Have you been thinking about starting a blog? Do you already have a blog but you’re having a hard time getting people to visit it?
The truth is most anyone can start a blog these days, but attracting visitors who like your posts and want to come back to read your latest stuff on a regular basis isn’t easy.
That being said, starting your own blog and writing posts that are interesting and useful to your readers can be done if you follow a good plan.
What follows is my plan for running a successful blog. In order to make it easy to follow and understand, I have written it as a series of tips:
First, you’ll need to choose a topic for your blog, and then set it up…
1 – Choose a topic for your blog that interests you. If you enjoy writing about something, your readers will notice and they’ll be more likely to “catch” your enthusiasm for the topic.
2 – Once you have selected a topic for your blog, create a self-hosted WordPress blog to chronicle your posts.
I strongly recommend against using one of the free hosted services such as WordPress.com or Blogger. Those platforms are fine if you just want to share an occasional post with your friends, but if you want to run a truly successful blog you’ll need to host it yourself on your own server space.
Creating a self-hosted WordPress blog isn’t nearly as difficult as it might sound. This post explains how to do it, step-by-step. And it only takes $1 to get started!
After your blog is up and running, you’ll need to write and publish some informative and interesting posts…
3 – Choose a topic for your first post, then do some basic research on that topic (unless you are already an expert on it) and type it into the text input box on the “Add New Post” screen in your WordPress Dashboard.
Write out your post in simple, easy to understand language. When you’re finished, click “Save Draft”. (Do not “Publish” the post yet because you’re just getting started!)
4 – Go back and proof-read your post, checking for spelling and grammatical errors.
5 – Now, read the post once more with this question in mind: “Is this post easy to read and understand?” The answer to that question will almost certainly be no (it always is for me).
Carefully read and evaluate every sentence to see if there is some way to make it more concise and as short as possible while still conveying the message that you want the reader to come away with.
Next, carefully read and evaluate every paragraph to see if you can either shorten it or break it up into several shorter paragraphs.
This is important because when people read on the web, they don’t really “read” at all – they scan. And since long paragraphs are difficult to scan, many readers simply hit the “Back Button” on their browser and find another website to visit.
And finally, evaluate every long word to see if there is a shorter, easier to read synonym for it that still accurately conveys the meaning you’re trying to convey to the reader. If so, switch to the shorter word.
6 – Add a photo or two to add depth, interest and character to the post. If you’re handy with a camera, you can take your own photos. If not, you can find free photos to use in your blog posts at FreeImages.com and Pexels.
Important: Remember to always give the photographers credit for the photos you use by mentioning their name and linking the name to the page on the free image site that features the image you downloaded. For an example, check out the “Image credit” link at the end of this post.
After you have added your photo(s), you can click “Publish” to make your new blog post go live on your blog.
7 – Repeat steps 3-6 for every additional blog post you write and publish.
Promote your blog and every post you publish on it…
8 – Submit your blog’s base URL or sitemap to Google to coax them into sending their bots to crawl the pages of your blog and add them to their search index.
Of course Google will eventually find your blog on its own once you get some links to it from other sites, but you can jumpstart the process by submitting the base URL or sitemap ahead of time.
9 – Every time you publish a new post, announce to your friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and any other social networks that you use that you have just published a new post on your blog. Give them a short “teaser” explaining what the post is about along with the link to it. Again, do this for every post you write and publish on your blog!
10 – Without spamming or appearing pushy and obnoxious, share your blog’s URL anywhere and everywhere you can.
And finally, a couple of bonus tips…
11 – Have your URL printed on your business cards and business stationary. Put it in the signature of your emails and on any forums that you participate in. And if you want, you can even print your blog’s URL onto a magnetic sign and advertise your blog to the world as you drive around town or across the country.
12 – Enjoy your blog! If you enjoy writing and maintaining your blog, that will be picked up on by your blog’s visitors. Happy visitors will be return visitors, and return visitors are the lifeblood of any successful blog!
That’s all there is to it. These days it’s easy to start a WordPress blog. The hard part is writing the posts and promoting them after they are published. Hopefully the info presented above can help.
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Image credit: Jay Lopez
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