Are you looking for simple blogging advice for new bloggers? Good, you’re in the right place because that’s exactly what I’m offering you.
As an older blogger I sometimes get a little confused or irritated by all the tech talk that goes on around blogging – and there really isn’t any need for most of it.
I will teach you how to start blogging, how to create great content and how to find and use the most useful tools and plugins to really get your blog off to a great start and I will use simple, everyday language that you can actually understand.
The reading time of this post is around 20 mins. Short on time? Listen to the podcast instead.
Note –This post includes affiliate links and promoted ads which means that if you make a purchase through any of these links I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps me support the running of this website and continue to publish helpful content. I use anything I recommend for my own blog which is why I’m happily an affiliate! Thank you all for your support!
To kick off, have you actually started your blog yet? It’s okay if you haven’t, I know how confusing even this bit can be. What is self-hosting? Which is the best platform? What domain name should you have? etc. etc. etc.
Honestly, it really isn’t that difficult to get started and I’ve got you covered.
I have created my Ultimate Starter Kit for New Bloggers which is a FREE one hour video tutorial to show you step by step how to get your domain name (for free), how to get it hosted for just $1.73 (£1.34) a month and how to set up your blog and create your first blog post.
It also contains links to useful sites to help you get your blog off to a flying start. You can achieve in a day or so what it took me months to learn. Get your free Ultimate Starter Kit here.
Okay, so if you’re wondering how to start a blog it’s really very simple. Just decide what you want to call your blog and buy the domain name. The domain name is the www. bit of your blog so for example my blog is lynne-thomas.com and the domain name is www.lynne-thomas.com
What you call your blog is entirely up to you. I sell services to people who are looking to get their businesses or blogs found online and as I am essentially selling, well me, I decided to call my blog my name.
If you were a food blogger you might want to call it something like tasty-bites.com and not use your name at all. Or you may be a relationship coach and want to call your blog something like www.betterrelationships.com
The .com bit is also up for debate. You don’t have to be a .com you could be a .au or .us .co.uk or .net or .guru or .org it kind of depends if you want it known that you are based in a particular country, or if you want to be seen as an organisation, or if you want it to be known that you are a net-based business.
Whether you choose a .us or a .com, your blog will still be found by people all around the world, so just choose one that you are happy with.
The next issue is which platform to choose. There are so many these days: Squarespace, Tumblr, WordPress, Joomla, the list goes on and on. It can be a bit of a nightmare to decide which to go with because there will be plausible pros and cons for each.
My advice would definitely be to go with WordPress. WordPress was specifically designed for bloggers and it’s so easy to use that if you can use Microsoft Word you can use WordPress.
WordPress also has thousands of free themes to choose from and you can also upgrade to thousands of paid themes once you get the hang of blogging and want a theme that is more aligned to your brand and industry.
It also has thousands of plugins for you to choose from to add functionality to your blog. Plugins are just little pieces of code that you add to your website that will allow it to do extra things. This might include adding a Pinterest verification code to your blog, or adding Google analytics.
Don’t get too concerned about this right now as you can add these plugins with just a couple of clicks and we’ll get into them another time.
WordPress is also the most widely used platform on the planet for building websites and blogs, so honestly, why would you want to be anywhere else?
If you haven’t set up your blog yet because you were confused about the stuff we have just discussed then grab my free starter kit here and I’ll talk you through the whole process in a one hour video tutorial.
If you have started your blog, you might not have thought about your niche, or you might not even know what a niche is. Hopefully this will sort that out…
A niche is a specific audience that you want to attract with your blog. For example, I want to attract “older” ladies who want to learn how to blog.
You might want to attract millenials who want to learn about vegan diets. Or you might want to attract amateur gardeners who want to learn more about what and when to plant for all year round colour.
The more niched you can be the better. This will be contrary to what you were originally thinking as you are probably trying to attract as many people to your blog as possible. This is not such a good idea though, let me explain why…
Let’s go back to our vegan diet example. I mentioned attracting millenials as I know that this is a current trend in that age group. Therefore I can think about what millenials are looking for in their vegan choice, what they are hoping to achieve, why it’s important to them and how to talk to them specifically.
If instead, I just talked about vegan diets to anyone who was remotely interested I would not be able to answer specific questions or solve specific problems as well as I could if I just targeted one specific group.
In my blog I am aiming it at older ladies because I know they are concerned about the technology involved in blogging. I know they feel stupid when they ask questions because they think it’s their age that’s the problem. They also fear looking stupid online and messing up.
I know this because I’m one of them. I’ve been there and done that. I know what bothers them and so I can answer specific questions, solve specific problems and talk to them in a language they understand.
This targeted option is much better as it will attract your “ideal” reader to your blog and your ideal reader is far more likely to stick around and come back to see other posts, share your posts with others, subscribe to your opt-ins and buy your offers.
You then need to write your posts with this niche in mind. You need to create content that will answer those questions and solve those problems for them.
You will also need to attract them to your blog posts with catchy headlines or titles.
The title should include the keyword(s) that you want to be ranked for. For example one of my posts is being ranked for “How to write a great blog post”. Yes, I know that’s a phrase not a word, this is called a long-tail keyword and they are much easier to get ranked for.
If I tried to get ranked for the single word Blog or even the 2 words Blog Post, I would be up against an enormous amount of competition. Making a long-tail version of my keyword is much less likely to be so competitive.
How I came up with my title was….
I keyed into the Google search bar – how to write blog posts. Then I scrolled to the bottom of page one where Google shows me exactly what people are keying in to the search bar that are similar to my original search.
I decided to go with “How to write a great blog post“. And there we go….
The title really needs to be either answering a question, like “how to write a great blog post” or is offering a way to reduce a pain point like “3 simple ways to get more readers to your blog”
You can see more on this in my post on how to write a great blog post here.
The content that you create should obviously be driven by your niche or audience and what you are trying to help them with.
If you are a travel blogger you would want to include a list of places to visit based on your (or others) recommendations. You may want to include travel guide links, dates for festivals in the area, bus or public transport information etc.
The content should be informative, inspirational, educational, entertaining or should be promoting something. Your posts should be a mixture of these 5 things.
Think of your content as a way of building a relationship with your reader. It is a way of gaining their trust by providing them with valuable and useful information, and mostly for free. This information will: help them overcome difficulties, find answers to questions, get easy access to information or help or guide them through a process.
The content itself should be either in written, audio or video format. How you decide to present your information will also be largely dependent on your audience. Younger people like to consume information in video format, older people still like to read (and in a lot of cases listen) to information. I have started to create pod-casts for a lot of my more informative posts. This one included.
If you are writing it needs to be conversational. Don’t write an essay as this is not what your readers want. They want to feel as though they’re having a chat with you.
Also write in very short paragraphs. you will see here that I rarely go over 3 sentences in any paragraph. As a writer, this was one of the most difficult adjustments I had to make, but I know it works so I just roll with it.
I have created a little e-book if you’re interested that is called How To Write A Great Blog Post and includes great advice for creating killer content. It’s only £7.99 ($10) so why not get a copy and start as you mean to go on? (it includes video tutorials on how to create unique images for your blog too).
Don’t forget to add some great images to your posts. It helps to break up the writing and it also helps to illustrate your points or showcase your ideas.
Make sure that your images are high definition and that they are free to use and not licensed for use. We will look at how to avoid stealing images next.
There are many sites on the internet that have completely license free images for you to use anywhere on your blog. One of my most favourite sites is Unsplash.com. They don’t require you to acknowledge or credit the photographer although it’s nice to do so wherever you can.
They also have only high definition images which means that when you stretch them across a big desktop screen they stay crystal clear. This is really important as Google checks for things like this when they rank your site.
The images can all be used commercially, which means they can be used on a blog, even if your blog is a business. They can also all be adapted and modified which means you can add text to them or crop them or do pretty much whatever you want with them before you publish them on your blog.
It is really important that you don’t just go onto Google images and take pictures from there, because most of them will be copyrighted and you are not allowed to just take them and re-publish them without either the express consent of the owner or paying for the right to use them.
Other free image sites include:
Make sure you read their terms and conditions before using the images as these do differ from site to site.
Once you have your images it is nice to turn them into something a little more unique.
You might want to add your website to them, or to include some text, or to just use a portion of the image along with a portion of another image. The point is, once you have the images, you can create unique content for your blog.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a graphic design tool such as Photoshop or Gimp.
Now, to be true to my word, I help you to find the easiest tools to create the best things for your blog and I find both above examples a little difficult to use. They are bit too sophisticated for me and my meagre design capabilities.
So I have the pleasure of introducing Canva.com. A completely free and easy to use tool that will help you to design stunning images for your blog and social media.
I have created a little e-book if you’re interested that is called How To Write A Great Blog Post and includes step by step video tutorials on exactly how to use Canva. It also includes other great advice for creating killer content. It’s only £7.99 ($10) so why not get a copy and learn how to create some stunning images for your blog posts and pick up some other amazing tips too?
Once you create your blog post, it is by no means over. Oh no. Now you have to promote it – EVERYWHERE!
Spending all that time creating your content is only worth it if people actually find it and read/view/listen to it. You want to make sure that this happens, and here’s how you do that…
Create some social media accounts under the same name as your blog. If you have a personal Facebook profile you can simply add a page and call it the name of your blog.
Here are some of the best platforms to be on:
They each have their own unique etiquette and are all used in slightly different ways.
Facebook can be used to keep your ideal audience informed of day to day activities around your blog, ie what you’re working on today.
Instagram can be used to for adding quick photographs such as your messy desk or your new completed product
Twitter is somewhere to put out a comment, a thought, a suggestion or ask a question. It is fast moving and needs to be used frequently throughout the day.
LinkedIn is great for finding people to collaborate with and also to share your blog posts as this is a professional platform and so business people expect you to share informative and inspirational content.
Pinterest is a search engine with pictures which are called pins. You use this site to promote your blog by creating eye catching images (or pins) using the tools I have mentioned previously and these pins can be be saved or shared with other pinners. Each pin has a link back to your blog when clicked on.
Pro tip: Pinterest is by far the best referral source for my blog with over 75% of my visitors coming to my blog via this platform. It’s well worth investing time in. For a short course on how to get set up and start using Pinterest, please click here it’s just £9.99 ($12.00)
There are many other social media sites where you can share your content but these will be fine to start with.
Make sure that you share your content across all the platforms as the more people who get to know about it the more chance it has of being read. It will also help with the number of visitors you get to your site which will help with your rankings too.
As a rule of thumb:
I hope you have found this post useful and informative and if so I would love it if you could share it so that others can find the information too. I have included some popular share icons so please just click away.
p.s I’ll be back in a few days with some other helpful hints, tips and ideas so keep a look out for me – or subscribe to my blog and I’ll drop you a quick email when I’ve published something new.