Want to get into blogging but not sure how to begin? Wouldn’t it be nice if your blog simply appeared with the wave of a wand?
Writing blog posts may not be as easy as bippity boppity boo, but the good news is that creating your blog can be thrilling when you have the right tools.
To avoid common blogging mistakes, we’re providing the proper guidance to help you start your blog strong.
In this post, we provide you with 21 useful tips on how to get your blog started and how to maintain it once it gains momentum.
1. Start with Identifying the Primary Goals for Your Blog
Whether you run your own blog or grow a corporate website, setting up objectives should be your priority.
If your company has decided to start a blog, make sure to create a list of business goals you hope to accomplish.
Here are some examples:
- “We are starting a company blog to increase brand awareness and visibility by ranking for high-volume keywords.”
- “We are launching a blog to generate more conversions by sharing product-led content.”
If you are building a personal blog, a business model should still be at the forefront of your mind.
There are typically four components to any successful content-based business. Whether this be a blog, YouTube channel, or something else. Start with understanding your business model. This should drive every marketing decision you make. Once you understand how you’ll drive revenue and win new business, you can integrate the other core components—your audience, content, and marketing. The key is to have all of these components in perfect alignment.
You can plan to monetize your blog by running ads or offering paid courses to help you set a specific course of development for your blog.
2. Find the Right Niche to Match Your Expertise
Half the fun of blogging is writing about topics you’re interested in. When you demonstrate your passion for a topic, your readers will be more invested in what you have to say.
It’s also essential to find out whether there’s demand for what you have to share.
You can investigate the demand for your topic by:
- Analyzing the search volume for your topics and keywords
- Talking with people in your network
- Being active on community platforms and forums like Reddit and Quora
- Digging into social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook groups
As per Lenox Powell, Semrush’s Content Marketing Director:
Ideally, target audience research—even persona creation—has been done long before a blog post topic is selected. But the rubber meets the road when you actually write it. Your target audience should be front and center of your mind when writing the post. A blog is just a publishing platform. How well the content on that platform respects your audience, gives them useful information in an enjoyable way, and puts their needs first is what matters most.
In reality, it applies to both corporate blogs and individual bloggers. Always strive to find the spot where your background, your mission, and your expertise intersect with an actual market gap.
If you’re not entirely sure which niche to choose, here are some questions to help you brainstorm which kind of blog to write:
- What are your interests and passions?
- What are some areas where you can share real-life experiences?
- Are there others talking about your same interests?
- Which ones have the lowest competition?
- Do your potential topics get a lot of traffic?
- What are some ways you can monetize your blog?
The GrowingYourCraft website is a great example of a niche business with a niche content offering.
In addition to offering an integrated learning experience for growing your Etsy shop, they run a blog that covers the trendiest topics in the niche.
3. Run a Competitive Content Marketing Analysis
By analyzing your competitors, you can get a deeper understanding of what’s trending in your niche. It’ll also help you see what kind of blog topics and formats resonate with your audience.
If you’re not sure how to analyze your competitors, use this free template for competitive content analysis and focus on the following:
- Identify the key websites creating content in your niche (even if they’re not your direct competitors)
- Analyze the content categories they have on their blogs, the most popular pages, and the keywords they are ranking for
- Find out what makes each of them unique and what their differentiation points are
- Assess their tone of voice, the visual look, and overall formatting
- Learn about ways they are monetizing their websites
- Examine their social media channels
For example, imagine you wanted to see which topics and keywords perform well for GrowingYourCraft’s competitors.
First, manually inspect their websites to find the most popular/trending blog section or identify topics they seem to target the most.
If you are not sure how to find your competitors, you can start by googling the most important keywords related to your business (e.g. “etsy courses”) and analyzing the websites ranking on the first pages.
To make this process more data-driven, head to the Organic Research tool and enter your own domain.
Then, head to the “Competitors” tab to see the websites in your niche that are competing with yours.
Then, click on any of those websites to learn more about each competitor.
You can use the “Pages” report to find the pages (and keywords) that have been performing well for each of those websites.
4. Choose a Blogging Platform and Take Care of Technical Foundations
Finding the right content management system (CMS) is important. This is the platform you will use to host and manage your blog.
Choosing the best one will depend on several factors, including your budget, your customization needs, customer support, etc.
If you are launching a corporate blog, you will also need to check whether your existing business website is already being managed via a CMS. If it’s not, think about ways to connect them.
There are many great blogging platforms with varying capabilities. But the most popular ones are:
If you plan on using WordPress, be sure to check hosting sites like GoDaddy, Bluehost, and Siteground for their WordPress website subscriptions.
Oftentimes, they are more affordable than hosting a website directly from WordPress.
You can also use drag-and-drop type platforms like Wix and Squarespace, which are easier to use and are good for beginners. However, their capabilities can be somewhat limited compared to the other CMS products.
Ensure technical optimization
Once you have your blogging platform set up, ensure that all potential technical issues are taken care of.
It’s important to make your website crawlable by search engines and to avoid having pages that are loading too slowly.
You can use the Site Audit tool to automatically check your website and find any important issues that need to be fixed.
5. Read Every Day
Novelists should read more books to be better authors and bloggers should read more blogs to be better bloggers.
When we read other work besides ours, we are exposed to other ideas, other writing styles, other tones of voice. And all of what we read can influence how we write.
So no matter how much time you have during the day, whether it’s 30 minutes or two hours, spend some time reading through online content that interests you or is related to your niche.
Even reading content outside of our interests or wheelhouse can be beneficial!
If you’re not sure whose content to read, try reading content by influencers, thought leaders, subject matter experts, publications, and even your competitors.
6. Build a Content Strategy
Now that you have a platform and a good understanding of your niche and audience, it’s time to start building a content strategy.
Sure, you can aimlessly cover various blogging topics on the fly and see where they stick. But in the long term, that isn’t always the best solution.
78% of marketers felt their blogs performed better when they had a strategy. With a strategy, marketers can focus on goals more, find areas for improvement, and create more measurable progress.
A good strategy also helps you establish your brand and story more clearly. That way, your audience knows who you are and what you’re about from the beginning.
Documenting your content marketing strategy will involve listing the following items:
- Your target audience
- Primary goals for your blog (e.g., building a contact list and converting those people into paying customers)
- Metrics you’ll use to track performance (e.g., traffic and newsletter subscriptions)
- Resources and budget
Next, you’ll move to creating a content plan for your blog that will speak to specific content topics, keywords, dates, promotion tactics, etc.
7. Find High-Efficiency Topics for Your Blog
Now it’s time to find content topics you can cover on your blog.
It’s important to focus on the high-efficiency topics that have lower competition and an optimal search volume, especially at the beginning.
Add making sure you have the relevant experience to talk about them, and you’ll find your sweet spot!
You can find high-efficiency topics using the Topic Research tool. Simply enter a high-level idea and it’ll generate dozens of related subtopics.
You can then filter them by topic efficiency. In a nutshell, it means that the tool will show topics that have the best combination of search volume and ranking difficulty.
Once you’ve selected your topics, you can proceed to more detailed keyword research. Ideally, each blog post you plan would rank for more than one keyword.
So, make sure you have a list of primary and related keywords for each article. To find them, you can use the Keyword Magic Tool.
8. Establish a Posting Schedule and Write Consistently
You want your customers to rely on you. You also want them to be repeat readers as your website grows.
Posting consistently shows your readers you are dedicated to your website and its growth. It also helps you rise in the rankings much faster.
When you’re setting up your strategy, be sure to factor in not only a writing schedule but also a posting frequency.
Do you want to post once a week, twice a week, or four times a week?
Decide which post frequency will work best for you. If doing four posts a week feels like a lot, start with one or two posts per week.
If you don’t blog often, that isn’t a bad thing; blogging randomly here and there is terrible. The biggest mistake is committing to a specific frequency, then not delivering on your promise to your audience.
There are a few ways to make sure you’re maintaining your blog post frequency.
- Blog from your phone on mobile apps like Notepad, WordPress, Google Docs, etc.
- Write a few posts at a time and schedule them weeks in advance
- Jot your ideas down as they come to you and expand on them later if time is limited
Being consistent, having a schedule, and keeping up with your ideas will help you in the long run. It will also save you more time than being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants blogger.
9. Write for Your Readers First
Writing for search engines is important because you want to rank. But if you write for search engines first, you risk losing your readers and their attention.
And if you’re just writing for yourself, that can also turn readers away. You can still write about topics you’re passionate about while meeting your readers’ needs, though.
Take recipe blogs, for example.
Recipe bloggers tend to give a lengthy and detailed history of their simple chicken and dumpling recipe before getting to the ingredient list.
Because of the way they structure their blogs, recipe bloggers as a whole have faced criticism.
Keep in mind, the most important thing is to make sure your reader gets what they came for when they visit your blog.
They should have something to walk away with, whether it’s a new product, new information, or a deeper inspiring message.
Write for the takeaway. What will your reader learn and remember from their experience with your blog post? The relevance of that learning/insight will keep them coming back for more.
10. Create Enticing Titles To Increase CTRs
It’s essential that you create engaging blog titles that capture the reader and increase the click-through rate (CTR) on search engines and other channels.
There are variations of articles that get more clicks than others because of how their titles are formatted. Here are some generic variations you may have clicked on yourself:
- “How To…”
- “Everything You Need To Know About…”
- “A Guide to…”
- “3, 5, 7, or 9 Things You Should…” (odd numbers in posts get clicked more)
According to our research, headings with “Guide” in the title attract three times more organic traffic than others, and those containing “How To” outperform by 1.5 times.
A few attributes of engaging blog titles are:
- Specific: Let the reader know right away what to expect
- Actionable: Show the reader the value they’ll get from reading the article
- Catching: Hook your readers right away while also keeping them intrigued
For example, imagine you are writing an article about beginner vegan recipes for people on a gluten-free diet.
It’s important that your headline showcases that these vegan recipes are easy to cook and fit the gluten-free diet.
You might also want to share the number of recipes and highlight the uniqueness of your selection.
“20 Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes You Can Make in 15 Minutes”
“20 Easy-to-Make Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes [With Video]”
Remember, your blog’s page title should be between 50 and 60 characters long. It’s also important to include your target keyword(s) in the headline.
11. Make Your Content More Readable and Actionable
Have you ever seen a giant wall of text in a post, found it daunting, and left the site immediately?
Don’t worry. We’ve also been there.
Blog posts that look like walls of text tend to drive readers away, increasing bounce rates and decreasing time spent on the page.
To avoid this, focus on the following:
- Keep your paragraphs short (1-3 sentences)
- Have lots of white spaces
- Add lists, bullet points, and subsections
- Keep your sentences short and focus on one idea per paragraph and per sentence
- Avoid using over-complicated words where possible
- Include images and videos
- Use bold and italics to highlight important parts of text
Here’s an example of improved readability by breaking up big blocks of text and adding bullet points.
A crucial part of any successful marketing team is the ability to measure campaign success and establish baselines that can serve as a reference for future efforts. With this in mind, accurately measuring ROI helps marketers do both. By understanding the impact of individual campaigns on overall revenue growth, marketers can better identify the right mix of offline and online campaign efforts. Moreover, measuring ROI consistently allows marketers to establish baselines to quickly gauge their success and adjust efforts in order to maximize impact.
It is crucial for any successful marketing team to be able to measure campaign success and establish baselines for future reference. Accurately measuring ROI helps marketers do both.
You can also check your copy’s readability automatically using the SEO Writing Assistant tool. It will instantly score your copy and highlight paragraphs, sentences, and words that need to be rewritten.
Besides, the AI Rephraser feature available in the tool will automatically rewrite paragraphs with low readability.
12. Analyze Search Intent Before Writing Each Blog Post
Search intent refers to the primary reason a user is googling a certain keyword or phrase.
Google aims to show the most relevant pages first, meaning that analyzing those pages can be extremely useful.
“If you want organic search traffic, search intent should be your number one priority. Google your target keyword and look at the top-ranked pages. How are they structured? What subtopics do they cover? Take cues from those pages as you write your blog post.”
If you want organic search traffic, search intent should be your number one priority. Google your target keyword and look at the top-ranked pages. How are they structured? What subtopics do they cover? Take cues from those pages as you write your blog post.
In other words, analyzing the top-ranking pages can help you make decisions regarding:
- Title structure
- Blog post format
- Attributes of the audience searching for your keyword (e.g., beginners vs. advanced)
- Questions and subtopics to cover in the article
- Visual elements to add in your article (e.g., lists and images)
- Optimal length of the blog post
For example, imagine you were analyzing search intent for “revenue operations.”
In that case, you could see that your article should target beginner readers and use the “What Is” structure just by looking at the blog titles returned by your search.
13. Focus on Sharing Real-Life Expertise and Unique Research
As per the Helpful Content Update that Google announced in August 2022, creating original and useful content for people (not for search engines) is becoming the number-one success factor.
In simple terms, it means that content based on real-life experience and featuring original information will be further prioritized by search engines.
Here’s what you can do in this regard:
- Avoid publishing blog posts that are simply repeating information from other sources available online
- Talk about your unique experience: for example, if you run a blog for a marketing agency, share the real-life cases and tactics you are using at work
- Share original research: for example, you can run surveys, test products yourself, read and analyze scientific papers
For instance, in this article on how to make an extra $2,000/month passive income with Etsy printables, the author is sharing real-life experience on generating 5,000 sales annually on Etsy.
They even provide screenshots from the Etsy store for further evidence. This is a great example of expertise-driven content you can’t replicate.
14. Collaborate with Experts, Influencers, and Other Bloggers
Featuring ideas and insights coming from experts and influencers in your niche is another way to make your content more original.
Besides, building a network of bloggers can help you learn, exchange ideas, and cross-promote and support each other.
There are several ways you can work with industry experts. For instance:
- Reach out to ask for a quote or an opinion
- Co-create an article or other content
- Run research together
- Co-promote each other’s content
The blog site Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis is a great example. As a polyglot, he blogs about how to learn different languages. He also offers other freelance writers opportunities to contribute knowledge on language learning to his blog site, whether they are teachers, travel influencers, or experts in language learning.
15. Include External Sources and Work on Interlinking
Having good, relevant internal and external sources to support your blog content makes you more credible.
Linking to external sources also gives you opportunities for cross-promotion.
For example, suppose you are talking about the history of glitter latte art as part of a comprehensive guide for this magical creation.
In that case, you’ll probably want to link to the people who started the trend, Coffee By Di Bella in Mumbai.
If your post happens to drive a lot of traffic to their site, you may be able to reach out to the original creators and get them to share your content on their channels.
As for internal resources, include related posts you’ve already published on the topic you’re writing on. This allows users to visit more areas of your website, makes your content more comprehensive, and sends positive signals to Google.
16. Take Time To Edit Your Blog Posts
Nothing can turn a reader away like a poorly edited post. And if you’re strapped for time, you might even talk yourself out of editing before you publish—not a good idea.
Here are some ways to edit your work:
- Read your blog posts out loud to yourself
- Hire an editor from sites like Upwork or Fiverr
- Use editing software like Grammarly and SEO Writing Assistant
Using Grammarly can help you catch issues, but you shouldn’t rely solely on tools like that to be your editor.
Be sure to take the time to read through your posts, even if 30 minutes is all you can spare.
Having a dedicated person proofreading your blog posts can be a worthy investment, ensuring the highest quality of your content.
It’s a good idea to think through your distribution strategy even before creating the actual content.
SEO usually takes time, and it’s a good idea to work on a channel mix that will allow you to grow your audience in the short-, mid-, and long-term.
Your decision on the promotion platform will largely depend on your audience. In other words, you should be where your community hangs out.
For example, Buzzfeed does a great job on Instagram of creating enticing graphics for a visual audience that will also generate clicks. Take this post below as an example.
They used a headline that was funny and intriguing, while also including one of the disturbing facts mentioned in their content. Ultimately, the image makes you want to go through the trouble of tracking down the link in their bio just to read it.
Such platforms could include:
- Social media (from Instagram and TikTok to LinkedIn and Twitter)
- Forums, as well as platforms like Reddit and Quora
- Facebook and LinkedIn groups
- Industry community platforms
- Industry publications
To make the best decision on your promotion strategy, spend enough time analyzing your audience and their habits.
It’s also a good idea to continuously engage with various channels and examine special requirements each of those platforms might have. For example, Twitter posts can have a maximum of 280 characters.
18. Create Conversion Paths and Build an Email List
Once you’ve attracted the initial traffic to your blog, it’s important to capture at least a part of it.
On your site, have a form where people can subscribe to your newsletter.
One way to do that is by offering gated content on your blog for newsletter subscribers. This way, you’ll be offering something valuable in exchange for your readers’ contact details.
That will allow you to keep sharing newly published content with subscribers, build a community, and sell your products/services.
When designing such conversion paths, think about the following:
- How can you add value? Think newsletter-only exclusive content or downloadable templates, maps, and guides
- How can you prove its worth? For example, you can mention the topics you will cover in the newsletter and provide social proof (e.g., 300+ Etsy shop owners already subscribed)
- How can you strategically position your call to actions (CTAs)? Those should be the spots where your offering organically fits. Be careful—adding a dozen pop-ups and random buttons might only create the opposite effect.
For example, look at how NerdFitness attracts email subscribers. They provide a motivational message with a tone of voice relevant to their audience and offer a gift (a free ebook) to all newcomers.
19. Track Content Performance and Be Patient
After you publish your posts, you should move on to writing the next one, right?
Essentially, yes. But it’s also best to monitor your published posts to see what is performing well and what isn’t.
There are several important metrics you can track, depending on your goals. The main ones include:
- Traffic on your blog (source: Google Analytics)
- Sources of that traffic (source: Google Analytics)
- Rankings (source: Position Tracking)
- Average time spent on your blog posts (source: Google Analytics)
- Conversion rates on the blogs (source: event tracking in Google Analytics or your marketing automation platform)
It’s a good idea to have several levels of goals and metrics.
First, make sure to refer to the overall goals you’ve set for your blog. Next, regularly track secondary metrics that affect those goals.
For example, imagine that your goal is to generate a certain number of purchases coming from your blog. In that case, you can set a target for traffic and the average conversion rates you’ll need to achieve this objective.
You can use this template to get started:
e.g., generate 500 paid course subscriptions coming from blog posts in 2023
e.g., course purchases, leads, conversion rates
e.g., organic traffic, rankings, social media mentions, and shares
20. Refresh & Repurpose Older Content
Running content audits should become part of your regular activities. It’ll help you collect the low-hanging fruit—improve existing content to rank higher—and keep track of your overall performance.
Content audits involve analyzing your existing blog posts and assessing whether they help you meet your targets.
For example, you can check whether they rank for the target keywords and generate traffic and conversions.
Based on the information you collect, you can add several changes, such as:
- Update blog posts that are losing ranking and traffic
- Delete or update old blog posts with irrelevant information
- Repurpose high-performing blog posts (e.g., create an ebook)
Based on our research, it’s most common to run content audits twice a year.
We also saw that running content audits tends to generate positive results both for ranking and engagement.
21. Create a Quality Control Process and Use It for Every Article
Content quality is quickly becoming the number-one strategy for ranking on Google.
You can design a quality assessment process for every blog post published on your website to keep up with this trend.
To do that, grab our free Blog Post Quality Checklist. Make sure to share it with your writers and use it to check every article before releasing it.
And remember to always be on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities for improving your content.
This could mean learning about the newest Google algorithm update, attending conferences where you learn about SEO and content marketing, or just paying attention to trends and news.
As a Beginner, What Makes a Successful Blog?
Remember to remain consistent, be authentic, do your research, and always be willing to learn and grow.
But most importantly, don’t give up. When it feels like you’re not getting back what you’ve invested, just keep going.
Now, let’s click that “publish” button, and we’ll see you in our advanced blogging articles down the road.