Starting a Blog in 2018
Who can blog?
Anyone. That’s that perfect thing about the blogging world. Anyone with a thought, an opinion or a piece of advice can create and maintain a blog. Blogs are also perfect for small business owners to promote their product or service. It is a myth that you have to be technologically savvy or a website wiz in order to have a successful blog. The world of blogging is a limitless resource if utilized correctly.
Everyone's an expert on something, or at least that’s what you’re led to believe after sifting through pages and pages of blog links on any given subject. There doesn’t seem to be a person on the planet left out of the blogosphere.
As your blog grows so should traffic.
Starting a blog is as easy as setting up an email account but getting traffic to your blog might not be as easy.
You often wonder how others are making money from their site, moving up the rankings or maintaining traffic; how did they get all those followers? Why aren’t the methods you’re using working?
You’ve put a lot of hard work into your blog but how are you ensuring that people are actually seeing it? Just because you clicked on ‘publish’ doesn’t mean you will automatically be in front of millions of households.
What to blog?
You’ve got ideas, opinions and experiences that you are ready to share but once you get into the blogging world you find it’s not as simple as writing an article for your site and then expecting people to clamor to your page. Building a following takes time and patience but there are blogging tips available to make your journey a little easier. Whether you are setting up a personal blog for the sole purpose of bragging about your kids or a professional blog that will inform consumers about your product or service; the point of a blog is to do just that. Talk. The next step is to keep the readers interested.
Blogs are a good way to provide the most information about your product or service. The most profitable times to blog will be determined by the advertisements you place on your blog because they will typically be specific to traffic results, search engine results or keyword searches on any given day. However, the content of the blog will be important as well. Blogs are the perfect opportunity to promote specials, sales or introductory offers. Post your blog link to everything you do where it is allowed.
Again, depending on what you have to say, a blog can be used for anything from personal thoughts and family photographs to a business blog used to promote your product or service. If you are looking to monetize your blog then your content will play a major role in the success of it. Creative, unique content will ensure increased traffic and return visitors. Don’t set out to recreate what someone else has done on their site. Revamp older content or find content that sets you apart. Your blog is also a great place to describe your product or service in more detail or to promote sales and specials.
Keep it Legal
Don’t plagiarize, always cite sources and give credit where credit is due (no matter what). The last thing you need is to receive a legal order forcing you to shut down your blog because you misled readers with information that wasn’t yours. People don’t mind if you quote or reference their material so long as they get credit for their work. You don’t want someone infringing on yours so don’t take someone else’s.
Promote your blog URL to the search engines
Set up a personalized domain name. Once you purchase the domain name, forward it to your blog hosting site. Using a domain name gives your blog a professional appearance while also making it easier for search engines to find you. Promoting your site outside of immediate family and friends will also be simpler with a “www.yourname.com” site.
By submitting your blog link to the major search engines, Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they will 'crawl' your content and your blog will begin appearing in the searches. This is the best way to increase traffic to your blog over time.
Rest assured however, the hard work isn’t over once you’ve managed to get your blog to the top of the search engines. Staying there is a completely different monster to contend with. The only thing that will differentiate your blog from the thousands and thousands currently online is content.
It's all about content
Don’t be fooled into believing it’s all about the traffic. You will earn a bad name quickly if your content is not useful or informative. If you are like many other blogs, only including link upon link upon link, you will find your blog life will end before it really even got started.
Make a great first impression. The ultimate purpose of your blog is to give your expertise into any given subject. The best way to make a first impression is to actually know what you are talking about. If readers find your blog informative they will come back for updates. If they find your content lacking they won’t. Even a number of spelling errors can make your blog seem unreliable and useless.
Fill the pages with useful content. Just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean you have to include every single detail. Readers get bored with long drawn out articles. Get to the point and include pertinent detail but don’t go overboard, especially when using “how-to” articles.
Don’t overcrowd the site with advertisements. Affiliate links are great for generating income for your site but too many advertisements will make your site look cluttered. Another downside to too many ads is that your readers are less likely to take your information serious if they feel like you are too worried about selling them something rather than provide them with useful or entertaining information.
When to blog?
Post on a consistent basis. Have you ever clicked on a link and found the most current piece of information was written two or more years ago? They are a waste of space but part of the virtual world from now until the end of time. This is where your patience kicks in and you find new ways to stay motivated. If you find yourself in a rut then take on a different direction to your blog. It’s yours after all, you can do whatever you like with it.
The most profitable times to blog, post or tweet will be completely dependent on your target market and the product (tangible or intangible), service, event or cause you are promoting. To get you started in the right direction here are some tips to assist you in maximizing the social media platforms you are utilizing in your marketing campaign.
The first step to determining the most profitable times to blog, post or tweet will be to do your market research. For example, when is traffic on their social platforms the highest? If your product is holiday related, the most profitable time for you to post or tweet will be during the shopping seasons when online shoppers come out from hibernation. Typically the highest season is just before and just after Thanksgiving for the Christmas holiday though online shoppers are searching online deals all year through.
What times are those consumers online? What is your target age group? Believe it or not, it’s not teens that are online the most. An eMarketer report showed the 18-24 age groups with a high usage of the social networks but it is the 25-34 year olds that show the highest usage. If you are trying to reach an older target market, you could be wasting your time online.
Tying your blog to a social media network, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn; will also determine when to blog. Facebook users for instance are typically online in early morning hours, lunch break or after work hours when they have more time to surf through their friend’s posts. Twitter users are typically ‘following’ your business so they see your tweets as soon as they are posted.
To Tweet or Not to Tweet; that is the question after all. The purpose of a tweet is to keep your followers informed of your every move but if they aren’t paying attention then you are tweeting in vain. Early morning and late evenings are the best times to ensure your tweets are being noticed and even re-tweeted. Most people have things going on during mid-day so it makes sense they are paying attention to their tweets less then.
Facebook is a little different because users get notified, based on their settings, but get more information (and more pictures) than they do on their Twitter. Facebook allows a user to be more interactive by posting not only replies but photos, videos and links to other sites. Maybe it’s the ‘friend’ feeling of this social platform that makes users feel connected but it is definitely a beneficial communication technique. Facebook is one of the most profitable social media channels and with availability 365 days in the year, marketing via this network can be done on any day of the year because it is so instantaneous.
What's Your Favorite Social Media Platform?
Share Your Blog
Don’t think for one moment that just because you post a few articles that you are done. You have to be consistent. Once you have written the post for your blog, promoting it is as simple as copying the link and putting it on Facebook, Pinterest and your other social networks such as LinkedIn, MySpace or Twitter.
Reply to Comments
If someone takes the time to read your blog, much less comment on it, then you reply. If for no other reason than to thank the commenter for their time, always respond. This is just common courtesy but it will also make your reader feel involved in your blog. Consider utilizing a forum for your blog as your grow if you notice a consistent number of comments coming in.
Where to blog?
There are many options available in blog hosting. Most every site offers free blogging services that include a basic template and formatting that make it very simple to get started. Plug-n-play sites make life easier on you and require less technical knowledge of HTML and coding.
Square Space, Blogger, Blogspot, Wordpress, Blog.com, Simplesite, Tumblr, Xanga, Typepad, Live Journal, Simple Site are just some of the top blogging site available to you to get started blogging.
Link to everything
Apart from your personal pages, consider setting up fan pages or accounts strictly geared to promoting your blog. Then link, link and link some more. Set up a Twitter account if for no other reason than to promote a link to your newest posts by including your blog link to increase visibility.
From your website, link to your blog and all social networks you are a member of.
Tidbit: Try not to mingle your personal life with that of your professional image. You don’t want readers confusing your musings on your “wall” with that of the content driven articles from your blog.
How to blog?
Take all those notes you’ve been scribbling down, choose a blogging platform and put aside your fear; and finally get started! The minute you post your first blog you’ve officially become a blogger.
Last but not least, once you’ve published your blog be sure to submit it to the major search engines; Google, Bing and Yahoo, for increased traffic. If readers don’t know about your blog chances are they won’t see it.
And there you have it, your blogging questions answered. Now, welcome to the world of “anything is possible.”
Expand out from the blog
For those blogs that offer a product or service then consider promoting on Fiverr.com along with a link to your blog. Outside of your own blog site, Fiverr.com allows you to sell your product or service on their site for $5. After fees you are bringing in $4 per transaction.
Listing your blog link on other site increases visibility because you are being listed on sites that are responsible for their own SEO marketing and already have their names established.
Just remember that for maximum exposure, Include your blog link on all of your social media platforms while at the same time linking to those accounts via your website. The point is to redirect the reader back to your own product, service or article by using your links and written content.
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© 2013 Sydney Spence