Starting a blog at the first time can bring a feeling of much excitement. At the same time, there is also a fear of not knowing what you should know.
No worries. You are not alone. Everyone experienced this fear of unknown.
In this article, I will share blogging tips that I wished I knew before starting my first blog.
Get some ideas about blogging before you start and take some time to think over.
In this way, you can save time and energy many other bloggers wasted. Have a great start for a successful blog.
When we make a good start, always a great result is promising. You can then motivated to keep going and being uplifted for writing.
I hope this blog post will make you start a blog much easier!
1. Choose the Right Platform
However, these free blogging platforms can limit a potentiality of your blog. You should not waste your time there if you’re serious about blogging.
If you want to blog for profit, then definitely do not start a blog on the free blog hosting services.
The disadvantage of free blog hosting services are:
- You have to follow the terms and conditions of these platforms. They have the right to shut down or delete your blog without any notice or reason.
- There is also a risk of whether or not you will be able to export your contents and crafts.
- Most free platforms restrict users from making money blogging.
I recommend that everyone starts on WordPress.org. It’s inexpensive. It gives you complete freedom and control on your blog.
Start your blog and handle it with a secure and trusted platform such as WordPress. Imagine that you are driving a perfectly designed and secure hi-tech car.
Even if you are not starting your blog for making money, having a blog on WordPress.org means that you OWN your blog. You are the owner of the blog, and your blog is your PROPERTY.
Note that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different. Use WordPress.org.
You can add features, plugins, make money or do whatever you like with WordPress.org.
Then how you can use WordPress.org and create a successful blog right from the beginning?
If you use Bluehost, one of the most trusted hosting company, WordPress is automatically installed for free.
2. Choose the Right Hosting Company
Choosing the right web hosting is one of the most important decisions you make in starting a blog. This is because hosting is where all your website files are safely stored.
Many beginners fancy the idea of getting free hosting, but it can be merely a waste of time and creates your own risk. In the end, a free blog hosting service will cause you to pay more money and time in the end.
Why is this?
There is a possibility that your blog on a free website may be shut down without notice or any reasons. All your blog posts could be deleted. Your moths’ hard-working crafts become nothing in one day.
Will you spend your time and money for a possibility of the risk?
This is the reason why it’s important to choose the right hosting company.
I recommend Bluehost to anyone because they are officially WordPress recommended hosting provider.
Support is important at the beginning, and you need to make sure that there are options to get help over chat, emails and phone. I have no problem with Bluehost so far and their response is reasonably fast.
3. Deciding Your Niche
Niche is a subject of your blog and is your target or a group of blog readers.
My suggestion in choosing your niche is either something you are passionate about or your work or education-related background.
Blogging is a long way. It takes some time to get a solid result.
In the beginning, it was only my mother who was checking my blog posts! In fact, it is fairly common that no one is visiting your blog. And yet, it is worth to continue. Keep going and get the reword.
If you plan to monetize your blog, it would be good to check out whether your niche can make money or not. According to Stuart Walker from Nichehacks.com, the 4 popular and money-making niche markets are:
- Dating and Relationship
Break down your niche from the niche market as I listed above. Be specific and narrow down. This way makes your blog more successful.
Take time and think over who can be your blog readers? How about their gender, age or profession could be?
What kinds of problems, concerns and fears do they have? How can you help them or sort out their problems? Provide solutions for them. Money is there.
4. Decide What to Blog About
Do you like to write? I hope you do if you start a blog.
Many people give up writing a blog after a few months. This is because generating your ideas and expressing them through writing consumes a lot of time and energy.
If you enjoy writing and if the subject is something you like the most, blogging becomes therapeutic and easy to handle.
It is not necessary that you have to be an expert in your niche or have special skills. By blogging, you get knowledgeable in a particular field and become an expert.
5. Find a Perfect Domain Name
Choosing the right domain name is very important. Here are some quick tips for choosing the ideal domain name for your successful blog.
- Create with .com domain extension
- Do not add numbers, dash, slash or any other
- Choose a domain name that is easy to pronounce and spell. In many occasions, you meet people and have to tell them your blog address.
- Put a keyword or brand name in your domain name. For example, since my blog is about ‘cruising’, I have added ‘cruise’ in my domain, like www.cruisegeo.com.
6. Get SSL on Your Domain
SSL is the ‘Secure Socket Layer’ protocol which is responsible for creating secure communication between client and server. It tells Google that your blog is secure.
How can you know whether your domain is SSL certified or not?
Simply check whether your domain is starting http or https. If it is https, your domain is SSL certified.
This is done by both server and client authentication and the negotiation of an encryption algorithm and cryptographic keys.
All the Bluehost customers have a free shared SSL Certificate available for all assigned and parked domains and subdomains.
7. Pay Attention to Image Copyrights and Licences
Often beginners may consider to copy and paste images online. Do not use images from Google or other websites/blogs because you may have to pay thousands of dollars later image copyright infringement fees.
The more your blog grows, the more the liability increases. It is unprofessional to use visual images and texts which belong to someone else.
The image owner can also report the page with their visual images and texts to Google and ask them to remove it from search results.
Instead of paying unnecessary compensation fees and owning a risk for decreasing the liability of your blog from Google, paying fees for vector image copyright to Shutterstock lenses is much wiser.
If you are just starting out your blog and do not have much budget for image licences, there are free images providing websites.
8. Know Your Goals
Start setting up long term goals first and break them down into smaller. In this way, what you need to achieve gets clearer. You can start setting up goals from your first-year accomplishment.
The First Year Accomplishments:
- Traffic is really starting ramp up, expecting 500+ unique users per day
- Google is granting your site with some serious authority
- Companies and other blogger start connecting with you
- You have published 100-150 posts on your website
MONTH 6 Accomplishments:
- Traffic is starting to flow, around 100 unique users per day
- You are truly building on expertise and brand
- Bing/Yahoo start indexing your site at a higher rate
- Engagement on your site starts to increase
- You have published 60-100 posts on your site
MONTH 3 Accomplishments:
- Content Starting to rank on Google
- Some Big Breakthroughs in Search
- Traffic is Cumulatively Starting to Grow
- Search Engines are starting to give your site “authority”
- You have 30-60 posts on your website
MONTH 1 Accomplishments:
- Website Set-Up
- SEO Set-up
- Setting up social media
- Indexed in Google, Bing, Yahoo
- You have 5-10 posts on your website
9. How Much Can You Invest?
You can start a blog for considerably very cheap and sometimes free. Or, you can spend a lot of money.
The basic payment will be on:
- Hosting – less than $5/month at Bluehost
- Domain name – $10 to $20/year at Namecheap
- Design and speed performance – a WordPress theme cost around $80 including both a framework and a child theme at Genesis
The more your blog grows, the more you become comfortable to add money to better performance, designs, marketing and security.
It is also not only money but time what you are investing. Know how much and how long you can spend your time on a blog.
10. Monetising a Blog or a Fun Outlet
If you are starting a blog, you can be honest with yourself and see whether you want to create a blog for money making or your own enjoyment.
If you intend to monetise your blog, it is perfectly possible. There are many ways to earn money through blogging.
One of the major money making methods is Google Adsense, selling digital products, affiliate marketing, selling membership and many more out there.
11. Use the Right Theme for Better SEO
Selecting the right WordPress theme is very important at the beginning.
Why is that?
A theme can make your blog attractive and visually appealing. This is the reason why I selected themes for fancy designs at the beginning. This was a big mistake.
As a visual expert, my priority was to create a visually appealing blog and portfolio. I use a lot of visual images.
The problem is that such a fancy design tend to be heavy. As a result, the blog becomes not user-friendly because it takes a lot of time in loading a page. Potential readers run out immediately. This is crucial for SEO.
I tried some paid/free themes and spend a lot of time designing as many bloggers did at the beginning. But this is totally unnecessary profess for you.
In the end, I have settled in a Genesis. Genesis themes are provided by StudioPress, a company providing one of the world’s most popular themes and design framework for WordPress.
Genesis theme is used on my blog, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Genesis themes have a framework and a child theme. You have to purchase both. It is affordable too. There are some free child themes as well. You can use one of them on a Genesis framework.
Genesis themes are well coded and keep fast loading, resulting in a great performance for SEO.
Furthermore, WordPress updates to the latest version and which happens quite some time. When it updates, you can update your blog safely because Genesis has a child theme.
Using a Genesis theme is like you are running your blog with the latest super sports car instead of an old car. Genesis themes are powerful!
12. Create Your Pinterest Account
One of the powerful SNS tools for bringing potential readers into your blog is Pinterest. I have Twitter, Google and Facebook accounts but Pinterest is the most effective social media for me.
It takes a while to build your boards and pins as well as to be noticed and increase your followers.
Why don’t you join Pinterest, before you start a blog, become more familiar with how to use it? You can make pins and introduce your potential readers your very first blog post to the world!
13. Build on an Email List Right from the Start
Many bloggers do not realise how building on an email list from the start is important. Building an email list is MUST.
The answers are:
1. You Own Your Email List
Facebook, Twitter, or Google are not what you own. When the policies of these platforms change, the efforts you have made for social media campaigns and SEO become waste. On the other hand, your own email list will never be affected by other company policies.
2. Email is One-on-One Communication
Email is more personal. Anyone has one email account these days. You can build trust and connection by directly communicating with your readers. People also read their emails several times a day.
3. Email is Focused and Targeted
Your readers are already showing interest in your contents and products. Responding and acting upon what they are looking for are important. You can immediately deliver the relevant offers and recommendations to your potential customers.
You understand why building an email list is so important, and why ignoring it can be a HUGE mistake.
Then how can you make an email list?
There are a number of software and marketing services out there for building an email list. If you are currently using a free service such as Feedburner, you should switch immediately now because that is the number one mistake most bloggers make. I also made that mistake myself as well.
I had used Aweber for long but there are other services I would like to recommend.
Constant Contact is the fast-growing email marketing service provider. The main features include:
- Customizable templates
- Automated scheduled emails
- Tracking software to monitor your success
- Forms and interactive buttons
Constant Contact platform due to its relatively low starting price of $20 per month with the ability to move up through several different price levels in accord with the growth of your business.
Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial with no credit card required. After that their pricing starts $20/month.
ConvertKit is an email marketing platform for professional bloggers, authors and marketers. The software is incredibly powerful and yet it is easy to handle.
The great function of ConvertKit is a marketing automation function. You can easily segment contacts depends on who is interested and who have already purchased.
Pricing for ConvertKit plans starts from $29/month with a 30-day refund policy.
Aweber is probably one of the most popular email marketing service providers because it is very easy to use. They offer tools for small and medium-sized businesses, including list management, autoresponders and email tracking with detailed insights.
Aweber offers a 30-day free trial. After that, their pricing starts from $19/month for the basic plan.
Add exit-intent and on-scroll popups using a tool like Sumo. This is where you can offer your content upgrade or lead magnet.
14. Choosing Custom Permalink
You have to choose a permalink structure before you publish your first post. A permalink setting is important because you have to make a lot of effort if you change it later.
Permalink is concerned with your blog or page post URL. Google reads the URL, understands the contents of your post and lists it online, in accordance with what the readers are looking for.
This is why finding the right permalink setting is extremely important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
However, WordPress’s default permalink setting is not clear for Google:
With this URL, not only Google but also your readers cannot understand what the contents of your post are about.
If you go to Setting>>Permalink from your WordPress dashboard, you will find “Permalink Settings” and where you can choose one of them by clicking a left tab.
So which permalink setting should you decide?
Choosing “Post Name” is the best, if your blog is personal, and you are going to publish around 100 pages and posts. The blog size is fairly small.
Most of the websites, therefore, recommend choosing Post Name, and so I followed. The problem was when published post increased, I became aware that well-structured URL planning is necessary.
I changed permalink structure from Post Name and Custom Permalink setting but it consumed my time later on.
Choosing “Custom Permalink Setting” is the best if you intend to make your blog bigger and publish more than 100 posts. Certainly, it is good to plan the structure of the URL in advance.
Warning: Important Notice for Established Blogs
If your blog has been running for more than 6 months, then please don’t change your permalink structure. If you really need to change it, then hire a professional.
If you have already published posts, the URL structure of your post will directly be affected after changing a permalink setting. Please visit a link when you change a permalink setting if not to be affected by any trouble.
Please also find an article from WPbeginner for changing custom permalink setting.
15. Ignore Haters
Whatever your niche is or how much you write a cute puppy blog post, you receive angry comments. You will get some haters who will criticize your post and that bring you down.
Get a thick skin. As your blog starts growing, you will receive positive feedback and much encouragement. Stick to them. Ignore these haters and do not waste your time and energy for them.
Turn on comment moderation function on WordPress dashboard and “disable” the specific comment notification email.
How do you find 15 things you should know before starting a blog in this article? Do you have more ideas on how to start a successful blog?
Please share your ideas and suggestions on what you experienced or are looking for.
I have shared what I wished I knew things before I started my first blog. If you have a question, please do let me know. I very look forward to your response!
Or need more time to learn to blog?
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