Blogging Tips for Beginners [19 of Our Best Hacks]
Blogging is a fun, and rewarding job that just about anyone with a computer and good control of language can do.
That might be a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s hard to overstate just how much a good blog can do for you.
Running a blog can give you a way to make a living while being in total control of how to run your life.
You can set your hours, work how you want, write about the things you enjoy, and make money doing it.
Successfully becoming a blogger can change your life for the better, but it’s necessary to emphasize the “successful” part here. The fact of the matter is most blogs aren’t going to be raking in cash.
Don’t let this discourage you. It merely says you need to assess the situation and figure out what you need to do to catch that success.
Hey, I'm dyslexic and I still blog.
There’s no magic spell or secret formula to becoming a great blogger, but there are several things you can do to help yourself when first starting out.
Here are our 19 blogging tips for beginners that will help get your site off the ground with a growing audience of fans.
1. Be Passionate about Your Topic
Only blog about something you love talking about. Plan and simple, no ifs, ands or buts. You should be able to ramble on and on about your niche for hours without getting bored.
Rule 1: Love your niche!
The best blogs focus on a single topic, not a random collection of incongruent parts. It’ll be up to you to decide what you actually want to blog about, but when you do, stick to it.
This means you should avoid going off topic as much as possible, especially in the beginning. If you’re getting a following, it’s because your new audience is enjoying the content you’ve been producing.
If you suddenly stopped producing this content shifting your blog’s focus to a different niche, you’d probably lose the followers you gained since they’re no longer getting the content they came for.
The above paragraphs are partially true.
Most likely, in the beginning, nobody is going to read your blog until you get a really good handle on creating traffic for your blog.
Once you start getting traffic to your blog, you should try and ask your early readers their opinion, what content they want you to produce.
Based on this early feedback, you should alter your subject to cater to your audience. Your writing style might be attracting a different audience than maybe you were originally expecting.
This is not a bad thing. Not listening to them, that would be a bad thing.
Ok, so using this early feedback, mold and adjust to the subject matter they're asking for. You don't have to change the blog into something you dislike, just learn to adapt a little.
2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
When first designing your blog, you’ll be tempted to keep tweaking every tiny detail until it’s “just right.”
Take my word on this one, nothing is ever going to be “just right” and you’ll have to learn to accept what you’ve got.
I still to this day, dislike the appearance of our wallet shop, but every time I hire someone to give it a makeover, they deliver something hideous.
Obviously, if something is blatantly wrong, you’re going to have to fix it.
But for those slight changes that most people wouldn’t notice or, worst of all, that lingering feeling of something being just a little “not right” about the layout? Sometimes it’s better just to let go.
The #1 thing people come to your blog for is the content.
While a catchy title, a cool logo, and attractive design all help to reel people in, the thing that’s going to make them stay is the content.
If you can focus on getting that down, they will forgive you for some of the growing pains that come with a new blog.
3. Write in a Naturalistic Style
No one wants to stick around on a blog that sounds like it’s written by those people who do the Terms of Service agreements no matter how interesting the content.
The best thing you can do is to try to mimic your natural way of speaking in how you write.
This not only makes your writing more personable but avoids the issue of sounding robotic or dispassionate altogether.
If you have trouble with this, try listening to how people talk in real life.
When you do, take notes on the inflections people use, their word choice, and all the little quirks of speech you don’t pick up on when merely talking.
Learning to integrate these elements into your own writing is half the battle to becoming a good writer.
4. Edit, Edit, Edit Again
Every writer should understand the importance of editing. Your first draft is never going to be perfect. You can always improve what you’ve got with a quick second look.
Your first draft is never your best.
Whether it’s grammatical problems, rambling sentences, misspelled words, or any number of other issues, taking some time to look over your posts before sending them out into the world is worth the trouble.
While a typo here and there isn’t going to turn everyone off your writing, sentences that go nowhere or huge portions of text full of wrong words and jumbled nonsense certainly will. Think of it like insurance; even if you don’t need it at the moment, it’s pretty helpful for when you do.
5. Don't Stay Consistent with Posting
Most gurus will tell you the opposite.
It's not true.
It's much better to write less, but to produce better quality content than to spit out rubbish articles just because you have to post something.
The 80/20 rule is in play here but it's probably opposite to what you've heard before.
Rule #3: Spend 20% of your time creating content. Spend 80% of your time, driving traffic to your content.
6. Reference Sources (boring)
Citing your sources isn’t just for kids in school. As a (presumably) adult running a blog, you’re expected to have some kind of knowledge on the subjects you’re writing about.
The easiest way to prove that you do or at least to make up for not knowing everything under the sun is to source other experts.
Linking out to articles shows you’ve done your research and have a level of authority on your particular topic. As a result, people are more likely to believe you and come back for more.
It’s also just good business sense.
Linking to authority websites in your niche is also seen as a good thing in Google’s eyes. It will help boost your blog in the search results.
7. Learn to Drive Traffic to Your Blog
Pop Quiz: How do you buy a product you’ve never heard about?
This same rule applies to blogs. No one can enjoy your content if they don’t know it exists. As such, you need to learn how to drive traffic to your blog.
While merely stumbling upon your content is a possibility, in the beginning, it’s much more likely that the bulk of your traffic will come from your efforts.
Setting up different social media accounts that lead back to your blog is a good strategy.
Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and the like can all be good places to advertise since they have exponentially more users visiting them than your brand new blog does.
It’s also helpful to get to know other prominent bloggers doing things similar to yourself. Rather than competition, start seeing these people as friends.
Rule #4: Learn to Network
Not only can you learn a lot from veterans in your industry, having your blog posts featured by them opens you up to larger audiences hungry for similar content.
8. Play to Your Strengths
Instead of just trying to learn new skills to succeed, try to make good use of the ones you’ve already have.
Playing to your strengths saves you time and makes for a more personal, rewarding, and fun blogging experience.
Can you code? Use that to make the best functional and aesthetically pleasing blog you can. Know how to cook? Come up with your own recipes and post them online for everyone to enjoy. It’s that simple.
On the flip side, keep things in perspective and be realistic.
Not a master at programming yet?
Maybe don’t try to build a whole website from the ground up.
Your best culinary experiments utilize ramen packs? You might not be the most qualified to write about cooking the perfect filet mignon.
In our blog posts, we use our Etsy shop a lot in examples because its one of our strengths, we're good at making money on Etsy.
9. Format for Mobile (Very Important)
This is possibly the most critical tip for every single website, new or old.
Smartphones are the most popular means of accessing the internet these days, so if your blog looks like a pile of garbage in the vertical view, you’re doing something wrong.
It’s worth it to take a few minutes every now and again to look up your blog from your phone.
If everything seems okay, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
If something’s gone wrong, you’ve at least got an idea about what to fix.
Rule #5: Read your blog on a mobile phone every day looking for errors. (Seriously)
***Save yourself a headache later on, start your blog with a responsive theme from Day 1.
Also, make sure to use a drag and drop editor, like Thrive Architect, that lets you preview your blog posts while you write them, on every type of platform.
10. Utilize Emails
Yes, no one wants to do it, but it’s time to suck it up and get with the program.
Email marketing is the most effective tool you have for growing your audience and, more importantly, monetizing that growth. It’s also incredibly easy with the right tools.
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There are plenty of programs you can use to set up an email subscription service for your audience to use.
They can be used to set up landing pages and subscription messages that let your readers opt into things, at which point you can construct newsletters and the like to help them stay up to date on the content you produce.
11. Say Things Simply
There’s nothing readers hate more than people who bury the goods in a wall of text.
Droning on with page upon page of filler language isn’t “building suspense” so much as unnecessarily bloating your word count.
This strategy only succeeds in boring your followers into unsubscribing.
When blogging, avoid using too many big words and keep both your sentences and paragraphs short.
This makes your work more accessible to skim and encourages people to finish what they’re reading.
These tips are especially valuable with regards to introductions, as most readers don’t even make it past them if they’re too wordy.
Try to keep most of your sentences under twenty words apiece.
Limit paragraphs to around three sentences or so and don’t be afraid to abuse the paragraph break. (I do)
You’re aiming for something quick and easy to digest that gets what you want to say out there in the simplest way possible.
12. Think of Good Headlines
While the name of your blog itself doesn’t matter in the long run (we can all think of a dozen successful businesses with terrible names), what you call your articles is a different story.
Headlines are the first thing a reader sees on any post, so it’s critical to make a good first impression.
Take the extra time to craft a headline that spells out what you’re going to be telling your reader.
Don’t go too overboard with the “bests” and “amazings” but try to use one or two to spice things up.
Additionally, data shows that adding an indication that your post has an infographic or PDF download makes readers more likely to click.
List and How-To's articles receive the highest click-thru rates.
13. Use Lots of Pictures
Give your audience what they want with plenty of photos and charts in your posts to help break up the blocks of text.
Professional images increase reader retention and promote a better understanding of the topic at hand.
While you shouldn’t cram pictures in every blank space, a few here and there are advised.
14. Save as Drafts First
When you’re done with your post, it’s necessary to stop yourself from immediately hitting the button to send it out. Like we talked about before, it’s critical to edit it before you publish.
Saving your posts as drafts and walking away for about a day is one of those things you’ll be amazed you never did before.
Taking that time to relax and rethink your writing dramatically improves your quality when you go back to give it another look.
Having a fresh set of eyes on the things you just wrote makes for much more effective editing than trying to fix things up right away.
You’re more likely to catch your mistakes when you force yourself to reread everything line by line like that.
It’s also a great way to start building up a backlog of content to post, so you’re not always forced to be on the edge of a deadline as you work.
Make posts in batches and save them for the future, so you have time for things besides running your blog.
15. Chase Some Trends
People talk about “chasing trends” as if it’s the worst thing you could possibly do. In reality, though, it’s probably the smartest decision you can make as a new blogger.
While leading the pack with the hot new thing is the dream, getting noticed is about making the content people want to read.
If there’s a bunch of articles on a new phone floating around, that should signal you that it’s time to throw your hat into the ring with one of your own.
Since there’s no quota on how much you can blog, it’s perfectly reasonable to make both popular content and more experimental posts.
However, to be successful, you need to focus on the former first. Make what sells and use your newfound attention to talk about the stuff that’s interesting and obscure.
Your best ally as a blogger is yourself, but you can also be your greatest enemy.
Remember our 80/20 rule from above.
You don't have to always be creating content. (BURNOUT!)
You’ve got tons of talent and great ideas just waiting to break out. It just becomes a matter of fighting back that anxiety and doubt keeping you from putting them into action.
Most of us struggle with the idea we’re not good enough at what we do.
This is especially sinister when it manifests in new ventures like this.
There’s no easy way out of this situation, so the best thing you can do is just do it.
You can’t wait around for someone else to inspire you or give you the ideas you need to succeed. That falls on you to put into action.
Whether you win or lose, the most important thing is to try, as it helps you conquer those fears and apply your confidence in everything you do from then on out.
17. Craft Your Image
Everyone likes to feel like they know the people who make their favorite content.
This is no different for bloggers who are often in a position to craft their personal image in a more tailored way than other creators.
Use this to your advantage as you get to know your community. Respond to comments and messages in a way that helps to further your brand while you talk with your fans. While it might seem a bit calculated, it’s the best way to succeed.
This doesn’t mean you have to act in a way that’s not you.
18. Don’t Overdesign
Overdesigning your blog is a pitfall many new bloggers fall into.
Enamored by all the fancy tools and plugins at their disposal, they go overboard slapping everything into a single site.
The result is a Frankenstein’s monster of a page that looks terrible and controls horribly.
While people like to be able to interact with blogs in the form of things like quizzes or graphics, that kind of stuff takes time and experience to integrate correctly.
While the best way to learn is by doing things, take things slow and don’t rush into stuff. If you’ve added moving graphics, sliders, and all sorts of fancy bells and whistles to every post you publish, people will just get sick of it after a while.
19. Work Very Hard
To become a successful blogger, you have to work very hard. What’s the use of all that hard work, though, if you’re not working hard in the right places?
We mentioned before how a blog’s title isn’t nearly as important as the content you produce.
Take that and apply it to other areas of the experience, too.
You might have the fanciest blog on the web after five weeks worth of tweaks and redesigns, but that means absolutely nothing if you have no posts to show for it.
Even worse, this hyperfocus on things that aren’t really important can become a way to distract yourself. (and BURNOUT!)
You can’t write, you say, as you’re too busy adjusting the header. You’re not able to finish this post right now, you claim, as the background color is just a little off.
Don’t fall into this trap since it can be extremely difficult to escape.
Do you remember the 6 rules I embed into this article?
Do yourself a favor, write them down and use them.