You’ve decided to start blogging. Congratulations! Now all you need to do is write something up, send it out on social media and boom, let the clients roll in, right? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it isn’t quite that simple.
We are lucky in 2019 to have a variety of software that makes it easy to start a blog. Some of the more popular ones are WordPress, Blogger, and Wix. If you search free blogging sites on Google, then you will probably find tons more, but these are the most popular and with good reason.
Step 1) I would research each platform and decide which one is the right one for you. I use WordPress as it is far superior, in my opinion, though others may disagree.
Step 2) Once you have researched the platform you want to go with it’s just a matter of signing up. Most of these sites are pretty user-friendly for beginners and will give you a step by step option to sign up for the blog. Usually there is a verification process that you need to do, via your email before you can continue with your blogging.
Step 3) Then once you are all signed up, you can begin blogging, but this is where all the important information comes in. There is a number of things you have to decide before you even write your first sentence.
What will your blog be about?
Figuring out what to talk about can be a tricky, and it can take a long time to figure out. It’s not easy to be unique but specific blogs with a niche tend to do better. If you start a blog and then decide down the road that perhaps you would enjoy a different topic, it can be a pain to change it as you have already invested a lot of time and energy so I would suggest making sure you are happy with your blog choice and also that you have something to say.
How often will you blog?
How often you want to blog depends on you and your lifestyle. If you are a business owner, there is a benefit to blogging more often but I would caution that too many posts shared can also turn people off so striking a balance between how much you are blogging is important. Remember, it’s better to have a one really good blog post then it is to have hundreds of terrible ones.
Are you blogging for a hobby or as a means to promote your business?
If you are doing it to promote your business you may want to listen to my blog formatting podcast or the reasons why you should blog for your business. If you are doing it for a hobby, the rules are different, but it’s still important to think about what your goal for the blog is as that will determine your value, and even if it’s a hobby blog if you want someone to read it you still need to approach it with a business mindset.
Who is your target audience?
Who are you writing your blog for? What do they like to do? How do they spend their free time? Are they women? Are they men? Do they have children? Do they read blogs in the morning, afternoon or evening? All of these answers will set-up you up for a successful blog.
What would they like to learn about?
This comes back to knowing your audience. If you know that your target audience is sports fans then blog posts which recap the latest games, talk about the players and tell them how to improve their own game or performance are topics you may want to explore.
Will you include pictures?
Pictures are the norm for most articles but maybe you want to bunk tradition and keep things super simple or maybe you know that your target audience prefers reading quick text over fancy visuals. If you were blogging about writing, for example then perhaps a picture would be distracting, but if you were blogging about gardening, then pictures are almost necessary to explain your concepts visually.
Will you include videos or audio?
If you include videos, I would highly suggest getting an account set up on youtube. There are two reasons for this. One, youtube videos are generally fairly easy to embed into posts and two, especially for business, you can reach way more people with your blog in a shorter amount of time. You can also opt only to include audio so that similar to a podcast; your reader can also listen to your posts. Not sure how to do that? That’s a blog post for another day or simply, get in touch.
How long will your blog posts be? (Hint: suggested for 2019 is – as long as possible!)
No rule says your blog posts need to be 3,000 words, but if you can make your blog posts as long as possible then you are adding more value to your reader, AND there is more chances search engines will find you. I will say that depending on your strategy and again your target audience if you know that the attention span is limited then it may be a better idea to do shorter posts, more frequently. Again this is very much up to you and what you want to get out of your blog.
Do you want to monetize your blog?
If you are hoping to make money with your blog you need to treat it like a business, period. All the usual things need to happen. Building relationships, telling people about your blog, writing consistently, educating yourself constantly on blogging and other essential business promotion. There are some great videos on youtube about monetizing your blog. Check out these here!
How will you promote your blog?
As mentioned above you can share videos on youtube, you can create audio recordings, and most definitely you will want to share your posts on social media as that is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to reach people. You can do speaking events that coincide with your blog topic, and you may even consider writing a book based on the topics you are blogging about. The options for promotion are excellent even on a limited budget.
What information will you include about yourself?
As you are essentially creating a website, you may also need to include some website content such as an about page and contact page. Writing a bio is not an easy thing to do yourself so enlist a expert to help you with that if you need to.
Deciding all of this ahead of time is not mandatory but it will certainly make things easier as you go along.
Now it’s time to actually write your blog. When you are blogging, especially for business purposes, its best to make sure:
Your blog is concise and makes sense
There is nothing worse than a jumbled blog that makes no sense. Make sure your thoughts are clear and I guess this also comes down to good writing. If you aren’t a good writer or you don’t enjoy it, don’t suffer through blog writing. You are better off doing something else instead.
You are writing conversationally and to the person who is reading the post
Write like you are speaking to someone. If you are writing like you would write an essay with big words and fancy language it’s possible that the person reading your posts will lose interest because no one wants to struggle through a post. They want to get the info and move on with their day. Also, remember who might be reading your posts. If you were sitting beside someone that is your ideal reader, how would you express your thoughts to them?
It’s evenly spaced out and has headings that correspond to each paragraph
When time is an issue you are lucky if someone will actually read your entire post and they may if you are providing great information but even so, they may not. Adding headings and evenly spaced paragraphs make it easier for the person reading the post to digest the information quickly and easily.
The pictures make sense to the post you are writing
Not only should they make sense, that seems a given, though you would be surprised, but also make sure you are posting pictures you are allowed to post. Pictures that have copyrights need to be appropriately purchased or given credit. You need to read the fine print on any site you get pictures from so that someone doesn’t come back with a lawsuit. Nothing ends a blog dream faster than that!
You are including backlinks to other websites for SEO purposes
If you are going to spend on average one to four hours creating a blog post you might as well include links. The benefit of doing this is of course that your blog post is more likely to come up in a google search. You may also get other people following your blog posts when they see you have linked your blog posts to something they have created.
Or you are including links to other blog posts you have written
Once again, whether your in business or blogging as a business it would simply be a huge waste to spend all that time creating a post and not including links to other helpful information. If you know that the blog post topic relates to something else you are giving your reader more value. There is more chance of them sharing the posts and it just shows how awesome and amazing you are.
You are including some form of a call to action on your post
Whether the call to action is merely to comment below and tell me your thoughts, you want your reader to take action.
You are encouraging conversation and comments
Part of the beauty of blog posts is that people can comment on your posts. Knowing you are reaching people and they like what you have to say is incredibly motivating and inspiring. Which brings me to my next point. If someone does take the time to comment on your post then be sure to respond. Blogs writers that actually respond to comments generally see more traffic and it gives you an opportunity to build relationships with your readers. If someone leaves a negative comment, I would still respond in kind as this shows a level of integrity and professionalism.
You give a person multiple ways to digest your blog based on their learning style, visual, auditory etc.
If your blog includes pictures, some form of audio as well as the writing you are going to be a rockstar in no time. It will be easier for people to digest the information and it also gives you multiple promotion opportunities.
You check that everything is spelled correctly
People notice when you don’t spell things correctly, or your grammar is incorrect. They do! That said, it’s better to be done than perfect, and I’ve read many posts with errors, even I sometimes have a few (insert cheeky grin.) This didn’t change the intent of their message or led me to think negatively, but I still noticed them. The best advice is to always read over your posts before posting.
The person leaves your blog post with value so that they will read more of your posts in the future and possibly follow you as well
Recently on my podcast, The Chatty Content Creator, I interviewed Social Media Marketer, Orzala Quddusi, from Make It happen Services, and she made a great point! She said, every time you post something, ask yourself, “Does this add value to the person interacting with this post?” If the answer is no, you may need to go back and revise your message so that you can be sure it does.
If you enjoyed this post or have any more questions about blogging, leave me a comment below! You can also check out some of my other posts.