10 Things You Should Know When Starting A Blog

Ask any top blogger in the blogosphere and he/she will tell you that they all struggled with starting their blog, and every wannabe guru had a bag of tricks they were eager to sell.

Blogging has been around for a long time and has picked up over the last decade. Blogging is a highly competitive space as even journalists are stepping up and starting their blogs.

Its a great way to create and showcase your portfolio and skills on the social web. Its only a matter of time, when blogging is added to curriculum and employers ask you if you have a blog at your next interview.

If you haven’t started blogging yet? Its time you did.
Haven’t you heard of the saying “The best time to start a blog was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.

Its as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Get a Hosting account at SiteGround (aff link) (Recommended hosting by WordPress).
  2. Install WordPress (Free & Powers more than 60 million websites.)
  3. Setup a Theme or Design. (I recommend StudioPress Themes (aff link) or MyThemeShop (aff link). Thats what I use on this blog.)

If you do not have the time to set up your own blog, I do offer a free service where I will install WordPress and set it up for you, ready to blog.

All you have to do is use our referral URL to make the purchases so that the web hosting provider will compensate us for the work we are doing.

In the meantime, there is a lot you need to learn about what to blog about, what works and what does not. Here is a good list of things that I wish I knew when I first started blogging.

From my experience I would like to share with you the things that you might want to consider as you start your journey as a blogger.

While you have the freedom and choice to decide on whether to follow these or not, these are just my opinions.

Blog On WordPress Platform

There are several blogging platforms including but not limited to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Medium.

WordPress is a free and open-source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS). WordPress is used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015.

Its the most popular blogging system in use on the Web powering more than 60 million websites.

From my experience using WordPress to power my blogs, I’ve always had the best support and also the resource of information available about wordpress on the web is endless.

You will always find someone who can help you out. Need I say more.

I love WordPress and I’ve been using it for all my blogs since 2007 and I’m sure you’d love it too.

Share Your Humble Beginnings

All said and done, readers love to hear about how you became a blogger. Your rags to riches story or simply how you started off blogging and why.

Your about page tells a story, builds a connection, it builds relationships and more. Trust.

Before a reader builds trust about you, they need to know who you are just as the way you make friends.

Online relationships are quite different and a good about page and a true story about yourself is a good place to start.

Don’t Blog About News

One big mistake I made when I started blogging is to cover news updates.

The problem with news updates is that they are only good for long as the news exists, after that its history. No one searches it on google or any social platform.

While it might drive a decent number of readers to your blog its only time being. In addition, these are readers whose intentions are to seek information and not buying.

Which means, if you are looking to make money out of blog then you are not attracting the right type of audience with a blog focused on industry news.

Choose A Niche You Love

Both from experience and observation its always a good practice to start a blog focused on a niche market.

Avoid writing articles about varied topics as they might both confuse the readers and also have an impact on your search rankings, unless you have it well configured.

Alternatively, magazines are known to cover varied topics. Which I’m not a big fan of as I’m more comfortable reading about expert opinions from specialist than from a magazine which has a team of writers who write articles because they have to.

There is no such thing as an over-saturated niche. However, its important that you choose the niche based on its audience. Make sure that you do not pick anything too small that will not get you readers or customers enough to establish yourself or something too large or vague to focus on.

Don’t Burn Out

Carried away and over enthusiastics about blogging I began to write about 5 articles each day after following blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch. Not realizing these blogs have content staff that create their articles and its not just one person managing everything.

As an individual blogger it became a tash too much to handle in the long run. By the time I reached 100th post on my blog, I was exhausted and did not blog for about a month.

It took me a long time to realize that I need to maintain a good editorial strategy and give enough room for marketing and promotions. For a new blog that has no readers marketing your content is essential.

And in order to succeed as a blogger you need to maintain a writing schedule so that you don’t burn out. The takeaway from my experience is to plan accordingly so that you can write without getting writer block or exhausted of new blog post ideas.

Make Money or Don’t

The big question. I often get bloggers asking me if I make money blogging. The answer varies from blogger to blogger. Some like to blog because they are passionate to share their knowledge and experience and some just want to make some money to manage their server expenses.

If you are interested in making money from blogging, its possible that you can make anywhere from $10 per month to $400 per month from implementing Google Adsense and banner advertisements. I can say this for sure because I’ve done it and I’ve made well over $5000 in revenue yearly.

Its an awesome feeling when you are able to build a blog that can generate so much revenue. Do not get overwhelmed and over monetize it. Plan and choose platforms to advertise or sell.

Design Matters

In an effort to keep the costs down, new bloggers often choose free designs for their blogs. While there is nothing wrong with the free themes and I don’t have anything against them.

But I’ve always believed and experienced premium themes to work much better with the various products available for bloggers as well search engines.

The designs are of high quality and the codes are error free. I started off using free themes and as time went by, I realized the value of a paid theme like Thesis that now powers my blog.

My recommendation to you is that you select a premium theme when you are starting a blog so that you do not have to worry about migration and the issues associated.

Write Detailed Articles

Back in the day when I started to blog, I used to write articles that were between 300 – 500 words and it was more than enough and ranked well on Google as well.

These articles addressed a particular issue directly and I liked it that way.

However, Google is the search engine that domains the web and they choose to change their algorithm in an effort to fight off spam, but most often end up affecting bloggers who are genuinely trying to make money from the web. I’m sure everyone can associate to the guest blogging penalty update from Google, that literally stopped almost everyone who guest blogged.

The point I’m trying to make is that you need to think of the future in mind and not just the current trneds. As things are quick to change and impact your blog in a negative or positive way.

Its important to think smart on your feet, at least for now its good to focus on detailed articles. If you are trying to address a problem, try to offer different solutions to a problem so that the articles are more detail.

Engage With Your Audience

Its okay if you do not want to comment on your peers blogs. There is no hard and fast rule that you should to succeed.

However, engagement on your blog is key to your blog’s growth. This is what is going to make your readers come back. Always leave something for your readers to talk about or discuss with you in the comments.

By you responding to comments and engaging continually with your readers, you will be bringing back your readers to check for responses and also connect with you.

This is a double booster, builds relationship and also builds returning visitors.

Build Relationships With Your Peers

YOu can start building relationships before you start your blog or while you’re at it. Its entirely up to you. But its imperative that you connect and leverage authority and influence to grow your blog.

As your blog grows you are going to need the help of your peers to supercharge your blog.

Relationships both with customers and peers have a huge impact on you starting a blog and being successful at it.

Are you about to start a new blog? Do you need help or guidance? Shoot me an email and lets work together.

10 Comments

  1. Anton Roder Reply

    I’d like to confirm the part about premium themes. I struggled for days with two free themes (They were good, but not like I wanted them). Eventually I went with Genesis and I accomplished the things I’d been struggling with in a few hours. As a time vs. money investment, it was definitely worth the cost.

    • Anton, That is exactly the point I was trying to make. There is so much more you can do with premium themes. Also Premium themes are well coded and added support is always a plus.

  2. Megan Cooper Reply

    I definitely agree with the ‘design’ aspect of creating your blog but it doesn’t mean you can’t create a great design with a free template. Of course, there are more options when you purchase a premium theme and I have to say, I love your design. Design is also not ‘right out of the box’ as you have to customize a theme to that great design.

    • I could not agree with you more Megan. Customization and tweaks are always required irrespective of Free or Premium themes. We always need to add some flare to stand out. Free themes might not be the right choice for you if you are technically challenged. I was focusing more towards those bloggers who are good at writing and not necessarily at WordPress or coding.

  3. David Hartshorne Reply

    I reckon you’ve got all the points covered here – Eddie!

    I’m not sure about Thesis theme because I’ve not tried it, but I do recommend a premium theme that you know looks good and is secure too. Personally I went with Thrive Themes.

    WordPress on Bluehost works for me too 🙂

    Thanks
    – David

    • I use Thesis on this blog and its something I’ve invested a long time ago hence the recommendation. As you say any premium theme would do, it depends on how comfortable you are with the design framework. Especially if you like tweaking your site and customizing it. Thanks David, appreciate the comment.

  4. Wow great tips indeed. I don’t think premium theme is really that important. I have seen many blogs with premium theme and mediocre content. From my perspective the content matters a lot. Great blog. Keep writing. 🙂

    • Content always comes first, but a premium theme contributes to good SEO and rankings.

  5. Lorraine Reguly Reply

    The one thing you neglected to mention is that there are two routes people can take when using WordPress: using the free option on WordPress.com, or going with a self-hosted option via WordPress.org.

    The thing to note with WordPress.com is that your website and its content IS NOT YOURS and can be removed AT ANY TIME.

    Sure, it might cost you a few bucks for hosting, but going with WordPress.org to power your site is the much better option. The site WILL BE ENTIRELY YOURS, and it WILL NEVER BE REMOVED (until you decide to not renew your hosting or domain name).

    New bloggers need to know these pros and cons!

    • I guess I’m just so used to WordPress Self-Hosted, that I didn’t even consider WordPress.com as a blogging option. Good catch Lorraine. Appreciate you adding this comment explaining the main reason to choose Self-Host.

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