Building a blog from scratch is not as daunting as it seems.
A blog is a popular digital content marketing format. It is recognized for its nature as either an informal diary text entry when it started. But it has now morphed into a helpful, accessible source of knowledge on different topics.
And for most businesses, a blog, is now an essential part of their marketing communication tool kit.
A blog may be managed by an individual; or by a group especially if the scope of topics is broad. So, it can be about a specific niche topic (like ours on social media marketing), to extensive topics (like the the Huffington post).
Since you are just starting to blog, I would propose to niche on a topic.
Why your business should blog
Blogging lends to social authority.
Over the years of my experience of tracking and measuring inbound data, a blog always trumps other website pages in terms of organic website traffic. Who doesn’t want organic website traffic???!
After all, website traffic is one of the best ways for your potential clients to know you more – your company and your expertise.
Hopefully the above reasons should be sufficient to persuade you to blog for your business if you are still on the fence about it.
Blogging tips: two key cornerstones
There is no hard and fast rule in blogging. However, there are two points that are quite important when blogging for your business:
- Its quality; and,
- The integrity of the content.
Setting up your business blog from scratch
Setting up a blog from the ground up can be relatively as easy as creating a social media profile account like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Yes, you can customize your site with colorful themes. However, your ultimate challenge is giving your blog site a well-planned and appealing content that would indulge visitors to read your views, and return.
To help you, we have provided the following guidelines in setting up your blog from scratch.
Like everything you do for business, it is crucial to plan the blog you are about to establish.
Ask the following evaluative questions to determine your position:
- What is this blog about? (Essential!)
- Who do I want to read it?
- Why am I doing this???! (Trust me: You will ask your self this again down the road. Write your answer down.)
- Do I have the time?
This stage will save you time in the working process when you know what the blog is all about and what you absolutely prefer to concentrate on when blogging.
Once you have resolved all the questions in the planning stage, it is time to choose and purchase your domain.
Choosing the appropriate domain name for your website or blog is as essential as the content you have in mind.
Pontential domain names:
- your name (if you are branding your self), and
- your niche product or business
If you are blogging for fun and hence you are using free domain and blog content management systems, you don’t have to split your hair about this one.
However, if you are doing this for business, you will need to obtain a domain name if you don’t have one yet. And, if you already have a domain name for your business sales pages and you wish to include the blog component to your existing website, then you can add a page especially for blogs. This is easy to do if you are using WordPress.
Your “Digital Writing Pad”
Essentially, when writing your blog from scratch, you would need something to write it on, like a notebook.
This is where the following popular blogging platforms come in. These three (platforms) offer free domain, and two out of these three offer paid version which may be worth your while if you are using your blog for business or intend to expand it, eventually.
- Tumblr is a micro-blogging website. It allows users of the platform to post multimedia contents.
Users of Tumblr can follow each other’s blog, and re-blog the content.
If you you do not intend to publish long-form contents, and you prefer your blog to appear in catalog form, then Tumblr could be the perfect blogging platform for you.
- WordPress is an open-source content management system that is quiet popular because of its ease of use for users among many other features.
There are two kinds of WordPress platforms:
WordPress.com. Registration is free, and you can customize your blog using different themes. You can add other features, widgets and plugins that are available. This is hosted by WordPress. And your URL might look like this: yourdomain.wordpress.com. But you can also have them host your yourdomain.com for a fee.
WordPress.org. This is the paid version that allows the integration of more customizable designs and the addition of plug-ins such as Google Analytics, and Yoast for SEO. This version of WordPress gives you plenty of room for customization and for growth unlike its .com sister.
- Blogger’s main feature is their drag-and-drop templates. Your site is protected by Google’s robust security. The drawback to Blogger, however, is that you do not own it; it is owned by Google, and Google can shut it down.
Go for WordPress.org since you have plenty of control over it. You can customize it and extend its power using other plugins and tools that integrate with it. If you are not talented at writing codes, there is a plethora of plugins available at your fingertips.
This form of content management for business blogs is easy to use and maintain.
There are plenty of hosting companies you could find online. It is best to go through the reviews of a hosting company. A careful inquiry on this part of preparing a blog could prevent any bandwidth issues, unavailability/downtime of the website, and long loading times. A hosting company with lackluster reviews will get you more trouble. So do due diligence when deciding on one.
Design your Blog.
A good blog does not only satisfy the mind with information but also pleases the eye. You can either make use of the themes available out there or have your web designer customize one for you.
Write Your Content.
Once the website is up, it’s now time to write. Make it attractive to your audience by writing contents that appeal to them. Blogging tips when writing content from scratch:
1. Catchy title. (Critical to make your audience stop from scrolling and to consider your post).
2. Relatable. (It is not about you. No matter how brilliant you are).
3. Helpful. (Write it with them in mind not what you get out of it).
4. Remember that content is not restricted to words only. There are other contents like photos, videos, and audios that can help make your content appealing to a larger set of audience with diverse media preferences.
Optimize your content.
Although one part of optimization is having your audience in mind which is key because they are the ones that will talk about it and share it. There is another part: the search engine. For this, I let Yoast plugin take care of it.
Social media sharing buttons.
Make it easy for others to share your content. This is not optional if you need to let the message out that your company exists (and you should). Many people are discovering businesses on social when someone shares something from that business to their fans. You want to be that business, don’t you? Then don’t forget the sharing buttons.
Plan on creating different snippets of contents you would share online on social.
Always include a minimum of one image for every blog. It will come handy when you share it on social media because these platforms will automatically pull an image from your blog when you share its link. And a blog with an image looks nice, right? Who would like reading a wall of texts anyway?
Use Categories and Tags.
If your domain allows you to use categories and tags, learn how to maximize its use. This helps you and your visitors locate the information needed in an organized way, but make sure you don’t use too many tags because this may confuse your audience.
This here explains well the difference between the two:
Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your site. Categories are there to help identify what your blog is really about. It is to assist readers finding the right content on your site. Categories are hierarchical, so you can sub-categories.
Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words. They are the micro-data you can use to micro-categorize your content. Tags are not hierarchical.
Important: Decide already what categories and tags to use. Because in my experience, I now I have to go back and re-categorize and re-tag my posts. I am telling you, it is a drain of my time!
A creative and timely blog is a way to attract thousands of visitors everyday.
But since you’re just starting, prioritize building a rapport with your audience.
Once you’ve established your blog, then that is the time you should consider making money out of your blog like selling a downloadable content (e-books, products, etc.) that you made. Others would go for ads. You really need to establish yourself as a reliable blogger on the topic before monetizing it.
In the end, it’s all up to you on how you move forward after setting up your blog. What matters most is that you enjoy what you’re doing as you develop your blog.
Did I miss anything? Any tips you like to add for the benefit of our friends who are just starting to blog from scratch?