6 Useful Tips for New Bloggers

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If  someone with a crystal ball told me 4 years ago that not only would I be a full time blogger, and making money doing it, but I would then be a mentor for OTHER new bloggers …. I’d say you were NUTS!

I really didn’t even know where to begin to be honest.  I had little to NO computer experience.  I have zero graphic design experience, website design knowledge.   How would a stay at home mom like me start up her own website?

Fast forward 4 years and here I am !!   All self taught and TONS of mistakes along the way.

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I’m starting to spend a lot of time answering readers questions via email on how I started this site as well as personal friends/family wanting to start their own… or better yet, have ME design it.  sheesh!  who would have EVER thought????

So instead of quietly answering questions, I thought I’d start up a little series on How to Start a Blog and help you guys along.

In my Post ‘How to Start a Food Blog’ I discussed the basic steps on getting started … who I chose as my host and domain, some costs associated with starting up a blog, etc.  So be sure to check that out if you haven’t done so already.

In this post I wanted to take things a step further and focus on a few useful tips I’ve learned along the way.  There are so many I’ll probably end up doing a few posts like this one.

1. Start with WordPress and Bluehost

So the first question you are going to ask me is “Debi, why would I pay for my blog when there are so many free options out there?

Let me tell you why.  Maybe you aren’t 100% sure you want to blog, maybe you are hesitant and you’re not so sure you want to invest any money in this.  I get it.  But once you feel the freedom and the power that comes from owning your own site you are going to LOVE IT!

You have complete carte blanche to design it your way, write what YOU want, as MUCH or as LITTLE.  With FREE domains come restrictions.  What happens when your blog explodes with traffic (and it WILL)?  What happens when your host can’t handle it?  Do they even have PERSONAL customer service or do you have to search their FAQ page for an answer?

You will eventually have to switch over to another host and can I tell you … that is is a PAIN IN THE BUTT to do.

By the way, WordPress through BlueHost is FREE!

For the minimal investment it takes go with WordPress and Bluehost. You can’t go wrong!  BlueHost just got me out of a MAJOR issue this week.  I will stand by them until the end of time!  Thank you Kendall!

2. What do you want your blog to be about?

This may sound simple, but it isn’t.  It’s very easy to start in one place and end up in another.  Be specific.  Let’s say your blog is about cars … what kind of cars will you write about?  Will is be old vintage cars?  Will is be stock racing cars?  Will you have an e-commerce type of site where you sell car related items?  Will it be for entertainment only or teach people things?

In other words, stay focused.  If your site is about sewing don’t end up writing about shopping.  We all know how fast people click in, they can just as easily click OUT.  You want them to stay.  Give them what they are expecting to see.

3. Quality over Quantity

You’ve got your blog name, your host (hopefully BlueHost!), you’ve designed it just the way you want and now what do you do?  Write like your pants are on fire.

Is this good?  Not necessarily.

Believe me I’ve been there … if you look on the right side of this page you will see posts by month/year.  When I first started my blog I had SOOO much to say.  I was writing 30+ articles a month…LONG, in depth, researched articles.  But were they good?  Ehh … I just wanted to get as MUCH content up as QUICKLY as I could so people could jump around or give the illusion my blog was more mature.  Not the best thing to do.

Take your time, edit … which brings me to my next point.

4. Never Publish the Same Day

Another rookie mistake of mine.

Looking back at my old content I have found several errors … spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentences that just didn’t make sense.  I have since learned to have SEVERAL posts going at once.  Right now I have over 40 drafts in my arsenal.

Give yourself some time to look at your post with fresh eyes.  It may be as quickly as the next morning.  But I guarantee you this, after you’ve given yourself some space and you come back to re-read something you will make a few tweaks here and there that could make a big difference in the end.

5. Research but Don’t Copy

There’s an old saying about reinventing the wheel.

With the thousands upon thousands of blogs out there you can learn a lot without having to start from scratch.  Find a few blogs that grab your attention, a few that you like to follow or even have subscribed to.  What is it about those blogs that holds you?  What can you copy?  And I don’t mean copy COPY.  You never want to do that.

I just mean what is it they are doing that you can emulate?  Is it their captivating style of writing?  Is it their photos?  Is their site nicely designed, ie not too many distracting ads?  What is it that you feel makes this a SUCCESSFUL site and how can you incorporate that into YOUR site?

6. Be Patient

If you are expecting instant success or thousands of followers in a short amount of time, you better think again.  Blogging takes time.  Blogging takes creativity.  Blogging takes passion.  But if you stay with it you will become a known face in the industry.

I started out in 2012 with just around 400 followers.  It’s been a slow steady climb and I’m seeing the most growth ever in 2016 with over 130,000 monthly followers.  If you enjoy what you are doing success will come.

DO YOU HAVE ANY BLOGGING TIPS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?  SHARE THEM BELOW!

 

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