Welcome back! I see you have not been put off by lesson 1 then? That’s good. A lot of people stumble a the first hurdle because they realise that blogging is going to take some work.
If you missed lesson 1 you can catch up by clicking here.
Well good for you. I’m glad you’ve decided to come back for another dollop and I promise it’s going to get a bit more exciting from now on.
Don’t forget, I use affiliate links on this blog which means that if you purchase anything by clicking on one I will get paid a small commission at no cost to you. This is one of the ways that I monetise my blog and I will be showing you how to do this in future lessons.
So let’s get to it then and make a start on lesson 2. You will notice I don’t title my lessons and there’s a good reason for this…
People cheat! Yes, I know, is shocking isn’t it? It’s true though, they do. They come and look for the title of a lesson that they think is more interesting and just do that one.
When their blog doesn’t turn out to be very good guess who they blame? Yes me. The cheek of it. But there it is. Another example of people trying to short cut the process and then wonder why they fail.
Step 1. Get out your notes that you made from your time in the forums and in Facebook groups
– Oh, you didn’t make any, or you didn’t spend the time in there. You thought you could just skip that bit? Well you can’t do the next bit until that has been done properly so go and do it and then come back.
Go on, I’ll wait right here for you….
Okay, so now you know I’m going to be checking on you, hopefully you won’t try and skip any other vital parts of these lessons. It’s for your own good I promise you.
Right, have a look at the lists that you made of questions that seemed to be asked the most. The ones that cropped up in more than one forum or in more than one Facebook group.
Do you see the most common ones? If not go back into the forums or groups and do a little more research. I can’t stress enough how important this step is going to be to your overall success so please take it seriously and don’t move on until you have a definitive list.
Once you know the top 5 – 10 most commonly asked questions, or the most commonly expressed concerns you can start to think about how you are going to address them.
Did you make notes of the responses that were given in the groups or forums? Did you check them out to make sure they were valid? Good, these will be used in your very first blog post.
If you didn’t find any really good advice, or the problems seem yet to be solved, that’s okay, it just means that you are going to have to do a lot more research to find the answers and solutions for them so that you can include them in your blog post.
Step 2. Plan your post
To have an effective and helpful blog, your posts must be well planned. You must know what you are going to say and which questions you are going to answer in that particular post or which problem you are going to solve.
You should only try and answer one or maybe two questions per post because you are aiming at adding value. A really good answer takes time to prepare and present so give your attention to solving one thing at a time.
This is also good practice as it will help you to come up with more content for future posts. If you answer all the questions in one post you will soon run out of things to talk about and your blog will dry up.
How to do this:
1. Sketch out some ideas in rough on paper.
This could just be your train of thought, the problem you intend to solve, the solution you intend to suggest. Put all your rough ideas on this paper as you will refer to it later.
2. Go to Microsoft Word (or equivalent).
Type your blog out in rough. Don’t worry about getting spelling or punctuation right at this point, just type what you want to say and in the order you want to say it.
3. Go and make a cup of tea or coffee
You need to leave your rough draft for a little while so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes. It needs to make sense and if you read it straight away you will read what you intended to write rather what you actually wrote.
4. Read through your draft with a critical eye.
Look for spelling and punctuation mistakes and grammatical errors. Although it’s not an English assignment, it does need to look professional and having spelling and grammar mistakes all over it is not going to look great.
By the way, I’m English and I spell some things differently to my friends in the USA or Australia so don’t judge me too unfairly if you spot some things that you don’t recognise (like that for instance – you guys in the US use Z’s everywhere)
Also make sure it makes sense. Have you included commas where the reader needs to take a breath? A missed comma can make something read entirely differently to that which was intended.
You need to read it as though you haven’t seen it before. Better still, get someone else to read it over for you.
5. Make sure it adds value
The whole purpose of your blog (and each post within it) is to give your readers value so that they will come back and read more of your stuff. This won’t happen if they don’t feel that they are learning anything from you.
Does your post actually answer the question that you set out to answer? Does it actually provide a solution to the problem that you set out to solve?
I ask you to check this because we all think that our posts are excellent, but when I have asked people to give me feedback in the past I have learnt (yes we spell it with a t at the end) that I have not really provided the answer that my title suggested would be given.
I now make sure that each post sticks to the intended track and that I have delivered on my promise in the title. This is very important to know and get right if you are going to have a successful blog.
When you’re happy that everything looks good, click save and save it to somewhere you can easily find later. Maybe create a folder on your desktop called Blog Post Drafts.
6. Find an image to support your blog post.
Images are crucial for making your blog and it’s posts more appealing and engaging, and this is important for getting viwers/readers to come back.
You have to make sure that your images are legal. Don’t risk your blog by using images that may infringe copyright or intellectual licenses.
Don’t panic. I have you covered and it’s really easy. Go to Unsplash.com This is a website that has thousands of free images that you can download completely without risk. All images on the site have been cleared by their owners for you to use license free.
Find an image that you think supports your posts and download it to your desktop. Make sure you save it somewhere safe on there as you will need it later. Maybe create a folder to put these Blogging Images into.
*Pro tip: Make sure you give the image a name you will recognise before you save it so that you know which picture it is. As you save more it will not be easy to distinguish one from another unless you rename them with appropriate names.
That’s it for lesson 2. The only homework I’m giving you this time is to re-read your draft post tomorrow. It’s amazing how much different it can be when you’ve left it for a while and then come back to it. Make any tweaks that you need to then save it.
Come back for lesson 3. To make sure you don’t miss it, or anything else useful that I might post in the meantime please subscribe to my blog. You will then receive an email every time I publish something so you won’t miss out.
See you soon