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Web Design \ MAY 29th 2018

How to Start a Blog: The Definitive Guide

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. Deciding to create a blog is about just that. It doesn’t mean that you have to be one of the greatest writers of all time, like Fitzgerald, or even a professional writer. Instead, a blog is an opportunity for you, as a person who is highly knowledgeable in a particular subject, to articulate your views.

In other words, this is the place to turn your passion into a reality – to become an influencer in your chosen field by inspiring, educating, or simply entertaining your readers. It can function as a website in itself or a section of a website. That’s right business owners, this is also a great (free) platform for promoting your biz, products or professional brand. Furthermore, blogging has the ability to significantly increase traffic to your website, giving you a well-deserved SEO boost.

Feeling up to the challenge but not too sure where to start? Not to worry. We’ve created a guide that encompasses everything you need to get going. From choosing your platform to creating killer content to promoting your articles, we’ve got all the right techniques so you know how to start a blog that will captivate your audience:

  1. Determine your focus

    There is virtually no limit when it comes to what to blog about. Topics can range from marketing tips or fashion trends to an in-depth guide to perfecting the art of croissant making. When you hone in on one, you’ll notice that most likely the web today is filled with many blogs creating content about the same subject. Knowing that the competition is stiff, it’s important to set your focus point by initially asking yourself: How will I stand out?

    Keep in mind that the more niche your topic is, the higher your chances are of being discovered. For example, creating a food blog about the many cuisines you’ve invented with avocados as the main ingredient will increase your visibility when someone searches “avocado recipes.” Although, if you’re creating a blog for your already established business, it might not always be possible for you to go niche. Therefore, you should focus on producing content that your competitors have not. Always keep in mind the golden rule of content writing on the web. Quality content, that pleases readers and the mysterious bots of Google, has to meet three criteria: valuable, unique, and fresh.

  2. Choose an expressive and fitting name

    When you choose a name for your blog, you’re initiating the creation of your brand. That means, whatever you decide needs to embody your vision. Do you want it to be playful and creative? Or serious and straightforward? Really think about how you want to present yourself to the online world. In any case, it’s always preferable that your name somehow reflects your specialty and what you’ll be writing about. Finally, settle a list of three to five options that you’re happy with, and submit them to your peers and potential readers to give their opinion and help you find a winner.

    Once you have your perfectly fitted blog name (My Stunning Blog), the best practice is to choose a domain name that is exactly the same (www.mystunningblog.com) for the sake of consistency and legitimacy. If you already happen to have a website, make your blog a page within your existing domain (www.mystunningwebsite.com/blog) and connect your website and blog to each other.

  3. Select your blog platform

    Next, you’ll need to decide which platform to use for your blog. There are many options, so you’ll want to choose the one that meets all of your creative and operational needs. For example, the Wix Blog can be easily set up in just minutes. All you have to do is choose one out of the many beautiful website templates, and easily add your content with intuitive drag and drop – or pick from an array of thousands of free quality images and videos already available. Not only does his revolutionary solution enable you to start a blog in record time, it also gives you all the tools you need to readily grow a community of followers. For example, you can engage with them through blog comments, give them the option to subscribe to your newsletters, or share your posts via social media. Once your blog is up and running, you can add and edit content, plus live chat with readers and more via the on-the-go Mobile App. The best part of it all? You can achieve all of this for free and without needing a single line of code.

  4. Customize your design theme

    Choose from one of the free and stunning blog website templates that portrays your style and purpose. This is the best way to start as they incorporate everything a blogger of the 21st century needs to strive online. There are templates available to any genre: food bloggers, photographers, fashionistas, etc., and all of them were created by our in-house team of designers, following the latest trends on the market. Once you make your decision, you can personalize every part of your design in a very intuitive way by simply dragging and dropping content with the click of your mouse.

     

    When it comes to personalizing your design, there are a few very necessary factors to keep in mind:

    • Fonts: Since words are a vital aspect of any blog, it’s imperative to choose the best fonts that suit the look and feel of your site. More importantly, these should be legible and clean. A safe choice is to use Sans-serif fonts because they’re easy-to-read on a screen. Typography can also be used as a tool to show hierarchy within your blog design, i.e, using specific fonts to draw attention to certain words or links. Also, don’t use more than three of them to avoid complex and unattractive aesthetics.
    • Colors: Select a perfect color palette that will appear throughout the theme of your blog (and possibly website). You should know, certain colors evoke particular emotions, so keep that in mind when making your choice. For example, blue represents dependability while red can arouse urgency. Although it’s exciting to imagine rainbow fields and colorful unicorns, the best practice among professional brands is to stick to just three colors; a primary, secondary, and accent.
    • Logo: A logo represents the visual identity of your brand, and therefore your blog should have a suitable one. As a blogger your main priority is writing, which can potentially make this step a challenge, or even expensive if you hire a professional. Therefore, the satisfactory choice is the Wix Logo Maker. This provides a complete solution to the logo creation process. After four easy questions regarding your style and purpose, you’re able to choose from hundreds of fully customizable options. Just remember to keep your logo relevant and unique to your specific brand (i.e., don’t use a bird for your bakery website, unless your name somehow relates to this).

    Your time is valuable as a professional and therefore it might be a more fitting option for you to save a lot of time on the design part of your blog, and let Wix ADI do it all for you. Based on your responses to a few simple questions, this artificial design intelligence will automatically create a blog for you, with fonts, layout and color palette already set – all of this, within minutes.

  5. Offer a smooth navigation experience

    When someone browses your website, they should be met with an intuitive and efficient navigation. In other words: a superior User Experience (UX). Aside from this being the trendy word of the moment, it’s one of the most important aspects of your site to focus on. In essence, every word and image counts. And here’s a breakdown of how to provide the best UX to your blog:

    • Build your menu: Apart from the mandatory pages – Home, About, and Contact – include distinct menu categories for the different kinds of posts you’ll be publishing (travel, recipes, flying yoga, etc.). Options that almost always seem to draw a crowd include “Tutorials,” “Now Trending,” and “Author’s Picks.” And with the Wix Blog, once you create a category in an individual post, it’s automatically added as a menu item.
    • Apply tags: These are about 1-2 words each that describe the most important points of the article (for example: “gluten free” or “yoga poses”). Blog posts in different categories can have the same tags. Therefore, when someone clicks on a tag or searches your site, they’ll be led to a new page containing all posts that use that mention.
    • Include a search bar: Users can quickly search your blog to find posts related to whatever topic they choose. If a word is anywhere in the post, not only in the title or hashtags, it will show up in the results.
    • Create intuitive website content: To encourage readership, include website content that excites them. Your “About” page should contain a brief, yet alluring description of your blog’s intention. Likewise, all of your content, from your “Home” page to descriptions and titles, should follow this advice: concise and compelling.
    • Link your logo to your homepage: This is a custom that Internet people have come to expect, which makes it worthwhile for you to implement. You’ll want users to associate your logo to your business’ name and brand. Therefore, it’s crucial to link it to your domain and, cohesively, homepage.
    • Include contact details in the footer: Add a section to the bottom of your blog that includes your phone number, email address, and other vital contact information to make it convenient for users to be able to reach you. This will minimize their frustration about having to search vigorously to find your information.
  6. Start planning and creating blog posts

    In order to welcome your readers, create an introductory post to explain a little about yourself and describe your blog’s goals. A great option is to include a short survey to get to know your viewers and ask them what kind of content interests them most. After this, it’s time to dive into the posts that you planned to create when you started this blog. It’s evident that creating content is something you learn and get better at overtime with improvement and an understanding of your audience. However, a great place to start is by creating a blog schedule to diversify your topics and decide how often you want to post. Build a table that includes each day and week with the corresponding title of the post you’ll cover then. Find a strategic balance in your content. Basically, you’ll want to post diverse content on at least a weekly basis.

    For each individual blog post, keep these crucial tips in mind:

    • Create killer content. Amazing content is what will set you apart from all the other blog posts. If you’re new to the blogging world, this supportive guide will walk you through how to write the perfect blog post. From the headline to the intro and body, we’ve got you covered. Remember to always think about the intention of your blog post first and foremost, then you can add the bells and whistles to entice your audience.
    • Use keywords to inspire topics. These allow you to see what relevant topics the majority of people want to read about. Additionally, they can inspire your blog posts and title. Google Keyword Planner is the best place to discover these options and choose the appropriate ones for your articles.
    • Insert 2-3 photos. These should fit in with the content you are writing about. It’s best to avoid over staged stock images. You can choose from many quality images already available for you in the Wix Editor, or browse free stock photos and videos on the web. And with Wix Pro Gallery, you can also add a professional gallery to individual posts. Finally, on top of the photos you’ll put within your articles, don’t forget to include a featured image, which is metaphorically the cover to your book.
    • Implement Calls-To-Action (CTAs). Include at least one clear intention about how you want to convert a reader in your blog posts: a CTA. This is a link embedded in your blog post that states its clear intentions, i.e., “create an account,” or “subscribe to our mailing list.”
    • No one likes a copycat! Your content must be unique because not only does Google know and see everything, but it’s also against the law to plagiarize.

    Inserting a professional gallery of images with the Wix Pro Gallery inside of a blog post

  7. Focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    SEO, when done correctly, draws more traffic to your blog and helps it rank higher in search results. The first step here is to be recognized by search engines – the most popular being Google. Likewise, Wix websites were built with the proper tools to make your site visible within seconds. Once you fulfill this process (known as indexing), there are a few more steps you need to become optimized. We came up with the most comprehensive and clear SEO guide for bloggers. Take the time to read it, as it’ll help you avoid damaging mistakes. In the meantime, you can already have a look at this short summary:

    • Keywords. These are what you choose to target in order to rank higher in specific word searches. Keywords are also how you know that you’re reaching the appropriate audience with your content. Such as, if your blog is about photography, you might use “shooting techniques” because of its high search volume and relevance. Not sure which keywords to target? The best and most common method for finding relevant options is Google AdWords and their Keyword Planner. For more inspiration, these 10 essential (and free) SEO tools will help you find the right topics for your blog.
    • Onpage optimization. In the blog’s pages and sections themselves, keywords are also critical. You should research and choose which ones are suitable for your site. Then, insert them as naturally as possible in your pages’ titles, descriptions and URLs. A convenient option to increase your chances of being discovered by Google and corresponding readers is to utilize the Wix SEO Wiz. This simple resource is already available on your Wix blog to boost your SEO with a thorough step-by-step plan and recommended keywords.
    • Optimizing individual posts. The same concept of keywords also applies to each article. Include relevant keywords to your post in the most important places that Google and other search engines will spot them. These include your post title (once), the introductory paragraph (once), the body of the article (two to four times), and the SEO title and description (once each).
    • Alt text for images. Because search engines can’t read photos, we use alt text as a short description added to each image to help them understand and recognize what it is. This is a place to also include appropriate keywords. Then, when someone searches them, there’s a chance your image will show up in Google Image Search, allowing users to access your article through a link.
    • Internal links. These are links inside your posts to connect from one article to another on your blog. For example, if you’re posting about “How to Master Basic Yoga Poses” and you discuss poses for beginners, then here you can link to an article you created called: “10 Ways to Master Downward Facing Dog Pose”.

    Inserting metadata elements to a blog post to improve SEO

  8. Make your blog mobile-friendly

    A mobile-friendly blog is a version of your website fit for mobile devices. This means it’s built to make all of your blog’s components easily accessible for on-the-go readers. Not only is this convenient, but it’s also a must in today’s world of technology – when more of 50% of the Internet is consumed through a smartphone or a tablet. To make it a further priority, Google announced its Mobile-First Index Revolution, that is: websites (blogs included) are now ranked first and foremost on their mobile version. In summary, the initial step to being recognized by its search engine and optimized for SEO is now to acquire a mobile-friendly website. Fear not! You won’t have to work with a microscope on the design of your site to achieve a stunning result. The Wix Editor automatically produces a version of your site that is optimized for all devices and screens.

  9. Triple check and publish

    We know it may be intimidating to press that scary button. That’s why we created this helpful checklist of things to look out for before publishing your website. In order for your site to be welcomed to the online world as you intended, make sure that you preview it (both mobile and desktop) ahead of time.

    Have a family member or friend checkover that everything is grammatically correct; when we write content ourselves, we often overlook small errors. Then check, does the content look the way you want it to? Do all the links work? Can users subscribe? And do all of the menu options lead to the correct pages? Once you’ve checked over again and again, you can finally hit the “publish” button!

  10. Promote your articles

    Congratulations! Your blog is now live and looking good. However, taking it live was only step one. Now you’ve got to take the additional, necessary steps to make sure all your hard work is seen. There are many ways to drive traffic to your blog and promote your articles; here are a few of the most important:

    • Option to subscribe. If you want to build a community that regularly browses your content, give readers this option in a clear and visible place on your site. On the Wix Blog, it’s already embedded in the design with an option to drag and drop to a position of your choosing.
    • Email marketing. With your list of subscribers, the first step in email marketing is to begin with an introductory email, explaining your blog and giving your audience an option to subscribe. From here, you’ll start to gain an understanding of the number of people interested. However, this is only the beginning of your blogging journey, so this numbers will grow. And you can easily create emails through Wix ShoutOut to send your blog posts out. With this tool, you can do everything from customizing the design, integrating contacts, automatically posting to social media and tracking your stats.
    • Social media. Since your readers are constantly checking their social feeds for entertaining and influential information, these are some of the best places to promote your blog. It is especially true if you already have social media pages because you’re most likely to reach your subscribers here with appealing captions and content. The Wix Blog already includes a social bar under each new article, so that your happy readers can immediately share your creation with their communities on Facebook, Twitter and more.
    • Community of followers. Users have the option to follow your blog. This means they will become a member of your community by engaging with your posts and receiving updates about your new content. Plus, if you are truly enthralled by a member’s thoughts, there’s an option to make them a contributing writer to your blog.

    An example of a subscribe option for a blog website

  11. Measure and improve your performance

    In order to stay ahead of the game and continue releasing out of the world content, it’s vital to take a step back and understand the performance of your blog as a whole. Keep your finger on things, as the only way to improve is to see what worked and what didn’t. To measure the success in the culmination of your work thus far, complete an in depth analysis on your blog’s performance. In order to delve into this valuable information, make sure you have tracking tools and analytics on your website. A popular choice among these is Google Analytics to see how people react to your posts (How many readers? How long do they spend reading them? etc.) and Google Search Console to have a clear view of the organic traffic your blog receives. Every time that you see a successful post, be it a title, a content format or an image – you’ll be able to identify it and create similar content for the future. You can also track your results through receiving feedback via customer surveys.

    A final gift: Because you’re worth it, we’ve rounded up the best blogging tools so you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true pro.

Ready to drop some knowledge? Start your own blog now!

By Jennifer Kaplan
Community Writer, Wix About the Wix Blog

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