How To Run A Blog. 7 Tips From Semalt To Get You Started
How to start writing a blog? It is quite a challenge, but with our guide, you will definitely be able to do it! You will need an idea, a few analytical tools, a good plan, a friendly platform and a pinch of SEO knowledge.
How do I run a blog? Before you start
There are already thousands of blogs on the web, so you need to answer honestly the question: what will make you stand out? What will make readers choose your article from among many others? How will you convince internet users to devote their (really valuable!) Time to your content?
So: how to blog? First of all, consistently and with an idea. Even the most interesting content will not be successful if you publish it at irregular intervals. And the best content plan will fail if you lack interesting topics and inspiration. Therefore, these two aspects are actually an inherent part of blogging.
You have to keep them complementary and nurture the boring but needed planning as carefully as your creative endeavors.
Also, remember that running a blog is not all about success and joy - there can also be difficulties, challenges and unplanned mishaps that you will have to face responsibly. An inherent element of the blogger's work is also this tedious, analytical part - unless you outsource it ?.
How to start writing a blog: step-by-step instruction
1. Create a good content plan
Yes, yes - we are not groundless, so, unfortunately, first the formalities, schedules and boredom, and only then do we move to the deeds!
One of the most common reasons why blogs do not achieve the desired success is the lack of a good content plan, i.e. a paper-based schedule for publishing posts with a clearly defined goal and directions of blog development.
How to run a blog that will reach the right audience? It's simple: starting with the reader. You need to know not only what you want to write, but also when, what, for whom and how.
Getting to know your audience properly is the absolute basis of a good blogger's activities. It is worth starting your activities with an appropriate analysis of the people you want to write to and verifying whether your assumptions are in line with reality.
What should such a plan contain?
- Analysis of the language you should use - what tone will be appropriate for your brand, what communication to use when communicating with recipients so that they can understand you well and identify with what (and how) you write?
- The term person - personas are model examples of your recipients and their avatars, allowing you to define what should be on your blog to meet their expectations and needs.
- Competition analysis - how do people in your industry / thematic niche work? What can you be inspired by, what trends are set by your competition, and in what areas do you have (or may have) an advantage over it?
- Topics of articles - preferably not only the topics themselves but also keywords selected with SEO tools like the Dedicated SEO Dashboard for them along with the volume. This will ensure smooth content creation and SEO optimization.
- Action plan - concrete facts! Identification of planned actions along with the effects they should bring. By sticking to the plan - the basic element of your strategy - you will be able to determine later what is worth changing and what has turned out to be a success.
2. Determine where you will publish your posts
Choose a blogging platform where your creativity will appear. We know that there are many options, so we decided to help you narrow your selection a bit below we suggest 2 platforms that you should consider at the very beginning.
- Blogger - If you don't have the space to set up your own domain or want to avoid fees, Blogger (formerly Blogspot) from Google can be a good starting option. There are not many functionalities that CMSs, i.e. content management systems - such as WordPress - offer, but it is a trusted platform from a proven service provider.
- WordPress - is one of the most universal platforms on which you can publish your content. It's not much more difficult to use than blogging platforms, but it requires two things from you: your own domain (if you don't want an address in the wordpress.com domain) and the server where you will embed it. However, these are low costs, and the range of possibilities is really huge: from installing plug-ins that make life easier, through simple SEO, to wide personalization options with the help of free and paid templates.
3. Time for SEO!
Even if you are a freelance writer and run a personal blog (that is, you do not plan to sell anything, and the blog is not, for example, your company's advertising tool), it is not necessary to do without basic SEO knowledge.
And if the blog is a source of content that your brand uses in marketing - even more so! The combination of valuable content and knowledge of SEO rules will allow you to stand out high in search results, which in turn will translate into more visits to your blog and its success.
What should you take care of on your website in terms of SEO? How to run a blog in accordance with Google's guidelines? Here are some tips:
- Connect your blog with Google tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics. This will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of activities and, inter alia, check which key phrases you are displaying. Remember that early implementation of tools is necessary to start collecting data that will allow you to track your progress from the very start of your blog.
- Do a thorough keyword analysis for the articles you will write. It's best to do it right away - when creating a content plan - to have all the materials ready for work. When analyzing keywords with the Dedicated SEO Dashboard, make sure that each entry has a unique set of phrases. So if you write about traveling to the mountains on one day and about traveling to the mountains with children on the next, in the second post, you should emphasize the aspect of family and children.
- Optimize your graphics. This is a very simple thing you can do that will bring you extra traffic to your website and make it run faster. Make sure that each photo has its own alternative description and suitably low weight (preferably not exceeding several dozen kB).
- Write texts that follow good SEO practices. What does it mean? In addition to key phrases, e.g. the appropriate division of the text, the use of H2 and H3 headings and internal linking.
4. Remember about social media
Content never functions detached from reality. You can engage your readers not only on the blog but also on social media. Create accounts on portals that your recipients visit the most - may it be Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?
If you supplement your entries with valuable visual content, be sure to share them on Pinterest, where interesting infographics spread like hot cakes (or better).
As always, we recommend regular, conscious monitoring of users' activity on social media and adjusting your strategy to their behavior. What is the best selling and what is better to give up in order to shift your time and budget to more valuable activities? Which social media bring the most traffic to your website?
Tip: Make sure that the content on each social media is unique. Don't post the same posts, videos, or artwork on all channels. Adapt them to the specifics of the platform and the users using it, and while maintaining diversity, attract users on many social networks at the same time (why should someone follow you both on Facebook and on Instagram if you publish identical content there?).
5. Build relationships with your audience
This is really an extremely important point of this guide! How to run a blog to build a group of people willing to engage with you? Once you start publishing articles, there are three basic rules to keep in mind:
- Always reply to comments - users are more likely to leave a mark when they see that their opinions or questions are not hitting the air.
- Engage your readers - show them that their opinion matters. For example, you can do polls with suggestions for future entries or answer questions in comments in articles.
- Take care of social - as important as blog activity is social media - don't forget to moderate comments on your posts.
6. Post entries regularly and consistently
Do you remember the introduction to this article? There we mentioned two extremely important aspects of how to start a blog: the combination of consistency and idea. While you used the idea when creating the content plan, consistency will be reflected in its implementation.
Have you specified that the posts will appear twice a week? Hold on to it! Even if you are going on vacation, write articles well in advance so that they appear on time.
7. Leave time to analyze the actions
At Semalt, we advocate data-driven action. First, we create a strategy and plan, and then we analyze exactly what pays off and what needs to be changed. Such evaluation with our DSD tool allows you to optimize your activities as much as possible and squeeze as much out of your marketing as possible.
Therefore, plan time in the beginning to analyze the activities carried out so far and save space for possible changes in the schedule. The results should be tracked on an ongoing basis, and a thorough evaluation should be carried out every few months, for example, every quarter.
This post was created to help you organize all the knowledge on how to start a blog. So we recommend saving it.