Blog (an abbreviated version of “weblog” – a web-based event log, Internet diary, online diary) – is a website containing entries with texts, images or multimedia, posted on a regular basis. A blog typically features a list of ongoing chronicle of short entries, ranked in reverse chronological order (the most recent posts appears first). Personal blog differs in several major ways from keeping an old-fashioned diary and doesn’t suppose any locks or keys. Blogs invite the public to read them, leave comments and swirl controversy around posts.
The first blog is recognized in Tim Berners-Lee’s website, where he has posted news since 1992. But, the popularity came to blogs only in 1996. In August 1999, a San Francisco-based IT-company, Pyra Labs launched Blogger.com, which turned to be the first e-blogging web application.
The Best Blogging Software
Free Blog Sites
Let’s learn how to start a blog and enumerate the best free blogging platforms:
- WordPress.com. It is a platform that suggests starting a blog without self-hosting. But, in comparison with professional CMS (WordPress.org), WordPress.com has a flaw in face of limited functionality. Besides, you will experience some issues with blogging for money in future. Pasting an ad code, Google AdSense one, for example, will ask you upgrading to a paid account. However, you always have a chance to move your blog to a self-hosted set up in case it grows into something bigger.
- Livejournal. Its features include posting your own journals, commenting on each other’s journal entries, joining users communities, friending one another, and getting RSS feed of friends-only posts. Google AdSense’s code inserting is allowed.
- Blogger. It is the oldest blogging platform. Google AdSense’s code inserting is allowed.
All three blogging platforms allow using your own second-level domain, as like “domain.com”.
The major flaw of paid platforms is the necessity to pay for service in the light of free platforms.
- TypePad. This blogging platform can be customized ultimately for business.
- Easy-to-use and user-friendly interface;
- The ability to insert Google AdSence or other ad codes;
- The ability to add scripts;
- Blog theme can be customized;
- A broad array of themes;
- Number of photo albums is unlimited.
- It costs money;
- A limited number of integrated widgets;
- You can set up a limited number of blogs in one account.
- Squarespace. It is a universal blogging site giving a possibility to create a blog or to start up an online store with the widest range of design tools in the segment.
- A wide selection of design templates;
- High-quality user support;
- Coding is not required;
- An extensive variety of tools for e-commerce website’s building.
- Not always intuitive.
WordPress is surely the best free CMS. The largest amount of paid and free templates and plugins in Internet are written for WordPress.
Decide How and What to Blog About
No surprise, that an author’s personality takes a toll on a blog concept (in fact, a personal diary). But, a blogger should avoid the risk of being self-conscious and always to be a number one. Than, what topics blogger should share with readers as to make it a suitable entertainment to them?
The Rule of 30 Percent
The experts recommend dividing content in equal parts. 30% of entries must correspond to the blog’s concept: these could be informational articles, other experts’ articles deep rewriting, encyclopedia-like texts, or teaching texts, which will be interesting for your target audience. Another 30% of posts must narrate about your own experience in this or that sphere, your own point of view regarding some questions, or some services trials. For example, you can make screenshots whereas installing a plugin or testing a service operation. Afterwards you can enrich your content with comments. As a result, you will get a material for a new entry. You may also interview an interesting person, and write your opinion than. This also can be a new post.
The discussion of contradictory subjects may also create a winning content. People will argue and gain in like-minded communities. This will certainly cause posts retweets, drive new traffic to your page and provide back-links.
The rest 30% can be composed of news related to your concept, other blogs’ winning entries sets, new products or services reviews. For example, SEO-specialists may have an almost infinite source of news here. Web browsers always change their searching algorithms. The things, which are effective yesterday, turns to be not working today. In short, news will never be exhausted.
Leave 10% for humor. Some bloggers follow this advice too literary ending each post with a joke or a funny video. It is not healthy.
Use Stats and Trends Reports
It makes no sense to build an inferior while choosing a post subject. There are excellent services in this industry, as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Semrush and so on. You can insert there a query and get an array of subjects that will be of real interest to viewers. All you have to do is to write a full article concerning one of the queries and you will get a traffic driven from web browsers consisting of targeted visitors interested in the subject for a long time.
A website semantic kernel (100-200 queries), created previously, will make this task significantly lighter. Besides, you will have posts ideas stretch ahead for years. All these will provide you a promotion in search engines ranking.
If you have no semantic kernel, just spend some time on making a list of 10-50 subjects that will interest both you and your readers.
Provide the Latest Trends
Reading e-newsletters you can run into a post subject. So, subscribe to winning blogs RSS Feeds and join the social networks communities related to your theme. Search for ideas on forums and take part in webinars.
By the way, webinars are of double benefit. You will learn new facts and ideas. Question that arise in chats also reveal people concerns. You can take it as a new article subject too.
Reply to Comments
Bloggers often find a subject for their new posts while looking through readers comments left for the previous posts (or to partners/competitors posts). In case you send e-newsletter by yourself, you can read subscribers questions. Answer them carefully and in details. Let your readers find answers to all questions.
The absence of answer is a good ground for learning something new and posting an answer on your blog.
Finally, you can ask readers what they would like to read in the next post in a direct conversation. Living talk and converse with visitors will provide you both with new ideas for posts or with growth of back links and blog popularity in search engines ranking.
Guide-Like Posts are Hit Forever!
Step-by-step recipes, how-to articles, and manuals shedding a light on user’s questions in details will always be winning texts for blogs and give the best answer how to create a blog in the most efficient manner.
Readers are fond of such guides because they allow achieving real results quickly and all that visitors need to do is just to repeat the author’s actions.
The text becomes ideal when mixed with screenshots or videos. Retweets, plenty of comments, fans love and many back links are certainly guaranteed for such posts.
Visit Ideas Bank
There is no reason in relying on inspiration only and delaying text creating until deadline. Don’t forget about planning. It is healthy.
Collect and “save” the ideas. You should always keep some “semi”-articles. It may be texts pieces, extracts from recent posts. Just revise it and find something new.
Blogosphere’s events, taking part in some competitions are good ground for creating a post. The second is also an excellent way to declare yourself, drive traffic to your website and get links to your blog. Some people know how to make money on competitions. They win the top and the second prizes that bring big cheques to their holders.
Besides, you will experience double pleasure from sharing knowledge and tips with your readers. So, keep contacts with colleagues, partners, and readers. Find the subject encouraging you on creating corresponding content without problems and on regular basis.
- Create stellar content. It is the basic key for a blog success. In case you are not a star, your content concept must correspond to topics and questions people search via queries in Internet. Search queries are easy to find!
- SEO is a complex of optimizing measures outside and inside the inner loop, targeted on website improvement in search engines ranking in order to increase traffic (for informational websites), drive potential clients to website (for online stores), and further monetize this traffic. The higher is the ranking in search results, the more targeted visitors are driven to website from search engines. When analyzing SEO efficiency, the number of targeted visitors, time taken to lead the website on top ranking in search engines, and website conversion rate are estimated.
- SMO (Social Media Optimization) is the same as SEO, in fact. The difference is that SMO works within social media and blogs instead of search engines. The goal is to increase the traffic to website from social accounts or to build a communities of interests within social network. Therewith, the task of SEO-specialist shifts from search engines optimization to social media optimization, including winning, viral content creation.
- SMM (Social Media Marketing) is a process of driving traffic to a brand or a product via social networks. This is a complex of measures targeted on using social media to promote companies and solve alike business tasks. SMM focuses on creation the content, which people will share in social networks without SMM-specialist. People used to think that messages shared via social networks higher the level of trust for potential customers. It is explained by social relationships that are the basis of social networks. That is why messages in social media look more like recommendations than advertisement.
- Advertising network (banner, context, teaser ads): Google Adwords, Yahoo Advertising, Bing Ads.
- Offline advertisement.
The Ways of Monetization
- Contextual and banner ads. Google AdSense is the most popular type of this advertisement. You must set up an account in the system, insert its code and get contextual or banner ad on your blog. Visitors are clicking on ad, and you are making money online.
- Teaser advertisement looks like image with text that attracts visitors’ attention very effectively. You need to register in special teaser ads networks to get the code and insert it on your blog.
- CPA (Cost Per Action) is an online advertisement model that is paid per action. But, the thing is that only special users action on the advertiser website is paid, as registering on the website, making an order for a product or service an so on.
- Sale of products and services from your blog. You can sell hand made products or render some services related to your blog concept.
- Partner programs. The principle is the same as CPA, but in this case you are going to work with partner directly, not via CPA network.
- Posting paid content on your blog. You can post ads articles, and create reviews to make money online.