Make your mark
Blogging is a great way to express your thoughts in writing — you can even make money from it. Blogs can also be used to give your business a unique voice, bring in leads and strengthen customer connections. If you’re new to blogging, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll cover blogging for beginners.
Start a blog in just 5 steps
Blogging is a proven strategy for small business owners who would like to bring new customers in. Here’s how it’s done.
Choose a blog platform.
Pick a topic for your blog.
Write your first blog post.
Add photos and video to each post.
Promote your posts.
Let’s discuss each step one at a time.
1. Choose a blog platform
Blogging doesn’t require much money, but it does require time and dedication.
The first thing you need is a blog platform and I highly recommend WordPress. It is open source and can be easily downloaded at no charge. You just have to buy a catchy domain name and arrange for hosting.
For start-to-finish instructions on downloading, installing and customising a WordPress blog, read this post.
Once that’s done, you’re ready to start blogging.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy takes the tech hassle out of WordPress with Managed WordPress. For a modest monthly fee, you get easy installation, high-quality hosting and regular backups. GoDaddy also takes care of ongoing WordPress core updates and security patches.
2. Pick a topic for your blog
As a beginner, you might not be sure about the topic you should choose for writing. You might even have a topic but aren’t sure if your topic will work.
My advice is to choose a topic that:
You have a passion for
To be a successful blogger, you need not be a great writer, but you do need to be passionate about the topic you are writing on. Blog posts are most effective if the writer shows enthusiasm and interest in the topic he is writing about. Also, selecting a topic you’re passionate about will help you stay motivated to blog over time.
You have knowledge about
Gain as much knowledge about the topic as possible. It’s fine if initially you know little about your topic, as long as your desire for learning more about the subject keeps growing. Also, one unique aspect of blog posts is that they typically provide the latest content and discussions about the topic. Keep yourself updated about the news and current events related to your topic.
In the case of a small business blog, chances are good you are both passionate and knowledgeable about your business and its products or services. Share what you know by answering common customer questions and providing insider tips that help your readers.
3. Write your first blog post
Once you have chosen a topic, start writing your first post. Imagine you are explaining why you have decided to start this blog to a friend. Put everything in on the first go, then go back and refine it later. Read the post a number of times, as every time you will keep enhancing it.
Initially, you might take a week or so to write a post, but with practice, you will do it in few hours.
As you write, keep the following points in mind.
Have catchy headlines
You might have good and informative content in your blog post but you need to attract the readers, hence it’s crucial to have catchy headlines for your blog post. Also, a catchy and attractive headline makes it more likely people will share your post with others.
Write for easy scanning
Writing for the web is different from writing for print. In today’s era, people hardly have the time, will or ability to focus on lengthy blog posts. Hence, try to break up long passages of text with bullets and subheads so readers can quickly scan the sections.
For search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes, you should be writing 750 to 1,000 words per post.
Close with a call-to-action
Finish each blog post with some kind of call-to-action like:
- Follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
- Sign up for our emails.
- Schedule a consultation.
Telling readers what to do next gets them to take action and increases your response.
4. Add photos and video to each post
Diagrams, videos and photos can help explain a complex or boring topic.
A well-written blog post consisting solely of text is likely to disinterest the reader. That’s why it’s important to include images and videos in your posts.
It’s always recommended to use your own personal images for your blog — photos taken on your smartphone should suffice. There are also many sources of free photos, including Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay. Just be sure to give credit to the photographer if required.
Adding images and videos to posts help in the following ways:
Improve flow: Attractive images throughout the copy will make your post look more visually appealing.
Lighten the tone: Suppose your post is on some serious or boring topic; images will help lighten the tone.
Make the topic understandable: Sometimes your blog topic might be difficult for the readers to understand. Hence adding the diagrams, charts, tables and other images can help them.
5. Promote your posts
Creating a well-designed and written blog post will not help unless you get it in front of the readers, hence it’s essential to promote your post.
Experts recommend you spend 20 percent of your time writing and publishing content and 80 percent on promotion.
You can promote the blog posts in the following ways:
There are millions of blogs online and people will miss your post if you do not make an effort to promote it on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
But be careful while posting the same links in too many groups, as this practice could get you banned from the groups. To avoid this, keep a record of where and when you promote each post. Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags.
It’s smart to start building your email list from day one, as it allows you to promote your new content to your audience via email. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors, you can inform them about new blog posts as they are published.
Editor’s note: Create, send and track great-looking emails with GoDaddy Email Marketing.
Blogging for beginners wrap-up
Blogging attracts customers who otherwise might not know about your business.
The best way to build a robust, thriving blog is by creating high-quality content regularly, promoting it and nurturing a community around it. But this all is only possible when you get yourself ready and write. So, gear up and enter the wonderful world of blogging.
Need some inspiration? Here are some popular blogs in India:
- Labnol (aka: Digital Inspiration) helps readers take maximum advantage of software tools and web technologies available.
- YourStory is the perfect place on the web to learn how the great leader were born. This popular blog mainly covers startup-related stuff to inspire entrepreneurs.
- Trak.in is a pure Indian blog that covers all things related to India. Along with the business news, Trak also deals with the trending technology in India.