Start A Blog: A Journey from Reluctance to Purpose
Are you one of those who want to start a blog but find it boring and hard to tackle?
Well, you’re not alone. In fact, I used to be in the same boat, despising the act of writing for years, which, in a twist of irony, led me to start my journey into blogging.
It all began when I was just a 7-year-old, and for the next 8 years, I held an intense dislike for writing.
To address this, my mother decided to buy me a Writing book. Little did I know that this book would introduce me to both the joy of writing and the frustrations of illustrations.
There’s one particular memory from that time that remains a family anecdote. It revolves around a challenging Writing exercise.
It featured a sketch of a girl with her crying dog and an almost insurmountable task: filling in a 10-line thought bubble for the girl.
This exercise, with its seemingly daunting speech bubble, led me on a journey of discovery.
After struggling for a while, I had an epiphany. With newfound clarity, I handed the book back to my mother.
She opened it to reveal the girl’s 10-line thought bubble that read: “Oh, no, it’s crying! Oh, why?” Those ten lines, in retrospect, were essentially an exercise in embracing generously spaced words, and I had cracked it.
So, what’s the point of this anecdote?
Well, it’s a testament to the unpredictability of life, and how it can turn someone from a reluctant writer into an eager blogger (although I still secretly harbor hopes of becoming a top model or Gigi Hadid’s BFF).
It also highlights an essential lesson: the length of an article isn’t dictated by circumstances but by the writer’s intentions. Writing, like art, allows for creative expression. But, importantly, blogging is not just art; it’s a strategy, and there are rules to follow.
Most crucially, whether you aim to be a writer or a blogger, your content must have a purpose. Without purpose, you’re merely filling space. So, let’s embark on a journey of discovery and purpose in the realm of blogging.
Why Start a Blog?
If you possess a unique talent or skill, you’ve likely considered starting a blog at some point.
Even if you’re the most introverted person on this planet (yes, even more, introverted than the Arctic Monkeys), someone, whether a friend or an acquaintance you’ve just met, has probably urged you to share your gift with the world.
But here’s the catch. Perfectionism often takes the wheel, leaving you stuck in a cycle of doubt about how, what, and when to start. In the end, many give up on the idea altogether.
The blame doesn’t entirely lie with you, but I’m about to challenge you to take that first step.
If you or someone you know possesses a unique talent, it’s essential to find a way to share it with the world. There are various paths to do so, including reality TV shows like “The Bachelor,” “Vanderpump Rules,” or becoming best friends with Ariana Grande (because she complimented you on your ponytail, naturally).
Alternatively, you can start a blog. Yes, I know you were expecting me to suggest starting a YouTube channel, but we’ll get to that.
Starting a blog has always been on my mind. Once, I even took the plunge during a Facebook detox phase. However, it didn’t quite take off. Like my Facebook rehab, my blogging journey didn’t find its wings.
I began writing, but I did so without a clear purpose. I wrote for the sake of writing, finding a semblance of purpose in the act itself. However, aimless writing quickly loses its charm.
Writing for the sake of writing won’t get you very far. It’s a time-consuming endeavor without a clear direction. Why invest your time in aimless writing when you can turn your passion into a source of income?
The Avenues of Blogging
Blogging as a career can offer more than just a creative outlet. It can become a source of income if approached correctly. You don’t have to be the epitome of perfection or possess a unique skill set from the get-go.
To succeed in blogging, you need to be good, consistent, creative, authentic, or maybe none of the above but simply a pioneer in your field. Here’s what you can achieve through blogging:
- Make Money Blogging:
If you’re talented and consistently produce valuable content, you can turn your blog into a profitable venture.
- Boost Your Professional Authority:
Blogging enhances your credibility within your industry. It can attract new customers who discover your expertise through search engines, forums where you contribute, or magazines where you write.
- Climb the SEO Ladder:
Blogging improves your website’s authority and demonstrates to search engines that you’re an expert in your field. This is often linked to user engagement metrics, such as the time spent on your site and the bounce rate.
- Reduce Repetitive Queries:
If you offer a product or service, a blog can help you delve deeper into your industry and customer journey, addressing common questions and generating new ones.
Now, let’s assess what might be holding you back.
Blogging Missteps: What You’re Doing Wrong
To progress, let’s first examine the blogging habits you need to abandon and replace with more effective approaches:
|What You Do
|What You Should Be Doing
|Lack of Purpose:
Your writing often lacks a clear purpose or direction.
Your blog posts should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, ensuring they serve a purpose.
|Absence of Planning:
You write without a structured plan or timeline, making consistency a challenge.
Draw from your reading experiences to make writing an effortless process.
Your publishing schedule lacks consistency, which can alienate your audience.
|Consistency and Feedback:
Becoming a consistent writer and welcoming reader feedback can help you grow.
You frequently produce 500-word articles that might not delve deeply into topics.
Delve deep into complicated concepts, engaging your readers with insightful content.
|Lack of Originality:
Your content doesn’t offer a unique perspective or approach.
You might think some of these sentences resemble personality tests or horoscopes. Feel free to skip that part.
|Aversion to Reading:
Reading books isn’t your preferred pastime.
Develop a love for reading books and broaden your horizons.
Ultimately, your unique journey in blogging should align with your personal strengths, interests, and goals. So, remember to stay true to yourself and be the best version of yourself.
Start A Blog: A Strategic Blueprint
Starting a blog is an exciting journey, but it’s not just about setting up a platform and writing posts. To truly make your blog successful, you need a well-thought-out strategy. Let’s break down the essential steps to ensure your blog gets off to a strong start.
Step 1 – Market Segmentation: Identifying Your Niche
The first step in starting a blog is to identify your target audience. This involves segmenting the market to find the specific group that your content will cater to.
For instance, if your chosen topic is “Teaching English,” you’ll quickly realize that the potential audience is diverse, including EFL students, ESL students, kids, adults, professionals from various industries, and more.
A good niche is finalized after keeping in consideration the factors mentioned in the image.
Step 2 – Targeting Your Audience
Now that you’ve segmented the market, it’s time to choose your primary audience. Let’s say you decide to create a program for adults seeking to improve their English skills. This focus narrows down your potential readers, making it easier to tailor your content to their specific needs.
Step 3 – Positioning Your Brand
With countless programs available online, it’s vital to differentiate your blog. In this case, you’ve decided to offer your program for free, setting you apart from many others. To further define your niche, you’ll cater to native Greek speakers looking to enhance their English skills. This specific focus makes you a unique offering in a limited field.
Step 4 – Establishing Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your blog needs something that sets it apart and makes it special. In your case, it’s providing a free program for native Greek speakers to improve their English. To make your program even more appealing, you must understand your target audience, their demographics, and what they value. To cement your brand values, you must identify your “Why.” Here are some potential driving forces:
- Humanitarian: Ensuring everyone has access to knowledge.
- Equality: Believing that equal opportunities should truly be equal for all.
- Personal Growth: Recognizing the need to step up and improve.
- Time Management: A desire to make the most of limited time, helping others do the same.
Step 5 – Finding Your Why: The Heart of Your Message
Simon Sinek’s concept of “finding your why” is crucial in building your blog’s message.
It’s not just about what you do but why you do it. Your “Why” should be the driving force behind your blog’s content, aligning with your audience’s beliefs and values. In the case of Apple, Sinek’s “Why” was, “Everything we do, we do to challenge the status quo.”
Bringing this concept to your “Teaching English” blog, your “Why” might be:
- Empowering individuals with limited time for second chances.
- Providing equal access to knowledge for all.
- Offering a chance for personal growth through language learning.
This “Why” should resonate with your audience and set the tone for your blog’s content.
Remember that this process isn’t always straightforward. It might involve refining and reevaluating your message until it aligns perfectly with your purpose. The key is to have a clear and compelling “Why” that captures the essence of your blog and speaks to your readers.
Once you’ve found your “Why,” everything else becomes more manageable. Crafting a message that resonates with your target audience should be your guiding light as you embark on your blogging journey. With a strong sense of purpose, you’re on the right path to building a successful and impactful blog.
How to Start a Blog
Starting a blog is an exciting endeavor that can help you establish an online presence for your personal or business brand. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you on the right track.
1. Pick Your Blog Name
Choosing the right name before you start a blog is a critical first step. Your blog’s name will be its identity on the internet. Here are some considerations:
- Consistency: Ensure that your chosen name aligns with your overall brand or the theme of your blog. It should be something that users can easily remember and associate with your content.
- Availability: Check if the name is available as a domain name and on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Having a consistent name across all platforms is essential for brand recognition.
- Uniqueness: Opt for a unique and distinctive name that sets you apart from the competition. A punchy and witty name can make your blog more memorable.
- Flexibility: While your blog’s focus may be clear now, it’s a good idea to choose a name that allows for some flexibility. This way, if you decide to pivot or expand your content in the future, your blog’s name won’t become restrictive.
- Personal Brand vs. Brand Name: Decide whether you want to build your personal brand or use a brand name. This choice depends on your goals and the type of content you plan to create.
- Avoid Special Characters: Keep the name simple and avoid using numbers or special symbols. Your domain name should be easy to type, and users shouldn’t have to switch keyboards to access your site.
If you’re struggling to come up with a name, you can explore blog name generators for inspiration.
2. Choose a Hosting Provider
Selecting a reliable hosting provider is crucial to ensure your blog runs smoothly and is accessible to your audience. Here’s what to consider:
- Web Hosting Importance: Web hosting can significantly impact your blog’s performance. Poor hosting services can result in issues like frequent crashes, slow loading times, and limited features.
- Free Hosting: While free hosting is an option, it often comes with limitations in terms of flexibility and features. It’s better to invest in a quality hosting service for better control and performance.
- Reliability: Opt for a hosting provider known for its reliability. Minimal downtime is essential to keep your blog accessible.
- Security: Security is paramount, especially if you plan to collect personal data from users. Ensure your hosting provider offers SSL certificates to encrypt data (HTTPS), which is also a requirement for Google.
- Email Services: Choose a hosting provider that allows you to set up email addresses matching your domain name. This adds professionalism to your blog.
- Customer Support: Good customer support is valuable. Look for a host with responsive support to address any technical issues promptly.
- Backups: Check the backup options provided by your hosting company. Regular backups are essential to protect your blog’s content.
- Shared vs. Dedicated Hosting: The choice between shared and dedicated hosting will affect your blog’s overall cost. Shared hosting is more affordable, while dedicated hosting offers more resources and control.
3. Select a Platform to Start A Blog
Choosing the right blogging platform is essential for creating and managing your blog. Here are some considerations:
- Platform Variety: There are numerous blogging platforms available, each with its features and benefits. Some popular options include WordPress, Wix, Blogger, and more.
- User-Friendly: Select a platform that makes it easy to create and manage your blog. You shouldn’t have to struggle with technical aspects.
- Customization: Ensure the platform offers customization options for design, themes, and templates. This allows you to create a unique and attractive blog.
- WordPress: WordPress is a popular choice for bloggers due to its extensive library of plugins and themes. It offers versatility and can be tailored to your specific needs.
- Integration: Consider the popularity of the platform as it can lead to better integration with various apps and services through one-click integrations.
4. Choose a Theme for Your Blog
Your blog’s theme sets the visual tone and style of your content. Here’s what to think about:
- Audience Alignment: Your theme should resonate with your target audience. Consider the aesthetics that would appeal to your readers.
- Content Alignment: The organization of information on your blog is essential. Ensure your theme complements the type of content you plan to publish.
- Essential Information: Before selecting a theme, determine what essential information you want to include, such as an “About Us” section. This section can communicate your values and provide insights into your blog’s purpose.
- Live Instagram Feed: If relevant to your content, consider including a live Instagram feed on your website to showcase dynamic content.
5. Content Strategy To Start A Blog
Creating a successful blog involves more than just setting it up. You also need a content strategy:
- Content Research: To create an effective content calendar, you can start by using tools like Google Trends to discover current industry interests and trending topics.
- Competitor Analysis: Analyze what your competitors are writing about and how frequently they post. Understanding their patterns can help you craft a competitive content strategy.
- Engage with the Blogging Community: Stay informed about what other bloggers in your industry are discussing. This can give you ideas for content and help you engage with your audience.
- Listening to Trends: Identify topics that are currently trending and people are searching for. Leveraging this timing can attract new readers.
- Influencer Insights: Connect with influential bloggers and monitor their content. They can provide valuable insights into what interests your audience.
Starting a blog is not just about creating content; it’s about creating valuable, relevant content that engages your audience. By following these steps and staying consistent in your efforts, you can build a successful blog that resonates with your readers and achieves your goals.
Types of Blog Content
In the world of blogging, there’s a diverse array of content types to choose from to engage your audience. Whether you’re in education, business, or any other industry, here’s a comprehensive list of blog post examples to spark your creativity before you plan to start a blog:
1. Educational Content
Create informative pieces that teach your audience how to use a new product or service, or explore innovative ways to make the most of an existing one. Education is a powerful tool for engaging and informing your readers.
2. How-Tos and Tutorials
Offer practical, hands-on tutorials that guide your potential users through various processes. Demonstrating real-world applications can be incredibly persuasive and can influence purchasing decisions.
3. Influencer Insights and Life Experiences
Enhance your credibility and engage your audience by collaborating with influencers from your industry. They can share their personal experiences, insights, and valuable tips, boosting your authority.
4. FAQ/Q&A Sessions
Interact with your audience through Q&A sessions. These spontaneous interactions allow your readers to get to know the authentic you beyond the structured blog format. It’s an excellent way to build a genuine connection.
5. Behind-the-Scenes and Daily Life
Share behind-the-scenes footage, just like popular “shopping haul” and “GRWM” videos. Providing a glimpse into your daily life can help you connect with your audience on a personal level.
Video content is a dynamic way to stand out in the blogging world. With the increasing popularity of video marketing, creating engaging video content can set you apart.
Infographics are crowd-pleasers due to their ability to convey complex information visually. They’re a fantastic tool to share a wealth of information in an easily digestible format.
8. Case Studies
Sharing your knowledge or presenting generalizable results in case studies can be an engaging topic of discussion. In-depth analysis and insights can captivate your readers.
Offer condensed insights, illustrated with eye-catching visuals, in downloadable eBook formats. Readers appreciate the convenience and richness of content in this format.
If you aspire to become a daily habit for your followers, consider starting e-courses. These structured learning experiences can establish your authority and keep your audience engaged.
11. Email Marketing
Despite its age, email marketing remains a top tool in your blogging marketing stack. It’s a direct way to reach your audience, and its effectiveness should not be underestimated.
Webinars combine the best of seminars and videos to create an interactive online community around specific topics. They can captivate your audience and foster engagement.
13. Motivational Quotes
Incorporating motivational quotes into your content can provide the inspiration your readers need, making it an excellent addition to your blog, especially for those Monday morning blues.
14. Product Announcements and Company News
Keep your readers informed with product announcements, new releases, and company news. These updates serve as important news pieces for your blog.
15. White Papers
Share your knowledge and valuable insights through white papers. They serve as a source of guidance and inspiration for your followers, adding depth to your content.
16. Comparisons (A VS B)
Offer expert opinions on product reviews and comparisons. This helps your audience make informed decisions and adds value to your blog’s content.
Organize your ideas and knowledge into well-structured checklists. They provide practical value to your blog’s fans and can help them achieve their goals.
18. GIFs and Memes
Creating GIFs or initiating your own Meme series can boost your chances of going viral. Combining your product or service with trending topics can maximize your impact.
Testimonials can boost your blog’s credibility and conversion rates. They create a sense of community across your blog and mailing list, acting as the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations.
Experiment with these content types to keep your blog engaging and relevant to your audience. Be open to new ideas, and you might discover innovative ways to connect with your readers.
Promoting Your Blog Effectively
Setting up Popups Right Away
Don’t underestimate the power of popups for your blog. Popups are an incredibly effective way to build your email list and establish a deeper connection with your audience.
When you drive traffic to your blog through ads on social media or Google, not everyone will convert on the spot. However, by offering users a valuable freebie or encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter for future offers and discounts, you can significantly boost conversions.
Consider using tools like Sumo or Exit Bee to supercharge your list growth and increase your conversions. Here are some popup strategies to explore:
- Plain “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” Popup: Incentivize your visitors to stay informed and engaged.
- Exit-Intent Popup: Grab your visitors’ attention right before they leave your blog, enticing them to subscribe.
- “After Scrolling 60%” Popup: Target the more engaged readers who have scrolled down a significant portion of your page.
- Welcome Mat: Make a bold impression with a full-screen popup featuring an enticing message or offer.
Leveraging Social Media Campaigns
If you’ve already secured your domain name on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it’s time to kickstart your social media marketing efforts. Here are some essential tips:
- Simultaneous Launch:
Coordinate your marketing actions by sharing your latest articles or content across all relevant social platforms as soon as you publish them on your blog. However, tailor your message and approach for each platform.
- Customized Content:
When posting links to your articles, craft unique call-to-action (CTA) messages suitable for each platform. For instance, on Facebook, consider engaging questions like “How many of these mistakes do you make when speaking English?” paired with a relevant image. On Instagram, focus on eye-catching visuals that resonate with your audience.
- Analyzing Performance:
Use analytics to track engagement on each platform. Identify which channels deliver the best results. For example, if you find that a post on Facebook with 1,000 views and 55 interactions outperforms a similar post on Instagram with 500 views and 40 interactions, allocate your marketing resources accordingly.
Start A Blog with Email Marketing and Automation
Email marketing remains an incredibly potent tool for building and nurturing relationships with your audience. Email campaigns allow you to directly connect with subscribers who have already shown an interest in your content. Here’s how to make the most of email marketing:
- Regular Newsletters:
Maintain consistency in sending newsletters to your subscribers, but avoid erratic spikes in frequency to build trust.
- Auto-Resend Feature:
Implement auto-resend campaigns to users who didn’t open your initial email. A well-timed subject line change can increase engagement.
Segment your audience based on their behavior, such as the products they’ve shown interest in or the number of emails they’ve opened. Craft targeted campaigns to boost user engagement.
- Drip Campaigns:
Create drip campaigns that provide users with personalized content based on their interests and actions. This keeps your subscribers engaged and informed.
- Exclusive Offers:
Offer exclusive deals and incentives to your subscribers to make them feel valued and encourage them to take action.
- Digest Campaigns:
Send digest campaigns featuring your top-performing articles or most popular content, making it easy for your subscribers to catch up.
Boosting Your Blog’s Authority with SEO and Backlinks
To establish your authority as a content creator, you’ll need to focus on SEO and backlinks. These not only boost your blog’s visibility but also demonstrate your credibility to search engines. Here are some key points to consider when you start a blog:
Acquiring backlinks to your blog shows search engines that your content is valued by others. These inbound links are essential for improving your blog’s ranking.
- External and Internal Links:
Utilize both external links (linking to other reputable sources) and internal links (connecting to your own pages) strategically to enhance your blog’s SEO.
- Learn SEO:
Familiarize yourself with SEO best practices, and consider using tools like Yoast SEO for WordPress to optimize your content.
- Page Speed:
Ensure that your blog loads quickly. Use tools like Pingdom and GTMetrix to identify and address any speed-related issues.
Your Journey to YouTube
Starting a YouTube channel after you start a blog and establish it. It is an excellent way to expand your online presence and connect with a broader audience. Here’s how to get started:
- Claim Your Channel:
Secure your YouTube channel’s name to prevent others from taking it.
- Create and Share Content:
Don’t wait until you feel completely ready. Start creating and uploading videos now, and refine your approach as you go.
- Value Over Equipment:
It’s not about expensive gear; it’s about adding value to your audience. Be a contributor to the wealth of online content.
- Voice Search Optimization:
Prepare for the rise of Voice Search Optimization (VSO) by adopting a more conversational writing style. Users will increasingly use voice queries, so adapt your content accordingly.
- Master SEO for Voice Search:
Dive into the world of Voice Search Optimization by studying articles and resources on the topic.
Building Community and Adding Value
Engaging your audience is key to your blog’s success. Here are some strategies to measure and enhance user engagement:
- Managing Comments:
Actively manage and participate in comments on your blog. It’s a great way to foster discussion and respond to reader queries or feedback.
- Monitoring Bounce Rate:
Keep an eye on your bounce rate and average reading time per article. Analyze user behavior and tailor your content accordingly.
- Beefing Up Engagement with Freebies:
Surprise your subscribers with unexpected bonuses, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.
- Leveraging Email Automation:
Implement email automation features that allow users to customize their newsletter experience by indicating their preferences.
- Encouraging Social Shares:
Make it easy for users to share your content on their social media platforms. Tools like Social Warfare and Click to Tweet can help.
- Google Analytics Mastery:
Dive deeper into Google Analytics, focusing on key metrics like organic traffic, session duration, bounce rate, and user behavior.
- Reading Progress Bar:
Implement a reading progress bar to help users estimate reading time, allowing them to manage their time effectively.
- User Surveys:
Conduct user surveys to gather valuable insights into user preferences, which can inform your content strategy.
- Expressing Gratitude:
Show appreciation to your followers, reinforcing the bond and enhancing the user experience.
- Differentiate Your Blog:
Identify a unique selling proposition (USP) for your blog that sets you apart from the competition. Tailor your differentiation to cater to your target audience.
Exploring New Content Formats To Start A Blog
To keep your blog fresh and appealing, consider experimenting with various content formats:
Transform your articles into podcasts to provide an alternative way for your audience to consume your content.
- Teachable Courses:
Create short courses on platforms like Teachable, offering flexibility to your users.
- Vimeo Videos:
Consider publishing content on Vimeo, a platform that provides creative control and copyright protection.
- Password-Only Library:
Create a microsite accessible via a secret password. Offer valuable, free content that also serves as a list-building tactic.
- Bonus Content:
Surprise your audience with bonus content or free lessons, showcasing your expertise and reducing uncertainty about your e-courses.
Blogging is a dynamic journey filled with opportunities to connect with your audience, explore new content formats, and establish your authority in your niche. Keep innovating and providing value to your readers to achieve your blogging goals!
Good luck to all those planning to start a blog.