I know how much you are excited about starting a blog. I can feel how you want your blog to be popular. I can understand, you want to establish as a blogger and perhaps make a living out of blogging.
Well this is not an impossible job. We have seen bloggers who make a good amount of money out of blogging. We read their inspirational stories. We dream of being one of them.
Sure you can start blogging from today only. But before that I want to make you aware of 18 things you should know before starting a blog.
When I started, I started by myself of mere curiosity and there was no one to guide me. Later on I read a lot of articles on the internet which helped me in my blogging career.
1. Get yourself a mentor
I can’t stress enough on this topic. Get yourself a good mentor. One who has already been through the process.
As I stated earlier when I started blogging it was out of curiosity. I just want to check whether I can do it. Whether I can make an earning out of blogging.
In the beginning years, the blog was just an experiment. I didn’t know how the Content Management system such as WordPress works.
I didn’t know what kind of content you have to write. Basically everything was unknown to me. I had to spend two years learning everything by my own with the help of internet.
I don’t say that you can’t do it. But it is a long process.
Below are some of the reasons why you should have a mentor.
- A mentor continuously inspires you. If you feel somewhere you are loosing your hope. Then a Good mentor can uplift you.
- A mentor makes your journey easier. If you want to learn about blogging yourself it may take you a year or more. But if you have a mentor then the basics of same task can be achieved within 5-6 months.
- If you are in doubt then the best way of solving a problem is by asking a mentor. Of course you can look for articles and videos in the internet but it takes long and sometimes you may not find what you are looking for.
2. Set a goal and blog professionally
Without goal you will not reach far. Same is in the case of blogging.
When you blog you need to make sure how you blog, what group of readers you want to attract, what will be topic you will be focusing on.
You also need to have self discipline as it is not like working in an office where you have to commute to the deadlines.
But you shouldn’t be taking it lightly. You should have your own goals whether it may be creating certain number of blog post in a week, collecting email subscribers or promoting your blog.
3. Choose a Good hosting platform
Make sure to use a good hosting platform. Research in the internet about hosting platforms.
Check the review of the hosting platforms. Personally I use Bluehost. You can easily install content management system such as WordPress by clicking the wizard.
Also the uptime of the Bluehost server, I personally found, is good. If you have any technical issues you can chat live with the technician. 95% of the time I have solved my issues easily with Bluehost technicians.
The basic package starts at $ 3.95 / month which is basically a shared hosting server. In shared hosting server a resource is being divided and utilized by more than one person. I don’t recommend using Shared hosting if you want to blog professionally. It doesn’t allow you the flexibility to have much control over the server.
Nowadays most of the hosting platforms have packages optimized for WordPress hosting. If not then you have to start with at least VPS server (Virutal Private hosting). With VPS you have more control over your hosting account.
4. Choose the domain name wisely
If you want to blog professionally then you should choose a domain name which suits your niche. It make sense to have the word blog or blogging in your domain if you are starting a blog related to blogging. eg. bloggingutorials.com or bloggingforbeginners.com some thing like that. With the domain name itself people will realize that it has to do something with blogging.
It is not that you can’t include your name as a domain. My blog name is kundanstech.com. But it is better if you have your niche name in the domain.
Also make sure to check the background of the domain which you are going to purchase. You can check whether a domain is blacklisted or not from here http://blacklistalert.org/
Keep your domain name simple and short if possible. Make it easy to remember. People can’t remember long domain name which makes no sense.
It is better not to use stop words,characters like hyphen or numbers. It is difficult to remember those kind of domain name. eg abc-xyz-123.com
Better to use .com extension if you are blogging commercially. This is the most widely used extension which we are used to it.
In many cases we just type the name of the domain and hit Ctrl + Enter button which fills the first part www and the last part .com automatically.
5. Choose a simple design
When you are starting a blog then you may be attracted towards blog which looks fancy. Unless your blog is related to graphic design I don’t think you need to make your blog fancy with lots of animations.
It really depends on your content.
If you are using WordPress then always make sure that you buy and use a professional theme. You can download paid themes by using a torrent site. But those themes may have malicious code.
Moreover you can’t get update for those theme and you don’t have any support in case you want to customize the theme.
Don’t forget to make your site Responsive. People are using tablets and mobile phone more and more.
According to comscore.com, 40% of the time internet is accessed by using a mobile devise. That makes it really important to have a responsive design.
6. Focus on Content
The best thing you can do as a novice blogger is to create a very good content. Make no mistakes of creating a shallow content otherwise you will regret afterwards.
Content can be two types one is evergreen content such as “10 things to know while starting a blog“. This is an evergreen content as there will always be people starting a blog.
Some are time relevant such as “10 things you can do with iPhone 5“. This automatically will loose charm as there will be newer versions of iPhone and the operating system may completely change.
Almost everyone who starts a new blog, starts a blog with not so good content. They will be more focused on creating a content so that they will have more content on the blog.
What kind of content should you be creating?
Always try to create a detail content. According to Buzzsumo and Moz, detail content with more than 2000 words have more shares and links.
Also content that are useful have more links.
Now it may not always be possible for you to create a detail content. Especially “How to tutorials“. Try to include all the aspect related with the topic.
eg: How to format a PC
You can include ways such as how you can format a pc with windows 7, with windows 10 . You can include the mediums you can use such as Windows CD or a Pen drive etc.
If you want to be found in organic search of search engines like Google then you have only two options either produce a quality content if the topic is already existed and is in high competition.
Else you need to write on such a topic which has never been written before.
7. Content is not always the king
Content is very important but of course content is not everything. You should focus equal amount of time promoting those content.
Derek from social triggers emphasizes on 20/80 rule. 20% should be on the content creation and 80% should be on promotion.
10 years back from now blogging environment was different. You could easily come on the first page of google.
Things have changed now. There are a lot of competition. So you need to be visible.
I remember a scenario where I used to throw the leftover rice inside garbage bins. But one day when I kept it on a plate outside my kitchen then I found pigeons eating those rice grains.
This clearly shows that you need to be visible in order to succeed.
Start promotion from right in the beginning.
Free ways to promote your blog
- The best way is to pitch the other blogger who are already popular in your niche. You can send them a link of your article telling them if they would like to check your blog post. Give the reason why you slightly disagree with their point or you have something to add.
- Leave a meaningful comment on their blog agreeing or disagreeing and with reasons.
- Be visible on social media such as Google plus, Twitter, Facebook.
- If you have a YouTube channel promote your blog through it.
- Join community of bloggers and then interact with them
8. Traffic is everything
Keep in mind that traffic is everything for a blog. Do whatever you can for increasing the traffic but in a legitimate way.
If you follow illegal ways then Google will penalize your blog.
As I mentioned above creating detailed articles, promoting the heck out of it, building email list are some of the ways to increase traffic to your blog.
9. Use commonsense and don’t fall for gimmicks
The first time you are starting a blog, you visit other blogs of your niche. You can see people recommending products.
You can see on the internet where certain sites promises you to drive tons of traffic for a certain amount. You also get claims about linking your site to PR6 (Page rank 6) sites.
There is no need to be crazy about page rank since google has stopped displaying page rank.
Also there are tons of sites promoting different websites for finding out keywords, driving traffic etc. I know the temptation you feel to buy these products.
When you see you are not progressing in your career then you want to buy those products. I myself have bought those products.
Instead of buying those products better to hire a person who can help you in blogging careers. Check for instance Neil Patel from quciksrpout.com.
He has helped many people in their blogging career.
Also if there is any blogging event happening in your city then attend it. People share their experience from which you can learn.
If you really want to buy a service then buy only one or two which will be really useful. For example Semrush helps you find out the details of your blog.
It gives you overview of your blog how many backlinks you have, how many organic searches, for which keywords you are ranking for.
You can also put a keyword and look for statistics such as the volume of searches, Number of results for the phrase, Cost per click (CPC) value and related keywords.
Also you can check out the keyword difficulty level.
It shows in percentage. Basically higher the keyword difficulty level, difficult it will be for you to compete for the term unless you are already a reputed blog.
Else you need to produce really, really high quality content.
10. Layout of your blog
You should have a good layout of your blog. You need to include “About us” page describing about your website what it does, who are the persons behind the website and you may include their qualifications to prove your expertise.
Also you should have a “Contact” page in case someone wants to contact you through the site.
Include a “Home” page so that if someone wants to come to the Home page directly then can do so.
If you are using WordPress then make sure to have whatever categories you need. Later on if you create a new category and want to move the previous blog post to another category then can have “404” error. A reader when he/she clicks a link may not find the page.
11. Page Speed
As a beginner you may not consider the loading time of your site. You are wrong . If you want to develop your blog then you should make sure that the loading time is no more than 2 seconds.
According to study done by Akami in 2009, 47% of the people expect to load your site in less than 2 seconds.
40% will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
For e-commerce site a one second delay can cause 7% loss in costumer conversion
You can read all these by going to this article from here
How to test your website loading time
You can use the following sites to do it.
How to improve your website loading time
- Get a dedicated hosting server if you have the budget.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
- Buy a simple theme. Don’t use Free themes or theme with very high graphics and animations,
- If you are using WordPress then limit the plugins you use.
11. Comment moderation
I know how much excited you feel when you have a blog and someone comments it for the first time. You will be thrilled to accept it right away.
But be careful. Read whether those comments are genuine or not. Many time people just comment on your site to get links and to advertise products on your blog.
Remove all those comments which are unwanted. If you want to filter those comments then there is a paid service for WordPress called Akismet.
You can also use captcha in your site so that only genuine person can comment and not some automated software. For WordPress you can find the plugins. But that may increase the loading time of your site.
If someone genuinely comments on your site then you can see their email address, looks authentic. You can visit their site to make sure the site is good and related to your niche.
12. Building an email list
Almost any blog if you read emphasizes on building email list. When I started blogging I didn’t know about the importance of building an email list.
The best option for you is to gradually develop an email list so that you have those subscribers who visits your blog. Also if you are into affiliate sales then you have the potential to convert those readers into customers.
Every time you create an article send it to the subscribers.
11. Don’t mess up with your Blog settings or your hosting platform
When you are new to blogging then you read a lot. You find tweaks that tells you how to optimize your WordPress settings or setting for your hosting server.
I strongly suggest you unless you are not familiar with those settings then don’t try it to do by yourself. A small change in your WordPress setting may make your blog unavailable if you do it wrong.
I remember changing htaccess file and having error in my blog. It took lot of hours to figure out what went actually wrong and fix those problem.
Also people download free themes. Then they want to remove the headers or footers or they want to customize according to them. They customize the css file. But if something goes wrong then you will be messing with your blog.
So hold your temptation of tweaking if you don’t know.
13. Blog for money but don’t be obsessed
Many times you have read blogs and they tell you not to blog for money. I slightly disagree with this point. Of course if your bog doesn’t have a value, if it is not entertaining or useful then it won’t progress.
But I think when you are starting a blog then it is not a bad idea to think of making money right from the beginning.
Unless you are a non profit organization then it is not a bad idea of earning money right from the beginning.
Harsh Agrawal from shoutmeloud.com says when he first earned $10 from giving an online service that gave him inspiration to continue his work.
This actually boost you to work hard. You will be interested in knowing the rules for the game. But don’t be too obsessed for money only. If your blog doesn’t have a value then you won’t earn money.
Give equal importance to create useful content.
14. Not building links
As a blogger you have to start building links right from the beginning. It may be linking internally or getting links from other sites.
Always try to have an internal links in your blog post This engages your readers and decreases bounce rate of your blog.
As for getting external links you don’t have much control for that. The only thing you can do is really creating a helpful or unique article so that others will link to you.
15. No consistency
Blogosphere is rapidly developing. Every second a new blog is created. But out of those how long they last.
Many of the blogs are created out of curiosity. People actually are excited in the beginning. They have big dreams.
But within three months of starting a blog they loose the energy. People expect too much out of their blog within a short time.
Blogging is a continuous journey. You will develop gradually. If you don’t follow rules then it may take years.
So, be consistent. Post quality articles regularly. You can post once in a week or twice. It depends how much time you have to develop a quality article. But the most important thing is you need to update your blog regularly.
16. You can really receive mean comments
I have a YouTube channel where I post “How to” videos. There are people who like the video and who dislike.
Some they leave good comments and some they are really mean. They use bad words too.
You may get similar comments on your blog. Don’t be discouraged. People are always expert at judging others but not themselves.
You give your best and forget the rest.
17. Don’t be in hurry to hit the publish button
Startups specially are thrilled by the idea of having as much as possible blog post. So, without enough editing they publish the blog post.
But you shouldn’t do that. Once you create a blog post you should check it twice. Words by words. Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes.
You may let your friend read so that they can find out if there is any mistakes in the spelling. Once you edit and make sure everything is fine then only publish the blog post.
18. No call to action
You shouldn’t forget to encourage readers to leave a comment or give their opinions regarding your blog post.
Also use email building programs such as “Mailchimp” or “Aweber” to collect email list.
Sometimes you should remind people to take the action.
As we saw above blogging is a career which takes time to develop. With good mentor it makes it even easier for you.
All the mistakes mentioned above can be done by anyone who starts to blog. Don’t get much worried about it. Learn from your mistakes.
Be consistent. Read and learn a lot about blogging. Only hard work and perseverance can give you success.