Are you a new blogger struggling to keep up with all the new phrases and blogging terminology? Does everyone else seem to be ahead of you? This post will cover exactly what you need to know at the very beginning of your blogging journey; and what types of information you should be collecting from the get-go. In the past I’ve found great posts that I’ve forgotten to save, so I want to encourage you to keep a journal, pin posts, or keep a record of them right away. Hopefully this post might even be on your list!
Topics covered in this post:
- Blogging Platforms
- Custom Domains
- Moving to a Custom Domain
- Learning SEO
- Blogging DAs
- Pinterest Strategy
- Twitter Hashtags, Threads & Chats
- Monetising Your Blog
- Affiliate Links & Sites
- Implementing Advertising
- Protecting Your Blog
- Free Image Sites & Copyright
- Creating a Media Kit
- Using Analytics
I started my blogging journey on Blogspot/Blogger and was on it for a number of years before moving to WordPress, so I know a thing or two about the pros and cons of each. (There is also a lesser-known site called Wixsite, but I’m not the person to ask about that!) So, if you’re deciding between Blogger and WordPress I’d say the following:
- Blogger is still mostly perceived as a hobbyist site, whereas WordPress is seen as more professional.
- Blogger is easier to use, but is more limited than WordPress and you could easily end up outgrowing the platform, like me. You can learn WordPress fairly easily.
- You can use as much space as you want on Blogger, without paying a single penny. With WordPress you have to upgrade for different storage levels.
- I never knew how to get support with any problems on Blogger, but with WordPress there is Business Support included in most of their plans.
- It’s easier to edit code on Blogger (you have to upgrade to WordPress Business to edit code).
Custom domains are professional or personal sites that have to be bought through a site like GoDaddy.com. Do you need one? Well, at the beginning, that’s entirely up to you. I have used free domains since I started blogging, and whilst my Blogger site name wasn’t catchy at all, I like to think that my current domain is much better! Although buying a custom domain is relatively cheap, having a completely free domain is one way that I choose to save money, but in a couple of years, I will hopefully be in a better position to get whatever domain name I like! The advantages are as follows:
- Having a custom domain name can increase your DA ranking and is better for SEO.
2.1 Moving to a Custom Domain
From what I’ve heard, moving to a custom domain is something that most bloggers need support with – it’s not an easy or quick task. Things can be lost in the process if you don’t do it correctly, hence why a lot of people need support! Click here to learn how to do it effectively.
“While the process [moving to a custom domain] is similar [to moving to a self-hosted site], there are extra things involved in this process.”WordPress Beginner site
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is something that bloggers lose their minds over. SEO, practiced correctly, can help you land higher in the Google rankings (and other search engines), which is great if you want to make money from your blog. If you want to write creatively but want lots of people to read it, then this decision is more difficult for you. One of the main aspects of SEO is using keywords which have to be fit in cleverly throughout your post, which can hinder creative writing as it is more suited to sales copy.
|All of Amber’s SEO Basics for Bloggers and Monodreame’s 15 Steps to Optimize Your Post are two of the most informative but understandable posts I’ve found on SEO.|
DA stands for Domain Authority and is basically what I mentioned before about ranking highly on Google and other Search Engines. Your site is ranked between 1-100, and the higher the figure, the better. I’ve seen bloggers with DAs from 3-52. When you start out, it’s likely your DA will be very low, and it will take a while to creep up! Here’s what I know about DAs:
- If your site is owned by WordPress.com you will not be able to ascertain your DA, as it contributes to theirs. You will be able to check your DA if you move to WordPress.org.
- You can check your DA with websiteseochecker.com or moz.com/domain-analysis.
- You can increase your Domain Authority by learning about and working on SEO.
- Linking to sites that have a higher Domain Authority than yours could bring your ranking down.
Pinterest Strategy means getting yourself a Pinterest account (preferably a Business Pinterest account, which are free) and deciding on a theme and how often to post. Some people use sites like Tailwind and Hootsuite to schedule their pins, but I create mine as I go and post accordingly. When I worked in Social Media I used Hootsuite quite a lot and found it pretty easy, so I’d recommend that. If you need any more information on Pinterest, you can read my post How to Achieve Six-Figure Pinterest Viewers.
In my opinion Twitter is the best place to engage with other bloggers (and readers) as it can help people get a better feel for who you are and what you stand for. It’s also where I have my biggest audience.
- You can use #bloggerswanted to find opportunities, or contributors for your own guest posts.
- You can join in with travel-related chats like #FlashbackFridayz which has a new theme each week (this is also a chance to show off your photography!)
- You can post in threads from accounts such as @BloggersHut, @theclique_UK, @TRJforbloggers, @cosyblogclub to promote your new posts.
There are actually a few ways to begin monetising your blog, and you don’t have to do them all at once. You can join affiliate sites and promote affiliate products for a commission, or you can begin implementing advertisements on your website. Alternatively, you can go a totally different route and hope for paid opportunities with brands or do some freelance writing of guest posts. My first pay-out from my blog has come out of writing a guest post for a fellow blogger. It’s only enough for (let’s say) a McDonald’s for two, but every little helps!
7.1 Affiliate Links & Sites
You can join Amazon Associates (application needed), Shareasale, CJ Affiliates, and many other Affiliate Sites to start making passive income from your blog. However, sometimes the products or brands aligned with these sites won’t fit your particular blogging niche. Finding Balance’s post Best Affiliate Marketing Programs To Join (For Bloggers In All Niches) is a good source if you’re having this problem. Also you will have to figure out if these brands/advertisers align with your values.
7.2 Implementing Advertisements
If you want to join advertising schemes like Mediavine or AdSense, there are thresholds in order to apply, and you have to hit certain amounts for a pay-out. It’s probably best to join advertising schemes when your blog is established (e.g. if you know you’re going to be changing your domain name, it’s best to wait till then).
- Create a strong password and don’t share it with others.
- Protect your device with comprehensive internet protection.
- Back-up your blog.
- Add watermarks or a link to your blog on images you create.
- Add disclaimers where needed (as a travel blog, I had to create a short Coronavirus disclaimer.)
- Add copyright information at the bottom of your blog, asserting ownership of your content.
8.2 Using Free Image Sites & Copyright Issues
The goal of blogging professionally (at least for me) is to be able to shoot all your own photos, but that isn’t always possible. Maybe you only went somewhere once and got terrible photos. For moments like that you can use free stock image sites like Unsplash. Personally, I prefer to use Flickr images that have been listed under a Creative Commons Licence, or free to use commercially. Flickr photos usually look more like photos I would take myself so I prefer them, but the title picture for this post was taken from Canva’s stock images. When using a stock image or a photo that’s not your own, always credit the artist and try to link to either the source or the licence it’s under. (Canva doesn’t always provide this).
When you feel ready to start working with brands, you’ll want to create a Media Kit. This is a digital document you provide to brands explaining why they should work with you – and it shows off all your best facts & figures. I used Embark to Explore’s really helpful guide to create my first Media Kit, although mine had substantially less pages because I’m still working on my other social media platforms like Instagram. If you want to create a 2-page Media Kit like mine, feel free to use it for reference.
When creating your Media Kit you’ll want to include some of your analytics, or insights, from the data collected on your site. You can use your site’s own analytics, but a lot of people find Google Analytics to be more accurate. I used Google Analytics on my first blog (on Blogger), however I can’t implement them on WordPress until I upgrade to the Business version because I believe you need plug-ins to edit code.
I’ve been on WordPress for seven months and I’m still learning about blogging every day, so don’t worry if it’s all a bit overwhelming at first! Just focus on things one by one like I have and you’ll get there! Happy creating,
DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with any brand mentioned in this post, and have not been encouraged to promote other bloggers’ posts. All views are my own.