How To Start A Successful Blog Today
The blogging space is full of what I call “Noise.” This just means there are a lot of blogs out there, and very few are valuable. I’m not trying to be harsh it’s just the truth. If you want your blog to be successful, you are going to have to work extremely hard and have patience. If you have GREAT content and a consistent posting schedule you will be fine.
There are a few things you can do the “right way” when you are starting your blog that will help you get a head start on your competition. Below is a list of things that you can do as a new blogger, that will get you on the right path.
1. A Domain Name That Looks Professional
If you haven’t started your blog yet, I highly suggest you get a domain and hosting package from a web hosting service such as Bluehost. It is simple to build your blog with their built-in one-click WordPress install tool. In as little as 5 minutes you can have a FREE professional looking domain name and a hosting service.
You don’t want you URL to look like this — www.yourblog.weebly.com
You WANT it to look like this — www.yourblog.com
Free services such as WordPress native blogs and the Blogger platforms are great, BUT they have their branding in your domain name. If you are serious about building your brand with a blog, you must have a specific domain name. If you want a successful blog, this is important.
2. Update Your Permalink Structure
When you are creating a new blog post the permalink is the URL that your blog creates after you publish. It will be set as something ugly that looks like this:
Not what you want to be shown when people go to your specific posts.
Before writing your first blog post go to the Settings tab in your WordPress Dashboard and navigate to the Permalink section.
Under Settings —> Permalinks change the structure to be “Post Name”.
3. Change The Favicon For Your Website
A favicon is a 16X16 icon that shows up next to your URL in the browser, and it also shows up next to the tabs or when you create a bookmark for the site.
If you choose not to upload a favicon, it will show up as blank or some ugly little globe object from WordPress. Yes, this is just a small thing, BUT it all adds up, and it will make a difference in making your site stand out.
To update your favicon, you will nee a 16 X 16 pixel icon (formatted as favicon.ico). If you are a WordPress user, most of your templates will have a section to upload the favicon directly from the appearance tab.
Go to favicon.cc to create a favicon that will work on any platform.
4. Don’t Go Crazy With Plugins and Widgets
One of the best things about WordPress is how easy and fun it is to customize your site using plugins and widgets. I would recommend you do some research on which plugins would best suit the needs of your site before installing any. Here are a few listed below that I recommend for all blogs/website.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast — A fantastic SEO plugin that helps you optimize each post for search.
- BackupBuddy — The most user-friendly site backup plugin for WordPress that can back your site up automatically.
- W3 Total Cache — The speed of your site is IMPORTANT, and this plugin will optimize your site to run as fast as it can.
- WPForms — WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress.
- OptinMonster — A simple to use lead generation plugin. (Free).
- OptinSkin— A more in-depth lead generation plugin. (Premium).
- Disqus — A WordPress commenting system. Disqus Looks much better than the native WordPress systems.
- Floating Social Bar — The best social media sharing plugin for WordPress.
It is, of course, subjective to what are the best plugins for the job, but this is a great list to get you started. Just make sure you have a backup plugin, cache plugin, and some type of SEO plugin.
5. Format Your Blog Posts
One thing I see newer bloggers do is to create posts with great content, BUT they are no fun to read. Make sure you are breaking your content up appropriately with headings and pictures. Your posts should include headings, subheadings, bold keywords, italics, lists, white space, pictures, diagrams, charts, infographics, and links. It will take some practice, BUT if you can learn how to construct an eye-catching blog post, you will be ahead of most people already.
6. Be Original
The last thing I’m going to touch on is just being “you”. Originality is key in the online blogging space, and you need to find what makes you different. Yes, there will be other blogs out there about the same thing you want to write about. Question: Why is your blog any different? The Answer: Because of YOU. You are what makes your blog different; it’s your perspective on the topic, your creativity, the value that you add.
Here are some other tips to get you started:
- Be Honest — Your blog needs to be real – it needs to FEEL real if you want people to read it. You don’t have to be a professional writer, just come at each post as if you were speaking with the individual who is reading it.
- Transparency — Always be honest, and be transparent when it adds value to what you’re writing. Let your audience in your world when it could bring them value.
- Time — After you have started your blog, you’ll learn that blogging takes a log of time. Once you have your design set up, don’t tweak it too much; spend the time on your writing.
- Social Media — In the beginning, the only person reading your blog will most likely be your mom. I recommend using Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram, among other social networks that fit your niche. BUT don’t get so caught up in this that you have no time to write good content. There has to be balance.
- Ignore Negative Criticism and Trolls — This may come as a shock to you BUT there are going to be people out there that do not like what you are creating, and they are going to be mean to you. This sounds juvenile, but it’s so true. You have to learn to keep your head down and focus on the people who are positive about what you are doing. Pay the trolls no mind; your site is not for them. Delete their comment and move on.
In closing just Be Interesting. Write awesome content. Especially if you want people to share it with others.