Writing your first blog post can be intimidating – and it’s not just the technical aspects of it that are scary. Many writers worry that they won’t be able to connect with their audience, or they don’t really know what to write about. In this article, we discuss blogging and explore strategies for building your blog.
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What is a Blog?
A blog is a weblog where the author makes chronological entries of articles, commentaries, personal diaries, videos, and more. As a website owner, the content you include is totally up to you – the key is the format. Blogs are usually arranged in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent post being shown up top, followed by the previously updated content, all the way down to the first-ever post at the bottom of the list.
The main goal of a blog is to share fresh content and share it often. The more regularly it is updated, the more visitors will interact, share, and promote posts (and the higher it will rank in search engine results). To be a successful blogger, it is critical to have several skills including writing, editing, marketing, and SEO. Because the market is so saturated, it is essential to not just turn out regular updates, but to make sure they’re of the highest quality. Not sure you have the required skills? Hire a freelancer or take an online training course!
Business Benefits of Blogging
Still not sure that you should start a blog? Aside from a love of writing or an overwhelming urge to share your story, there are several reasons blogging could be beneficial. Most importantly:
- These days, a web presence is incredibly important, and you need to be able to communicate with your audience no matter what channel they use.
- A blog gives your brand credibility and helps build authority.
- Publishing new content regularly can help improve SEO.
- People are emotional creatures, and they want to feel a connection: a blog gives you the chance to tell an authentic story and build a relationship with your audience.
Picking Your Topic
If you want to keep your audience engaged, you need to post often and keep it engaging. But how can you come up with a fresh topic every single week (or more)? And what should you even write about in the first place?
One key rule is: know your target audience. What are they talking about? What issues matter to them? Answer their questions, provide useful insights, and heck – if you’re down for it, start a debate.
Beyond that, choose topics that you like to discuss with other people. If you genuinely feel enthusiastic and engaged, it will come across in your writing, and your audience will respond in kind.
If you want your blog to get found, you have to show up in search results. The best way to do that is through keyword optimization. Here are some quick tips:
- Make a list of words related to your industry or niche, and then make a list of related words for every one of those words. That will be a good jumping-off point. For example:
- Hosting Service
- Blog creation
- Website customization
- Use Google Keyword Planner to research these words, find monthly search volume, view the level of competition, and see other suggested words and phrases.
- Type your keywords into the Google search bar and see what other phrases pop up in the “related searches” box at the bottom of the screen (this is a good indicator of what related terms people are actually searching for).
When you have your keywords selected, jot them down at the top of your document. This provides a simple visual cue so you don’t forget to include them.
Getting Your Blog Started
Naming Your Blog
Before you start getting creative on the keyboard, you need a name. You can go the simple route of using just your own name, or you can get a little more custom and use a unique name. What you want to remember, though, is that you will want to use this name for your domain.
We’ll call this Step 1(a) because it is important. Your domain should be the name of your blog, or as close as you can make it. Therefore, when choosing a name for your blog, also research domain names that match your blog name. If you use your name, the chances of getting your ideal domain drop. If you go the custom route, your chances increase, so take that into mind when creating your name.
Finding a Host
After you’ve chosen your domain, you need to find a place to host it. There are many hosting companies that offer all sorts of plans. What you want is the plan, and host, that works best for you. What is the cost? What is the storage that comes with each plan? How is the support from the host? Hosting plans can be a little complicated if you don’t know what you’re looking at, but a good host should be able to help you out and determine what you need.
Another factor to consider: do they offer a tailored plan for the platform you choose to use for your blog, such as a WordPress plan?
Creating Your WordPress Blog
Once you’re ready to write, you can begin to build your blog. As WordPress is one of the most popular blog platforms, we will now discuss how to use it.
To get started, click on Posts > Add New from your dashboard – this will take you to a page where you can start writing. From there, you can start creating your rough draft. WordPress allows you to write and edit as much as you want in draft form before publishing, so there’s no need to get it perfect the first time.
Here’s what else you can do from that page:
- Create a title (you’ll see the big white bar right at the top).
- Add external and internal links to your content. Simply highlight the text you want to hyperlink, click on the paperclip icon at the top of the screen, and insert the url of the website you want to link to.
- Add media. Use the Add Media button at the top left of the page to insert photos, infographics, videos and more. You can either choose from media you already have saved to your library or upload something new.
- Insert a table or embed a Google Doc (both options are in the toolbar at the top).
- View and edit the snippet. At the bottom of the page, you will find an area where you can preview the snippet that will show up in search engine results and edit it if need be.
- Preview your post. Before you hit the Publish button, you can preview your post and see what everyone else will see. On occasion, you will find that the post looks entirely different in preview mode than it does in creation mode, and this will allow you to fix that before publishing.
- Once you’ve edited and previewed your work and you’re sure you’re ready to go, just hit Publish.
That’s it! You’ve posted your first blog in WordPress! Easy, right? Need to import some images to your blog? Read this beginner’s guide for more info on the WordPress Media Library!