Blogging: The Definitve guide
Blogging is the most used professional word by digital marketers.
In this guide you will learn, what is blogging? what is blog? How to start a blog? And how to implement blogging in the upcoming years so that it will be beneficial for you and your career.
If you want to start a blog in 2020, it could be a great idea!
Because nowadays so many resources available on the web which will let you understand blogging better.
Don’t be too confused by reading so many blogs which will be telling you different blogging methods. Forget everything and start fresh.
Let’s start with some basic knowledge about blogging.
Introduction to blogging
The word ‘Blog’ came from ‘weblog’. This word was first used in 1997 by Mr Jorn Burger, an American blogger.
Blogging means to put your words or say, log on an online diary.
According to Wikipedia, till 2009 blogs were single authored diary. People used to give information or can comment about any particular topic.
After 2010, MAB or, multi-Authored-Blogs started becoming popular.
What is a blog?
Most of the people don’t even know ‘blog meaning’. Let me tell you by some simple example.
When we are stressed or, happy, what we use to write our expressions and thoughts?
Of course a ‘diary’.
A diary contains all the information throughout our life journey. May be some useful contents too !
Blog is just like the same.
The basic difference is, blog is an online personal diary, which is hosted on a server.
The online diary which we are talking about is a ‘blog’. Though there are some difference between a diary writing and blog writing.
You can put anything in a diary, whom you like, whom you dislike, what you did yesterday, etc. And of course you can put those in a blog too.
But that will be called as ‘personal blogging’, or, ‘simple blogging’.
We are here to know about ‘professional blogging’. Here, you have to have interest on a particular topic. And you can write all your experience defining that topic on a blog.
What is a blog and how does it works?
According to Google experts, blog definition is, ‘combination of some web pages containing useful information updated on a regular basis’.
People can run a blog individually too. Most of the popular blogs nowadays are running by a group, or say, a team.
In a blog, people put content about what they have knowledge, and then request search engines to show their content on top.
Millions of people searching for information on the web. If search engines think that content is useful for readers, it will be shown on top.
Easy peasy ! Right?
Wait, it’s not a cake walk. I just gave an outline of how blogging works. We’ll talk about blog ranking later.
The golden era of starting a blog is over. Yeah, that’s the bitter truth!
But that doesn’t mean someone can not get success in blogging nowadays. Because we have so many resources like blogs, YouTube videos from where we can gather perfect knowledge.
But watching videos or reading blogs are not sufficient. We should implement what we are learning.
Researching about those are the first step.
I’ll give you definitive idea of what you should do and what you should avoid.
#1 Peek inside you:
We all have something very special inside us.
Remember JK Rowling’s quote?
Try to find out what you are good at. Which are the things you are passionate about?
Take a notebook and a pen. Write down all the topics which are instantly coming in your mind.
It may look like this:
5. and many more…
Now, on the next page of your notebook, write essential 20 instant topics about each of your passion.
By this you are making the list shorter!
There are chances that as many as 3 topics still be there.
Now elaborate at least 3 topics of around 2000+ words. You will see what topic is working for you, and what isn’t.
By doing this repeatedly you will get the best topic which suits you.
#2 Find a profitable niche:
‘Niche’ seems to be a new word for you. Well, niche means area of expertise, it could be anything you are expert at.
Now, what is a profitable blog niche?
Suppose, you are writing about ‘making tomato jelly’ and not a single person is searching for this on the web. Then, why writing for it? and who are the audience you are writing for?
A ‘profitable niche’ is that on which you can work easily, rank easily, and earn easily, without any or, less competition.
Everyone is finding for such niches. Do they really exist?
Let me explain.
Do you know why 96% of blogs fail to stand out? They do not choose profitable niche.
There are some metrics which we should take into account while choosing a profitable blog niche.
#1. Check audience of your niche:
If you are working on ‘weight loss’ niche, you can check how many people are searching for weight loss on the web every month.
There are some paid as well well free tools which you can use to determine the monthly search volume of a certain keyword.
Here are some of the best:
- ahref (paid)
- semrush (paid)
- Answer the public (Free & paid)
- Google Keyword planner (free)
#2. Check CPC:
”CPC’ means cost per click. When your blog will attract some audience, you can show advertisement on your blog.
When someone click on the advertisement, you will be paid with a small amount. That is where CPC works.
The more your niche has CPC, The more you can earn with advertisement.
Google Key Word Planner is the best tool to find out CPC of any keyword.
#3. Check affiliate products related to your niche:
Most of the pro bloggers earning thousands of dollars through affiliate marketing.
Because it gives you the ultimate freedom to work online.
Once, a blogger said, “Never rely on one revenue source.”
There are so many affiliate websites like Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, Shareasale, and many more.
Just you need to sign up there, after getting approval, you will be allowed to share your own affiliate link with others.
But if you are working on a different niche unlike others, you have to find out who are affiliates you will be working with.
#4. Ask yourself some questions:
I recommend you to ask yourself some important question before diving in.
- will you love writing on this same niche after one year?
- Can you write more article after 50+ published posts on your blog?
- Who are the public which you will be sharing your posts initially?
- Is your niche with less competition?
- If not, who are the competitors?
- Can you beat them?
- Which is going to be your strategy to beat them?
If you can answer yourself all these questions, a bright future is waiting for you!!
#3 Buy your brand domain:
Now its time to plan for your blog.
There are some essential things you need to start a brand new blog from scratch.
#1. What is domain name?
Domain name is the address where internet user can access a website.
This is used to identify computers on the internet. We all know computers use a series of numbers which is called IP address.
But we humans are unable to remember those type of strings, and that is why domain name was discovered.
Think about if any user want to reach to your site, what will he do? Simply, he will type your domain on browser and Google will show him your site.
Like, I have the domain name: “specialblogger.com“
Before buying a domain, do proper research about it. It is going to be your brand name. So, never buy a domain without research.
It has four parts. i.e. :
In my domain, https://www.specialblogger.com,
- https:// is Hypertext Transfer protocol.
- www. is a subdomain.
- specialblogger is the domain name.
- .com is a domain extension.
#2. How to choose a domain name?
It has some simple, easy yet important methods of finding out your brand name.
1. Using of EMD. EMD means exact matched domain. In 2020, many experts advised to use EMD, though Google didn’t state that using EMD will improve your ranking.
But if you have your targeted keyword in your domain then it will be beneficial for your branding surely.
2. Use TLDs. TLD meand top level domains. We all have domain extensions such that ‘.com, .net, .org, etc. These are known as TLD.
Use ‘.com’ for commercial domains, ‘.org’ for non-profit organizations, ‘.net’ for technology or software related domains. We prefer .com domain most.
Now if you target certain countries then also you can use cTLD which country top level domain like ‘.in’ for India, ‘.pk’ for Pakistan, ‘.us’ for United states, etc.
3. Keep your domain name short and sweet. Usually shorter domain seems user friendly.
4. Shorter domain will also help your audience to remember your brand. If they love any content on your site, and later on if they need some more information on that particular topic, then they will just type you brand name and the keyword.
That is the benefits of using domain which will be remembered for lifetime.
5. Domain name must have to be unique. If someone copy a site’s domain name, they simply can’t rank. Because someone else is already ranking for that domain keyword. It will be hard to beat that.
6. Lean domain search is a great tool which allows you to put your targeted keyword and shows you hundreds of results which are available .com domain. Those are unique and brandable.
7. Try to avoid using numbers in your domain. Because, using numbers like ‘shekharchatterjee9987.com’ will not let you to become popular.
And also, this is not easy to remember, not brandable too.
Buy hosting for 1 year Free domain
#3 Buy a good web hosting:
Do you know what is web hosting and how does it work?
Web hosting is an online storage where you set up your blog.
Hosting provider gives you the services or, technologies to submit a web page or, a website on the Internet.
There are many web hosting provider in the market who provides you free domain with their hosting packages.
But we recommend using SiteGround hosting. There are several reasons why we choose SiteGround.
Types of web hosting:
There are several types of web hosting. You should choose the plan according to your website audience and also keeping in mind the storage you need.
This are the types:
- Shared hosting: Preferable for small blogs.
- Virtual Private Server hosting (VPS): Preferable for medium websites.
- Dedicated Server hosting: Designed for large data websites.
- Cloud hosting: Huge E-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart.
- Managed WordPress hosting: Specially designed for WordPress users.
Here are the reasons we are recommending SiteGround hosting for you as a beginner:
- #1 Customer support is awesome. We can contact them via phone, Email, Live chat.
- #2 You can get 30 GB storage on GoGeek shared hosting plan, which is the best thing.
- #3 SiteGround gives you unlimited database even with their smallest shared hosting plan.
- #4 They provide you unlimited bandwith with all theiir plans.
- #5 You can create unlimited subdomains, email accounts and FTP accounts wiith all their plans.
- #6 SiteGround provides 30 days static and dynamic caching options.
Why a good web hosting is important?
There are free platform available for blogging too. But you might be advised to start your blogging career on a self hosted WordPress platform.
Some reasons must be there, for that experts are advising you to buy a good web hosting.
You heard about blogspot, right? What is blogspot?
It’s a free blogging platform structured by Google. You will be given free lifetime hosting there, no issues at all. But there are some limitations.
With a good web hosting you can get all the benefits like:
- Lesser loading time of your website. This is one of the important SEO metrics on Google’s eye. If you have a blog with 5 seconds+ loading time, then you might lose 78% of your visitors.
- No or, less downtime. A good web hosting can provide your site ‘no downtime problem’. If visitors click on your URL and see pages like ‘Server not responding’, they will never come to your site again.
- A better web hosting can give all the essential security options. With some awesome feature your site can have lesser chances to be hacked.
- We all face problems throughout our blogging journey. At that time we need customer support. A best web hosting can provide 24/7 customer support.
#4 Install WordPress
Now, You bought two essential things to start a blog which are a domain and a hosting.
You’re good to go with WordPress now. Some hosting provider provides in-built WordPress application in your hosting file manager.
In some cases, You have to install it manually.
Here is what to do to install WordPress:
1. Download the stable version of WordPress package from here.
It will be saved to your computer memory when the download completes.
2. Now you have the application, go and upload the application to your host server.
Before uploading it, do not forget to extract files from the zip.
Hosting provider will give you a ‘c-panel’. There will be a File manager like your computer have.
Now, you just have to upload extracted files to a a folder there named ‘public.html’. If you want to run any specific part of your blog on WordPress, you have to upload it on sub folder, like ‘public.html/affiliates/’.
3. The last and final step is to create a Database and give yourself user permission on that database.
If you want to know about database guide, check this article.
4. Complete pre-installation process by giving username, password, blog title, descriptions, languages, etc. You can do this later too.
#5 Design your blog with a stunning theme
Like YouTube, Facebook, Google also detects user engagement. And the user-engagement will increase if your blog owns a superb design.
There are many free themes available on WordPress theme store.
Some the best themes free themes available there are:
- Astra free
- OceanWP free
- Hestia free
- Uses the most stable coding standard
- Light as a feather, size almost less than 30kb
- Clean coding helps to get lightening fast speed
- SEO optimized theme
- Accessibility ready and most user friendly.
What experts are saying about GeneratePress?
#6 Install essential Plugins
Of course, people visit blogs for blog information. But still, we need to customize our blog such a way that we can re-target the same users to our blog.
In blogspot, All the customization you have to do manually and with the help of some coding knowledge.
But, here in WordPress some plugins can do the whole process so easily.
I have listed out a few helpful plugins for beginners:
1. Classic editor:
It is safely maintained by WordPress team for them who loves writing. It has a simple interface. Just install and start working.
You can change writing screen to full screen. Also you can change the default editor, also you have the permission to change any editor when needed.
2. Really simple SSL:
If you are taking blogging professionally , then I must tell you to switch your site to ‘https’. Because it proves that your site connection is secure.
Really simple SSL can switch your site from ‘http’ to ‘https’ with one click. You just need a valid certificate. That’s it.
3. Akismet anti-spam:
As our blog gain some audience, or while we share our blogs on social media, some traffic reach to our website. They might love to comment on the blog about the article.
But nowadays, many spam users are just commenting everywhere with a same punch line. It can mislead your readers.
By using this plugin, you’ll make sure that no spam comment are there on your blog.
4. RankMath SEO:
SEO is a big term. We’ll talk about it later.
In 2020, RankMath is one of the top notch SEO plugin which will do all the necessary SEO related things for you. You just need to set up the plugin properly.
This is the most important difference in Blogger vs WordPress. Blogger do not provide you this type of plugins.
We are running our blog on a server which is online. There may be so many problems on the server.
What to do when our site will get crashed?
This is why backup is so much important. We need to have back up of whole website with databases in our drive automatically.
UpdraftPlus will help you get back up of whole site into your Google drive.
6. Wordfence security:
There are so many malicious traffic on the internet. Wordfence is a top class free security plugin which helps your blog to prevent malicious attacks.
Also it will ensure two factor authentication, CAPTCHA login page to stop entering bots to your site.
Now, you have completely set up your blog with a domain, and hosting. Also, you design your blog according to your needs and install all the essential plugins.
Now, it’s the time to write.
Blog writing: How to write a blog post
Writing a blog on a niche which you have interest is easy.
But in 2020, There are a few factors should be considered keeping in mind the current market competition.
I will guide you how do you start writing a blog?
According to Hubspot, there are 6 types of common blog post:
- “How to style” posts.
- “List-based” posts.
- “What is: type of posts.
- Infographic posts.
- Pillar page type of posts.
- News blog posts.
#1 Identify your blog audience:
First of all, you have to identify who are the audiences you are writing for? And what actual information they need from your blog?
No one loves reading a 5000 words blog post, that’s true!
But make sure at least you are targeting the right audience.
If you are selling something through your blog, then first understand buyer’s persona.
#2 Eye-catching title:
A survey proves that, blogs with eye-catching title increase click through rate.
Always try to give a question mark on your readers mind through your title so that they want to really read your blog.
Using your targeted keyword in title is necessary. So, keeping all in mind choose a title which is gonna really work.
#3 Research and outline your content:
It is better to outline your content before you start writing on it.
Sometimes, we get distracted by something else, and when we start writing again from later part, we forget everything.
So, creating an outline will help you understand how your content structure is going to be.
#4 Use short paragraphs:
Short paragraphs gives a better look to your content.
If you write full blog without any paragraphs, then it might look so messy.
You are recommended to read other blogs too and check what and how they are writing their content.
#5 Write in-depth guide:
We usually give all our time to research about any content.
Researching means checking how our competitors are doing with their content.
Once you discover something missing in their article, try to add them on your own. Readers should not exit your blog to check someone other’s for the same content.
#6 Use headings properly:
In, WordPress and blogger, there are options to choose your heading like Microsoft word.
The heading structure looks like this:
This will let your readers properly understand your content, what points are to note and what are less important.
Blog ranking: how to rank your blog?
Here comes the most important term for your blog which is ranking of blog.
Blog writing and blog ranking are two different things. We write blog posts everyday. But that doesn’t mean, those will rank for sure.
There are several search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo.
All have different ranking algorithm. A page which ranks number 1 on Bing may not rank 1 on Google.
Google is the most used search engine across the Internet. There are billions of people using Google everyday. No doubt, it posses the toughest ranking algorithm too!
But do not worry! I will let you know below how you can rank your blog.
Before diving in, let me tell you, ranking a blog is a time-taking process. It won’t happen overnight. So, keep patience.
#1. Properly keyword research:
If you’re targeting a keyword which has high search volume with high competition, then you have less chances to rank higher.
Because there are so many high authority blogs already ranking for those keywords.
It is really tough to beat them for a newbie blogger.
So, better try finding keywords which have moderate search traffic with less competition.
You can also start a blog on a micro niche. Just choose a broad niche and put it on tools like ‘ahrefs, SEMrush’. They will show all the keyword ideas related to that particular niche.
#2. Use SEO friendly theme:
As I have told this before, themes like GeneratePress premium will give your blog a professional touch, and on the other hand it is one of the best SEO friendly theme.
That means it consists of all the SEO factors which are important for your site to be ranked.
#3. Increase your page speed:.
In recent times, Google declared about page speed factor.
And according to a survey, people usually deny visiting a website which doesn’t load in 3 seconds.
So, no matter how good your content is, it will never rank if your page does not load with in 3 seconds.
I recommend using WP Rocket plugin. Though it is a premium plugin, but it’ll worth your money.
Otherwise, you also can use free plugins like WP super cache, W3 total cache.
#4 Write engaging content:
Audience engagement is an important SEO factors.
Suppose you came to my site once, and read some messy type of articles which are irrelevant.
Do you want to come again to read posts to my site? Never!!
Google determines all these small things while ranking a web-page up. So, never dissatisfy your audience.
#5 Create backlinks:
Backlinks means mentioning your website or, a particular page on another site.
In 2020, many site owners are charging up to 30$ for one backlink. But still, there are some ways through which you can create free backlinks.
Backlinks are of two types, i.e. ‘Nofollow’, and ‘Dofollow’.
Creating do follow backlinks on a high authority relevant blog can help your site grow rapidly.
Guest posting is another way to create legit backlinks.
Promote your blog
#1 By Expert round up post:
Expert round up posts are a very crucial and unknown way to promote your blog and drive traffic initially.
You need to approach some of your niche related experts and request them to give personal opinion on a particular topic.
Here is an example from BloggingWizard. Check out how he got 2200+ social share of a single post.
#2 Use Quora:
Quora is a superb platform for beginner bloggers. Approximately 1 millions+ question asked on quora daily on different topic.
You have to find the trending question from your field. After you get that, write in-depth answer(500 words are good) with some photos.
Request people to upvote if they found your answer helpful. And at the middle of your answer hyperlink your blog post so that readers can view your blog to read the full answer guide.
But remember, never copy answer directly from your blog. Quora can ban you.
#3 Start a YouTube channel:
People nowadays prefer visual answers most. So if you are the one who did not started YouTube channel, then start it from today.
Continuously working on your channel gradually attracts visitors.
Once you gain a moderate amount of subscriber there, You can link your blog on every video’s description and tell your viewers to check the blog post to have a detailed guide.
#4 Promoting your blog on other website:
There are two way you can do this. The first one is, you can comment on blogs with some valuable words, and link your blog properly there.
Here is a guide how you can do this: Blog commenting.
And the second one is Guest posting.
This is one of the most legit way to promote your blog. Because you can get a chance to hyperlink your blog on someone other’s website.
If they have a huge audience, you can get a ton of traffic from there.
#5 By email marketing:
You may be familiar with social medias like Facebook, Twitter. But I can assure you that email is still the most effective way to generate traffic.
There are several tools in the market with the help of which you can collect emails on your blog.
After publishing a blog, you can send mail to the readers who already loved your previous blog posts.
Make money blogging
Yes! You heard it right. You can generate up to 1000$+ revenue monthly from blogging.
Once you set up your blog level to standard to a global audience, and once they started trusting you, you are done!
Here are some of the best earning methods for bloggers:
#1 By showing advertisement:
Platforms like Google Adsense, media.net, Prpeller ads will help you to show advertisements on your blog.
There are certain conditions to show advertisements though. Once you fulfill all those conditions, you will be able to show ads.
#2 Affiliate marketing:
This is one of the best way of earning through a blog.
Affiliate marketing means showing, reviewing some company’s product or, services on your blog.
Once your readers click on link and purchase that product or service, you will get a certain commission from the respective company.
There are tons of affiliate companies like Amazon affiliate, Flipkart affiliate, Shareasale, Commission Junction, Clickbank, and many more.
Sponsorships are the paid advertisement where you take money from any service provider to write a review of their items.
This is also as a huge earning opportunities area. High authority blogs even take up to 200$ for one single sponsorship post.
Over to you
As promised, I gave you all the details about blogging.
I hope with this Blogging A to Z guide, now you can start your own blog, and make your business online.
I told you previously that blogging can be done on some free platforms too. But it is highly recommended to invest some penny into this.
Because, Blogging is also like an online business, and business needs investments.
So, better to keep a mindset like a business person.
If you have any further question, then you must check out our blogging FAQ guide section.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the above mentioned links are affiliate links in the text or image form. I personally never charge any kind of extra money from my readers. Once you purchase something from my links, I will get some commission from respective company for guiding you in the right way.