From choosing the right niche to researching your audience, here are our top beginner blogging tips.
There are more than 600 million blogs active globally, and for good reason. Whether it’s part of your hobby or profession, blogging comes with a variety of benefits.
For businesses, creating a blog is a powerful marketing strategy. Not only does it strengthen your SEO, but it also establishes your authority in the field and helps build connections with your target audience.
Blogging has similar advantages when used by hobby bloggers and professional writers, too. It’s an invaluable tool for expressing yourself online and exploring your passions. It’s also an effective way to become a leading voice in your niche, develop your personal brand, and even make money online.
Whatever your reason for blogging, it’s become a crucial way to build your online presence, figure out how to make a website and share your insights with the world. Below, we’ve put together some ideas on blogging for beginners to help you get started with this type of website.
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Blogging tips for beginners
- Choose a blog niche
- Research your audience
- Draw inspiration online
- Learn what people are searching for
- Use keywords strategically
- Structure your blog by category
- Create an editorial calendar
- Start with an outline
- Use data and research
- Write powerful copy
- Incorporate different content types
- Use a variety of visuals
- Include clickable CTAs
- Develop a powerful linking strategy
- Prioritize long blog posts
- Keep your content up-to-date
- Create a blog newsletter
- Promote your blog on social media
- Expand your online presence
- Monitor your blog analytics
- Take advantage of monetization opportunities
01. Choose a blog niche
When creating a blog as a beginner, you need to have a specific focus or niche in order to attract readers. Ideally, you’ll choose a single, broad topic that you’ll be able to explore in-depth. But how do you decide what to focus on?
First, think about your goals. Do you want to promote your business? Share information or explore your passion? Make money from your content? Whether you’re aiming to write about your industry, dive deep into your personal interests, or monetize your site, contemplating your overall objectives can point you in the right direction.
Whichever blog niche you choose, it’s going to become the defining feature of your online presence. With that in mind, make sure to focus on an area you’re experienced in and genuinely excited about.
Some of the most popular types of blogs are:
- Business blogs
- Finance blogs
- Tech blogs
- Marketing blogs
- Travel blogs
- Food blogs
- Lifestyle blogs
- Personal blogs
- Fashion blogs
- Health blogs
- Food blogs
- Craft blogs
- Teacher blogs
- Mom blogs
- Coaching blogs
- Photography blogs
- Sports blogs
Based on your experience, you may want to niche down even further to cater to a specific audience. For instance, within the niches of European travel or cooking, you may opt to focus specifically on budget travel or vegan food.
02. Research your audience
One of the biggest beginner blogging mistakes? Not knowing your audience. In addition to determining what you’ll be writing about, you’ll need to identify who you’ll be writing for. Based on the kind of subject matter you expect to create, consider the types of people who will be reading your blog. Business professionals? Yoga enthusiasts? Expecting moms?
Then, jot down some of their interests, pain points and needs. Based on what you know about their personalities, brainstorm what subjects will interest them or what issues they might be facing.
Keep these ideas at the front of your mind when coming up with blog topics and while writing the content itself. For every article you create, you should have a clear understanding of why that particular piece of content will offer value to your readers.
03. Draw inspiration online
As a beginning blogger, you’re also probably wondering how to come up with blog topic ideas. Brainstorming, of course, is a great strategy. But it’s also helpful to conduct research in order to find out which subjects are in-demand.
Start by checking competing blogs in your industry. Keep an eye out for what topics they’re covering. You can use a competitor analysis tool like BuzzSumo to identify which of your competitors’ articles are performing best – that is, which ones get the most clicks or social media shares.
It’s also a good idea to keep tabs of trending content. Here’s how:
- Browse online courses within your niche that people are paying for, like Udemy, SkillShare, and LinkedIn Learning.
- Stay on top of current events and trending news stories in your industry.
- Check out Q&A feeds from platforms like Quora.
- Research bestselling, top-rated or newly published books.
- Take a look at trending search topics using Google Trends. In the image below, for instance, you can see that vegan recipes are more in-demand than paleo recipes, but that both have a steady stream of interest.
Based on your research of popular and high-performing topics, start building a list of topic ideas for your articles.
04. Learn what people are searching for
As you build your list of topics, you’ll want to do a bit of keyword research. This is the practice of targeting specific words and phrases in your article based on what your audience is looking for on search engines.
You don’t need to be a keyword research expert, but it is useful to know which terms people are searching for. Not only will this help you write content that better resonates with your audience, but it will also help you rank higher in search results – ensuring your content actually gets read.
While keyword research might sound intimidating, it’s actually quite simple. There are several blogging tools available – some of them free – that will point you to the right keywords. These include:
Once you’ve identified the main keyword you want to target for a particular topic, do a quick Google search of that keyword. Read through the top 10 articles to get an idea of what they’re talking about. There’s a reason they’re ranking in the top 10, so you’ll want to make sure your blog post covers similar subject matter.
05. Use keywords strategically
In addition to doing keyword research to understand what your audience wants to read about, you should also incorporate those keywords into the text. First, it’s good practice to add keywords to both the title and body of your article. This helps Google get a clear understanding of what your article is about.
When you upload your post, be sure to also include keywords in the following places:
- URL: For example, www.myblog.com/blog/strategic-keyword.
- Meta title: This is the blue title you see in Google search results.
- Meta description: This is the short paragraph beneath the blue title in Google search results.
- Alt text: This is text you add to your images to make them “readable” for search engines (more on that in step 12.)
It’s important to note that your keywords should fit naturally within the text. Repeated, indiscriminate use of keywords is called keyword-stuffing, and this is a spammy practice that can harm your SEO.
06. Structure your blog by category
Just as you’d organize your closet by category, you’ll want to take a similar approach with your blog. If you’re just starting your blog, format it in a way that makes it easy for readers to find what they’re looking for. For instance, you may want to add overarching topic categories to the navigation menu.
Google also appreciates this structure – in fact, its algorithms take website structure into account when determining which posts to rank among the top search results. So, having neatly organized blog categories is beneficial on all fronts. For example,
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07. Create an editorial calendar
When it comes to blogging for beginners, consistency is key. In order to build a successful blog, you’ll need to churn out content on a regular basis. Continuous publishing is a sign that your blog is a voice of authority in your field, and that your content is fresh and up-to-date. On top of that, Google’s algorithm rewards blogs that publish frequently.
Ideally, you’ll be able to publish an article at least 2-3 times per week. If that’s unrealistic for you now, start with just one a week, and take it from there. The most important thing when getting started is to commit to a realistic, achievable publishing schedule.
To hold yourself accountable, create an editorial calendar. Open up a file on Excel or Google Sheets, and add a few columns to help you keep track of your schedule. On our own editorial calendar, we like to include separate columns for the topic idea, publishing date, keyword, and progress status.
In order to meet your deadlines, make sure to brainstorm topics and do all the research in advance. Be sure to allow time not only for writing the content, but also for selecting media and editing your posts.
If you need more hands on deck, try opening up your blog to guest writers. Many writers, as part of building their own reputations online, look for opportunities to contribute articles to sites other than their own.
08. Start with an outline
Once you have an idea for a topic and the approximate word count, you’ll want to plan out the structure of your articles. This is a crucial step for producing a strong piece of content.
Your outline should contain three main elements:
- Introduction: This will be the opening paragraph of your article. In your outline, add a few bulleted notes with some ideas you’d like to include your intro.
- Body: This will be the meat of your article. Use your outline to organize all of your thoughts. Each main idea should have its own section within your article. Jot down the main points you’d like to include in each of these sections, as well as some examples to illustrate your points.
- Conclusion: This will be the final 1-2 paragraphs of your article. While not every article needs to have a concluding section, it is a nice way to tie together all your main points. Wrap up your outline with a concluding section, and add a few bullet points with the ideas you want to include.
If you’re stuck on creating your outline, take a look at these blog post templates for inspiration. They include a variety of blog content formats, from how-to posts to beginner’s guides to case studies. You can also learn how to use AI to plan and write blog posts.
09. Use data and research
Let’s talk a little more about the content of your blog posts. In addition to giving your article a tight structure, you’ll also need to back up your statements. This is ultimately what makes for a persuasive, powerful and credible piece.
On top of that, having a data-rich piece maximizes the chances that people will link back to your article on the web. Anytime you get a backlink to your article, this improves the post’s search engine rank.
As you piece together the ideas for your article, do some research to find statistics that support your claims. For instance, don’t just say “More and more people are browsing the internet through mobile.” Say “About half of web traffic worldwide comes from mobile.” It’s a good idea to build this data into your outline before you start writing.
See how the statistic above is hyperlinked? That’s exactly what you’ll want to do in order to give proper credit to each external source.
Once you get more comfortable with blogging, you may also want to branch out into doing original research (e.g., conducting online surveys of your audience) and interviews. This will help you craft original content that the online world will turn to for authority and expertise.
10. Write powerful copy
After you build your outline, you’ll be fully equipped to create your first draft. As you write your blog post, use your outline as a guide, making sure to include the following elements in your piece:
Headline: Write a catchy and intriguing headline to draw the reader in and encourage them to click on your article. If you’re stuck, try out this effective blog title formula: number + adjective + keyword + promise to the reader. You can also use this title generator to jumpstart your imagination.
Introduction: Like your headline, this is another place to hook your readers. Begin your introduction with a general appeal to your readers, and then transition into the topic at hand.
Body: Elaborate on your article’s main argument, using the notes from your outline as a guide. Here are some tips to craft a strong piece:
- Make each main point a different section, with its own heading or subheading to break up the text.
- Include bullet points and numbered lists to vary your formatting and add visual texture to your article.
- Use examples and statistics to illustrate your points.
- Offer clear and actionable takeaways for your readers.
- Keep paragraphs short to maximize whitespace and improve readability.
- Opt for a consistent voice and tone that accurately reflects your brand.
Conclusion: Summarize your main points in 2-3 sentences to remind your readers what you discussed. If you’re looking for comments and engagement, wrap up by posing a question for your audience – e.g., What do you think of these ideas? Or Anything else you’d like me to share?
Finally, review and edit your article before publishing. Share your post with family and friends, and ask them for their feedback. It always helps to get more eyes on your draft, and it’ll boost your confidence to know you’ve done your best.
For more tips on how to write and format your blog post, take a look at this blog post checklist.
11. Incorporate different content types
Images aren’t the only type of alternative content to add to your articles. In the world of blogging, mixed media posts outperform words-only posts. Once you’ve gotten the hang of writing articles, try enhancing them by embedding a podcast or video within the post. You can provide even more value to readers by adding a link to a webinar or downloadable e-book on the same topic.
On top of that, try repurposing some of your articles altogether into different formats so you can share them on different platforms. For example, you may want to start a YouTube channel with videos inspired by your blog content. Similarly, you could create a podcast of your own based on your articles, or write an e-book to share with your audience.
12. Use a variety of visuals
Your writing is the core of your blog posts, but it’s not the only element to include. It also helps to add visual elements to your articles. In fact, articles get shared twice as much when they have one image per every 75-100 words.
With that in mind, break up large blocks of text by incorporating images and videos. This keeps your readers’ attention on the page for longer and prevents them from getting bored or intimidated by so much text.
Be sure to use unique, high-quality images to create a polished and professional piece. If you’re not able to use photographs of your own, you can get free stock photos from sites like Unsplash and Pexels.
Once you upload the images to your blog, add alt text to optimize them for SEO. Essentially, this just means adding a short description to each image – ideally using keywords – that explains to search engines and screen readers what it depicts. This is an easy process available on nearly every blogging platform. (Note that this is not the same as adding a caption, since it ultimately won’t be visible on the published post.)
13. Include clickable CTAs
Do you want your readers to ultimately become clients? This may be the case if you’re blogging for your business, or if you’re selling items or services related to your personal brand.
If this is your goal, you can design blog posts in a way that points readers to your products. Sprinkle calls-to-action throughout your post, especially toward the beginning of your article where you know readers will see them. CTAs are short, actionable phrases that get readers to buy or move them closer toward making a purchase – for instance, “Start my free trial” or “Book a 15-minute call.” You’ll want to add a hyperlink to your CTAs that takes readers to a registration, sign-up, or product page.
Even if you aren’t selling products, you can still use CTAs to build engagement among readers and encourage them to explore your blog. For example, you can add CTAs that link out to other blog posts, or that encourage readers to subscribe to your blog newsletter.
14. Develop a powerful linking strategy
If you’re just learning how to start a blog, it’s crucial to understand the importance of links in your blogging strategy. In general, there are three main types of links you’ll need to pay attention to:
- Internal links: Links within your blog posts that connect to other pages on your website or articles on your blog. This type of linking improves the SEO of your articles, and compels readers to further explore relevant pages on your site.
- External links: Links within your blog posts that connect to third-party sites. These come in handy when you want to cite an important study or statistic from an external source.
- Backlinks: Links from third-party sites that connect to your website or blog. This is a core part of building your blog’s SEO. The more backlinks you get from high-authority websites, the more credible your own site is in the eyes of search engines.
Each of these plays its own important role, so dedicate time to implement links throughout your blog post.
15. Prioritize long blog posts
Research shows that longer blog posts – those between 1,500 and 2,000 words – perform better and get more shares on social media. On average, the most effective blog post length for SEO in 2020 was 1,890 words.
Why are long posts so effective? First, they give the reader an opportunity to explore topics in-depth, providing them with deeper value. They also let you establish your expertise and build your authority in the field. Typically, longer posts will even perform better for SEO, since they give you space to address the most important keywords around a particular topic.
That’s not to say that you should forego short blog posts altogether. In fact, short blog posts do work well if they sufficiently explain a topic and provide the reader with exactly what they’re looking for. For the most part, however, you’ll want to prioritize longer articles when building your content calendar.
16. Keep your content up-to-date
Another crucial blogging tip for beginners is to keep your content up-to-date. To begin with, you’ll want to prioritize evergreen content – blog posts about a timeless topic that will be relevant for years to come. But even with the most evergreen pieces, you’ll want to continuously update your posts to keep them fresh.
An update can range from a light refresh to a full-on content redo. You can determine the extent you’ll need to update a post by analyzing its performance (more on that later).
To keep track of updates, it may be helpful to add a column to your editorial calendar with a reminder to check on the article 6 months after it’s published.
17. Create a blog newsletter
Even after you’ve published a month’s worth of articles, there’s still going to be a looming question. How will you get people to actually read and follow your blog?
First, you’ll want to consider how to draw in people who’ve already landed on your site. Ideally, these people will become returning visitors – and not just one-time readers.
To do this, send out an email newsletter, and encourage sign-ups directly from your blog posts. Add a CTA to your content that urges readers to subscribe so that you can start collecting email addresses. This will enable you to communicate regularly and directly with your audience, helping you turn visitors into loyal fans.
You can also try out more creative ways of obtaining your readers’ email addresses. One option is to offer them a free resource – such as a webinar, e-book, guide, or template – that they can download in exchange for their contact details. This type of content is known as gated content, and it’s an effective strategy for getting subscribers to your blog.
18. Promote your blog on social media
Next, there’s the question of how to get new visitors – people who’ve never landed on your blog before.
A simple (and free) way to promote your blog is by sharing your articles on social media. Whether you’re promoting your blog on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, give it a profile of its own, using your blog logo as the profile picture. Then, publish and share every blog post on your pages. Give microblogging a try to capture your audience’s interest and get them to click.
In addition to sharing these articles on your own, you can encourage others to do the same. Make your posts shareable by adding social media share buttons somewhere on the page. At the end of your post, leave a small note asking readers to share your content.
19. Expand your online presence
Social media isn’t the only way to gain exposure. There are several other creative ways to establish your presence as a blogger and become known in your field. These include:
- Networking with other bloggers in your niche, either online or at in-person meetups, and inquiring about cross-promotion opportunities.
- Being active in online communities, such as a social media page or forum about your industry.
- Writing guest posts on external sites increasing blog traffic, gain backlinks, and expand your reach.
Your readers are out there somewhere; you only need to find them. Reaching out to others within your field, and posting on external sites relevant to your niche, is an effective way to start.
20. Monitor your blog analytics
Luckily, you don’t have to be completely in the dark when it comes to understanding the success of your blog posts. There are lots of website analytics tools out there to help you analyze your performance.
How many people read your articles each month? How many shares do they get on social media? Which topics seem to interest your readers the most? Evaluating this data is a fundamental part of starting a blog, since it teaches you where you need to improve and where to replicate your success.
If you notice that a particular topic gets a lot of clicks or shares, create additional articles that relate to that theme or that use a similar style or format. Likewise, if an important article isn’t getting the attention you’d hoped, you may need to revisit it and consider updating or revising the content.
21. Take advantage of monetization opportunities
As a beginner, you may not be thinking of monetizing your blog just yet. But we’ll leave you with one final tip that you can let marinate in your mind. After all, who wouldn’t want to earn some extra cash – not to mention a full-time income – through their blog?
To make money blogging, you need to turn your traffic into revenue. Here are some suggestions for how you might go about it:
- Offer paid subscriptions with members-only access to exclusive content.
- Add affiliate links to a product (these let you earn a commission every time a reader clicks and buys).
- Sell merchandise related to your brand.
- Get paid by companies to write sponsored content.
- Provide consulting services to clients, using your blog as your resume.
- Add ads to your blog.
This might sound like a lot right now, but let yourself dream big. Using these blogging tips, you may just be able to turn your blog into a powerful publication. Looking to really get your blog off the ground? Take a look at our Build Your Own Blog online course to get you started.