how-to-start-a-blog

How to Start Blogging

There is no limit to where you can take your blog. The possibilities are endless. This being said, there are a number of elements you need to take into account in order to make your blog a success. I summarized below for you the key ones:

Find Your Niche

This is a crucial step. In order to be successful with blogging, you need to find that fine balance between going too broad or too narrow. If you go too broad, your message will get diluted in the huge noise of the blogosphere, as there are lots of other blogs covering the same topic. If you go too narrow, you will not have a genuine right to succeed, as there is not enough audience available.

The best approach is to choose something you are passionate about. If you are an expert and you know all the ins and outs of a certain topic, go for it. This is a great scenario, but it’s not the only one. If you are a complete beginner at something, just start a blog and document your journey to becoming more kn§owledgeable.
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Choose a Domain Name

Once you have decided what your blog topic is, you are ready to choose a name for it. I recommend you go for a brandable, catchy name. Or you can choose to go for your own name. In any case, go for a .com, unless you have a specific reason to choose something else, like for example a .net, an .org extension and so on. The .com domain names have the best recall.

In order to get hosting, a domain name and have your WordPress blog setup with one click head over to Site5. They offer 24/7 support and 45 days money back guarantee. For the price of a coffee per month, you can have your blog up and running in less than half an hour. Start now!

Make Sure Your Blog is Setup Properly

If you followed the guide shared on this site, your WordPress blog should be setup well. Make sure that you regularly update WordPress to its latest version and back-up your site before you do that. There is a list of base Plugins that I recommend: Akismet – to protect yourself from spam, WordPress SEO – for various website optimizations, Contact Form 7 – to easily publish a contact form. You can watch my WordPress settings guide here.

Publish Great Content Consistently

There are tons of blogs online and there are more and more started each day. The only option to cut through the clutter is to offer massive value to your readers. A good idea is to write a few pillar articles that really go in-depth into a topic, and link to them prominently in the sidebar. This will show people that you are serious about providing quality and value and their trust level for you will go through the roof.

Then, your content needs to provide value consistently. This means that it should be informative, entertaining, or both. Give people a reason to follow you. What is it that your blog can offer to make them come back?
Additional Reading:

Use Engaging Headlines

The headline is a critical element you need to pay attention to. Try to ignite the curiosity of the reader, as the decision to read or not your post is made based on the headline. Spend some time to see what are the type of headlines used by top bloggers and you will soon start to get a feeling on what drives higher readership. Additional reading: How to Write Captivating Titles

Use Images to Spice Up Your Posts

How do you find a long post that is made out of large blocks of text only? It’s pretty discouraging to start reading something like that, right? Images help a lot in keeping your readers attention, set the tone for the post (when used in the beginning), illustrate a “how-to guide” (when used as screenshots) and so on. Make sure you have permission to use the pictures. One great source for free to use images is Flickr – look for images licensed for Creative Commons use. Follow the instructions on how to attribute the picture.

Alternatively, you can buy pictures from stock photo sites. For example iStockPhoto is a great such source for example. You can find there a huge selection of great photos, searchable by keywords.

Photo: Lemsipmatt

Video

Video is a great tool to share information in an engaging way. It is therefore a good idea to include videos in your posts. It may feel a bit overwhelming to start with videos in the beginning. But as soon as you have get a grip on the basics, I suggest to look into video. This is the future. Video traffic is on the rise and you can get a part of it as well, when you share your content on platforms such as Youtube, Vimeo and Metacafe.

Build Relationships with Other Bloggers

Resist the tendency to view the other bloggers in your niche as competitors. Try to view them as allies, as your success depends to a large degree on the support you get from them. So don’t be afraid to reach out to them. You can start by becoming a subscriber to their blogs and via posting thoughtful comments regularly. You can also engage with them via Facebook and Twitter.

Start with small steps, as relationships need time to develop. But if you put aside some time to do this daily, you will see great results.

Additional reading: How to Develop Relationships with Bloggers

Email Marketing

You have probably already heard that building a list is highly praised in the online circles. Many people tend to ignore this in the beginning. However, most bloggers declare that they should have started building a list right from the beginning. So what is all this about? Well, one of the objectives of your blog is to establish a relationship with your readers. You don’t want someone to just quickly scan your post and then never come back to your blog.

You want to turn as many readers as possible into subscribers. These people get notified when you publish new posts and you can also send them other messages via email. It’s a great way to build regular traffic and to develop a deeper relationship with your audience.

Additional reading: Bloggers and Email Marketing

Drive Traffic

In my experience, this is the biggest roadblock you face in the beginning. However, the good news is that there are so many possibilities out there. If you are determined to make it and put in some work, you can definitely succeed. You can get organic traffic via Google, video traffic from Youtube videos, social media traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, referral traffic from partner blogs, paid traffic from Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Pay-Per-View Advertising, Solo Ads and so on. One strategy you may follow is to be everywhere. However, you need to manage the risk of losing focus if you try to run after each and every traffic source. I would rather identify what are the strategic traffic sources that are best to focus on in your niche and then go all out on them.

Additional reading: How to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

Social Media

Social media is something you need to definitely look into as a blogger. Think about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and so many other social media venues. They offer great opportunities to engage your audience beyond your blog. Think about each of these channels as a separate audience touch-point. It is much more effective to build and grow a relationship if you stay in-touch with your readers across several communication platforms.

This being said, it is challenging to build a strong presence on each and every social media platform. I support the approach of choosing up to two strategic platforms and focusing on those. In most cases, you can build on synergies. For example, when you publish a new post, you can share it both with your Twitter and Facebook followers. Not to mention that you can take re-purposing your content even further.

  • Think about making an infographic summarizing your article.
  • You can share it via Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.
  • Turn your article intoa a pdf and share it via doc share sites.
  • Then turn it into a slides and post it on slide sharing sites.
  • How about turning that Powerpoint presentation into a video? Then you can capitalize on the huge reach of Youtube and many other video sharing sites.

In order to manage everything easier, you can use services such as HootSuite and Buffer.

Additional reading: Strategies to Measure Your Social Media

Photo: fredcavazza

Monetize

If you are interested to monetize your blog, there are lots of options to do so, depending on the topic of your blog, on your preference and on the level of involvement and work you want to have.

  • You can monetize almost any blog with Google AdSense. In brief, you set a place of your site where Google can place ads. The beauty of this is that Google automatically detects what each page is about and it displays relevant ads. Advertisers pay Google a price for this advertisement and in turn, Google shares a part of this revenue with you.
  • You can write for example a Kindle book or develop a digital course on a topic related to your blog. Are you blogging on a topic you’re an expert at? Then, why not develop such a more advanced training that your readers will be happy to pay for?
  • Yet another option is to go for affiliate marketing. This means that you can sell digital products that are developed by other people or physical products sold by big retailers.

Let’s say you have a blog about Social Media. You can sell a Social Media Digital Training developed by a well-known expert and you get a percent of the price. Say the training sells for $100 and you get a commission of $50.

Or let’s suppose that you blog about baby care. You can review cribs, toys, various baby care products and then refer the potential buyers to Amazon. When a potential client buys a product, Amazon pays you a commission.

This is a very comprehensive topic and we’re just touching the tip of the ice-berg here. These are just a few of the main monetization models and there are many variations of each model. What is your main roadblock? Feel free to contact me and share what is the number one barrier that prevents you from taking action and starting your blog right now. I’m happy to provide perspective and point you to resources that may help in solving the problem. There are lots of people starting blogs everyday and Internet offers all the opportunities in the world. It is definitely possible and it’s up to you to start the blog you’ve been dreaming about. So go ahead! Start right now!

To your success!

Eugene Mota

Eugene Mota is an expert marketer and entrepreneur. He has successfully grown businesses within both Fortune 100 / Global Companies (Procter & Gamble, Danone, Unilever) and as an entrepreneur. Poise Catalyst was born out of his passion to share business building strategies and tactics that deliver results. You will find that his marketing approach is effective. He is all about step-by-step guides that enable people to capitalize on what works now.

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