Living in a world of blogging can be tough, challenging and overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re a beginner who doesn’t know where to start. In this article, we’ll cover the basics and give you some tips to guide you through your blogging journey.
The original idea behind blogging was to serve as a medium for writing and documenting personal life events. While this was mostly the reason people blogged, the scope of blogging has grown over time and has become more sophisticated.
Reasons to start a blog
Source of Income
Blogging can serve as a source of income, even if you don’t have a product to sell. This is where advertising and affiliate relationships play a major role, and they offer you great options for making money blogging.
To Drive Traffic to your business
Most companies and organizations start blogs that are associated with their products so it can drive potential buyers to their website. Keeping your content updated and captivating would drive traffic to your e-commerce store without having to promote any particular product within your blog post.
To authenticate yourself as an authority
Having a blog will help reinforce the recognition you seek as an expert. Regularly updated posts, which include opinion posts, will heighten the regard your readers have for you.
Make sure to engage with your readers in the comments section; guest blogging and comparing notes with other bloggers will help you network effectively.
Selecting the best blogging platform
The decision to blog comes with a lot of choices to make. One of which is the best blogging platform to use. Ultimately, it’s your call to decide what best suits your skills and interests.
Here are the most popular platforms to help you make an informed decision on which blogging platform to use:
Owned and managed by Google, Blogger gives you access to Google tools such as Google AdSense, Google Analytics and many more. This platform, however, it is not as adaptable as WordPress.org.
If you want to build up a brand or are blogging as a hobby, Blogger is the best bet. It’s user-friendly and doesn’t require that you invest any money in it. Blogger is a great blogging platform for those just starting a blog.
Pros of Blogger
- You can place Google AdSense ads
- Customizable and you have access to the HTML codes
- User-friendly and cost-free
Cons of Blogger
- Your website address would come with a “. BlogSpot” extension to it
- There is no availability of self-hosting, you are entirely on Google-powered Blogger
- Lesser themes and storage capacity relative to WordPress
Your blog content is stored without any cost on their servers, but this means that you only have an incomplete version of the blogging software. It’s still a good choice if you don’t want to spend money on blogging and if you intend to upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog in future, this is a good choice.
Pros of WordPress.com
- Zero setup costs
- Easy-to-use, you don’t need to have coding or web design knowledge
- There lots of themes to choose from
Cons of WordPress.com
- Has a lesser professional appearance
- Limited functionality except you pay for upgrades
- Your website address comes with “. WordPress “extension with it.
- You have no control over your blog, your website can be suspended anytime, and you have little control over advertising income
A self-hosted WordPress blog makes use of the WordPress software on a third-party server. This blogging software offers you numerous options. You’re in control of your site which means that you can edit your HTML code and it allows you to install plugins. All these give your website a professional look.
If you are willing to invest some money every month, a self-hosted WordPress blog would be a good pick. WordPress.org is perfect for professional brand builders, business owners, or Bloggers seeking to increase their website’s functionality.
Pros of WordPress.org
- Free access to 1500 free themes and 20,000 free plugins
- It has search engine friendly options and search engine optimization
- More user-friendly with better control and customization options
Cons of WordPress.org
- Susceptible to security threats, no thanks to its popularity
- You might need some technical knowledge to host on a third-party server
This easy to use and user-friendly blogging platform is the ideal option for bloggers who fancy the idea of “reblogging.” It is good for microblogging. If you are looking to create long-form content, then you might not want to use this option.
Pros of Tumblr
- Over 90 themes to choose from
- Access to HTML and CSS for customization
- Limitless storage
Cons of Tumblr
- Limited plugin options
- Difficult to monetize
- Difficult to back up your content and import to other platforms
A great website option with blogging resources, fantastic for businesses. Wix simplifies the process of building a whole e-commerce website, but you have limited control over your online store.
Pros of Wix
- Good ad integration
- Different domain registrations options
- Limitless bandwidth
- Over a hundred professional looking templates to choose from
Cons of Wix
- Inadequate customization options
- It costs more than a self-hosted WordPress blog
- Its e-commerce tools are not developed
Growing Your Blog
Now that you know the basics of blogging, what next? How do you increase and grow your audience outside of your immediate family and friends? It starts with a strategy!
Growing your blog by increasing traffic is actually simple, at least in theory. It begins by putting your audience first.
Here’s how to grow your blog’s audience:
Know your audience
Knowing who your readers are will majorly contribute to your blog’s growth. Reaching a larger audience starts with knowing who your audience is in the first place. Who would read your blog and why?
What exactly draws them to your blog? Your writing style? Are you funny?
Figure those questions out while crafting your content to suit the needs and desires of your audience.
Develop a Good Writing Habit
This will be a challenge at first if you are not used to writing regularly. Sometimes, you might feel motivated to write, and it comes easily. On other days, you might struggle to write as little as 300 words.
The solution? Practice!
The more you produce content, the better you become at it and the more natural it gets. This is the best way to overcome any writer’s block you might have.
Guest Blogging is key!
One of the all-time most successful tips of growing your blog traffic is guest blogging. Do not hoard all your great blog posts to your blog alone. Share some of your amazing blog posts on other blogs, so you can reach out to a larger audience.
Start by creating a list of blogs your kind of readers would be reading, then find out if they accept guest posts on their blog. Some do, some don’t. If it’s not clearly stated in their blog, you could politely ask via an email.
Blog like a pro
It is important that you hone your blogging skills and make sure your blog like a professional. How do you blog like a professional?
- Proofread every blog to make sure your spelling and grammar is error-free
- Ensure your site links and navigation are working optimally
- An about page is necessary; it tells people who you are and what your blog is about
- Ensure your site has a professional look
The truth is no successful Blogger was ever perfect from the start. Every expert blogger you see today made mistakes in the past. It takes months of mistakes before you begin to see the slightest glimpse of success.
A good number of bloggers make the following blogging mistakes, so it’s best you begin to correct them as soon as you can.
Here are a few of them:
Wrong Web Host
The web host you choose has an important role in the success story of your blog. The choice of a wrong web host can lead to one or more of these: website downtime, poor customer support, inadequate features, and a slow website. All these issues can cause the ranking of a website on search engines to drop.
This is a general mistake many bloggers make from the start of their blogs. Most times, this is caused by not giving it thorough thought or planning.
The major problem of choosing the wrong niche is that after a while, you’ll realize you don’t enjoy writing content for this particular niche. The solution to this is to do thorough research before picking any niche or change to a better niche immediately.
Lack of knowledge about SEO
SEO is so important to the success of your blog. This will determine if your blog posts will found on search engines such as Google.
The right SEO knowledge will aid you in finding the right keywords for your blog posts and help you make the best use of your blog traffic.
Keyword research, on-page and off-page SEO practices are important to get your blog ranked high by Google.
Irregular and Inconsistent posting
Consistency and hard work are important in the making of a successful blog. It’s unavoidable that you have to post regularly. Inconsistency in publishing fresh content is one of the major problems of many beginner bloggers.
There is no standard time between your previous post and next post. But you should have a regular posting pattern, so your audience can know when to expect your next post.
The most important thing is consistency whether it’s once a week, twice a week, or once a month. If you maintain a consistent pattern of posting, your readers are more likely to keep coming back to your blog.
Spamming your blog with ads
Ads partnerships such as Google AdSense are great to earn money from your blog. However, when you spam your blog with these ads, it has a negative effect on your blog.
Your income might increase, but you would definitely annoy some of your readers. No one likes it when ads interfere with what they are reading.
Not trying new things
This affects many beginner bloggers and could hinder your blogging success without you realizing it. Most beginner bloggers are afraid of failure, and this could hold them back from trying new things or testing new grounds such as starting blogging courses, producing YouTube videos or introducing podcasts.
Want to be successful as a blogger? It’s good to learn a thing or two from bloggers who have made it. Here are a few blogging tips for beginner bloggers:
Blog for yourself first
When you start blogging the initial thing to do is to write for yourself. Focus on your thoughts and ideas, opinions and craft them into words.
It’s important you understand your audience
This would require lots of research from you in understanding your audience. It will give you a better idea of what to write about. An easier way to know what your readers want is by engaging with them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and other social media platforms. If the response is good, then that might be a good topic to write on.
Your blog posts should answer the questions of your readers
A good blogger knows to source for ideas from the questions readers ask on social media. A good way to know this is through blog comments or tweets.
Develop your email list
A great path to successful blogging begins with an email list. Start developing your email list from day one. An email list helps you market your content to your audience directly without worrying about search engine ranking or any other online bottleneck.
Pay more attention to having a great call-to-action
If you want engagement on your blog and you want visitors to keep returning, finish each post with a CTA (call to action) to sign up for your email list or to follow you on social media. Watch how you increase your follower base significantly by this.
A call-to-action is quite important; people hardly notice your sidebars. Great content without a call-to-action is a no-no!
Don’t underestimate the power of consistency. Many bloggers disregard it, and it’s a mistake. It takes lesser time to lose your blog follower base than it took to build it. Blogging consistently is key.
Give it time and have a plan to blog for a long time before you expect to see returns. The blogosphere right now is saturated. You will need to invest a great amount of time. If you are looking for short-term ROI, or a fast path to fame then blogging is not for you.
Hang in there, be consistent, improve yourself and with time you will build yourself a stable readership.
This in-depth guide has provided you with immense information to help you as a beginner blogger. But if we are to give you just a single piece of advice, it would be consistency. Over the years, great blogs have come and gone. There have also been moderate blogs who consistently built their readership base over time and got better at their craft.
Blogging is definitely not a walk in the park. Make sure you enjoy your blog because passion alone might not be able to keep you going. Be consistent!