How to Start a Blog in Six Easy Steps
There is a high chance that you have chosen to read this post because you are wondering how to start a blog. Or perhaps you have already started your own blog and you are stuck somewhere and you want to review the process.
In this post, I will show you precisely how to create your own blog even if you don’t have any experience with coding or internet marketing. It’s easier and faster nowadays to start your blog thanks to available online tools and applications that are designed for bloggers who don’t have the technical know-how.
Many successful bloggers today were in your situation a few years back. Like you, they also had their idea with the dedication, interest, and passion required to start and sustain a successful blog. It’s perfectly fine if you are not an expert in HTML or you are not the best writer in town. Just make sure that you take time to learn everything you can to be a successful blogger.
Eventually, you can achieve your goal behind your blog regardless if it is money, fame, or influence. You will be amazed at how easy it is today to create a blog. Moreover, you will experience a sense of satisfaction and achievement when you start to attract subscribers.
Let me walk you through the easy process that most successful bloggers followed when they started creating their own name online.
Step 1 – How to Make a Blog? First, Choose Your Niche
Some people already know what they want to write about. However, there are people who don’t have a clear vision of their possible niche. Regardless of your goals on why you want to create a blog, you should choose a topic that you have high passion or interest in.
You don’t need to be an expert on the subject (yet), but choose a niche that you will surely enjoy learning about. Below are the top topics that you may consider:
- Overcoming illness
- Product reviews
- Travel Experiences
- Personal stories
- Global warming
- Beginner’s Guide to Anything
- Jokes and Humor
Basically, you can blog about anything that you find enjoyable and you are interested to learn more. But if you are looking for a blog that can provide you high traffic it is ideal to consider writing about popular topics. According to WPromote, the top 10 blog topics are the following:
- Real Estate
Meanwhile, the least popular blog topics include economics, parenting, and career.
Take note that with any topic for your blog, your choice could easily spread into other topics that you are interested in such as a combination of music and fashion or wedding and real estate.
Never think that the initial niche of your blog will forever confine you.
You can also follow the following tips for selecting your blog topic:
Choose a Topic You Enjoy Learning About
The blogging community is always changing and one of the most special attributes of blogs is their capacity to provide updated and relevant information and discussions about different topics.
To be successful in your blog, you have to be the kind of person who finds joy in reading about the topic of your blog.
You also have to keep up with news and events that are relevant to your niche.
This will enable your content to be relevant and interesting to your readers.
Choose a Topic You Are Not Too Sensitive About
Not everyone will agree about what you write in your blog especially if you are writing about politics, society, religion, or other touchy subjects.
As you attract more readers, some may strongly disagree with your views and a few would even attack your personally.
Hence, you need to have thick skin in dealing with disagreements especially online.
Choose a Topic You Are Comfortable to Discuss
Remember, the online world is composed of people from all backgrounds with different orientation and opinions.
As you grow your blog, more people will read what you write about and some may not agree with you.
Make certain that you choose a topic that you enjoy discussing with other people regardless of their views.
Make sure that the debate will be healthy and gearing towards positive discussion.
Choose a Topic that is Relevant to Your Community
Remember, a blog is an online platform where communication should thrive. To be successful, you should engage with your readers to nurture your relationship with them.
You should be receptive and responsive to them as they leave comments on your blog or email to discuss your posts in more detail.
The long-term success of your blog will depend on the sense of community that you can build through your posts and engagement.
Choose a Topic that You Are Really Passionate About
Successful blogs are regularly updated. Your content should be fresh, so you need to be consistent in posting high-quality content for your blog.
Make certain that you choose a topic for your blog that you truly enjoy and you feel strongly about.
Choosing a topic that is not within your interest may lead to boredom.
You should be motivated about the topic you choose because you will be writing about it for the next few years.
Try experimenting with a few topics, then see what is most suitable for your passion and interest.
Step 2 – How to Create a Blog? Choose Your Blog Platform and Domain
Once you choose a topic that you really feel good about, the next step is to choose a blog platform and domain.
Below are the following blogging platforms commonly used today:
Before choosing a blogging platform, it is ideal that you are aware of what type of platform you need. If you don’t have any technical background, you need a platform that is easy to set up and doesn’t require any coding work.
You also need to think about what type of blog that you need to start and sustain.
As you grow your blog, you may need to adjust the look of your site and include more features for your audience. Hence, it is crucial to choose a blogging platform that is easy to work with.
It may be difficult to switch later on if you started off with the wrong platform.
Finally, even if you are not yet planning to monetize your blog, it is still an ideal decision to ensure that the platform you choose has a feature that you can easily enable once you are decided if you really want to make money from your blog.
Choosing Your Blogging Platform
The blogging platform you choose is crucial, because you will use it for a long time. To help you select the most suitable platform for your new blog, here is a list of the top choices available today.
WordPress is a blogging and website management tool that you can download. It is the most stable and popular platform in the world with around 25 per cent of websites using it.
You can download the WordPress software from the WordPress.org site. You have to upload then install the software using a server that you are already using.
Set-up is fairly easy and would take you around 20 to 40 minutes. The software also has a step-by-step guide that you can follow.
Publishing your first post is also easy. There are numerous online guides that you can read to make the process a lot easier.
Of course you want your blog to look great.
The good thing is that WP comes with plenty of free themes. There are also themes that you can buy if you really want a premium theme that resonates well with your niche.
You can learn more about themes in Step 3.
Meanwhile, you can add more functionality to your blog through plugins and extensions.
One advantage of WP over other blogging platforms is that this one comes with thousands of plugins. At the time page speed is recommended by Google. To get higher page speed we strongly recommend cloud hosting you can get free trial with cloudways promo code. Choose Google cloud or AWS server with 4GB+ RAM at cloudways to get highest page speed.
You can learn more about plugins in Step 5.
Using WordPress.org as a blogging platform is ideal for:
- Bloggers who want to earn money from their website
- Hobby bloggers
- Business organisations who want to include a blog in their existing online presence
If you are not looking into making money from your blog, you can use another form of WP for your blog. This is called WordPress.com.
WordPress.com is ideal if you are not particularly concerned with a domain name and hosting.
As a pre-hosted platform, this one will provide you a sub-domain, which manes your website name will have WordPress.com in the end (ex: myblog.WordPress.com)
Rather than paying for hosting, you can just download the software then install it on your computer.
After signing up for your account, you can easily begin posting in your blog within a few minutes.
This pre-hosted platform comes in three pricing plans:
- FREE – Ideal for those who need basic blogging
- $99 per year – Recommended for professional bloggers
- $299 per year – Suited for individuals / organisations with advanced business needs
Similar to the self-hosted platform, WordPress.com also comes with different themes. If you choose a premium plan, you can also grab the opportunity to change the design that you are using.
This platform is focused more on simplicity and doesn’t offer as many design features compared to the self-hosted option.
WordPress.com is recommended for the following types of bloggers:
- Anyone who likes to begin a blog without paying anything
- Hobby bloggers who don’t like to spend anything and like to begin as easy and quickly as possible.
- Professional bloggers who are not too concerned with subdomain format
If you need the basic features to start your blog, WordPress.com will be enough. But if you want to customize the look and you are planning to monetise your blog, you may consider WordPress.org or other platforms discussed below.
Tumblr is another blogging platform with features of social networking. This is ideal for people who want to post short batches of online content.
This blogging platform is now popular for:
- Short movies
- Animated GIFs, pictures or images
- Popular quotes
- Micro blogs
While not popular as WordPress, Tumblr has a community of tight-knit users. Once you establish a relevant and interesting presence on this platform, your content can grow organically through sharing and promotion.
Similar to WordPress, you will also get a subdomain (ex: myblog.tumblr.com). If you wish, you can obtain a custom domain that is connected to Tumblr but of course you have to purchase this.
You can also customize the visual aspect of your blog on Tumblr, but many of these features are for sale.
Tumblr is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Hobby Bloggers
Squarespace is another blogging platform that offers hosting and website builder service. It is considered as one of the most user-friendly website builder available today.
This blogging platform offers a subscription price plan that starts from $8 to $24 monthly inclusive of hosting and custom domain name.
If you have an existing hosting, you can still use the platform and keep the current hosting.
Squarespace is very easy to use with its clear, powerful, and intuitive interface. It also has a layout engine, which allows the user to customize the blog content however you like through the drag and drop interface.
It also focuses on UX and web design by offering numerous designs for your blog. Similar to other blogging platforms, you can also use plugins and extensions so you can add more functionality to your website.
Squarespace is ideal to the following types of bloggers:
- Users with no experience or design skills
- Small business owners who need an optimised website and a blog
Similar to WordPress.org, Ghost is a blogging platform that you can also download directly as a software solution. It also requires external hosting and many consider Ghost as basic version of WP.
Ghost offers the following pricing plans:
- Free – Downloadable version and not inclusive of hosting
- Pro Version – This is the hosted version that includes hosting. The price range is between $8 to $200 depending on the number of blogs you want to start and the expected volume of online traffic.
You can purchase a custom domain name and use Ghost as your blogging platform. Ghost also provides different themes you can choose. Many are for free, while the premium options are available at a reasonable price.
Ghost is ideal for bloggers who want to:
- Experiment with their first blog
- Remain cutting edge when it comes to blogging technology
Wix is a user-friendly site builder and blogging platform that has its own hosting service. It is somehow comparable to Squarespace with similar toolset and features.
And like other platforms, you will get a subdomain (ex: myblog.wix.com. If you like, you can buy a domain and connect it to your own custom domain.
You can use Wix for free but if you want more advanced features, the price is $18 per month.
This blogging platform offers more than 500 designs that you can choose from. The App Market also allows advanced customisation, more functionality, and enhancements.
Wix is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Bloggers with minimal design experience or skills
- Small business owners who need a website with blog
Blogger is a pioneer blogging platform and owned by the search engine giant Google. Hence, you can easily sign up through your Google account.
The platform will take care of all the setup process. In just a few steps, you can begin creating your content.
Because Blogger is a free platform for blogging, it works similar like WordPress.com in which you can get a subdomain such as myblog.blogspot.com.
You can also get a custom domain for your blog if you want. But you have to purchase this separately.
Blogger is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Small personal blogs
- Hobby bloggers
Medium is a blogging platform that is ideal for publishing articles and blog posts. Many users of Medium are writers who like to share their stories and opinions on different subjects.
This blogging platform distributes content using editorial curation and custom algorithms.
The biggest advantage of using Medium is the tight-knit community that is using the platform. Users can recommend and upvote blogs that can contribute to the distribution of your content.
You can use Medium to publish content using your profile (ex: medium.com/@johnsmith. However, you can also connect your account to a custom domain that requires payment.
While you can change the images and typography, you can’t adjust the design. Users cannot change the look and feel of your Medium presence.
Medium is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Corporate blogs that are hosted separately from the corporate website
- Hobby bloggers
- Writers who want to build their own personal brand
Similar to WordPress.org, Joomla is an open source CMS (Content Management System) and a self-hosted solution. So, you need to buy your own domain name and web hosting before you can use it.
This platform is known as one of the most flexible and most powerful for building blogs and websites.
It comes with thousands of templates that you can use to customize your blog alongside extensions, plugins, and tools that you can use to add more functionality.
However, this platform is much more complicated compared to WordPress, Squarespace or Blogger. You have to learn advanced features before you can use Joomla.
Moreover, Joomla is also expensive. You can use it for free during your first month, but after this, you have to pay $20 to $100 each month depending on upgrades and options you want to include in your plan.
Support options are restricted to the Joomla network and paid support can be difficult to find and also expensive.
For many amateurs, this could be costly unless the blog is linked to a current business that is already generating profit.
Joomla is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Established business owners who don’t like WordPress
- Bloggers or website owners with advanced skills
Weebly is a hosted blogging platform that will enable you to make a blog or a website using a drag and drop interface. This is easier to use than Joomla.
You can also easily customize your blog to improve its design. There are plenty of themes and templates you can use to change the look and feel of your blog.
Weebly offers a free trial, which allows you to try the service before buying. The paid plan ranges from $8 to $50 each month. This blogging platform is ideal for:
- Commercial establishments who want to add a blog on their website running on Weebly
- Hobby bloggers
Drupal is a full-pledged CMS that you can also use to start your own blog.
Before you can use this blogging platform, you should first visit Drupal.org and download the software. You also need to buy your own hosting and domain name.
Like Joomla, Drupal requires a longer learning curve. For those who are just starting out, Drupal is not the ideal platform. I have added this in my post because I want to provide you with a comprehensive list.
But I would advise you not to use this platform unless you have advanced experience in Drupal.
Drupal is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Established business owners who don’t like WordPress
- Bloggers or website owners with advanced skills
Typepad is a blogging platform that already includes hosting service. It is designed with a simple interface for bloggers who are just starting out.
You may choose to create the blog from scratch or choose from the available themes.
One of the disadvantages of using Typed is that the blog will be hosted in the platform’s server. This could affect your growth and scalability because you will have certain limitations.
In addition, it can be difficult to edit HTML directly in the platform. While this is not a serious concern for users who don’t have coding experience, it can be a serious hindrance for bloggers who need more control.
Typepad is ideal for beginners as well as bloggers who want a fast start system with minimal coding needed.
Magento is a CMS platform that you can also use to start your own blog. However, this platform is commonly used for e-commerce websites.
The main purpose of Magento’s blogging function is to allow commence users to start a blog.
Skilled web developers who are building e-commerce sites can find Magento really helpful.
While it is not that difficult to learn Magento, it still requires time and effort to use the platform in the long-term.
Magento is ideal for the following types of bloggers:
- Experienced web developers
- Bloggers who like to expand into e-commerce
- Online stores who like to add a blog
These are the blogging platforms that you can use to start your own blog.
Choosing a blogging platform is a crucial decision so be careful and consider your goals and current skills.
Choosing Your Domain Name
After choosing your blogging platform, the next step is to buy your domain. This can be exciting because it’s like giving a name to a newborn baby. If you need detailed post on how to start a blog then click the link.
So you also need to be careful about it because it will be very difficult to change later on.
Usually, the most popular domain names with the .com extension are already taken.
However, there are still 400+ domain name extensions that you can use such as .net or co.uk or com.au. But the .com domain is still ideal so it should be your first choice.
Below are some tips in selecting the ideal domain name for your blog:
- Keep the domain short and simple. This will be easier for your user to recall and also avoid mistyping.
- Be sure that the domain is easy to type. You don’t want other blogs getting your traffic if someone else types another website by error.
- Make it easy to pronounce. Avoid complicated or creative misspellings to avoid confusing people.
- Try to add generic keywords such as recipe or music depending on your blog topic. However, you need to link these big ideas to a more specific niche.
- Never use trademarked slogans or brand names. The owners of these proprietary rights will surely come after you and will try to shut your blog down.
- Avoid using hyphens and numbers to avoid confusing people. These also make it difficult to explain the domain to your readers.
- Ensure that the name of the blog makes sense. It should be intuitive to both search engine and human readers.
A domain may cost you between $5 and $15 per year. But there are hosting companies that are charging extra fees for added features.
Hosting Your Blog
Web hosting is a service, which will allow your blog to be accessed online by other users. Without hosting, your website will not be seen online or attract any traffic.
There are many web hosting services available, and the standard price starts from $5 per month.
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Here are the factors you need to consider in choosing a hosting service for your blog:
- Web security – this one is an utmost priority because your blog should be protected against hackers. And if you are working with data from your readers, you surely don’t want their data to be compromised. So be sure to check what type of security features are added in your web hosting services.
- SSL Certificates – It is crucial that you ensure that your blog is secure, especially if you are planning to collect credit card information or personal data from your visitors. Choose a hosting service that includes data encryption.
- Email – It is best if you have a professional email address that contains your domain as your own URL. So be sure that your hosting provider can also provide you the ability to also add email.
- Reliability – Your blog should avoid any down time. Hence, it is ideal to work with a hosting company that is reliable and has proven track record of minimum or even zero downtimes.
- Cost – A shared hosting service should not be expensive, usually between $10 and $20 per month at maximum. It will cost you more if you want a dedicated or VPS hosting.
- Backup – It is crucial to back up your blog regularly so be sure that your hosting service will provide you enough backup options.
- Customer Service – You will definitely run into some technical issues once you start building your blog. So it is really essential that you work with a hosting service that has excellent customer service to assist you when you have concerns.
Many starting bloggers usually go with a hosting service that is affordable, but offers some good features and provides excellent customer service.
The top hosting services today are Bluehost, GoDaddy, and HostGator.
These services are affordable and their customer service is excellent, which is crucial if you are just starting out and you don’t have enough technical background to lift off your blog.
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How to Blog – Why You Should Avoid Free Hosting?
If you want a successful blog, you should stay away from free hosting services. Many of these “free online site builders” will not provide you the flexibility you need.
You will not have control over your blog.
After spending time and effort on developing your blog, the hosting service may just take your blog down because you have posted something that doesn’t go well with their terms of service.
Your blog will just go down the drain.
Step 3 – Design Your Blog Using a Theme Relevant to Your Topic
The right theme for your blog will provide the look and feel that you want for your blog. This will allow you to have a website that looks precisely how you want it to look.
If you don’t know HTML, then using a theme will make the design work a lot easier.
Also, when you acquire a theme, which are pretty much affordable these days, you can have it as long as you want.
Remember, most blogging platforms are used to create different types of websites. Each type of theme is designed for a specific kind of reader/audience.
Your blog theme must complement your niche and the tone you are using.
For instance, if you want to start a fashion blog about women’s clothing, the theme you should use must resonate well with your audience.
Many available themes for blogs are added with features for customization. Without proper coding, these options could hinder you from changing themes or using other plugins. You may need to pay a developer to help you make some changes or you will be locked in using a theme that is not suitable for your blog.
Meanwhile, some themes that look great in live preview can affect the loading speed of your website. Your audience as well as search engines don’t like slow websites.
Remember, your theme serves as the face of your blog, and it plays a vital role in how your audience as well as Google perceives it.
Below are some pointers to consider when you are choosing for the most suitable theme for your blog, especially if you have chosen WordPress as your platform.
Keep It Simple
Many blog themes come with flashy animations, complex layouts, and lots of colors.
You may need these things in special cases, but more often than not, you just need a simple platform to post your content.
Choose a theme that has a streamlined layout, which can help you achieve your goal. It should look great, but it should not compromise simplicity and user experience.
The presentation of your theme should not be too complex.
Remember, the function of web design is to help your readers look for information they need and help you achieve your goals.
Look for a theme that looks good and will also help you get new subscribers or new business.
Also make sure that the theme will help your subscribers find their way around your blog.
Always take note that people are using various browsers. While Google is the number one search engine today, some people are also using Firefox, Bing, and Safari.
Your blog theme may look great on a browser that you are using, but it may not be the case with other browsers.
So it is also important to check that the theme you want to use for your blog is compatible with browsers that are commonly used by people today.
Most theme developers are using compatibility tools to ensure that the themes will run across various browsers.
Most themes will clearly mention this, but if you are not certain, you can easily run some basic tests to check the theme on desktop as well as mobile.
Mobile responsiveness is not just an optional feature these days. You need to use a theme that has the ability to adjust its layout across various devices and screen sizes.
It is interesting to note that a huge number of online traffic are now coming from mobile and other handheld gadgets.
Depending on the niche of your blog, this number may go even higher than half of your online traffic.
It is also now an established fact that Google is showing mobile responsive sites for mobile search results.
Regardless of your blog’s niche and audience, all websites should be fully mobile responsive.
Many available themes today are already responsive.
However, there are still themes with fixed width layouts that are not mobile responsive at all. Be sure that the theme you choose for your website is mobile ready.
The simplest way to test whether a theme is responsive or not is by resizing your browser screen. As you do this, you will notice that the layout of the theme will adjust to the width of the screen.
Most bloggers choose WordPress because of plugins, which allow you to do anything with your blog.
While there are numerous plugins, some are essential plugins such as W3 Total Cache, Yoast SEO, and Gravity Forms.
Ensure that your WordPress theme will support all popular plugins. If you are not sure, you can always contact the theme developer.
You will learn more about recommended plugins for your blog a bit later.
Page builders are site plugins, which allow you to build your page using drag and drop matrix. Most themes are now added with pre-installed page builders.
But take note that using page builders in creating your blog may hitch you with unwanted code.
If in case you want to change the theme, then those pages will require massive cleanup.
Another option is to buy page builders separately that you can use with your chosen theme.
Blog for SEO
Your blog theme plays a critical role in the SEO of your website. Not all good-looking themes have good HTML codes.
This can affect your website performance on top search engines.
You may not have the know-how to analyze the source code of the theme. Fortunately, many developers already optimized the theme for SEO.
Step 4 – Customize Your Blog to Define Your Style
After choosing your domain, hosting service, and theme, the next thing to focus on is adjusting your blog to get the look and feel that will resonate with your audience.
At this point, you are starting to make your vision of your blog a reality. You should also remember that this step is a progressive and can be never-ending.
You will spend more time tweaking the theme as you learn from your audience.
Knowing your audience is the key ingredient to ensure that your blog will be successful. This may take some time but it pays well if you have an established customer persona that will guide you right from the start.
But what exactly is a customer persona?
A customer persona is a fictional representation of an ideal audience. This is commonly used by marketing professionals for formulating the most suitable marketing strategy to capture their market.
Somehow, starting a blog is like starting your own business. Your thoughts translated into words and posted in your blog serve as the product you need to sell to a certain demographic.
However, effective customer personas go beyond demographics. It also includes helpful information such as hobbies, interests, struggles, dreams, and pet peeves.
Understanding your blog audience using these criteria will help you really nurture your relationship with your readers.
A well-researched customer persona can significantly help you in making a successful blog. This will help you in choosing the tone and style of your writing as well as choosing affiliate products should you wish to monetize your blog.
Through your customer persona, you will understand exactly what your audience wants to read and how you can encourage them to spend more time in your website.
In the past, customer personas are only used by large brands with substantial money for marketing. You can use this best practice to effectively market your blog to your niche.
And with the availability of information nowadays, anyone can and must create customer personas.
A well-thought customer persona will help you discover:
- Precisely who your readers are
- What information they are searching for in your blog
- The struggles they face every day
- Their goals – why they are reading your content
- How they usually discover content from your blog
- What makes your readers tick
- Why your blog is uniquely qualified to serve your readers
There are numerous customer persona templates that you can use online.
Many of these templates and guides will allow you to create in-depth profile of the audience you want to attract for your blog.
Below is a sample of a detailed customer persona that is used for a blog for stay at home moms:
Sally the Stay at Home Mom
- 40 years old
- married with three children
- lives in Manhattan
- Has a business management background
- Plans to set up her own online store
- Husband Jim has a high-paying job in insurance firm
- Busy home life for Sally as she has takes care of all house chores and her children
- Jim leaves early for work and comes home late
- Financial pressure because his husband is the one earning income
- Would love to go on a holiday
Challenges and Pain Points:
- Little spare cash because of high mortgage
- Wants to start her own online business but lacks technical skills
- Need tips for saving money
Source of information:
- Always connected online
- Heavy user of Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram
In this sample customer persona, we can get a good idea of who Sally is by reading her lifestyle, background, and challenges/pain points.
By using this customer persona as your reference, you can say that your target reader are hectic moms who need tips on how to save money and are in need of quick, fast solutions.
You can use your completed customer persona to tweak your blog including the colors, the design, and your writing style to name a few.
Step 5 – Choose the Best Plugins for Your Blog
As mentioned earlier, plugins can significantly help you in starting your blog and making sure that it will be successful.
There are several things that you should keep in mind when you are choosing plugins for your first blog.
Being clear on what you want to achieve with your blog will help you in choosing the plugins you need.
You also need to think about how you need to expand your reach. And most importantly, you should know how to ensure that your blog is secure. You can choose and add plugins to your website based on these factors.
Below are essential plugins you should consider adding into your new blog:
Jetpack is a popular plugin for bloggers using WordPress. This plugin is also used on business websites, news sites, and more.
Basically, Jetpack helps in protecting your site from malware.
Hence, your blog will be protected from online attacks. You will also get backup in real time and emails and notifications about blog downtime from this plugin.
Jetpack is also useful if you need to manage several blogs.
You can easily keep track of various blogs and statistics of different blogs from one data.
This plugin will also optimize your pictures so that your blog will load faster, which is crucial for both readers and search engines.
Yoast SEO is a popular plugin for bloggers who want to ensure that their website will appear on search engine results page (SERP).
This plugin is a trusted tool for most bloggers who are using WordPress, because it is always updated with the changing algorithms of Google and other search engines.
This plugin offers a lot of features, which can make your blog more effective for SEO. It can analyze the readability of your posts and computes the Flesch Reading Ease rating.
It can also optimize each post using your focus keywords and synonyms.
On top of basic SEO features, it can also help you optimize meta titles and meta description so your blog posts will easily appeal with your target audience.
Easy Social Sharing
This social media plugin will allow your readers to share your posts on their social media. Easy Social Sharing will help your blogs as it can grow your reach.
This is one of the most recommended plugins for bloggers who want to share their posts on social media.
Using this plugin will enable your readers to share your posts to 18 various social media platforms. It also has a responsive design, which is compatible in any device. It comes with an inline layout where you can add the sharing button either at the bottom or at the top of the posts.
Many bloggers are adding login options or new registration for their visitors. This can increase the engagement between the readers and the blogger because subscribers can access more features from your blog.
Readers who decided to opt-in can receive notifications from their own credentials through email or push notification from your blog.
If you want to enable this feature for your readers, you can use the plugin User Registration.
This plugin is developed to easily add the user registration feature to your blog.
This will help you encourage your readers to login to your blog. Through this plugin, you can easily change the form fields with the drag and drop interface.
You can also create an unlimited number of registration forms alongside several columns support.
Another exciting feature is the language ready so the forms can be accessed by your readers regardless of the language they use.
Many blogs and websites are vulnerable to spam attacks.
You need to make sure that your blog will be protected right from the start. Spams can contaminate your blog and backend files via different comments or contact form submission from your visitors.
The Akismet plugin is designed to minimize spam. This is an anti-spam plug-in that will examine the contact form submissions and comments to look for any form of threat.
Installing Akismet to your blog will help you delete the spams out of your blog.
This automatically evaluates your blog and omits the contents that are suspected as spam.
Once the plugin detects spam, it will record the content in the status history so that you can access the comments and check if they are really spam.
To date, the plugin has successfully removed more than 400 billion spams from millions of blogs around the world.
You may consider to back up your blog if you need to adjust in the technical side or for future use. Your blog is vulnerable to hacking or there can be problems with the uptime.
Hence, backing up your data could be helpful in these instances.
UpdraftPlus will help you simplify the process of backing up and restoring your blog.
With a few clicks, you can easily back up your data and save them in cloud databases such as iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
It is also possible to back up your data to several cloud services using UpdraftPlus.
This also allows you to schedule backups that will help you save a lot of time. With the help of this plugin, you can easily backup databases and files to several remote destinations.
Engagement is crucial for a successful blog. This is why you need to add something in your blog that will improve engagement with your readers.
One effective way to do this is by allowing your readers to post their comments on your blog.
You should let your readers add their comments whether they agree or disagree with your posts.
It is unavoidable that people would criticise your articles or your blog in general but this will provide you a chance to improve your blog.
One popular plugin that will allow you to enable the comments section, especially in WordPress, is wpDiscuz.
Using this plugin, your blog posts will have a comment section with customisable fields and forms.
This plugin is also quite responsive and fast and comes with plenty of interesting features. You may choose to enable or disable the comments depending on your posts.
It also comes with a sorting feature where your readers can view the comments based on most popular, oldest, or newest comments. It provides your readers to reply to a comment and begin a thread.
As the blogger, you have control whether you want to disable comments reply especially if the statements are starting to be hateful, abusive, or spammy.
Your readers may want to get in touch with you to ask questions about your posts. So, a plugin that will enable a contact form can be helpful.
Everest Forms is a plugin that can do this hob. It comes with a user-friendly interface for customising the blog with drag and drop feature. This makes it easy to modify the forms however you like.
Through this plugin, you can add any form you want with several column support.
It is also very responsive so the forms can easily adjust in any handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets.
Everest Forms plugin is also translation ready so the forms could be created and filled in any language.
There is a pre-designed forms that you can use if you don’t like to go through the trouble of designing the forms on your own.
Google XML Sitemaps
Once you install the Yoast plugin to your blog, it will start generating a sitemap, which is crucial for your SEO.
However, it is still ideal to install the Google XMP Sitemaps plugin so Google will find your blog easier.
After installing this plugin, you just need to visit the settings and copy the URL that the plugin is using for your sitemap.
Then paste this into the Google Webmaster Tools and you are done.
W3 Total Cache
The basic concept of caching is storing the data of your website temporarily in the cache so that it will load faster the next time a visitor will open the same page.
This process significantly improves your blog’s performance. In the world of computers, the network will store temporary data in a cache.
To allow caching, you can use plugins that will temporarily store your pages and posts in a static HTML files that will be presented to your repeat visitors.
This significantly cuts down loading time and can help in overall optimization of your blog. Moreover, improved site speed will greatly affect your blog SEO.
The most popular caching plugin is W3 Total Cache, which comes with page cache, object caching, database caching, browser caching, and a whole lot more. It also allows you to add CDN services to minimise load time.
It also allows compression of HTTP, HTML, CSS, and JS files so that you can drastically save bandwidth.
With faster loading time, your blog will easily rank on search engine results page that is crucial for attracting more online traffic and conversions.
As an alternative you can use WP Super Cache that work quite the same to W3 Total Cache.
As a responsible owner of a website, you need to make certain that your blog will be safe from hackers.
You should not ignore this because there are hundreds of thousands of malicious bots online that can attack your blog anytime and put all of your work down the drain.
This is the reason why you should always avoid spams and keep your blog secure.
There are plenty of security plugins available in most blogging platforms to keep your blog secure. One of the most popular security plugins is Wordfence Security.
This plugin features live traffic monitoring, login security, blocking, malware scan, firewall protection, and a whole lot more.
Wordfence Security allows you to keep track of all your blog traffic in real-time including logouts, logins, 404 errors, humans, and robots. As such, you will be aware of the security threats that your blog is facing and take immediate action as needed.
Furthermore, Wordfence Security also comes with firewall application that will prevent your blog from being hacked. It will also block malicious networks and known attackers that can bring harm to your blog.
To improve login security, the plugin also uses Two Factor Authentication while it also checks the strength of login credentials. This plugin can significantly help you to avert brute attacks.
Wordfence Security plugin is a recomended plugin especially if you want to run your blog on WordPress.
These are the recommended plugins that every blogger needs.
They will greatly help you in improving engagement, optimize speed, tighten security, and help you bring amazing experience to your target readers.
Step 6 – Write Compelling Content, Start Blogging
After setting up the platform, the hosting, the theme, the plugins, you are now ready to write your first blogpost.
This is where the game really starts. Sure you have a great-looking blog, but can you produce fun, helpful and striking content that is also suitable to your target audience?
Here are important pointers you should take note to help you develop compelling content will attract visitors to your blog and gets shared on social media.
Focus on Your Audience and Your Goal
Before you start writing, decide on what you are going to write about. This step is easier if you have already discovered your niche and you have written your customer persona.
You should be aware of your ideal reader. At the very start, you should know who might be interested in reading your blog. Your customer persona can significantly help you with this.
Aside from being clear on what to post, you should also understand how you are going to post your content. While you may have your own style of working, many successful bloggers are organized on how to make a blog
They keep their drafts, notes, ideas, and other things related to their blog in one place. You may use a planner or organizer to store everything you want to work for your blog.
It is ideal if you create a posting schedule so you are aware when you should begin the research and creative process for each post. You should also understand how to work blogging into your everyday routine. One post every week is enough, especially if blogging is not the only thing you do.
However, you should be consistent with your blog. For example, readers should understand that every Saturday, they can expect to read an interesting post from you. This will form a habit for you and your readers.
Diversify Your Content
Do you have remarkable ideas on what you can write about for your blog? You should definitely include them in your content calendar.
Time will come that you will be at loss and it may seem that there is nothing worthwhile to post. In this case, it is time to research. You can look through other similar blogs to get inspiration.
You can also study the content of popular blogs and check what types of content are getting more engagement from readers.
More often than not, the types of content that can attract more readers are those that are entertaining and humorous. People, regardless of their social status or age are attracted to funny content.
Readers also love helpful content such as tips and life hacks. You may try writing about things that can help your audience overcome the struggles they usually face every day.
This is why you should include struggles and common problems in your customer persona.
Stories can also attract visitors. Hence, you need to be well adept in storytelling.
You can choose to share your story or stories you have learned from other people. Try to write something that is unique and interesting.
Below is a list of possible types of content you can write about:
- News Analysis
- Case Studies
- Guest Posts
- Opinion Posts
You may need to write several drafts before you can come up with a good content. Not all drafts will be good, and even successful bloggers are still struggling with their early versions.
This is all part of the work process and you should not worry about this.
Get into work and try to write every day. Always think about what you are going to post next.
One powerful skill that you should learn is coming up with effective headlines.
Basically, you need to read other blogs within and outside your niche, study the headlines, and select those that you find attractive. Try to find out what precisely attracts you to these headlines.
Next, study available guides on writing powerful headlines. There are available books, templates, and guides that you can read so you can imitate effective style and strategies for headline writing.
Moreover, you should take note that all information that you use for your content must be from credible sources.
This is the number one rules for bloggers who want to be successful in this career.
You should always depend only on credible sources, provide evidence, and double check your facts. Also remember to give credits to the original owners of the materials you have mentioned or used in your content.
Engage With Your Audience
The job of a blogger doesn’t end when you hit the publish button. Actually, the most exciting part of this endeavor comes after you publish your content. This is where you can interact with your readers.
If your posts are targeted and the subject of your content are interesting for your audience they will surely post their comments.
However, there are instances that even original and high-quality posts attract very minimal engagement.
In order to avoid zero comments and few shares, you need to stir the discussion.
You can also use effective calls to action (CTA) and engage with your readers so you can keep the conversation going.
How to make a blog that will be successful in the long term? Focus on your readers.
The technical steps can be easily learned but understanding your readers will help you achieve your goals for blogging regardless if you want to promote your business, your own brand, or you really just want to write about your passion.