I’ve had several blogs over the years. My first proper blog was in 2003, the first successful blog I developed was in 2010.
What I’ve learned so far is that you really need to work with a strong point of view about your topic, keep asking questions about how your topic helps people with their problems, and above all, keep creating content.
After several blogs and now my present blog, which is successful and growing, I’d say writing blog posts is the number one activity.
Many bloggers seem to get wrapped up in the technical side of blogging; navigation, SEO, and the classic avoidance techniques of not writing content but thinking about writing content.
Don’t be a Techie be a Writer
The technical stuff seems important but it’s not as important as good copywriting, lots of content, and creating a blog that is worth reading. A blog needs to be constantly fed with new content.
Write posts every day. This practices your writing abilities, your copywriting skills, and it will give you the material to use to develop some sweet SEO on your blog.
If you write, and focus solely on building content to give your blog some initial weight in the search engines, you will have something to work with.
I talk about copywriting when I mention blog posts. I use that word to remind you that writing on the internet is different than writing a book.
Your style should at least have a copywriting influence. You can find lots of information and learning material on copywriting in my other posts, or around the web.
Ten posts, each post on point, strictly related to your topics and subjects which all relate to a main topic. Learn to interlink them, thus creating internal backlinks on your blog; this makes navigation easier for search engines.
Work on your headlines. A good headline will show up in search results and send traffic to your blog. Take the time to understand what makes a good headline, and avoid clickbait type headlines. Search engines, Google especially, hate clickbait. But still, make the headline attractive and strongly related to the content in your blog.
Don’t worry about whether your blog is slow or fast — you don’t have enough content to have to worry about this — that comes later.
As your blog posts start to increase, so does blog maintenance.
If you can write 50 blog posts in the first three months, and really know that each one of them is a good article, informative, enjoyable to read, has a good word count like 1500–3000 words, then you have achieved more than many beginner bloggers. And you will have established the base of your blog.
If you can write 20 good blog posts in the first three months, you’ll still be way ahead of a lot of other bloggers with your work.
The Name of Your Blog
Write a good blog title at the top. Live with it for a couple of months and then ask yourself whether it really reflects the content in your blog.
If you have a blog and it’s all about cats, for example, you could simply call it, “Cat Corner”, and then see how that works for a couple of months. The domain name will stay the same anyway. The title at the top of the blog shows up in the search engines and helps with SEO. Google claim that this title doesn’t have a weight towards SEO practice, but it does show up in the results and it will tell people what your blog is all about. You can change it as you please.
I have found that if I choose a blog title and after a couple of months it starts to bug me, it’s because it’s a crappy title, and so I change it to something more attractive and on topic. This happens once only, but the change was needed and the new title sticks forever.
Stick to the Main Idea
Those first three months with a new blog should always be about writing, and creating content. Practising copywriting in various forms. Content that informs readers about any ideas that you want them to get on board with, content to engage them and get feedback from them, and to entertain readers with some really honest down to earth communication.
Don’t try and sell anything immediately, don’t fill the sidebar up with affiliate links. You could set up a simple contact form for people to ask you questions.
Also, a sign-up page with five good reasons why a person might want to sign up and receive your updates.
Are You a Sales Person or Passionate Blogger?
If you think you need to “get selling” immediately, you will fill your blog with two ugly things; a big message that says you only want to sell stuff to people and you don’t have anything of value to share with them. Share first — your ideas and thoughts, then when it becomes clear that you have an audience, return visitors and one or two sign-ups happen regularly, you can focus a bit more on the sales side of blogging, without screwing up your message.
Thinking of selling products or services first leads to too much focus on how to get a person to buy, when really you haven’t even spent time saying hello, and gaining trust. People buy from people they like and trust.
Trying to sell product on a blog that is low on content will lead to frustration, and finally disappointment for the blogger.
Build trust, build an audience, sell them something valuable, later.
Blogging is definitely something for the passionate writer. You’re a writer and you enjoy expressing ideas on your favourite topic, building unique points of view and getting feedback about your work. That’s blogging.
You can choose any subject to write about. If there are enough people out there who also find the topic interesting, then you’ll find readers.
Another way to ensure your topic is interesting enough to gather a large crowd is to look at books about the topic you are contemplating.
Go to Amazon, or similar, and look at a book about the subject, then look at the book rank in the data section. It’s found just before the comments section and above the author information.
If the rank is between 20,000 (high) and 100,000 (lower, but good) it’s probably a topic that many people find interesting — and the fact that the book is still selling means it’s an evergreen topic. Readers want more information, so they keep buying new books on the subject.
After checking, go and look at few more books on the subject. If general sales ranks on the topic look good, then you’re onto a winning topic. Just be sure it is a topic for you.
When you check out books on the topic you want to write about, it’s worth reading a lot of the comments that readers leave behind.
Comments are gold-value information about what’s on a reader’s mind. They will write what they feel about the topic, the book, and go on to say what’s missing. You can often see a trend among commenters pointing out that an author should have included a particular subject into their book- Something was missing as far as readers were concerned.
Social Media and Co
Use the same principles on social media. People love to give their opinion about subjects. Find a thread on Facebook, Quora, and Medium where you can study the overall feeling among readers. Comments give you insights into what you should focus on when writing on your blog.
Promote your blog posts by getting involved on social media. Working with three different platforms is plenty — you need focus to make it work.
Facebook, Pinterest, and Medium are great for really making things work.
Pinterest is a very active platform, people use it to search for products and ideas. It’s a big search engine itself, so if you write on a particular subject that people are searching for, keyword your titles well, and post regularly, Pinterest will send visitors to your blog.
Facebook allows you to start a business page. You can use this as a place to post articles and blog posts that you write. It takes time, but people will find your page if you keep posting on Facebook. I get click-throughs to my website each day from Facebook.
I’ve used all the above including Quora and Reddit. It depends a lot on you and your personality. I like Reddit for its humour and intelligent comments. Quora is a bit chaotic for me, but you may find your rhythm there.
What to Write About
Write on a topic that you love, or are sure you have the energy and desire to study. The more you explore a topic, the more you understand how big it is. You’ll soon realize that you need to sift through ideas and pick the ones that reflect a focused view that fits the style and character that your blog expresses.
How I Look for and Find What to Write
For example, my blog is about Berlin, the city where I live. I’m not a travel agent and I don’t intend on becoming one. I like people, so I write about Berlin and how its residents live, the conditions, the local council, the structures, buildings, businesses and how all that affects our lives.
I keep it simple and I write it for people — so, I avoid trying to write like a journalist, or an intellectual. I write like an artist.
I put my heart into the thing— that’s hard. Not sentimental and gooey, just a human heart.
It’s not easy, but sometimes it feels like my arrow fired straight and true. That’s rewarding.
I Use My Feet before My Pen
I walk a lot. The city is big enough to get lost in, so there're many discoveries just around the corner. That makes life interesting and it feeds my palette of ideas about what I should write about next.
I find psychology fascinating. It’s a broad knowledge that fits right into most aspects of life — including living in a city like Berlin. So, I ask questions related to people, places, and all of it jammed into a compact living area of a city. How does it affect us? How does it make us feel and think about ourselves, our neighbours?
Find Connections and You’ll find Your Muse
Combining the ideas of what we know about the human mind and everyday living, keeps me from navel gazing. I can look outwards and use my eyes and mind to think about other people and observe them — then write something I’ve noticed about their actions.
I look at everything. Bartenders, shopkeepers, architecture, pimps, streetworkers and the white collared, suit wearing, Porsche driving adverts for the good life. It all feeds the thought process.
When you know you really want to write something, you will take all the things you look at, observe them carefully, and your brain will start finding connections and reasons why it’s worth sitting down to try an article on the subject. I do this, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s a bad day.
I love to write, so I write fiction, too. My novel sits waiting as a full draft with little time to work on it, that’s a shame. It’s a good story, so I’ll finish it when this whole world-upside-down thing settles down.
I write short stories and publish them, Gangsters, lovers, and a satirical story about Trump. I also wrote a book on writing and self-publishing which I love. I think it’s a good guide for others who want to find their way into writing non fiction — articles and blogging that have story in them.
Writng on a blog is a creative process. You discover a lot about what you are doing along the way — but you must start doing the walk, then you know. You will find your way, discover that you have a knack or skill as a writer, and you’ll build on that and become a better writer through focus and work, love of what you’re doing, and self-belief.
There are a lot of things in this world, many of them are weird and wonderful, as writers we have much to ponder and write about.