A proper approach to web writing may appear to be a turning point for a new successful career as well as provide some revitalizing businesses opportunities. I’m gonna to reveal all possible blogging opportunities and to show how powerful a professional blog might be.
It took me some time and efforts to sharpen my blogging skills, which I am about to share with you. I do hope this extended blogging guide will save you much time and give a boost of energy to start your own professional blog.
Let’s have a look at a brief summary:
2. Pick a platform, hosting, and domain
3. Design and modify your blog to reach the desired web presence
4. Start producing strategic content that adds value to readers
5. Start generating data and collecting subscribers
It’s high time we got back to an extended discussion.
1. Choosing the Key Area for a Blog
The blogosphere hardly differs from any other online market. It features its own channels, products, leaders, and outsiders. For instance, if I ask a gamer about the best gaming blog, he or she would hardly hesitate to name some options. The same thing is with traveling, advertising, and other niches. The main challenge for a starter is to find his or her voice.
Prepare to choose the right foundation for your future blog whether it is going to be:
- Personal stories;
- Real-life experience;
- How To guides;
- Product descriptions;
- Advertising, etc.
Whatever topic you choose, make sure you set proper long and short-term goals.
Set Your Blogging Goals
Your blogging goals will define the future writing strategy as well as the target audience. They will make it easier to decide on a proper topic. My first goal was simply to start writing and develop my skills as an author and researcher.
It could be a good solution for a short-term goal while collecting 1 000 subscribers within 1 year may appear to be a decent goal in the long run.
Goals to Avoid when Starting a Blog
Some popular blogging goals may turn out to be misleading for beginners. I strongly recommend avoiding the following. Otherwise, you will not be able to concentrate on making your blog look professional.
Please, note that the points below MAY and eventually WILL happen. However, you should never focus on them from the start (it is nothing but my personal opinion):
- Money Expectations – you should never start your initial blog with earning expectations. In case you hope to replace your steady job with a blog as the major source of income, you’d better not. It does not actually work the way you draw it. The initial idea is to deliver a handful and interesting content;
- Notoriety Expectations – another common mistake is to expect your blog will make you instantly famous across the Global Web. Forget about it. You need to make a name for yourself with great writing skills, a deep knowledge of the topic and expertise. Notoriety will eventually happen if you provide content that is of great value for the reader;
- Traffic Expectations – having thousands of subscribers is great. However, not all traffic must be considered a good one. Do not worry about getting hundreds of visitors right away. Take your time and focus on the content instead.
I would like to stress that all the above-mentioned could eventually happen in case of a proper approach to blogging.
2. Pick a Platform, Hosting and Domain
Creating a blog from scratch has never been too hard. Modern software makes it easy to come up with a simple website even for those who are not involved for web designing and coding. Choosing a proper platform will hardly be a challenge. All you need to do is to make 100% sure you understand how the platform works.
CMS or Website Builder?
It does not actually matter whether you chose a CMS or an online website builder. Content is the only thing that really matters when it comes to blogging. All you need to do is to be able to add this content to your blog. This is where you need to check whether all platform’s functions and features are clear.
Make sure you can handle the blog management as well as understand how the system works.
Picking a proper hosting is vital. You need to take this step seriously although blogs do not require plenty of storage and bandwidth. A good idea is to compare and contrast several available hosting options and choose the one that meets your price and specs expectations.
Those who opt for website builders will not have to look for hosting, as they are already included in software plans.
How to host a ready-made website.
Relevant Domain Name
Selecting a proper domain name is another fundamental stage when starting a blog. It is actually the first thing your readers will see. The idea is to make it short and easy to understand. Avoid numbers and other symbols in your domain name to make your blog more recognizable.
Try to include some relevant keywords related to your particular niche. Consider your name when choosing a domain, as it may eventually turn into a household name. It will be more recognizable ,unique and easy to remember. At the same time, such domain name is brandable.
3. Design and Modify Your Blog to Reach the Desired Web Presence
After you have made up your mind about the platform, you need to choose a theme for your future blog. Both website builders and CMS platforms offer a selection of templates designed specially for users’ blogging needs.
As a rule, they come up with some basic sections like Contact and About Us. However, they still reserve some space for customization.
Choose A Simple Theme for your Blog
A good-looking theme will define the look of your website as well as the impression it will make on your visitors. Let’s say, that you are not a coder but still want to add some exclusiveness to a custom template. In this case, choosing a clearer theme is a good idea.
The fewer elements and sections it has the more space for further modifications you will have. Moreover, your readers will hardly appreciate a blog overloaded with sections, frameworks, and elements. Clearer themes result in a better users’ impression rate. On the other hand, your blog should have some baseline sections, pages and features including:
- About Us page – this section comes as a main requirement for all bloggers. Your readers must know who are they opting for;
- Social Sharing Buttons – social networks speak volumes. Let your visitors share the content via major social platforms;
- Related or Popular Posts – make it easy for readers to find posts related to the topic they like;
- Media Content – use different formats of media content. Add videos and catchy images to make your blog look more lively;
- Interaction Blocks – make sure your visitors have a chance to leave a comment as well as get in touch with you. Contact and comment forms will do the trick.
The above-mentioned are only some general features a blog should have. You are free to add other elements like RSS subscription. Do not forget to follow the latest obligations when it comes to GDPR policy.
Modify Your Blog with Some Best Plugins
Free plugins are the best bet whenever you need to modify the blog. From simple Facebook sharing buttons and subscription forms to Google Analytics, SEO settings, archives, search bars, calendars and more.
Keep it calm with apps and never overdo them. The main mission here is to make your blog as user-friendly as possible. Too many instruments and elements can scare your readers away.
4. Start Producing Strategic Content that Adds Value to Readers
Now you can start adding content to your blog. I found that readers are more likely to appreciate the post whenever they have something new to learn. You are not supposed to be a super-high-level expert.
On the other hand, you still need to perform an in-depth research of the topic and deliver some brand new information that can be interesting for your target audience.
Stick to Your Blog Topic and Format
Your readers get used to your blog format. They expect your next blog post to be of the same structure. An unfamiliar and new approach is not always good especially when it comes to related posts.
The idea is to keep the same writing style that differs from others and can be easily recognized. It will take some time until you develop your writing skills and widen the knowledge.
Implement Various Acquisition Tools to Get More Readers
Today, bloggers might benefit from the following acquisition tools:
- SEO – focus keywords related to the topic, meta titles and descriptions;
- Content Aggregators – promote your blog via blog aggregators and link sharing;
- Social platforms – networks like Twitter or Facebook can also drive more readers to your blog;
- Individual Blog Links – you can choose a particular blog post to link.
With so many viral loops available today, bloggers may get more people to their websites. Make sure your content is relevant and provides enough value for your visitors.
5. Start Generating Data and Collecting Subscribers
After taking your blog to a higher level, it is high time you started collecting more subscribers. This is where special subscription forms, newsletters, and basic email marketing tools may come in handy.
The email list is still the core communication tool between the blogger and the readers. A good idea is to create a giveaway for your every new subscriber to make your email list grow bigger. Think of a free offer you can provide.
The Bottom Line
I am sure most of you will think that the above-mentioned include only 10% of the steps to start a professional blog. Well, it is up to you what features to add. They may include advanced SEO, integrated analytics to track your traffic channels, etc.
My point is to show that a dedicated approach combined with relevant content that is of great value is the key to success. The rest is nothing but an addition to a major blogging concept that has not changed over the time. Good luck!