Starting a blog can be an intimidating process. You can never be sure whether there are readers looking to consume your content, and competition can be fierce. Getting started is the most important step, but you can also position yourself to get the best results in the quickest possible time. There are a number of approaches you can take when setting up your blog, with the results often paying off later on in the process. The following factors can be used to set up your blog for the benefits of you and your readers.
Get Comfortable with WordPress
You don't need to use WordPress, but it is a simple way to publish content for most people. There are numerous templates and plugins, making it possible to craft a unique site that works flawlessly. While you can use a domain directly on WordPress, it makes more sense from a branding perspective to use your own domain. The sheer number of WordPress users also means a quick Google or YouTube search can usually resolve any problems you encounter.
Think About SEO from the Start
Ranking in the search engines might seem a distant dream when you first set up your site. However, setting up your blog with SEO in mind can save a lot of trouble at a later date. Add a plugin like Yoast SEO to your WordPress installation, with the basic settings suiting most beginners. Ensure the URLs just use your page title or an edited version focused on the main keyword. You should also think about using a cache plugin to compress files and improve operations.
Start to Build Relationships
While blogging might feel like an isolated role, the best bloggers build long-term relationships offering reciprocal help. Reach out to bloggers in your niche, discussing their posts and leaving quality comments. When other bloggers recognize you, gaining recommendations and links becomes more realistic.
Guest Blog for Related Sites
Occasional guest blogging is a great way to build your reputation and drive traffic back to your own site. Guest blogging sometimes gets a bad reputation as people send content to all kinds of sites, often with little relevance and few readers. Instead, focus on targeted blogs that have an audience similar to the one you want to cultivate. Reach out to site owners, using high-quality content to ensure you are accepted.
Develop a Social Media Network
Social media can be a valuable tool for promoting your blog posts. It is, however, important to do the groundwork, building up your social network first. If you haven't put in the work developing a following, content can quickly get lost. Look to engage with followers and add value, so they are more likely to visit any links you post.
Build an Email List
Just as a social media network can help promote new posts, an email list can be used to bring traffic back to your blog. Most visitors will not return to a blog unprompted, but you can use email reminders to promote your brand and each new post. Develop an incentive that will attract readers, posting the subscription box within your posts. Visitors may be reluctant to join new lists, so you need to promote the benefits of subscribing.
Study What Is Working
One of the easiest ways to work out what content to create is to see what is already working. You may not want to copy other people, but you can waste a lot of time writing posts that readers don't tend to engage with. Tools like BuzzSumo can be used to analyze your niche, seeing what content is being shared extensively on social media. When you have performed this type of research, you can create content that already has audience interest.
Back up and Maintain Your Blog
Bloggers gradually amass a large amount of content. This content can bring in traffic long into the future, with the option of updating it as new information is discovered. Losing this content would be disastrous, making it vital that you back up your entire site. There are plugins that can help you save content sporadically, ensuring your hard work is secured. Additionally, it is important to run regular maintenance checks, ensuring plugins and themes are updated. Failing to do maintenance work can result in system flaws that can be exploited by hackers.
When many people start a blog, there is a worry that it won't work. There are numerous blogs across many different niches, so the competition levels can be intimidating. The number of blogs and the number of posts being published, though, should give you motivation. These blogs show that there is a clear demand and the model works. If other bloggers are achieving success, there is no reason you can't too. Using these elements, you can set up your blog to position yourself for future success.