A lot of people dream about having a sustainable income through their blogs and traveling around the world. However, in reality, starting a blog can be complicated. It takes a lot of time and effort to build and maintain a blog that works.
Although it’s a tedious process, having a successful blog is still possible. Below are some basic tips you might want to pay attention to when starting your own blog:
Create a “self-hosted” blog using WordPress as the CMS
Tumblr, WordPress.com, and Squarespace can give you the blogging platform you need to start putting off good content. However, it doesn’t give you the ownership, control, and customization you need to turn “good” into “great.”
A lot of companies provide great hosting platforms. Start your blog by getting a website hosting service and using WordPress as the content management system (CMS). WordPress is the most recommended CMS since it is simple, easy-to-use, and comes with a lot of theme options you can choose from.
Be a heavyweight champ when it comes to visuals
You should create blog posts heavy on visuals such as images and videos. You should know where to source images to make your blogs appealing. What’s even better is learning how to take visuals yourself.
Images and videos are becoming more and more popular. Technological devices are advertising stunning displays and using it as a core selling point. Facebook and other social networking sites are emphasizing visuals. If your content isn’t taking advantage of this trend, then you’re going backward.
YouTube is similar to being a search engine giant dedicated to videos. If you add videos to your content, you’ll get more views and shares. Plus, you’ll be on multiple platforms, allowing for a wider reach.
Grow your mailing list
When a person subscribes to your blog, they are giving you direct access to their line of communication. Growing your mailing list increases the chances that your blog will last for an extended period.
Work your way up from “zero” to a lot of subscribers consistently. Having a massive amount of subscribers gives you the ability to increase traffic on new posts.
In addition, you can promote products or services useful to your audience. Your mailing list is a potent tool to make money on the side.
The process isn’t that complicated. You simply need to provide a valuable gift to your audience in exchange for subscribing to your email list.
Also, it’s a great way to stop relying on Google and social media for traffic. The Internet landscape is changing, and you might want to secure the attention of readers towards your blog. Relying on Google and social media alone is not a long-term solution.
Capitalize on long-form content
Start creating long-form content that provides real value to your readers. It is best to keep it to a minimum of 1,500 words that is densely packed with useful information.
A lot of search engine optimization (SEO) gurus recommend using long-form content as Google loves pages that provide value, thereby ranking them higher on search engine results pages. If you’re going to create content, go all the way and put out the best information you can give to your audience.
Take mobile devices into account
Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, have become prevalent these days, and it seems like the trend is not going away anytime soon. When starting your own blog, make sure it is mobile-responsive. This means it looks good not only on desktops and laptops, but on mobile devices as well.
If your site is hard to navigate using a mobile device, you will definitely lose traffic. People will go to your competitors, especially if their websites look good on their smartphones and tablets. Google and other search engines favor mobile-responsive websites on rankings as well.
Be creative and stand out
Multiple blogs are dedicated to one niche. This means you have competitors that work as hard as you do. As competition gets fierce, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Be creative and make a unique spin on every content you put out there.
You don’t have to be the first to put out information. However, you need to do something memorable and unique so that your audience will remember you. Infusing your personal story and analyzing your competitors can help you put a new spin on old information.
Analyze the competition and be better
Whatever you do, you will always have competitors within your niche. Using SEO tools can help you analyze your blog. But the best part is that these tools can help you learn more about the competition.
These tools can also help you analyze what keywords a particular content is ranking for. You’ll also learn the amount and quality of backlinks for your competitors’ pages. On top of that, you’ll learn where they get their backlinks from and replicate them if possible.
With this information at your fingertips, you will gauge as to whether you can beat the competition on a particular keyword or not. Analyzing your competitors is not new, and it’s a great way to build better content that crushes other sites on the same niche.
Yes, you have to learn SEO
SEO is one of the most important things you have to learn when starting your blog. Before you get started with making the blog, you have to learn SEO to ensure your site is optimized and structured in a way that search engines love.
SEO is continually changing as Google, and other search engines strive to provide the best results to its audience.
Thus, you should keep up with its latest trends and updates. The best strategy when it comes to SEO is to follow best practices recommended by search engines. Google has detailed specifications on their site, giving you suggestions on how to optimize your website for the said search engine giant.
Experts also recommend putting out great content to make sure backlinks build up and point towards your site organically. If you share information that provides real value, people who see it as useful will link towards your page without the need to ask for it.
Yes, you don’t need to be perfect
Perfection is the enemy of success. If you strive to be perfect, then you’ll be boggled by millions of things you have to do before you get started. This might stop you from ultimately starting a blog.
You don’t have to learn everything before you start. Just do it, just get started. You will learn things along the way. As you progress gradually, you’ll realize that you’ve gotten significantly better at a future point in time.
Learn to socialize with others in your niche
Networking and making connections with other bloggers and personalities in your niche is a great way to start blogging.
This isn’t to say that you should email every webmaster out there and ask for guest post opportunities. You’re here to build genuine friendships and connections with others.
Other people within your niche can serve not only as support systems but as mentors as well. You can learn a lot from connecting with other people.
Plus, you’ll never know what might happen. Successful bloggers you have made a connection with can mention your content or promote your site for free—and all of this is possible with genuine relationships.
Invest in your blog’s security
Hackers and intruders are all over the Internet. As a responsible website owner, you must prioritize security. Below are some tips to help you get started with securing your site:
- Follow standard security guidelines, such as avoiding public Wi-Fi connections and changing your passwords regularly. Ensure that your plugins and software are up-to-date.
- Enable SSL or Secure Sockets Layer. An HTTPS domain is more secure. Plus, Google favors HTTPS over HTTP when it comes to rankings.
- Keep backups of your site and relevant documents. It is recommended to have both online and offline backups.
- Be updated. Continuously learn new security trends and make sure you apply them.
Don’t be afraid to outsource
You’re not superhuman, and you can’t do everything on your own. If you have weaknesses, try letting another person fill it in for you. For example, if you’re unsure on how to enable SSL in your domain, get help from a freelancer.
Outsourcing some tasks can give you more time to focus on those that matter. You can start using your free time to grow your blog, connect with other site owners, and learn more about your niche. It’s just a matter of letting go of things and allowing another person to do it for you at a reasonable price.
When looking for a niche, combine your interests with an existing audience
Most people tell you to blog about your passion as it gives you the internal drive you need to succeed. However, blogging about your interests alone won’t get you that far. The best strategy is to find something you’re interested in on top of making sure it has an existing audience, or it fills a need.
It’s just like a business: You can create the most refined product, but it won’t sell if it doesn’t have a market willing to buy it. If it doesn’t fill a real need, no one will purchase this great idea of yours. You need to have the best of both worlds—passion combined with an existing audience or market.
Remember, your website is an extension of your brand or persona
When your website looks cluttered and confusing, it is a reflection of your brand. You don’t have to shell out a considerable amount of money just to make sure your website looks good. WordPress provides various themes for you to choose from. These themes look good on their own, and you might only need a few customizations to get it right.
Create an editorial calendar
Don’t blog only when you feel like doing so. Your audience would want more content, but if you fail to deliver, they’ll start moving to your competitors. Consistency is key to maintaining a successful blog.
Scheduling posts with a content calendar is undervalued. However, it is an essential part of blogging and this allows you to reach meaningful goals with small baby steps. Content calendars, among other things, can keep you organized.
Use a spreadsheet to create your calendar. You can come up with topics you want to write about and place their publication date. At this point, you don’t need perfect titles. You just need a topic you want to write about.
Monetize your blog
There are various ways to monetize your blog. These include advertisements, selling physical products, and becoming an affiliate for information products. Advertising space can be rented out monthly as well. Google Adsense is one way to earn money from advertising, but selling directly to advertisers reaps a more significant amount of profit.
Selling physical products and information products is another way to earn money from your blog. You can sell products of your own, or you can become an affiliate and earn a commission every time a product is sold through your marketing efforts. The opportunities are endless.
Connect with your audience
It’s not enough to write a blog and post it on your site. You can connect with your audience by asking questions and enabling comments. Once your readers comment on your post, reply as soon as you can.
Be a genuine person willing to help out. If a reader is asking for clarification on the information you posted, then help them by explaining in layman’s terms. Connecting with your audience can help you build your brand. Your loyal readers can be excellent word-of-mouth advertising platforms, making this connection a win-win situation for everybody.
Starting and maintaining a blog takes time and effort on your part. It is a continuous process that necessitates connecting with your audience, building relationships with other bloggers, and keeping up with a content calendar, just to name a few.
As a beginner, it would be great if you keep on learning about your niche and apply best practices to managing your blog. Keep on going, and you might find your way to earning a sustainable amount of money from your blog.