Ultimate Guide to Get Started on a Blog
If you are reading this, then you are probably thinking of creating or starting a blog. If you are already a blogger, feel free to add your input in case if I missed anything. Hope this serves as a good checklist.
We are all unique and blogging represents one crucial way to communicate our uniqueness (be it personal hobby, passion, professional and career topics, lessons learned) to the rest of the world.
In this article, I will give you quick tips for getting started with your blog, dos and don’ts, and how you can use blogs to create authority, establish thought leadership, grow followers, and become an influencer.
Let’s start with basics.
A few years ago, you would have required a tech degree to start a blog. But, this is 2017 and creating a blog has become simplified process.
Many free blogging platforms exist such as Blogger, Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, GooglePlus, WordPress that you can immediately put to use to start creating blogs. The disadvantage is that you do not own the content and thus, you are at mercy of these platforms to keep your blog alive or not. Also, if your blog happens to drive traffic, it doesn’t benefit you directly.
The other route is to self-host the blogs on your own website. Here, you own the content and thus, gives you great opportunity to market, monetize, and showcase your unique skills.
If you decide to blog on your own domain, you will need to choose the domain name (URL for your blog) and you will need to choose the hosting company. Popular hosting sites are GoDaddy, HostGator, 1and1, BlueHost. They will handle all the back-end aspects such as storage and backup of your data, website availability, maintenance etc.
Once done, you can install WordPress on your website through an admin panel and you are good to go. If you don’t know how to handle it, outsource this activity by finding a good developer or digital agency to help you out.
How to Create Highly-Readable Blog?
Nielson Normal Group states that a person spends less than a minute on a webpage with the average being 10-20 seconds. This span has now been reduced to 8 seconds, per the latest Time article. This is the time you have to grab the attention of your reader and here’s how you can do it.
- Keep it readable- Most people will scan and eyeball your page content rather than reading it word-by-word. Make your paragraphs short of 2-3 sentences and ensure lots of bullet points, use subheading to highlight key points, use numbering and bold headlines to make sure your content is readable.
- Keep it appropriate size- There are 2 schools of thoughts of what is the ideal size of the blog (e.g. short-form content or long-form con tent). From Google’s SEO ranking perspectives, at minimum, stick to anywhere between 500 to 600 words depending on the information you are imparting.
Your blog can be short-form (500-600 words) or long-form content (more than 1000-1200 words). Having said that, content size is just one aspect for SEO ranking. Other aspects are use of the keywords, volume of quality links (authority sites linking to your site), how visitors are interacting with your webpage etc.
- Make it look good- Use a light background and pay attention to typography. Font size and style are of paramount importance. Use Arial and Times New Roman in headings as they are easy to read. WordPress allows many themes for you to pick and choose from and thus, take advantage of it.
- Interesting content– Create a blog around your target audience. Understand your clients and write content in simple and natural words. Be sure to add lots of relevant images to avoid a big boring wall of text. Also, stay away from too many numbers and irrelevant trivia.
- Mobile responsive theme- Make sure your blog is optimized for the mobile devices. What the term mobile responsive means that it detects the underlying device you are using (iPhone vs iPad vs desktop) and adjusts the content accordingly to best fit the screen size.
- Make it easy to share- Make sure you have social media share buttons making it easier for reader to share on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and LinkedIn.
How to Build Authority using Blogs?
An authority blog is respected by the knowledgeable people in an industry. It is basically a place where people are happy to have landed and do not hesitate in sharing it or sticking around on your website.
You can build authority using your blog in a series of simple steps.
- Awesome Content- As always, include content which is relevant and useful to your readers. Include videos, tutorials, infographics, anything that will show your fans that you know your way around your industry.
- Guest Blogging- Do not stockpile on the good stuff. If you believe in your content and feel you can great value to rest of the world, find other good blogging sites with significant amount of traffic who are interested in your product or brand. This is a great way to build your online presence.
- Blog Commenting- No blog is a lone wolf in an industry. Comment on other blogs who are considered an authority in your industry. If you post insightful comments, it allows you to get noticed by the readers and also allows you to build online relationship with the blog author. If the blog author is an influencer within your industry, that can put you in direct touch with the influencer
Why Blogging should be an important part of your Social Media Strategy?
When it comes to achieving success with modern marketing and social media, one of its defining mantras is the Content Marketing.
Blogging is an indispensable part of Content Marketing. It allows you to capitalize on the power of social media.
- Google Algorithm Updates- As per an Inforgraphic by Quicksprout, Google essentially keeps updating its algorithm with the current SEO scenario being more focused on long tail searches and keyword intent on search user’s needs.
A blog helps you include relevant keywords while engaging your clients in a Google search engine friendly environment. Basically, the purpose of the social media is for you to reach out to your customers. And blogging assists your purpose in a rich and emphatic way.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/ Search Engine Results Page (SERP)- If we speak about Google algorithms then we definitely have to list the importance of SEO/ SERP in social media strategies.
Blogging abets your digital marketing strategies by creating more pages to be indexed. Furthermore, blogs give you relevant links and engaging user content which can help you massively in your social media posts.
- Increased Traffic- Every social media strategy has the same goal, which is, to increase the site traffic, generate and nurture leads, and the rate of conversion.
Themes and blogs that are in-synch with your social media goals and objectives drive more traffic to your website upping the chances of conversion.
- Building Relationships- You may not get immediate conversion to customers. However, if you develop interesting content, over time you will develop loyal relationships. These followers may eventually become paying customers or they may send other people to your site.
- Declining Attention Spans- People’s attention span is really short and it is declining day by day. If they do not find anything interesting they move on quickly. With a blog that is relevant (short-form content or long-form content), active and interesting, you could use your social media posts to hook a person and keep him/her coming back to your website as an authoritative source.
- Thought Leadership- Blogs, when produced and distributed consistently, establish you as the thought leader. Blogging is not an overnight success strategy. It takes time to achieve success.
However, if done correctly, people will tend to gravitate to you if your blog content is relevant, adding value, and speaking to audience’s desires, likes, dislikes, pain-points and frustrations. It allows you to create your own platform.
Today, digital marketing is a necessity. If you want to establish trust in the virtual world, develop loyal following or create meaningful relationships, blogging is a crucial component (among many). It is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. It holds an immense power and you should not under-estimate its potential. It allows you to express yourself to the rest of the world.
You can hone it by applying your style and your personality to suit your goals, needs and purpose. You will get good at blogging as the time goes by and will continue to grow as human being.
Wishing you continued success.
Happy Blogging :))