Anybody can start a blog, many can write and yet very few blogs serve the purpose they must – provide useful information to readers and help you build an audience, credibility as well as money (well, not everyone blogs for money, but it is an added bonus, isn’t it?)
I love blogging; technology is my staple and content is my passion. And if you plan to start a blog this year, I urge you to go ahead and do it – it is easy, affordable and a lot of fun.
But, mind you, blogging is not a road without pitfalls. Having started my first blog at 19 years of age and 2 other blogs later, I have made many mistakes along the way and learnt from experience.
In hindsight, I feel there are several things I wish I knew before starting my first blog. Today, I will share 7 important things you must know before you dive into your first blog. So lets start swimming:
Content will always be king
Yes, at the risk of being repetitive, I cannot stress enough the importance of good content that is unique, informative, properly framed and error free for the success of any blog.
Your blog is your personal brand and sharing substandard content will ultimately cause people to leave.
Many will be kind enough to email you about the quality of your writing and some may be a little cruel in their criticism by sharing it on social media.
In any case, maintaining the quality of your content is your responsibility and you must keep this long-term commitment to write high quality content for your readers in mind before you set up your first blog.
Long content works
Most bloggers have stressed on the usefulness of long content. Leaving the Google perspective aside, long content is also useful because it provides the window to explain a topic in-depth.
Sometime back, I wrote a post discussing few points to spice up your B2B blog. It was quite a lengthy post but I cannot share all the vital useful information with you in few hundred words, can I?
The aim of my blog is to create something useful that you can apply for improving your business or brand; and more information calls for much longer posts. I could have done a snapshot of that article in 500 words, but then it would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?
Here’s an article by Neil Patel on the importance of long-form content.
Apart form adding value, longer content is also ranked higher on Google, unless of course you have filled it up with unnecessary information or useless banter, just for the sake of words, a big no-no!
Visual over Text
A picture says a thousand words. Indeed, visual is the way to go, as increasingly, people are choosing visual content over pure text based content.
Visual content is the future of content marketing. Recently, a study revealed that video content would account for 80% of the Internet traffic by 2019.
Images and videos pack that extra punch in your blog by attracting attention as well as providing information in a manner that is much easier to process and retain. No awards for guessing why Infographics have been ruling social media for a long time now!
Finding the right images for your text can be tricky at times. Before you start your blog, take some time exploring websites such as Pixabay, Picjumbo and Unsplash that provide high quality images for free.
It’s not all free
Wait, I am not trying to discourage you. You can definitely start a blog for free. In fact, by being socially active across relevant social media platforms, you can even generate decent traffic for your blogs without spending a dime.
However, it takes time. Considering the current competitive landscape, spending some money to promote your content is a wise choice.
Promoting your posts on social media sites is not expensive and quite effective to reach out to a targeted audience that is likely to benefit from your content.
For example, Facebook allows you to choose your own budget for promotions; a pocket-friendly option to boost your Facebook traffic once in a while. More often than not, readers will naturally share your content if they like it, making paid promotions even more effective.
Two more areas where you may consider spending are buying your own domain and investing in a unique design for your website.
It certainly makes a better impression, especially if you are trying to monetize your blog by increasing your chances of getting Google AdSense approval manifold. I would recommend you to search your domain you want to launch and go ahead right now.
Being social helps
The world of social media cannot be traversed alone. Many bloggers fail to realise the importance of being social and genuinely helpful at the outset.
What I learnt in time, you must implement before you start. So get socially active by finding blogging barons in your niche, be a part of their community, contribute intelligently through helpful comments and above all, make friends. Not just connections, but friends with whom you can have a mutually beneficial relationship in terms of sharing and supporting each other’s content.
Requesting to do guest posts for few of these websites is also a good way to contribute to the community and build your own brand as well.
Building a mailing list
Building a mailing list remains a topmost priority for any blogger who’s worth her salt. Emails are the best source of traffic for your website, providing you an access to people’s inboxes every time you write a new post or launch a product or even share any information, ensuring increased traffic on your website.
For my other blog, Androguru, emails make up for 48% of the overall traffic.
But how do you go on about collecting emails and building your mailing list?
Using pop-ups or placing offers on your website asking the readers to sign up can contribute significantly to your mailing list.
Once you receive an email id, make sure to keep your readers informed. A website like Aweber can help you manage your mailing lists professionally.
Have you noticed the biggest trend on websites such as Tumblr sharing some of the most innovative content – yes, you guessed it right – simplicity! Keep it simple with a no-fuss professional layout that is easy to navigate for readers.
Spend some money on a unique and responsive design for your website, keep the subscription process easy and add some plug-ins to elevate the user experience.
Apart from your blog design, keep your posts simple and easy to read by dividing them into paragraphs and numbered lists. Use adequate spaces and insert images at relevant places to ensure an easier and impactful reading experience.
I am sure the above points will guide you well to help you avoid several popular mistakes bloggers make. Apart from this, you must remember that consistency is the key to regular traffic on your blog. I always ask you to blog about something you are truly passionate about; otherwise, blogging regularly may become a challenge.
Having a content strategy beforehand will help you stay consistent. Research your competition, conduct online surveys and encourage comments to find out what your readers want to read so that your content is always mapped to users’ expectations and actually helps them out!
Many of you must have blogged before and I would love to know what you think are the important points one must know before starting out. Leave a comment below to help your fellow bloggers. If you have any queries, drop me an email or leave a line in the comments section below. I will be glad to help you with your query.
All set start your first blog? Here’s a bonus guide that lists out 6 steps for writing an awesome blog.