Category Archives: Blogging Tips

Prerequisites for Creating a Blog

BloggingThere are many people out there who would like to launch their own blogs. However, not many have an idea where to start. Quite often, blogs don’t succeed because people don’t prepare adequately at the onset. If you are planning to start a blog, here are some guidelines which could be helpful.

1. Identify your niche

When starting a blog, you need to select a topic which you are passionate about. Don’t just select a popular niche for the sake of attracting lots of traffic. Instead, think of what you love writing about and what you are conversant with. You could also select a subject which you want to learn more about. However, make sure the niche selected is not too narrow to avoid running out of ideas.

2. Choose a design

Before starting a blog, you need to choose which layout and design to use. Select a design which will not have to be changed frequently to avoid confusing readers. Be sure to keep things as simple as possible. If your design is too complex, it might end up putting off visitors. In addition, make sure your design is fitting for your blog’s topic.

3. Understand the basics

At the onset, you need to have a good understanding of the basic principles of blogging. How can you rank high on search engines? How can you enhance your traffic? For instance, some of the ways in which you can enhance your traffic is by guest posting on other blogs or promotion in social media sites. A higher ranking in search engines can be achieved through tactics like using the right keywords. When starting out, you should also think about the purpose of your blog and what unique benefits it can offer the readers. Finally, you need to find out how you can generate some income through selling advertising space or affiliate marketing.

4. Research SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is very important for the success of any blog. When getting started with blogging, you need to understand how this works. Carry out some research and learn about different SEO techniques such as link building and using keywords. SEO can attract traffic to your blog and thus enhance your search engine ranking.

5. Get content writing experience

Content is king! However, many people write for search engines rather than people. This is a big mistake. To succeed as a blogger, you need to create high quality and relevant content which will grab the readers’ attention and encourage them to come back for more. Therefore, before starting a blog, it is important to get some experience in writing content. You can learn through writing for other blogs, taking classes or getting tips from other bloggers.

6. Interact with other bloggers

Getting tips from other bloggers is very important when beginning your own blog. You can find great advice by reading their blogs or contacting them directly. If you choose to get in touch with them, ask them how they got started. In addition, find out what techniques they use to generate traffic and optimize their blogs.

Tips for Creating Guest Post Guidelines

Guest Post GuidelinesNowadays, many blog owners are accepting guest posts on their blogs. Having clear and solid guest post guidelines will help you reduce the number of irrelevant and low-quality submissions. Since people will understand from the onset what is required, you will be able to turn down or modify posts submitted without offending anyone.

The following are some of the things you need to consider when creating your guest posting guidelines:

1. Quality requirements

Many people avoid imposing strict guest posting standards, imagining that it would stifle the writer’s creativity. However, if there are no standards, you might just end up with many poor quality posts. Therefore, you need to outline clearly what is required in terms of originality, spelling and grammar, word count and uniqueness.

2. Preferred topics

List a few specific subjects in which you would want to receive guest posts. You could consider including some topics which you are not very conversant with so as to get a perspective from more experienced people. Alternatively, you could offer samples of posts which have received a good response from your audience in the past.

3. Link requirements

When it comes to linking, it is important to outline what is acceptable and what is not. You need to:

  • Specify the number of links that can be included in the byline or content
  • Clarify your position on affiliate links. It would be advisable to forbid inclusion of such links in the post content
  • Mention your stand on keyword-rich anchor text
  • Specify if writers have permission to link to their own content
  • Mention if guest posters are required to include links to related posts on your blog

4. Image requirements

You need to make it clear whether guest posters are required to submit a relevant image along with their post. However, before publishing an image on your blog, make sure it has been properly attributed. Failing to credit images might result in your blog being penalized.

5. Republishing policies

To avoid duplicate content problems, it needs to be clear that as the blog owner, you will retain exclusive rights of all the guest posts submitted on your blog. The author will get the credit but will not be allowed to republish their post elsewhere. You also need to mention that only original content will be accepted on your blog.

6. Formatting preferences

What is your preference regarding the formatting of guest posts? You need to make it clear if you prefer:

  • Guest posts submitted in HTML formatting
  • Sub-headings or H2-H3 tags in the post body
  • Bullet points or brief paragraphs to make your post scannable

Now that you have read these tips, take time to draft or modify your own guest post guidelines. Remember to create a separate ‘Write for Us’ or ‘Guest Blogging’ page on your blog where visitors can find these guidelines.

7. Editorial policies

If you intend to edit guest posts, make this clear in your guidelines, outlining the circumstances which would lead to editing. This will enable you to make changes without offending the guest poster.

Business Blogging – Getting Started

Business BloggingNowadays, many business owners have blogs as an integral element of their online marketing strategies. A business blog can be a very powerful tool for generating publicity, showing expertise to customers and creating brand awareness.

Before starting a business blog, you need to ask yourself if you have the ability and time to maintain a blog. For a blog to be successful, it needs to be maintained on a daily basis. A blog which lacks useful or fresh content ends up being ineffective. In addition, it gives a poor impression of your business, as well as your professional image. Therefore, to ensure that your blog remains effective, you need to publish two or three original posts every week on topics which are relevant to your industry, your customers or your business. If you lack the ability of providing useful and fresh content regularly, it would be advisable to put your plans of starting a blog on hold.

Starting a blog is very easy. You have the option of using one of the many free blogging services and platforms available, such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad or LiveJournal, Blogetery or Jux. These blogging services offer templates which make it very easy to build a blog according to your needs. You could either choose to host your blog on your site, or separately from your site. However, you are likely to have more success if the blog is hosted on your site.

One of the leading reasons why many people shy away from launching a blog is because they are unsure about the quality of their writing. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an accomplished writer to become a blogger. Almost anyone can write brief, simple and interesting posts on something they are conversant with. If you write on a subject that you are passionate about, chances are high that your audience will enjoy reading the post.

Becoming a successful blogger does not happen overnight. In most cases, it takes a long time to build a loyal readership. However, before getting started, you need to determine what ‘success’ means to you personally as a blogger. If your goal is increasing traffic to your blog, you need to learn about and apply different SEO tactics to attract more visitors. If your aim is to educate people about your business, make sure your blog contains enough information about your products and services.

When getting started with blogging, don’t be too anxious about impressing your audience. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or getting criticized. Blogging about something you are passionate about should be fun. You will learn along the way and improve with time. Eventually, your blog will become an essential tool in your marketing strategy.

Interview – Jane Sheeba

Jane SheebaJane Sheeba is the owner of probloggingsuccess.com, a blog designed to offer both aspiring and established bloggers tips for successful problogging. Here is the interview…

First, give us a little background about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you? Educational background?

Hi. I am Jane, a part time blogger from India. I am married to a handsome, rational and a wonderful person. We have a 2+ yr old smart son.  I am 31 yrs old now. I have completed my Ph. D in 2008 in the field of Medical Physics. In layman terms, my research is based on studying mathematical models of complex systems (numerically) in order to understand the phenomena behind various kinds of synchronization in neuronal networks (in the brain). If you don’t understand all these, never mind 🙂

Tell us briefly about your journey in blogging.

My blogging journey started as an accident. I just wanted to overcome my loneliness (when I went to the UK, for the first time away from home). So I started a couple of blogs on blogger and was simply sharing anything and everything that came to my mind. When I came back to India after my Ph. D, I started to understand the real potential of blogging (and of course, I was already addicted to it). So I started my blogging journey with my first self-hosted blog Find All Answers. Later on, I split Find All Answers to various blogs, each of them focused on a specific niche.

What specific services do you offer on probloggingsuccess.com? In your experience, which of these services have the most demand?

 

Blog audit and thesis theme customization are the most popular ones.

How much on average do you earn as a freelance blogger?

I presently don’t do much of freelancing. My sites keep me busy with writing and I enjoy writing for my sites 🙂 I accept freelance offers very rarely; I earn from $700 – $1000 on freelancing nowadays and I don’t take up gigs more than that coz I can’t handle them!

What strategies do you use to attract traffic?

I used to be so active all over the place to generate traffic. Although earlier when I adopted all those methods I was able to generate traffic; not all that traffic was targeted and hence it wasn’t much useful.

Nowadays I concentrate on guest blogging, social media (mainly Facebook and Google plus) and a little bit of blog commenting. I find that the traffic generated this way, although lesser than it used to be, converts much better.

What is the secret to being a successful blogger?

Patience, Consistency and Smart work (I wouldn’t say hard work).

Besides probloggingsuccess.com, do you write for any other blogs?

Yes I run the following blogs:

Best Autoresponder Tips

Tech Buzz Online

Merry Relationships

Zion Revival Ministries

Jane Sheeba (my personal blog)

Who are your role models?

My dad is my role model for being systematic with things and being productive.

As a blogger, what achievements are you most proud of?

I’ve haven’t thought that I’ve achieved anything to celebrate yet. But that’s not a negative statement. I just don’t want to get into a success comfort zone. So I simply would like to move on and proceed.

But to answer your question, the mere fact that I am able to gain authority and credibility in a niche with a nice society (online) of people who follow me is a great thing indeed.

Are there any unique challenges you face as a blogger in India?

Yes there are many actually. As an Indian I have some stupid restrictions in my PayPal account. We have shipping address problem with most Amazon products (I usually choose a lot of books but couldn’t get them shipped to my address!). And we have serious power problems. This hits my work schedule seriously.

You have written a couple of eBooks. Tell us about them.

Both of my ebooks were born out of my own experience. Problogging Action Plan is a step by step guide to help bloggers achieve their blogging success. The book covers topics such as identifying your blogging goal, blog setup, list building, content creation, search engine optimization, link building, and blog promotion. The book is designed to also help bloggers who have started blogging without a proper goal.

Guest blogging Champion is a mini project – this was born out of the so many emails I was receiving after people looked at the list of my guest posts; and they wanted to know how I was able to get so many guest posts out. So Guest Blogging Champion was born. I cover the following in that book:

1. Why should you guest post (not the usual stuff, there’s something more important here)

2. Getting over with the fear of guest blogging

3. Choosing blogs to guest post

4. Prepare for guest blogging

5. What should you write about

6. How to write a guest post

7. How to pitch

8. 2 simple mind maps and

9. A model spreadsheet to help you keep track of blogs to guest post.

I’ve priced the ebook $10, just for fun!

How you balance your full-time job, freelance work and personal life?

I am, fortunately, by nature, a systematic person who can organize stuff and work pretty much neatly (thanks to my dad for teaching me this since my childhood).

I don’t follow a strict schedule (coz I actually can’t, with a 2.5 yr old boy who keeps me quite busy). I used to but nowadays I simply can’t.

But I feel so much freedom and joy by working for my online business and at the same time being with my kid (playing, etc. and this helps a lot to refresh), and I can take a break whenever I want. I love this flexibility and I seriously don’t have a problem with separating my life and business since they’re so blended and I love it that way.

Plus I see that I don’t put myself too much into work without giving the attention that my family needs (except on days when I’m extremely busy, I tell my family and they totally understand).

 

Guidelines for Writing Scannable Blog Posts

Blog PostMost web users are very impatient people. They scan a web page and within a matter of seconds decide whether to stay on and read further or just move on to a different page. With this consideration, you need to ensure that your posts are crafted in a way that is scannable, as well as visually appealing.

The following are some guidelines which can help you make your blog posts scannable.

1. Work on your titles

A title is a very important component of your blog post. You should therefore ensure that your titles are concise and clear enough to enable web users understand what your post is about. In addition, make sure your titles contain keywords which are relevant to your post. This will help improve the search engine ranking of your page.

2. Use headings

By using headings, you will break your content down into smaller sections thus making it scannable. Make sure your headings are clear, concise, relevant and search engine optimized.

3. Use italics and bold

Italics and bold formatting in your posts can be very effective in directing attention to particular texts. However, if overused, your post will end up looking messy and difficult to read.

4. Make lists

Numbered or bulleted lists are also very useful for breaking down long posts into content which can be scanned easily.

5. Use images

Images are useful for adding color to a blog, directing attention to a particular post and enhancing search engine optimization. However, avoid using excess images since this will end up cluttering your post and making it difficult to read your text. In addition, before publishing an image on your blog, make sure you have permission. There are numerous sites where you can find free photos to use. Finally, take time to research about fair use and copyright laws which govern the use of images online.

6. Use links

Links can be very effective in providing additional information for readers. In addition, they are useful for search engine optimization (SEO) since text which contains links is ranked better than content without links. However, don’t overuse them. Too many links will make your post difficult to read.

7. Keep paragraphs short

Blog posts which have short paragraphs can be scanned and read easily. Short paragraphs allow you to have some white space in your posts, thus offering visual relief to readers.