blogging structure in that, you’ll be failing to keep any of that traffic as a piece to your community.

I’m not saying don’t ever establish SEO for your blog, I’m just saying that there are more important steps to establish first.

Build the blog (people will find you from WordPress during the process) then invite the people from the interwebs.

Blogging 103: Blog Monetization

*Point of Note – All information in this post is my person opinion based off my experiences on WordPress and from working in Digital Marketing. Please take anything said with a grain of salt and make the decision that’s best for you.

I read a lot of blog posts, from people new to the WordPress community, who are looking to monetize their blog almost immediately within creation. While I’m all for the entrepreneurial spirit, I think it’s important to note that you have to pay for the Premium Personal Account that has site monetization and for all of the Business Accounts that have site monetization. This means you don’t just get to run these ads for free.

Before you go and purchase this account that allows site monetization, I think it’s an important question to ask yourself, are you getting enough traffic to your blog to even make back the money you’re paying for the account?

Fun Fact: I once worked for a company in which we ran ads on the company blog. With 20,000+ hits to the blog per week, we were making on average… about 75 cents per day. I say this not to scare people away from the decision to monetize your blog. If you want to do it, do it! But do so being informed. Keep in mind that a WordPress account that allows you site monetization is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. You have to put money in to get money out, and, what money you make from ads is based on site traffic and clicks.

In the short term, without established traffic visiting your blog, it could be difficult to garner enough revenue from those advertisements to even pay off the fee the account cost you. I say this not to discourage, but to educate. If you have money to burn, this might not matter to you. But, if you’re living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, or struggling to get by, putting your hard-earned money on a WordPress account that isn’t going to return it’s value might cause you to be discouraged with blogging.

In the long term, if your goal is to monetize your blog that’s a very smart, sustainable approach. Building your audience and your community will ensure an established level of traffic to your blog that can allow you some foreshadowing as to potential ad revenue that you can make. If your blog so happens to get more traffic one day over another, that’s an added bonus. But, at the very least, you’ll be able to estimate possible money earned based from average hits your blog gets.

I think that it’s also important to note professional bloggers don’t make the majority of their money from ad revenue. Ad revenue is often an after-thought in blog revenue from someone who’s professionally blogging. Bloggers will use ads, but these ads are not their primary source of income. These ads are often a secondary, or more likely, a tertiary source of income. If someone is really successful with blogging these ads might just be a fourth or fifth source of income.

Professional bloggers make their substantial pay-cheques from things like sponsorship, brand collaborations, selling of services, EBooks and so on and so forth. And they’re awarded those sources of income because they have an already established audience of people reading their blog. Sponsorship can mean big bucks, depending on the size of your site. While working at the aforementioned company who’s blog that I ran, a sponsored post for us could make anywhere between $500-$5000. $5,000 for a single post was a big difference from the 75 cents per day the blog was making in ads.

So where does that leave you?

Well, if blogging something that you really want to make a go at, it’s going to require some hustle. It’s going to require some strategic digital marketing practices being put in place to grow your blog for not only temporary traffic, but for people who will keep coming back, who want, need and desire to see what you have to share.

It’s going to involve strategic positioning. It’s going to involve taking the initiative to properly use your analytics in your favour, and it’s going to take work. (Unless you’re already famous or the child of a celebrity, that is)

If you’ve got something to bring to the table, something that can benefit others, or bring them joy, connect with them or catch their attention, then you will need to use all of the Digital Marketing tools in your arsenal to make sure people read your work. Because… like I’ve said before… just because you write it does not mean people will read it. There’s plenty of profoundly intelligent people on this platform with a lot to offer the blogging community (and the world) who don’t know how to Digitally Market themselves, and as a result, will never get to share their expertise as far as it deserves.


Like this post and want to read more about Digital Marketing and showcasing your blog? Read any of these posts:

On building your dream blog >

On making your blog stand out >

Blogging 102 – Tips for Blog Growth >

Beginners guide to wordpress analytics (and using them to grow your audience) >

Why you shouldn’t buy followers >

Blogging 102 – Tips for Blog Growth

Photo from Search Engine Journal

You know what’s a really great feeling in blogging? When someone reads your post, when they understands your message and when they appreciate your content. It makes you feel like you have a connection with people you’ve never met from a world away or right down the street. It’s a certain kind of magic to your soul that’s difficult to fully explain.

In order to feel this though, you have to effectively market your blog, positioning it within the WordPress community and beyond. Because unless you get readers, you won’t get that connection. How does one do this, might you ask?

A good picture goes a long way. A great picture goes even further. A strategically placed photo at the head of any blog post can provide more click-bait for your post than anything that you write. So don’t just pick any photo, pick the perfect photo. Edit it. Brighten It. Ensure that it’s high-quality and the perfect addition to your post. The photo will entice them to click and your writing will keep them reading.

Write what people want to read. Please note that this does not mean stop writing what you’re writing. This means take what you’re writing and turn it into something for a wider audience. Take your niche and turn it into something that people want to read. It’s a habit of bloggers to write ‘Me, me, me, me, me’. Which is great. Your blog is a diary so that’s very reflective of your life. Thing is, when people go to Google to search things, they’re not going to search ‘Me, me, me, me, me’. So, how do you change this your posts into something they will search? Say you have some incredible banana pancakes for breakfast and want to share the recipe on your blog. Don’t write ‘I had the most amazing banana pancakes for breakfast’, write ‘The most amazing banana pancakes you could ever eat’. You’re still sharing what you love, but in changing the subject and content from being ‘Me, me, me, me, me’ to something that will entice readers, more people are likely to find your post, read your post and find it helpful to them and their love for banana pancakes.

Self Promote. This can be done in a lot of ways. If you’d like to grow organically within the WordPress community, I highly, highly, highly recommend that you make friends in the WordPress community. Your friends will introduce you to their friends and so on and so forth. If you’d like to grow your organically online, make use of social media. Change your usernames to be the name of your blog, include your blog link on all of your social media profiles. If you leave a comment on someone’s youtube video or instagram post, sign the comment ‘Sincerely, {Name of Blog}. The more places that people see your blog’s name and URL, the more chance you have to gain readers from around the web. If you really want to think outside of the box, print some business cards with your blog’s information on them and hand them out around town/post them to bulletin boards. Garner that attention from wherever you can!

Collaborate. Collaboration with other bloggers is one of the easiest, most simple ways to introduce people to your audience and to have them introduce their audience to you. Sure, some of your audience may overlap, but I guarantee you there is an opportunity for new people to see that collaboration and discover that you exist for the very first time.

Be consistent. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you really want people to pay attention to your blog you need to be consistently posting to your blog. People have short attention spans, and if you don’t post for a long time, they’re going to forget about you. Not just that, they’re going to move on to following someone else to fill that space in their heads. Gauge your audience and work with a schedule that you can commit to. If you can post every day, great! Do that! If you can’t, try to commit to two-to-three posts per week. People need to know that when they come back to your blog, they’re going to find something new to read. And, it’s estimated that people will only visit your blog three times to find zero new content before they move on. If it’s been three weeks since you’ve posted, that’s perhaps one of the reasons why you’re struggling to find growth. Work with a consistency schedule that you can keep up with.

Use your analytics to your favour. (I spoke of this here) If you go into your wordpress analytics, there’s an option to see which of your posts were most popular by day, week, month and year. Click on “Year” and see which of your posts were most popular this year. People obviously liked and resonated with these top posts, so consider broadening your discussion on those topics. It obviously appeals to you because you’ve already written about it, and it appeals to others because of the attention it got, so why not expand?

Please take all of the tips in this post with a grain of salt. If you’ve disagreed with one of my points, you don’t have to follow it. These are just tips and tricks that I’ve learned in nearly 10 years of Digital Media Management with different companies and charitable organizations. I’ve seen blogs flourish and I’ve seen blogs driven into the pavement.


If you’d like to read more of my thoughts/tips on Digital Marketing and WordPress growth, please click here >

A rant about digital marketing

Digital marketing is a difficult beast. Everyone thinks they can do it better than the next person and everyone thinks it takes little-to-no-effort to do that. Truth be told, if you want to be successful in digital marketing, you need to be willing to put the time and effort in. You also need the know-how to make smart, strategic decisions. Whether this is to do with business, or your personal ventures online, the odds of becoming an overnight success is about as likely as you beating Bianca Andreescu at the US Open.

Just because you say it does not mean that people should listen.

It’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s a hard lesson to teach. A few weeks back I was talking to a professional acquaintance of mine who was asking me to make a Facebook page for her business. She wanted to give me a $1,000 budget to make a Facebook page for her business that day and proceed to run Facebook advertisements throughout the next few months.

THIS IS NOT EFFECTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING. Though, by definition, it does meet the requirements of being marketing, is it worth the time, effort or money that it’s going to take? Hell no.

I cannot stress this enough. Just because you say it does not mean that people should or will listen.

If you know your way around the internet, what would your reaction be to seeing a Facebook advertisement, or advertisement on any social media platform for that matter, from a company that had no following, no established profile and made no effort to do so?

You’d probably think twice before believing anything that appeared in that advertisement, right? You’d probably make use of the brain in your head and opt for a business with an established profile on social media. Or, at the very least, one with reviews.

But this acquaintance of mine, she’s under the impression that if she pays for the Facebook advertisements, people will pay for her service. Actually, there’s a lot of people out there who believe this. It’s astounding to me how many people operate under the notion that if you throw money at social media, you’ll get what you want.

I’m using this story as an example because I think it’s an important belief that I’d like to quash. If you open a business profile on social media or WordPress with the single goal being to make sales, you will fail. You’ll likely fall flat on your face very quickly into your quest. If you start your own blog, or twitter, or youtube channel, etc.. with the sole goal of becoming famous, you will likely fail. You can buy the fanciest cameras and computers, all of the editing equipment you could ever desire, and it won’t matter.

People need to see credibility in the content they’re reading, watching or listening to. They need to see an established effort to make connection. They don’t just want productions… or opinions jammed down their throats with no character, humility or genuine nature to them. They want something real. If you fail to establish that real, you’re going to sink before your dreams of success will ever be realized.

I’ve been working in digital marketing for a decade. I’ve worked with social media accounts that only have 100 followers and social media accounts that have nearly 100,000. I’ve made the mistakes. I’ve felt the victories and I’ve seen what it takes to make an account go from 100 followers to 100,000. Let me tell you, there is no quick fix. You’re not going to sink $1,000 into Facebook advertisements and have a booming business. You’re not going to sink a couple of ‘Nice Post’ comments into the comment section of another blog and suddenly have enough money to buy a Range Rover.

If you want people to invest in you (because you are integral to this scenario), your social media following, your blog, your business accounts, any aspect of what is online that you are trying to market, you need to work at it. You need to make strategic decisions and take the appropriate time and effort necessary to grow organically. This applies to business. This applies to personal.

Be authentic. Put forth the necessary effort to actually participate in the realms you’re operating. If you don’t, you’ll never find what you’re seeking from social media, blogs, the web in general, digital marketing will forever escape you and you’ll continue to wonder why.