Start Blogging – Updated March 2019
Let’s start a blog!
Uh, so what’s a blog?
It’s the content part of your website where you publish blog posts. On well designed websites, it should be the it’s own section on a website. Like for this website, the blog is found at websitecreativepro.com/blog.
In other words, a blog is actually JUST A PART of a larger website. It’s primary function is to get search traffic from Google and then in turn convert that traffic into email subscribers or product sales.
That’s why you should start a blog. Because you want to grow your traffic.
It’s weird to me how people use “blog” and “website” interchangeably, or worse they act like a blog is something radically different from a website – but a blog is simply a section of your website where published content is organized hierarchically.
You don’t have to blog. You could totally make a one page website as a resume or to sell a product. But if you want to attract an audience for long term growth, blogging is one of the best things you can do to get traffic for the long term.
This guide assumes you already have created a website that is using WordPress. If you have NOT done that, go setup your website first, then we can talk about how to start blogging the right way.
PERMALINKS FOR BLOGGERS
First things first. Let’s set-up your permalinks.
Permalinks are the URL structure of your blog post. By default, WordPress has it set to YourWebsite.com/p=1234
Let’s change it to something more helpful and logical
How to change it:
Here’s how to change it:
Settings >>> permalinks
So what is the best permalink structure?
For blogs, the ideal URL structure is this:
Because it helps give a nice structure for search engines and it helps separate blog posts from pages.
If you want to nerd out and learn more about the why, read the best permalink structure guide.
8 – WRITING CONTENT
Writing Content – Consider checking out the content marketing tutorial after you’re done with this how to start a blog tutorial.
Writing content for a blog is not the same as a paper for school.
Make sure to use a largish, 18px+ size font. You want your website to be easy to read.
Don’t make massive paragraphs. Write 3-5 sentences then hit that enter button. This helps reader retention, time on site and again makes for a easier, more enjoyable reading experience.
It’s fine to have a sentence be all alone like this one.
Use at least 1 picture in every blog post. Make sure the picture is a jpg and is of a small size, under 50 mb. This ensures your page loads fast. Don’t steal pictures! You can find many places to get free, high quality pictures by checking out this page that is part of our resources.
Use pictures only when it’s demonstrating something or it’s the feature image of a blog post.
Inter-link your own content and link to other websites regularly. You can and should go back into older blog posts and link to newer content when it makes sense.
One page one purpose. Stay on message with each post you write.
Have a call to action. Ask your visitors to share your website or subscribe or buy your product or whatever! Ask them to do something.
I suggest you take some time out to read about some web design practices do’s and don’ts.
In online publishing, you can choose between H1 – H6 tags. You can select the tag you want to use here:
H1 is for the title of the page. The title you put here should already be marked as H1 by your theme. You should never use H1 for your actual content.
Next, use H2 for your main topics, then H3 for sub topics and H4 for topics within the sub topic and so forth.
Tags are important because it tells search engines what’s important and it gives a logical structure. It also makes reading easier because your H1 to H6 tags should be bigger than the font size for your body text. H1 being the biggest, H6 being the smallest (but still bigger than the body text).
Example structure from this tutorial that you’re reading:
H1 – How To Start a Blog and Write like a PRO – Tutorial by WCP
H2 – How To Start a Blog – Technical Tutorial
H3 – Get Your Domain Name
H4 – What to do?
Get it? You don’t use H1 when blogging, it’s already taken care of by your post title. Then structure your content logically for readers and for search engines.
Check Your Grammar
Grammar mistakes are going to happen, but at least be aware of some of the most common English grammar mistakes.
How To Write a Blog
Write what people actually want!
Sounds simple enough but most bloggers end up writing about what they think and feel or current events. Instead write for what people want, this will result in you creating content that is valuable.
If you do nothing else right, if you can simply provide enough value to your right people, you have a strong chance of building a successful blog.
The types of content you should create:
Questions that answer questions people type into search Engines.
Shareable, list oriented blog posts and infographics that people will share on social media.
Long form blog posts that go after competitive keywords and are at least 3,000 words long.
Value is not copying other more popular websites.
If you you find yourself needing to “check in” to see what others are writing, you may be copying. You may lack the creative potential to create WOW content or as I like to say, “fall in love” content.
The kind of material that makes you trust your website and the person or people behind it as an authority on a specific topic.
Now, there is nothing wrong with hijacking your competitors most popular content. If it worked for them, it will work for you and is a good way to get a steady stream of traffic from search engines…
But if every time you need to publish new material, you find yourself looking to other website for inspiration; you’re in trouble.
- True though leaders, come up with their own ideas BECAUSE they’re not bullshit artists. In fact, you should have a backlog of ideas for your website that you want to create like: features, blog posts, products, services, ways to improve the user experience on your website and so on.
- Thought leaders are leaders because they live the life they talk about. They walk the walk. They talk the talk.
- They inspire you to do the same.
- They live the change they want to see.
- They fight for freedom. Freedom from work. Freedom from living a certain way. Financial freedom. Freedom in some way or another.
- They challenge commonly accepted ideas. Not just challenge,they take a hard line stance against things most people accept and don’t think twice about like this, this and this.
- They build a small network of friends with other popular websites and the LINK and share other content from top performers.
- They show their humanity.
Frustrations are Fuel For The Best Blogs in The World
Everyone has their villains.
1) It’s the heath and fitness website Kinobody that really wants to become the high quality resource for people who want to get lean and strong, “beating” their low quality, spammy, money focused competitors.
2) For Ramit Sethi of IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com it’s the personal finance “experts” who tell young people to budget their money and to not spend cash on lattes because it’s not an efficient allocation of resources. While a better solution in his opinion is to automate savings.
3) For Brett Mckay of The Art of Manliness his villains were the publishers of men’s magazines that defined manliness as simply sex, girls, drinking beer and getting 6 pack abs.
4) For Nick Kelly of Bold and Determined it was a lack of masculine focused personal development sites. His villians were the likes of Zen Habits and Steve Pavlina.
How you can use a current frustration as fuel to build an awesome blog?
Before you decide to create your website, think about the reason why you’re making it. Is their a villain you’re hoping to fight against? Not every website or consumer has a villain. But many do, and knowing this clears an astonishingly easy path of what to do next if you realize an obvious villain you wish to oppose-> defeat the bastard!
First, people are always thinking about their villains, even you. Take an inventory of your own personal villains for product and website ideas.
When I say “villain”, I’m referring to another actual human being who is opposing you.
I’m not speaking in a metaphor. Like Brett McKay opposing the publishers of low quality men’s magazines that don’t help men to become men. These publishers are people.
Enter a market with an information product that helps your right people over-come their villains.
Conduct extensive research to determine villains and potential products to defeat them.
The Market research: They may need it, but they may not want it
Too many marketers set out to create what they believe is the “worlds greatest product for ______” based on what they had wished they had when they started. This is not defeating a market villain.
The mistake they made becomes more apparent when they begin to attempt to sell the product because they are working backwards. You don’t create a product then try and find people who want it.
Your success depends on you taking the time to do the hard work that matters by understanding what your potential customers want and need in order to defeat their villains. Like the sons who were greedy and wanted instant wealth. They instead found wealth through hard work. You will do the same.
The hard work that matters:
- ASK…and keep asking. You do this online through surveys, emails, forums and Facebook groups. Find a place where your right people hangout and pay attention.
- Uncover frustrations within your market. For business it could be employee problems, accounting problems, technology problems, lack of customers, trends and innovation that threaten the status quo etc.
- Get data on the potential size of your market and make sure it’s accurate and also growing. You can do this by keyword research for terms related to your website. You can do this also by observing other websites that have already entered the market. Are there more that 3 websites that are successful on the topic you wish to do? Are there magazines being published on what you wish to write about or sell? Are there sub categories within your market with people more interested in specific ideas or products? Don’t turn a blind eye if the data shows your market is not a good one.
- Who else is selling a product related to your customer’s market villain? Are they successful? Are there many people selling to this market? A large market can support many information vendors so don’t let competition discourage you.
- Who are the perceived market leaders and influencers? Are there ways to work with them?
Research and make your battle plan
Extensively research your market before creating your website and BEFORE deciding on what product or service to create.
Be careful and pragmatic about this as it takes a bit of work to uncover unique solutions to peoples perceived villains. Even if you’re an expert already, take the time to understand the frustrations people face and know the words they use to describe their villain. You don’t want to spend months creating a product people don’t want or are not ready for.
When you have conducted a proper level of research and have a good idea of what has worked and what has failed. You’ll then be ready to defeat a market villain.
HOW TO MAKE A BLOG THAT MAKES MONEY
Smart people can be taught to make a website, but most of those websites made won’t matter, and they certainly won’t make any money. Websites that matter achieve goals, they connect with people, they are expressive of an idea, they make a difference, they attract new leads and customers, and they help people in some basic fundamental way.
This is a question I used to ponder, why do some sites make it, while other sites who’s webmasters put in so much work into them never seem to get anywhere. The contrast of my own experience online makes this answer apparent – it’s not understanding the basic concepts and preparation when it comes to making a website, so let’s talk about that.
Blog Topic Selection
The best topic to select is one that:
- You have an innate interest in, one where you can offer a unique perspective compared to other similar sites.
- A topic where you know what you’re talking about from REAL experience (not theory or what you think, anyone can write what they think, pro’s back it up with experience and research).
- Is in a market that can potentially serve a need or solve a problem for the end user
- Is in a large enough market to have enough visitors to support the website
- One where you’re able to share YOUR story and perspective. Instead of regurgitating what you read on the internet
When you set out to make your website you need to have these principles in mind as it relates to your online goals. Maybe you just want to start a personal blog, or build an online resume or portfolio – then you can safely ignore this part. But typically, if you want to learn how to make a website you then YOU MUST connect the dot’s between what you’re interested in and what people will pay you for.
I love to drink tea, but no one is going to pay me to drink tea.
There’s no high level value in that, only low level value at best. You need to find an intersection where you’re relevant to other peoples needs, hopes, fears, or desires.
You do this primarily by solving people’s problems and providing real value that makes a REAL WORLD difference for them.
DOES ANYBODY CARE?
Tens of thousands of people look for content on dating, health, fitness, travel, and the like. Can you say this about your market? More specifically, does anybody care about your idea/content?
I could make a website about my love of the Jack Fruit, and I’m pretty sure it would become the default resource on the matter…but does anyone care? What’s the point of making a site that no one will visit and no one will care about? How would a site like that generate revenue or help anybody?
If you’re OK with it being irrelevant because you just want to make a site about Jack Fruit then cool, no worries. But if you’re looking to build an income generating web property around something that provides value, then forget being irrelevant as a strategy.
OK people care, but is it worth the time?
You got your keywords that are searched for 2,000+ times a month and you found phrases that don’t have super competitive competition. Let’s check the advertising value behind your keywords by assuming a rough estimate of $20-50 per 1,000 searches per keyword. If you want a formula that’s a bit more technical, I use this:
(CPC x .68) X of the global monthly searches x .40 x .03
- .68 is the revenue share of Adsense. You get 68% of what the advertiser pays, the rest goes for the Adsense profit margin.
- .40 because you will never get 100% of all the visitors for any keyword, there are 10 results to click on, so conservatively we assume with 40% if we rank in the top 3.
- .03 is assuming a 3% click through rate. In other words 3 out of every 100 visitors for the month will click on an ad.
The point of this exercise is to find out if there is advertising revenue available as a way to follow the money. If advertisers are not spending money on that traffic there’s probably a reason behind it – there is no money to be made – so no need to learn how to make a website for that topic if part of your goal is income.
If the opposite is true however. If there are needs and wants in a market, needs and want’s you can help fulfill with your website – and at worst you could always pull in advertising revenue.
Forget having a niche or a theme for websites that matter
You’re not the Coca Cola company, you don’t need to concern yourself with being “on message.” When building out your website that matters, your personal brand, the most important aspect is to live an interesting life, share what you’re doing and provide massive value. If you’re writing about personal development, but you’re a 26 year old living at home with your parents, STOP. Go live life first or develop a skill instead that can make you money first. Then go back to and try to make a website that matters later.
MORE ON VALUE
Value is helping someone make a positive change in their life.
Value is when you’re part of the solution for someones problem. No matter how small.
Even if it’s just changing the way someone thinks about something – their mindset, or it’s providing a tutorial that WOW’s them. You’ve done your work well.
Let’s add a few more layers onto this:
BE WORLD CLASS – BE MORE THAN JUST A BLOGGER
You don’t have much of choice on this.You HAVE to be really, really, really good at what you do.
You may think, Oh I see other people building websites on dumbells or the benefits of juicing or some other random product or topic.
I’ll do that.
They’re not experts on these topics and are having success. I’ll do the same.
They may not be “experts” per say, but they know a lot about the topic and are interested in learning more. Copying never works because you simply won’t care enough about the topic as someone who has a genuine interest and is willing to put in the work and learn.
Also, people who run big websites tend to have developed an internet marketing and sales skill set. With applicable knowledge on keyword research, link building, affiliate marketing and conversion.
They are also focused on learning as much as they can and applying what they learn in these areas too to grow their website.
“Alright” you say to yourself, “well this guy and that guy run popular personal development websites. I can do that.”
Are you in physically superior shape? Mentally fit? What about your life gives you any sort of credibility to tell other people what to do.
It’s always most amusing to me how young men start website on dating or personal development. Like anyone is going to take dating advice or opinions on masulinity seriously from a 24 year old.
Have you gone through a dark period and have come out stronger or are you someone who’s still figuring things out or worese, you’re still in that dark period?
Okay! Okay! David. I’ll start an ecommerce store or a product review website or a deal comparison website.
Fine, but do you know how to build those sorts of websites and then build an audience around those types of websites? What products? What deal? What do you have some base level of knowledge on or interest in that’s powerful enough to make you want to continuously learn more?
Also, are you willing to do what it take to become an expert in this area?
Yes or no?
Find your thing is all i’m getting at. That thing you can be world class at with a blog that people will actually want to pay you money for.
Let me tell a story…
Knowledge applied correctly becomes a skill. If you’re not interested enough in a topic to become world class, to constantly learn and apply new concepts and ideas, YOU WILL FAIL AGAINST OTHER PEOPLE WHO WILL do just that – learn and apply, learn and apply.
Your most important asset is as a webmaster, blogger, and online business owner if your ability to get results with your skill set.
Again, the only thing that matters are your results.
You’re not entitled to anything. You have to take it, and that first starts with becoming world class at something were you can provide a tremendous amount of value.
BECOMING WORLD CLASS
You will want to become world class because that’s where the money is.
With websites in any industry or on any topic the truth is this. There is no money in the bottom 80%. All the money goes to the top 20%.
So you will want to be in this top 20% if you want to get paid from your website. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time or you’re a hobbyist.
You’re also normally pretty close to breaking into this top 20% too. It’s just that you need to keep improving your skills. In particular, your weakest skill.
THINK OF IT THIS WAY
What 1 or 2 of your weakest skills could you improve that would have a dramatic impact on your online business? By improving these 1 or 2 skill, you will improve your income because your weakest skill always determines the height of your income.
Yes you need to add pictures to your published content.
Everyone knows that.
Let’s go beyond surface level stuff any amature online publisher knows.
The ideal width of your blog is between 450 – 600 pixels in width, using a picture to narrow the content at the top. This is based of this study here as well as my own first hand experience using a wider length on my own blog.
Visitors will stay on a page longer with content that’s fairly narrow. Between 500 and 600 pixels. Why do you think the blog posts are narrow with the content centered on this website?
BECAUSE IT WORKS FOR KEEPING PEOPLE ON THE WEBSITE.
The more narrow your text, the easier it will be for visitors to read your content. In particular, new visitors.
Because until someone is invested in your online work, OR they found a piece of content because of a specific keyword that solves a specific problem, most people will just skim.
Once you convert them into a regular reader, width does not matter as much anymore.
SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH PICTURES?
First, keep your blogs content width between 400-600 pixels as a rule. Any theme you see with widths longer than this WILL HAVE A NEGATIVE impact on reader retention because your content is appearing to be too overwhelming.
If you are not convinced, find out for yourself. Once you have a decent amount of traffic, test the two layouts to see which on works better. You’ll notice the time on site for content that is more narrow will be comparatively higher.
Next, leverage a relevant picture for everything you publish. Keep the picture smaller than the width of your blog post and have it align left or right.
The end result should be a narrowing of the first few sentences (as is done here on WebsiteBuddha.com an numerous other websites).
This narrowing helps lead people into reading your content. Once they begin reading, they’re more likely to keep reading.
NOTE: This of course makes your title and first few sentence CRITICAL.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
Text is not enough. Having a YouTube channel or a podcast alone is not enough.
People have different modalities of learning and consuming content. So, create content on a least two platforms you think you can excel at and that make sense for your audience.
Meaning, does your ideal customer and blog reader also listen to podcasts, or are they more of a video person?
For audio and video you will need a microphone regardless. Your on board microphone is not adequet enough. I suggest the Audio Technical ATR 2100.
Even if you don’t have video ready yet, feel free to embed videos you like and that are relevant to your blog post. Video, images and lot’s of text send the right signals to search engines and provide a good user experience.
SEPARATE SENTENCES – NO BIG PARAGRAPHS
Every blogger, at least the ones who know what they’re doing, separates and spaces out written content as best they can. That means, no more than three sentences in one paragraph.
Publishing web content is totally different from they way you were taught in school. Keep things short and bit sized with regards to your paragraphs. Hit that enter button a lot and break your content up.
It makes for an easier reading experience which in turn will have a positive effect in keeping people on your blog reading.
SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS
It’s true, if you create really good content people will share it. Just make it easy to be shared. Have a social buttons at the top or the bottom or better yet, have them floating off to the side. That’s the location that has been proved to be the most effective spot.
Use a WordPress theme that has social media sharing integrated.
LINK TO YOUR OWN CONTENT
Interlink your content in your blog posts to previous posts or go back to old posts and link to newer posts if it makes sense. This sort of linking is good for visitors and it’s good for your search engine rankings because GOOGLE ranks pages and not websites.
You can also use exact anchor text when linking like this example for our how to make a website DIY tutorials. Exact anchor text will help your pages rank for their respective keywords.
More importantly, inter linking your content helps visitors explore more deeply into your website. Your goal should be to create your own web of outstanding content so visitors will spend lot’s of time clicking and reading blog posts on your website as well as convincing them to pay attention to your blogs content.
LINK OUT TO OTHER WEBSITES
It’s also important to link to other RELEVANT websites when possible. It’s not a big deal if you link out to unrelated websites occasionally however. I linked out in this post to a bunch of men’s websites, but you want to be careful with where you send your link authority too.
So, link to other websites that are related to your topic or websites that have a lot of authority with the public at large like Wikipedia. To search engines and to visitors to your website, it looks strange if you write blog posts with no pictures, no video, no out bound links and so forth.
WHAT KIND OF CONTENT SHOULD YOU BLOG ABOUT?
Depends on your website of course, but here are some popular, proven content topics:
- List posts
- How-to Guides
- Book reviews
- Product tutorials
- Hard line stance against conventional wisdom
- Free ebook/pdf give away post
- Link resource blog post (like a round-up type post of the best xyz for the current month)
- Case study
You should pay attention to keywords obviously, as well as trends and what others in your topic are writing about. But always remember to live your life and share your story. So if you have a travel blog, what’s your angle? You’re just going to write about being a digital nomad in Thailand like everyone else?
This takes time, it’s called developing a voice for your website.
PAY ATTENTION TO KEYWORDS
Use the keyword planner at a minimum. Make a long list of keywords you could write blog post topics on with the intention of creating content that not only is expected to be on your website, but content that can rank over time for keywords and phrases.
So if you’re going to be blogging about say relationships, take the time to find keywords and phrases people actually put in to Google and YouTube. You can do that by the auto suggest function, using a tool like KWFinder.com as well as putting in your competitors websites in SEMRush.com.
Even if these topics are not high value with a lot of search traffic, they still have some traffic and are core material for an astronomy website.
Once you have a list of keywords, find an SEO plugin you like for Firefox and research which phrases are not competitive.
Uncompetitive phrases have websites on the first page of the search engine results page with low page rank, low back links (under 100) and are young (under a year old).
PUBLISH AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK
If not more…
Blog posts of quality should be at least 1,200 words long. Aim for that length or more.
You want to publish every week because people expect that. We all operate on a weekly cycle so take advantage of this and become part of that weekly cycle and publish at least once a week.
Yes, I know there are websites that are very popular and the blog owner published whenever – but if you look at how they started you would notice that they published 2-3 times in the beginning and only after they established themselves could they get away with publishing once ever few weeks.
… and yes there are exceptions to the rule like TheOatmeal.com or maddox.xmission.com. But those are comedy websites. Coincidence?
But for everyone else, and even those popular blogs, aim to show up once a week minimum.
CURATE – BECOME KNOWN FOR SOMETHING!
With any website, you need to become known for something in particular on a topic, which you can then expand outward once you establish yourself or even pivot away from as your website grows.
Curating is simply a way to get attention and stand out from everyone else. Curating is the way your brand becomes associated with an industry when you think of a topic.
The reality is that people put other people in boxes. We have a compulsive need to categorize. People put other people in boxes because it’s too difficult to try to comprehend the true complexity of each and every individual. Accept this and don’t fight it.
Fighting it is when you want to be a generalist on a topic.
Get specific and define your websites brand so you become known for something. Then you can expand. Look at Mike Cernovich (@cernovich on Twitter). He started a few years ago with DangerandPlay.com. A personal development site for men. It became popular, then he expanded into a podcast. Then he was able to build up a his social media accounts, namely Twitter around political controversies. Since he already had a decent following because of his previous work, he was able to really ramp up his social profile.
Now he’s completely changed his digital presence from one of writing about sex, self help and masculinity to being a conservative political pundit.
So to recap, curate. Become known for something THEN expand.