Although I only started blogging recently I’ve been amazed at the amount of traffic and interest it’s generated for me and my business. I’ve quickly realised that Blogs are a great alternative to a standard website, allowing you the flexibility to update frequently at little or no cost.
If you’re new to the world of blogging, here are some helpful tips (from a blogging beginner) to help you get started:
1) Choose the best platform
This blog is built in WordPress, installed on my own domain. The process with these guys is simple just:
- Find a Web Host and make sure it meets the hosting requirements.
- Download & Install WordPress takes around 5-minutes
- Consult the Documentation and become a WordPress expert yourself.
So far so good for a non-techie like me, although managing some plugin integration has been a bit difficult, especially as I decided to use my own template.
Alternatively, you can choose a free, hosted blogging platform. Check out ProBlogger for advice on pros and cons of each.
2) Design something pretty
Rather than sticking to the set templates, work up your own design for something a bit more personal and interesting. You want to stand out from the crowd. Also, be sure you check your blog theme works across different browsers.
Ensure you’ve double-checked each article for typos before you post. It’s really embarrassing if your first-ever comment is to point out a spelling mistake.
4) Include social media buttons
Include an ‘Add to’ function (see the bottom of this page) that easily allows visitors to add you to their favourite social media site.
Also consider including:
– Find me on Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn links.
– Twitter follow.
– RSS feed.
– Email subscription.
– Links to your Delicious links, StumbleUpon links and so on.
5) Consider SEO
All the rules of SEO for websites also apply to blogs. See my posts on SEO for more advice or take my 10 day SEO challenge.
6) Include static pages
As well as your core blog, you should have a few additional pages that provide some information about who the heck you are. This applies even if you already have another website.
These should include:
– About or Home page – details of who you are, your background, history, maybe even a photograph.
– Contact page – Allow users to contact you rather than just leave comments.
7) Consider blog length
There are no hard and fast rules about the perfect length for a blog post, but common sense dictates users will only read so much. Anything from 800-1,000 words is acceptable, but be sure to break up long copy with sub headers, bullets, images and links.
8 ) Quality and quantity
Ensure your posts are interesting, engaging and relevant. Blogs are not Twitter and shouldn’t necessarily be used to update faithful subscribers with info about your tedious daily life. Try to add some value or provide a new opinion. It’s also important to post regularly; 10 posts a month would be a great start.
Set up some kind of analytics package from day one. You don’t have to pay big bucks, Google Analytics is excellent and provides more information than most bloggers will ever need. Key sections to look for are:
– Most visited pages – which of your blogs are the most popular?
– Key words – which keywords are your users typing in to find your site?
10) Get involved
Try to get some comments up on your site from day one (even if you have to bribe friends and family). Conversation begets conversation. Consider adding your site to some Blog listing sites such as Bloggapedia, or Technorati.
Also be sure to join forums, comment on other blogs that are relevant and generally be aware of what is happening out there that is relevant to your subject matter.
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