Are you planning to start a blog? If so, you’re probably bursting with ideas on how to build your blog, what kind of topics to cover, and how to design it. You can easily get carried away with your blog brainstorming session but a big part of your success will be determined by a few key elements. Here are some of these key elements that will help ensure that your blog is effective.
1. Start with a Strong Name or Brand
You want to start as strong as possible with your blog with a strong name or brand. What factors make for a great name? First, you want to come up with a name that best describes what your blog is about? For example, a blog for a self-help site can be named positivityblog.com. A blog about pilates can be pilatesmadeeasy.com. Make it clear what visitors can expect from your blog.
Second, you want it to be short and to the point. Long words are hard to type in and are less memorable. Finally, you want it to be unique and interesting. This helps you stand out from similarly named websites that you might be competing with. You’ll have to go through many tries before you come up with something that really sticks and is impactful.
2. Create Content that People are Already Interested In
Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not start with what people are already interested in. Do a simple search for blogs related to yours using this blog search engine. Then look through the posts and see what content topics their readers are really responding to. This is sign that topic will do well on your blog.
Another great research tool is Buzzsumo. You start by entering a keyword related to your blog and the tool will return the top social media posts sorted by engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments). The research will help you create content that will draw people in and build readership.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Write What You’re Passionate About
From a data driven standpoint, you can’t go wrong by simply focusing on content topics and angles that have been proven to do well. However, you also want to regularly write about what you’re passionate about. Why write what you’re passionate about? First, it allows you to express your voice, show your personality, and connect with your audience.
Second, it helps you differentiate yourself from other bloggers. You want to give people strong reasons to pay attention to your blog over competing blogs. You’ll probably have some misfires that are ignored by a large portion of your audience. But you’ll also come up with some content that you’d have never expected to do well.
4. Set Your Blog Up for Free Traffic with Proper SEO
SEO may not be a part of your initial plan but you still want to ensure your blog is properly search engine optimized. The reason why is because one of your pages may see a boost in visibility as your post gets attention from other websites and social media users. If you haven’t put in the work to optimize your posts from the beginning, you’ll miss out on potential search engine traffic.
A common go-to plugin that many bloggers use is Yoast. It helps you set up your site for search engine success and helps make it easy to optimize your content every time you make a blog post. You’ll also want to study some onpage optimization tutorials as adding related keywords, linking to other pages, and other techniques can further increase your chances of getting free search engine traffic.
5. Be Active on All the Important Channels
You need to do more than allow readers to subscribe via RSS if you want to build a strong relationship with your readers. You need to set up an email subscription box and publish an email newsletter that adds value. You also need to be on the top social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
It can be really demanding to operate your blog and all these social media platforms. That’s why you want to use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social. The main feature of these platforms is to give you the ability to schedule your posts and post to all your social media accounts from one central platform.
6. Provide Instructions to Help Your Visitors Get Acquainted
As you start a blog, you’ll find yourself making design and formatting decisions based on what you’ve seen other bloggers do. This usually consists of a slider at the top followed by a set of blog teaser posts. But providing clear instructions may often be the better bet. For instance, your top of the fold can advertise a free gift for subscribing to your email newsletter. This can be followed by a list of your most helpful posts.
If you do want to use a standard blog layout, you’ll want to create a “Start Here” page that explains what new visitors should know. The page might explain what your blog is about, who you are, your credentials, and the best posts relevant to the topic. This will serve as a quick guide to getting acquainted with your blog.
7. Install the Right Plugins
You want to set yourself up for success with the right plugins. If you’re using WordPress, here are some essential plugins you’ll want to start out with:
– Contact Form 7 – You want to set up a form that people can use to contact you without giving away your email address.
– Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons – Help spread your blog content by giving users the ability to share it on their favorite social media sites.
– W3 Total Cache – This is a plugin that will help you reduce the loading speed for your blog.
– Akismet – Protect your readers from malicious links and prevent comment spam with this moderation tool.
– YARPP – The acronym stands for yet another related posts plugin. Using this feature on the bottom of each post will help your other content get found.
These seven keys will help you create an effective blog. It will set you up for success and make it easy to run your blog from the very beginning.