So it’s 2016 and you have decided that you want to start a blog and become an author this year. Congratulations to you! I am so happy to share some of my insights around the process of starting a blog.
If you are planning on writing content in 2016 it’s important to keep in mind that authorship takes time. Many of the bloggers and authors who are successful today, including Brian Clark, Neil Patel, Noah Kagan, Dan Norris and Chris Lema have put in a tremendous amount of time and work to grow their audiences over the past couple of years.
Below are some tips and questions you might want to ask yourself that I think are important in moving forward as a blogger in 2016.
#1 What is your Passion and why do you want to share it?
Over the past couple of years I have been so focused on my businesses and trying to grow them, that I haven’t really put any effort into blogging myself. Trying to find clients by word of mouth has been challenging. Networking has helped me, but I know that to help my business grow I really have to start putting forth effort into sharing my knowledge and passions everyday with my own writing.
#2 How will you share you content?
So you want to create your blog and share your skills and passions with everyone in the world. First thing to think about is how you will share your content. I want to suggest to those who are just starting to blog to look at utilizing WordPress as your platform. There is a reason why I recommend WordPress. First, because it powers over 25% of the web space and its ease of use. Check out Chris Lema’s blog about WordPress. Second, because it’s open-source and there are many developers, plugins and additional functionality that can be integrated.
#3 Will you need a Domain & Hosting
Your domain name is probably this first thing to think about with your branding and niche. There are many options today and even custom domain names that you can use. You may want more people to know who you are by using a custom TLD domain such as yourname.me or yourname.io. There are many options to choose from. The second thing you need to think about is hosting. We recommend WPEngine.com, Pagely.com and also offer our own WordPress hosting at www.agogohosting.com. The third thing you will need to think about is a WordPress theme. We use Genesis by Studiopress and recommend this framework as it’s one of the best. You will need these three things to get started blogging with WordPress. I have been working with authors, entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups for more than 6 years with my WordPress Agency A-GoGo Media.
#4 What other Bloggers should you follow?
Subscribing to well known bloggers in your niche is important. Many of them have ideas and knowledge that you can learn from to help you expand on your own ideas and knowledge around the topics you want to write about. This year I would suggest only subscribing to blogs in which you think the content will help your writing and goals for 2016.
#5 Try not to get discouraged
The world we live in has some form of media coming at us in every direction, every day. Don’t get discouraged and think that your content will not matter because someone else is already writing about it. Believe in yourself, your business goals and the readers will come. Blogs today that are read by more than thousands of people are really only getting around 1,000+ shares on their posts. They are not getting hundreds of thousands of shares, so if you are looking for numbers don’t let a small number of shares and likes discourage you.
#6 Set weekly blog goals
If you have a blog post idea, always write it down. I am setting weekly blog goals for myself this year. My goal is to write at least three times a week to gain exposure to my content. Some questions to ask yourself: What goal do I have for this post and it’s content? Why would others want to read this and what are they getting out of it?
I will be using Feedly, Evernote and Pocket for all my blog ideas this year. Feedly is where I will subscribe and read other content around my niche. Evernote is a great tool for writing and recording notes. This tool will help me formulate my blog ideas and what I am going to write about every week. Pocket is a tool I will use to save articles that I feel were the most valuable to my writing. This will obviously change frequently depending on your vision, but a lot easier when it’s planned to the finish.
#7 Focus on quality content and objectives
Ask yourself: Is my content highly effective and tied to my ultimate business objectives? Copyblogger has a great article around marketing goal objectives called “10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing“. To make your content work, you first have to know your marketing and business objectives. Then, you can create content that serves those objectives. Make sure these are inline before you hit that publish button.
#8 Make sure you Include Photos, Graphics and Video
Many bloggers nowadays are turning to creative content in their posts. What do I mean by that? Imagery is what pulls a reader in. If you can create beautiful content with imagery this is what will pull a reader in. Use of photos and tools such as Canva are great for this. Including use of quotes from authors, click to tweets, charts and graphs, drawings and memes. These are all forms of media which will help a reader stay engaged with your content.
#9 Be Sure to Respond
Responding to others is always the hardest, because it causes us to think about how to respond. Responding to comments is probably the most important aspect of a blog and will help keep your readers engaged. Gary Vaynerchuck is probably one of the best at this with his #AskGaryVee videos. I would also suggest using Facebook Comments on your blog. Facebook has a huge audience which can be very beneficial to your readership.
#10 Track your readership
Every time you sit down to write you should be tracking your readership. We do this by looking at analytics data from our previous posts. This will help you engage your audience better and the conversations will help you decide on your next writing ideas. Utilize tools such as Google Analytics, Raven Tools and other tracking tools to see what people are clicking on. Also, consider using Bitly for short urls, which you can track on a weekly basis.
Take time for yourself in 2016
With the ringing in of the New Year, we all have goals that we want to accomplish. We often get distracted from the things that matter most, including our own personal and mental health. This past year I spent some time working on my health and noticed a huge change in my life. It took a lot of dedication and I still have a good way to go. I purchased a nice camera and my goal this year is to spend a little more time in nature on the weekends, taking photos and enjoying life that I don’t get to see everyday. Think about what it is you want to accomplish this year, whether it be better health, learning a hobby, spending more time with your family, or other goals you may have. Just be sure to set aside time in your schedule to accomplish your goals.
Wishing you many blessings and accomplishments this year.
Happy New Year!