So you want to start a blog?
It makes sense–everyone else is doing it.
But how do you stand out from the crowd?
Whether it is for your small business or for your personal brand, starting a blog requires knowing tricks of the trade for it to be a hit.
Lucky for you, we know a thing or two about writing blogs…so read closely the five steps for starting a successful blog:
1. Choose your niche
Deciding on a topic for your blog is one of the most crucial steps when starting out (that’s why it is number one!). With so many topics to choose from, it can be cumbersome picking just one. Best practices suggest creating a content marketing mission statement to narrow your focus, reach a defined audience, and drive engagement.
To help create your statement, try asking yourself these questions:
If your blog is for your small business it is important to do your research about what blogs are already out there in your industry. Is there a gap for a specific question or topic which appeals to your audience that you can fill with your blog? Are there a lot of potential post topics so you can write consistently?
If your blog is for your personal brand it is important to write on a topic that you are passionate about. What are you an expert in? Why do you want to share this knowledge with others? Knowing a lot about a subject you enjoy will help keep you motivated to follow through.
2. Choose your platform
WordPress, Tumblr, Webs, and Blogger are just four of the many platforms you can pick to host your blog. The choice you make will be the right choice if it assists in meeting the goals you set in your content marketing mission statement in step one.
But the key factor for your choice will be if you can register your own domain name. Ensuring your blog matches your domain name makes your content look sophisticated, smart, and SEO-friendly. These are essential in getting your blog found and shared.
3. Choose best practices
For blog-writing success, there are few elements that are known to boost the value of any blog:
- Infographics: People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, but 80% of what they see and do. Infographics are guaranteed to make readers remember your blog posts.
- Lists: Being clear and concise is great for getting through to your audience. Lists (numbered or bulleted) have the potential to be repurposed as a SlideShare, infographic, or other another type of marketing material after publish.
- Length: In a study asking “How long are the written article you enjoy reading?” of users across three generations, it was unanimous that keeping a post at 300 words is the sweet spot. While this post goes a bit over that limit, articles at 300 words are typically accompanied by many images or infographics to best hold a reader’s attention.
4. Choose your promotion technique
There are many ways to promote your blog, but some of our favorites are listed below:
- Share posts on social media
- Include your blog URL in your email signature and your author bio if you contribute to other websites
- Submit your blog to search engines and directories
- Optimize your blog for search
- Comment on other blogs
Check out First Site Guide for a detailed look at how to optimize your success for all of these techniques.
5. Choose to be consistent
The biggest problem for new blog writers is losing the drive to constantly update their blog. You may start off strong in the beginning, but lose steam as you get caught up with your everyday deliverables. The best way to stay on the right track is to create your own editorial calendar–and stick to it!
Marketing AI gives a beautiful tutorial on how to keep your content consistent and colorful.
It is also a good guide for understanding that people love variety in their content (ebooks, case studies, infographics, etc.). This way, your blog content will never go stale and your audience will always keep coming back for more!
We hope this quick guide was helpful in giving you the confidence you need to start your own blog. If you need more convincing, head over to the Blogging 101 infographic we shared last year for more tips; or we are always happy to answer your questions in the comments!
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Senior Specialist of Content Marketing for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on the Webs Blog and Twitter.