We live in an age where just about any piece of information you want is just a few clicks away. The internet has changed how people communicate, share, and learn, and things are only getting bigger and better.
Blogging platforms are opening up endless new channels for the exchange of thoughts, feelings, expertise, insights, and opinions. Anyone with an internet connection and something to say can take their shot at starting a blog.
Hundreds of millions of people run their own blogs: either independently, for an organization, or on behalf of a company. Building a blog online is not rocket science, but it is also not as straightforward as some may think.
If you are thinking about starting your own blog but don’t know where to start, you are definitely not alone. There is more to it than just writing blog posts and hoping someone happens to read them- or there is if you want to turn it into something bigger!
As you take these first steps on your blogging journey, you are going to stumble across a lot of information and conflicting thoughts. To streamline it a little, we have put together a list of 20 things you should do and 20 things you shouldn’t do if you want to be a successful blogger.
Although the list is not exhaustive, we hope it provides some valuable direction and sets you on the right path as you begin blogging. We have added in a few personal blog tips, ideas, and frequently asked questions as well along the way.
Enjoy, and happy blogging!
What Is Blogging?
First things first: what is all this blog talk about anyway? Technically speaking, a blog can be just about anything you want it to be, provided it highlights mainly written content. They tend to be interactive with the writer and their readers sharing a bit of back and forth on the topics in question.
“What topics?” you may ask. Well… whatever you want! These days, we hear a lot about celebrity blogging, but there is no limit to what you can write about. Some of the most successful blogs of all time focus on the technology market, current affairs, and media. One of the highest-paid blog writers in the world runs a blog about blogging!
The idea is that your content is a reflection of your personal interests, life, or expertise. People write about travel, pets, kids, relationships, food, and more. There is a blog about almost everything- including the kitchen sink. Imagine writing a diary about every thought you have on a topic you are passionate about, except you publish it on the internet for people to read and react to. Sound fun, yes?
Blogs connect like-minded people with a shared interest in a certain topic. Comment sections give rise to discussion and debate, and the author has the opportunity to speak directly to an engaged audience via their content.
There are roughly 600 million active blogs on the internet right now, but the growth is far from over! Global interest in hearing what people have to say and sharing information about everything and anything is only increasing, so now really is an excellent time for blog hosting and posting.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Blog
We would be remiss not to point out that launching your first site and writing your first blog post may not all be smooth sailing. There are a few things to consider before you start blogging.
Bear in mind that all these scenarios vary and the experience of blogging is different for everyone: we are only trying to provide an overview to prepare you as much as possible.
A good place to start is asking yourself why you should start a blog and its potential benefits, as well as anything that may make you decide against it. Here are a few pros and cons of running a blog that is worth thinking about.
- Blogging can be a great traffic booster for your website. You can use of to grow a client base, spread your brand awareness, and generate more interest in your business as a whole.
- You become part of a community when you start blogging. Meet others who share your interests and engage in plenty of interesting conversations.
- There is the potential to make money through blogging!
- A blog is an excellent way to document your thoughts, feelings, and inspirations.
- There is no limit to how far your outreach can extend. You could end up with readers on the other side of the globe.
- Running a successful blog is time-consuming. You need to post, update, and audit regularly to keep things running smoothly. Blogs that don’t have dedicated owners are likely to fail.
- Technical issues can be a headache, especially if your blog connects to your business. Even the best software can suffer glitches and blips sometimes, so you need to be prepared to deal with those.
- Oversharing can lead to issues in your professional life, so you need to be careful what personal information you choose to share.
In short, there are plenty of great things about running your own blog, but it takes work. You can’t expect to reap these benefits if don’t take the time to get set up properly and maintain a high standard of content and interaction.
The Do’s and Don’ts
Let’s get down to the good part. When you start blogging, it helps to have a few clear pointers to start working on from the beginning. There is so much involved in blogging, but that doesn’t mean it is complicated.
When you break it down, it is really about three things:
- Using the right software
- Coming up with some great content
- Staying consistent
Look at it like that, and the whole thing seems a lot less scary. Truth be told, blogging is so popular now that is ample support for newbies first entering the community. This list is one such example.
Here are 20 things you should do to help your blog get off to a great start and 20 mistakes that you need to avoid.
20 Must-Do’s when Starting a Blog
It is always best to start with the positives, so let us begin with our 20 smart ideas for launching a great blog.
1: Research the Blogging Community
Put simply, there is no blog without a community to follow it. You could be the best writer the internet has ever seen and still fail to turn your blog into a success if you don’t understand, find, and build the community you need.
Some of the best blogging resources are other sites. Taking time to research the writers talking about similar things to you- and even those who differ but are doing well- is one of the most valuable things you can do before you try to launch your own site. You will quickly find that those who are active members of a wider community attract more readers, have more subscribers, and are mentioned more frequently.
Here are a few community research tips that can get you off to a good start:
- Search your topic of interest and look at the top ten results. Take notes on their layout, style of writing, and how they interact with their readers.
- Go to the comment sections after the blog post and scroll through what people are saying. If you see links to other blogs in there, follow them! That is something you hope people do for you soon.
- Join Facebook groups and speak with others having similar experiences. Talking to people about how they are growing their blogs, what worked for them, and where they struggled is always worthwhile.
There is plenty you can do to learn about the blogger community, but there is no better way than becoming a part of it. Before you launch a blog of your own, be an avid follower for a while. The more you understand the reader’s point of view, the better you can tailor your content to appeal to the crowd you want to attract.
2: Pre-Plan Your Blog Theme and General Appearance
It may seem like a bit of an obvious point to make, but pre-planning what you want your blog to look like is a must. Surprisingly, a lot of people jump in without putting much thought into their blog theme and aesthetic, which often results in a bit of a miss-match.
Some of the most important things to consider are:
- What color scheme do you want to use? It sounds basic, but you would be surprised how big an impact it has.
- Decide how you want your comment section to work. There are a few options, but threaded comments tend to be the most popular and successful for blogs. Look into the choices and pick the one that works for you.
- Choose your font style and size. Again, it may not seem important, but your content needs to be enjoyable to read. Too small, and people may not be able to read clearly and won’t finish the post. Too big, and it can look unprofessional, and people might not take you seriously.
- Think about images and widgets. How many do you want? Where should they be? Are they part of your blog or separate features? Are you going to take your own or use free images from a photo bank?
- Your layout matters. Many blogs have snippets of their content at the top and comment threads at the side: others forgo snippets and keep the comments at the bottom. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is worth looking at layout examples to find one you like and use it as a base for your own.
Planning ahead and having an idea of how you want your blog to look is advantageous because it means you can focus on the more important things later. As you navigate the software, community building, writing, and maintaining a subscriber base, you don’t want to have the added pressure of making basic design choices.
3: Secure a Domain Name
It is not a necessity to have a domain name if you just want a blog to write and rant on, but if you want to create a site identity and become known for your blog, it certainly helps to have one. You can either buy one or use a free domain name site, but the choice is better when you spend a little.
Choose your domain name sooner rather than later. It helps to know exactly what it will be before you get further into building your brand. Whether you use a free domain name to set up your blog or set one up through a paid site, make it a priority to lock down early.
4: Choose the Right Blogging Platform
Something you are going to find out pretty quickly is that there is no shortage of blogging software to choose from. Picking the right blog platform is all about narrowing down the search and knowing what you are looking for.
Let’s start with free blogging sites. Many programs run a freemium model, meaning you can use some software for free, but other features are extra. One of the best examples is WordPress. Blog owners around the globe use one of the variations of WordPress (.org or .net).
These platforms may be amongst the best known, but they are not the only choices. Try not to get drawn in by big names rather than research what other options are out there. A WordPress blog is best for a personal blog rather than one that links to a business that requires a bit more details.
Other top free blogging software options include Blogger (free with a Gmail account) and Medium. Like most free platforms, these work best for simple blogs that prioritize writers speaking their minds and sharing their content in a fuss-free way.
If you want something more, it is best to look at paid software. Think about what it is exactly that you want and research platforms from there. Some of the things to consider are:
- Do you need your blog to have e-commerce capabilities? If so, Weebly is a good choice.
- Are you a coder, or do you need software that works without? Squarespace is an easy choice for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about writing code and customizing things too much.
- How creative are you? Do you prefer a site that lets you build everything from scratch, or are you looking for a bit of support? Wix is a strong platform for artists, musicians, chefs, photographers, and small business owners who want interesting themes that don’t require coding skills but still allow you to build a design from scratch.
- Is your blog part of your business? Some sites are better for enterprise purposes than others, so you need to look into the business features. Contently is a little pricey, but if your company has the money to invest, you can really build an excellent enterprise blog this way.
5: Know the Value of Networking
Let us say it again: you NEED to understand just how important networking really is. Bloggers should always be networking to increase their profile and get their blog name out there. You should take advantage of the incredibly wide world of contact opportunities the internet provides to anyone sharing content of any kind.
Here are a few ways to up your networking game:
- Join forums and relevant groups. Get involved in discussions that relate to the topic of your blog.
- Share other people’s content. Supporting your fellow bloggers is a great way to make friends, create useful connections, and become part of a collaborative community.
- Follow relevant bloggers on social media and keep up with their posts. Attend other people’s blog hosting and comment on their threads.
The whole point is to make yourself an active voice within your circle- a circle that hopefully continues to grow the more you network. Whether you are in it for the income, the profile, or the fun, you are likely to see a significant increase once you focus on networking.
This is one thing that never gets any less important. Once you manage to build a successful blog, reputation, and subscriber base, you still need to keep a strong networking focus. If you start off as an active, supportive, and visible member of the community and then slip off the radar, people may wonder if your interest has dropped.
When you make a connection, do all you can to keep it!
6: Post Regularly to Keep Things Fresh
It is not just about posting helpful content every now and again: you need to keep a steady flow going to maintain interest. When a blog goes dormant, people stop checking in, and it gradually slips further and further away from the top search results. Inactivity is a death sentence for blogs.
Try to set a time frame for how often you want to upload a new blog post. If readers know when to expect new content, they know when to come back. It is also worth updating the general information surrounding your blog, such as the most popular posts, posts of the month, etc.
The most successful bloggers make a conscious effort every week and month to keep their sites appealing, relevant, and engaging. It keeps their readers happy, their blogs sitting high on the Google search results, and their brands and businesses thriving.
7: Focus on Search Engine Optimization
The search engines hold the power to make your new blog a hit or a miss. It may sound dramatic, but trust us! Google and other leading platforms can make the difference between your blog succeeding and failing.
SEO is the number one phrase to remember when building a blog. It basically means working on your content and blog layout to rank highly. The main ways you do this are:
- Using effective keyword placement
- Add images and videos
- Boost your subscribers
- Use relevant internal links
- Pick your headings carefully and structure content wisely
- Be active on social media
There is obviously a lot more to it, but that would take a whole other post! SEO is crucial, especially for someone hoping to monetize their blog. Do your research into how to boost your SEO ranking early in your development process, preferably before your first blog post.
You can find various tools to improve your content’s SEO and check how well you are currently performing. Lots of the best tools are free, but it may be worth investing in a more substantial analytical program.
Search engines are the vehicle that brings new views to your platform. Do not ignore them! Google often changes its SEO ranking standards, to keep your ears open for news of new updates and requirements.
In short, you want people to be able to find your blog when they research your topic. They won’t be able to unless you take SEO seriously.
8: Images and Videos Are a Yes!
Continuing on from the talk of SEO, using images is a big plus. They not only add something interesting to look at and break up scrolls of writing, but they also improve the appeal of your site. Human beings are visual creatures, so you need to hold our attention!
To put it simply, images are vital for blogs because they make them look better. Uninterrupted blocks of text do not appeal to the brain and can be off-putting for someone looking for a casual read. Pictures, photographs, and videos provide a short break from reading for viewers to enjoy visually.
People also react much faster to images. If you have a bold and interesting photograph on the page, the viewer’s attention is likely to go there directly, and it could be the very thing that gets them hooked on your content.
Of course, it is all about balance. It is not a vlog, so you don’t want to overwhelm your viewers with loads of visual content. Pick strong images, place them well, and use them as boosters for your writing- not the main event.
9: Post Quality Content
Coming up with your first blog post may seem really daunting- or you may already know exactly what you want to write! All that matters is you post something interesting, relevant, entertaining, and educational. No biggie. Right?
Okay, so posting quality content that keeps readers coming back is not always going to be easy, but there are some things you can do to help you on your way.
- Take online courses to keep your writing fresh.
- Stay up to date with other blog content that relates to yours.
- Always stay on the lookout for inspiration.
- Try to give your content purpose whenever possible.
- Re-read and edit your work rather than rush to get it out there.
Have confidence in your writing ability- you are launching a blog after all! That said, always check your quality to keep things at the level your readers expect.
10: Share Your Personality and Story
People love personality. Relating to one another’s experiences is one of the main ways blogging communities and networks expand. If you can represent yourself in your writing, you have every chance of success.
Use your stories, talk about your feelings, and add in personal opinions. You are what makes your blog unique, so use it in your favor! If your readers feel like they know you, they are likely to follow your journey.
Adding a touch of you into your blog doesn’t mean handing out all your personal details and blurting out information that could get you in trouble. Find a balance that works for you: that’s what matters the most.
11: Get to Know Blog Hosting
First things first: what is blog hosting? A blog hosting account is one that lets you use your site as a server for live interactions, storing all your blog data for anyone to access from anywhere online. Web hosting is a great way to expand your network and bring in new interest. It can also open up completely new channels for the promotion of your brand.
A lot of bloggers are hesitant about web hosting, but there is nothing to be scared of. It really just means you use an existing server to share your blog content to a wider online audience. A Bluehost account is one of the best options.
12: Find Your Niche
Ah yes, what to write about? That is the million-dollar question. Luckily, the answer is just about anything. You can start a blog about literally any topic, but it helps to choose the one you are passionate about. Even if you are not overly knowledgeable, you can learn if you have the drive and interest.
You may already have a topic in mind, which is great! If you don’t, don’t sweat it- and don’t force it. Take some time to read about different things and see what blogs are out there. You may stumble across the perfect niche for you.
It is best not to rush into picking a topic. Once you choose a blog name, design your layout- pick a WordPress theme (or another theme), and start networking your brand, it is hard to suddenly veer off down a different path. Before you start the train moving on to establishing your blog, make sure you have found a niche that suits you and that you can stick with for the long haul.
13: Work on Your Writing, No Matter How Confident You Are
When you publish content, you want to know it is as strong as possible. Complacency is not the way to stand out from the millions of other blogs. Even the best, most experienced writers have something to learn, and they know it, which is how they stay at the peak of their craft.
Blog posts don’t have to be perfect, but it does help if your writing style is interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention. Take courses, listen to advice, read as much as you can, and never assume you have nothing to learn.
14: Use Link Building to Your Advantage
Backlinks are amongst the most powerful SEO tools of all. They can take time to get right, but it is more than worth the effort. What exactly do backlinking and link building mean? Let us explain.
Honestly, it is not very complicated. Whenever somebody else adds a link to your site, they create a backlink. All that means is that your blog name and domain are shared in multiple places on the web. If these links come from reputable, relevant sites, they can massively boost your SEO.
How do you get these links shared? Well, it all goes back to networking. You need people to share your blog, just as you should be doing for others. Linking between bloggers is one of the quickest ways to get more subscribers and become a bigger influence.
To get people interested in linking to your blog, you need to:
- Write something worth sharing! People won’t risk damaging their own reputation by sharing inferior content.
- Build relationships and connections. Yep, we will say it again: your network is everything. Add links to other bloggers and support people in your niche. They are then, in turn, more likely to do the same for you.
- Tailor your posts to sites you hope to be linked to. Write about a similar topic or even post a response.
- Link to other people’s blogs in your content. Referencing somebody else’s work is a great way to get their attention, especially if it creates more backlinks for them. Sharing your work and directing their readers to it is good for them too, especially if you make them look good!
There are countless link-building strategies out there- you just need to find one that works for you and suits your way of working. However you do it, make sure you make it a priority.
15: Add a Frequently Asked Questions Section
FAQ sections are great. They provide fast and easily accessible information for readers that may not have time to scroll through everything. You can use them to share vital information about yourself, your blog, and your business without having to put in all that much effort.
Add answers to frequently asked questions on your about me page, your main website, and even after a blog post if relevant.
When you pick what FAQs to include, think about the information that is most useful to your guests. Some of the best things to include are:
- Payment information: If your blog has an e-commerce feature or links to your business that sells something, let your readers know how they can access your product and pay for it.
- Background info on you and your blog: What makes you worth listening to on this particular topic?
- Topic highlights: If you have a long post, revisit some of the key points and sum them up in an FAQ. This is a great way to give readers a fast answer that can make them want to stay and read more.
- Essential information about your blog: Where can people leave comments? How can they find live interactions? Do you have a library of previous posts? Answer all these questions in one, easy-to-find place.
16: Become a Keywords Champion
Again referring to an SEO topic (are you beginning to see the importance yet?), keywords need to become your best friends. Use them well, and your blog name is sure to appear on search engines far and wide. Miss the mark, and you could be left in the dust.
Never fear! We have some pro tips for mastering the art of keyword picking and placement. Here is our (short) ultimate guide.
- Use Google as a source of information. When you start typing in the search bar, a menu pops down. These are the most popular searches with the words you typed so far. Take them and implement them in your posts.
- Take it one step further with Keyword Tool. There is not much this site can’t tell you about optimizing keywords. You start by typing in a word or phrase, and the program generates a list of keyword phrases and long-tail keywords that relate.
- Keyword planners help you expand on original keyword ideas and give you an idea of how successful they are based on analytical data. Google Adwords offers one of the best.
- Click on related searches. When you scroll through results for a certain phrase, most search engines offer a list of related questions. Dig deeper, follow the links, and see what results pop up. You can also take the related searches and test them in your keyword planner to see how effectively they perform.
- Size up the competition. There is nothing wrong with using other successful sites for information and inspiration- especially when it comes to keywords. Check out the top results and study their use of phrases, single words, and long-tails. This is what is ranking highly, so it is worth using it as a resource.
- Mix and match your keywords for optimal effect. When you have your words and phrases, get creative with how you use them. Overlap, combine, and merge them to build sentences that rank highly for SEO. Don’t worry about everything being an exact match: you can use filler words to make things read more naturally.
- Don’t force it: make it flow. You can sometimes tell when a writer has tried to shoehorn in a key phrase, and it is not always smooth. Ok, it still hits in terms of SEO, but it doesn’t read as well.
17: Regularly Audit and Update Your Blog Content
We have already discussed the importance of posting new content regularly, but there is more to it than that. If you are an active blogger, you probably have forums, lists, widgets, images, and additional information. All these elements should be reviewed and reworked as necessary at least once a month.
Old content that is not relevant anymore should not be one of the first things your readers see, so remove it or rehome it in a different part of your blog. If you have a ‘post of the week’ widget or something similar, don’t forget to change it!
Many bloggers keep a list of their Most Liked posts somewhere visible on their site. It is a great idea- but only if it is kept up to date. As your blog grows, so too should your number of likes and comments, so you don’t want an early post with a fraction of the interest your new work gets advertising itself as your best yet.
If you use images and videos, consider refreshing them every now and again to keep things interesting.
18: Promote Yourself!
Many people are shy or uncomfortable about promoting themselves, but why? If you don’t think your blog is worth sharing, it probably isn’t going to take you very far. You are already bold and brave enough your share your work and thoughts online, so back yourself!
Share your blog’s address whenever you can (without getting spammy). Find relevant opportunities, be it a related post, a sharing forum, or as part of a larger discussion. Use your social media accounts as a platform for promotion to get you off the ground and direct people towards your blog.
If you promote yourself well, you may find that others start promoting you too.
19: Find Your Point of Difference
Let us start by saying that it is perfectly okay to start a blog about a topic that others have already written about. In fact, it is almost inevitable that someone somewhere in the big wide world is interested in sharing work on the same things as you.
Being different is not about dreaming up a unique topic: it is about finding a way to stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of ways to do this that don’t involve too much extra effort. Here are a few suggestions for inspiration:
- Look for a different angle on a widely discussed topic. Rather than approaching a topic with the same eyes like everyone else, come up with a creative take that you haven’t seen anywhere else.
- Use personal experiences. Anyone can write about a topic in general, but only you can speak about your life and opinion.
- Be an expert. Is there something you are truly passionate about to the point you know more about it than anyone else you have met? Use that! Someone is sure to want to learn from you. Go deeper with your posts and use your knowledge and understanding of a topic to make your blog different.
- Get creative with your interactions. Conduct interviews, invite other bloggers to discuss topics with you, ask for feedback from your readers, and set challenges for your subscribers. People like to feel engaged and are likely to come back for more.
- Take your own photos and use unique images. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take great photos these days. Modern phones have incredible tools that can achieve some pretty impressive results. Use your own photos in your blog. It is a nice personal touch and guarantees that no other blog looks like yours. You may even want to consider a short online course in photography if you really want to take it to the next level.
- Have something interesting to say. We all know that controversy sells, right? If you can master the balance of being controversial without becoming obnoxious, you could be on to a real winner. Be ready for mixed feedback and discussion on your page- something that can help with your SEO rating!
20: Read, Read, and Read Some More!
You never know when inspiration for new blog post ideas may strike, but it helps if you are on the lookout. Keep up to date with new blog posts from writers and companies that you like with voices that resonate with the type of posts you want to be sharing.
As a writer, you can never read enough. You can learn new vocabulary, writing styles, and some seriously useful information to boost your work. Reading expands the mind and enhances your understanding of whatever topic you are interested in. It is even worth reading about things that don’t necessarily tie to your blog: learning new things is never a negative.
20 Blogging World No-No’s
Forgive us: we don’t mean to be party poopers, but it is not always easy. Knowing what not to do is equally important as knowing what you should do, otherwise, you may get caught out when launching your new blog. We want you to go out there prepared with a better understanding of what works and what makes blogs fail.
Here are our 20 biggest blogging don’ts for you to avoid.
1: Don’t Lose Quality in Favor of Quantity
When you are writing a blog post, don’t let the pressure to publish take over the need to uphold your standards. Sure, posting regularly is important, but not if what you post is not worth reading. Never sacrifice the quality of your work just so you can pump out post after post.
Have a schedule that you stick to and get into a routine of writing, editing, proofreading, and posting within a certain time frame. Whether it is daily, weekly, or otherwise: what matters is a consistent standard of writing that shows you in a good light.
If you want to push for higher quantity, why not add small snippets or mini-posts more regularly. You can maintain quality writing by posting shorter articles.
2: Avoid the Temptation to Replicate Other Blogger’s
Using other writers and their posts as inspiration is fine, but copying them is not. We are not just talking full-blown plagiarism (which is an obvious cardinal sin), we also mean spinning someone else’s content without adding your own voice or changing the perspective in any way.
Unoriginal content is not only a bit of a copout, but it can damage your reputation if someone points it out. Because blogging relies so heavily on networking, there is a good chance someone who reads your blog is reading the blog that wrote the replicated post.
Look: getting ideas from someone else is not stealing, as long as you have something to add and make it your own. Coming up with completely fresh content is best, but it doesn’t hurt to see what else is out there. If you are unsure about where the line is, look into plagiarism rules and blogging etiquette in more detail.
3: Rushing to Choose a Blog Name is a Mistake
Your name is your brand, and it stays with you for the entire journey. Yes, you can rebrand later, but that can cause more hassle than it is worth. Do not make a hasty decision about what to call your blog: it is not worth it. Better to launch a couple of weeks later than planned than push out a blog with a name you are not 100% sure of.
Here are a few pointers for choosing that all-important blog name:
- Make it relevant: Names that are too abstract can mislead people and turn them off from your brand.
- Know who you want to attract: What is your reader profile? What type of name will grab their attention?
- Your name should reflect your writing style: Are you a humorous writer? Show that with your name. Is your content analytical and technical? Keep the name in the same tone. Whatever type of writing your readers can expect- try to get that across in your name.
- Incorporate your own name, or don’t: If you write a personal blog, make it personal- add your own name! Professional blogs, on the other hand, are best to avoid these types of connections.
- Make sure the name isn’t taken: There is nothing worse than thinking you have a great, original name idea only to be informed after the fact that it already exists. It can cause you some pretty big headaches, so make sure you make sure your name idea is not already in use.
- Get back to basics with alliteration: There is something very satisfying about alliteration. It is used so often for a reason.
- Go international with a foreign language name: Mixing it up by throwing in a word from another language can instantly spice up your appeal. Just don’t get too obscure and alienate potential readers.
4: Don’t Start Blogging until You are Fully Prepared
You are excited about your new blog and chomping at the bit to get started. We get it. However, don’t jump until you are fully ready. Test run your website, double-check everything works, critique your designs, and practice your posts. Take every possible step to make sure that once you launch and submit that first blog post, everything is ready to flow as it should.
Starting a blog is a big deal and should not be rushed. If you really want to give yourself the best chance of success, take your time. Set a goal but don’t stress if you are not quite ready. What matters the most is that you are fully prepared for whatever comes your way.
5: Never Underestimate Social Media Advertising
There is a little bit of snobbery around social media these days in some parts of the blogging community, which is odd considering how influential these platforms are. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and beyond are meccas for the online population.
You would have to travel pretty far to find a place where not one person uses some type of social media: it truly is the largest global community of all. Failing to appreciate what it can do for you are a writer, business owner, and brand is a huge mistake to make.
Nobody is too cool or too woke to use social media as an advertising platform. Social media marketing is one of the most cost and time-effective methods available today, and it has a wider reach than anything else. Getting your blog on social media is a must if you want to up your game.
Furthermore, don’t forget to put effort into your social media presence. Set up profiles for your blog, keep them updated, and use them to network as much as possible.
6: Keep Some Personal Details to Yourself
Oversharing in a blog is a precarious issue. On one hand, adding personal stories is a great way to engage your audience and make your content stand out, but it can also land you in hot water if you are not careful.
It goes without saying that you should never give out your phone number, address, or anything else that could expose you more than you want to be, but you also need to consider what you say about other people.
Avoid using people’s names unless you have their permission, and certainly don’t share their private information without asking first. If you can’t ask, it is probably better that you don’t risk it. Celebrities are slightly different: you can use names if they are in the public eye.
Another thing to think about is how your personal stories reflect on you. Say, for example, you write some scathing article about a client or colleague, and they see it… you could end up in an uncomfortable situation, or worse. Other potential clients may also see it and be wary of working with you, so always think about the consequences of your words and actions.
7: Don’t Think that Asking for Help is Wrong
Asking for help, guidance, and assistance is not a sign that you are not good enough to do it alone. Very few people ever make it to the top without the support and advice of others. Starting a blog is a major undertaking- especially if you have big goals to turn it into a source of income. Do not suffer in silence: reach out and ask for a bit of help from those who went before you.
Some of the best places to find advice and guidance on how to start a blog include:
- Other blog owners
- Experts in the topic you plan to write about
- Marketing professionals
- Friends and family who can read your posts before you upload them (try to pick someone who is not afraid to give critique!)
- Writers with experience with internet audiences
- Webinars and online courses
- Posts like this one!
- Your readers- know that they like and don’t like
Nobody is going to think less of you for reaching out and asking for help. People generally love to share their experiences and will probably feel flattered that you came to them in the first place. If you play your cards right, you can even use it as a networking tool by building relationships with fellow bloggers who can share your content further down the line.
8: Try Not to Lose Consistency
There are many things you need to be consistent with when starting a blog and running it over time:
- Your tone: Having a recognizable voice throughout your pieces helps readers understand your identity and lets them know what to expect.
- Post timing: If your subscribers expect a new post every week, you need to deliver. Inconsistency and sporadic postings are not conducive to building a loyal follower base.
- Interactions: Your activity matters. If you spend one week heavily involved in the community- liking, sharing, commenting, and responding- then drop off the face of the earth the next, people don’t really know what to expect from you. As far as networking and relationship building go, you need to be a reliable source of contact.
- Content: There is no rule that says you need to write about the same topic all the time, in fact, it is good to mix it up. That said, there is a line between shaking things up to keep your readers interested and throwing in something way out of the left field that is completely irrelevant to your readers. It is ok to go wild sometimes and post something unexpected, but you should always try to find a way to tie it back to your audience. If you feel strongly about something and really want to post about it, consider doing it as an extra, rather than replacing your core content.
- Technology and software: Technical issues are the bane of every website owner’s life. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that are beyond your control, but that doesn’t mean you just sit back and take the day off. Consistency is about doing every you can to uphold a certain standard, and that includes how well your software operates. Carry out regular website maintenance checks, get rid of clutter, and look out for recurring bugs.
9: Stop Stressing about the Haters
An unfortunate trait of the internet is the people who find joy in bringing others down. Free speech is a wonderful thing, but it can get a bit irritating when someone uses that privilege to spout hate at every given opportunity. Just remember: it is not personal, they just want it to feel that way.
Internet trolls and haters only have power if you give it to them. Anyone who posts abusive or inappropriate content can be blocked from commenting, or you can report them if things go too far. Those who just decide to torment you are like an annoying fly at a summer barbeque, but you can’t rise to their taunting. If you ignore them long enough, they get bored and move on to the next unfortunate soul.
Anyone struggling to deal with a troll on their blog can find support online. Again, you are not the first or last person to go through it, and you should not let it bring you down. Speak to someone you trust and discuss your distress in trusted communities. It may surprise you how much people are willing you back you up and help you out.
10: Trying to Please Everyone is a Sure-Fire Way to Fail
To expand on our previous point: don’t try to make everyone happy. Trolls are one thing, but you may also have people who just don’t like your blog. Newsflash: that is ok. If everyone liked the same things, the world would be pretty dull.
Your writing style, opinions, and content topics are sure to be exactly what some people love to see, but it may not be for others. It is impossible to make everyone like you and your content, so don’t try. Know who you want to attract to your site and write for them- write for you!
Whatever you do, don’t change everything because of a negative comment from one unhappy reader. If you can appease them, great, but stand by your work: your other readers will respect you for it.
11: Don’t Be Scared to Guest Blog!
Guest blogging is an invaluable tool for boosting your SEO ranking and attracting more blog traffic. In a nutshell, it means when you write a post for somebody else’s blog.
Many new bloggers are scared of guest posting, but they shouldn’t be. It is a fantastic way to expand your network, increase your credibility, and get your voice out there! What puts most people off is searching for opportunities, but as the old saying goes: don’t ask- don’t get.
The best way to land a guest blog spot is to reach out to leading brands and bloggers in your niche. If you write about travel, for example, find a successful site with lots of readers that may be interested in what you have to say. Come up with a proposal for a post and send a sample of your work- you can even send the link to your blog.
Use your network to find out how to get in touch with the person who can make the decision, or reach out to the blogger directly if you know who they are. Getting your writing and your brand in front of a new audience creates a high-ranking backlink, boosts your street cred, and directs more people towards your blog.
Write guest blog posts whenever a relevant opportunity arises, and seek out chances to make it happen. If you wait for them to come to you, you are really limiting your options.
12: Long Loading Times can Kill Rates
Slow loading times are disastrous for blogs. People are not patient- especially in the internet age. If someone has to wait too long for your post to open, they are likely to look elsewhere.
You may have heard of something called a bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave a website without going past the first page. A high bounce rate is bad for business, and load times have a lot to answer for.
There are ways to speed up your blog’s loading times and tools to run diagnostics and check how things are performing.
- Optimize your images by changing the size and placement.
- Use a caching plugin.
- Consider changing what web hosting provider you use if the problem is ongoing.
- Install Pingdom, GTMetrix, or another similar speed-testing tool to keep things running smoothly.
13: Spam Is Not Your Friend
Nobody. Likes. Spam.
Nobody- not one single person- appreciates being bombarded with adverts, marketing, and promotions. Please, don’t be that guy. Sure, you need to get yourself out there and spread the word, but be classy about it. Post your link where and when it is relevant, and don’t go for overkill.
Some bloggers post 20 comments in a row on another blog just sharing their blog link. It gets pretty annoying, as you are sure to find out. People are unlikely to respect a blogger who does this, and even less likely to click on the link or visit your page.
Marketing is important for anyone looking to build their brand and get their name recognized, but you want people to know you for good reasons. Bloggers have a way of shutting down spammers pretty effectively, blackballing them and ridiculing them until they stop. Sounds mean- and it sometimes can be but spam is not acceptable etiquette.
If you are serious about growing your blog, look for intelligent marketing practices rather than throwing your link around left, right, and center. There are plenty of excellent programs that are very affordable that can make a massive difference.
Alternatively, take your lead from blogs that you like and try to replicate their methods.
14: Don’t Let Income Rule Your New Blog
Money blogging is appealing to many. After all, why shouldn’t people be able to make a little extra income off of their original thoughts and great writing?
How great is it to live in a day and age where you can turn your passions and hobbies into a paying job just by setting up a website and putting in a bit of effort from home! The trick is to not get too caught up in that side of things straight away and focus more on building your brand, establishing your blog, and becoming confident in what you are doing.
If you focus on the integral elements in the early days, making the move to monetization is probably going to be a lot easier and smoother. Lay strong foundations and do things the right way rather than diving in and risking getting sloppy.
15: Avoid Overcomplicated Themes
You may be tempted to choose the most complex and intricate WordPress theme you can find, but hold on for a minute. More is not always more, especially not when it comes to building a user-friendly blog.
Some people feel the need to update their blogs every time a new WordPress theme comes out. Just because it is the latest edition and has new features doesn’t mean it is right for what you need.
Don’t get us wrong: the theme developers that work for these leading platforms are amazing at what they do, but not every blogger needs every feature. Less can be more if it means your users have an enjoyable experience when they visit your blog.
16: Irrelevant Ads are Off-Putting
It can be tempting to take ad buys from anyone offering to pay for them, but be wary. Filling your blog and affiliated website with random ads that have nothing to do with your content can be detrimental.
Imagine your go-to website for tech data starts sharing ads about insurance. You wouldn’t like it, right? By that same token, you don’t want people getting confused when an irrelevant advert shows up when they go to read your latest blog post.
Be selective about the ads you put up. The income is great, but not if it drives away your subscribers. You need both to maintain long-term success. Put out feelers to companies whose ads suit your blog. If you have the relevant followers, they may be interested. These connections are good for all parties involved.
17: Edit Your Content, but Don’t Over-Stress About Grammar
You can’t run a blog without coherent writing, but don’t sweat the small stuff. This may come as shocking news, but most people don’t care about grammar! Now, we are not saying you should throw caution to the wind, forgoing any interest in putting together a good sentence. All we mean is that mixing up the odd tense sequence or pronoun is not going to leave your blog in ruin.
Of course, it is best to use best grammar practices, but people make mistakes. Even proofreading your post doesn’t guarantee catching every error. The truth is, most of your readers probably won’t even notice. If they do, they are unlikely to hold it against you (unless your blog is about grammatical correctness!).
Programs like Grammarly can help you limit mistakes if you are concerned about getting it right. You can run your text and get pointers on how to improve. There is a free version with limited tips, or you can opt for premium if you want more detailed feedback. There is a score out of 100, as well as information about readability, clarity, and tone.
18: Don’t Save the Best Stuff for Paying Subscribers
Most people start by running a free blog. Those who do well may start offering paid subscriptions for extra content and more interaction. It is tempting to keep all your best work for the people who pay for it, but that may not be your best move.
You want to have top-grade content available to everyone who visits to entice them to find out what more they can enjoy! If you focus too much on your paying subscribers and neglect your casual readers, your loyal following is unlikely to grow much further.
Of course, you need to make paid content worth the money, but you also need to make people want more than your free site. When you are first starting a blog this is not a major concern, but it is worth bearing in mind for the future.
19: Stay Away from Plugin Overkill
Plugins are awesome. They help you expand your reach, enhance your blog’s capabilities, and create smoother connectivity for you and your readers. The thing is, you don’t want too many. Throwing in too many plugins can affect your site’s performance and get a little confusing.
Every plugin offers a different service, and it can be tempting to want them all. Some track performance, some collect data, others provide additional storage, and some help you organize subscribers. Honestly, the list is endless.
Think of what you actually need and stick to those. Trust us, you don’t want to overcomplicate things any more than you have to. Many WordPress Plugins can be major assets to your blog, but you really don’t need them all!
Here are some of the best blog plugins for starting a blog in 2022:
- Google Analytics Dashboard
- WP Project Manager
- WooCommerce Conversion Tracker
- Yoast SEO
20: Never Let Security Standards Slip!
Last- but certainly not least- let’s talk about security. Personal information and user data must be protected. Don’t slack on your website safety.
Using a VPN and keeping an up-to-date firewall to protect against hacks, bugs, and security breaches is a must for anyone tracking or collecting user data, statistics, and any other private information.
You make think a blog is unlikely to be a major target, but you never know. If someone sees an opportunity, they can take it.
Keep yourself in the clear by investing in strong privacy software for your devices and website, and consider installing a VPN. It is just good business practice to be proactive in protecting yourself and your users. Some of the best VPNs for bloggers include:
- Express VPN
- Nord VPN
Here are a few frequently asked questions about blogging that may be helpful as you start your journey.
Can anyone become a blogger?
Yes- truly anyone can start a blog! Furthermore, anyone can run a successful blog if they have dedication, good preparation, and creativity. Thanks to free custom domain websites and advances in affordable software, you don’t even need to have money spare. Sure, somewhere along the line it helps to spend a little, but it is not a necessity.
If you have an idea for a blog theme, the time to put together a strong site, the talent for writing interesting and captivating content, and the patience to wade through the long grass until things are up and running: you have as good a shot as anyone as making it work!
Earning money through blogging is not as straightforward, but it is also possible for anyone if they can generate enough interest.
Is a WordPress Blog a good choice?
One of the biggest blogging platform names is WordPress. Creating a WordPress blog is relatively easy once you get used to the system. It works best for casual bloggers who are starting a blog for themselves rather than for their business.
The WordPress dashboard is one of the more user-friendly interfaces out there, especially when using WordPress CMS, plugins, and themes. Free WordPress themes are very popular amongst modern bloggers, but there is a lot more out there as well.
You can install WordPress free of charge, but you need to pay for many of the best features.
How can I manage my SEO ranking?
Search engine optimization is a must for anyone who wants their blog content to be seen. Managing your ranking helps you keep your site active, available, and easy to find. There are several great tools that make this possible- both free and paid sites.
Anybody writing posts should consider subscribing to a program such as Surfer SEO, which shows you are ranking per post. The score is based on the latest Google parameters and uses keywords, headings, and similar articles for reference. It is not free, but it is one of the best tools for optimizing blog content.
SERPWatcher is a paid tool that helps you monitor your blog’s performance across various search engines. It offers a more in-depth analysis than you get with free sites and tells you a lot more about how you can improve your ranking.
Free tools for checking your blog’s ranking include:
- Keyword Rank Checker: Search for specific keywords to see what position you fall into on search engine results.
- Google Search Console: This magic tool lets you what is helping your ranking. Find out what keywords are bringing people to your blog and its overall performance as far as optimization goes.
Where can I find inspiration for a blog post?
Running your own blog and needing to come up with ideas on what to share with your readers on the regular can leave the juices in your creative tank feeling a little low. Don’t worry: that is perfectly normal! Looking for inspiration does not mean you can’t come up with something on your own- it means you care enough about your subscribers and your blog to get out there and find what works.
Where to look? Well, the list is endless. A lot of it depends on what your blog is about, but here are a few general tips for jumpstarting your inspiration engine.
- Read blogs that relate to yours. Even if they don’t cover exactly the same topics, you may find something that sparks your interest and leads you down a path of discovery.
- Try new things. Do you write about sports? Why not try an obscure type of exercise or trial a new workout product. Is your blog about food? Cook something whacky or go to that restaurant you heard about. Whatever niche you write, branch out within your bubble to find a new angle.
- Get personal. Talk with friends and family: they could have something inspiring to say, or they themselves could be the very thing you were looking for in the first place. You can even take it one step further and write about yourself. If you can’t find yourself inspiring, then who can, right?
- Listen to the news. Current events- whether or not they relate to your blog- can be excellent thought starters. Put your own twist on the news or look for an interesting story that appeals to your way of thinking.
- Switch things up completely! Although your readers come to you for a reason, they might enjoy something unexpected. If inspiration strikes in a completely different world to the one you normally explore, go with it. Try to find some relevance or trust that your subscribers can follow your wave.
Can I make my blog private?
Yes, you can. Most blog platforms give users the option to control their privacy settings. Usually, you can edit the permission to limit who can access your content. If you leave it public, anyone who stumbles across your blog post can read it and comment on it. Change the setting to private, and people need to request access before they see anything.
There are other settings that control who can leave comments and share content, and others that put you completely in charge of access permission. Many new blog owners start off with higher privacy settings until they feel ready to go public.
Just remember to change your setting before you decide to expand further. There is no point in networking and sharing your link if nobody can see it.
Does it cost money to start a blog?
The short answer is no, it doesn’t have to. However, investing a little at the beginning can help you speed up the process of making your blog a success- especially if you hope to make it profitable.
When you find a blogging platform you like, it is likely to offer various subscriptions. Many work on a freemium model, meaning you can access some but not all features for free. If you want the best bits, you need to pay for a membership.
Take WordPress, for example. You can pick a free WordPress theme and get a website up and running without paying a penny, but you have limited tracking and hosting capabilities. People who only want to run a simple blog to share their thoughts can do so easily for free, but if you want to grow a business and branch into digital marketing and sponsored posts, then you may need to invest a little.
Most platforms are affordable, so don’t worry about breaking the bank. If you are dedicated and talented, you can build a successful blog without spending a lot.
Can I really make money blogging?
Lots of people make money blogging- many of whom started from scratch! If you are hoping to monetize your own blog, it is a goal that is well within reach. We are not saying it is easy, but if you put in the effort, make the right moves, and deliver excellent content, there is no reason you can’t do it!
As a blog grows, its owner can earn passive income through ad space, paid subscriptions, and more. If you have enough regular readers you can sell advertising space to companies. That way, you earn money for each view without having to do very much. Of course, it is up to you to keep your blog interesting enough that those views stay high!
Some bloggers become successful enough that they can charge people to view their content. It takes time and a fair bit of work to get there, but it does pay off.
Affiliate sales of relevant products can also make you money by running a free blog. You create what is called an affiliate link, which takes viewers to a purchasing page for a product. If they buy it after clicking on your personal link, you get a commission.
These are just some of the ways bloggers make money. Please bear in mind that it is not a guarantee. Start by focusing on your content then think about income later on.
Is starting a blog easy?
Yes and no. To start a blog, all you need is a free domain, a keyboard, and an internet connection, so in that sense, it is pretty easy. You don’t need to be a coding wizard- you don’t even need any previous website building experience! The tools available nowadays do most of the work for you.
Thus, the tricky part is growing a blog and keeping it going. It really depends on what you hope to achieve, but you need to put in a bit of effort either way.
If you just want a space to voice your thoughts for whoever cares to read them, and you don’t care how many people do, all you need to do is maintain the website and come up with something to write.
Hosting a blog with an active following, subscribers, and influence is something else entirely. Again, it is difficult: it just takes dedication and a bit of elbow grease. If you are motivated and a talented enough writer, you can make it.
Blogging is a wonderful hobby that can turn into a passion and even a career. If you are considering joining the millions of others already involved in this global community, we cannot encourage you enough!
As you can see from this list of do’s and don’ts, there is a lot to think about- some of it may not even have crossed your mind. Don’t sweat over it: take it to step by step, and you can soon be blogging with the best of them.
To sum everything up, the main things you need to remember are:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare: The more pre-planning you do, the better your launch is likely to be.
- Put effort into your web design: Appearance matters. If there are millions of blogs to choose between, yours needs to be visually appealing enough to get a viewer to stay and read on.
- Get into the habit of regular posting and maintenance: Stay active, otherwise your blog may drop off the radar.
- Network, communicate, and get interactive: Comment, post links, share content, and get involved in the blogging world’s discussions!
- Get to know the SEO and keyword laws: It may be time-consuming and complicated at times, but it is oh so worth it if you want to succeed.
- Don’t forget to enjoy it! Sure, these rules can help you turn your blog into a business, but we don’t want you to lose the element of fun. Enjoy your blog: use it to share your voice. Never lose the balance and forget why you wanted to write in the first place!
All that remains to be said is best of luck. We hope this guide is of some assistance to you are you take your first steps toward blogging greatness. Enjoy!