75 Tips To Start A Blog
August 8, 2008
We all want to blog and be successful. The easy part is wanting to blog. The hard part is being successful. Now some people start a blog and learn as they go–like I did.
But if you want to start things off right and in an organized manner it’s good to plan everything beforehand. When you learn as you go you tend to make mistakes that could have easily been avoided with proper research.
Image by Caitlinator
If you know what you’re doing from the start you save a lot more time. You won’t be going back and forth about things that should have been decided before your blog even launched; like how you’re going to monetize it and what audience your blog targets.
So what did I do? I came up with a list of tips you should go over when starting a new blog. Before you go into the list there are some things you should know: blogging involves writing; lots of it.
Therefore it’s only right you have basic writing skills. If you want to start blogging then you should at least have basic writing skills. You don’t want to annoy your readers with misspellings, awful punctuation, and bad grammar.
What makes someone better than someone else at something is practice. Whoever practices more at the task in mind will be more knowledgeable and better prepared than someone who practices less–it’s a given. So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read about other’s mistakes.
You might also be interested in picking up on some basic SEO tips.
Here are some tips to get you all started on that new blog.
1. Pick a topic or niche you’re experienced in – you want to write about something you’re knowledgeable in, otherwise how will you be able to teach what you don’t know? You don’t want to end up re-writing other people’s work because you can’t come up with anything of your own.
2. Make sure the niche is popular enough to earn from.
3. Find the main keywords for that niche.
4. Determine your target audience.
5. Examine the authority sites in that niche.
6. Get a relevant domain – get a domain that’s relevant and easy to remember. Picking a domain around these two simple fundamentals will help make your brand more memorable.
7. Get a reliable host – getting a good host from the beginning is something to consider. It can save a lot of headaches in the long run.
8. Park your domain – let it sit there aging like wine and cheese until you’re ready to start using it. The older your domain is the easier it is for it to gain PageRank.
10. Search for people that fit your target audience – search for people that have interests in your niche. Then add as many friends as you can to all your profiles.
11. Choose your own writing style
12. Research and write the first 30-40 high quality posts for your yet to be created blog. Include 2-3 series within those 30-40 posts. One series should be an introduction on the niche: “niche 101″, “how to”, and “what is?” should be covered in that series. The other series should get a little deeper into the topic.
13. Research and write another 15 highly quality posts tailored for the authority sites in your niche which you should have examined in step 5.
note: that should leave you with 15-25 posts to put on auto publish (not yet). This saves dear time to do other things. Especially when starting a new blog.
14. Contact a designer – get a professionally designed custom theme and logo that fits your reader’s needs, your blog’s needs, and the niche’s needs exceptionally. Ask to be placed in the designers showcase page (usually high PR) once your blog is set up.
15. Be yourself.
16. Use WordPress – hands down the best blogging platform ever made. Always install WordPress in the root directory.
17. Set up your blog by installing your custom theme into proper directory in server.
18. Determine what plugins you need for your site specifically, then download all of them. Here are some I recommend off the back:
- All in one SEO pack
- Google sitemap generator
- WordPress Database Backup
- Google Analytics
- Subscribe to comments
- Enforce WWW preference
- Related Entries
- Internal Link Building
19. Install all plugins into proper folder in the directory your theme is installed in and configure properly.
20. Pick a post frequency – i.e., determine how often you will publish new content. Stick with it!
21. Make your site more user-friendly.
22. Check how your site looks in different browsers.
23. Make use of your 404 page - customize it to match your theme, monetize it, and place some links to posts your visitors might find useful.
24. Use Feedburner.
26. Make it easy to get in contact with you.
27. Tag all your posts.
28. Check the load time of your site.
29. Write your “About” page – your “About” page is about the most important page on your site. It tells your readers what your site is all about and why they should bother to read it. So take your time to write a good “About” page.
30. Write everyday.
31. Use an easy to remember pen name – if you’re not going to use your real name, then you should use a pen name that’s memorable.
32. You need a sitemap – I suggest using XML Google Sitemap Generator. Check out the plugin list in step 18.
33. Submit your sitemap - to Google Webmaster Tools. Use it.
34. Use Google Analytics - to keep track of the traffic flow coming to your blog.
35. Publish your first series of posts.
36. Set the other series and posts on auto-publish – have them publish according to your post frequency in step 20.
37. Do a directory submission round-up – start submitting your site to as many directories as possible. If you want hire a service to submit your site to the best directories. There are so many of them doing this yourself would be tedious and time consuming. Submitting to Dmoz is a must.
38. Do a search engine round-up – submit your site to the top engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN.
39. Write and submit articles – submit your articles to article submission sites to create backlinks. This is tedious and time consuming just like step 37, so I suggest hiring freelance writers; you can find extremely affordable ones on DigitalPointForum’s Marketplace. If not you can write the articles yourself.
40. Add a favicon.
41. Go to Technorati.com and claim your blog.
42. Monetize your site – but don’t ruin your site with a gargantuan amount of ads.
43. Send off your guest posts to the authors of those high traffic blogs that are related to yours.
44. Leverage Social Media Sites – Remember all those friends from all those social media sites that have interest in your niche in step 9 and 10? Now is the time to email, message, tweet, and post to their bulletin. Whatever means you have to communicate use it, and ask them to check out a post, the site it self, or leave some comments.
45. Encourage your readers to comment – let them know they’re free to do so and that you encourage it.
46. Make it possible to subscribe to comments – check out the plugin list in step 18.
47. Don’t forget your post frequency in step 20 - Once you’ve established your post frequency your readers will get used to it. If you post every 2 days for a long period of time that’s what your readers will expect. Hold up your side of the deal and keep your post frequency once you decide what it’s going to be.
48. Make a Press Release – take time to write a well-written press release about your site, what it’s all about, and how it can benefit its readers.
49. Write more well-written guest posts for the authority blogs in your niche. If you wrote well and did a good job the first time, you should be welcomed back with open arms.
50. Reach out to the designer who did your custom theme, and remind them to place you in their showcase page (if they said yes in step 14).
51. Submit to Blog carnival.
52. Read other well-written blogs – so that you can pick up good writing habits.
53. Read as many blogs as possible – chances are you will notice mistakes other bloggers do which in turn you can avoid. At the same time you may come across things you never knew and can benefit from.
54. Be the first to comment - make sure you leave meaningful comments on other blogs that will get the reader’s and author’s attention. This increases the chance of a visit to your site via the given comment.
55. Add relevant images to your blog posts – images are captivating, and can make all the difference in a post. Any image is eye-candy when next to plain old text. Making it a relevant picture makes it even sweeter.
56. Add a link to subscribe to your blog at the end of every post.
57. Make it easy to bookmark your posts – Sociable will make your life easier.
58. Use a free e-book or newsletter offer as a marketing tactic to get subscribers i.e., offer access to a free e-book or newsletter if people subscribe.
59. Cherish your readers – answer all questions they throw your way.
60. You need your readers. Not the other way around.
61. Write “how-to” articles and tutorials.
62. Be the first to write about breaking news in your niche.
63. Build relationships with other bloggers.
64. Contact other bloggers with relevant blogs in reference to potential link exchanges.
65. Avoid really long blog-rolls.
66. Backup your blog - at least weekly or monthly depending on your needs.
67. Ask your readers questions.
68. Study your monthly traffic stats – and then compare to the previous month’s stats, then determine the difference.
69. List your most popular articles on the sidebar.
70. Recruit guest bloggers – get some new writers on your blog. It can give your readers a breath of fresh air, or make them realize how much they love you.
71. Link back to older posts – link back to an older post in a new post if it’s relevant. This can be of some use to the readers, and you benefit from the internal linking–it’s fundamental SEO.
72. Always continue to write descriptive and informative posts.
73. Make goals and track your progress – It’s good to make goals for yourself to then evaluate what you’ve done at the end of every month, and see how much you have or haven’t accomplished.
74. Link to other bloggers.
75. If you ever get writer‘s block check this out: 101 ideas to blog about.