Blogging Basics for Beginners: What to Do and What Not to Do in 2021 | Pepper Content

Blogging Basics for Beginners: What to Do and What Not to Do in 2021

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 12/09/219 min read
Blogging Basics for Beginners: What to Do and What Not to Do in 2021

What do you see when you ask to Google something? Like ‘how to fix a tap’ or ‘which cereal is best for breakfast’? Usually, a list of blogs would appear that answer the query in detail, helping you find a solution to your problem quickly. According to First Site Guide, there are around 570 million… Continue reading Blogging Basics for Beginners: What to Do and What Not to Do in 2021

What do you see when you ask to Google something? Like ‘how to fix a tap’ or ‘which cereal is best for breakfast’? Usually, a list of blogs would appear that answer the query in detail, helping you find a solution to your problem quickly.

According to First Site Guide, there are around 570 million blogs on the internet, and for a good reason. Blogging is an inherent part of content marketing for most brands. In fact, it is key for business growth in the digital era. Businesses that blog regularly see 97% more links and twice the email traffic as compared to businesses that don’t, as per OptionMonster. 

So, if you want to scale success, blogging is the foundation of your business. In this post, we will discuss some blogging tips for new bloggers. But first, let’s talk about what a blog is.

What Is a Blog?

In simple words, a blog is an online journal. It is a platform on which individual writers or a team of writers (for a brand) share their views on a particular subject. It is a tool to help you develop your online presence, engage with your audience, attract leads, and ultimately grow your business. 

With regular updates and posts that usually answer common queries on a particular subject, a blog can become a symbol of your expertise in a particular industry. 

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Why Should You Create a Blog and Join the Blogging Community

A blog is an amazing medium to connect with other people on the internet. For businesses, it’s easier to target their ideal audience using the keywords they search. Individuals can earn money while writing/creating content about topics they love, even if they’re not seasoned content writers. 

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Here are some benefits to inspire you to start blogging: 

  • Powering up your SEO: Search engines like Google love fresh and original content that provides valuable solutions to users’ queries like blogs. With consistent blogging, you not only create opportunities for search engines to solve a user’s query but also make room to plug in keywords that affect your business visibility. 

Furthermore, it opens up avenues for backlinking and being recognized as an industry expert. 

  • Building a relationship with potential and existing customers: Blogging is a great inbound marketing tool. It attracts customers as it provides something valuable before asking for anything in return. It also helps build a loyal fanbase and a strong relationship with your customers. 
  • Establish your brand authority in the industry: When you provide reliable answers to what people are actively searching for, you build trust among your readership, and they see you as an industry expert. Over time, your branded blog becomes a ‘go-to source for searchers and adds to your credibility. 
  • Generate leads: Perhaps the most important benefit, which could also be why you started blogging in the first place, is that blogging is a lead generation mechanism. Blogs bring highly qualified inbound leads for the product or service you are marketing. 

A well-structured blog targets users at various stages of their buying journey, gently leading them through the funnel and nurturing them as customers. 

  • Collect emails for personalized promotions: According to Backlinko, personalized emails can lead to 6x revenue and transaction rates. And how do you get those personal emails? Asking your readers to subscribe to an email newsletter is definitely a good way to go. This opens up a doorway to occasional personalized promotions. 

Starting a Blog in 6 Steps

1. Choose a niche and a website

First of all, you need to decide the niche or subject that you will be writing on. Always remember that to be successful, your blog needs to be a product of your passion, what you’re good at, and what your ideal audience wants. 

Pro blogging tip: Don’t try to write about anything and everything. Take your time to figure out what people are interested in and what you would like to read about. Figure out your niche.

Once you zero in on the topic of your blog, you need to set up the blog site. Choose your blog name and register a website domain with the same name. If the .com domain extension is unavailable, you can try to register with .net or .org, or according to your country (.in, for example). 

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2. Choose a web hosting and CMS

The next bit may sound a bit technical, but it’s a simple step-by-step process that you need only tackle once. Your blog stands on two pillars: web hosting (also known as blog hosting) and CMS (content management system). 

A web host stores all of the files for your blog and delivers them to the user when they type in your blog name. Think of it as a place where all your files and posts live. For example, BlueHost and GoDaddy. 

A content management system (CMS) is a piece of software that helps you manage your content, write, edit, publish, and more. WordPress is a popular CMS as it has an easy-to-navigate interface and is highly customizable, even if you’re not a developer or have minimal technical knowledge. 

One of the most popular choices is a WordPress site via BlueHost (or even a self-hosted WordPress site, if you have some technical knowledge and experience) due to the wide berth of flexibility and the creative freedom it offers. 

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3. Design your new blog and pick a theme

Now you have a blank slate, ready to be filled with your ideas and words. To truly reflect your brand (personal or business), you need to pick a theme and website design that mirrors your personality, thoughts, and values. For example, if you are a climate activist promoting plant-based products, you may choose a theme with green, brown, and beige colors. 

You may also need to create a logo if you’re starting a new business. 

4. Add key blogging plugins to find your readers and track stats

Once you start writing and publishing content, you’ll need to add a few plugins to perform complex functions. For example, if you want to attract visitors from search engines, you may need SEO plugins such as RankMath or YoastSEO. Again, if you wish your readers to be able to share the post on social media, add a plugin like WP Social Sharing. 

Whatever you want to do, there probably exists a plugin for it already. 

A blog writing tip for beginners is to set up Google Analytics and Search Console for your blog to track who is visiting your site and gather useful behavioral insights.  

5. Write compelling content to create a blog that your readers love

Now that your blog is set up, start creating posts that hook your audience and get them to keep scrolling till the end. In order to understand what your readers want to know and what they are interested in, a blogging tip for new bloggers is to use tools like Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and HubSpot Blog Topic Generator.

Pro blogging tip: Ensure your blog title and introduction are catchy but avoid clickbait. Aim to let your readers know the subject of the blog post within the first few sentences. 

6. Optimize your blog content for SEO and promote it on social media

Publishing the post is only half the work. You must also promote your content on social media platforms. And also, optimize it so that search engines can find it and display it to people who are looking for it. To optimize content for SEO, use the keywords in headings, subheadings, and pepper them in the content organically. An important blog writing for beginners is to not overstuff the content with keywords, as this can have a negative impact on SEO.

Once your blog kicks off with a steady readership, a blogging tip for beginners is to make an email list. Send out e-mailers and newsletters to retain readers and take your relationship with them to the next level. 

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7 Blog Post Mistakes to Avoid

1. Focusing on quantity over quality

This is a rookie mistake; more blogs don’t mean better results. Better blogs mean better results, even if you don’t post twice a day. 

However, quality blog posts published daily are known to yield the best results. Aim to post longer, well-detailed blogs (more than 2000 words) to attract more visitors, shares, and inbound links. 

2. Poor grammar

Misspelled words and poor sentence structures are a huge turnoff for readers. Check if your blog has sound grammar and no typos before publishing. Use a tool like Grammarly to save time and produce well-worded posts. 

A good blogging tip for new bloggers is to make it a point to edit and proofread at least twice before hitting publish.

3. Failing to select and focus on the right audience

Your blog cannot please everyone. So don’t aim to capture every kind of audience with your posts. Carefully select your target audience and cater only to their needs via your blog. 

4. Inconsistent posting

Create a content plan and stick to it. Post blogs consistently and maintain a regular blogging schedule to see significant results. Doesn’t more posts mean more value? Stepping away from the keyboard can lead to a dip in your visitors as well. 

A good blogging tip and trick is to use a blog topic generator or content idea generator to get fresh blog ideas and schedule them accordingly for publishing consistently. 

5. Not giving your audience something they can take home

If you only talk about conceptual, intangible ideas without actually telling your readers how to solve their problems, your growth will stagnate. Include actual, actionable steps that can help your readers see a significant difference from what other bloggers tell them. 

6. Focus on long term benefits rather than short term analytical goals

Mapping short-term benefits, like traffic from social shares and email subscribers, doesn’t prove the enduring value of your blog. Even if your blog is not bringing in a lot of traffic after a few days, don’t abandon it prematurely. The ROI of your blog can be judged over a significant period, during which the cumulative organic traffic to your blog will grow steadily. 

Even if that doesn’t happen, you shouldn’t shut shop and sulk. Instead, find out what’s going wrong and update your blog accordingly. Few people get blogging right at the first attempt. 

7. Making claims without any backing

Do your homework and back up your claims with research and data. Suppose you claim that businesses can’t afford to neglect Instagram marketing for brand awareness. In that case, you should back it up with statistics like “As per a Hootsuite report, 50% of Instagram users are more interested in a brand after seeing its ad on the platform”. This lends credibility to your arguments and helps establish you as a reliable and trustworthy source in the eyes of your customers. 

An important blogging tip is to cite the source you take your information from. This gives the source due credit and prevents plagiarism claims. Another good blogging tip and trick is to use plagiarism-checking software while editing the draft.

How to Make Money Blogging

Blogging as a steady source of income takes time, consistent efforts, and patience. Having said that, it can be a lucrative profession that pays off in the long term.

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Here are some blogging tips to can earn money while blogging: 

1. Directly sell a product or service

Blogs are your owned medium, unlike platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Medium, where you compete to grab eyeballs. If a person is reading your blog, you likely have their undivided attention. So make the most of it and promote your product or service while still adding value. 

2. Display ads

The empty space around your content is visual ‘real estate’ that other businesses would pay to be on. So, a good blogging tip to earn revenue is to partner with AdSense or a similar program and monetize your traffic. 

3. Affiliate marketing 

If you have successfully established your authority as an industry expert, you can earn some commission by recommending products or services to your readers. 

4. Create a course

As an expert, you can teach aspirants how you scaled success in your domain. A good blogging tip is to ensure that your course delivers more value than it costs so that your ‘students’ spread the good word.

5. Offer sponsored posts

Monetize your traffic and domain authority by letting other businesses speak to your readers directly via your blog. Sponsored posts may be written by a guest blogger on your own site, enriching your audience’s experience with their own expertise. 

Now that you know the essential tips for blogging for beginners, let’s look at some resources for new bloggers.  

Useful Resources for Blogging

1. Learn

  • Neil Patel’s SEO Unlocked: This is a good course to learn SEO for beginners. SEO is an important skill that helps you push your blog to the top of the search results, and this course will teach you exactly how to do that. 
  • HubSpot Content Marketing Course: Content marketing goes beyond writing and publishing posts. This course will teach you how to market your blog like a product successfully. 
  • Google Digital Unlocked: Covering most of the pillars of digital marketing, this is a holistic course that lays a solid foundation for your blogging journey. 

2. Design

  • Canva: Featured images, Facebook posts, and more are just a few taps away. Make the most easily customizable, catchy designs with Canva.  
  • Adobe Spark: Beginners who have near-zero design experience but still need to create simple yet effective banners or short videos can use it easily. 
  • Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator: If you have some experience with graphic design, these are the best tools to use. 

3. Miscellaneous

  • Grammarly: Write error-free sentences that hit home. It will save you some time while editing and proofreading. 
  • My Hours: Track where your time goes and which tasks take up the better part of the day. This is a good tool to boost productivity. 
  • Hello Bar: Hello Bar is a lead capturing tool that you can integrate into your blog and prompt users to subscribe to your newsletter. 
  • Copyscape: If you go through a bunch of similar blog posts before actually sitting down to write, you may want to check if you’re not accidentally plagiarising. Create 100% unique blogs with Copyscape. 

Conclusion

Blogging, when done right, can open up many avenues of opportunities for growth and revenue generation. However, it also needs time to perfect. So be patient, publish content consistently and deliver value with each blog post. 

FAQs

1. Is blogging worth it and still relevant in 2021?

Yes, definitely! While the number of bloggers has risen considerably in the past few years, you can still start your blogging journey in 2021 and scale it successfully. 

2. Squarespace vs. WordPress: Why should I use WordPress instead of Squarespace?

According to First Site Guide, more than 40% of the web is built on WordPress. Squarespace is beginner-friendly, but it doesn’t really help when you want to scale up your business with advanced features like searchable databases and multi-lingual support. In simpler words, if you have big plans for your blog, then WordPress is the way to go. 

3. Are blogs dead? 

Absolutely not! Blogs are most definitely not dead. If anything, they are evolving to better accommodate the modern consumer with videos and infographics for quick and easy content consumption. 

4. How do you start a blog for free? 

You can start a free blog via WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix, Blogspot, and so on. However, you won’t be able to use a custom domain name or a special website theme. 

5. How often should I blog? 

The frequency of blog posts mostly depends on your business and your content creation process. For SMEs, publishing 2-4 blogs in a week might be good enough, whereas large corporations (or even full-time bloggers) can publish daily for the best results. 

6. What should my first blog post be about? 

Your first blog post can be an introduction to your brand and yourself. You can tell them why you’re starting the blog in the first place and what kind of content they can look forward to. 

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