Everything You Need to Know Before Starting Your Own Blog
Written by Ivan Spasojevic
23 November 2016
Most people write about things that they are passionate about and either have a substantial knowledge or they want to learn about the subject that they want to cover on their blog. If that is the case, then you might think that you’re an expert on the subject or at least that you know enough to just start writing about it and people will come and read it. That’s where you’re wrong. You always need to do more research about the niche that you want to conquer with your writing. Find out who your competition is and what are they doing and differentiate. Cover everything there is so that you are able to establish yourself as an authority.
Doing additional research about the things that you are going to write about can’t be considered as a hard work and you are supposed to enjoy it, but there are some other things that you need to learn that may not come as easy. It’s important that you acquire certain skills regarding social media, SEO, design etc. You need to be able to create a blog that will be visually appealing to your audience and you need to know how to find that audience through social media and on internet in general.
The best thing to do before you start is to learn from others who have been here for some time. To set you on the path to success we asked established bloggers to reveal the things that they wish somebody told them before they started. Read about their experience, learn from their mistakes and get inspired to write your own magnificent blog.
Blogging tips for beginners:
Virginie CarmichaelGet a domain name before you start blogging. It’s easy to get started for free, but a domain name costs $10 per year (which is basically two Starbucks coffees) and if your blog grows, you won’t have to worry about rebranding and switching names when you realize yours is taken. Down the road, it will make your life easier. And if one day you decide to stop blogging, then you can stop paying! And at that price, it would take years of not using it for it to become an expensive mistake… So just get one from the start!
Bio: Virginie Carmichael is a web designer for young and creative entrepreneurs. She started her business CityGirl’s Design less than a year ago, while she was traveling the world with her boyfriend. Connect with @citygirlsdesign on Twitter.
Joshua WarmkeThe biggest thing I wish I knew before I started my blog was just how important an email list is and that building your list should be a major focus from day one. Building your email list lets you truly own your audience in a way that neither search engines nor social media really allow. Being able to market to your list, directly to their inboxes, time and again is really the most valuable asset a blog can own. And if you're asking yourself "what should i blog about?", you can also use your list to figure out what content you should be creating.
Bio: Josh Warmke, owner of simplycompelling.com, has helped hundreds of small businesses to build, manage, and promote their online presence. He’s a soccer fanatic, videogame enthusiast, and loves Star Wars.
Andrew ChocoExtensive keyword research is something that is a necessity for bloggers. A lot of times, bloggers will think of a topic and just instantly begin writing. However, in the age of search engine optimization, learning exactly what keywords your target demographic is looking for is crucial for blogging success. We use tools like SEMrush to determine which keywords we're writing about are generating a high amount of search volume. From there, we use Answer the Public to find actual queries people are searching for about those keywords. Now we have an actionable plan and a question we need to answer that we know people are searching for. All that's left is to create awesome content, and your blog becomes the hub of knowledge for your ideal readers.
Bio: My name is Andrew Choco and I'm the VP of Marketing at a digital agency, Directive Consulting. We're a Google, Bing, Moz and Unbounce partner that specializes in PPC, SEO, Content Marketing, and Social Advertising. We actively publish thought leadership in Moz, Ahrefs, SitePoint, Marin, Kissmetrics, Wordstream, Convince and Convert, and many more.
Ron StefanskiI've been blogging across multiple websites for about two years now and there is one thing that really took me off guard when I started. When you write content, they will NOT come. Many experts out there tell people who want to start a blog that the most important thing is to write content. While writing content is obviously important, the absolute most important thing is sharing that content.
When you start out, you won't have a reputation in the eyes of search engines and because of that it's incredibly unlikely that you'll rank organically for what you write. So don't just spend time writing content, spend additional time sharing that content via email and social networks. This won't only get other people to share it with their audience, but it might also get you a few backlinks as well.
Bio: Ron Stefanski is a college professor and corporate marketer turned internet entrepreneur. After leaving the comfort of a six figure corporate job, Ron has gone on to create OneHourProfessor.com which helps people create and market their own online businesses, and JobsForFelonsHub.com which helps felons get employed again.
Jennifer SchmidtI wish I had known the importance of ALT tagging my photos! I see so many blog post images with poor ALT tagging. Your photos should include ALT tags that are written in a conversational style and filled with relevant key words. I feel that poor ALT tagging particularly hurts artists, writers and anyone else who is really relying on name recognition.
- I also wish that I had understood the value of Pinterest better (this is a bigger topic for sure) because I would have set up posts differently with Pinterest in mind. Specifically:
- I would have created images that were in a tall, narrow format and I would have pinned that image to Pinterest to help promote the blog post.
- I would have created ALT tagging to help support potential Pinterest pins.
Every time I pinned a blog post, I would have double checked it to be sure I was including all the keywords that were important to me.
Bio: Jennifer Boaro is a pattern maker and designer, and created the Cat Ball® cat bed. Located in Washington, The Cat Ball, LLC provides innovative cat bed designs for cats all around the world.
Lori SoardI have started a number of blogs, including Crabby Housewife and Rat Race Mutiny. I also help some clients manage their blogs.
If I could tell future bloggers one thing, I would tell them to get involved in Facebook networking groups. I didn't discover these groups until recently and I had no idea just how much support the members offer to one another. There is typically a group for just about any niche you can imagine. For example, on Crabby Housewife, I often write about home and gardening topics and I share recipes. I joined a gardening bloggers group and not only did they help share posts about my blog and like my page, but they encouraged one another with tips and advice about home and garden blogging.
Blogging can actually be a pretty lonely endeavor. You put your words out there and you may or may not get comments back. You sometimes wonder if anyone out there is reading what you write. With a FB networking group, you will get feedback from your fellow bloggers. You will know if what you are posting is resonating or not. Some groups are more active than others, and each has different requirements, so you have to find the group that is a good fit for you personally.
Bio: Lori Soard has a PhD in Journalism and Creative Writing but she's hardly the stuffy professor type. She looks at life with humor and common sense on her blog Crabby Housewife. When she isn't creating websites or managing content for clients, she works on her romantic comedies.
Kevin EsmezyanThings I wish I knew before I started my first blog: It may sound cliche but it isn’t, quality over quantity. Have character, build a personality. No one wants to read a blog talking about generic subjects in a bland way. Be unique and do not be afraid to give your own opinions. Soon enough readers will associate you with your views. In the event of news, readers will want to know your opinion (omg I wonder what **** thinks about this). Soon after you will develop a reader base full of people who agree with you. Which always leads to a sense of community on your blog, because people are passionate about their opinions. In an environment where people agree with them. They won’t hesitate to engage more with other readers.
Bio: My name is Kevin Esmezyan, I previously worked as the CTO of a large Canadian manufacturer. I started a brand of blogs called Comicstacks. My partner and I built a talented team of writers that publish articles in many different categories, from politics to comic book reviews.
Steve MuellerWhy start a blog? I think the beautiful thing about blogging is that you can reach thousands (or even millions of people). Had someone told me that I could inspire so many people all around the world with my reflections on life, I would have started much earlier. But to me, talking is not a numbers game. Whenever I write an article, I always seek to inspire, motivate, or help at least one person. If I am able to reach this goal, I am the happiest person on this planet. So I think that’s what’s so fantastic about blogging–you can reach exactly the right people who are at this moment looking for the kind of information that you are providing. That’s something that is impossible to accomplish in real life. This can only be done online.
Bio:Steve Mueller is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty.
Alden TanI honestly wish that somebody would be there to tell me to dare to be myself all the way and never to hold back.
It’s easy to think that you need to learn a bunch of tactics and stuff in order to get a ton of traffic, subscribers, to go viral and of course, to make money. But the thing about learning tactics or taking up a course to learn rules and mere things is that they make you go to your heart and out of your heart. And when you’re out of your heart, you become less honest and authentic. You basically start to produce nonsense. You will not get results that way because people can tell. People can always tell when you’re faking it.
So yup. Most useful thing? Gather up some courage and just be yourself. Be consistent with that. You’ll automatically learn the other ropes along the way anyway. At least in this way, you know that you’re being yourself and you don’t have to feel icky about it. You know what? Don’t even take it from me. Read Purple Cow by Seth Godin and Unlabel by Marc Ecko.
Bio: Alden Tan is an honest and real writer who gives advice that isn’t stupid. He’s sick of the nonsense in the self-help world. Check out his blog if you want zero nonsense: alden-tan.com
Holly Reisem HannaRemember quality always trumps quantity. When I first started out, I thought I needed to publish new content at least five days a week to be competitive. Because of this mindset, I ended up writing some pretty weak posts. Take time to research and write detailed and helpful posts that are thoroughly edited (you don’t need an editor to do this -- there are many great editing platforms, some of which are free). Make sure to include images in each blog post and that they're optimized for each social media platform that you're using. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus favor horizontal images, while Pinterest supports vertical images. Last, make sure you come up with a catchy title that lures readers to your content. By taking the time to complete these steps, you'll gain readers quicker and save yourself time in the long run by not having to go back and rework the thin articles you once wrote.
Bio: Holly Reisem Hanna is a work at home mom, professional blogger, and social media correspondent. Her blog, The Work at Home Woman has been named by Forbes as one of the best websites for your career. Holly’s been featured on CNN, Forbes, Working Mother, Real Simple, and Woman’s Day Magazine.
So how to become a blogger, in short:
- Let your true color shine. There isn’t a list of blogging advice on the internet that doesn’t contain the phrase: “be yourself”. It may be worn out and redundant but it’s still an important tip especially when you are a beginner. Don’t write in a way that you think will be acceptable to others, find your unique voice instead and build a community that will love you and respect you.
- Socialize more. What’s the point of writing a blog if there’s nobody to read it, and more importantly love it and share it? You will need to be active on social media and to connect with a lot more people than you did before. Search for people that are interested in the same stuff you are, and outreach to them in a genuine and friendly way. You’ll be surprised how many people will appreciate your writings, you just need to find them.
- Get technical. If you really want to conquer that blogging sphere you will need to learn a few new skills that you didn’t know. SEO is probably one of the most important areas that you need to study hard. From on-page optimization to link building, you should learn everything there is to know if you want to succeed. Furthermore, if you care about saving money then you should learn how to setup your own website. It may sound hard, but there are so many options available and if you just put a little time and energy, you will surely find a solution that suits you.
Still wondering how to make a successful blog? You can do it, we believe in you! To help you get started we created Article App – easy to use solution that will help you setup an awe-inspiring blog. Just click on the button below to create your website and utilize this handy tool that will make your blogging life easier.