I started this blog because I had a deep desire to do something creative. And since I always loved writing, I figured this would be the best option.
But, the problem was that I started as a complete beginner. I knew nothing!
I spent my first few days of blogging reading a bunch of articles on how to blog.
After about a week of reading, I began to realize that this was going to be harder than it looks.
There was so much to learn!
And I clearly didn’t have a plan.
So, I figure I could give you a run down of the things I learned in my first month plus some resources I currently use.
I broke it down into 3 sections
- The Basics
- The Semi Advanced
- The Weird Fun Stuff
My first couple of blog posts looked like a scribbling that a proud 5 year-old child handed to his or her parents. You knew something was there, but you weren’t quite sure what it was.
I quickly learned that I needed a clear topic and an outline. Then, all I needed to do was color (write) in the different parts of my blog post. This made writing a blog post much easier.
Plus, it made them much easier to read.
(The above pic is suppose to be a cat!)
But, then I ran into my next problem. I wasn’t sure how long my blog posts should be. Should I write 1000 words? 2000? 250?
Since I tend to over-analyze everything, I decided to dive into a bunch of research on this topic.
The best answer I got was from Marlene van de Rakt at Yoast. She suggests that you have a higher chance of ranking in Google if your posts are 1000 words or more.
Her reason for this is clear. She says “– in lengthy text, Google just has more clues to determine what your text is about“. So, I need to give Google as many clues as I can to get the highest ranking possible.
At this point I began to think that maybe I had a solid footing. That is, until a new bandwagon rolled into town.
It was a shiny glitter photo bandwagon.
This photo bandwagon brought with it new stats and a scary new world. I couldn’t help but to run over to the wagon to see what new things lay in store for me.
I quickly found out that photos were important. In fact, according to Jeff Bullas “Articles with images get 94% more total views“. But, there was a problem.
I couldn’t just go out and snatch up any photos I wanted to use on my blog. There was this thing called copyright law that protected photos.
What makes this even harder is that some photos may be free to use, but you aren’t allowed to modify them. Or, maybe there is a restriction that prevents you from using the photo commercially.
I learned that I need to be very careful before using a photo. I needed to read and reread all of the terms before using one. But, to be safe, it would be best if I just use photos that I create.
Well, that covers the basics. Now, for the semi advanced stuff…
The Semi Advanced
I can’t begin to tell you how many sleepless nights I have had due to SEO. Every time I watch a YouTube video on this subject, I have flashbacks to my Economics class in college.
I would sit there staring at my teacher, knowing that what he said was important, but my brain just couldn’t process all of the information being thrown at it.
So, first things first. I learned that SEO is important. Especially if you want to be a professional. And there is a ton of resources online. But, it all comes down to a couple of key points. The points are:
- Select a keyword
- Check search volume of keyword
- Study competition for keyword
- Write a high quality awesome blog post around a keyword
- Optimize the blog post
- Market the blog post like it’s the best thing ever written
While this may sound simple. It’s not!
A good free resource that I found to be helpful is the Google Keyword Planner. It helps me find keywords and it gives me an idea of search volume.
Moz Open Site Explorer is also a great resource I found where I can compare my blog against the competition. They also have some great information on keyword research.
But, I can’t go crazy searching keywords all day on Moz. They only have a limited amount of free searches I can do. So, I try to do my searches strategically to get the best results.
I have found that optimizing my blog post is fairly easy. I just follow the tips that Marlene van de Rant suggests to do in her article here .
But, then I ran across this crazy statistic. According to Mediakix, “there are more than 440 million blogs in the world“.
How am I going to stand out with a number that big? My blog is so puny and small. My only chance to stand out is to get a niche, and fast!
At least if I select a niche, I narrow down who my competition is. I am no longer competing against every blogger in the world!
Plus if I have a niche, it would be easier to monetize later if I decide too. I would at least have a topic to write an e-book about. Further, the people who follow my blog will already be interested in the topics I write about.
But, then I noticed something that all of the cool bloggers were doing. They were using infographics. And I want to be cool. So, I found this free App called Canva where I can make an infographic. Here is one I created for this post.
As you can see, I’m still in the learning process.
But, before I can publish anything I need to run my content through a plagiarism detector. Everything that I write is original, but I like to be safe.
I actually tested out a number of plagiarism tools, but only one passed every test I threw at it. I currently use PlagScan. They do have a limited free trial (a few credits) but the costs is fairly reasonable in my opinion.
One final thought I should include is social media. I have unsuccessfully added social media into my blog marketing. The reason for this is that I’m focusing on writing my content right now.
Trying to learn a social media platform would be too much for me right now. But, I do visit other blogs and leave comments. I have found that this helps me connect with other bloggers who will often check out my blog.
Plus, if you leave a comment or question on websites, it will sometimes count as a backlink back to your blog.
I wouldn’t go crazy doing this, but grabbing a few backlinks couldn’t hurt.
If you aren’t sure where to check to see if you have any backlinks, the place I check mine is the Google Webmasters tool. It’s free to use and you can see find some interesting stuff pertaining to your blog there.
Now for the weird fun stuff…
The Weird Fun Stuff
The fact is that no matter how great or original my idea seems, it probably has already been written about at least 17 times. This hit me hard in the beginning.
I kept thinking that my ideas were the greatest ever!
That is, until I searched my idea on Google and found that it has been written 17 times before (one about 10 years ago).
Which brings me to another thought about my “great ideas”. Why do I always have my greatest ideas when there is no paper around?
It never fails. Everytime I come up with an idea, finding a piece of paper to write it down on is the most difficult thing I have ever encountered.
And it doesn’t matter how many times you proofread your post. As soon as you hit publish, grammar and spelling errors will magically start to appear throughout your post.
Add to this, your family and friends will not be excited as you are about every post that you write. In fact, they may not be excited at all. So, it becomes increasing difficult to find someone to proofread your blog post.
But, I have learned one trick that makes me sound smarter. It’s called a thesaurus. The only problem is you can use it so much that you end up with the original words that you started with!
Plus, you will inevitably come to a point where you have to trash a 2000 word post because it makes no sense. This hurts! So much work and it was all for nothing.
But, I will close this post with one final thought. While creating a blog from scratch is a lot of work, it comes with a sense of satisfaction. You created something from nothing.
You not only write content and find pictures. But, you have to go out and tell the world about your post and hope they come check it out.
While the work never seems to end, I think it’s something that is fun and I plan to continue doing it for a while.
Thanks for reading…
You can check out my first blog post “Confessions of a First Time Blogger” here if you want to see how far I have come.
Or, you can check out my most popular post “Why Your Blog Needs a Small Following” here.