Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Virtually anyone can start a blog and begin creating content right away. But, if you want to successfully drive in an audience or make money, you need a bit of guidance. Today, I’ll share some of my best tips for blogging as a beginner.
This list is centered around easy details and is effective regardless of your skill level.
Tips to Start Blogging as a Beginner
1. Choose the Right Platform and Webhost
When setting up your first blog, it’s important to choose the best platform and website host. This is because you want the site to be as efficient as possible.
For this, I suggest using WordPress and GreenGeeks Web Hosting. Because when it comes to easy blogging with flexibility, nothing beats WordPress.
Not only is GreenGeeks a Top Tier web host, but self-hosting WordPress is much better over the long term.
Besides, when you have your own WordPress installation, you have full control over your website. Everything from the plugins you want to the way you monetize, it’s all up to you.
2. Consider a Niche Blog
Perhaps one of the best tips for blogging is having a site that focuses on a specific niche. This is when all of the content on your site centers around a specific topic.
For instance, WriterSanctuary focuses purely on writing in all forms. You won’t find recipes for chicken and potatoes here.
Niche sites work well because they draw a specific type of visitor. They are more focused on the content and are often more likely to make purchases, click links, or spend time exploring your site.
Not to mention how Google puts more emphasis on websites that are more topic-oriented.
3. Use “Pretty” Links and URLs
By default, WordPress uses a basic layout for its URLs. It’s in your best interest to change how these URLs are displayed from the very beginning. Otherwise, you’ll have to set up a lot of redirects if you change it later on.
It’s better to change these “Permalinks” to something that is easily readable by potential visitors. But, you also want to make sure search engines understand what the post is about.
Why is this important?
- The URLs are easier to read so visitors know what to expect.
- It removes the date from the URL, which can lead people to think the article is “out of date” if it’s too old.
- It makes the article much easier to share.
A good rule of thumb is to always make sure your longtail keyphrases are in the URL.
4. Install Security Right Away
Before you do anything after installing WordPress, it’s best if you install a security plugin. It’s easily among the most vital tips for using WordPress for any reason.
This way, you can be protected from bots and hackers who want to take advantage of a new site. And trust me, they’re out there.
Personally, I like using Wordfence. It’s a great, free plugin that offers awesome protection against some of the most common threats on the Internet. With file scanning and email notifications, you can rest easy knowing your site is safeguarded.
5. Add a Backup Plugin Immediately
Backups can be incredibly helpful from the very beginning. They can restore a site after a malware infection or repair damage from bad coding or mistakes.
Needless to say, having a backup on hand can save you a lot of time and effort. It should be the next thing you install right after a security plugin.
I’ve seen a beginner blogger or two who didn’t bother installing a free backup plugin only to lose their entire website.
The importance of a backup, in general, is why you see it on virtually every “best of blogging tips” from experts to help beginners. It’s simply one of those things that can save you a ton of time and effort.
6. Set Plugins to Update Automatically
One of the more convenient features of the newest versions of WordPress is the inclusion of automatic updates for plugins. You can enable or disable this feature in the Plugins section.
When you set plugins to update automatically, you’re ensuring that you always have the latest version from the developer. This can include security fixes, new features, and compatibility upgrades.
This way, you won’t have to do it yourself and you can spend more time managing other aspects of your site…such as writing content.
7. Set Up Analytics and Search Console Right Now
As a beginner blogger, the various tools in Google will be some of your most powerful assets. I’m talking about adding Analytics and Search Console. These two tools will help guide your content and help you come up with winning articles.
This includes creating a sitemap and submitting it immediately to Search Console.
How people find your articles and which content performs best on your site is instrumental for success. Google can give you the data you need to create some excellent content strategies.
8. Use a Branded Email Address
A branded email address denotes professionalism. This is when you use the domain name as part of that address. It’s especially useful when you’re reaching out to businesses or other bloggers.
Case in point, I’m more likely to take a guest post inquiry or business opportunity more seriously if it comes from a domain other than Gmail.
Web-based addresses are notorious for scammers to use. So, if you want to be taken more seriously on a professional level, use your domain name instead.
9. Create Branded Social Accounts
Keep your personal views and that of your website separate. If you’re trying to build up a fan base, it’s better if you create social media accounts specifically for your blog.
This is especially true on sites like Facebook. It’s very easy to share too much, and fans may take advantage. Besides, do you really want to announce to your blog readers that it’s your grandma’s birthday?
And, it’s very easy to set up something like Publicize through Jetpack in WordPress to automatically update social accounts once you publish a new article.
Many beginners will often use their own social profiles when blogging, but having separate accounts is among my favorite tips. It just helps create that separation between you, the professional, and you, the person.
10. Set Up Email Subscriptions
Now this one, I am kicking myself for not doing yet. Set up email subscriptions from your blog as soon as you can. There are a lot of free systems you can use to do this, and it’ll grow your returning audience.
I am currently working on adding this to WriterSanctuary, actually.
In any case, set up email subscribers and keep adamant fans coming back to your site.
11. Add Optimization Plugins
All blogging beginners should consider using optimization plugins from day one. This can help you streamline the website, especially since Google puts so much emphasis on speed and mobile friendliness.
The four plugins I use for WordPress optimization shown in the image above are:
Autoptimize is a caching plugin that also works to minimize the amount of coding your site loads when someone visits. It’s also one of the easiest tools to use if you’re seeing Cumulative Layout Shift errors in Search Console.
Cache Enabler works great with many other plugins. Not only does it regulate when Autoptimize empties its cache (which is vital to functionality), but it also serves WebP images for mobile devices.
WebP are the optimized images specifically for mobile devices, which Google loves!
EWWW Image Optimizer compresses your image files so they load faster for visitors. It also handles converting separate WebP images, which Cache Enabler then stores for those mobile device users.
So, instead of loading a JPG image, people from a smartphone reading your content will see the WebP variant at a fraction of the file size.
And finally, we have AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages. This plugin creates a duplicate of your site specifically for mobile users. The setup will depend on how you have your blog created, but it’s incredibly easy to configure.
And when it comes to PageSpeed Insights scores, AMP improved one of my sites by roughly 50 points! Which is considerable in the grand scheme of pleasing Google.
I’m currently on the fence about keeping AMP on this list of blogging tips. I recently had to remove it from one of my blogs because it interfered greatly with add placement and performance.
Still, I can’t argue with results on the sites that don’t focus on AdSense revenue.
12. Focus on the Content Your Audience Wants
Another vastly important tip for begging bloggers is to focus on what your audience wants to read. You need to understand the target audience and figure out ways to engage them.
Ways to focus on your audience include:
- Letting your personality shine. People love it when you’re conversational.
- Avoid being clinical or using advanced terminology. It makes you sound like an IKEA manual, and no one wants that.
- Use surveys to understand your audience. Surveys can help you figure out what readers want from your blog.
- Understand what Search Intent is and how you can make it work for you and your readers.
13. Create an Outline Before You Start Writing
Writing tips are exceptionally useful for those who start out blogging. That’s because its the content that will determine most of your success.
There’s nothing wrong with creating a new post in WordPress and just start hammering out the content. However, there is a much easier way to streamline the process.
I like to create an outline of every article. In this process, I create all of the headings and subheadings of the topic I want to write about. This makes sure I remember specific sections and information while I write.
Usually, I’ll do this during the “research” phase of the article. That way, I can add any reference links and information I find as I create the outline.
14. Use Yoast SEO
Yoast will always be among my favorite tips for beginners. That’s because this tool helped me tremendously when writing content for Textbroker clients.
As a blogging beginner, Yoast made a huge difference in how I presented my content several years ago on this website.
Today, I use Yoast on every one of my blogs.
Not only does Yoast help with search engine optimization, but it will also help guide you in streamlining the readability of your content. This includes the Flesh Reading Ease score, passive voice usage, and paragraph length.
In other words, you’ll write easier-to-read content for your visitors.
15. Find a Good Keyword Research Platform
Keywords are important to help visitors find your content. And although the way you use them has changed over the years, a good keyword research tool will help you attract a larger audience.
Currently, I like using Semrush or Rank Tracker.
I am more partial to Rank Track, though. It has a lot of great functionality from spying on your competitors to generating blog topic ideas.
There are quite a few keyword tools out there, so find one that fits your blogging style and use its tips and suggestions to really make your content stand out.
16. Have a Consistent Publishing Schedule
A consistent publishing schedule will help you in a myriad of ways. This is when you regularly push out blog posts for readers at specific times.
Having a consistent publishing schedule can help you:
- Stay motivated to write.
- Train Google when to expect new articles and improve overall SEO.
- Give avid readers a set time of when to expect new content.
- Keep the blog appearing current and fresh.
For example, I try to maintain a regular routine of publishing articles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 am. According to the data in Google Analytics, this is when my audience is more active on my website.
Find the best time for your audience and set your schedule accordingly.
17. Respond to Your Comment Section
An often overlooked part of tips for blogging is when beginners ignore the comment section. Responding to people who comment can help turn a one-time visitor into an avid fan.
Of course, you don’t want to respond to all comments. After all, there is a lot of spam that will come your way without some kind of regulation.
However, keep the serious individuals interested by responding accordingly to questions or concerns.
18. Consider Using Asana or Other Project Management App
One of the best tips I have when writing for a blog is setting up Asana to manage the workflow. It’s a free app that lets you set up everything from an editorial calendar to keeping track of content ideas.
But, Asana isn’t the only one out there. In fact, you can use a number of free project management apps that can help you organize your day.
Find the best management app for you and take advantage of what it has to offer.
Based on personal experience, using something like Asana has been influential in my current blogging strategies. That’s because I can keep track of what I need to do without forgetting.
For instance, some of my best tips include adding SEO strategies, rewrite information, tracking posts over time, and making notes and tasks for yourself when it comes to blog content.
19. Consider Guest Blogging for Others
Guest blogging can work great to improve your site’s search engine ranking while getting your name out there as a professional. This is because most guest blogging involves a link back to your website.
This is aside from giving the other website owner’s audience a way to click and visit your pages. Even a beginner blogger can attract an audience if he or she writes well and engages the readers.
However, you can’t just guest blog for anyone. The site you write for needs to be relevant to your own.
Guest blogging can take a bit of time because you’re writing for your website as well as someone else’s. But, the tradeoff is worth the effort as it could drive more people to your content and improve overall SEO.
20. Network with Other Bloggers
Networking with other bloggers does more than just give you guest blogging opportunities. It can lead to a great number of benefits including collaborations and sharing resources.
For example, I’m not big on sending cold emails for freelance writing work. But, I know someone fairly well who specializes in it. Thus, I send my viewers and readers her way who are interested in sending those job inquiries.
In fact, I send people to her YouTube channel all the time.
That’s just one of the benefits of networking with other bloggers who have a similar niche to your own. It’s not always about competition, but how you can help each other grow.
21. Use Push Notifications and Social Sharing
If you’ve subscribed to a YouTube channel or other website and you get a notification of a new video or blog post, that’s called a “push notification.” And they work very well to keep people coming back for more.
Usually, setting up push notifications is quick and easy. And it can work wonders to help boost visitor numbers to your website.
This is when having a set publishing schedule works great. People who subscribe to those notifications and are currently active are more likely to click and visit your new article when it pops up.
22. Add Your Contact Form
Even if you don’t plan on selling anything from your blog, it’s a good idea for a blogging beginner to add a contact form. This is so people who are interested in paying you for a sponsored post can get in touch.
Once your blog grows, you’ll get all kinds of inquiries from other professionals who’ll either want to guest blog on your site or pay you for promoting an article.
In fact, I made more money on sponsored posts in 2020 than I did with AdSense. And all of it thanks to having a contact form.
If you plan on making money or using your blogging site for professional connections, having a contact form is among the best tips I can share.
23. Set Up Your “About” Page
There is some speculation that a properly filled out “About” page can do wonders for Google’s E-A-T. It’s a way to highlight your expertise while giving visitors a way to get to know you better.
If you’re setting up a business blog, here is where you can break down how it started and highlight your staff.
Either way, the About page can go a long way to improve authority and reputation. Just make sure you’re adding the right information.
Highlight the things that you want people to associate with your blog.
24. Be Mindful of Copyright Imagery
Although the Internet is full of images, you can’t use anything you see. It’s actually quite a common problem for many a beginner blogger.
A lot of beginners will believe they can just use any image in a Google search when blogging. In reality, it just doesn’t work that way.
In some cases, I’ve actually had to deal with copyright claims for clients because someone used an image they shouldn’t have.
And no, it wasn’t me.
There are a lot of stock image sites online. But if you can’t afford to pay the monthly fee, there are also several royalty and copyright-free sites. For example, I often use Pixabay if I can’t do the image myself.
I also have an affinity for the free version of Canva.
Though, having unique photos and screenshots is ultimately the best idea. The more unique your site, the better.
25. Update Older Blog Posts
The content you write today probably won’t have the same relevance a year from now. In fact, going back and updating older posts can give them new life.
For instance, we added a few headings and about 200 words to a post six months ago. It went from 4 total visits over a six-month span to 307.
Take some time and go back over your older content. Especially since a lot of those posts were back when you were blogging as a beginner.
What can you do to make it better, current, and more impressive than the top 10 articles in Google for the same keyphrase?
I’ve even seen adding a conclusion improve traffic by over 200%.
Once you rewrite or spruce up those older blog posts, share them again on social media. It may get a few clicks, likes, and reshares by followers.
Think about it; people who followed your accounts over the last six months probably have no idea about the articles you wrote more than a year ago. And it may pique their interest.
In fact, I recently reshared a post that got way more attention this time around than when I published it a year ago.
27. Don’t Rely Purely on AdSense
AdSense is one of the easiest things to add to a blog to make money. However, it also has among the worst payouts in comparison to other methods.
Diversify your income.
Use things like affiliate links and banners, sell digital goods like eBooks, set up a merch store on Teespring to sell branded products, or find other methods that generate revenue.
When you own a website through self-hosting, as I mentioned above, you can monetize it in a vast number of ways. But don’t simply settle on the paltry income of AdSense.
28. Comment on Other Relevant Blogs
When you’re blogging as a beginner, read a few blogs that are relevant to your own. Then, leave an insightful comment. Some of these blogs allow for links back to your website.
I gained a lot of traffic from one blog that I commented on. I don’t know if the link did anything for me in terms of SEO, but I did get quite a few visitors from the experience.
Besides, getting your name and website in as many places as possible is all part of marketing. And if you have something profound to add, tips to share, or details to accentuate, people start to view you as a blogging expert and trust your opinion.
29. Use YouTube to Accentuate the Blog
Video is one of the most profound elements of content on the Internet. In fact, it’s believed that video content will make up 82% of all traffic online by 2022.
In reality, I started WriterSanctuary’s YouTube channel so that I could embed video versions of the blog posts. I literally doubled my online audience.
And, YouTube accounts for most of the social media traffic to this website. For a blogging beginner, it’s not a bad idea to expand your reach into video production.
30. Speed Test Your Blog Regularly
Always keep an eye on the performance of your website. It’s good to set up a regular routine of speed testing to ensure your providing the best user experience possible.
You also want to make sure Google isn’t penalizing you for having slow pages. As a beginner blogger, it can be easy to miss a few things.
Use tools like PageSpeed Insights any time you make major changes to your blog and perhaps once per month. The platform provides tips on how you can improve the site while blogging.
For example, PageSpeed will show you what images are causing the Longest Contentful Paint error, or LCP. In other words, the image that is slowing the load time of your page.
31. Remove Obsolete Plugins Entirely
Over time, you’ll undoubtedly collect plugins that developers decide to abandon. It’s imperative that you remove these from your website.
Obsolete plugins can lead to a variety of issues, such as security leaks and compatibility issues.
Plus, they are just taking up inodes for your web hosting. And since you’re most likely limited in how many of these you can have, you don’t want defunct tools taking up space.
32. Have Patience
And lastly, have patience. No blog becomes an instant success. In reality, it can take anywhere from four to eight months for your content to really gain traction in Google.
Not only that, but every website is different with a unique audience.
This means what works for one person may not work for another. So, don’t get frustrated if something someone tells you to do isn’t working yet.
My point is that you’ll need to put in 12 to 18 months as a beginner blogger before you can see some real growth and income potential.
While these tips for blogging may be helpful, I cannot guarantee that you’ll have the best experience possible. No one can. This is because it all really comes down to your ability to create engaging content.
Well, that and making sure your site is in good standing with Google.
My point is that success as a beginner is going to come down to you and the amount of effort you put in. The blogging tips above are just some of the things I’ve done for myself as well as my clients.
For more information about blogging or WordPress tutorials, be sure to check out my YouTube channel.
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