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A Beginners Guide To Blogging In 2020

Graphic of laptop ready to start blogging for first time

Have you clicked on this page wanting to start a blog but unsure where to start? This beginners guide will be your one-stop walk-through guide, covering everything you need to know to get started successfully.

First things first, what is a blog?

A blog, fully known as a ‘weblog’ is an online site that is used for journaling written or visual content relevant to what you, the author, is interested in sharing with others.

A blog differs from a website in that it is frequently updated with new content. The content updated is displayed in reverse chronological order- meaning that the new posts are shown first. This helps the reader access the most up-to-date posts from the author.

Blogs are becoming an increasingly popular medium for the corporate world, as well as for personal use. The author may opt to create a blog for the purpose of:

  1. Connecting with their audience
  2. Boost traffic to their website and generate leads through SEO
  3. To become part of a specific online community (i.e. travel, food, fashion industries)

According to Hubspot, businesses that blog tend to receive 55% more visitors to their site than businesses who do not have a blog at all. Could this be the effective SEO tool for your business? Keep on reading!

 

Who reads blogs?

In today’s digital world, blogging has become so vastly widespread, that blogs can be found and read by any individual across the globe who has an interest in what you are sharing.

If you can successfully target the right market, your audience is likely to grow at a rapid rate. People are turning to the internet for the majority of their information.

If you are interested in documenting something that you’re passionate about, it’s more than likely many other people are interested too. So, what’s stopping you?


How to find your niche?

Image of lightbulb to inspire ideas to find blog niche
If you have reached this page, it is likely that you have already considered setting up a blog for yourself (or maybe even to help someone else).

If this is something you have already thought about, then it is likely you have an idea of what it is that you want to write about.

Blogging can be as general or specific as you like – it is yours after all!

Make sure that whatever you choose, is something you’re interested in. There is little benefit from creating something that you think others will enjoy reading, as opposed to creating something that you enjoy creating and putting out there. It will also make your content sound more genuine and interesting when from the heart.

To spark some inspiration, here are the 10 most popular blogs in 2020:

  1. Fashion Blogs
  2. Food Blogs
  3. Travel Blogs
  4. Music Blogs
  5. Lifestyle Blogs
  6. Fitness Blogs
  7. DIY Blogs
  8. Sports Blogs
  9. Finance Blogs
  10. Political Blogs

Have a look around and see what already exists within the particular blogging market that you’d like to enter. From there, you can gauge whether people will be interested in your blog or whether it’s something the market may be looking for.

Once you have generated your idea, it’s time to get started.


How to create a blog?

First things first, you will have to think of a name. Having researched the market you want target your blog towards, you will be able to get a feel for the existing blog names that are out there. This may help spark your ideas in creating your personal blog name.

The name of your blog is important as it is how people will recognise you. Your name can be used to branch out to create supporting social media channels for your blog (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), so make sure it’s snappy and memorable.

There are websites that exist to help generate ideas, or even concrete names for your blog. A simple Google search of ‘Blogging Name Generator’ will bring up all the tools you need.

The blogging platform you choose may provide you with a branded domain (i.e. abcde@wordpress.com), however, you may be interested in having your own handle (i.e abcde.com). Your blogging site is likely to have different ways to create your domain of choice which is specific to them.

Once you have your name picked out and your domain set up, you need to pick the best platform to host your website.

Various platforms exist, with pros and cons of each. The main sites include:

PlatformProsCons
Blogger.com
  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • No coding skills necessary
  • Benefit of being owned by Google
  • Great for casual bloggers
  • Limited design options with few available templated
  • Doesn’t get updated regularly
Wordpress.com
  • Easy to use
  • No setup required
  • Free subdomain
  • Limited features to extend blog- no custom themes or plugin support
  • No option to run ads through WordPress- they show their ads instead
Wix
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Customisable with templates and third-party apps
  • Drag and drop website tool
  • Free account is limited and displays Wix ads and branding on your blog
  • Doesn’t allow user to change their template once chosen
Weebly
  • Drag and drop site builder
  • No coding skills required
  • Weebly hosts website
  • Free plan available
  • Limited integration with third-party platforms
  • Exporting your blog to another platform from Weebly is complex

Before you get started writing posts, there are different types of blogging equipment that you may find useful to enhance your content:

  • Camera (handheld or phone)
  • Tripod
  • Ring Light
  • Bluetooth remote
  • Microphone

The above equipment is not a requirement – you can write posts and upload anything you like! If you are looking to create more professional content, investing in a camera and supporting tools may be of use to you.

Writing a successful post

Image of someone writing a successful blog post for the first time

The most important aspect to consider when writing is that it’s from you- the author. Use your natural tone of voice, making it something personal to you. This is what makes you stand out and what makes the reader like your blog, for who you are.

Like any journal, the posts should have structure:

  • Make sure to include an introduction to map out what the post will discuss.
  • Use headings (larger text, in bold, italics or underline) to make each section stand out to the reader.
  • Include photographs, links to products, restaurants, hotels etc that you are talking about so that the reader has clear accessibility from your site to anything they need.
  • Don’t make paragraphs too long- they should be short and snappy.
  • Include open-ended questions to encourage interaction from the reader. Get them involved to share, comment or like the post.


How often should you post?

Think about your goals. If you are starting your blog for more personal reasons, you may do it as and when you feel inspired.

If you are creating a more professional slant, more structure is required and you may need to plan out content for specific days of the week.

Google likes fresh content – so to attract new visitors, you will have to post regularly to ensure you remain in the eye of the consumer.

Create a strategy and follow our SEO guidelines. This will help you determine what’s right for your blog.


Where should I promote my blog posts?

If you have social media channels to compliment your blog, it will be a great way to share the links to your platforms to enhance engagement and get the word out there. From here, other accounts can share or engage with your posts if they find it interesting, which generates further interest and traffic to your site.


How to increase traffic on your blog?

Initially, it may be difficult to gain traction to your blog, so creating supporting social media channels is likely to prove useful to further target your customers and spread the word.

Asking open-ended questions in your posts is likely to increase engagement. Encouraging the reader to comment or share the post is a great way to increase blog traffic.

For example, if a reader from another country shares your blog post on their social media- who knows who it could reach!

 To keep track of your readers, their demographics and how often people visit your blog, it is worth installing Google Analytics to your site. This is a great way to see in both real-time and to look back month by month to see how your blog statistics have changed.

From here, you can tell what is working, and what’s not and alter your content accordingly.


Your blog is doing well - can you make money from it?


Image of magnet drawing in money from blogging


The answer is, YES! You can make money from blogging. Here’s how:

  1. Set up Google Adsense (get paid for having other brands advertise through your blog. If I a visitor clicks on the ad, you make a small revenue)
  2. Work with brands on sponsored posts
  3. Use affiliate marketing on your blog
  4. Get paid by brands to write review or products/services
  5. Create a paid forum (i.e. including exclusive content with monthly newsletters etc)

And there you have it- you now have everything you need to create a successful blog in 2020.

If you have an idea, go for it. You never know what could come out of it.

Can I ask for 30 seconds please?

If you found this post useful, I would be grateful if you would kindly share with your connections or social media network.

Category: Marketing

About the author

Emma McKay (Guest Writer)

Emma McKay (Guest Writer)

Emma graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in Human Resource Management in Marketing. She now works as a Marketing and Communications specialist for Ahead Business Consulting. Having owned a blog, The Student Coeliac, for over three years, Emma is an advocate for helping and inspiring others to create platforms where they can express themselves creatively.

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