If you’re new to the world of blogging and want to get started on the right foot, we’ve put together our ultimate list of tips for new bloggers!
First of all, congratulations on your new blog! Whether you are blogging for business or personal reasons, starting your first blog is very exciting.
In fact, you are probably overflowing with ideas and can hardly decide which one to write first! That’s great, but before you do, here are some tips for new bloggers that I wish I had known when I first started blogging.
I hope they’ll be especially helpful to you as you begin your new journey.
1) Content First, Design Later
Don’t worry so much about the design.
Sure, you want a nice design that looks professional, but basically, any template will do nowadays. Plus, you can always change it later anyway.
Of course, you should pick a mobile-friendly, responsive design. That just goes without saying. But, everything else is mostly aesthetics.
I remember back in the day when I would spend hours trying to fix something that was only off by a pixel. A pixel.
Sure, the design and user experience is a big part of a website, but it is too easy for new bloggers to get fixated on things that are very trivial. You can become so consumed with making sure that the design is perfect and forget about what is really important… the content.
That’s right, what you need to be worried about the most is the content. The content is what is the most important. It is so easy to forget that.
Worry about your content first and foremost and think of your design as the best way to present your content.
Besides, the content should dictate your design. If you don’t have any (or, at least a plan for what you will have), then you really don’t know what your design/layout should be at this point anyway.
2) Think Long-Term
Realize that almost all content has an expiration date.
Think about it: unless you are writing a history blog, your content is going to expire at some point. If you are writing blog posts about the latest trends or stories in the news, they are probably going to expire much quicker than if you are writing an instructional guide.
When I first started blogging, I wrote a lot about recent changes on the various social media platforms, and my content was becoming outdated so quickly that I felt like I could not get ahead so to speak.
Nowadays, I make it a point to try to keep my content as “evergreen” as possible so that it should be relevant for months or even years to come.
So, when you are brainstorming your content and writing your posts, try to write your posts in such a way that they won’t likely need to be updated for the foreseeable future.
3) Avoid Dating Yourself
Speaking of dates, leave them off or put them in the title, not the URL
Back in the day, most blogs had dates in their URL like this:
If you are writing for a newspaper, this format probably makes sense. But, for anything else, it just makes your content look dated, even if it isn’t.
One mistake that I see many people make is that they will create a post and include the year in the URL. That’s great for this year, but what about next year? Will anyone really be inclined to share a post of “Top Tips from 2011” in 2018?
I think not!
A more forward-thinking way to handle this would be to only put the year in the title, not in the URL. This will allow you to easily repurpose the post the following year by simply updating the content and changing the year in the title.
For example, we have an article titled the “Best WordPress Plugins for 2018” which is one of our most shared posts. We originally wrote it in 2016!
Each year, we give it a once-over to add/remove plugins as necessary, we update our graphics, and change the date in the title, and then we republish it.
All of our backlinks are still good, and there is no need to set up redirects or anything like that.
We could even make it easier by not including the year in the graphic, but, we think it helps with social sharing, so we decided to go ahead and add it, knowing we would need to change it once a year.
The same goes for numbers, BTW.
For example, we have a post “11 Mind Hacks to Humanize Social Media,” but we did not put the number 11 in our URL.
Why? Well, first of all, it isn’t relevant for SEO purposes. Secondly, we could very easily republish this article to be “15 Mind Hacks to Humanize Social Media” by adding a few more points, changing our graphic, and editing our title.
Even this article, “12 Tips for New Bloggers” can easily be changed to “20 Tips” or “50 Tips” in the future since we have left the number out of the URL.
4) Don’t Worry About Traffic
Worry about what matters–writing good content–not about your traffic.
Now, I am not saying that traffic isn’t important or that you shouldn’t be concerned about your search rankings, etc.
What I am saying is that when you are a new blogger, there is no point in obsessing over your analytics. I actually used to check mine hourly! That time could have been much better spent writing more (and better) content.
Let’s face it; it is unlikely that you are going to have very good traffic in the first few days, weeks, or even months of launching your new blog.
Forget it for a little while.
Focus on writing good content.
Focus on adding value.
Focus on getting into a routine of publishing on a schedule.
There are lots of other more productive things to focus on besides whether you have one visitor or three.
5) Don’t Procrastinate on Email Marketing
Start an email list immediately.
While I don’t think you should worry about getting traffic just yet, I do think you should begin building your audience from the beginning.
An email list is going to be your key to success.
Here I am 20 years into my online career, and I still have not built an email list. What a colossal mistake! Don’t make the same mistake as I did… remember this: successful bloggers have email lists.Remember: Successful bloggers have email lists. Stop procrastinating and start yours today!Click To Tweet
If I had to just pick one tip to recommend to new bloggers, this would be it.
Think about it, even if all of your social profiles got banned and you lost all your search rankings, you can still drive traffic to your site via email if you have a good list.
And if you’re not sure where to start, Dustin has a great article about how to start growing your email list fast that is worth bookmarking.
6) Find Your Community
Get involved in blogging communities for your industry.
There are so many others who have already “been there, done that” that you could learn from if you just reach out and participate.
So go ahead and find some communities to join that will fast track you towards “learning the ropes.”
It can also help you realize that you are not alone and give you others to bounce ideas off of.
7) Narrow Your Focus
Focus on your blog and just one or two social networks, at first.
It is tempting to try to be everywhere, but you will end up spreading yourself very thin, and you won’t do anything very well. As the saying goes,
A mile wide and an inch deep.
Instead, put all of your focus on your blog and just one or two social networks… and do them really really well.
Once you feel like you have a good handle on them, you can always add one or two more into the mix.
8) Grow Your Trust
Before you even bother thinking about getting traffic to your website, you need to focus on how to convert website traffic once you have it. That requires establishing some credibility and earning trust.
Think about it… you are not going to sign up for someone’s email list, make a purchase, etc. if you don’t trust them, right? Of course, you aren’t.
Trust needs to be earned, and you can do that by making sure that everything you publish, from your blog to your social media posts to your email blasts–everything needs to be well-written, free of errors, and looks professional.
9) Don’t Try Monetizing Too Soon
It is tempting to put Adsense code and affiliate offers all over your blog. After all, you aren’t exactly doing this for your health, right?
Sure, you might make a few cents, but it is hardly worth the tradeoff of having ads all over your site.
Focus on creating good content.
Focus on building an audience.
There will be plenty of time to monetize later. Oh, and when you are ready, be sure to sign up for our affiliate program.
10) Don’t Overextend Yourself
Focus on one blog at a time, and don’t give up too soon.
If I would have stuck with it on even one of the dozens of blogs I have created over the past 20 years, I am convinced that I would have a very successful blog right now.
The problem is, I gave up too soon.
I lost interest in some, got frustrated with others, and have a serious case of “shiny object syndrome” that competes for my attention. Even now, I have several blogs going at one time, and, as a result, none of them gets my full attention.
I guess that I will never learn–or maybe it’s like they say and I’ll learn better by teaching. Hopefully, though, you can learn from my mistakes.
11) Stick with Your Passions
Do pick a topic you are passionate about. Trust me, writing about something you don’t really have an interest in just so that you can earn a few bucks is not going to be fun at all.
And, when the money doesn’t happen overnight, it is going to be hard to keep motivated.
On the other hand, if something really interests you, you will likely be able to effortlessly write about it day after day, month after month, and even year after year. You will take your interest to an expert level, and you will become the expert on the topic.
That is what makes a great blog.
12) Believe in Yourself
Everyone has to deal with their inner critic. You know, that little voice that tells you that your blog is a dumb idea and not really going to work anyway, so why bother?
Tell me, do any of these sounds familiar?
- There aren’t any good domain names left anyway.
- Everything has been written about before… there is nothing left to say.
- You’re never going to make money on a blog; you are 20 years too late!
Imagine what a world we would live in if people never got past these negative thoughts.
I have to believe that the most successful bloggers are the ones who have learned how to “Shush” their inner critic so that they don’t get discouraged and give up too soon.
Of course, I could keep going, and I may add some more tips for new bloggers in the future; but, for now, I think this is a pretty good start.
And, I know that you are dying to get back to blogging anyway!
Please feel free to leave your questions or comments below. If any of the blogging experts in our audience have some additional tips for new bloggers to add, please feel free to do so!