Everyone should learn how to blog! If you’ve already started blogging, then there’s always room for improvement!
A blog will naturally take some time and effort to set up, but when you’re up and running it’s a great marketing tactic that can support and enhance your overall marketing and digital marketing strategy.
Blogging is a great way to cost effectively market your business! Publishing regular content will help to improve your overall online presence and drive more traffic to your website. Becoming a better blogger will bring personal satisfaction as your writing skills improve. Blogging is also one of the fastest ways to become recognised as an ‘expert’ in your field.
Blogs are a highly reliable and trusted source of information online. Around 80% of online users read blog content.
Here’s my back 2 basics guide on how to blog quicker, smarter and more effectively –
Why should you learn how to blog?
If you start a blog, you will –
Become a better writer.
Learn more, as you naturally research for your posts.
See things from a new or different perspective.
Boost your digital marketing strategy.
Increase self confidence and achieve personal satisfaction.
Increase self discipline.
Push you further, or completely away from your comfort zone (this is a good thing!).
Stay in touch with your personal online community.
Improve your seo and help to drive more traffic to your website.
Build and engage with a wider audience.
Create unique content that can then be shared on your social media channels.
Build credibility and authority.
Help you to become an expert, or the ‘go to’ person in your field.
Inspire and help others.
Check out this recent blog post –
How to be inspired to write amazing blog posts
I’ve created a simple 5 step approach to help you to get started with blogging –
If you’ve already started your blog then it’s still worth revisiting this list.
Step 1. Choose Your Blogging Platform
Step 2. Set Up Your Blog
Step 3. Decide What To Blog About
Step 4. Publish Your First Post
Step 5. Continue To Publish Great Content
Steps 1 and 2. Choose Your Blogging Platform and Set Up Your Blog
I generally recommend that WordPress is the best platform to use for a blog. Unless you have a unique specific requirement that WordPress can’t accommodate, I’d start with WordPress.
WordPress, the worlds most popular content management system, currently powers around 75 million websites. It’s often the ‘go to’ platform to start blogging from.
WordPress bloggers need to choose between WordPress.com or WordPress.org. This often causes confusion, as there’s some important difference between the 2 options.
On WordPress.com it’s free to set up and host your blog, but overall functionality and flexibility is limited. Also, you would need to have ‘.wordpress’ in your name, so you can’t even control or move your own blog.
I advise bloggers to use WordPress.org and self-host their blog. There’s a small monthly fee associated with domain name registration and hosting, but increased functionality helps to create a more professional appearance. Unlike on WordPress.com, you actually ‘own’ your blog and have flexibility to move in the future.
Here are some of the other main benefits to using WordPress.org to drive your blog –
WordPress is very easy to install. Most hosting providers now have an automatic WordPress installation feature.
Content is easily managed and updated through a simple interface, which is very similar to standard text editing software.
If you do get stuck and require additional support, then there’s lots of material available from magazines, books to blogs and online forums.
There are many templates and themes available to customise the look and style of your blog.
There are lots of other compatible online tools and plug-ins, integration with these is often seamless.
Excellent search engine optimisation principles ensure that WordPress blogs rank highly on search engines.
Find out more at https://wordpress.org.
Step 3. Decide What To Blog About
Blogging is all about connecting with your audience. It’s important to understand who your audience are and what they want (or need) to know.
Your audience should be niche. If you try to communicate with everybody, you’ll end up communicating with nobody.
Some considerations might be – How can you engage an audience? What tone and style of language should you use? How can you solve their problems?
I recommend creating around 6 – 10 ‘topics’ or ‘categories’. These should help to drive new ideas for blog content.
Here’s some popular choices –
Solve A Problem
The Check List
A to Z
Behind the Scenes
Questions and Answers
Step 4. Publish Your First Post
What should be included in your blog posts –
Think carefully about your headline! The main purpose is to influence and encourage your audience to ‘click through’ and read more.
Find out more about the importance of the headline –
How to write headlines that will encourage your audience to read your blog posts
Your intro is usually the next section to be read after your headline. It should concisely communicate what your audience will ’take away’ from your post.
The quality of your images can make or break a post. All blogs don’t need to have images, but they should be used whenever possible.
As with images, it’s a great idea to embed (as professional as possible) video in your blog posts.
Try to use short paragraphs to make your posts more inviting and easier to read. Headings, sub headings and captions can also be used throughout to not only improve the appearance, but to make your blog posts easy to read.
Your blog posts should contain appropriate links. Don’t give your audience too many options – only use links that you really want to be clicked on.
Social Media Sharing
Your posts should include social media sharing icons. This will encourage and make it easier for your audience to share your content.
Allowing your audience the chance to leave comments is a good idea. Your blog platform should allow you to approve comments before they are displayed.
The ‘Call to Action’ –
A ‘call to action’ (sometimes referred to as a CTA) is an instruction intended to provoke an immediate specific response.
It should be the next ‘natural’ step that you want your audience to take. Therefore, it’s important that the ‘call to action’ is strong, visible and appropriately positioned within your post.
The ‘call to action’ is usually (but not always) displayed at the end of a blog post.
In digital marketing and on a blog post, a ‘call to action’ will usually direct the audience to ‘click’ on something.
Your ‘call to action’ could be –
Other blog posts that your audience might want to read
A link to your website or social media platforms
An eNewsletter sign up or opt in form
A link to your online store, with a discount or coupon code
A free download or a free limited period offer
Here’s some tips to help your blog posts to get found on Google –
Establish a relevant key word or key phrase
As part of your overall marketing strategy, you should have a list of key words and key phrases that you plan to be found on.
Select only 1 key word or key phrase for each blog post. It’s important not to ‘key word stuff’. If you select multiple key words and phrases and pack them into a single blog post, then it’s likely that Google will penalise the post.
Include your key word or key phrase into relevant parts of your blog post –
The headline (or title) of your post
Headings, sub headings and body text
The url of your blog and / or the individual post
Categories and tags
The name, alt tag and descriptions of your images
Please note: It’s important that you don’t ‘key word stuff’. Always write firstly for your audience not for Google. Ensure your content is well written and authentic. Key word stuffing will annoy your audience and ensure that your posts are penalised by Google.
Some other tips to help your blog to get found on Google –
Make sure your blog is mobile responsive. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly wouldn’t rank as highly on mobile devices. As traffic from mobile devices is set to increase even further in the future, it’s important that your blog is fully mobile responsive.
Include internal links. It’s a good idea to include links to other relevant pages within your website or blog. This will show authority on your chosen key word or key phrase. You could also include external links.
Make sure the length of post is good length. As a general rule, your post should contain between 300 – 700 words. Less than 300 words won’t provide enough content for Google and more than 700 words will probably discourage your audience from reading.
Step 5. Continue To Publish Great Content
Follow these tips to become a better writer –
Be authentic – Write for your audience, not for yourself, your peers, or Google.
Don’t sweat the headline – Leave your headline until the end – a great headline will become more apparent when the copy is complete.
Get organised – Use the same notebook or an app like Evernote to record your thoughts and ideas.
Get to the point – Be concise. Don’t waffle.
Create your routine – Find the best space to work from (this will be different for everyone).
Get on with it – Don’t stare at a blank page for too long! Get some ideas or a rough outline down as soon as possible.
Have a blogging day – Write and schedule several posts in one day.
Be disciplined – Sometimes it’s easy to ‘overthink’ things. Sometimes it’s best just to ‘get on with it’!
Start with the words – Pictures, infographics and video should be added to the end of a finished piece.
Use consistent language – Develop an ‘appropriate’ list of adverbs and other phrases that you will frequently use.
Research and be inspired – Subscribe to and read other interesting blogs.
If you’re still learning how to blog or are a more experienced blogger – these are my top blogging tips –
The headline is crucial! Craft intriguing and interesting headlines that will encourage your audience to ‘click through’ to read more.
Use social media sharing icons on all of your blog posts. Encouraging your readers to share your posts is always a good idea. The sharing icons should be positioned prominently on the page.
Ensure your blog posts are fully optimised for Google. Your blog posts should contain your key words and phrases in areas including the headline, first line of text, headings and sub headings, categories and links, alt text on images and other internal and external links.
Use a strong ‘call to action’ (CTA) on all of your blog posts! Don’t neglect the call to action! CTA’s are the best way to encourage your visitors to do exactly what you want them to do!
Share your blog posts at least once on all of your social media networks.
Publish your best posts on platforms like Medium.
Guest blog! Approach other bloggers and ask if you can create content for their blog.
Maximise email marketing. On a regular basis email all or even just your best blog posts to your subscribers.
Repurpose your blog content. Your blog posts can easily be transformed into a series of social media posts, infographics or video.
Keep an eye on your statistics. If you know what topics, categories and type of posts work well, then you should be creating more like this.
It’s easy to slip into bad habits. Here are some things that you should avoid (or completely stop) doing –
Your goal should be to generate valuable content – don’t try to sell to your audience at every opportunity.
Misunderstanding Your Audience
Do some research – find out more about what your audience want or need to know. Don’t always assume that you already know this.
Constantly Reposting Old Content
It’s really o.k. to reuse the occasional old post. If you do this, I recommend revisiting, adding to or rewriting the post. If you are copying and pasting existing content, then try to improve it.
People connect with people. To successfully engage with your audience, you’ll need to let them know who you are.
Publishing Really Long Posts
Don’t rant! Get to the point! Make sure your posts are concise and not long essays.
Including Too Many Adverts
Don’t go overboard. Avoid anything that doesn’t reflect your personality and values. If you have monetised your blog by selling advertising space, then tread carefully and be selective.
Ignoring (or using poor quality) Images
Images make a huge difference. If your posts use images, they’re more likely to be read and shared by your audience. Preview your post before publishing to ensure that your image hasn’t distorted or pixelated.
Forgetting About Social Media
Include social media sharing icons on your posts and encourage your audience to share your posts.
Everybody wants (or should want) to get found on Google. If you concentrate on generating quality, authentic content, then Google will automatically index your blog appropriately.
Posting Incomplete Content
Don’t forget to add things like categories, tags and other data that will help your audience to find your posts.
Neglect Call To Actions
It’s important to strike a good balance! No one wants to be constantly sold to, but it is important to include a relevant CTA. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience to take the next step.
how to blogDon’t start something if you don’t intend to finish it. If somebody comments (however positive or negative) then you really need to respond.
In Conclusion –
I hope you enjoy writing, publishing and sharing content! Like many other things in life, if you don’t start doing this now, in a years time you’ll certainly wish that you had!
When I’m working with someone who is starting a new blog, my advise is always to develop a strategy and set realistic targets and objectives. However, sometimes it’s a good idea to jump in, make some mistakes and learn a lot from the experience.
Your strategy is important, but you’ll learn so much from experience!
Share your experiences of blogging. Let me know if you think something should be added to this blog post.