‘How to Start a Blog’ is THE complete guide to creating your very own blog. As a new entrant in the blogging world, I was always looking for a detailed and simple-to-understand guide on blogging and starting a blog of my own. I did find a few guides, but you know what, they were too technical and boring!
I always wanted to write a very detailed, yet effective guide to start a blog for beginners. Primarily because I made a few blogging mistakes initially that could have been avoided if I had this guide back then. But, now you have it at your disposal and I expect you to get the most out of it.
A considerable amount of time and energy has been put into writing this blogging guide of more than 7500 words, just for you. So, before we start, I would recommend you bookmark this page so that you can take a break when required and come back and pick it up from where you left. I have also inserted a table of contents to make it easier for you to navigate through the page.
Note: At any time, if you are stuck at any step, feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help you out.
Let’s briefly go through the resources that I am offering in this ultimate blogging guide that will help you in starting your own blog.
It starts with explaining the basics of what a blog is. I’ll tell you what is the blogging vocabulary that people use, and the reason people choose to blog. Then we’ll get into the technical stuff about setting up your blog. This includes which blogging platform and domain to choose. I’ll give you tips about the themes, layout, and designs for your blog too.
Don’t worry if it sounds a little technical. The content has been tailor-made for beginners
Further, I will guide you in picking the right name and address for your blog. I’ll tell you about running and maintaining your blog. This is where you’ll find information on SEO, keeping your content fresh, and how to promote your new blog. I’ll also give you suggestions for time management, as well as how to monetize your blog and make it profitable
Whether you’re just starting your very first blog, or just looking for tips on an existing one, this guide will definitely be helpful to you.
Are you ready to create your blog? Let’s get started….
1. What is a Blog?
When you hear the word “blog”, your first association is probably with an online journal. A place for people to complain. Well, while many people do use a blog that way, there are other uses for one as well.
A blog can be considered a type of website. It’s just easier to update the content and keep it relevant. Websites are often static, sometimes with an updates section. But that’s less engaging to the readers and viewers who are visiting. A blog is more engaging because it’s more personal.
A blog is written by an individual expressing an opinion about something. This makes the topic more engaging right away. A blog is usually filled with short little posts we call blog posts (original, right?). These posts often have a universal topic, but some blogs have a broader topic to start with. You may see lots of content on those. That being said, you’ve probably been to many different blogs without even realizing it. They have grown quite a bit in popularity over the last decade.
Now, some blogs are actually run by multiple individuals. They have contributors all writing about a universal topic, comparing ideas and writing styles. These are common but less common than the one-writer blogs. For the basis of this guide, we’ll be assuming you’re the only writer of your blog.
We haven’t used many of these terms yet, but, you’re going to hear them coming up. If you’re not from the blogging world, there are going to be terms and vocabulary that you don’t understand. So I am going to tell you a few of the most common terms that are used in the blogging world, and explain what they mean.
- Blog: This refers to the actual entry-style website you’re running.
- Blogger: This is a term given to the person running the entry-style website known as the blog.
- Blogosphere: This is a universal reference to all existing blogs. It refers to the wide community of bloggers and blogs.
- Post: This is what it sounds like. It’s the content you choose to publish on your blog.
- Podcast/Pod-casting: This is a form, basically, of audio-blogging. Some are recorded, and some of them are live. People who put these types of posts up are referred to as “pod-casters”.
- Vlog: These types of posts are similar to pod-casts, except the publish video entries instead of audio. The people who post these types of entries are known as “vloggers”.
- Listicle: This actually refers to blog posts that are styled in the form of a list. The name is a combination of “list” and “article”. They usually have only a little bit of information, but in catchy ways.
- Call-To Action: This means anything that draws a reader/reviewer to take action. It’s most commonly used to attract attention to “sharing” the post, or commenting.
- Feeds: Often referred to as the RSS, it displays a list of all of the entries posted to a certain blog.
- Permalink: This is the link to your blog post. Each one has their own. It’s a direct link to a blog post, and it never changes.
- Subscribe: This is the action a reader/viewer can take to follow the work being published on any particular blog. This can be done through the RSS readers, or manually, such as with a newsletter.
- Comment Spam: This refers to unwanted comments on your blog that are actually posted by internet robots. These aren’t from real people.
- SEO: This is the shortened form of “Search Engine Optimization”, which is a crucial part of any blog/website because it refers to your blogs interaction with a search engine.
There are many combined terms for blogs. Here are a few to give you an idea: photoblog (a blog dedicated to photos), flog (a blog dedicated to food), mommy blog (a blog aimed at mothers), litblog (a blog about writing, and literature). If there is a niche for a certain type of devoted blog, it’s likely got a combination name.
c. Why Blog?
So now that we’ve answered “what”, we’re going to answer “why”. There are many different reasons that people choose to start a blog. Some of those reasons are unknown, but there are also pretty universal answers. When the studies about this subject are conducted, bloggers are sent a list of reasons to choose from. They select the primary reason they choose to blog. These answers are recorded, then distributed all over the internet in a variety of different places. This helps people who are new to blogging learn the benefits of having their own blog.
The most common answers are that people wanted to shares their experiences, and express their expertise on certain topics. They want to talk about things that are important to them as a person. These are good reasons to take to blogging because it allows you to connect with a wide range of individuals from all over the world.
Another common reason that bloggers wanted to feel a sense of community. The added bonus to having a blog is that it keeps your friends and family updated about your life. This may be particularly useful if you’re too busy/far to connect on a more personal level. It’s also a great way to make connections. One of the other reasons that people choose to blog is to kick-start their career in writing. Blogging is a great way to get noticed. If you’re a great writer with a catchy style, you’ll see your career making advancements. It’s all about who you connect with.
Every blogger has at least one thing in common and that is that they have something they want shared. Bloggers all feel passionate about the subjects they choose to write about. This comes out in their work. If you’ve ever read a “flat” entry, you’ll know that a lack of passion will leave readers with a lack of interest. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing about, your reader won’t be interested in reading it.
2. Choosing a Blogging Platform
a. Free Vs Self Hosted
Now when you look up how to set up your blog, you may see the words “free” and “self-hosted”. There is a lot of comparison about which choice is the better one. So you’re likely thinking to yourself, what’s the difference?
With a free blog (such a blog you can make on WordPress.com), you lack certain control. You don’t technically own the blog, so if any content is deemed against the Terms Of Service, your blog will be removed.
Yes, that’s true!
A free blogging platform is less professional because your viewers know that you’re using a free service. There are limits in the design and layout because you can’t edit code on a free blog. This means you’re stuck picking a layout that is likely being used on a bunch of other sites.
You don’t have creative individuality. You can’t sell advertisements, which limits your ability to monetize. But, you’ll still have ads displayed because that’s what “free” blogs are. They have to find a way to make their money back and they do so by putting advertisements on your blog and you won’t see any of the money. You’re also limited on tracking and analytic data which will help you determine who is visiting your blog and during what hours which is useful to optimize your posts.
With a self-hosted blog (such a blog you can make on WordPress.org), you own it. The content is yours and there are no terms of service you’ll have to meet. Unless you’re doing something that is against the law, you don’t have to worry about your hard work being taken away from you. You also have complete freedom of your code. This means you can design a layout that is 100% unique, and really stand out.
With a Self Hosted blog, you can sell your own advertisements, and take control of the way you monetize your blog. You’re also able to make use of analytic data and tracking, which is great.
The reason there is such a debate, especially when you’re starting out, is cost.
Self-hosted blogs cost more than free ones. You have to pay for a domain name, and likely storage upgrades (to allow more room for your files). The initial cost may feel overwhelming. But keep in mind when you’re making this decision what your readers are going to think. A professionally done self-hosted blog will look better and attract more viewers than a basic free blog.
You can’t really convey professionalism with a free blog. If you’re just a hobby blogger, maybe a free blog is the better idea. But if you ever want to make money from your blog, or get great connections, you want a self-hosted blog.
b. Domain Name & Web Hosting
This is probably the most important part of creating your blog.
A domain name is your personal blog address. This is the URL that people will put on the address bar to come to your blog. For example, TechCloud’s domain is techcloud.in. In the same way, your new blog’s domain will be www.YourBlog.com, where you have to choose a name that will come in place of YourBlog
When you consider that the URL is the first thing people are going to see about your blog, the title is the second thing. If it’s not compelling, it may not draw viewers. If it’s compelling but doesn’t relate to your blog content, it’s going to cause people to leave your blog without looking around (this is referred to as a “bounce rate” in tech terms).
So you want something that’s catchy and summarizes what you’re going to use your blog to talk about. The best way to come up with a domain name is to brainstorm and write down, a few words that relate to your blog. Rearrange them in different orders and see if anything sounds great. If something jumps off the page at you, you likely have a winner.
You want a site name that is easy to remember, as well as definitive. There are some generators online you could try using if you’re really stuck. But, since a blog is a personal thing, you’re better off coming up with the name yourself. You could ask family and friends though. That’s a good suggestion for every step of the creation of your blog.
Are you ready with your domain name ideas? See if it’s available here
If the URL is taken, don’t lose hope. You might want to consider going back to the drawing board. Or at least rearranging your current idea into something that hasn’t been taken. You don’t want a blog URL that is too closely tied to another website. It will make it hard for viewers to differentiate. You always want to consider brand recognition. When you’re brainstorming, ask “will my reader remember this?”.
Now you would ask, what is the cost of buying a new domain name? Well, it can cost you up to $10 a year. But don’t worry! Continue reading the guide and I will show you how to get a domain for a much cheaper deal.
Web hosting will contain or host everything that is there on your blog. Just buying a domain is not enough, you need a place to host your domain. Think of a computer but without a hard drive. Is it going to work? No, because you need storage for your operating system to be installed. And of course, to save your files. Similarly, web hosting enables you to store your blog’s content like images, posts, etc.
Again, the cost of web hosting is between $2-5 a month, but I will help you to get it much cheaper. Read on.
c. Where should I get my domain name and hosting?
If you’re just getting started, the most recommended host is Bluehost Especially if you’ve made the decision to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog. Everyone recommends that these two be used together.
The process of connecting the two of them is basic. That’s important if you don’t know much about connecting a domain to a host. In fact, it can be done with just a few clicks and the integration is very easy.
In fact, studies say that over 850, 000 people are hosting their blogs on Bluehost
That’s a big number. But the reward is big too. Along with the easy integration, it’s the most recognized and recommended host. You want to use a recognized host. This gives your viewers and readers confidence in your professionalism. It also gives other professionals confidence in your abilities. If you’re looking to make great connections, this is the way to do it.
While this review may be a little biased, there’s a reason for that. Bluehost has been around for a very long time. They have a very long list of satisfied customers and users. They’re easy to use and inexpensive. What more could you want from a host?
It’s time to get your blog up and running.
3. How to Setup your Blog
a. Setting up Domain and Hosting
If you don’t have a hosting and domain name yet, do not worry. I will explain to you step by step how to get your new blog online in just a few minutes.
1. Go to Bluehost.com and click on ‘Get Started Now’.
2. Select the basic plan. This is what I would recommend for new bloggers.
3. If you have already purchased a domain name, enter your domain name in the ‘I have a domain name’ box and click on Next. If not, enter your preferred name in the ‘New domain’ box to check for availability.
I am sure, you might have come up with a unique name after reading the domain name & web hosting section.
4. You have now reached the registration page where you need to fill in your billing details.
5. Now, you need to select your hosting packages and add-ons. Make sure to select the 12 months package to take advantage of the 67% discount. I have un-checked other add-ons as we don’t require them right now. You can always add them later on if required.
6. Make the payment to complete the registration. You can skip any ‘upgrade’ part that comes after the payment. This entire registration procedure takes just a few minutes to complete.
Note: Once the registration is completed, you will get an email from Bluehost with your Cpanel login details. Save this email for future reference.
b. Installing WordPress
1. Login to your account by going to the Bluehost homepage and clicking on ‘Login’ from the top right of your screen. Enter your credentials by referring to the email that you received from Bluehost. Make sure to select the ‘Hosting login’ tab, if not already selected.
2. Once you have successfully logged in to your Cpanel, click on the Install WordPress icon under the website builders
3. A new window will open up as shown in the image below. Click on the Install button (it may show ‘Start’) to being the WordPress installation process.
4. Now, you will have to choose the domain for which you want to install WordPress. It should already be selected, if not you can choose it from the drop down menu. You can leave the directory field blank as we don’t want to specify and subfolders.
5. Now, you need to enter your WordPress user info. You need to check the Show advanced options box and enter your Site Name or Title.
Remember: This is not your domain name. It’s a title for your blog.
Choose an Admin Username and password. Make sure to use a strong password and refrain from using ‘admin’ as your username. You don’t want to make things easier for hackers.
Enter your email address (the login details will be sent here). Read the terms, check the box in agreement, and click on Install Now.
6. Once the installation is complete, you will see the “Status: success” notification. Make a note of the important information that is displayed here in order to access your new WordPress site. You will also receive this information via email.
7. What now? Of course, you would like to log in and start exploring the WordPress platform and writing your very first post, isn’t it?
So, to do that enter http://www.YourBlogName.com/wp-admin in the web browser to open up the WordPress login page. Replace YourBlogName with the domain name of your blog.
Congratulations! You have just taken your self-hosted WordPress blog online. You have installed WordPress on your own in just a few minutes! Creating a blog was not that difficult after all, huh!
c. Layouts & Themes
You’re probably thinking that it’s good enough to slap on one of the themes that is recommended or available. Sure. It’s easy enough. But it’s not really that impressive. It’ll work at first, but you’re going to want to create something unique that will really draw attention from your viewers. You don’t want your blog to look the same as every other blog, right? Before you design that layout, there are some points you should keep in mind:
- Keep It Simple – You don’t want an overwhelming layout design. You want your navigation to be easy to find. You want any advertisements to be well placed. You want the entries to be the main focus. You don’t want too many images, because it slows down the loading time of the website. You want originality, but not complication. Simple is the best way to design your blog.
- Limit Color – Use color, but in moderation or splashes. It’ll be more visually appealing that way. You want to have a neutral or monotone color as your main color. The splashes of color are good for important details or call-to actions.
- Use Space – Don’t be afraid of empty spaces. Embrace them. You want to have extra unused space on your blog on the sides of your posts. This draws the reader’s eye directly to where your posts are sitting to be read. Space is a great tool to guide your readers eyes to be wherever you want them.
- Experiment – While you don’t want your blog overwhelming, you also don’t want it to look like every other blog. So play around a little bit with the arrangement of your navigation. See what looks more appealing particularly to your blog, and it’s content. Ask a family member or friend for suggestions.
Sure these aren’t the only tips to having a great design, but they’re the most important ones.
Just to let you know, I use the Genesis Framework by Studiopress on my blog. It provides a secure and search-engine-optimized foundation for my blog. There are built-in features like custom body post classes, breadcrumbs, multiple layouts, and many more. The designs of the child themes are elegant and eye-catching. I am currently using the Magazine Pro child theme which as you can see, is just brilliant! I would definitely recommend you to try out the Genesis Framework. It’s a very small one-time investment for a beautiful blog.
4. How to maintain you new blog
Now that you know how to start a blog, it’s time to learn how to maintain it and keep it up and running.
a. The Content
This is the most important part of your blogging experience. You have to have great content. It has to be original, and draw the reader’s attention. It has to be well put together, and enticing. Your readers should want to share the post with their friends or on their social media. That’s the goal. But how do you come up with content that is going to be a hit?
First, you have to secure your topic.
It should be something that’s important to you. We already discussed the passion of writing and how obvious it is to tell when a blogger lacks passion for their subject. Now that you have a subject, take the time to develop it. You want to plan your post a little bit. Choosing the topic of the post, and then each topic you’d like to address. After you’ve been doing this for a while, the process will come naturally to you. But if you’re just getting started, creating a rough draft of your post is a good idea. Then you can go back through what you’ve written, and perfect it.
You want to leave a lasting impression on your post, so make sure you have some depth to it. Later in the guide, we’ll address the fun parts of making original content.
When it comes to posting, the title is a crucial part. Since many of your readers will be checking your updates through an RSS feed reader, you want the title to be catchy and compelling. You also want it to include more information in the entry. The readers who use RSS feeds don’t count as viewers to your blog since they don’t actually click into the blog itself. If your title is catchy, your reader will be more compelled to click to read more.
That being said, your reader will also see the first few lines of your post in their feed reader. So the first paragraph should be just as compelling as the title. Now, you don’t want to start a compelling post that drones on and loses the reader’s interest. You want the whole thing to be compelling. Your post has to have a point. The point of your post should be the message it’s trying to convey. You might want to include a call-to-action in your post as well. You could end your opinion post with a “what do you think? add your voice in the comments section”. This will encourage your readers to get involved. Or you could have a post that says your readers can learn more if they subscribe.
Finally, you have to consider quality control. An excessive amount of posts that aren’t that great are going to keep people from wanting to visit your site. In fact, an excessive amount of posts, period, are going to make your readers take a second thought about visiting your site. An exception for this is celebrity blogs, which often post several times an hour. It depends on your target audience. But as a general rule, less is more. That being said, you should publish at least 4-5 posts a week. The reason for this relates to keeping your website SEO friendly, which is the subject we’re going to approach now.
b. SEO Friendliness
SEO friendliness is a big part of having a successful blog. As mentioned in the vocabulary section of the guide, SEO affects how a search engine interacts with your blog. This is where we address the traffic to your blog, the use of keywords to draw in new and existing readers, and the importance of ranking. At any point, you can find tools on the internet that will help you to make the most out of your blog. Even Google has SEO tools available for use. But, the tools can only help you if you have a basic idea of what you’re doing. So, here’s your basic idea.
- High Quality – Only publish high quality content posts on your website. These are preferred by the search engines. Low quality posts (like posts deemed spam or that are poorly written) are not treated well by search engine robots. If your blog gets ignored by a robot, you won’t rank at all. You want to show up in the search results when someone looks for a topic that is listed on your blog.
- Frequently Update – A blog that has infrequent updates is going to have a lower ranking than a blog with frequent updates. We touched briefly on the importance of updating at least 3-5 times a week. That’s because it keeps your blog “relevant” in the eyes of the search engine. This will improve your ranking, and it will also increase your traffic.
- Limit your use – Don’t overuse the keywords. You may think you’re going to increase the likeliness of being seen, but you won’t. Search engines will actually dismiss a post that looks like it’s using too many keywords. So use them in moderation.
- Focus on long-tail – Long tail keywords are those which consists of more than two words. They are more specific search terms, and therefore bring up more accurate traffic to your website. Don’t stuff keywords in any post. Again, moderation is the key.
- Where to use them – Whatever the focus of your post is, include the keyword in: your title, the body of your post, the URL (some blog hosts set these automatically based off the title of the post), and finally, in the meta description (we’ll get to that shortly).
- The “Head” Tags – Inside the heading of your blog is a great place to put keywords that define your blog. If you’re using a free hosted blog, you won’t be able to access this part of the code. This is another reason self hosted is superior. You need to access this code to include the information about your website that search engines will use to decide what is relevant.
- Alt Text – When you post an image on your blog, make sure you fill in the “alt text” section. Search engines can’t read images, but they do pick up on the alternative text associated with them. This should be basic keyword that summarized the image.
- Tags – When you post on a blog, you can choose tags for that blog post. You want to use probably 2-3 to help categorize your posts. But don’t overuse them. A post with 10 different tags isn’t likely to get clicked any further. A post with 2-3 will help your readers find more content based on what they want to read. Also make sure that your tags are descriptive.
- Responsive Design – These are website and blog designs that adjust automatically to whatever resolution the user is viewing it on. This is a critical part of ensuring a great user experience.
- Limit media – We addressed the slow loading time of too many images already. This can be said for audio files, and videos as well. Limit your use of any sort of media. Links to off-site media, and media shown on other internal pages is fine. Too many links will slow down the loading time as well, but as long as you’re only scattering them, it’s fine. Now, a user won’t want to click a bunch of links to see interesting content. So the occasional video/audio/images are fine. But again, use them in moderation.
- Moderation – The word has been said enough throughout this guide, but it’s being repeated. Everything should be done in moderation when it comes to your blog. From the use of color to the use of keywords. Too much is too gaudy and too overwhelming. Simple is attractive, and keeps the focus.
High-quality and consistent posts with moderate use of keywords will keep your blog SEO friendly. So focus on the content you’re publishing above all else.
c. Promotion & Getting Traffic
So we’ve talked about the technical side of getting recognized. Now it’s time to talk about the active side. That means what you can do to promote your blog and increase traffic yourself. Here are some tips about how to get the best audience.
Don’t worry about the design
Yes, it’s important to have a great-looking, and responsive, blog. But if no one sees all your hard work, what’s the point? There isn’t one. Don’t spend too much time “perfecting” your design. That time has to be spent elsewhere.
Create your “Pillar” post
A pillar post is a post that you’re going to refer your readers to. You’re going to use it to promote your blog on social media and other websites. So it should be strong enough to support the whole blog. Choose a good topic, and make a terrific follow-through. Be informative and engaging. This is likely going to be the first post your readers ever see you make. This is a great place to put a call-to-action of subscribing.
While it’s a good way to monetize your blog, don’t do it right away. You’ll want to make a good readership for your blog before you try and monetize it. Keep in mind that advertisements draw users away from your site. You don’t want that.
Know your competition
Do a little research about the other people in your niche. Find the people who are talking about the same things as you. This will help you to try and create better content, and know what’s the most popular approach. But more importantly, it will help you know who to contact to advertise your blog. This is especially useful to podcasting websites that are in your niche. They’re often looking for people to talk about. You could be that person and it would increase your following.
This is probably the most important way of advertising. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are among the biggest social media platforms. Combined, they likely have the most usage out of every other website. It’s important that you get involved to promote yourself and your blog. A good way to do this is to follow and communicate with people who have interests similar to your blog. Comments on pictures, or statuses. Strike up conversations. This will increase the chance of people clicking on your profile. The link to your blog should be placed in your profile, but don’t excessively promote it. The occasional status update or tweet to inform people of new content is fine. In fact, that’s recommended. As long as you’re not being overbearing about it.
A great part of advertising your blog is by commenting on other people’s. Only comment on blogs that interest you, or you can offer input. Don’t link to yourself because it’s like fishing for compliments and recognition. You’re bound to get ignored. Instead off clever and interesting comments. People who like what you say will click on your icon and link back to your page.
Don’t be annoying
Now, with the above points being made, it’s important that you’re not annoying about any of it. It’s alright to be a little aggressive, but don’t overstep. No one likes emails that are screaming “promote me because I said so”. No one wants a direct message on Twitter asking for a follow. No one wants to see a million posts on Instagram in one day about your “awesome post”. If you’re asking for promotion from someone, be creative. You want to give them a reason to want to promote you. So be respectful. Every annoying “promote me” email/message gets erased, firstly. Secondly, it will give people a bad impression of you. You might even find yourself getting demoted by the people you asked to promote you. When you’re sending a message/email, write them with this thought in mind: What would I do if I got this?
Another really great way to promote your blog is by writing a guest blog post somewhere else. That means submitting a post on to a different blog from your own. Often you’ll get a link on their blog back to yours. That’s also a good way to reach the audience of other people and draw in your own.
5. Things every blogger should know
a. Time Management
Drafting frequent, and well-written, blog posts can be time-consuming. If you have other priorities or responsibilities, it can be tricky to find the time to sit down and blog. But there are still ways that you can continuously publish great quality.
- Set Goals – Decide what your blog needs, and what it’s going to take to meet those needs. Don’t waste time on anything that isn’t helping you reach your goals.
- Planned Posts – If you have a couple of days off, start writing. Whenever you can find spare time, write multiple posts. These can be posted automatically for you at certain times, even if you’re not around. They’ll also help if you’re stuck without a topic. Extra posts sitting as drafts as always a good idea for time management.
- Don’t Delete – While you’re drafting up your post, just keep writing. Don’t worry about what you’ve written or how easy any of it is to read. Just keep hitting the keys until you’re finished. Then you can go back and edit it. If you try and edit while you go, you’ll end up losing focus and your finished product won’t be engaging at all.
- No Schedule – Put aside at least a half an hour a day and just write. You don’t have to stick to a schedule. In fact, if you’re already on a schedule in other areas of life, you want this one to be off-schedule. But whenever you can find the time, sit down and write. You need to spend as much time writing as you possibly can.
- Forget Deadlines – Don’t worry about when your posts are going to be finished, or how many you’re supposed to have out every week. If you focus too much on all that stuff, your posts are going to come across as rushed. They’re going to fall flat. Let go of the stress of deadlines. Write to write.
- Social Media – When it comes to promotion on social media, you’re going to get sucked into your time lines. You’ll lose hours when all you wanted to do was post a link. Instead, try a social media tool like HootSuite. It allows you to schedule updates and posts to your social media accounts for you. That way, you can schedule promotional social media messages without getting sucked in.
- Don’t Stray – You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, especially with commenting on others’ blogs. Instead, find a small handful of blogs, and really get involved with those. Comment regularly. The same can be said for Twitter and Instagram. Don’t spend too much time making new contacts. If you have a few loyal ones, keep giving them your time instead. They’ll recommend you for you.
- Don’t Track Excessively – Yes you want to know who is visiting your site, from where, and at what times of day. But don’t check these statistics every day or you’ll just be wasting your time. Once a month is probably the most ideal time to check your statistics. If you’re over eager, once a week isn’t too bad. It’s still not recommended though.
- Outsource – If you’re having trouble maintaining your blog, or writing your content, there are services that can help you. You can even buy a ghost writer online to write your content for you. Then the only time you have to spend is manually posting it.
- Guest Bloggers – An option similar to outsourcing, but it usually won’t cost you anything. A guest blogger is someone who has their own blog, but needs promotion for it (usually). So they offer to contribute to your blog in exchange for a link back to their own. It’s a good marketing strategy. You save time by not having to write, and they get promotion.
b. Make Money
Before you start getting excited, be warned that monetizing your blog is a process. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time and effort. But it is possible. We’re going to talk about some of the ways you can monetize your blog.
Advertising – There are different types of advertising. The most common ones are Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per Impressions (PPM). You can either contact advertisers directly or use a service like Google Adsense. Google isn’t the only company to offer this type of automatic ad placement. There are others. You are also able to sell private ads (if you are self-hosted). In some cases, an advertiser will visit your blog and ask you to place an advertisement. More often though, you’ll seek out different advertisers and ask if they’re interested in paying you to display their advertisement. There are many ways to place an advertisement. It can be a full banner, or sometimes even a small button. It all depends on what the advertiser is looking for.
Affiliate Marketing – This is when someone asks you to sell their product/service for a piece of the profit. You list their product/service on your website, and the URL back to the original site has a reference number. This tells the site owner what website the traffic came from. This is how you get paid for recommending the product/service to your readers.
Digital Products – Another great way to make money through your blog is by selling a digital product. These are usually eBooks, but the subject of the eBooks often changes. It can also be images that you own the right to. You can see online courses or workshops that you’re hosting. You can sell themes or applications, or even plug-ins. There are many different digital products you can create, then sell through your blog. But make sure whatever you’re selling is relevant to your blog content. You can also, of course, sell physical products. You can even be using your blog as a form of digital marketing.
Memberships – This is a good way to gain a loyal readership too. You can sell a membership to your blog. This means that instead of it being open, readers have to pay to see the content. You’ll want a little bit of content to stay public because that will entice readers to buy a membership.
Credibility – When you’re using your blog to write great content, you’re also creating your credibility. We mentioned earlier that it’s important who your connections are. This is why. If you’re building a good professional reputation, you may find yourself being presented with job opportunities with larger companies. If your connections are all low-scale home bloggers with no goals in mind, you’ll never step out of that. So make sure your blog is credible, because it may lead you to a world of amazing opportunities.
Not every one of these suggestions is going to work for everyone. You have to experiment and see what works best for you. But this list is a good idea of where and how to get started.
c. Engaging Readers
One of the most important parts of having a successful blog is engaging with your readers. This makes your blog feel more interactive and encourages your readers to keep coming back. It also encourages them to spread your link among their friends, families, and coworkers. Engaging with readers is a great form of advertising. So, how can you make your blog more engaging?
- Target – Well first, you need to understand who your target audience is. You need to know who your blog is aimed at, and how you’re going to attract them.
- Content – You’ll want to have a really awesome blog that everyone wants to keep coming back to, or subscribing to.
- Trends – It will interest your readers, and attract new readers, if you’re jumping on trending subjects to write about in your niche.
- Mentions – While may not seem like a great strategy, mentioning other bloggers (in a positive way) can be useful. You’ll attract readers who visit those bloggers, and possibly even the other bloggers themselves. You could end up getting mentioned on their blog as well.
- Freebies – Give your readers something for visiting your site. This can be an eBook you have, or an application, or a theme. Any type of digital content relative to your niche would work.
- Ask – We already mentioned asking for comments at the end of your blog posts. This encourages readers to get involved by leaving their opinion.
- Respond – As important as it is to have readers commenting, it’s important that you respond to those comments as well. This will make your readers feel as though you’re listening to them on a more personal level.
- Presence – Socialize on social media and other blogs. Build your presence. This will show readers that you’re active in communities.
All of these tips are great tools for engaging your readers, but it’s really up to you to use them.
d. About Me Page
While you may not have previously considered it, it’s actually important that your blog has an “About Me” page. This helps your readers get to know who you are as a person. This page gives you the chance to talk about yourself in more depth. You can explore your hobbies and interests. You can express what brought you to the world of blogging. There are many benefits to using an About Me page. There are also some tips for creating a nice one.
- Be Yourself – Use a nice picture of yourself that’s clear, and really defines your personality. Use a few. If you want to strike up a chord, use an old one too. Just throw it in for fun. Don’t use overly edited pictures. Nothing photoshopped. Just show you in all of your glory.
- Be Descriptive – Described who you are and what you’re about. The whole point of the page is to let readers feel more involved in who you are. So you should have some information about your personality on your page.
- Be Creative – Use bold colors. This is the place to let your personality shine through. If you like rainbows, this is the place to use them. Don’t make every second letter a different color, but play around with headings.
- Be Appreciative – This is a good place to thank your readers and encourage them to keep checking your posts. If you’ve got an eBook lying around, maybe offer it to your readers on your page. It’s a good way to them to feel appreciated.
- Be Bold – You want to truly express yourself in a memorable way, so do it boldly. Use catchy phrases and loud statements that will leave a lasting impression.
- Be Enticing – Use words like “you” that refer to your readers. This will make them feel more involved, and they’re more likely to want to get to know you better.
- Be Memorable – You want your page to leave a lasting memory, and encourage new readers (who are likely reading the About Me page before your writing) to check out your posts.
I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this guide on How to start a blog and have a better understanding of the Blogosphere. If you liked the content and got something out of it, I would really appreciate you sharing this guide on social media so that your friends and family can benefit as well. Make use of the sharing buttons below!
Now get out there and start creating your own awesome blog and epic content!