Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Blogging is a lot of fun for most people. It can also provide a steady stream of income if you’re capable of creating a cool blog people will read. Unfortunately, you can’t just jump into the world of blogging and expect to be a success.
The competition is great for eyeballs on the Internet. Those who are not reading your content are reading material from someone else. The trick is to pull those readers into your blog instead.
This is a bit more difficult than it sounds, but it’s possible.
7 Steps to Start a Cool Blog
Starting a cool blog isn’t the hard part. It’s maintaining it that can pose a problem. It will take a lot of work to deliver a website people will want to visit on a regular basis.
Here are the steps most of my clients take to keep people reading their content. In many instances, I’ve worked on everything from start to finish.
Step 1: Know Your Target Audience
Having an idea and knowing who you’re writing for is paramount to success. Most bloggers simply like sharing their experiences or talking about how their day unfolds. And this works for those bloggers. That doesn’t mean every blogger will have the same experience.
Perhaps one of the most consistent strategies among my clients is sticking to a specific niche or industry. For example, I am on retainer from a prominent web hosting company. I write about WordPress tutorials and forms of online marketing. I highly doubt they will ask me to write about animal care or kid toys.
Interested in gaming? Center your blog around it. Like to golf? Write reviews about golf courses. Virtually any subject matter is fair game on the Internet. As long as you can engage an audience, everything else will fall into place.
It’s all about having an idea regarding what you want to write about. Without having a basic idea, you’ll have a hard time building that cool blog people will read.
Step 2: Choose a Hosting Platform
A hosting platform is going to make a big difference in your level of success. A lot of people will start off with free accounts at places like WordPress.com or Blogger. Unfortunately, you’re incredibly limited in these platforms.
For one thing, you don’t have access to root folders in most cases. This means it’s more difficult to customize or troubleshoot in the event of an issue.
Personally, I use GoDaddy as my domain registrar and HostGator as my web provider. It costs about $150 per year to pay for both of these services. However, my sites are finally to a point where they are paying for themselves…meaning I make more than $150 per year from my sites.
You don’t have to pay for building a cool blog. I do simply because I’d rather have total control of everything from email accounts to customizing the database.
Step 3: Find that Perfect Theme
The overall appearance of your cool blog is going to play a factor in whether people will read it or not. In fact, a lot of visitors will leave simply because the design is outdated. This happens more than you might think as new users sometimes install older themes because they “look nice.”
When I search themes for a client I look at several important elements. Is it specifically mobile-friendly? Does it have enough customization options available? Is it easy on the eyes? When was it updated?
Using platforms like WordPress makes this process so much easier. I wouldn’t suggest buying a premium theme until your site is showing signs of being established. You don’t want to throw money into something that you might shut down in a month or two.
I often look for themes that will fit mine or the client’s needs. For example, I built a real estate site a few years back and used a housing-based theme as the frame-work. Of course we eventually customized it to the point of looking like a whole different theme, but it gave us a great place to start from.
Step 4: Understand Plugins and Widgets
Now, this step may not matter much to you if you use free platforms on the Internet. Most of the best ones don’t give you the ability to install various elements to accentuate your site.
Plugins and widgets add more of a flare to your blog. For example, I use Yoast SEO on all websites I work on as it helps guide me to create optimized content. It’s just an extra tool I can install in WordPress that expands the system.
These tools range in ability from optimization to simply adding a live video feed in the sidebar. As there are more than 50,000 plugins available just on WordPress.org alone, it’s easy to find something that will help you deliver a cool blog.
Step 5: Write Amazing Content
Here is the most important element of all: writing quality content. After all, it’ll be your words that drive an audience. The better you are at creating content, the more often visitors will flock to the site.
Connect with the Audience
You don’t need to be an English major or have a college degree to be a good writer. Being able to connect with your audience is the most important thing. Literacy, grammar and structure are traits you can learn as you go.
Keep Ahead of Trends
Trends and popular topics will always be an interest to a majority of your readers. Unfortunately, this also creates a great deal competition. Put your own point of view into the piece and make it unique.
The more consistent you are, the more people will rely on your content. Consistency in blogging also helps keep search engines crawling your content, which is how your site shows up in results pages.
Always cite sources for information by linking back to the webpage. Not only does this demonstrate you know what you’re talking about, but sites like Google view it as an authoritative link. It looks good for the person of which you’re linking and it tells Google you’re interested in sharing facts.
Take my health and fitness blog. I cite scientific information all the time, which is why many of the posts are in the top three positions in Google for their keywords. This is not to mention the impact linking to authoritative sources has helped my clients.
Step 6: Market Your Cool Blog
Creating good content isn’t going to be enough for people to visit the cool blog. You need to let them know your site exists. Otherwise, it’ll be buried among the millions upon millions of websites on the Internet.
- Using a Sitemap
The sitemap is the first step to marketing your website. It tells search engines where to go to find your words and helps identify what kind of a site you have.
- Social Media
Never underestimate the power of social media. Sharing your posts immediately once published can help drive traffic as well as awareness. I use tools like Buffer to share everything I write.
- Newsletters and Email Lists
Some of my clients use newsletters and email lists to market their sites. One of them even has the newsletter set up to automatically pull content I write. It’s a great way to keep interested parties connected and coming back.
- Use Push Notifications
Push notifications are one of the most used marketing tools today. Everything from this site to YouTube uses them. Each time a new piece of content is created, subscribers are notified. In some ways, push notifications are more effective than newsletters and email lists.
My point is you need to stay active and keep people engaged if you want to join the ranks of popular blogs. People won’t visit if they don’t know it’s there.
Step 7: Monitor Your Data
Part of knowing what your target audience will read is watching their behavior on your website. This is done through analytical tools. For instance, Google Analytics will show you how many visitors each article receives.
This helps establish trends on your site by showing what people want to read. What’s even better is that many of these tracking apps are free to use.
I often browse through the data to find what my guests are finding the most interesting. Then, I’ll come up with a plan to create similar content or expand those topics even further.
Your visitors will let you know if you have a cool blog; keep an eye on what they do on your site.
Success is Determined by Effort
The most important thing to keep in mind is your success will be dependent on your effort. If you don’t put a lot of work into your cool blog, people won’t think it’s all that “cool.”
Competition is great, so you should do what you can to separate yourself from the masses.
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