Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
So you’re an expert and you want to start a blog. Maybe you want to earn a little bit of cash on the side, maybe you want to become a millionaire, or maybe you just enjoy writing. Either way, if you have never started a blog before, you’re in for a real shock. Just are just ten things that you must know before starting a blog.
Use a content management system – And make it WordPress. Some people may tell you about other content management systems (CMS) and they’re great, but for someone just starting out with website development and blogging, WordPress is the only option. Using a CMS will allow you to get started much faster, have a much better looking website and have all the features you will need. If your blog has the need for advanced features in the future, you can either extend WordPress or export your posts to another CMS.
Keyword research matters – Chances are that you have never used a search engine and found content from someone that hasn’t employed some form of keyword research, it just doesn’t happen. Sure, people could find your content through social media, or they could go directly to your blog, but they won’t. At least they won’t at the very beginning. The fact is that without search engine traffic, your blog will fail. Without keyword research, you will get no search engine traffic.
Keyword research is; finding a keyword that people are searching for. Furthermore, its finding keywords that you have a chance of ranking for. At the start, you will target keywords that have a low search volume and low competition. As your blog starts to gain popularity, maturity and backlinks, you can start to target keywords that have more search volume.
89.95% of TechCress’s traffic comes from Google alone.
You have to be specific – In allot of ways, blogging is comparable to academic publications. You have backlinks that are used to determine authority, just like citations and you have academics that spend their life studying and writing about a very specific topic. Take Abraham Maslow as an example, his area of expertise was psychology. More specifically, Maslow’s expertise was in the area of fulfillment.
Just like Maslow, all good blogs start out and being extremely specific. The blog and its author become what is known as an authority on the subject and that is exactly what Google is looking for, an authority. As your blog grows, your articles can start to cover more areas of your niche.
You have to be relevant – I don’t believe that Google, or any company has yet achieved artificial intelligence. However, Google has created an extremely sophisticated algorithm that can determine the topic of your content. Staying on-topic will help Google determine what your blog is about and for what queries you should be ranking for.
Furthermore, keeping your blog relevant will mean that your readers will consider you an authority on the subject. If they need to know something, you want to be the author that they think of first.
The quality of your writing is everything – There is allot of people that will tell you about Google’s artificial intelligence and hot they can tell if your articles are good quality. Personally, I think Google is a long way off AI and in the meantime, they use other metrics to tell how good your articles are. Some of those metrics include bounce rate, social shares and how much time users spend on a page.
To decrease your bounce rate, increase your social shares and increase the amount of time users spend on your page, you have to write good quality content. These metrics are used by search engines to determine your Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP). Furthermore, good quality content will allow you to increase your readership and social following over time.
Long posts are a must – I’ve seen people start blogs and each post is less than 200 words. I tell them that they need to have posts that range from 500 words, all the way up to 2000 words. How could you possibly communicate a message worth communicating in 200 words? You couldn’t. A rule that I follow is that I will never post anything under 500 words. Sure, I have some posts that are only 400 words on this blog. Those posts were usually written for a specific person and that is all the information they needed to know. The ‘never less than 500 words’ rule is one that I encourage you to follow. If you really want to be successful, you will need to post articles that are 1000 and 2000 words long. Remember:
Content is king
Readers only care about themselves – There is a harsh reality of the blogs and that is, the reader doesn’t care about you, they care about themselves and the information you can provide them. Writing a long-winded story about something that has happened to you is not going to get you readers, unless it’s an incredible story. Even so, you won’t be able to fill a whole blog with incredible stories that people will come back to, time after time.
Success takes time – If creating a successful blog is something that you’re excited about and really want to make work, you can. However, you have to make sure that you’re in it for the long run. Never expect your blog to be successful in the fist couple of months, don’t even expect to it to be successful in the first couple of years. Even if you do get the keyword research down, you get the long articles in and you create a large following, making your blog truly successful will take a long time.
Don’t let the time that it takes you to create a blog discourage you. The best part about blogging is that you can write nothing for a month, have a great idea and come straight back to where you left off.
The winner takes it all – As mentioned above, most of your traffic will come from search engines and the top 10 results will get 91.5% of the traffic (Search Engine Watch). The number one position in that top 10 will get a massive 33% of the traffic. So there might be 10 winners, but there are possibly hundreds of thousands of pages that appear in the results, somewhere, for that query. The point is, if you’re not a winner, you will get no traffic. Getting pages in the top 10 positions is absolutely critical to your success.
Being successful is difficult – There is allot to learn, if you’re starting a blog without any internet marketing experience. You will have to learn how to make a website, how to manage the website, how to find keywords and target them. You will have to write allot of content. It will consume a massive about of time and become something that you obsess over.
Having said that, if you love your topic and you love writing about it, you are guaranteed to love owning a blog. The amount that you learn about the topic will increase exponentially, you have a good chance of earning some money and best of all, you can help other people learn about the topic.