In this Blogging 101 guide you'll discover 17 tips for starting a successful blog in 2020.
Starting a blog is tough - the competition is intense and its worse now than it was even just 5 years ago.
But follow these 17 tips and you'll be on your way to owning a successful blog.
Tip #1 - Use WordPress
The blogging platform you use is crucial to your success.
WordPress is far and away the most popular blogging platform. In the US 50% of bloggers prefer WordPress over any other platform. According to Code In WP, WordPress now runs a staggering 30% of the Internet.
This means that when you use WordPress you're joining a massive eco-system that has developed more plugins and add-ons than any other platform out there. And most of them are free!
So this is your first Blogging 101 action step: create a self-hosted WordPress website.
- WPBeginner - Ultimate Guide: How to Start a WordPress Blog (Step by Step)
- Sarah Peterson - 13 WordPress Plugins That’ll Save You a Ton of Time
- WordPress Jedi - 6 Awesome Post Navigation Plugins for WordPress
- Website Setup - How to Add Google Analytics to Your WordPress Blog
Tip #2 - Do Some Blogger Outreach
Blogging 101 tip #2 is 'connect with people'.
Blogging expert Jon Morrow tells the story of how he failed with his first blog. And his second. Finally, he decided to quit blogging altogether.
But before taking down his site, he asked a blogging expert to do a 'post mortem' on his blog site - he wanted to know what he'd done wrong.
The answer, when it came, was simple: "you tried to do it on your own, and that's not how blogging works".
Tip #3 - Brand Your Blog
Visual branding is hugely important in blogging. Just as you need to find your own niche and your own voice, you also need to find your own visual style - visual elements that your readers come to associate with you and your blog.
So this is Blogging 101 tip #3: create a visual brand such that when people see one of your blog posts, they'll know its by you from the colors, the layout, and the font.
- Neil Patel - The Marketer’s Checklist for Establishing a Personal Brand
- The Branded SoloPreneur - 7 Essential Ingredients For Branding A Blog
- Heidi Cohen - 20 Tips to Brand Your Blog
Tip #4 - Learn Copywriting
Copywriting is the art of writing text that pulls your readers in. And on the Internet it's a skill you simply must have. If you don't already have it, you can learn it:
Tip #5 - Learn Email Marketing
Email marketing is the engine house of a successful blog.
Every blogger should be building a list from Day One and learning how to set up email automations and segments based on what your subscribers are interested in, or where they are in the sales funnel.
- Rob Powell - How Email Marketing Works in 2018 – The Definitive Guide
- Nathan Hangen - A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing
- Beth Haven - Your Step-by-Step Email Marketing Strategy Guide [Free Checklist]
- Optin Monster - The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Beginners
- Lars Lofgren - Best Email Marketing Services
Watch This Video: BLOGGING TIPS from a Full Time Blogger | What you need to know before you start a blog (12 mins)
Tip #6 - Do Some Expert Roundup Posts
Expert roundups are the one technique that every blogger, in whatever niche, should focus on.
They quickly get you known by the Influencers in your field and they allow you to tap into massive audiences because the Influencers who share your roundup posts have huge social media followings.
Roundup posts are virtually all I did in my first year of blogging:
Tip #7 - Learn Some Basic Graphic Design
Every blog needs graphic design. It doesn't matter how good your writing is, the appeal of your blog will always be partly visual.
I use Sketchapp to create my blog title graphics and my Infographics and I highly recommend it.
Here are some helpful articles:
- DesignYourOwnBlog - How To Create Stunning Blog Post Title Images With Resources
- Puranjay Singh - How To Make The Best Blog Graphics (For Non-Designers)
- Andy Libunao - 3 Simple Blog Graphics You Can Create (Even if You’re Not a Designer)
Tip #8 - Do Some Guest Posting
I don't do much guest posting anymore but it was a key strategy in my first year for building confidence, getting myself known and building my list. In my opinion it's another Blogging 101 strategy:
Tip #9 - Do Some Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing where you aim to get endorsements from social media influencers. The focus in Influencer Marketing is changing from 'macro influencers' to 'micro influencers' - people with 1000 to 3000 social media followers.
These influencers know their audience inside out and so if you can collaborate with them, they know exactly how to pitch your offers to their audience.
- Kristen Matthews - The Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting
- Neil Patel - How to Get Promoted by Social Media Influencers When You’re a Nobody
- Lilach Bullock - How Influencer Marketing Can Help You Become a More Successful Blogger
Tip #10 - Do Some Link Building
In spite of the changes that are sweeping through SEO, link building is still ranked as one of the top 3 SEO strategies in 2018. Simply put, the better your link profile, the higher your blog posts will rank in Google.
Here are some helpful articles:
- Neil Patel - Google Hates Link Building. Here’s How to Do It the Right Way
- Brian Dean - Link Building For Seo: The Definitive Guide (2017 Update)
- Neil Patel & Brian Dean - The Advanced Guide To Look Building
Tip #11 - Build Your List
An email list is the lifeblood of any blog. Without a list, your blog could disappear with the next major Google algorithm.
List building is about building a community of fans who value your content and will one day purchase your products.
Here are some good tips on list building:
- Alex Turnbull - How We Got 1,000+ Subscribers from a Single Blog Post in 24 Hours
- Sue Anne Dunlevie - 6 Lead Magnets That Will Skyrocket Your Email List
- Stef Gonzaga - 9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy
Tip #12 - Try Your Hand at Podcasting
Not everyone likes reading. So why not turn your articles into podcasts and reach a completely new audience segment. Or interview experts within your niche.
Tip #13 - Promote Your Blog Post
They say you should spend at least as much time promoting your blog posts as you do writing them. Some bloggers go further and say you should spend 20% of your time writing and 80% of your time promoting.
Whatever the ratio, promoting your blog posts is essential. Here are some useful resources:
- Robbie Richards - How To Promote Your Blog: 559,402 Visits & 25,309 Social Shares (with 27 Posts)
- Mary Fernandez - 10 Things You Need to Do After You Publish Your Blog Post
- Neil Patel & Aaron Agius - The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience
Tip #14 - Repurpose Your Content
Your content starts life as a blog post. But if you leave it at that, you're leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. Here are some ways you can take a piece of content and repurpose it into different formats. Each format will appeal to a different audience.
So with this technique you get more mileage out of each piece of content but you also expand your reach.
Tip #15 - Do Some SEO
Blogging 101 tip #15: do keyword research before you write a blog post and do On-Page SEO before you hit 'publish'.
Search engine optimization is a must for bloggers!
Organic search is the gift that keeps on giving. It's not easy, but if you can crack it, you'll never look back!
Tip #16 - Write Better Blog Posts
To succeed in the blogosphere (whatever your niche is) you have to stand out from the crowd. And that means you've got to produce unusually good content.
Like anything, it's a skill you can learn. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Tip #17 - Write List Posts (Listicles)
Blogging 101 tip #17: write 'List Posts'.
List posts are hands down the most popular type of online content. Many bloggers have made their fortunes with this one type of blog post.
Here are some pointers on how to write good list posts:
- Michael Dunlop - How I Get Over 100,000 Visitors a Month With Top List Articles
- Sonia Simone - The 7 Keys to List Posts that Are Worth Writing (and Reading)
- David Schneider - The Quickest and Easiest Way to Create a List Post That Goes Viral
Extra Tip: Do Some Social Media
Social media is another great way to get your blog noticed. Twitter, in particular, is a fantastic platform for building relationships. Here's a good article on how to use Twitter to connect with your audience and grow a larger following: The Blogger's Guide to Twitter (The Definitive Guide).
Here again are the 17 tips for starting a successful blog in 2020:
- Use WordPress
- Do Some Blogger Outreach
- Brand Your Blog
- Learn Copywriting
- Learn Email Marketing
- Do Some Expert Roundup Posts
- Learn Some Basic Graphic Design
- Do Some Guest Posting
- Do Some Influencer Marketing
- Do Some Link Building
- Build Your List
- Try Your Hand at Podcasting
- Promote Your Blog Post
- Repurpose Your Content
- Do Some SEO
- Write Better Blog Posts
- Write List Posts (Listicles)
This post was most recently updated on September 3rd, 2020