October 9, 2018

Blogging for Dummies: Start your journey as a blogger


I just want to sell my product… you may say …not become a blogger! Why would I ever want to start writing blogs like everyone else does these days? And why a ‘blogging for dummies’ article would be useful to me?

These are all valid questions, so let me first give you 3 reasons why you should start a blog today:

  1. First, there is a reason everyone writes blogs these days. And the reason is that simply put... people read them! Not convinced? Let's continue;
  2. Writing a blog is one of the best methods to drive free organic traffic to your website. In other words, it improves your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) score and helps people find you when they search on Google;
  3. You create your own public voice. There has to be a topic that you feel comfortable enough to write about. By putting your knowledge into blog posts, you can create a public information hub for prospective clients.It is not very rare that clients will pick your business over others' just because they liked your blog posts.

Great! If you are convinced let's now see 4 simple ways to blogging for dummies.

These 4 ways are going to help you overcome 4 main obstacles that all bloggers usually face. Enough said! Let's dive in!

1. How to find a topic

The New Post page in WordPress

Adding a new blog post via the WordPress dashboard

What should I write about? In the beginning of your blogging for dummies journey this won't be a concern, but later on it will be. After you will have put down 10-15 blog posts about topics that may bother your clients you will eventually run out of topics.

Don't worry, it happens to everyone. The solution can be found in Quora. Quora is a website where people ask questions/concerns they have and other people give them answers.

So what you can do is first create a profile on Quora. Then pick some categories that your target audience may be interested in and see what people are asking about. Chances are that you will be able to reply to quite some people.

OK I am going to reply to peoples' questions, but what does this have to do with finding a topic to write a new blog post? The way it works is that the question you answered can be the title of your new blog post.

Your answer can be the content of your article. Don't worry, your answer can be as lengthy as a blog post. Long answers are a common thing in Quora.

2. How to not get stuck when writing a post

A person who is stuck and does not know what to write about

It's common to feel frustrated when you don't know what to write about

So you found a topic on your own or via the Quora trick and you started writing... Great! You write one paragraph or two, but your brain suddenly stops working! You are stuck!

Or you may even get stuck before you start writing... What should you do? You may go for a walk and start again later or the next day... But there is a way to fix this instantly!

Here is what you need to do: Text a friend who may be curious about your blog in general and tell him what you want to write about in your next post. He is probably going to ask you questions about your topic.

Explain everything to him, answer all his questions thoroughly. When you are done copy-paste your answers to a word document and start editing them. You should have a ready post in less than an hour.

3. How to optimize your web page

A speedometer next to an iMac

Speed optimization is a must these days

Your blog post is ready! Congratulations! Now people can read it, right? You upload it on your website and share it on your personal and business social media profiles. Even running an advertisement on it is an option.

You do all those stuff, but you don't see a lot of traffic. Your analytics indicate that not many people are visiting your post page. You even notice that the ones who do visit your page don't stay long and leave within a short time without reading the entire post.

What's the problem here? Well, for those who didn't even click your post they either didn't like your image thumbnail, or your title was not optimized. What can you do in those two cases?

For the image thumbnail not much... and in most cases, you can't go wrong. Just pick a beautiful and relative to your topic image. To optimize your title just take a look at these 3 examples of titles for this post:

Different Post Titles

  1. Entrepreneurs as bloggers (bad)
  2. Why you should blog (OKish)
  3. 4 Simple Ways to Help You Become a Master Blogger (optimized)

Why is the last one better? Because it contains numbers (4 ways), it has a strong word (master) and an adjective (simple) . Don't get me wrong. I also sometimes prefer to use shorter/minimal titles.

And short titles are the ones that first come to my mind when I start thinking about a title. But, the problem is that people unfortunately don't click on short titles.

Now... for those who visited your website and bounced back without reading your post, two things may have happened:

  1. Your website took 7 or more seconds to load, so people got bored of waiting and left or;
  2. Your blog post was not readable.

To have a faster website you can do a million things. But the most basic are to pick a fast platform/hosting provider in the first place and use small-size compressed images.

4. How to create a readable blog post

A magnifying glass on a piece of paper

Readability is key | You don't want to create walls of text for your blog posts

Readability is key, so let's see how you can write readable blog posts that keep readers engaged;

  • Include sub-headings. It helps with SEO and organizes your post in nice sections which helps the reader;
  • Include bold text. It also helps with SEO and you can make the readers focus on important information;
  • Use short paragraphs (of no more than 150 words). It is easier for someone to read a three-line paragraph compared to a seven-line paragraph.The latter may be more grammatically correct, but your goal is to have people read your entire  post and not pass a school exam;
  • Try to use shorter sentences (with less than 20 words) in at least 75% of your post. Readers get tired with long sentences.Use long sentences when you cannot do otherwise. Short sentences are the best. People can read them all day. Do you get the idea now?How easy was it for you to read the last 7 sentences?
  • Use transition words like to, like, as well as, in addition, etc. They help keep a strong structure;
  • Don't use passive voice in more than 10% of your post. I see this one all the time and I really hate it. Passive voice is nice and of course it has its uses.But it is one of the main reasons readers get tired and quit reading a post. Active voice is more direct. It is easier to comprehend;
  • Use bullet points and numbers. Just some more aid for readers' eyes. Especially numbers work really well;
  • Include images. Images are great for text interruption, because even if you do all the above, still text looks uglier than an image. And of course, a picture is worth a thousands words! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself saying it...)

Are you for real?

That's a lot to do for readability! How can I manually check all those points each time? It's impossible! It is and that's why you shouldn't count the number of passive voice sentences each time.

You can always, however, use a tool to help you with readability; either an online tool/website like the Hemingway Online Editor or maybe the platform you use to build your website/blog has something like this built in.

I personally use the Yoast SEO tool which is a WordPress plugin that can give you a readability score for each article. And guess what... I also used it for this article! Take a look!

A screenshot of Yoast SEO plugin readability analysis

Readability Analysis through the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

Are you writing blog posts as part of your marketing strategy? Do you get results out of it? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time.

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About the author 

Manos Syngarefs

I am a child of God, that loves gardening, growing my own food and trying to live as natural a life as possible. When I feel like I have something to say then I will write an article. I hope you enjoyed this one :)

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