6 Tips for Beginners Who Want Blog and Grow Their Business Online
Blogging. It sounds so easy to do, but so many people are terrified to write and share their thoughts with the world.
Don’t worry I go through the same struggles even as someone who has blogged for many years. This month I’m working from Bali Indonesia where I recently started a writing group for individuals who want to work on their blogging skills.
I received many questions about blogging, how to first get started, what platform should you use and what should you write about?
Here’s my attempt to answer these questions.
What’s the right blogging platform for me?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this one. The key is to select a platform that you will actually be inspired to write on. WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform, but there are dozens more. What I like about WordPress is that it is free and you can easily transfer all the posts you create to a fully functional wordpress website when you’re reading to take the blog to the next level.
If you’re just blogging for plain old simple fun, then check out Tumblr, Medium, and Blogger as other easy to use platforms. The biggest thing you need to do is sign up and get started today!
I’m not sure what to write when I blog, what should I do?
Start writing about anything. At first your goals should be to get familiar with your blogging platform and practice writing and publishing a few times a week. You don’t even need to show anyone these first posts!
When I first started blogging I was terrified to share my work with others and I actually started two separate blogs to practice writing before I created my first publicly shared personal blog. Don’t let fear get in your way, you can always go back and delete, edit or throw away an entire blog.
That’s not to say you should write total crap or never share it, but sometimes “overthinking” is the worst thing you can do.
What’s the best blogging strategy to reach a given audience?
Okay, so now you’ve selected a platform and you’ve gotten more comfortable blogging. Now it’s time to really hone in on the focus and purpose of your blog. When in doubt write, but it’s also important to step back sometimes and consider what goal you have in publishing.
This will direct your blogging or content strategy. Try answering some of these questions first.
- Why are you blogging in the first place? What is your goal?
- Who are you trying to reach with this blog? Be as specific as possible.
- What other blogs reach a similar or the same audience? Find 3 to get inspiration from. What topics do they write about? What is missing from theirs?
Here’s an example from my own personal blog.
- I’m blogging to help share my knowledge with entrepreneurs and small business owners so they can grow their business online. My goal is that for every 99 people I help give advice to, there will be a 100th that hires me to build a professional website, optimize their site for google (SEO) or hire me to help them with their content strategy.
- I’m trying to reach 30-40 year old small business owners who know they online marketing is important, but who aren’t sure the exact steps they need to take to get from A – B. The ideal candidate will already have a profitable business and a website, but who would like to grow that business in the coming year.
- There are so many marketing blogs that cover the same topics. Mark Schaefer, Jay Baer, and Seth Godin are some of my favorite bloggers. They’ve gotten so popular that I think their content strategy is more targeted towards other advanced marketers vs. people who are just getting started.
There’s a lot more to talk about content strategy, but that should do for now. Don’t fall victim to these common mistakes marketers make and get stuck in analysis paralysis.
How do I get people to read my blog?
Once you’ve got a target audience and content strategy you should start to publish articles that help answer common questions for your readers. One of the most important aspects of your blog is the headline that will get the reader’s attention.
If you’re selling tourism packages for Lombock Island for example you should find all the popular questions people are searching for about Lombock on Google. You can summarize the best answers you find or come up with answers of your own. Whatever you do, don’t steal others content and claim it as your own. Google will discover this and punish your website from appearing in search results.
You can start sharing blog posts online with your friends if they are your target audience and you may want to consider using social media to connect with others who might write or read similar posts to you. For now, if you’re publishing content that is helpful to a specific reader and if it contains keywords people are searching for on Google you’re off to a great start.
What are Keywords and How Do I Show Up On Google?
One of the biggest reasons to blog is that it will make your website appear in the Google Search results when people search for your business or topic. In fact according to Hubspot, businesses that blog receive 5 times more traffic than businesses who don’t.
Keywords are simply the words someone types into Google when they are looking for something. Before the internet it was nearly impossible for businesses to directly reach customers when they wanted something. We take it for granted now, but the internet levels the playing field so that anyone in the world can share or search for something they know or want.
While you can blog for fun and to share what you ate for breakfast, the most beneficial reason to blog is that you’ll help answer common questions that a prospective customer will have. When a customer knows who you are and likes what you have to say they are much more likely to purchase something from you.
How Should I Format or Structure Blog Posts to Make Them Reader Friendly?
While there’s no right or wrong way to blog the most basic format is this:
- introduction that grabs the reader’s attention
- point 1, with examples
- point 2, with more examples
- point 3, with a final example
- a conclusion or call to action for the reader
You could have one point, three points or 17 points. The most important thing is that these points should all fall under the headline and introduction.
One thing to keep in mind while writing is that sometimes you won’t know your title or the introduction, you are simply brainstorming 1-17 different points you want to convey.
I always start by writing a rough title and then go directly into my points and examples. As I write those I begin to see how many points I have, sometimes 3 turns into 7 or 10 actually becomes just one big rant. This is where the creative process kicks in and you have to write and rewrite your points a few times to make sure they are in the right order to really hold your reader’s attention.
That’s it! 6 tips to get you started with the basics of blogging.
These answer some of the most basic questions I receive about blogging, but I’m curious what other questions you have. Be sure to leave them in the comments below!