It is very common to see people who own a blog – it could be a personal, corporate, business or professional blog. Owning a blog is great, if you have ever expressed the desire to have your own blog, there are things that you need to know before you start blogging.
Today, there are many blogs on the internet but not all of these blogs are successful. Most of them didn’t achieve the purpose of why they were created.
Creating a blog is a good step to making money online. There are millions of blogs on the web, the competition for traffic and audience is getting fierce. A blog without a direction will not be successful in the long run.
Have you ever wondered why people dump their blogs months after creating them? Have you ever thought why some blogs are successful and some aren’t successful?
If you are considering starting a blog in the new year, there are some essential things that you will need to know before you start blogging.
So you have intentions of starting a blog this year, that’s a good idea to conceive! Several years ago, I made the decision of creating a blog for myself, this went on to become one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in my life and I’m glad to have taken that step.
Blogging has made me add value to people’s lives. Also, blogging has become a business for me to earn a living for myself, my kids and my family.
A lot of newbie bloggers get discouraged when starting a blog and in the end, they become frustrated. You may be clueless about how to start blogging. We don’t want you to become confounded with choices or to give up on your blogging career, so we would provide you with tips on how to get started.
Some of the questions I’ve heard from beginners are; “How can I start blogging?”, “Which blogging platform is the best”, “Which host is the best to use in 2020?” and many other questions.
You could have these questions all over your mind and you are searching for the best answers to these questions. Well, I want you to be rest assured that you are in the right place.
In no particular order, TechBeastz has listed five things that every blogger should know before they start their own blog.
Things To Know Before Starting A Blog
1. Why Do You Want To Blog?
Before starting your blog ask yourself a question ‘why do I want to start a blog?’. A lot of people are starting blogs today without any goal or plan.
You could be an employee, a student or a stay-at-home mom who want to spend time by blogging.
A successful blog is a blog that achieves its purpose of creation. Everyone has a reason for owning or starting a blog, I believe you have yours.
There are plenty reasons why you should start a blog today, you could be creating a blog to grow your presence online, to become an authority in your niche or build an online business and earn from the internet.
It is worthy to mention that people set up blogs to earn income online. You can be a 9-5 worker and set up a blog that will increase your revenue stream every month.
Everyone is creating a blog today to earn money online, however, a blog that provides no value to its readers will not make money. This is one of the reasons why every prospective blogger should know why you want to blog and what they intend to blog about.
The biggest mistake made by beginners is that they choose to write about anything that interests them. Yes, it is good to blog about what you are interested in, but however, you should know that the system is changing.
This is 2020, not everyone consumes content from a blog with lots of categories, most people prefer to get content from an authority blog (a blog with relevant information in a given niche or category).
Writing on several niches can be great but you cannot be an expert in every field or category of life. It is better to stick with a niche and become an authority in it than to become a Jack of all trades.
Before starting a blog, one of the decisions you would make is choosing a niche to blog about. There are several niches that you can blog about, if the niche is crowded or populated, you can narrow it down to get a sub-niche.
For instance, if you intend to start a pet blog, you could blog about cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, birds and many more. However, writing on all these pets can be a great idea, but you could narrow it to talking about a single topic like dogs.
You can decide to write about dog health, dog food, dog clippers, dog training and dog facts. When you do this, your readers will consider you as an expert in the ‘dog industry’ and this will make you an authority figure in this niche.
2. Find Out Your Competitors
Find out other blogs in your chosen niche and take a look at the type of contents published on their blog.
For instance, if you are going to blog about marketing, look out for blogs that talk about topics about SEO, blogging, content marketing, conversion optimization, podcasting, email marketing.
The reason why blogs in your chosen niche are called your competitors is that you will have to compete with them for the same audience.
Find out how your competitors come out with contents for their blogs. How often do they publish posts? What type of posts do they make? How do they come up with posts for their blog?
By researching your competitors, you will get great ideas to use in your blog. For instance, if there is anything your competitor isn’t doing right, you can capitalize on it to get traffic and grow your blog.
Tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you in keyword research and well as coming you with content ideas. Also, tools like UberSuggest, Ahrefs, SEMRush and BuzzSumo can help you spy your competitors and see the keywords they rank for.
3. Select A Blogging Platform
There are lots of platforms you can use to start your blog – some of these blogging platforms are free while some are paid. The free platforms come with limited features while the paid blogging platforms give you more features and control over your blog.
It is imperative for you to know that ‘blogging platform’ shouldn’t be misconstrued for web hosting. Some blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress provide hosting services for your blog while some offer you with features and tools to start and run your blog.
Examples of blogging platforms are Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, PostHaven and Squarespace.
The blogger platform is owned by Google. This is a free blogging platform anyone can use to start a blog without paying a dime.
The basic requirement to have a blog on the Blogger platform is a Google account. You can link your blog with a lot of Google tools such as Google Analytics, Google Adsense and Google Webmaster Tools.
Tumblr is another free blogging platform that is used to create a blog. This blogging platform has over 167 million blogs on its server.
Also, there is a directory of all blogs created on the Tumblr platform, this is helpful in getting traffic to the blog.
WordPress is a free blogging platform that provides users with a storage space of 3GB. If you start a blog on the WordPress platform, you will not be able to get a customized design on your blog.
Also, you will not be able to customize your domain’s name to the name of your choice. For instance, you cannot have a domain name like Sandycooking.com, instead, what you will get is Sandycooking.wordpress.com.
4. Have A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
The best advice anyone can give you in choosing a blogging platform is to have a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. Indisputably, WordPress.org is one of the best blogging platforms ever and it is recommended for anyone serious about starting a blog this year.
Big websites such as Huffington Post, Outbrain, The Rolling Stones, BBC America, The New Yorker etc uses the WordPress blogging platform.
The developers of this platform are working tirelessly to make better features and make WordPress the best blogging platform in the world.
New bloggers are advised to create a self-hosted WordPress blog rather using a free blogging platform.
There are two types of WordPress – first is the WordPress.com platform and the other is the WordPress.org platform. The later is recommended to start a blog because of its self-hosted solution.
Unlike free blogging platforms, WordPress.org offers you with plenty of features and gives you more control over your own blog. It allows you to add plugins to your website or blog and get the best out of your blog.
5. Get A Good Domain Name
Your domain name is an important part of your blog – it is your identity online. Your domain works like your name, it is what you are identified with.
Since your domain name is what people use to identify your blog, it is very important for you to choose a unique name that will not be hard to spell or confused for your competitors’ websites.
Your domain name can help to build your blog or break it. If your domain name is easy to grasp, it will be familiar with people. On the other hand, if it is easily misunderstood, it will be difficult for people to know what it is all about.
Free blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress give you free domain names such as .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com. This doesn’t look professional, hence, you will need to get a custom domain name to use.
You can register a domain name on notable companies such as Namecheap – which happens to be one of the cheapest domain name registrars in the world. Also, Bluehost gives you a free domain name when you buy a web hosting package from them.
For example, if the domain name ‘lifecorner.com’ has been taken, do not try to mix things up by using variations such as life-corner.com’. This could confuse your readers and make it difficult for them to distinguish your blog from that of your competitors.
Also, your domain name should not have numbers in it unless they are part of your business. For example, soccer24 is a sharp domain name made of up of letters and numbers. Using excess numbers in your domain name may not be a good idea, avoid it!
Moreover, before you purchase a domain name, ensure that it doesn’t have the trademark of any company.
If your preferred domain name isn’t available, you can use alternative domain name extensions such as .net, .org, .co etc. However, the .com domain name extension remains the best extension as people love to visit websites with .com over websites without the .com extension.
When choosing a domain name, ensure that you choose a name that is short, sweet and easy to remember. Also, it must be related to your niche or what you intend to blog about.
Here are some helpful tips that would help you in getting a great domain name to use:
- The .com extension remains the best.
- Use an easy to understand domain name.
- Check to see if the domain has any copyright issues.
- If your plan is to target a specific location and not a global audience, go for a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) such as .co.uk, .co.ke, .co.za etc.
- Ensure that your domain name is free from hyphens.
- Use a professional domain and not a sub-domain.
6. Pick a Good Web Host
Instead of hosting your site on a free blogging platform we recommend you to choose a web hosting company for your blog.
The reason is that free blogging platforms give you less control over your blog, they can takeover or delete your blog from the internet without any notice. All your efforts and sweat could be gone in a flash and you will have to start all over again. This is why we recommend looking for a website hosting company to host and secure your blog.
Just like your domain name, it is equally important for you to get a good hosting company to power your blog.
You may be searching for the best hosting companies to use for your website or blog. There are lots of hosting companies in the internet – but not all hosting companies are good for you to use.
It won’t do you any good in using a poor hosting company that slows your site or has a high downtime.
Here are some factors that would help you in choosing a good hosting company for your website.
- Customer Service: We emphasize quality over quantity! A good website hosting company should have a 24/7 customer support. Also, they should have various contact methods for you to reach them on phone, mail, office or LiveChat.
- Uptime: Constant website downtime will not help your business. Your website needs to be up and running at every single minute of the day. Your hosting company should provide at least 99% uptime – this is acceptable, anything less than this should not be accepted.
- Speed: If your hosting server is slow, undoubtedly, your site will be severely affected. Visitors hate sites with slow load time, if your site loads slowly, it will affect your user engagement as well as the conversion rate of your blog.
Furthermore, your search engine rankings could be affected as well. Normally, slow sites are outranked by faster sites on Google’s Search Engine Page Results (SERPs).
- Security: The security of your website cannot be overemphasized when choosing a web hosting service. Cybercriminals and hackers are online and they gain access to your website if it isn’t properly secured.
Consequently, your website, contents are data is at risk of getting hijacked and compromised by these hackers.
- BackUps: Your hosting provider must provide backups. Backups are helpful, it is handy for website owners whose sites are attacked by virus, malware of cybercriminals.
- Price: Not all hosting companies are legitimate, some tend to use the price as a bait to attract you to use them. They may impose add-on costs in your cart for you to pay. Before choosing a hosting plan, ensure that you can be able to pay and meet up with the renewal costs.
RECOMMENDATION: We recommend you to use Siteground Hosting for your blog.
7. Learn SEO
If you want to start a successful blog, it is important for you to learn SEO. SEO means Search Engine Optimization; it refers to the ways you optimize and make your website friendly for search engines such as Google, Bing, Yandex etc.
Search engines love great content, if you create good content, you’re likely to rank high above your competitors on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Most bloggers get traffic from social media and forums because they do not know about SEO.
Learning basic SEO techniques will not only help you as a blogger, but it will give you better ranking and help you get organic traffic to your website.
8. Connect With Other Bloggers
Blogging is not limited to posting content on your blog, you need to go social by connecting to other bloggers in and out of your niche. You can significantly improve your blog network by establishing a good relationship with other bloggers.
You can leave comments on blogs, send mail to bloggers and write posts for their blogs. As a blogger, you can form a community or union with other bloggers by linking to their blogs and sharing their posts. These bloggers may reciprocate by linking to your own blog, commenting on your blog and sharing your post to their audience.
Joining online blogging groups and communities is a good way to connect with other bloggers.
9. Build An Email List
An online survey proved that 95% of the mistakes made by bloggers is not building an email list.
Today, many beginners forget about building an email list when starting their blogs. If you are starting a blog to build a business for yourself, email marketing will be an effective method of reaching your customers.
Day after day, people visit your site to get any information and they will leave your blog after getting the information. When they leave, they may never come again and you may not hear from them again. A good way of keeping these visitors is by capturing their email address.
When you get their email address, you can contact them. By contacting them, you are building a relationship with them and they will get to trust you.
You can offer your services and products to them and if they trust you, they will not be reluctant to buy your products and services.
If you want to go into email marketing, a good way to start is to get signed up to a good email service like Mailchimp. Mailchimp is great for beginners because it allows you to send 12,000 emails every month as well as helping you to build up to 2,000 loyal subscribers for free.
Having an email list of your loyal visitors is one of the great ways you can grow income and increase your traffic growth.
10. Promote Your Blog
Promoting your blog is another skill that will be helpful in your blogging career. Promoting your blog is instrumental in growing your traffic. Without a significant amount of traffic, you will not earn money online.
Social media remains one of the best ways to get traffic to your blog. You can leverage on social media platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter etc to get more traffic to your blog. Social media platforms also help you to build an audience for your blog.
There are so many things that you would need to know when starting a blog. Knowing these things would give you a good start as you begin your blogging journey.
Blogging is adventurous, there’s more to learn. These are the important things you should consider when starting a blog. If you want to be a successful blogger, consider implementing all we mentioned here.
If you have any help on how to start a blog or choosing a hosting company, feel free to comment or reach out to us. We’ll be glad to help! Also, you can share this post if you found it helpful. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a say or question regarding this topic and we would be glad to help you.