- Darshana Ananth
A Guide to Starting a Successful Blog
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Have you ever wanted to share your thoughts on the internet as a creative outlet? Be it for your blooming business, building an online portfolio, or maybe just a hobby. With content feeding our visual and auditory queues in the form of videos and podcasts, you might think who has the time to read an article on the internet. However, blogging is not a lost art because there are a number of professional bloggers who are making a living out of this.
Today, I’ll be taking you through the steps of creating your blog and how you can use it in generating passive income by doing things that you love from the comfort of your home.
Why You Should Start A Blog
Your content can have the power to inspire people and guide them in making the right decisions. Most successful businesses and entrepreneurs have their very own blogs as a means to display their work. You can use it for building an online portfolio where potential clients, who might be interested in collaborating can look up your work.
Blogging can be a way of improving your writing skills and expand your style by experimenting with what works best to your liking. You learn a lot of new stuff along the way when trying to grow your blog from SEO best practices to digital marketing.
Coming to the part that you might be most interested in – ‘Can I earn an income from blogging?’ The answer to that is a definite Yes! There are so many people around the world who love reading stuff on the internet that resonates with them. When you generate enough traffic to your blog, you can start monetizing your content.
You don’t need to have prior knowledge in coding to create a blog unless you want to build a highly customized website. It is rather easy to build a decent-looking blog without touching the coding aspect of it.
Finding Your Niche
Before you start publishing content on your blog, it is vital to identify the intention or the vibe that you want to set with your chosen field of interest and how you want it delivered. The first step is to find your niche – something that you’re good at and something that will inspire and help others in a way.
For instance, if you are good at cooking, you can share your recipes. If you’re good at photography, share your tips on taking better pictures. If you’re a productive person, share your tricks at juggling tasks and how to get stuff done efficiently. You can find a number of blogs that have stuck to the content they best deliver and get results over time.
No rules whatsoever to what you want to share on your blog. A few common types of personal blogs are related to fashion, travel, food, productivity, music, photography, and sports.
Choosing The Right Platform
Now that you have decided what you’re going to blog about, it’s time to choose the platform that works best for your needs. There are many blogging platforms out there and it can get intimidating to choose one that fits your goal perfectly.
In my opinion, WordPress and WIX are among the best blogging platforms.
If you’re new to blogging and just starting out, I would recommend a website builder like WIX. It is highly user-friendly, customizable to your liking with the drag-and-drop editor, and gives you full control over your content. You can choose from a number of beautiful templates and get your blog set up in less than 5 minutes.
While WIX can be a powerful blogging tool, it has its limitations as well. You have to pay a subscription fee, be it their monthly/annual plan. You’re also stuck with the themes and tools within WIX.
‘Flexibility and scalability is my thing!’ shouts WordPress and people are not disappointed. WordPress is one of the oldest and most preferred platforms for blogging.
There is a key difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org that I want to clear before we move forward. With WordPress.com (less flexibility), WordPress takes care of your content and hosting, in other words, it is similar to WIX.
In WordPress.org (recommended), you take care of the hosting meaning it is a self-hosted website and you have more control over it. It is powerful and dynamic, best suited for those who want to get into some serious blogging. I would recommend starting with WordPress.org and host your site with a third-party web hosting service like GoDaddy.
While WordPress is completely free, you would have to pay for the web-hosting service and buy a domain name that can be renewed every year.
If you want to test the waters first and see if blogging is up your alley and without having to pay for a subscription, you can open an account on WordPress.com for free.
Planning Your Content
Once you’re done with the technical aspect of setting up a blog, it’s time to work on the content you’ve planned for your blog. Putting out quality content is a must because the number of blogs out there is too many, so you need to ask yourself – ‘What is going to make my content stand out from the rest?’ and work with quality in mind.
Without proper planning, it can become a bit of a chore that needs to get done for the sake of it. Here are a few planning tips to make things a bit more smooth sailing:
Make a list of possible post ideas, in line with your niche.
Choose a topic among your ideas, which is relevant to current times.
Brain dump the crucial points that you want to convey. Later, you can build up content around it.
Draft your entire post first. Don’t try to edit simultaneously while doing the first draft. Once you’ve drafted the entire thing, you can go ahead with the editing, else you’ll be wasting time trying to perfect each line.
When you start working on your post, it is good practice to set a deadline for when you’re going to publish it. Otherwise, you might end up misusing your freedom of no deadlines and procrastinate way too much. (Trust me on this one!)
Know that your writing does not have to be perfect from the get-go. You’ll be able to improvise and do better with practice and patience.
Generating Traffic & Monetizing Your Blog
You bit the bullet and published your first post on your blog. Now what? You need to bring in people to read it, even better make them share it with people. In order for this to work, you have to start marketing your blog and its content on various platforms.
Starting simple, you can share the link to your new blog post on your social media accounts. You can request your friends to share them as well. To increase traffic to your blog, using the right tags and following SEO best practices is essential.
The title you choose for your post is equally important. It needs to be crisp and neat for it to make an impression on your target audience. These are some ways to generate organic traffic.
Your goal should be in retaining your regular readers by making them part of your community rather than targeting new readers every time.
When your blog starts doing well in terms of traffic and engagement, you can sign up for a Google AdSense account. After your application is accepted, you can start monetizing your content right away.
Blogging is not something that gives you amazing results overnight. It takes a lot of grit and consistency to become a successful blogger. Don’t be disheartened if no one reads your articles in the beginning. This was the case for most of us, not just you. The only way you see results is if you stay consistent.
Trust me, your hard work and determination will pay off in the long run. Quoting Marie Forleo – ‘Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.’