Blogging for Beginners – One of the most exciting activities that you can do online is blogging. Blogging usually starts as a hobby. People like to share their stories and personal opinions about certain issues with others and so they start to write blog posts. As time goes by, this simple hobby develops into a full-time business. Bloggers develop their blog to attract visitors and when they successfully make their blog popular, they monetize it. Blogs were barely present and the term ‘blog’ itself was not found in any dictionaries two decades ago. Today, there are more than 200 million of them and many of those blogs are used as business means as well as primary sources of income.
Everyone can create a blog and master its strategies very quickly. Therefore, the term beginner blogger is actually a questionable term. People who have just started to create a blog can master it without having to undergo years of education. There are already many bloggers who earn thousands of dollars every month from their blog even though their involvement in blogging is only few months long. Once you become a beginner blogger, you will become a professional and prosperous blogger very soon. As long as you remain consistent with your unconventional career, blogging will surely become a rewarding activity for you.
What is Blogging?
Despite its popularity and overwhelming pervasiveness in the online world, the term ‘blog’ is a relatively new term. Coined in 1990s as a contraction of the term ‘web log,’ blog quickly gains fans among internet chroniclers who later call themselves bloggers. Blogs may contain stories, opinions and reviews or particular products or services. Basically, everything that emerges on human’s mind can be transformed into a blog. Every piece of writing that is posted on a blog is called blog post. Blogs can be published for free using free publishing services like Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Blogging CMS (content management systems) like WordPress and Drupal can also be used to build a blog, given that the users have purchased a webhosting plan. WordPress.com also offers to its users a paid service as an enhancement for its free service.
Why does blogging quickly become popular? There are many reasons why blogging becomes popular and why today, almost every internet user has a blog. To start with, blogging is a fun activity. It is always fun to tell people about your stories and opinions. Blogging also has a marketing potential. Because blog posts attract readers, if ads or marketing messages are added to them, readers will consciously or unconsciously digest those messages and respond to them.
Build a Domain Name
Every blog needs a unique URL address, which visitors use to reach that blog. This address consists of a series of domain names, including a TLD (top level domain), such as .com and .org, and subdomains that come before it. Domain names provided by Blogger and WordPress are free; however, if bloggers don’t like to include blogspot.com and wordpress.com in their blog’s domain name, they should buy a domain name, which usually costs $10 a year (with the exception of premium names containing very popular keywords, which may cost over $1000 a year).
Whether you use free domain name provided by Blogger and WordPress or paid domain name that you buy, it is important to make sure that the name that you choose must be SEO friendly. It must perfectly represent the topic of your blog, it must be rich in keywords that you target, and it must be easy to remember and to write. The use of hyphens or underscores in a domain name is still subject to debates; however, although they may represent space, which prevents ambiguity of the meaning of the domain name but is not allowed in a URL, most bloggers discourage their usage because they make domain name more difficult to write and because domain names with no hyphen or underscore often ranks better than their hyphened and underscored counterparts.
The Best Hosting Provider for Your Domain Name and Hosting
You can develop your blog without having to host your website on a paid webhost because even with blogspot.com or wordpress.com on the back of your domain name (which means you use Blogger’s or WordPress’s free service), your blog can still grow and become a popular and money-making blog. However, a blog with free hosting and domain name is often considered unprofessional and sometimes spammy. If you use free WordPress service, you will eventually believe that you suffer a lot because you cannot access premium features offered by WordPress, including premium templates, custom plugins (which are dreadfully important), FTP access, and ad-free pages.
So, in brief, buying a webhosting plan makes your blog better and look fancier. You have your own domain name and you have a whole private room to manage with complete freedom. The question is ‘how to find the best webhosting provider for your blog?’ When you look for a webhosting provider, you will mostly check the space provided, the bandwidth, and other basic hosting features offered by the provider. Well, don’t stop there because what you want to know is the provider’s reputation. Therefore, make sure that you choose a provider that offers 100% uptime, reliable customer service, and guaranteed satisfaction and you have to make sure that the provider is certified by ICANN. Visit ICANN’s website and you will find a huge list of all providers that it certifies.
Setup Your Blog With WordPress
We have mentioned the two kings in the blogosphere: Blogger and WordPress. It’s time for you to pick which blogging platform is the best for you. Both have their pros and cons. Blogger is so easy to use that you don’t actually have to do anything to make the platform ready for you to use. Just make a Google account (if you haven’t had one) and you can start making your blog post. You are free to use any templates that you want to use, including ones provided by Blogger and external templates. Blogger, however, is not the best platform if you want to monetize your blog. Although Blogger is owned by Google, the real source of money on the internet, that doesn’t immediately mean you have everything in your disposal to boost the rank of your blog. Adding AdSense ads to your blog is a breeze with Blogger, but that’s the only thing that Google gives to you. With Blogger, you will not be able to add wonderful plugins, which are unquestionably essential if you wish to make your blog the number-one blog.
If the goal of your blogging activity is to create a well-ranked blog, WordPress should be the platform that you use. You will learn about the advantages of using WordPress in the next section.
Why Must You Create Blog With WordPress Platform?
There are many reasons why you should use WordPress instead of Blogger. Beginners indeed need to learn first about how to install WordPress before they can use it. If they have a WordPress.com account, they can have the platform preinstalled and avoid the hassle; however, more advanced WordPress features, including plugin support, are available only after you make payment. In brief, unlike Blogspot, WordPress is either more difficult to start with or not cheap. But that is the only disadvantage of using WordPress. There are many more advantages of using that platform that will surely make you forget about that little drawback.
What are the advantages of using WordPress? Here are the list of wonderful features that WordPress offers to you.
Ease of use
Although WordPress installation is not hassle-free, the platform is very easy to use and to manage after you install it.
Access to wonderful plugins
Those plugins will make your blog stay on the top.
Grow without limit
No matter how many hundreds of thousands of pages that your blog has, WordPress can always handle them without compromising its access speed.
Clean and simple code
WordPress uses clean and simple code, which becomes the reason why all search engines love it.
Pick a Good and Responsive Theme for Mobile User-Friendly Blog
With a domain name, a webhost and a blogging platform have been all set, now you are ready to make your blog ready for exhibit. Before you fill it with content, you may want to make it look great with a good, attractive and responsive theme first. A theme for your WordPress blog must be good and attractive so that it makes your blog not only look eye-catching, but also load fast and easy to read. Attractive and easy-to-read blog will surely be appealing to readers and fast loading time means better SEO rank. There are many online tools that you can use to measure how fast your blog loads. Use them to pick the right theme for your blog.
It is also important to make sure that you use a responsive theme. Responsive theme allows your blog to appear neatly on all browsers and devices. Blogs are now accessed not only on computers and laptops, but also tablets and smartphones. You certainly want your blog to adapt the browser and the screen size of those devices, right? A responsive theme can make that possible. A responsive theme might be expensive and require the latest HTML5 and CSS3 technologies, which are not supported by all browsers; however, you can always find cheap and even free responsive themes and if you test the compatibility of the theme in various devices, you can make sure that the theme you use will not have problem to show on different devices.
The Best Plugins You Should Install on WordPress
Plugins improve the functionality of your blog. They may even automate particular tasks and help boost the SEO rank of your blog. Plugin is what makes WordPress platform different from other blogging platforms. One last thing that you must do to your blog before adding blog posts to it is adding useful plugins. The following are five plugins that your WordPress blog must have.
The purpose of blogging is to make people read your posts, right? With Shareaholic, you can have the notifications on new posts on your blog appear on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Not all readers who read your blog posts make honest comments. This plugin simply prevents all spammy comments from appearing on your blog.
Thank Me Later
And there are indeed readers who make honest comments. They surely expect your honest respond. Therefore, instead of sending auto-generated email to them, use this plugin to send more personalized response to them.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
If SEO is the primary motive of your blogging, you must use this essential SEO plugin. This plugin has been downloaded over 7 million times, making it the best SEO plugin that automates the optimization of your blog.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Google Analytics is the best tool for tracking your blog’s traffic. With this plugin, you can use this tool without navigating away from the dashboard.
Create Quality Content
This is the most exciting part of blogging. After your blog is fully prepared and optimized, you can now erase that Hello World mock post and start to write your own original post. It is important to make sure that every post that you make is unique, original, authoritative, and useful. Here are five requirements of high-quality blog post that you must comply with.
Your blog content must be based on research.
You are not an omnipotent being. Perform a comprehensive research before you write a post to make sure that your blog content is of high quality. Most search engines even love to see links in your content that go out to such reputable sources as Wikipedia, JSTOR journals, Mayo Clinic, and WebMD. Don’t reiterate the information given by those sources, though, because plagiarism is a crime. Try to give your own unique and even secret outlook when writing a post.
It must be useful.
Your readers will not read your blog content if they don’t see any benefits of reading it. Research on popular needs that prevail today and in the future (using Google Trends, for example), pick needs that you can help fulfill and write blog posts accordingly. It is always important to follow industry trends.
If you decide to write a new post every Sunday, be consistent. Missing one or two Sundays without posting new posts will hurt your blog a lot. Don’t let your readers look for different avenues simply because they think that you have vanished.
Give proper response.
Turn off auto-generated email feature of your blog. When your readers make honest comments, they expect you to answer them personally. A plugin mentioned above will help you do that.
Competition is not your problem.
There are millions of bloggers today, yet the stringent competition in the blogosphere doesn’t mean that beginner bloggers like you have to submit. Always be optimistic because you can prevail if you remain consistent with your high-quality content.
Simple SEO Tips for Your Blog and Content
With high-quality content posted on your blog, your blog is actually ready to run and it is already considered an active blog. Mocks like ‘Hello World’ post, ‘Sample Page’ page and ‘Uncategorized’ category should now disappear from your blog. If you still use ‘under-construction’ notice, remove it now. What you will do next is making your blog more obvious on the internet in general and on search engine’s search result pages in particular by performing comprehensive search engine optimization. The following are 3 useful SEO tips that you can use for that purpose.
Get links from reputable sources.
This doesn’t mean you have to rely on link exchange. Link exchange is a thing of the past that you should never use now. Instead of relying on link exchange and other nasty ways to generate backlinks, use more appropriate channels to get backlinks. Some bloggers still post on article submission websites like Ezinearticles to get backlinks. While this can be an easy way to get links, the best strategy to get links in today’s world is to do guest blogging. You write a high-quality post on high-authority blogs with permission from their owners and you can put your link in that post.
Optimize internal links
A blog that has targeted a particular niche should consist of posts that are connected in some way to one another. By creating internal links, you materialize that connection and establish your blog as one integrated body with parts that auspiciously supplement one another. Both your blog visitors and search engines love that.
Enrich your blog with keywords, but don’t stuff it.
Keyword-rich blog is different from keyword-stuffed blog. If you put your keywords strategically, such as in your permalink and post’s titles, subtitles and content, and you highlight them, your blog will perform well. Forget about stuffing the meta keyword tag of your blog because search engines don’t see that tag anymore.
Focus on Creating Quality Content
The thing about quality content that we talk about in the previous section is the most important SEO strategy that you must use. Visitors will storm your blog if they see the title of your blog content interesting and they will stay longer at your blog if they like reading the content of your blog. Remember that search engines see not only the number of visitors who visit your blog, but also how long they stay there. If they consider the content of your blog useful and worthy of reading, they will stay longer and search engines love that. Therefore, although you have to pay attention to all SEO strategies mentioned above, your primary focus should be on creating quality content. It is useless to make your blog appears on the top position of the search result page if it doesn’t effectively entice its visitors and encourage them to frequent it. SEO strategies without quality content give your blog short-lived popularity and are always subject to Google’s penalty. Make sure that you focus on creating high-quality content because basically, quality content creation is what blogging is actually about. Refer to ‘create quality content’ section of this article to learn more about how to ‘stuff’ your blog with high-quality content.
Be Consistent to Create Content
The importance of being a consistent blogger has also been discussed above. Why do we need to review it again here? Being a consistent blogger is important not only because it ensures your blog’s survival and ensures that your readers will never leave you to seek other avenues, but also because your consistency is tracked by search engines. Your consistency represents your blog’s heartbeat. If you write a new post every day, your blog’s heart beats once each day. If you stop writing a new post, the beat will abruptly stop. If the hiatus occurs too long, your blog will die. Search engines don’t like to see dying blogs. This is the reason why if you stop being a consistent blogger, your blog’s rank will suffer and it will not hold its top position anymore. In brief, being a blogger who consistently write high-quality content is an important SEO strategy that you must never overlook.
You have to write new posts and update old posts consistently, but you still have to make sure that the new posts you write are of high quality. Being a consistent blogger is not enough if the quality of your new posts declines. Your blog’s heart will remain beating, but weak beat means sick blog and that’s not a good news.
Ways to Monetize Your Blog
Eventually, the ultimate goal of blogging is to generate money from it. Indeed, not all bloggers consider their blog a money-making machine. There are bloggers who have posted hundreds of stories on their blogs but are still not willing to make money from their blogs. That is normal because they consider blogging a fun and interesting pastime. However, nine times out of ten, bloggers hardly want to miss the profitable perk of their blogging activity. If you also have a money-oriented motive in your blogging activity and you have stuffed your blog with quality content and have streamed reasonable traffic to your blog using effective SEO strategies, here are ten ways to unleash the profit-making power of your blog and to make your blog a true money-making machine.
Add advertisements to your blog.
AdSense and other online advertising programs can be a bridge between publishers like you and advertisers who want their ads to appear on your blog. Make an account with one of those programs and start adding ads to your blog. You can add as many ad units as you want, but be sure that you check the program’s terms and conditions because programs like AdSense stipulate the maximum ad units per page. Adding disruptive ads will improve their exposure level, so place them in the middle of your content.
Add custom search to your blog.
Custom search provided by Google will not only improve the functionality of your blog because you can use it to allow readers to search for something within your blog, but also generate income for you if your visitors click any ads appearing on the search result page. Lately, your blog’s custom search box will appear on Google’s search result page when internet users use Google.com to search and your blog appears on its search result page.
Sell something through affiliate marketing program.
Advertising programs usually pay you per click. Affiliate programs, on the other hand, pay you a generous amount of money if you successfully sell a product. Amazon and other online retailers offer an affiliate program whereby you get money if visitors of your blog buy their products through your blog.
Add sponsored content.
Sponsored content provided by Taboola, Outbrain and other similar publishers is great because it never looks like an ad. In fact, the content is mostly of high quality and your readers will love to read it. You get money when they read that content.
Add sponsored CAPTCHA
Even a captcha can be a great source of income. If you use a sponsored CAPTCHA service, there is a big chance that you can get money when your readers use the CAPTCHA function of your blog.
Be frank. Just ask for money!
If you believe that there are already many readers who are happy to read the content of your blog, it is always reasonable for you to request their donation. Add a donation button to your page and link it to your PayPal account. Remember that among thousands of readers who visit your blog, hundreds of them are willing to pay you just to keep your blog’s heart beating.