Being a professional blogger is more than just having a flair for writing. For new bloggers, it is exciting to start a new blog and write the first few articles. If you want to be a professional blogger then the world of blogging for you is similar to be the CEO of any business. There are challenges and things you need to learn and the mindset. In this article, “Successful Blogging Tips for New Bloggers: Must Read Before Starting a Blog“, we uncover the mystery behind a successful blog. Internet is full of articles advising you about blogging and giving tips and tricks, but the fundamentals remain strong, same and everlasting. Let’s discover the basics underlying the mind of a successful blogger.
Dear New Blogger,
If you had been good at essay writing in school, good! you can be a good writer. But can that be translated to be a good blogger? What do you think, blogging means? Is it just writing articles, and then clicking on the publish button? Nope, blogging is more than just publishing the articles. If you are new at blogging, my aim is not to scare you away. The aim is to hold your hand and get you familiarized with the world of blogging. The more you’ll search the internet, you’ll encounter scary things like CSS, HTML, SEO, HTTPs etc., but being a newcomer and an amateur, do you even need to look at these things? The question: How much money can you make with blogging? Is that a relevant question at this time? Obviously no. You are putting the cart before the horse and want to win the race. Aggrh!
Of all the blogging advice about SEO and ‘catchy headlines’ etc are a distraction for you if you have started the blog. If you want to earn in a short time then you have come to a wrong place, perhaps being a real estate agent or iPhone salesman could be helpful. In blogging, you start as a side-kick and evolve it into a high paying profession gradually.
I will now simplify some things for you without much fanfare and get you as close to reality as possible, so that you can play a long term game rather than shine and fizzle out.
16 Successful Blogging Tips for New Bloggers: Must Read Before Starting a Blog
1. Blogging Requires Commitment and Consistency
Blogging is not a short-term game. You need to be a very wise and grounded player. Playing a day and two and then remaining absent for a long time, then again coming back etc. will not just harm your reputation but will also be a dampener for the people who have ‘subscribed’ to you or love your writing.
Be a blogger with a long-term goal. Write consistently. Develop a pattern. If you can write daily, good then write daily. If you can write twice or thrice a week, even then its good. Whatever you like, but develop a pattern. Many people in the initial phase with all the enthusiasm write a blog daily for a first few weeks then eventually fizzle out and interest all dried up. And suddenly, then quit the blogging world thinking it as non-responding or just bored. Remember! even the blogging world is judging you. Yes, the world does judge, even if you don’t like, the world will still keep judging. So better smart up. Why would people follow an inconsistent person who does not post articles or their content regularly? Why should people remember you when you appear rarely? Got my point! It is not just about blogging, it is about you. Yes, to keep up the promises and commitments you made to yourself.
Take yourself seriously and the world will take you seriously. But in the meantime, enjoy the journey.
2. Don’t Just Please the Search Algorithms
This is the part where every new blogger falls and a very few rises to take the fight to the last boss-level. Everyone wants to be famous, surely I am not against it. But the problem is that everyone wants to be famous with least effort, in a smart manner and outshine those who are skilled and have really worked hard. How can I say this? Let me explain.
Here is the scenario, a new blogger writes 10-15 articles, and want them to appear on the top of search results in a search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. It is not bad to wish so, some people have achieved it, but if you think it is all about SEO and pleasing the algorithms, then you are shooting in the wrong and also opposite direction.
People are the key to success in any business. You need to please the readers by giving them genuine knowledge or sharing things which add value to them. Even if your articles appear on the top by some SEO trick but readers don’t get any value, then they stop visiting your blog just after seeing your blog name. You’ll eventually lose your popularity, rather you will become unwanted.
So what to do, write at least 30-40 articles, which you should have posted regularly rather once in a bulk. Build the cake and then do the icing. After you have that much articles, only then go for SEO, that too on-page SEO to star with. It is surely easy and you’ll need to tweak your earlier posted articles, which is again an advantage as it will make them updated and fresh. But if you learn about SEO and write articles for SEO you may end up feeding your reader with mindless repetition of keywords. So, first work, then advertise.
3. Blogging is Just Like Being an Entrepreneur
“Be a Professional, inculcate professional approach to blogging.” – Rajat Jhingan
Yes, dear Blogger, you are an entrepreneur. Like a start-up, you need to plan your blog. You need to decide the long term goals. A blog for a commercial purpose or personal purpose. If it is for personal purpose and you want to use it as a personal diary-cum-noticeboard on the internet, fine then you don’t need to go for all the technical details. But if in the long term you want to add earning potential, then better treat it like an investment. Like every business, you’ll have to spend money and invest. People may flood you with ideas of “earn for free”, but then those with whom you are competing with are way ahead. Plus, you do need certain tools and software in the long run. So better be prepared for that.
For a new blogger, I’ll strictly suggest, not to waste money initially in buying domains, hosting, SEO tools etc. Like a true entrepreneur, first, do a pilot-run and run your blog for at least 3 months. See how is the response and feedback of your audience, interact with fellow bloggers and understand the blogging ecosystem, learn the difference between writing for yourself and writing for people of all ages, gender, level of command on language etc. For the first 3 months, don’t freak out over views, visitors etc, even Michal Jackson in his first song did not have that much audience which he had when he was at the peak of his career. So don’t compare a person at the start of the journey with a person who has completed it. Don’t be unfair with yourself.
Develop a habit of writing regularly. Researching well before writing. Understanding what is going on in the world regarding your niche. Using all the features of your (Blogger, WordPress etc.) blogging platform. Start learning about SEO from the third month of your blogging and then move towards investing. Like any business activity, do market research, plan, analyse the earning potential and then invest.
4. Don’t Rush to Monetize: Don’t Do Crash and Burn Tactics
Many new bloggers have in their dreams planned to buy their favourite Lamborghini model at the end of the year when they have started blogging. I pray! your dream come true. But then, the amount of effort, planning, skill, advertising, maturity etc required should be in proportion to the prize you are aiming. Hey! what do you think, I would negate the idea about your dream. Hell no! I am myself a dreamer and believes that anything and everything is possible if you are willing to put the corresponding effort with full intensity. So let’s try to get your Lamborghini, maybe not this year, but a bit later.
Earning from a blog is not a bad wish, rather a good intention. But trying to earn from a business without building its foundation is an epic fail. It will diminish any chances of progress and will also lead you to a place where your readers will not trust you and eventually abandon you. First, build a good reader base by giving consistent and genuine content, add value to their life and after that, you keep giving them what they need and wish for, rather than what you feel right or pushing a product or idea based on higher commissions. That is bad ethics. Learn about Content Marketing first. Have a grasp on concepts. Solve problems and provide solutions rather creating marketing chaos. Do monetize, but again, I repeat, after you have posted a substantial number of articles and have done your SEO homework. Go slow, so that things take time to settle and you are in control of the situation. If you try to monetize from day one, then all you are focussing on is earning, while in blogging your focus should be on creating a quality content which adds value to people’s life and soon you’ll find brands running after you.
5. Be Genuine to Your Readers: Do More Than Writing
Yes, ‘do more than writing’. Your aim is to convey, communicate, tell an idea, solution, vision, version of a story, opinion etc. Make it interesting and understandable. Use images, diagrams, related pictures or could be even some infographics. If you are not good at graphic designing even then it is okay, there are many websites from where you can get high-quality copyright-free images. Use them and do thank them, when you can.
Develop and establish certain standards for your writing. Don’t promote a thing or an idea in which you yourself don’t believe. Don’t post things which are not in harmony to your personal ethics (I am here ignoring the society, as you are a rational person in every sense). Provide a genuine solution to the readers or if you are telling something, then do back it up with justifications. Don’t copy-paste. Don’t imitate any successful blogger and be a cheap fake image of that good blog. It will harm your own brand in the long run. Research your topic, be concise, clear, concrete and correct. Engage with your audience too.
6. Be Willing to Fail and Continue
Blogging like a new business to an entrepreneur is a nerve-wracking game. Many times you’ll lose your motivation and confidence. Many times the results will not turn up despite the requisite efforts you have put in. As in my article ‘10 Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneurs: Explained in Workable Manner‘, I have emphasised the point that every business has a standard time for break-even, you need to have that level of patience.
There will be some or many mistakes as an amateur which you’ll be committing regularly. There is no harm in committing the mistakes as long as you are ready to learn from them. Even in a video game, when you are getting tougher levels, that means you are going in the right direction. So pick it up and meet the challenge. You may write good articles but may have done blunders. It’s okay. But you must learn to identify and rectify those blunders. You may have not written short paragraphs and instead wrote a big unending wordy essay that is perceived to be too tough to read. Fine! Now you have learnt, so implement it.
Keep committing mistakes and grow by learning from them. It is essential to improve your skills at frequent intervals.
7. Re-Learn to Write – Ignore this point at Your Own Peril
Even if you are an author, you will have to learn to write again. Ignore this point at your own peril. Writing for a newspaper column, brochure, advertising etc is different from writing for a blog on an online platform where technology is used. The skillset required is different. No, I am not talking about SEOs or some alien programming codes. I am talking about your writing style and approach. Do you know, how a reader online scans the article before deciding to read it?
Writing for a blog requires a different approach than writing for a print media. You need to give a summary or an insight about what you are going to present and how does it matter to the readers. Sometimes you tell the solution in the beginning and then validate it by justifying it in the whole article. Many a time, you pose a pressing question and then give solutions. There are ample styles which people use. I am refraining to recommend a style because you have to develop your own style as per your temperament. But while selecting a writing style, research about viewing span of readers, online reading habits,
8. Eye the Technical Details: Platform, Domain Name, Hosting etc.
Now you must be thinking that above I was asking you to not to jump into technical complexities and now I am countering myself. Well, let’s see. Firstly, don’t freak out. Blogging is done on the internet using some websites. Whatever you post on the internet is managed by software which helps you to write articles, insert images, bold, underline etc., colour, increase decrease font, then keep a record like a table of all the articles written etc. These type of software are called Content Management System (CMS). Websites like Blogger, WordPress etc are basically CMS, in a fashionable sense we call them Platforms, just to scare away people. But you are brave. So let’s go further. All I am saying is to choose the platform which you find easy to handle and operate.
Don’t fall for the gimmick as to which is popular etc. Of course, WordPress is popular as it gives more functionality. So initially, whatever platform you select, explore its ‘free features’ and learn it while enjoying it.
In the address bar, what you type between ‘www’ and ‘.com’ is your domain name. A domain name is an address that is used to reach your blog. Choose a simple, non-complex and such a domain name which suits your blog content. Simple. No rocket science. In your test-run of the blog, you may even skip buying a domain name and can go along with the free domain name. What’s the difference, here it is:
Free Domain Name: www.yourblogname.wordpress.com or www.yourblogname.blogger.com
Purchased Domain Name: www.yourblogname.com
Hosting is the place or the server that makes your blog available (hosts you) to the online world 24*7*365. Those who provide such a place on rent are called hosting companies. Don’t worry about hosting initially for 2-3 months. Focus on creating good quality content. Till that time WordPress and Blogger have your back, they provide hosting to free blog account holders too. If you are convinced about the future of your blogging after the test run, then you can opt to upgrade yourself to independent hosting.
9. Define Your Niche
There must be certain subjects, domain or topics you want to write about and some you cannot write about. Like, I can write about blogging, technology etc., but I cannot write about Astro-physics, horse riding, orthopaedics etc. All I am saying is to decide your subject expertise and then write. Don’t fall for the topics which you presume are getting more views or comments. Every niche is profitable in the long run provided you establish an authoritative command over the subject and learn the basics of blogging.
If you are interested in any other niche where you do understand the topics but lack depth, then I will suggest that you better learn and research about it and upgrade your knowledge. Writing sub-standard stuff will harm your reputation and will waste the time of the readers too. Give what you know, don’t do an experiment on the unsuspecting readers who have chosen to trust you.
10. A Few Blogging Basics
Without much further ado, I’ll hammer the point but will refrain from justifying them because you are a new blogger. The aim is to keep things simple rather than to be heroic. Basics are:
- Write regularly.
- Develop your own writing style.
- Use short paras.
- Use multiple headings.
- Try to have at least 1-2 image(s) in your article.
- Don’t copy-paste. (Apart from being unethical, it can land you in legal trouble)
- Use simple language to cater to the audience with multiple levels of command on language. Ignore this advice if you are writing some technical blog.
- Don’t forget to summarize the article in the end or give your observations.
- Always engage with readers. Talk via comments and ask for feedback to improve.
- Research well and thorough. You may write less, but write genuine and authentic.
- In every 10 articles, do have an article that is over 2,500 words.
- People are humans and not robots, have a personal touch.
“Blogging is not just Scribbling, it is telling a story, solving a problem or sharing a vision, but more than these, it is all about connecting with fellow human beings.”
– Rajat Jhingan
11. Plan Your Topics and Categories
Yes, there are things called ‘Topics’ on which you are writing, like a subject domain, then there are ‘Categories’, you can say that it is a sub-topic. If you list the topics and sub-topics you want to write about, it will always control you from going astray in search of comments and views. Additionally, it will help to develop your niche. Some topics are vast and you can get lost in trying to cover everything. Which you should not.
Instead, list your topics on a piece of paper and make a tree of ideas under the topic. Categories are the sub-domains where that topic can be used. Don’t worry, let’s understand by example.
Suppose, I have a blog on Cars, where I want to cover 3 topics, Off-Road Cars, Passenger Cars and Commercial Cars. These were by Topics. Now I write an article (called Post in Blog terminology) about ‘Electric Vehicles as Passenger Cars to Help Reduce Pollution’, this Post, though you didn’t intend, but it also caters to the category of ‘Emerging Car Technologies’, ‘Environment’, ‘Electric Vehicles’ etc. So people searching for the articles on ‘Emerging Car Technologies’, ‘Environment’, ‘Electric Vehicles’ can also find your article useful.
12. Keep it Short and Simple
I know, my this post is very large and threatens to bore you. Initially, I planned only 10 things, but then I had to add a few more so that my ‘dear reader’ can get complete insights. So it is better for me to write short paras in simple language and to come to the point directly instead of beating around the bush. The longer I write, the more you bore and larger the probability that I miss the opportunity to handhold you to be a successful blogger. Got my point! Let’s hop to the next point.
13. Pages and Posts: Get them Right
For a new blogger, this is very confusing. I’ll simplify it for you very quickly. You have a newspaper, where it has Front Page, 2nd Page, Editorial Page etc. Each page has news which changes every day. That’s it, folks! you got it. The blog has ‘Pages’ similar to newspapers, while the ‘news in the newspaper’ corresponds to your ‘articles’. Articles are called ‘Posts’ in blog terminology.
Pages contain the information or content that is stable and unchanging for a long time. Like ‘About’, ‘Contact Us’, ‘Disclaimer’ etc. ‘Home Page’ is an exception, it is like the front page of the newspaper to showcase what’s hot and trending on your blog. Basically, it advertises your content.
14. Connect With Fellow Bloggers and Be the Part of Community
Like in the business world where there are associations and communities based on business fields, similarly bloggers also connect with each other and learn. It is stupid to comment on other blogger’s posts and asking them to visit your blog. Rather, it is an opportunity to engage for the long term. Who knows, you could be posting, a ‘Guest Post’ on each other’s blog in future. Learn from other bloggers, interact and find what common problems or issues being faced and various solutions implemented by other bloggers. Ask for feedback and work on it.
Learn from experienced bloggers and adopt that learning as per your own needs. At the same time tell your story to other emerging bloggers and help them. Soon you’ll be having friends you can trust and depend on. Engage with fellow bloggers in the same niche and contribute your feedback to help them grow. Just like a business, you have to stand strong with your community to fastrack the growth of each other. It is important. Almost essential, else you run the risk of running the show and isolating yourself, you may not feel it’s importance in the beginning but at later stages, it helps you to grow.
15. Secure Your Vault
It is a kind of ‘disclaimer’ before entering into blogging. Say no to shortcuts. In the long-term, if you copy-paste and plagiarize, the software will catch up with you. Be true to your cause and be genuine to the people. Whatever you post, keep a copy of it in a separate hard disk or a cloud platform. You may not know when a glitch or a hack attempt may lead to a crash on your blog. Have a ‘Disclaimer’ and ‘No Infringement’ policy on your blog. If you take stuff from the internet, do mention it’s source.
In case, in future, you go for independent hosting, just keep in mind that you need some funds which you have to pay monthly or annually as per the service provider. So keep a provision for such funds. Don’t make an unplanned move. Secure your future by planning to the end.
16. Show-Biz in Blogging
“Make Your Blog Simple and Presentable.”
– Rajat Jhingan
Yup, there is a little bit of polishing required for your blog. A nice theme, readable font, some colours, a picture, little bit of promotion like ‘Hey Don’t Forget to Follow’. But don’t overdo. Some people throw so many colours that the blog looks like a colouring book which people find hard to read. Sometimes people add too many images that it becomes a photo-album with just captions. Avoid these mistakes. If you are not good at designing, even then a nice clean theme will surely work. Rather, professionals keep clean and de-cluttered theme to make it more user-friendly and readable.
Add links to your other posts and related posts to your blog so that people can get more to read. But don’t unnecessarily give links to boost your views. No one clicks and the clutter makes the blog ugly. Inter-link your blogs. Hey! But first, write that much content that you can inter-link. Don’t deliberately write to inter-link. Hold that naughty devil inside you.
Finally, enjoy the process of blogging while keeping in mind the above-mentioned points. This article, “Successful Blogging Tips for New Bloggers: Must Read Before Starting a Blog“, which you have read is all credited to my own experience in blogging. The current blog though is created in recent times, but my first blog ever made was in 2006. All I wish to serve you as a guiding light, but it is you who has to walk. Keep walking and treasure the journey.