When Blogging started off in the latter half of the 90’s, it was used by individuals who just wanted to share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions online. Today, blogging is an integral aspect of internet marketing. Everyone from work at home individuals, industry professionals, and Fortune 500 companies are into it. This underscores the fact that blogging is no longer an option, but a necessity for businesses and professionals that want to succeed online.
To get you started, let’s first define a blog and then look at some of the essential ingredients of blogging
What is a Blog?
A blog is basically a form of website where you can publish content and engage with your audience. In other words, a blog is a platform that allows you to create and publish digital content for online marketing while allowing readers to submit comments or feedback for the published content. There are different types of blogs, but the 5 main categories are:
- Experiential (on-line diary)
- Educational (Course-related)
- Referential (lots of links)
- Collaborative (Wikis)
- Analytic (expert/subject area)
Getting Started with Blogging
If you are interested in starting a blog and don’t know how then below are simple steps to get you started.
1. Select Your Niche- you have to identify and select your niche carefully. Your niche should define what your blog is all about. It could be about home remodeling, souvenirs, work from home, or even your field of expertise.
2. Select a Domain Name – a good domain name matters a lot when it comes to blogging. Your domain name should create an impression about your blog and so it should be unique, memorable, and concise. Don’t rush to select a domain name, you need to think carefully about what you will register with your blog/website host.
3. Select a Powerful Tagline - though it’s not a necessity, it is advisable for you to come up with a great tagline for your blog. Your tagline should help your visitor or reader see the purpose of your blog.
4. Select an Appropriate Theme – you also need to select a good theme that’ll give your blog a professional look and feel. Though there are numerous free themes, I strongly recommend that you buy a premium theme. A clean professional theme comes with all the necessary features that’ll help you set a nice blog quickly.
5. Pick Your Blog Host – once you have a domain name and a theme in mind, you should look for a good host for your blog. For a few dollars, you can subscribe for premium hosting service. Hosting providers like Godaddy, Hostgator, and BlueHost offer more robust features for blogging than free hosting providers like wordpress.com and blogger.com.
How to Succeed with Your Blogging
Starting a blog is easy, but maintaining and achieving your goals is not. Many people will start blogging with great zeal and loose interest a few weeks down the road. Just so that you don’t make the common mistakes that people make, bear the following things in mind when creating your blog.
- Have a Clear Purpose - many people set up blogs, but they don’t have a passion or clear purpose for their blogs. You need to be clear about the reason(s) for setting up the blog and what you really want to achieve from it. The degree of your success will dependent on the clarity of your purpose.
- Solve a Problem – it’s not enough to just share your opinions or experiences, you need to use blogging to tackle a specific problem in your niche. When you solve a problem, then you will create value for your audience/readers and ultimately turn them from readers into customers.
- Exhibit Your Personality – to succeed with attraction marketing, you have to bring out your personality and blend it well with your expertise. Remember, you’re competing with millions of bloggers so you have to be unique, approachable, and likeable to succeed with attraction marketing.
- Devise a Powerful Content Strategy – to succeed with blogging, you have to craft a solid content strategy for your blog. You need to know the kind of content that ticks with your audience and how often to publish it. Also, you have to decide how you will use content to grow your audience and business, and to build authority and trust.
- Promote Your Blog – if you want improve online lead generation then you have to promote your blog on the internet. You can use list building, online video marketing, e-mail marketing, and even social media networks to encourage people to subscribe or follow your blog. A good way of promoting your blog is to offer freebies such as downloadable PDF reports to readers who join your mailing list.
- Have Realistic Expectations- most importantly, you also have to be realistic about what you are going to achieve through your blog. Don’t set your eyes on unrealistic results or achievements else you will become sorely disappointed and even give up blogging. You have to know the truth about blogging and especially what is attainable and what is not.
- Set Up Blog Metrics& Analytics – you also need to set up analytics that will help you measure the behavior and interaction of visitors with your blog. Tracking will help you know the bounce rate, exit path of visitors, and the number of new and returning visitors.
Best Blogging Platforms
Having looked at the reasons why you need a blog, we should move on to look at some of the best blogging platforms. Though there are several platforms, the ones below will give you a great head start.
- WordPress- is an open-source blogging cum content management platform. It is a great platform for both starters and intermediate bloggers. t’s not only easy to set up, but it is also easy to maintain and update. Plus, there are tons of FREE WordPress plugins and resources to help you set up and manage your blog quickly.
- Blogger- is another awesome blogging platform that is powered by Google. The good thing about this platform is that it is easy to set up and maintain. Since it integrates with different Google products and services, it is a great tool for promoting your business online. You only need a Google account to get started.
- Tumblr- is another great microblogging platform that allows you to create an attractive and fully functional blog easily. This blogging platform allows you to create, customize, and share content with your social networks.
- TypePad- is also a great blogging platform for business. It is not only stable, but is also flexible. It also integrates well with social media marketing platforms and supports promotion of content across various social networks.
3 Pillars of Blogging
As with other forms of online marketing, success with blogging depends on three vital things. These 3 things are the pillar of any blog:
- Content (Regular Quality Content)- for your blog to thrive, you need to create and publish good content regularly. Quality content drives visitors to your blog and increases your site rankings considerably. People will also share your content and encourage others to subscribe to your RSS feed if you post quality content.
- SEO (Proper Search Engine Optimization)- SEO is at the very heart of successful blogging. Unless you optimize your blog, you cannot compete favorable on the internet. Succeeding on the internet isn’t a one off thing, you have to work on your on-page and off-page SEO continually.
- Design (Look and Organization of the blog)- the design of your blog really matters in content marketing. A well-designed blog attracts readers and gives them reason to explore your blog and resources. Therefore, you have to decide on the best structure, colors, and layout of your blogging theme.
Starting a blog is easy but maintaining a blogging habit is the difficult part. If you want to expand your online audience or increase your ability of making money online then it’s indispensable for you to set and maintain your blog. The bottom line is that blogging has the potential to generate more traffic and increase the visibility and awareness of your brand online. It can also open doors for you to expand your network marketing circles and become a niche leader.