So you love to write, have heaps you want to share with the world and you’ve made the choice to start a blog. But what next? Whether it’s a way of promoting your existing business, or a creative venture to share your personal love for fashion, starting a blog is undoubtedly exciting, but it can also be extremely daunting, while maintaining it and making sure it stands out and attracts an increasing number of repeat and new visitors can be very tricky. But with the right preparation, and taking cleverly thought out steps after you’ve set up, you’ll have far greater chances of success. Action Digital gives you some sound advice!
- Do your homework
It may sound obvious, but you need to be crystal clear on why you’re starting a blog in the first place. Yes, blogging is super popular these days and it’s a great way of expressing yourself, but if you’re looking to do this professionally, you’ll want to making money out of it. And you’ve got far greater chances of success if you locate a gap in the market and offer online users something really unique. Research online trends but try to go one step beyond what’s currently ‘in vogue’ to find a niche that you can really tap into. And once you’ve found that niche, it will be easier to approach advertisers!
- Choose a top blogging platform
The most popular platform today is WordPress and for good reason: it’s user friendly, it’ super easy to upload your content, add pictures, backtrack and more. And it’s easy to customise the design, add extra features, get access to free plugins, and choose from thousands of free and premium themes that will set you apart from the crowd.
- Create a memorable domain name
As the URL of your website, you want to be sure that your domain name is memorable, simple and something that speaks for itself encapsulating what your site is about (be relevant but creative at the same time). It needs to resonate, it needs to work for SEO, and for branding purposes. Make it easy to type, avoid hyphens and research it to be sure you’re being original. And if you want to build a brandable domain name, .com is really the best way forward.
- Clever hosting
The company that puts your website on the internet, you can think of it a bit like an online hard-drive where your blog will be saved. Choosing the right host depends largely on your target market. The location of the host is directly proportionate to the speed of the website, so the closer the host to your target audience, the faster the website speed will be. If your target is in Cyprus, finding a host on the island would be ideal. If your website has an international reach, then a more centralised European location (eg. Germany) could work best.
- Design matters
Now you’ve done the basics, you’ve got to be sure that your blog reflects what your website is about. If you’re writing about business, for example, you’ll need something visually serious, sleek and streamlined. If it’s a travel blog, you need to inspire anyone who clicks on the site with large breath-taking imagery and creative graphics. Remember, an attractive landing page is what people will see first and it leaves a lasting impression. Always keep it SIMPLE and don’t over-complicate things – a website isn’t just meant to look good, but it needs to be easy to navigate so that people stick around & keep clicking for more!
- Be mobile friendly & use responsive design
In today’s mobile driven world, your website blog needs to be built for the mobile screen first. Just keep in mind that Google displays mobile friendly results first, and put simply, you won’t stand much of a chance against competition if you’re not taping into mobile users. A responsive website will recognise the device being used (be that a tablet, mobile or PC) and resize accordingly for optimal viewing.
- Write compelling content
Once you’ve done the basics (‘about page’, ‘contact us’ etc), you need to think about publishing regular posts with unique content. Make sure that you’re publishing blog posts at least once or twice a week – consistency is key – with a sense of purpose in everything that you write. Always keep your target audience in mind, write in the present tense, have an opinion & speak with authority to ensure audience engagement. Even if someone disagrees with your opinion, you’ll be generating user interaction! Make your titles catchy (evoking curiosity), and be sure that your words are sharp.
- Make your posts scannable
Remember that a blog post is very different to an article in a newspaper or magazine. People online want to read things on the go that are short and to the point and longer pieces should always be divided into sections. Numbering is a great way of drawing attention, as are subtitles, or short snippets of text alongside pictures as the user scrolls down the page… visual appeal is paramount to keeping your reader interested.
- Take SEO seriously to get noticed
So you’ve nailed the art of compelling content, but how to make sure that you reach your target audience? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)! Optimization will make you more visible to people looking for keywords associated with your brand. Make use of keywords a few times in your post, so for example, you’re writing a piece on the best hamburger joints in London, you’ll want to think about all the words users will type into their search engines when researching the subject. Put your keywords in your title, a couple of subtitles, and perhaps in your intro.
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is great for finding keywords related to your topic but be sure not to overdo it, as no one will want to read your posts and search engines will pick up on keyword stuffing! Ideally you should also optimise your images, labeling these with relevant keywords. Remember: aim to use keywords in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced.
- Use social media to broaden your reach
Don’t underestimate the power of sharing! One of the best ways to make your blog more popular is promoting your content across social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more, and if you have the budget, do boost your posts on Facebook. Stick to a consistent schedule and users will begin to expect and, hopefully, look forward to your posts. And do be sure to give your readers the opportunity of subscribing to your blog via a weekly newsletter.
Want to start your own blog and share it to a legion of possible fans? Contact Action Digital! We will advise, setup, target and advertise your blog to the right people.