Are you prowling Google for blogging tips on how to start a blog? If you’re like me, you’re probably overwhelmed with all the free stuff online to help new bloggers.
Should you start a blog?
Absolutely but first you need to forget all those Pinterest pins that say that you can start a money-making blog in no time at all.
Blogging takes the proverbial blood, sweat and tears with no guarantee of success but once the spark has been lit, it’s impossible to extinguish.
I started my blog when I was forced to quit my job. The odds were 100 to 1 against me as I was clueless about blogging topics for beginners to even get started.
But I decided to stop playing it safe like I had done my whole life.
I gambled and started FamilyGrowthLife.com.
How to start a blog
To start my blog, I used awesome free resources available online. But I found myself in a freebie avalanche as I had no map to plot my course.
I’ve created a simple checklist of blogging topics to help you avoid the dreaded new blogger overwhelm. Click the graphic to sign up for your step by step study plan:
It’s my personal account of how I started my blog.
Ready? Let’s jump in.
1. Conquer your negative mindset
Have you seen incredible Pinterest pins like:
How I made $2000 with my 1-month-old blog!
My August Income Report – $5000
My reaction – TERROR …..
A little voice urged me to QUIT! It screamed at me….. you can’t do this ……. you don’t know anything about how to start a blog …… on and on it went …
But a story of triumph in a Facebook post by Prerna Malik of Content Bistro inspired me to quit skulking behind my doubting demons and start my blog.
So, the first thing you need to do is to recode your brain from CAN’T to CAN DO and MUST DO.
The flood of free online blogging tips for beginners confuses the new blogger.
Tombs of step by step blogging information put me into permanent study mode.
I’m sure you’re in the same boat, aren’t you? A cycle of research …. notes…. research … and still, more research about blogging topics pattern your days.
When all you want to do is get to the fun part of writing blog posts.
2. The Birth of the No-Fail Checklist to Blog Smart
I wanted to blog not spend hours on end finding out what this or that tech term meant.
So, I created a blogging curriculum inspired by this post to track my progress.
It was my life vest when I was drowning in a sea of baffling blogging how to’s and to do’s.
The experienced blogger will probably scoff at my simple checklist of blogging topics but it helped me to stop researching and start blogging.
For a simple overview of how to start a blog, read Setting up a Blog Tutorial: How to Start Your Own Blog TODAY
3. How to start a blog with sucky tech skills
Studying about starting a blog is one thing. Actually working on the backend of a WordPress site is like taking a swim in a thunderstorm.
Was I now ready to launch my site and start blogging?
No, not by a long shot.
But this blog post by Elna Cain slayed my doubts at once. It was a ‘Starting a Blog’ GPS for me. The whole process was dead easy to follow as it had step by step screencasts.
I chose Siteground to host my blog because they had Tech Support via Live Chat.
I now had my own, self-hosted site! Yaaay! If you are still doubtful about starting your own blog, YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN.
The course that was instrumental in speeding up my blogging education was Kim Anderson’s 12 Week Growth Strategy Course. I learnt how to create goals and mini goals to help me cover all the items on my blogging checklist.
4. Getting to know WordPress
Have you ever been separated from your kids in a store or a mall?
You know the sheer panic you feel?
Well, that was WordPress for me. It proved to be my biggest blogging NIGHTMARE.
The itty bitty nitty-gritty details in the actual blog set up were as much fun as snuggling up to a cactus.
Oh, the relief when I discovered WP Beginner videos.
Short videos about everything from title tags, slug, meta tags, permalinks, Image attributes.
I got to know the WP dashboard with Nick Foy TV – WordPress Tutorial for Beginners – The Ultimate Guide (2017).
I overdosed on other YouTube WordPress videos (too many to credit) as I grappled with WP.
Suzy Whitford’s Blog by Numbers e-course was another lifeline for me. This course, with easy to follow modules, illustrated all the stuff I had to do to customize my blog.
Suzi’s step by step method of video teaching helped me to:
• understand the difference between pages and posts
• structure my menu with categories
• set up social media buttons
• organize the about me section of the sidebars on my site
Wow, after all that I felt like I had just come out of a dark tunnel.
I now had a functioning site. Ready for the next step?
5. Creating content
Finding, researching and writing content for my blog went on in jerks and jolts.
Lack of experience in writing online copy shrieked and screeched at all my efforts. I wrote, edited, rewrote, edited and went on in this loser circle.
Exhausted by my lack of progress, I prowled Google. It did not fail me. Read on to see the gems I found ……
Here are the resources I used to start posting content on my blog.
5.1 How to write Oustanding Blog Posts that Google and your Readers will Love by Meera Kothand.
This post is a must-read for new bloggers. She gives a zillion tried and tested blogging tips and tricks that a newbie would be insane to ignore.
Meera’s Blog Writing Template is a winner. Like slicing a pie into quarters, the outline helps organize fragmented ideas into bite-sized chunks. Super easy to work from.
5.2 99 Strong Verbs to Make your Content Pop, Fizz and Sparkle was a game-changer for me.
Google also led me to stumble upon Henneke Duistermaaat’s blog. She proved to be my saviour in shaping my writing skills.
Out went frilly adjectives and useless adverbs. In came Thesaurus, my new BFF.
5.3 How to Write Spellbinding Introductions by Shamelessly Copying the Pros by Shane Arthur introduced me to Jon Morrow’s introductions.
How to write great introductions is a vital skill for newbies to acquire. Who better to learn from than Jon Morrow?
The skills below I gleaned by foraging the blogs of successful bloggers:
• topic choice
• crafting headlines
• creating outlines
• formatting tips
• research tricks
5.4 SEO strategies
I studied Brian Dean’s at backlinko.com to get an understanding of SEO but I was still confused about it.
Until I invested in Post by Number, ( dirt cheap at only $9) which was a game changer for me. I learnt how to do Keyword Research, how to structure my content to make it scannable for online audiences.
Check out my review of the course here.
You know what? After all that intense study, I still found it hard to focus on the writing.
6. Writing faster
I found myself stuck in the perfection hamster wheel.
The result – taking ages to complete a single blog post.
HOW TO WRITE FASTER: 12 TIPS FOR FREELANCE WRITERS by JOHN SOARES rescued me from this panic and chaos treadmill.
I used his 12 point guide to increase my productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique ( Write for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. Do 4 such sets before taking a 15 – 20-minute break) worked wonders for me.
Taking a quick walk in the garden after each set also boosted my writing output.
To boost my focus further, I forced myself to remember Done is Better than Perfect!
7. Promoting your blog on Social Media
This is a big-time stress for the new blogger.
But, blog posts need readers.
One way to get eyes on your blog posts is to promote them on social media.
But you need to have a structured plan for social media promotion for it to work for you.
I chose to be active only on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
I joined a few Facebook groups run by my favorite bloggers.
The help and support given in these groups are immeasurable.
Behind the scenes blogging tips and skills available in these groups is an education in itself.
I used each group’s special promo days to promote my blog and blog posts.
Golden Bloggerz: Online Blogging Community, Mom to Mompreneur and Blogging Like We mean It Facebook groups were awesome.
Their support and encouragement helped me to ‘ just get it out ‘ there and to adopt the motto Done is better than perfect.
Twitter turned out to be a blogging treasure trove.
I found the WP plugin BetterClick Tweet a great way to encourage readers to share my blog posts.
Tonia Kendrick’s How to Rock Twitter with Free Tools showed me the importance of a Twitter strategy.
Points to consider – what content to tweet and how often to tweet to get readers to your blog.
I loved her video on how to design colourful tweet graphics.
Pinterest is a must-do to promote your blog. Traffic to your blog can zoom overnight if used properly.
I found Pinterest most demanding. As usual, I turned to my best buddy, Google.
The Blogging Like We Mean it Facebook group formed by Carly Campbell proved to be a strong Pinterest backbone for me.
- Any and everything related to Pinterest from Pin Design to Pinning Strategy is discussed.
It was through this group that I bought Carly’s invaluable book Pinteresting Strategiesand started implementing it right away.
The journey to starting my blog was an uphill climb. Let’s recap. The obstacles were:
1. Negative Mindset
2..Creating a Checklist of Beginner Blogging Topics
3. The Handicap of Poor Tech Skills
4. Setting up a WordPress site
5. Content Creation
7. Social Media Marketing
I’m nowhere near the summit. The learning curve is still sharp and steep. But I now have a functioning blog.
You can too.
Start by trying out a few of my beginner blogging tips.
Perhaps, you’ve already started your own blog or website? Have you any tips to inspire new bloggers?
Let me know in the comments below.