Getting Started With Blogging: 16 Resources to Boost Your Blog
Do you want to be considered an expert in your field?
Whether you are a marketing pro, business owner or professional, a blog could significantly boost your career or business.
In this article you’ll find all of the tips and resources you’ll need for getting started with blogging.
#1: Create Your Blog
There are a variety of blogging platforms; however, the only real option for a business blogger is WordPress. You want something that looks and feels professional, because your blog should be a reflection of your brand, mission and business. And these days, some business owners even opt out of a traditional website altogether in favor of a company blog.
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to register a domain and decide on hosting for your blog. Those who already have a company website may just need to add a blog. WordPress is easy to use and the site will basically walk you through the process. Sign up, choose your theme and you’re ready to go.
How to Choose a Domain Name: Although it’s likely you’ll use your name or the name of your company as your domain, there are other options. This post from Amy Lynn Andrews offers no-nonsense tips for naming your blog.
How to Set Up a Hosted WordPress Site: Mashable tackles WordPress.org versus WordPress.com in this informative article by Matt Petronzio. The article also covers registering a domain, hosting and downloading software and extras like themes and plugins.
#2: Design Your Blog
A blog should be a reflection of your personality, company culture and expertise. Before you start designing your blog, look around at other blogs. Check out blogs you like, blogs you dislike and competitors’ blogs, and then make a list of what you like and don’t like about them. Keep this list in mind as you create your own blog.
Here are some additional blog design resources:
11 Essential Pages to Have on a WordPress Blog: Over on ThemeFuse, Karol K suggests static pages your blog should have so you can give readers and potential customers additional information about you and your company. About, Contact, Services, Subscribe and Resources are just a few of the essentials.
Anatomy of the Perfect Blog: On The Secret is in the Sauce (aka The SITS Girls), Francesca Banducci maps out “the perfect blog.” This resource highlights design and other important elements to consider such as the header, colors, fonts, footer, social media buttons and newsletter signup.
Best WordPress Plugins: 54 Experts Share Amazing Plugins to Inspire You: WordPress plugins are custom features that allow you to get the most from your blog. Functionality ranges from improving SEO and social sharing to installing forms and galleries. On RazorSocial, Ian Cleary asked top social media professionals for their favorite WordPress plugins, so you have the best resources from people who use them regularly.
#3: Plan Your Content
The first decision you have to make is what and how often you’re going to post. Be sure to come up with something realistic. If you can reasonably blog once or twice a week, start by scheduling a weekly blog post. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s better not to overwhelm yourself. You also want to serve up a well-balanced diet of content.
4 Steps to an Awesome Content Calendar (and 6 Things You Need on It): James Scherer recommends you start by brainstorming ideas and creating a content calendar. Check out these suggestions on PostPlanner. If you know in advance what and when you’re posting, it’ll make the blogging process a lot less stressful.
Using Categories and Tags Effectively on Your Blog: To make your blog content easier to find, you must categorize your content and then add tags, which function as keywords. It’s helpful to define your categories and tags before you start writing, so you’re consistent right off the bat. This ProBlogger article by Michael Martin has everything you need to know.
13 Ideas to Inspire Your Blog Content: If you want excellent blog posts, you have to start with good content. Ideas come from everywhere—you just need to know where to look. Denise Wakeman has wonderful suggestions for generating ideas, which include setting up Google alerts, seeing what others in your niche blog about and asking your community.
#4: Write Your Articles
When you go through the process of launching a blog, it’s easy to forget why you decided to blog in the first place. A friendly reminder: You want to write so you can share your expertise with your audience and hopefully pick up some new clients in the process.
But how do you get your content to rise above the noise?
Blogging Best Practices: The Ideal Length for the Perfect Blog Post: Shelley Pringle answers this frequently asked question with her post on the Business 2 Community blog.
26 Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts: Debbie Hemley shares the A-Zs of creating outstanding content for your blog. This excellent reference covers everything from the anatomy of a blog post to tips for getting into the writing zone.
16 Top Tips From Blogging Experts for Beginners: Blogging may seem daunting, but there’s nothing to be concerned about. Check out Belle Beth Cooper‘s comprehensive list of tips from experts on the Buffer App site. They offer sensible advice and a reality check.
#5: Avoid Blogging Pitfalls
It takes time to develop a business blogging audience. Here are some other things you should watch out for so you don’t get discouraged from the get-go.
Why Bloggers Fail: On Social Triggers, Derek Halpern says that too much content, poor promotion and lack of specifics can cause a blog to fail. So how does a blogger beat the odds? For starters, they set realistic expectations and don’t give up.
5 Reasons Why Blogging Is Not Working for Your Business: Strategy is the key to successful blogging. On ProBlogger, Jawad Kahn explains why blogs need to have a clear objective and target market, among other things, in order to succeed. He says, “Blogging is much more about long-term planning than short-term gains.”
#6: Promote Your Posts
Once you start blogging, be sure to promote your posts on social networks, share them in your newsletter and comment on the posts of others to drive traffic back to your posts.
50 Ways to Promote and Market Your Blog Posts: In addition to social networks, videos and ads, Samuel Pustea addresses other possibilities for getting the most out of your blog promo in this article on JeffBullas.com. Other things to take into account are timing, guest blogging, share buttons and more.
32 Experts Share Their Top Blog Post Promotion Tips: On Kikolani, Kristi Hines asked 32 social media professionals for their favorite promo tips. Favorites in this article include connecting with influencers, participating in link parties within your niche and sharing your content on relevant LinkedIn groups.
Over to You
A blog is a great way to showcase your areas of expertise online, but it requires commitment. It may take a while to see the results you’re looking for. Use these tips to give your blog a strong foundation.
What do you think? Do you have a blog for your business? What do you blog about? How often do you blog? Share your blogging tips in the comments.
Debra Eckerling is an editor at Social Media Examiner. The creator of Write On Online, a website and community for writers, Debra helps individuals define, plan and achieve their goals. Other posts by Debra Eckerling »