If I Had to Start a Blog From Scratch, I Would…

If I Had to Start a Blog From Scratch, I Would…

You’ve seen me and thousands of other marketers talk about how to make a blog popular. Blogging is competitive, so you’ll need to push your content out on as many platforms to ensure that you’ll get the most eyeballs. The more people you can get back to your site, the better chance you will have of growing your traffic and monetizing. Other platforms like Facebook don’t make it easy for you to generate revenue if you keep your readers on their platform. If you don’t ask a question, people won’t know what to do next. For example, if everyone in your space writes 1000-word blog posts, test out writing 10,000-word posts. Just because you are writing an amazing blog post, it doesn’t mean you will do well. From leveraging headings to even writing a conclusion at the end of each post, this will help your readers get value out of your content even when they don’t fully read it. Principle #21: Be willing to kill your baby When you start a blog, people only talk about writing and marketing. From how you write content to even how to market it, but very few people talk about strategy.

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neil patel

You’ve seen me and thousands of other marketers talk about how to make a blog popular. But if you don’t set up your blog correctly, you won’t do well no matter what kind of marketing you do.

And no, I am not talking about the technical setup of your blog. I am talking about the foundation. From what you are blogging about, to how you structure your content… there are a lot of basics people get wrong.

And if you get them wrong, it’s going to be that much harder to get more traffic (and more importantly monetize the traffic).

So, if I had to start a blog from scratch again, here are the principles I would follow before even writing my first blog post:

Principle #1: Pick a big enough niche

Unless you are well funded, you have to pick a niche. It’s too hard to compete on a broad level with sites like Huffington Post and Business Insider. They well funded and are able to produce huge amounts of content from contributors big and small.

And if your niche is too small, it will be hard for you to grow your traffic and monetize your blog as there just won’t be enough people interested in what you are blogging about.

When trying to find a niche, use Google Trends. Make sure to pick a niche that is bigger than “digital marketing” but smaller than “nutrition.”

Principle #2: Don’t stick with one platform

I know I’ve told you that you need to use WordPress as your blogging platform, but it shouldn’t stop there. Why not also use Medium, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and even Facebook?

These are all platforms where you can repurpose your content.

Blogging is competitive, so you’ll need to push your content out on as many platforms to ensure that you’ll get the most eyeballs.

Setting up social accounts across the different platforms is really important. Make sure the branding and imagery are the same across all of them and try to generate some followers by following these steps so that when you start producing unique content you’ll have places to promote.

Principle #3: Control your destiny

Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content. But that doesn’t mean you should just post your content on every platform without thinking of it.

The only platform that doesn’t have an algorithm that you need to worry about is your own blog. Facebook, Medium, Tumblr, and LinkedIn all have algorithms you can’t fully control.

Always link back out to your site when posting on these other platforms. The more people you can get back to your site, the better chance you will have of growing your traffic and monetizing.

Other platforms like Facebook don’t make it easy for you to generate revenue if you keep your readers on their platform.

Principle #4: Blogging is both about “you” and “I”

Blogging is something that is supposed to be informal. No one wants to read an essay or a white paper.

People want to read stories. They want to be involved in a conversation, and the easiest way to do this is to use the words “you” and “I” within your blog posts.

This one simple change will help you build a deeper connection with your readers. A deeper connection means better monetization in the future.

Principle #5: Always ask questions

At the end of every blog post, always ask a question. If you don’t ask a question, people won’t know what to do next.

By asking a question, a portion of your readers will answer it by leaving a comment. This will increase engagement, which again will make monetization easier in the long run.

Principle #6: You have to stand out

There are over a billion blogs on the web, and that number is continually rising. This just means blogging is going to get even more competitive over time.

So how do you stand out in a crowded marketplace?

You have to go above and beyond. Sadly, there is no single answer as every industry is different, but typically infographics, visuals, and doing the opposite of everyone else in your space will help you stand out.

For example, if everyone in your space writes 1000-word blog posts, test out writing 10,000-word posts. Or if everyone is using text-based content, test out visual based content like infographics or video.

Principle #7: Your content needs to be portable

People are always on the go these days. Your content needs to be easy to digest.

And no, I am not talking about making your content mobile compatible or leveraging AMP framework (although those are good ideas). I am talking about making your content portable.

For example, creating video-based content or audio-based content (podcasts) are simple ways to make your content portable. For example, it is easier to watch video-based content on your mobile phone when on the bus or listen to podcasts while you are driving.

Principle #8: Content isn’t king unless it’s good

You’ve heard the saying that content is king. But is it really?

The Washington Post publishes over 500 pieces of content per day. The Wall Street Journal is at 240, the New York Times is at 230, and Buzzfeed is around 222.

The list keeps going on and on as there are over 2 million blog posts published daily.

In other words, writing mediocre content isn’t good enough. It won’t do well for and you will just be wasting time. So, don’t write content unless it is really, really, really good.

Principle #9: You have to produce quality and quantity

It’s sad, but it is true. Not only does your content have to be amazing, but you have to publish amazing content in quantity.

Just because you are writing an amazing blog post, it doesn’t mean you will do well. Content marketing is a hit or miss game in which your posts will do well or they won’t. And in most cases, your content won’t do as well as you want no matter how good you are at marketing.

To increase your odds of success, you need to be willing to produce amazing content in quantity.

Principle #10: Your blog isn’t always the best place to blog

Especially early on, you need to save your best content for other blogs. From industry blogs to large sites like Entrepreneur and Business Insider… consider placing your best content elsewhere.

Once you’ve been blogging for a year and you have built up an audience, you’ll want to keep your best content for yourself. But in the beginning, placing your best content on more popular blogs will help you increase your brand recognition and audience.

If you aren’t sure on how to craft a guest posting proposal, read this.

Principle #11: Useful content beats viral content

We all dream about viral content, but it’s not easy to produce.

The chances of your content going viral are slim to none. And when your content goes viral it will die down… the question just becomes when.

Instead of focusing on creating viral content (when you have less than…

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