Blogging is no longer a sophisticated or complicated thing as it once used to be in the past. A popular thought among most people at some point is that blogging was meant for the chosen few computing geniuses with skills in coding or graphic and web design. However, as most of you have discovered, the truth of the matter is blogging is not as hard or as challenging as it is sometimes thought out to be. In fact these days, it seems like everyone has some sort of blog.
With all these blogs on the internet, the sad reality is that not all of them have a defined purpose and some have been run down and closed due to poor performance. Hence, it would be of no use starting a blog only for it to fail because of factors that could have otherwise been avoided. With respect to this, we will discuss some important points to have in mind when planning to start a blog.
Research has shown that a good number of people already have their own blogs set up and running. Some of these blogs may already be a huge success, while others may have collapsed drastically. For those of you with blogs already, this is also for you as it will also touch on how to manage your blogs.
1. Why Do You Want To Blog?
People decide to start their own blogs due to a number of reasons. After all, it’s easier when you know what your target destination is, right? People write blogs for various reasons. Blogs have been used as an avenue for communicating and spreading information and news. Some people use them to express themselves and to make their voices heard; others use blogs as a way to ensure that their work is eventually published after building up an audience; others only write blogs to make money. Whatever it is, the first crucial step for any and all bloggers is to have a reason as to why they want to write.
2. What Will Your Blog Focus On?
Since you have your reason(s) for starting your blog pegged down already, you should determine what will constitute the subject matter of your blog. We call this focus a niche. Your blog could consist of a varying number of topics from categories such as travelling, technology, science, medicine, sport, religion or whatever it is that you really want to write about. That solely depends on you and your tastes and preferences. Blogging should be something that you should enjoy doing, and nothing brings more fulfillment and motivation than pursuing what you love and holds dear. Ensure that you have the right topic of focus for your blog to make it a worthwhile endeavor.
3. Creative or Informative?
The content of your blog depends on you, but one decision you should make is whether your content will be creative or informative. Creativity may mean telling your readers stories and tales to teach a moral lesson or just to entertain your audience. You could go for original content in the sense that you come up with your own ideas and materialize them into something. You could also want to pass information to your readers on various current issues, say hygiene or diet or probably the latest in the technology world. None of the two is the boss of the other, it all depends on you. You could actually have both, so it really is your choice.
4. Domain Name
This is where it really starts to get technical. The word ‘domain’ may discourage some, especially those with little to no internet savvy since it sounds like something that only programmers and other computer professionals know about. On the contrary, a domain is simply (and literally) your www.something.abc address on the internet!
Your domain name is what identifies and sets you apart from the other millions of blogs and websites out there. You should thus make sure that it’s something unique, something that’s individual to you, and that it will set you apart from existing sites. For example, if www.something.com is already taken, do not use a variation of the name, like www.something12.com, since it will just cause confusion between the two domain names and that will not help your cause in case the first domain name belongs to a competitor. Get a domain name that’s unique, short, and easy to remember.
5. Decide How Your Blog Will Be Hosted
A host is a service provider that has servers in which websites, and ultimately your blog, will be stored. It brings your domain and blog into existence. You need to make sure that the service provider you choose is reliable, secure and trustworthy. It is a sad fact that most service providers these days are not that good. Some have issues with their servers, like servers that keep going down, or servers that are slow which end up making your blog load slowly, and other similar problems. Do your research before selecting a host. Look at factors like server uptime, the overall price you will be charged, security of the host, type of customer service and offers – most hosts provide huge discounts for your first/initial purchase.
6. Choose the Platform You Will Use to Write Your Blog
Blog hosts and platforms are different. Platforms allow you to develop and edit your blog though some can act as hosts as well. There is a broad range of options to choose from when you are choosing what platform you would want to use. Some of them include Blogger (Blogger.com) by Google, WordPress that is wordpress.com, Tumblr, which is tumblr.com and PostHaven, just to name but a few.
Traffic can be loosely defined as the number of visitors who view your blog. How much traffic your blog gets is basically up to what your aim for the blog is. You could have over 250,000 visitors, but that could be a lot of traffic, little traffic or just about enough, depending on what you are trying to accomplish with your blog.
For any given establishment or business, challenges and other forms of danger and threat are sure to be experienced. As things begin to look up for your blog, and it starts getting bigger and bigger, it can become a target for hackers. This means that you will need to ensure that your blog is secure enough, else you could be dealing with issues like malware infections, branding issues, Google blacklists and other kinds of irregularities that you would rather avoid.
Truth be told, the number of times you have closed a page that was taking ages to load is countless. It’s a disturbing occurrence when a site takes too long to open. In this case, the reader would close the site and move on to another site. To illustrate, we all know how frustrating it is when your phone or computer takes too long to boot up or respond. It’s the same thing with your blog. The speed of the site is one of the factors that will determine your ranking index on Google. Ranking index is directly proportional to the speed of your site.
10. Backing Up Your Blog
It would be discouraging if you put up a lot of time and energy into generating a post for your blog only for it to get deleted by accident, maybe your three-year-old is playing on your computer, and they touch things, and you can no longer locate your post. Maybe your site gets infected by a virus or malware, or it just crashes due to issues with your hosting. All these are some scenarios that can be easily managed if you’ve got a backup of your site somewhere. It is, therefore, a show of intelligence to have regular backups. It should actually be a major factor to consider if you’ll use a host for your blog.
11. Mobile Compatibility
Your site has to be compatible with the screen size of the huge variety of mobile devices out there as a good number of people are spending most of their time on portable devices for example tablets and smartphones as compared to laptops and desktops. It should also be mobile friendly, and should rank well on mobile search engines, meaning you should ensure that your site is compatible with computers and mobile devices alike.
12. How Much Is Your Blog Worth?
For those of you aspiring to make money off your blog, you need to understand the quality that it holds. Most of the time, people focus on the quantity, but the primary focus should be the quality of the blog. Everything has potential, and the best way to determine the value of your blog is to discover the potential it has.
Some people have an attitude towards seeing adverts on a web page, and most are justified. However, you need to make a decision if you want to add advertising space on your blog page. Adverts are not a bad thing, though, and they can earn you some real money.
14. What Rankings Should You Be Interested In?
The importance of any kind of ranking is dependent on what you want your blog to achieve. Usually, the most significant ranking for bloggers is the number of visitors and the value of the advertisements they have on their blogs
15. Social Media
Using Social media services is a fantastic and modern idea because it creates awareness and is one of the best ways to get more visitors and viewers to your site, hence increasing the traffic to your blog. Social media is an excellent tool for broadcasting your content. Therefore it’s on you to decide whether you’d want to link your site to any social media sites.
16. Reader Engagement
You can involve your readers by creating newsletters, forums for questions and comments. This keeps you in touch with your readers and helps you cultivate loyalty and a relationship with them. Ensure that they are commenting on your blogs.
This technique involves sponsoring, say a relevant newsletter, or providing a link to another site on your blog. These sites and newsletters can trade space with you, and you could be in turn sponsored on their sites, which can increase traffic and awareness of your site.
18. Building Mailing Lists
If your blog is earning you money, and you need to stay in touch with your customers and readers, creating a mailing list is the way to go. Give your readers something valuable like a free subscription to newsletters, free membership for a period, and subsidised prices for products in exchange for their email address.
19. Give your Expert Criticism on Other Blogs
Offering expert criticisms on other people’s blogs is a means of expanding your reader base. It is a show of respect for the content of other bloggers, and most will, in turn, seek to return the favour and go through your blogs, actually increasing the traffic on your blog. Some of the other people sharing their thoughts on the blog may even refer to your blog through your comment, so do not be mean with your comments.
20. Understand the Basic Technical Makeup for Your Blog
You need to learn the technical make-up of your blog. This is not to say that you go into an in-depth study of its technical aspects. Rather, just strive to know the basics so that you don’t end up investing too much, or too little. This will help you get the value of your blog as it is.
Blogging takes time and effort. Value your readers, keep them close and be open to the idea of learning new things if you want to be an accomplished blogger. It is also important to remain apt with the day to day societal living as this helps create a good rapport with your reader.
Considering the points discussed in this post, what would you consider to be the most important technical skill required by any blogger?
Kevin Nelson started his career as a research analyst and has changed the sphere of activity to writing services and content marketing. Currently, Kevin works as a part-time writer at the OnlineWritingClass. Except writing, he spends a lot of time reading psychology and management literature searching for the keystones of motivation ideas. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin.