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An Introduction to Blogging for a Novice

By Tom Seest

How to Begin a Blog Starting From Scratch

For individuals, both men and women, who are interested in starting a career that enables them to work from home and be completely in control, one of the best paths to consider is blogging. However, for beginners in the blogging world, the process of setting up a blog and getting started can be somewhat daunting without any guidance. Once you have mastered the technical aspects of setting up a blog and learned how to produce content that resonates with your readers, you will find that blogging is not only enjoyable but also a profitable business model that is particularly suitable for beginners.

A blog is essentially a website or a section of a website that features articles designed to inform and entertain a specific audience. The subject matter of a blog can cover any niche, from lifestyle to finance to pets, and beyond. When you establish a blog, you provide a hub of information for your readers on a particular topic. They no longer have to comb through the internet searching for disparate articles; instead, they can visit your blog and find all the information they need in one location.

One of the great advantages of having a blog is the opportunity to inject your own perspectives and advice into the content. This not only helps to filter out those who may not align with your viewpoints but also to attract those who share similar interests. Moreover, there are numerous ways to monetize a blog, which makes the act of consistently publishing content even more enjoyable as you can earn income from your efforts!

In the following sections, you will find a straightforward guide that will assist you in launching your own blog. This guide will provide you with the technical and strategic steps you need to take to kickstart and sustain a profitable blog as your online entrepreneurial project.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-with-pink-hijab-testing-her-microphone-4911199/.
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How to Identify a Topic That Can Build a Successful Blog Site

Initiating a personal blog is an excellent method to engage with an audience and share your understanding and insights about a particular subject. You don’t necessarily need to hold a doctoral degree or any form of certification to become a skilled blogger. If you’re contemplating blogging as a profession, it’s important to consider not only what will provide you with personal fulfillment, but also what could potentially be profitable.

The initial step is to focus on what you already know and have an interest in. It’s possible that you possess knowledge from a former profession that could be shared with an audience who may not be as informed about that subject. Alternatively, you may have hobbies and interests that you’ve never thought about transforming into a business venture. For instance, if you’re passionate about activities such as cooking, baking, pet care, home organization, gardening, skincare and beauty, health and fitness, or financial strategies like wealth building, these can all be converted into a profitable blog that people will consult when they require advice.

It’s vital to remember that you’ll need to write about your chosen topic regularly, so it’s advisable to avoid selecting a subject that you could lose interest in or aren’t fully committed to. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a topic that will be profitable, which implies that you’ll need to determine whether there are digital or physical products that can be marketed or promoted within this specific niche.

After brainstorming potential ideas that you believe may suit your lifestyle, it’s crucial to conduct research on the topics you’ve listed, as well as others that you notice people discussing online that you may not have previously considered. Evaluate whether there is a substantial amount of competition in this niche. You wouldn’t want to choose a subject that has no competition. Nevertheless, a high level of competition could indicate a significant demand for this specific topic.

While you’re evaluating the competition, take the time to review their content and the level of engagement they’re receiving on their blog posts. You should also examine the structure of their blog and their branding strategy, to gain a better understanding of what the target audience desires.

Your blog topic can be either broad or narrow. For instance, if you were entering the weight loss niche, you could cover all aspects related to weight loss and dieting or focus on a specific diet plan or fitness program. You might even choose to target a specific demographic, such as women over the age of 40.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-wearing-a-pink-hijab-blogging-a-lip-gloss-4911256/.
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How to Set Up a Blog That Helps Convert

Once you have selected a topic for your blog, you’ll need to go through the most difficult part for most newbies, which is the blog setup. It’s actually not a hard process, but if you don’t know the steps in order, it can seem more difficult than it really is.
You want to first go out and conduct some keyword research so that you can find a domain name that is available in your niche using those words or phrases. This helps your audience immediately know what your domain is about and feel comfortable clicking on the link to get the information they need.
Once you find an available domain, preferably a dot com extension, you’ll need to get a hosting account that will host all of the files for your new blog. You’ll go through the steps that the domain registrar and hosting company have given you to connect the two entities, and then you will be ready to install WordPress.
The installation of WordPress is a very simple process that you can do through your cPanel in your hosting account for your blog. You will literally click on one button and enter the information they are asking for, for administrative reasons, and the system will install WordPress for you in approximately 60 seconds or less.
It will give you the URL and login information that you can use to access your dashboard on your blog. This is where you will go each time you want to access your blog, post new content or respond to comments, etc.
Every company has a different type of WordPress installation, so you may not see the same thing other people see. But you can look up the correct way to install it based on your cPanel and hosting account.
After you have installed WordPress, you can go to your dashboard and get all of the settings the way you feel they need to be set up for your needs. You’ll be able to give your blog a title and pick a theme for your blog that shows how the information is displayed to your users.
There are free themes and paid themes that you can choose from. Next, you want to set up your categories so that your target audience can easily navigate your blog to find whatever they need.
Think of it like an outline where you have your primary topics and then subtopics below those. For example, you may have a category titled diet plans, and the subcategories for that might include things like the keto diet, calorie deficit diet, Mediterranean diet, etc.
Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the dashboard so that you can easily log in and manage your blog whenever you need to. You’ll see where you can set up pages and new posts for your blog.
You can also go in and choose which plug-ins you want to have to operate on your blog, and you can delete any that are automatically installed that you don’t feel like you will be using.
Another thing you want to do is set up a strategic sidebar during this time. If you’re going to be building a list, you can put in an opt-in form that encourages your visitors to sign up for your list as new subscribers. You can also have other things in your sidebar, such as links to your products or ads that you want to run.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/female-vlogger-showing-a-product-4910936/.
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How to Brand A Blog For An Ideal Audience

You may think that the technical setup and content are enough to help your blog become a lucrative online entity. However, you have to have branding that helps set your site apart from the competition.
There are many different ways to brand your site. When you think about it, you can have one specific topic, and it can be branded in dozens of different ways. Even with the weight loss niche, you might have a fitness blog that is branded to feel like a drill sergeant instructor, a hard-core workout brand – and another that looks more like a peaceful yoga-inspired fitness brand.
You want to start by figuring out what you want your brand to look like. Sometimes, just the color palette that you choose can convey a certain personality. For example, using the fitness ideas above, the first option might have a camouflage or dark green, and black type of colors compared to the peaceful, yoga, inspired fitness brand, which can be anything from pink to green and blue, soothing earth tones.
The images that you choose will also define your brand’s look. If you have someone sitting in a yoga pose meditating, that conveys a very different brand notion than if you had an image of a man flipping one of those enormous tires uphill.
Think about the target audience that you want to attract and serve, and choose the images and colors that will best appeal to them. Fonts are another thing that can affect your branding.
You want to make sure your fonts are easy to read but also match up with the branding tone that you want to convey to your audience. There are some fonts that are very harsh-looking compared to the softer-looking fonts.
Once you get your brand look in place, you can order branding graphics for your blog or create them yourself. You’ll need a header, which is one of the most important parts of branding your blog because it’s the first thing visitors will see.
You may want to have a logo and some sort of tagline woven into the header as well. You may also want to order other blog graphics, such as your lead magnet offer image, and any other post graphics that you may be using, such as quote posters.
If you are going to be using social media to drive traffic to your blog, make sure you order the branding elements for your social media profile accounts so that they match your blog and are easily recognizable by your target audience everywhere.
You can create branding graphics yourself, using a site like Canva, along with stock images that you find for free, or for a small fee. Or, you can outsource the branding of your blog graphics to a professional on Upwork or Fiverr.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/female-vlogger-recording-herself-4910946/.
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How to Create High-Ranking Content That Captivates and Converts Readers

You may be thinking that the content is the most important part of your blog. And in many cases, it is. But unless you have all of the other factors in place, such as your technical setup, you may struggle to get any readers to find your blog content to consume it.
The way you write your content can make or break whether or not your blog ranks well in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The content has to be written so that it appeals to both search engines and human visitors alike.
As a newbie, it’s a good idea to go ahead and study current search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines so that you can start off on the right foot with your content. However, keep in mind that SEO is a continually evolving concept, so you will need to stay on top of any changes that could affect how your site is ranked.
The first thing you need to know about creating content is that Google puts an emphasis on wanting to highlight sites that provide valuable information for their users. If their users are not satisfied with your content, they will begin using a different search engine, so they will not rank your blog well if you slap up thin content pieces.
You want to develop a publishing schedule for content that your users are searching for. You can use keyword tools and other research methods to see how your demographic is using Google and other search engines to search for information about your niche and what information specifically they are looking for.
Your blog content can be a mix of information, entertainment, and recommendations on what they should do or buy next. When you cover a specific topic, make sure you are being comprehensive and thorough with what you discuss.
You want to make sure the reader doesn’t feel as if they have to go elsewhere to find more information. Make sure you are using the right keywords you are targeting in each post naturally but effectively so that search bots can tell what the post is supposed to be about.
You also want to make sure you are using keywords in the alt tags if you are embedding any images or files into your post. When you begin researching search engine optimization guidelines, you’ll learn how to structure and format your content and link out to other resources, either on your blog or elsewhere, to help optimize the experience for the end user.
One thing that might help you is to run an analysis of your blog content on one of the many tools that will tell you where you can make improvements to your content in terms of SEO.
While you will be creating most of your content, you can also invite other experts into your blog as guests to write their own blog posts on your site. This will also help increase your website’s traffic because they will send their readers to your blog to read that piece.
You can also curate content, which is where you share snippets of other content pieces, add your own insight about that piece, and make sure you give credit to the original source.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-showing-a-ring-on-her-finger-4910947/.
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How to Build a Loyal Blog Following with Better Engagement

When you put content up, your ultimate goal is to have people reading it, engaging with it, and ultimately taking your recommendations to heart. In order to achieve this goal, you want to build a community on your blog.
It’s almost similar to how a forum operates in terms of dedicated readers becoming involved in communicating with you and other readers in the comments section. Not only will these loyal blog followers engage with you, but they will share your content with their own followers and friends, who may also be interested in the same topic.
In order to create a community on your blog, you want to make sure that you respond to comments whenever your readers leave them for you. Many bloggers don’t respond to any comments, and it makes the readers not want to engage anymore.
But you have to make sure that you are not responding to spam comments. This will make you look like an amateur, and it will also muddy the comment section with useless comments.
You can use plug-ins like Akismet or CAPTCHA to help automatically eliminate spam. However, some spam comments might get through, and you can recognize them by seeing whether they are generic, like saying, ”Nice blog!’
If the comment isn’t specific about your post, then it is likely spam. Many scammers will go to your blog and leave a comment that is generic, along with a link to their URL, just to drive traffic back to their own site.
If you are blogging and getting traffic to your site, but people are not engaging, it may be for one of two reasons. The first is that you haven’t encouraged feedback. People need to have a call to action in order to take the next step, so you can invite them to comment below with their thoughts or feedback.
Another problem may be that they landed on the home page of your blog, and you have not used the More Tag. When this happens, users will be able to read your entire post, and they will not see the comments section at the bottom.
You always want to use the More Tag approximately 2 to 3 paragraphs into your blog post so that if someone does land on your home page, they will need to click through to read the full post. This is where they will see the comments section and engage with you.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/female-vlogger-showing-a-product-on-her-hand-4910949/.
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How to Turn A Blog Into a Profit-Pulling Machine

Blogging is a great and fun way to share your knowledge and thoughts with others around the world. And while many do it as a hobby, you want to turn your blog into a profit puller.
Monetizing your blog is something you can do in many different ways. One of the most popular and easiest ways to earn money from your blog is to allow ads to display on it. You can sign up for programs such as Google AdSense and simply insert the code that they give you into your blog so that ads will begin displaying.
Whenever a visitor to your blog clicks on those ads, you will earn money from them. You may find, after your blog begins to gain traction, that competitors come to you, asking to purchase ad space on your blog.
You can rent out ad space, such as banner ads under your header or ads in your sidebar, and charge a flat rate per month. Some of your competitors will also approach you to see if you would be willing to sponsor content from them, which is where you will publish a blog post they have written to your blog in exchange for a fee.
Another popular way to monetize your blog is to engage in affiliate marketing. Regardless of what your topic is, there are probably digital and tangible products that you can recommend to your audience using your own affiliate link.
Whenever the visitor clicks on that link and purchase the product, you earn a commission. Some of the most popular sites to promote products as an affiliate include ClickBank, Amazon, Share-a-Sale, JVZoo, Warrior Plus, and Commission Junction.
You can also find hundreds of other affiliate programs that are run by the vendor instead of a third-party platform. For example, if your blog is about making money online, you can use an affiliate link whenever you are talking about domain name registrars, hosting companies, or certain tools that people use that have an affiliate program.
If your blog is about a topic like pet care, you may find digital info products on the sites listed above about things like how to train your puppy – but you’ll also find tangible items that you can promote, such as dog beds, grooming, supplies, leashes, and more.
You may also have products of your own that you have created. If you are already blogging consistently, then that means you have a lot of information to share. You could create an eBook or digital course that you then promote from your blog to visitors.
Some people also have physical products that they like to promote from blogs or printable downloads that they sell on sites like Etsy. Or depending on your niche, you may even have services that you offer to your blog readers.
For example, if you teach people how to make money online, you might have a service where you ghostwrite for them. Or you might be in a niche where you offer coaching on a one-on-one or group basis.

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/female-vlogger-smells-a-beauty-product-4910950/.
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What Important Blog Maintenance Is Needed to Keep a Site Running Smoothly?

Starting a blog for profit is a fun and exciting endeavor to pursue. However, you can’t just start a blog and let it run on its own. You have to engage in routine blog maintenance periodically to keep your site functional as well as safe from hackers.
Blog maintenance is going to help your blog perform better when it comes to the speed at which your pages load. Your content will be safe from any threats of hacking or malware, and it will also improve the user experience.
Every time you log into your blog, you want to look at and take care of those first. On the left side of your dashboard, you will see an update notice, and it will give you a number of how many updates need to occur.
When you click on that option, it will show you exactly what needs to be updated, such as the version of WordPress that you are using or the plug-ins or themes that you are using.
You can then check the ones you want to update and let the system complete the update for you. Put yourself on a schedule for updating if you are not logging into your blog frequently.
As a blogger, you should be publishing content on a regular basis, but because the blog has the option for you to queue up posts to be scheduled ahead of time, you may not physically be logging in as often.
Another thing you want to do for your blog maintenance is to create a backup of your blog periodically. If for some reason, your data is lost, you want to be able to restore your blog easily without losing all of the work you have done. Make a plan to create a monthly backup of your blog.
Find and use a tool that will let you monitor how your blog is performing in the search engines, and in general. It can show you which pages are ranking well in the SERPs and also whether or not you have any broken links that need to be fixed.
Getting started with a blog as a newbie might require you to undergo a short learning curve, but once you learn the ropes, you will find that the background tasks are not difficult to manage and that you get to have fun churning out content that your target audience appreciates!

This photo was taken by RODNAE Productions and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/female-vlogger-on-bed-doing-a-product-test-4911016/.
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