Experience is definitely not the favorite teacher, but it’s usually the most effective. For all those with big blogging dreams, here’s what rookies learn from the pros.

Write from the heart. Use your real voice, faking it just won’t work longterm. Share the best of what you know and don’t be afraid to do what you love.

Focus on building your email list, one name at a time. Don’t ever sell information, and don’t email them unless you’re giving something away–think bonus, ebook, or special offer. Try MailChimp for getting your news out to the world–it’s fast, easy to use, and gets great results.

Get your best content from your audience. You exist for them. Even though you’re working to become the best in your field, you’ve got jewels in your audience to help you fly. Ask your readers for advice beyond the combox with polls and surveys. You’ll be surprised how much people love to give advice!

Use good tools. Most major battles were won using the latest technology. Find the plugins and resources that work best for you. Like all good tools, the best ones save you cash–and more importantly–time and trouble.

Like anything else, a good blog takes time. This includes both your time to write, and the time it takes for your audience to grow.

Find your niche and stay there. Online, rabbit holes are much easier to find than paths. Think twice before changing the course of your blog, but if you must, keep your readers informed, or simply retire and start anew. If you’re really in for the long haul, don’t get discouraged by growth plateaus.

Always order take-out. Most people are online for the quick fix–answers, news, information. If they really wanted to have fun, the laptop wouldn’t be included! Though Google likes long-form content, I’m convinced most people want short form. They’re there for take-out, and if the content’s not ready fast, it won’t be good for business.

Even though your readers want something relevant right now, they still want connection. Gain their trust, give them opportunities to write back, and always remember, they’re the ones making you grow.