Get Started with these Blogging Tips for Beginners
A well-written and clear message is the key to promoting any idea, service, or blog. Your readers expect content that is easy to read, informative, and reliable. As a blogger, you must be prepared to deliver high quality content that strives to spark conversations and inspire your audience to action. Providing accurate and error-free content is an integral part of developing and maintaining a reliable and credible blogging reputation. Following these top tips can help you get started on your blogging journey.
Take the Leap
The first step to writing a blog, while an obvious one, is a life changing moment. Once this step is completed, an entirely new world opens up before you. When you are ready to take the leap into the blogosphere, you must first purchase a domain and hosting, then install your chosen platform. Sites like GoDaddy offer great domain and hosting packages. Furthermore, WordPress is a popular user-friendly choice for an easy to manage blogging platform. Congratulations, you now own a piece of digital real estate.
Finding a Niche
Deciding what you want to write about is not as simple as it sounds. It is imperative that your topics of choice have mass appeal while providing enough depth and range that you do not find yourself written into a corner. If you want to write a blog about cupcakes, be sure you are open to exploring and creating new and interesting perspectives so that your pieces do not become mundane and repetitive. While you do not want to spread yourself too thin, you also do not want to limit yourself. There is a whole world at your fingertips and it is up to you to discover it.
If someone writes a superb blog post, but no one is around to read, it is it still a superb blog post? Having a plan ensures that your blog will continue to grow and flourish, instead of wilt and die. Decide on your goals and objectives, and then incorporate those into a content marketing strategy. How often do you want to post? What means will you use to share and promote your blog? What are your expectations? Are you interested in increasing website traffic, gathering a large following, becoming an expert voice in your industry, or maximizing conversions? The answer to these questions will lead you towards the content marketing strategy that is right for you.
Making Sharing Easy
Almost nothing is more discouraging to a reader than reading a well-written blog only to realize that sharing it will take more effort than they care to put forth. You miss potential new readers and connections when sharing is not easy and intuitive. So, make it easy for your readers and fans to share your posts. It is simple and takes little effort on your part with the wide availability of widgets that make it quick and painless for your readers to share on a variety of social networks with just the click of a button.
Most people love to talk about themselves, and they will at great length if given the opportunity. Use this to your advantage, and take no shame in doing so. Encourage your readers to share their experiences, insights, and concerns with you. Let your readers know that they are important, that you value their opinion. Acknowledge them. Engage them. Let your readers know you have heard them and thank them for their contributions.
Engaging other Bloggers
Seek out and connect with other leading bloggers in your industry. Share their posts and link back to their blog. They are likely to take notice and return the favor. Furthermore, making industry connections should be an important part of your online marketing strategy. These connections are where you will find your all-important backlinks, potential guest bloggers, and lasting professional relationships. Do not be afraid to get out there and make a name for yourself.
Setting a Schedule
Keeping your content goals and marketing strategy in mind, figure out how often you want to post. While you want to post frequently enough that you continuously engage your audience with quality content on your blog and website, you do not want to sacrifice quality for quantity. Allow yourself the time needed to write high quality posts. Set a realistic schedule that you know you can maintain for the long haul. Some bloggers may write daily while others may find a weekly post more suitable to their needs. Find what works for you, and then do it.
Keeping the Rhythm
As a writer, I believe it is important to find time to write every day. Even if you can only set aside 10 minutes that day, those ten minutes will help you grow as a writer and a person. If you are a new writer and find yourself struggling with the infamous writers’ block try sitting down to write at the same time every day. This will help your mind get into “the zone.” Also, find a small notebook and pen to carry with you so when an idea hits you can quickly jot it down before it slips away into the idea-devouring abyss. Building these habits will get you in the rhythm of looking for new opportunities to write, fresh topics to discuss, and unique perspectives to explore.
Whether you are making it big or still struggling to get off the ground, it is important to remain positive. A well-invested blog is worth the time and effort. It can be a bit anxiety inducing once you have begun reaching a larger crowd as you feel the pressures of mounting expectations. Do not let these pressures keep you from doing what you need to do to continue growing your blog. The same is true of a blog that has not yet reached its full potential. Put your game face on and keep writing.
Proofread and Fact Check
Avoiding Common Mistakes
Be sure to have a basic understanding of comma usage. Unnecessary, commas, will make your message, unclear and difficult to read – wait, what did that say? Furthermore, check your document for commonly mixed up words, such as their, they’re, and there. Do not rely on your word processing software to catch every single grammar or spelling mistake. Lastly, I know Shakespeare did it, but please do not get creative with word creation. Words such as irregardless, alot, and unthaw are not actually words – please do not use these words in your blog posts or conversations.
Trust should be the foundation of every blog post that you write, which means starting with the most basic of expectations – truth. If you aim to establish yourself as a reliable voice in your industry or niche, it is important to avoid skewed statistics, falsehoods, and misleading information. Do an adequate amount of research at reliable sources before presenting any information in your blog as fact. If the information is irrelevant, unverified, or easily taken out of context then to do not include it in your blog post. Note: Wikipedia is not a reliable resource.
Hiring an Editor
After spending time writing, reading, and rereading your work, a fresh set of eyes and an objective perspective can take your blog posts to the next level. Hiring a professional editor saves you the time and frustration of editing and polishing your blog posts. An editor can improve the clarity and flow of your ideas, presenting them in a way that is error free and easy to read. An editor works with you to ensure that your final product is of the highest possible quality.
Other Tips and Tricks
Physically wired to do so, our brains respond to visual stimuli more than any other type of input. Therefore, it makes sense that postings with images are more popular and widely shared than text alone. When used properly images can be an invaluable tool for communicating your message and your brand. However, it is important to remember that a poorly chosen image can have just as much, if not more, of an impact. Take careful consideration when deciding on a photo for your blog posts.
Keeping Track of Analytics
An analysis of trends and demographics provides you with key insight into what is already successfully engaging your target audience. Knowing which posts are working, and which ones are not, allows you to gain deeper understanding of your readers’ expectations. You can begin to identify which perspectives, topics, and images garner the most attention and shares. This information can be an invaluable asset, but only if you actually implement what you have learned.
Consistent formatting is extremely important when it comes to writing a blog that is clean, effective, and easy to follow. Use headings and subheadings consistently across your blog posts to help organize your thoughts in a way that is easy to read and understand. Keep fonts simple and similar across your blog, as rapidly changing font colors and typography will detract from your message and can drive your reader away. Also, unless you are writing poetry, do not center your blog posts – instead stick with left alignment. Lastly, consistency also applies to the voice and tone of your writing. Bouncing back and forth between casual banter and formal technical writing may give your readers mental whiplash. Choice a style of writing and stick with it.