Well, first of all, What is a blog? A blog is short for “weblog”. Basically, it is just a website that has entries listed in reverse chronological order. The original idea behind it was to be a online journal or diary that was updated daily. Over the last decade many software programs and blogging platforms have been created to make the process VERY EASY. As the blog writer, depending on which platform you use, you can just type your entry, press submit and it shows up on your blog for the world to see.
Most bloggers don’t know any programming languages and are not “techies”. Starting a blog is one of the easiest ways out there to start a website. If you haven’t started one yet, why not try it? It can be very quick to set up and can be completely free.
Let’s Get To Business!
1. Decide what you are going to blog about.
This is by far the most important decision in order to create a successful property. It is acceptable if the subject is broad in the beginning, as you gain more experience and learn what your readers want, you can become more focused. For example, in the beginning you may blog about online marketing in general but down the road realize that you want to focus on just seo practices or social media marketing.
2. Decide for your blog’s name.
The name needs to be memorable, easy to spell and it would be advisable to include a keyword of the topics you will be blogging about, that is if you blog about online marketing and social media it, try to add words like social, media, marketing, in your domain name.
3. To Host or Not To Host?
When it comes to starting a blog, your biggest decision will be whether you want to host the blog yourself, or use a free blogging service that is hosted for you.
Free Blogging Services – Yes, it’s free, but nothing is really free. When you start a blog with a free blogging service, you don’t get your own domain. You get something like “yourownblog.blogspot.com” and you don’t actually own the blog. If you ever do decide to move to your own domain, you have no way to take your readers with you, because you have no control over the site.
Cheap – Host your own blog using WordPress free Blog software, This is the method I suggest, because it offers much more flexibility and freedom to do what you want. You will have your own domain name, like yourownblog.com. You can get this for as little as $30 per year. In my experience, WordPress is excellent free blog software that allows you flexibility and room to grow.
4. Don’t get seen naked!
Never launch a blog with fewer than 5 posts. In the blogosphere you typically get just one shot at impressing a visitor or fellow blogger. Too many new bloggers throw up two posts and then start working on promotion. In the world of blogging, you are selling yourself and your writing.
If you can’t give people a fully dressed picture of what your blog is all about and what type of writing will be on it, then why should they throw a link your way, or subscribe to your RSS feed? When someone links to you or subscribes they’re giving a vote of confidence that your site is worthwhile, so give them something to grab on to, and let them know your space won’t be “just another abandoned blog.”
5. Market your blog.
When you first start out blogging no-one except your family and friends may know about your blog. How do you get attention and those first visitors?
I found that commenting on blogs or forums in your niche was an OK way to get a few visitors. A better way to get a small trickle of visitors is to submit your articles to one or eleven blogcarnivals.
Some other methods of the top of my head are to just email other bigger bloggers in your niche and tell them about your blog and your best articles. Or to submit or let a friend submit your best material to a social bookmarking sites. here is a list of the top 10 bookmarking sites which you should submit your top articles to:
Digg: Mammoth traffic; tech-focused; savvy users
Delicious: Pretty big traffic; somewhat tech/design-focused; a lot of bloggers browse Delicious for “things to link to”
Netscape: Pretty big traffic; a mix of topics; less savvy users
Stumbleupon: Medium traffic; weird stuff/literary articles; normal users.
Yahoo MyWeb: Medium traffic; general interest; normal users
Reddit: Lower traffic; politics/random stuff; normal users.
Furl: Lower traffic; tech-focused/some random stuff; normal users
Newsvine: Lower traffic; politics and news; normal users.
Lookmarks: Low traffic; gets spammed a lot; less savvy users
Blinklist: Low traffic; gets spammed a lot; less savvy users
6. Important things to install!
Install few but powerful WordPress plugins.
I have personally used them and highly recommend them. Avoid stuffing your blog with as many plugins as possible because they will eventually make your blog hard to navigate and make readers lose focus.
Install Google web analytics.
If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it, so make sure Google analytics are on place. Check your stats often but do not get over obsessed with traffic especially in the beginning as it will not be much.
Like with any other area in life it’s important that you learn from your own past and mistakes and from others. And that you then improve and optimize your blog, business or diet. DON’T FORGET about this part, think about what worked well the last few months and what did not. Think about what you learned about headlines, social bookmarking and color-schemes. Then experiment and try to optimize the different parts of your blog.
8. Write down any ideas for topics you may have.
Sit down 1 hour a week and brainstorm on what to blog about next week, do not worry if you eventually change the topics but having a list of idea topics will help you to stay focus. How to and list topics work the best e.g How to run an online store or 10 ways to run an online store.
9. Blog consistently.
If I could go back and change one thing then I would probably have blogged more consistently. When I did that readers, subscribers, comments and emails increased pretty quickly. When I blogged inconsistently everything moved slower or not at all.
10. Finishing touches!
Ask friends for feedback on your site. Ask some of your webmaster friends to review/critique your site a few days before its official launch. The blogging world is largely comprised people who consider themselves somewhat entrepreneurial, and as a result, bloggers tend to respect people who are out there trying to start up their own site.
By asking other bloggers to give you feedback, you put them in the role of expert and create in them a sense of ownership in your site (which means they will be more likely to give you a hand when you need it). Not surprisingly, this technique usually does provide some valuable feedback from people who have experience, if not expertise, in running a blog. But in addition, by putting your peers in the position of expert, you dramatically increase the chance that they will follow your launch and drop you a link once you get off the ground.
Go ‘Real-World’ with other bloggers. If you live in a major city, invite other bloggers to join you for a drink or dinner. While friendships can be developed in cyberspace, the most fruitful business relationships, even in the world of blogging, tend to flourish only after face-to-face interaction. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just send a few individualized emails to some specific bloggers in your city asking them to meet up. You can frame it as an opportunity to learn from their wisdom, or simply a meeting of the minds. Either way, having a relationship bolstered by face-to-face contact can provide countless benefits over one maintained entirely online.
Dress up your comments. Even if you don’t have any readers, you can be assured that comment spammers will find you. Comment spammers are the guys dropping off-topic advertisements for Viagra and weight loss pills in the comments of your blog. Nothing kills the ability of a blog to attract new links like a spammy site. And nothing says ‘spammy site’ like a comments page full of irrelevant comments and links. So monitor and delete spammy comments on a regular basis. In addition to deleting the garbage comments, you need to foster a positive community.
People want to participate in and link to a vibrant site. So create one by encouraging your friends to comment on your blog. The key is that you want to create the impression of an energetic and participatory group of readers. Nobody wants to be the first guy to comment on a post, but everyone wants to chime in on a hot debate. The bottom line: if you follow the preceding tips, you’re not guaranteed to have a successful blog, but you are guaranteed to have a strong launch, and a fighting chance to make it big in the blogosphere.
In conclusion, this brings to an end my 10 rules of radical blogging. Now I know I have stepped on some toes, I know I have challenged the views of many; I know I stirred the waters of conventional wisdom. So I am going to level the playing field here. If you feel I have contradicted your views or principles; then feel free to shoot me through your comments. I am prepared to take your bullets and also respond with mine, so let’s begin.
Good Luck Everyone!