Do you want to learn how to start a blog the right way?
Then pay attention:
Because since launching my blog I have made over a million dollars and won 8 prestigious blogging awards.
Not only that, but I have helped thousands of people just like you achieve their blogging dreams-
From 5000 Pageviews Per Month To 40,000
As a college student from Ghana, the odds were stacked against me in building a blog. When I started in 2012, the going was tough. I made tons of mistakes and learned along the way.
Thankfully, I found matthewwoodward.co.uk in 2014 and since then the odds turned in my favour with traffic rising from 5,000 to 40,000 per month!
Giovanni Olakunori - LarnEdu.com
So today I am going to take you by the hand and show you how to start a blog the right way.
In just 15 minutes you will have started your blog, customized it AND published your very first blog post.
How To Start A Blog In 5 Steps
Click Here To Read The Video Transcript
If you want to learn how to start a blog the right way, then you need to pay attention. I have made over a million dollars and won 8 prestigious blogging awards in the past few years and not only that but I have helped thousands of people just like you achieve their blogging dreams.
So today I am going to show you how to avoid all of the common mistakes so you can start a blog THE RIGHT WAY in just 5 simple steps. Now if you don’t know what to blog about yet don’t worry because I am going to be sharing an awesome 5 minute exercise to help you choose a topic and name for your blog in a moment but first lets jump straight into step 1 which is choosing your blogging platform.
To make a long story short, you should be using WordPress. Why? Because it’s super easy to use and there’s thousands of free themes and plugins available to make your blog look how you want and do what you want. All you need is a domain name, hosting and your good to go.
Now one of the biggest mistakes I see new bloggers make, is when they are "just getting started" they choose to use a free blogging platform like blogspot. But if you do this, you will seriously limit your potential success as a blogger because all of the major free blogging platforms like Blogspot, Medium or Tumblr suffer from the same serious flaws
First you have zero control over your blog and Tumblr, BlogSpot or whoever can choose to shutdown your blog and delete it at any time. There are tons of horror stories about this if you search around google and not only that but they are very limited when it comes to customization where as WordPress has thousands of free themes and plugins to choose from with no limits on how many images and videos you can upload or how many people visit your blog.
Plus who wants an ugly domain name like http://yourblog.blogspot.com rather than a cool domain like just myawesomeblog.com.
And last but not least, no one will take your seriously because if you use a free platform it makes you look like an inexperienced beginner and I didn’t make a million dollars with my blog by looking like an inexperienced beginner, even though I was.
So if you are serious about starting a blog then do things the right way the first time. Plus it only costs a handful of dollars to do it the right way - so why take shortcuts?
So that’s brings us onto the most important part of the entire process and that is choosing a topic and domain name for your blog.
If you don't know what a domain name is, well it is the address of your blog - for example the domain name of this blog is just my name - MatthewWoodward.co.uk.
But before you choose a domain name you need to choose a topic for your blog and if you are not sure what to blog about is a quick exercise that you can do to help you out.
All your need to do is write a list of 3 things you are good at, write a list of 3 things you are interested in or enjoy and a list of 3 things you want to learn about.
In my case I am good at cooking, nutrition, managing money and findings deals but I really enjoy languages, free diving and traveling but wish I had more time to learn about mediation, 3D printers and fitness trackers.
That quick 5 minute exercise will give you more than enough ideas for topics for your blog and once you have a topic for your blog you need to choose a good domain name.
If you are going to blog about a specific topic which I recommend you do then you should try and incorporate that into the domain name or you could just use your name like I did with my blog that focuses on blogging and digital marketing.
Don’t worry about how you’re going to set it all up yet, I am going to show you how to register the domain and setup WordPress in a moment. For now just pick a topic and then brainstorms domains ideas that are easy to remember, easy to say and spell, don’t include any spaces, hyphens, number or special characters. But if you are really stuck for an idea then just use your name as the domain name like I did because it really makes people take your seriously!
Once you have some domain name ideas you’ll be glad to know the hardest part of setting your blog up is over, now we just need to get it online, make it look awesome and write your first post and I am going to show you how to do all of that with just a few clicks of the mouse next.
To do that we are going to use iPage. The reason why I love iPage it’s super cheap it’s $2 a month. It includes a free domain name so people will take you seriously as well as $100 Google Adwords credit, $100 in Bing Ads credit and that will really help you when you’re launching your blog. You will also get free email addresses, unlimited domains but most importantly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support, if you have any problems or any questions you can reach and you know that somebody’s got your back and you’ve got all of that with just $2 a month.
Starting your blog with iPage is easy, just click on “Get Started NOW” and it’s going to ask you to register a new domain. I’m going to register www.iamwoodward.com. Click on “Check Availability” and it’s going to make sure that domain is available for us to register. Remember, if you get stuck, you can call their phone number here and they have a full 30-day money-back guarantee.
As you can see the domain was available for me. Now I just need to enter my payment details into here, which I’ll do quickly. Once you have done that. You want to scroll down and review the purchase information. Now there are some things here that are enabled that you don’t need. For example, Domain Privacy, you can choose to have or not. You can untick that to save $10 a year just like this. Then you can also get rid of the website security and you don’t need that and this site back-up. I’m going to show you these things for free.
Now it is worth noting if you disable Domain Privacy, people will be able to see your name and address if they look up on the information on the domain. If you want that to be public record, if you want it to be private, you need to tick this box here. Otherwise, once you are ready to go and I’ll just tick this for demonstration purposes, you can click on “Check Out.”
Once you have gone through the payment information, you will see this “Thank You” Screen and then you need to check your email. Once the email comes for you like this, you just need to click on this link and go ahead and set a password and some security information, which I’m going to do quickly right now. Once that’s done you can click “Save & Continue.” That will bring you into the control panel. All you need to do is click on the WordPress Logo and then here you can choose your domain installation, you can have it with the “www.” or not. It really doesn’t matter you can take your pic. I’m going to go with the “www.” and click next. That’s then going to copy some files over and in the moment it’s going to ask us to provide some additional details so will just wait for that.
Next, we need to add a site name or title so I am just going to put, “I Am Matthew Woodward” as a quick title there. You can see it’s already created the e-mail there and the admin password automatically and then you just need to click on next.
As you can see WordPress is installing right now. it’s going to let us know it’s ready. Down here, they are going to upsell us some themes but don’t worry we don’t need to buy any of these. I’m going to show you how to customize your blog with that premium theme, without having to spend a penny in just a moment.
Now the installation is complete, you want to click this link up here and at this point, it’s going to show us all of our log.in credentials. It’s a good idea for you to take note and copy these into a notepad file or somewhere safe because you’re going to need them shortly. I’m going to do that. Now you can log-in to your new blog. Just click on your domain here and it’s going to take you to a log-in page and once we logged-in, this is going to take you to the admin area of your blog.
iPage comes with a little site builder here, that helps you out if you need help. You can click “I don’t need help” or you can click through and go through their suggestions. We’re actually going to go with we don’t need any help and I’m going to go straight here and go to “Appearance” and then “Themes.” You can see here, there are lots of themes already pre-installed here but if you want to add more themes. It’s easy to do. You just need to click up here “WordPress.org Themes” that will allow you to browse a huge, there’s literally thousands of themes for you to choose from here, and here are just examples of them that you can see.
I’ve got some general rules that you should apply when choosing a WordPress Theme, you want something simple and clutter free. The simpler it is to navigate your site, the better. Your site should be mobile responsive, you need to check that it looks great on a mobile phone or tablet as well. It should load quickly and be optimized for speed. You will quickly know that when you change a theme if it’s load slowly or not. It should be SEO ready but if not we can actually take care of that with a plug-in. Ideally, we want it to be easy to customize, change the colors and logos and you usually find that tucked away in the theme options.
Last but not the least, you want to have some kind of built-in short codes. What this mean, you can style your blog post a little bit and give them a little bit of pop. Now if you’ve got a little bit of money to spend, you can actually use it the exact theme that I use on my blog. Actually this theme was built for me by the MyThemeShop Team because I needed a blog theme that did all of those things that I’ve just said and I wanted it—this was designed based on my years of experience as a blogger and what’s worked for me. If you want a short-cut to professional theme, you can buy this, there will be a link for it underneath the video.
I also want to stress you don’t need to buy a theme, you can just do as well with one of the free premium themes here. Just scroll through and find something that you like. Just to give you an idea this is what the default theme look like. Then I just changed it quickly for demonstration purposes to make this into a much simpler, cleaner theme.
You just browse through here. You can preview themes as you want just to get an idea of how they are going to look without actually having to install them. You can see how this theme looks here. It’s very easy to edit. You’ll see this looks completely different again. Here you can click to edit anywhere we want and there are lots of other options here. You can see that it’s quite cool for a free theme.
I want you to just go through. Find a free theme and then customize it, if you come to “Appearance,” and “Customize” it you can go through those options and really make it your own.
Now comes the fun fart. Writing and publishing your first blog post. It might seem scary but I’m going to guide through the process. All you need to do is click on “Posts,” then “Add New” and you’re going to see a screen like this. I’m going to explain what exactly you’ve seen here.
First is the title area, this I where they write the title of your blog post. “Add Media” is where you upload photos, gifs and videos that kind of thing. Content area this is where you write your blog post content. Here are your publishing controls, it’s either a draft where only you can see it or you can publish so the whole world can see it. Then down here, you have different categories, and tags and areas where you can set your featured image. Most people can just use categories. I don’t really use tags too much.
I’m just going to fill this out quickly to give you an example of what your first blog post could look like. Here you can see my first post. We have the post title set here, post body and I went and set a category of personal down here. Now you can choose to “Preview” to get a look at how it will look without publishing it. You can see right here, this is my post. You can just click “Publish” to put that post live.
Viola! You’ve just set up your WordPress Blog, selected a topic, set-up a domain and published your very first blog post.
So now you know how to start a blog the right way I am sure you have a bunch of questions but before I answer them I want to sign up to my 100% free email course that will teach you how to build a successful blog in 7 days.
You’ll learn how the 8 types of blog posts that always drive traffic, 3 simple strategies to get your first 1,000 visitors, the best way to monetize your new blog and much more. All you have to do is open the email each day and complete the 15-30 minute task I assign you step by step.
You can find the link to sign up for the free course underneath the video and if you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments or headover to my dedicated blogging FAQ section which covers all of the most common questions new bloggers have, this thing is super detailed and you’ll find that underneath this video as well.
I have helped thousands of people just like you build successful blogs and I would love for you to become my next success story so start your blog today.
Step 1 - Choose Your Blogging Platform
WordPress is the go-to platform for bloggers. Why?
Because it’s free, easy to use, simple to customise and designed with bloggers in mind.
Why Do People Use & Recommend WordPress?
- It's free for anyone to use (you just need a cheap webhost & domain name)
- It's super easy to use even if you never built a blog before
- They have over 5,000 free themes to choose from to make your blog look awesome
- Over 91% of all blogs are running WordPress, including this one!
Why You Shouldn't Create A Blog On A Free Platform
One of the biggest mistakes I see new bloggers make, is using a free blogging platform when they are just getting started.
But if you do this, you will seriously limit your potential success as a blogger.
All of the major free blogging platforms like Blogspot, Medium or Tumblr suffer from the same serious flaws-
- No Control - You have zero control over your blog. Tumblr/BlogSpot or whoever can choose to shutdown your blog and delete it at any time.
- Lack Of Customisation - You can't use any of the thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins and are limited to very basic templates.
- Limits - You are limited on how many images and videos you can upload or how many people visit your blog.
- No Custom Domain Name - You will get stuck using an ugly domain name like http://yourblog.blogspot.com rather than just yourblog.com.
- No One Will Take You Seriously - And the most important of all, is if you use a free platform it makes you look like an inexperienced beginner and no one will take you seriously.
If you are serious about starting a blog:
Then do things the right way the first time.
Plus it only costs a handful of dollars to do it the right way - so why take shortcuts?
Step 2 - Choose Your Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is one of the most important steps of starting a blog.
If you don't know what a domain name is, well it is the address of your blog - for example the domain name of this blog is just my name - MatthewWoodward.co.uk.
Before you choose a domain name you need to choose a topic for your blog.
If your are not sure what to blog about here are a few suggestions-
- Write a list of 3 things you are good at
- Write a list of 3 things you are interested in or enjoy
- Write a list of 3 things you want to learn about
That quick 5 minute exercise will give you more than enough ideas for topics for your blog.
Once you have a topic for your blog you need to choose a good domain name.
If you are going to blog about a specific topic (which I recommend you do) then you should try and incorpoate that into the domain name.
Or you could just use your name like I did with this blog that focuses on blogging and digital marketing.
Check If Your Domain Name Is Available...
Just enter any ideas you have in the form below to see if it's available, for example TheEnglishChef.com
Once you have picked your domain name (don't buy it yet), I have some great news:
The hardest part of setting up your blog is over!
Now we just need to get it online and that can be done with a few clicks of the mouse.
Step 3 - Setup Web Hosting & WordPress
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is what keeps your blog "online" and stores all of your blogs files, images and content. If you don't have a web host then no one would be able to see your blog!
A good web host means that your blog will be available to every single person in the world, every single second of every single day.
Avoid Bad Web Hosting Companies!
There are both good and bad hosting companies & choosing a host is an important part of starting a blog.
Many cheap hosts overload their servers which means your blog will be slow, which means updating it will take longer and it will take longer for your visitors to load it.
That is usually backed with terrible support so when you do have a problem, you're on your own.
The only hosting company I recommend for begineers is iPage because-
First go to iPage.com and click Get Started Now:
On the next page, you need to enter the domain name you decided on earlier.
Enter your domain in the Domain Search box in the centre.
That you typed in the domain right and there are no pesky typos - it happens to the best of us!
Now you just need to confirm all of the details of your order and enter you billing information.
You can skip over all of the Website Essentials upsells on the package information page.
There is no need to buy any of the extra things they offer you.
Just skip over all of this and click Checkout.
Once you have filled out that form you’ll then need to wait for iPage to send you the login information.
Sometimes they may ask for extra details for verification so just go through that process with them until you find yourself back at the dashboard.
It should look a little something like this-
Now that might look overwhelming right now but don't worry.
- You just need to click on WordPress.
You’ll then be asked to select the domain that you want to install WordPress on.
Here you just need to pick the domain that you chose earlier.
Here you’ll also need to give your site a ‘Title’ provide username and password credentials.
These will be used to login to WordPress when it is installed.
When you’re done providing credentials, click on ‘Next’ and let the setup process take place.
Once the install is completed, you’ll then see this screen.
Click on your domain to be taken to the WordPress admin login area for your new blog!
More often than not, you’ll be able to login to WordPress by entering ‘/wp-admin’ after your URL-
When you visit the WordPress Admin URL, you should then see the following screen. It is on this screen that you need to enter in your login credentials that you either created, or were given earlier.
And that’s pretty much it!
You have installed WordPress and it is ready to go!
Step 4 - Customising Your Blog
Now WordPress is installed, it's time to customize your new blog to your liking. The first thing we are going to do is find and install a theme that you like.
The design of your blog plays a huge role in the success of your blog because it's the body language of your blog.
How To Choose A Great WordPress Theme
The great news is there are thousands of free WordPress themes that you can choose from. While they might not have all of the best features and support, they are free.
To find a WordPress do that just go to Appearance > Themes > Add New
From here you can browse through the featured, popular and latest themes to your hearts content.
Just mouse over any that you like to get a live preview or to install and activate one.
Once you have done that you can go to Appearance > Customize to tweak things like colors & fonts easily-
Just keep tweaking things until you are happy!
If you are serious about your blog then you might want to invest in a pro theme that will help you to stand out from the crowd & save a lot of the headache that you often find with free themes (like things not working properly/zero support).
In fact I highly suggest you watch the video below which explains all of the problems I had when I started my blog-
Hopefully you don't make the same mistakes!
In fact I worked alongside the MyThemeShop team to build the custom theme that you see on the blog right now.
So if you want a WordPress theme that builds trust, loads quickly, ranks well and positions you as the authority in your niche then you can download my theme here.
Step 5 - Writing Your First Blog Post
Now comes the fun part!
Writing & publishing your first blog post might seem scary but I'm going to guide you through the process.
First of all login to your WordPress admin dashboard (yourdomain.com/wp-admin) and then go to Posts > Add New.
You will be presented with a screen like this-
Let me explain exactly what you are seeing here-
- Title Area: This is where you write the title of your blog post
- Add Media: This is where you can upload images/gifs/videos
- Content Area: This is where you write the main content of your post with text formatting tools above
- Publishing: This is where you control if your post is published and live to the world or you can choose to schedule it in advanced.
- Other: Choose or create a relevant category for your post or upload a featured image. If you don't know what tags are then don't worry about them.
Feel free to write anything you want for your first blog post as you get used to the WordPress system,
Here is an example post-
Once it is done, just click on the blue Publish button and voila!
You have just written and published your very first blog post!
Now give yourself a pat on the back and take a break because you have just started your very first blog!
Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging
So now you know how to start a blog the right way, I am sure you have a bunch of questions!
So I did my best to answer as many of your blogging questions as possible below.
Just click on the question(s) below to instantly reveal the answer!
Starting Your Blog
How much does it cost to start a blog?
The short answer would be around $80 to $100.
But the long answer is that this really depends on how much money you want to invest.
For example if you just buy hosting and use a free domain it can be next to nothing.
At the other end of the spectrum you could spend $300 getting your site off the ground if you want to buy premium versions of plugins, have a higher-quality logo made and get a customised premium theme.
If this is your first blog though I’d recommend the $80 to $100 I mentioned earlier. This is more than enough to get you hosting, access to a good email marketing platform, a good-quality premium theme and a logo.
Who should I host my blog with?
I’d recommend iPage. Why?
Because they’ve built a hosting package that is designed for bloggers like you and me.
You can set up WordPress at the push of the button, access their incredible support and get lots of discounts on themes and plugins just for being a customer.
They are also really competitively priced and affordable for new bloggers. It’s a real win-win situation.
There aren’t many other places you can start a blog for $1.99 a month!
How do I design and customize my blog? Do I need a designer?
If you’re using a WordPress blog it’s not necessary to hire a designer.
Most of the best free WordPress theme are easy to customize with a few clicks of the mouse.
Premium Themes - like the one I’m running on this blog - work a skin for your site.
You download them, upload them to your site, and then make the little customisations that you want to make the site look like your own.
These themes range in price from free to $100+, depending on what you want to buy. But in my experience you can save over $500 on hiring a designer to create your site from scratch.
You can read my article about choosing your perfect WordPress theme here.
I don't think I am a good writer, how can I improve?
You don’t need to be a ‘writer’ to be a good blogger.
Instead you just have to be able to communicate what you’re trying to say clearly, with good grammar and correct spelling. Infuse a little bit of your own personality and you’re onto a winner.
This comes mostly through practice and writing something, even just a few sentences, every single day and getting feedback on it.
I found it really helpful to develop my own blog voice that people could come to expect.
It meant that I could self-edit my work in accordance with what I want the blog to read like, and improve my work against my own standards.
For example, every blog post I write should look stick to these rules:
- Tell it like it is – straight & to the point
- Fake business etiquette bullshit can go f*** itself
- Like I’m talking to a friend in the pub
- No more than 3 sentences in a paragraph
- Short & punchy
- Keep it simple
If I don’t hit all of them in a post I know I’ve not done a good job.
But it also pays to learn some of the tricks of the trade that improve your work. I’d recommend you take a look at this article about my favourite copywriting tips, as well as spend some time reading Copyblogger and Smart Blogger to learn other helpful tips too.
Should I write my blog posts in English or my native language?
In order to answer this you need to answer the question, “Who am I trying to reach?”.
English is the biggest market on the internet, but it’s also not the only language on the internet.
You can be just as profitable (if not more) in Hungarian or German or Spanish or Hindi or Thai if the people you want to reach also speak that language.
There are lots of success stories of people using English, despite it being their second language, and having great success.
But there are also thousands of success stories of people blogging in their native tongues and finding success too. Just like the Comunio sports blog, all in German, that reaches thousands of people in Germany, Switzerland and Austria every day.
If your English skills are good enough, and the people you want to reach are reading in English, then go for English.
Just don’t be worried about being too niche by using your native tongue; you may find the people you want to reach only read in that language.
How often should I be publishing new blog posts?
This is a hard question to answer and it’s another one of those annoying, it depends, answers. Why?
Because this really is a non-question. It’s not a problem that you should be worrying about, because the style of your blog, and the amount of work you’re able to put in will dictate how often you should post.
Seth Godin famously blogs every day. But his blog posts are short and they’re mostly his thoughts on things. However Robbie Richards was able to grow a site to 400,000 page views with just 20 blog posts, but they’re much longer and in depth.
Frequency doesn’t matter any more. It’s all about what you cared to say, when you said it and how you deliver that message to people.
If you post one epic blog post a month but spend 30 hours a week promoting that to people and finding new readers for it, the results could be just as good as if you write a new post every day and spend just a few hours promoting it.
How often you choose to say it doesn’t matter.
Instead create an environment where when you speak, people listen. That way you can post as often as you like.
How many words should my blog posts be?
A good rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum 1,500 words and then adjust for your audience.
There is evidence to suggest that longer posts are better for blogs. Looking at research curated by QuickSprout, they tend to get more backlinks, social shares and comments, while also ranking higher in Google.
But that’s not to say that short posts aren’t effective, either. I think one of the best points of view on this comes from the Content Marketing Institute, where they say:
“A blog post is like a mini-skirt:
It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.”
If your post only needs 1000 to fully cover the subject to depth and provide enough value, then your post only needs to be that long. However if that post needs 5000 words, then it should be 5000 words long too.
No more or no less than what is needed.
But it’s also important to be aware of how your audience responds to different lengths of content. If you start getting more, or less, interaction and engagements when the post length changes, read the data and adjust accordingly.
What type of blog posts should I be writing?
There are lots of different types of posts that you could write and I highly suggest you sign up to my free course that gives you some amazing templates to work with.
But for your best bang for buck you should start with these 5 types of blog posts-
- List Posts
- How To Posts
- Roundup posts
- Personal stories
Then you can get an idea of what your audience responds to and adjust accordingly.
These are easy to draw inspiration for, don’t require too much research, and the structure is really flexible.
Although the more you put into a post, the more you’re going to get out of it.
Getting People To Read Your Blog
How do I get people to read my blog?
Traffic is probably the most written about topic on the internet. And truth be told there are millions of ways to get people onto your blog.
I share 3 awesome strategies that are guaranteed to flood your site with traffic in my free blogging course.
But getting your initial traffic to your blog is quite simple:
- Find where your audience spends their time
- Find out the best way to connect with them
- Create content that answers their questions
- Share it with them
For example if you run a blog about helping English speaking Expats in Dubai, you’d find all of the forums where those expats go to look for help, create content that answers their questions, and then share it with them.
It doesn’t have to be forums, it could be social media or guest posting on other blogs they read or finding the newsletters that they’re signed up to.
And once you’ve started to get your initial traffic you can take a look at these 36 traffic generation tutorials to help you grow your blog even further.
How do I get more people to come to my blog from Google?
Further below you can learn how to integrate good SEO habits and start to get traffic through Google.
But once you’ve set up the basics, where do you go from there?
Well teaching that is far beyond the scope of one small portion of this FAQ.
Instead, take a look at this article where I’ve curated 42 SEO tutorials you can follow to get more traffic from Google.
Do I need to use social media?
You don’t need to, but it’s a good strategy to implement.
Having a presence on social media can help you build traffic, connect with new readers and increase your reach. It’s a great way to let people know about a post as soon as it’s gone live.
After a mailing list, it’s one of the most direct ways of reaching your audience.
But don’t try to spread yourself too thin. Many new bloggers sign up to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat. But that’s honestly not manageable.
Instead focus your time on one channel where your audience spends most of their time - probably Facebook - and get really good at that one channel.
Once you’ve figured it out, move over to another platform and repeat.
What is the easiest way to publish social media updates?
There are two ways you can approach the creation of Social media updates.
The first, is to simply go to each of your social media profiles and post the links of your blog posts. Old school.
Whilst this is effective, it can take a lot of time and isn’t necessarily an easy process to manage.
On the other hand, you could decide to use a tool like ‘Buffer’ to help you get the job done much more quickly.
Buffer is a tool that will help you post social media updates to all of your social media profiles.
The good thing about Buffer is that you can schedule your social media updates, allowing you to ‘front load’ your social media efforts.
Buffer also makes it easy for you review data, in terms of how your social media updates are driving traffic to your blog.
You can use this information to get a better sense of what content people are enjoying. You can then use that information to create similar posts in the future, of which have a higher chance of success.
The people receiving your social media updates might not always respond to the links that you are posting, because the blog post within the update doesn’t appeal to them.
You can help fix this by using different benefits, within different updates.
For instance, let’s say that I’ve created an interior design blog post related to ‘decorating an apartment bedroom.’
The name of the blog post might be ‘5 Interior Design Tips for Apartment Bedrooms’ and so I might post a social media update which uses that headline.
However, not everyone will respond to that.
The next time, though, I could post ‘Cheap Ways to Make Your Apartment Bedroom Amazing’ and on another I could use ‘Quickly Transform the Appearance of Your Apartment Bedroom.’
The core content remains the same, but I’m now able to appeal to people who value ‘cheap’ strategies and those who value ‘fast’ strategies. This therefore helps increase my reach.
You’ll also want to take some steps to improve the level of engagement that you have on social media.
In doing so, you’ll be able to develop a better connection with your audience whilst also increasing the potential number of people that will share your content.
One way you can foster engagement, is by simply asking your audience questions.
Not every social media update has to relate to a blog post and sometimes it can be a good idea to just speak to the people who belong to your audience.
If you’re ever struggling with something consider asking your audience for advice, or even just their opinion on a certain product or strategy.
You can also foster engagement answering questions that your audience has, directly on social media.
This is a good way to show off your expertise, increasing the number of people who will see you as an authority.
You can also do this using a Facebook Live video and this can be a good way to host a Q&A session; you may even want to consider create a Facebook Group.
When you create a Facebook Group you’re essentially creating a community of people who all share the same interests as each other. This can help foster interesting discussions and build goodwill with your blog.
Don't forget to check out some of the best social media tools to help you grow your audience.
Build An Email List
Which is the best email marketing service for bloggers?
Not long ago we reviewed all of the best email marketing software that you can use, and Aweber and Drip consistently came out on top.
They had the best prices, were easy to use and allowed you to create more effective email marketing processes.
If you’re a complete beginner on a tighter budget I’d recommend that you use Aweber because it’s a little easier to understand, has a great level of customisation, and you can pretty much plug and play.
However if you have a little bit more experience and money to play with, I’d recommend that you use Drip.
It has a higher level of customisation for your automated processes and gives you more control.
Plus, I use Drip to power this blog so the proof is in the pudding and it doesn't cost that much more.
How do I get people to sign up to my email list?
Getting people onto your mailing list is a lot simpler than you might think. But it does require a lot of hard work although I share some simple strategies in my free blogging course.
The key is to give your reader a reason to want to give you their email address. Usually this is in exchange for something high value:
Take a look at your own email subscriptions and think about why you’re subscribed to them. Usually it’s not just because their content is great. No, usually you exchanged your email address for something else.
For example they may have offered a free course, or eBook, or seminar or you may have needed it to get the results to a quiz on their site.
Take a problem that your reader really struggles with and try to solve it for them with a free product, then ask for their email in exchange.
Are there any tools that make getting people to sign up to my email list easier?
For example this Welcome Mat on my site is a function of SumoMe (you can also do it in Thrive):
And this in-content sign up box comes from Thrive Leads:
All of these are easily customisable, can be connected to your email marketing software and can advertise your ethical bribe.
If you’re on a budget and are building your first email list you should try SumoMe because it comes with a free version. It gives you access to pop ups and welcome mats and other tools that will allow you to quickly start to gather subscribers.
Or if you’d like to take a look at what your other options are, take a look at this list of 17 email marketing tools that will help you grow your list.
Running Your Blog
What pages should my blog have?
Your blog will have lots of pages of articles. But, what else should be on there for your readers to look at?
Well at a minimum your blog should have an:
- About Page: Where people can find out about who you are.
- Contact Page: Where people can contact you and get in touch.
- Sign Up Page: An exclusive page where people can sign up to your mailing list.
But depending on how you want to run your blog you can begin to expand on this. For example if you want people to write guest blog posts for you, you can add a ‘Write For Us’ section.
Where can I get a cheap logo created for my blog?
Fiverr is a simple site where you can outsource tasks for $5+. There are many good designers on the site that can come back with a professional logo design for your site.
You may have to pay more for specific add-ons, but you’ll rarely spend more than $20 for the total package. If I want to throw a professional site up quickly, this is usually where I start.
Running a 48HoursLogo design contest requires a bigger budget of around $200, but also comes with a lot of extra perks.
For example you'll have around 20 designers all working and submitting design ideas to win and this is how I had the logo for this blog designed.
And in case you are wondering, your logo design does matter.
How can I make my blog load faster?
Getting your blog to load faster is really easy!
First of all head over to GTMetrix to run a quick baseline test and note down your results.
Then follow these simple steps-
- Step 1 - Install a free caching plugin like this one.
- Step 2 - Setup a free CloudFlare account using this guide.
Once your are done re-test your blog and jump for joy at your super fast blog!
How can I see how many people are visiting my blog?
The best way to do this is just sign up for a free Google Analytics account.
Then use a free plugin like this one to add all of the tracking code to your blog easily and it will instantly start tracking every single visitor on your blog in real time.
You can see which posts they are reading, which country they are from and much much more.
How can I make money with my blog?
This is the exciting section, right? That’s why we start blogs after all and if you are serious about making money with your blog you should really sign up to my free course immediately.
I already have a great guide on how to monetize your blog from scratch. But here I’m going to talk you through some other simple methods you can use.
It’s worth mentioning that you need to focus on creating good content at first. If every post is a sales pitch, you’re going to turn people off. Help people first, get mpaid second.
Option 1: Adsense
Adsense is a platform owned by Google. When using Adsense all you have to do is install a little bit of code on your blog and then AdSense will automatically show ads.
When people click on these ads, you’ll generate an income. You can use a WordPress plugin to help you properly set up and shown Adsense ads.
Here’s an adsense ad running on a blog you’ve already seen, Pinch of Yum.
It’s worth mentioning that this is probably the easiest way to monetize your blog. But it’s not going to make you a millionaire! And it can often damage the view of your site.
I much prefer this second option…
Option 2: Sponsored Ad Placements
Now, this method is very similar to what Adsense, but with a few exceptions.
Firstly, it still relies on you showing ads on you generating an income, using advertising.
However, with this approach, you’re instead allowing for individuals or companies to approach you and request permission to advertise on your site, within specific placements. Like on my homepage here:
You get to set the terms here and you’ll also have greater control of what ads are shown on your site.
This will be highly dependent on the value of the traffic on your site. The more of it you have, and the higher quality, the more you’ll be able to charge.
Option 3: Affiliate Marketing
This is another huge source of income, and one that I use on my blog. (You can see the results of this in each of my monthly income reports).
Affiliate Marketing involves selling a product on behalf of someone else.
Think of it like this; every time you recommend a product, you get a cut of the sale. And it doesn’t cost the buyer any money at all! A win for everyone, right?
The simplest way to set this up is through Amazon as an Associate. But you can also do this by finding products you use and seeing if they have an affiliate program.
Option 4: Product Creation
This method requires more effort from you, since you need to learn what product people want, create it and then market it, all whilst taking care of existing customers too.
Product creation is the most profitable method because you get to keep 100% of the profits. Or, you can have your own affiliates to sell products so you can make money without even needing to be there.
For example, you could create an eBook like this Paleo blog has:
Or you could create something a little more robust and that costs more money, like a Udemy course.
Anything your customers are likely to buy (and benefit from) is a good idea in my book.
Option 5: Consulting
Consulting is often the most profitable way to monetize your blog and can also be the easiest approach, as you’re just working with a few clients at a time, each of whom pay you a high ticket price.
However, your ability to provide consulting is going to depend on the niche that you’re in as some niches lend themselves more to the consulting model than others.
If you want to get the best out of this method, then you need to be clear about the specific result/goal that you can help potential clients achieve.
You can then market your consulting services around that concept.
Easy enough to do – but you better know what you’re talking about!
Which are the best free WordPress plugins for my blog?
There are thousands of plugins to choose from and it's easy to get lost in the noise.
So here are the best free plugins for your blog-
- SumoMe - This plugin makes it easy to add email capture forms and social sharing buttons.
- Yoast SEO - This plugin will improve the SEO of your blog.
- WP Super Cache - This plugin will make your blog load quicker.
- WP Smush - Automatically compresses images so they load faster.
- Drip - Take advantage of the free account to add email marketing to your blog without spending a penny.
How can I automatically backup my blog?
How do I start good search engine optimization (SEO) habits?
You’re not going to rank in the first position for anything straight away. So, while you’re growing your site and your rankings, it’s important to develop good SEO habits so you’re set up for success.
First take a few minutes to index your site and submit it to Google. You can index your site by visiting Google Search Console.
Once there, enter in your URL and confirm you’re not a robot.
And with tools like Yoast SEO you can develop good habits almost automatically.
This simple plugin works with WordPress to analyse each of your blog posts. It gives you metrics to improve and rates the content of each post with a traffic light system.
If your blog post has a central theme, you can input the relevant keyword into the ‘Focus keyword’ section, to see how your post fares. It’ll then tell you how to improve:
You’ll also want to make sure that you link to some of your other posts, when writing your a blog post. This is known as internal linking and can help improve your overall SEO.