I love teaching new bloggers everything that I have learned because there isn’t enough good and authentic blogging for beginners advice out there that I wish I had starting out.
You see, it’s been 5 years since I started blogging.
I remember how I started my first WordPress Blog.
One day, I woke up and decided to become a blogger.
I set up the blog, wrote 15 articles, and started to wait for visitors.
I waited for four months.
No one visited my website.
I repeated the entire process three times, but the results remained the same.
After wasting almost a year, I learned there are so many things that need improvement.
Here are five things I wish I knew before starting a WordPress blog.
1) Planning is important
It is essential to plan everything before starting a WordPress blog.
First of all, the planning should involve the number of hours per week that you are going to allocate to the project. Making and following a timetable can do wonders for you.
Secondly, get an estimate of the money you will need for the project. You can get a rough idea by calculating the costs associated with the domain, hosting, content, or any other thing that you want to outsource.
Thirdly, do not start multiple projects at the same time. You will end up losing focus as you won’t be able to give proper time to a single project.
Finally, keep your expectations realistic. You can’t establish authority in a few months. You will need to be patient. Keep in mind that a single Google update can make or break things.
If you plan before, you can save time, money, and effort. You will understand your strengths and weaknesses quickly. In the end, you can continue with the things that worked and leave all the things that did not work for you. Some bloggers tools can help with that.
Further Reading: 5 SMART Blogging Goals To Set
2) You can not ignore SEO
SEO is the combination of all the proven techniques that helped bloggers gain traffic from search engines. If you do proper SEO of a WordPress blog, it can make money for you while you sleep.
Following are some basics of SEO that every beginner must learn:
Niche is an overall theme of the content of your website. You can not rank by writing about random things in every other post. Moreover, if we write about everything related to a niche, we can easily build authority.
There are two types of niches: Micro niche and Macro niche.
In the Micro niche, our content revolves around a specific topic. For example, baseball shoe is a micro niche. We will write everything about baseball shoes only.
In the macro niche, we cover everything about a topic that has sub-topics, too. For example, baseball is a macro niche. We can cover baseball shoes, baseball hats, uniforms, players, etc.
A micro niche is relatively easier to rank as compared to a macro niche.
An ideal niche has more volume and less competition.
Once we choose a niche, we need to find out what people are searching for in that niche. Online tools like Ahresfs, Moz, and SEMRush can help us find out the volume and difficulty of a keyword. We can also analyze the search engine page results and get keywords related to our niche.
There are two types of keywords: Commercial and informational
Commercial keywords are all about a product, while informational keywords are related to general information about a topic.
For example keyword, ‘best baseball shoes’ has commercial intent while ‘how to clean baseball shoes’ has informational intent.
A domain is the web address of your blog. It is what people will type in the URL section to access your website.
There are three types of domains:
- Brandable: It is a unique name domain. You can cover different niches in this kind of domain. For example Bobvila.com
- Partial match domain: When some words of your niche match with the domain words, it is known as a partial match domain. For example Thebaseballfan.com
- Exact match domain: When all the words of your domain are the same as your niche, it is known as the exact match domain. For example, Bestbaseballshoes.com
A domain should be short, related to the niche, and easy to remember.
Further Reading: 10 Tips to Come Up with a Brandable Domain Name for Your Blog
Hosting is where the files of your website are stored. There are different types of hosting. You can choose the one depending on your budget and requirements.
Always choose a hosting having good uptime, reputation, customer support, and generous limits.
As a beginner, I recommend investing in shared hosting as it is inexpensive and gets the work done.
We use a WordPress theme to get the overall appearance and website layout according to our requirements. A WordPress theme plays an essential role in user experience.
Nowadays, search engines consider website loading speed as a ranking factor. It is directly linked with the hosting and theme.
An ideal WordPress theme is lightweight, easy to customize, and inexpensive.
It is the webpage title that we want the search engines to show. A meta title should not exceed 60 characters. It should highlight the overall topic of a website.
The meta title should be catchy because it is the only way that can make a user click the URL of your website in SERPs.
It is a concise description of the webpage topic. It should not exceed 160 characters. Moreover, it should be engaging enough to stand out from the crowd.
SEO-friendly URLs mean the URL of a webpage should be short, reflect the topic, and be easy to remember.
For example, ABC.com/56788855778888888907 is not SEO friendly as it is very long, complicated, and does not reflect the webpage.
Comparatively, ABC.com/best-baseball-shoes is an SEO-friendly URL.
It is a good idea to include images related to the post topic. The images should have proper dimensions.
You should reduce the size of images before uploading as it improves the speed of the webpage. So you have to upload optimized images in your blog article because it is very important for your SEO.
Adding alt tags also helps search engines find out the overall context of the image.
3) No compromise on security
According to a study, 30,000 websites get hacked every day, most of which are WordPress websites.
Here is how you can improve the security of your WordPress blog:
Login page URL
The default login URLs of WordPress websites are abc.com/wp-admin and abc.com/wp-login. It makes it easy for hackers to access your website login page.
You can easily change it to a custom URL by downloading the wp-login.php file and replacing the old URL with the new one.
You can also change it by using plugins like WPForms.
Username and password
Make sure the username and password are hard to guess. You should use numbers, words, and special characters in the password to make it a strong one.
You can use an authentication app or mobile phone to protect your website. Whenever 2FA is on, anyone who wants to log in will enter a secret code received on the app or the phone number.
The Internet is fragile. Your website can get hacked, or your hosting company might lose the server having your website.
In the worst-case scenario, the hosting company might shut down without prior notice.
It is better to take measures before crying over spilled milk.
Always keep a backup of your website stored on your computer or in cloud storage. You can automate the process by using plugins like UpdraftPlus or Jetpack.
A valid SSL certificate helps internet browsers identify safe websites. It shows that any information transferred from the computer of the user to the server computer will be safe. Furthermore, nowadays browsers show an alert when a user wants to visit a website with no SSL.
So before you set up the content, it is always a good idea to install a valid SSL certificate. It will help the users, browsers, and search engines identify whether your website is safe or not.
Further Reading: 11 Leading WordPress Maintenance Services to Consider
4) Content is the king
A website without content is like a shoe shop with empty racks. Content is the first point of content between you and the website visitors.
As a beginner, you should keep these factors in mind while writing or outsourcing the content:
According to research, there are over 6 billion websites on the internet. Everyone is trying to compete with its competitors. Visitors and the search engines like content that offers facts, figures, and data related to the topic.
Easy to read
Unless you are trying to teach a language, there is no point in using tough words and phrases. It should be easy to read and properly formatted. Keep the sentences short and write in an informal tone.
SEO-friendly content is the most significant factor of all. It is the lifeblood of your website and its success.
Add the keywords to let the search engines know the overall topic of the webpage. However, do not overdo it. The most important thing to know about SEO content is that it’s not just about keywords. It is about building trust. Give your audience what they’re looking for.
Make sure to format the content properly so that the search engines and the users can find the information quickly.
You can use H1 for the title, H2 for the main topic, and H3 for the subtopics on the page.
Further Reading: 11 Best Practices to Create the Perfect Blog Post Format
Adding text to a webpage is good. However, it won’t do the trick for you if you do not add the supporting images, videos, and tabes.
Images in the form of illustrations and infographics help the users understand the topic quickly.
Videos can also enhance the experience. Moreover, you also get the chance to rank images and videos and gain more traffic.
5) Keep an eye on the analytics
You set up your WordPress. Wrote great content. Optimized it.
How will you know how your website is performing?
This is where analytics come into play.
You can easily integrate Google Analytics manually or use SEO plugins like Yoast or Ramnath. You can track essential matrices like content performance and audience acquisition. From entering your website to leaving, you can even track the audience’s journey.
Google Search Console
Google search console can help you analyze the performance of your keywords and pages. You can identify the pages showing good performance and those having problems. Moreover, you can also request the Google bots to crawl your website whenever you add new content.
It is a free tool you can add to your website to track the user journey. It offers recordings in video form. You watch how users accessed your website, their browsing behavior, and how they exit.
It can help you improve your web pages, reduce bounce rate, and attain more conversions.
Finally, you can use this free tool to find exact keywords positions, backlinks, the top-performing content, and even audit the entire website.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging for Beginners
WordPress or Blogger: Which one is better?
It depends on your primary objective. If your goal is to write only for the short term, blogger is better. If you are planning for the long term, go for WordPress. You will be able to customize everything according to your needs and can also scale accordingly.
What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
WordPress.com allows you to build a website with the hosting managed by WordPress itself. In comparison, WordPress.org is an open-source code that needs to be installed on your server. After installation, you can add the themes and plugins of your choice.
How to grow a new WordPress blog?
Following are a few tips for growing a new WordPress blog:
- Optimize the layout of your blog.
- Add quality content regularly.
- Reduce the bounce rate as much as you can.
- Keep your social media channels updated.
- Encourage the audience to engage.
- Grow your email list.
Conclusion on Blogging for Beginners
Before you start a WordPress blog, I recommend you make a detailed plan, learn the basics of SEO, take proper security measures, write good content, and set up analytics to monitor your website performance.
Patrick Barcena is outreach manager & PR for Codeless.co, which provides all necessary tools, reviews and guides helping you to start, build and grow your online business through creating a website without coding.
Hero photo by Lawrence Crayton on Unsplash
Blogging For Beginners FAQs
Starting a blog can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips on how a beginner start blogging:
1. First, consider why you would like to start blogging in the first place. Are you inspired by something or someone in particular? Do you want to share advice or experiences with others? What content would you like to create or curate for others?
2. Once your intentions are clear, it’s time to set up the technical requirements of creating a blog. Research hosting sites, decide on a domain name, and begin writing your content and posts with enthusiasm.
3. Work through challenges together and stay true to why you wanted to start blogging in the first place—the rest will be sure to follow!
Starting a blog need not be expensive or difficult. With creativity and dedication, anyone can create a successful blog without spending money upfront. The first step is to research what topic you would like to cover. Once you have a topic in mind, use free services like WordPress and Blogger. Both offer free templates and hosting services. Lastly, make sure you are passionate about the topic of your blog – this is key to creating content that will keep readers engaged and interested!
Among these popular types of blogs are lifestyle blogs that offer tips on everyday living; food and cooking blogs with recipes and dining experiences; travel blogs that document journeys and experiences around the world; photography blogs that feature beautiful captures from all corners of the globe; health and wellness blogs offering advice on physical and mental wellbeing; opinion blogs featuring strong arguments about current topics; sports blogs; and fashion/style blogs.
Many people think that blogging is a simple task, but in reality, it requires hard work and dedication in order to be successful. Not only does a blogger need to be able to write well and create interesting content, but it also helps to have knowledge about search engine optimization (SEO), analytics, design, or coding in order to optimize their blog’s visibility. Additionally, building an audience as a blogger is not easy since they must constantly create new and engaging content.
While it may not make you rich, it can be a source of extra income and give you the opportunity to spread your message to the world. With many different monetization methods available and tons of potential blog topics to choose from, blogging can prove lucrative in the right hands. With a little patience and strategy involved, bloggers could potentially earn anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month through affiliate links, paid ads or sponsored content.