In this guide I will cover a wide variety of topics starting with the basics all the way to the advanced. A lot of this comes from frequently asked questions I get so I can point people to this post which covers pretty much every question I get in regards to blogging.
There are a billion blogs out on the internet in very competitive niches but what are the keys to make a few blogs stand out?
Here is my tips and tricks on how to become a Ninja blogger.
First off I want to make a big point that I don’t know of any blogger that started a blog with the intention of making money. The crazy thing is for me, and many others, the money part of it was a side effect of having a blog people actually want to read. If your chasing the dream of making money online blogging I wish you the best of luck and please let me know if that works out for you. Even with my ShoeMoney Network which focuses heavily on blogging, its core is about getting your blog setup and ways to get traffic, not how to make overnight riches. Yes that could lead to money, but again, that will be a nice side effect and its not going to happen overnight.
What do I write about?
It all starts with this and it is the most important key to a blog being successful. A blog is a web log. Many forget that. Write about what you want but most importantly be you.
Write like nobody is reading your blog. Some of the most successful blogs out there started exactly this way. Huffington Post, Perez Hilton, Tech Crunch, and tons of others all started from people writing about what they were passionate about.
Don’t try to become a news site or echo what others are writing about. If you are writing about news or current events give your opinion on them. Again stand out by being you. This is what will separate you from the pack and gain a following.
How do I format posts?
People have an attention span of a nat, so to keep them engaged you should use your writing tools available.
These key tools are:
- Bold font.
- Ordered or numbered lists.
- Highlights (or call outs).
- Font sizes.
- Font Colors
- A combination of each.
Another key that I have found for success is to make the key components of your blog post in bold. A reader should be able to skim through the site in 20 seconds and be able to tell you what the post is about. Don’t believe me? Have a friend browse this post quickly and see what he can tell you its about!
And last on this topic is that your posts should never have more than 300 characters without a line break. I have studied this and more people bounce if you have a huge article without any breaks. It’s harder to read plus it just looks like a ton of content.
What theme should I use?
Often a common question. There are ton’s of free themes that come pre-installed from WordPress and TONS available on wordpress.org. Those are usually the easiest to work with for people just getting started.
But honestly when your getting started the theme doesn’t matter much. The great thing about the WordPress platform is that you can switch themes at anytime and your content stays there. Normally no further formatting is needed.
A Few Keys to look for in a theme:
- Make sure the theme is responsive – This is key for people that have browsers on small monitors. You want your site to be able to automatically resize if people make the browser size smaller.
- Make sure the theme supports “featured images”. This will come in to play more when we get to the social part below.
- Make sure the theme is regularly updated, had a lot of downloads, and has good reviews. – This mostly applies to free themes found on wordpress.org. You can find this on the right hand side when browsing themes.
How do I make my site mobile Ready?
Making your site mobile compliant is a HUGE thing. Not only does it make it easy for your readers on mobile devices but Google is now giving sites higher SEO rankings that are mobile compliant. The simplest way to do this is to install the free and wildly popular Wp Touch Mobile Plugin. It takes less than 2 minutes to install and it works great!
How do I make my site social media ready?
A often overlooked thing is having simple icons on your blog that allow your readers to share your posts on social networks. My favorite free one is the WPsocialite plugin. Only downside to this is that it has not been updated in 2 years. I have never found an issue with this but its possible it might not be compatible with some themes.
Another free and more updated one is the WP Social Share. While I feel its not nearly as good it does the job.
Maybe there are other free ones that I am missing? Please share in the comments below if you know of any!
How do I start my blog newsletter?
This is a very important thing that most bloggers kick themselves for not doing from day one. There are many services out there but the one I recommend is GetResponse. They have a free account (not even credit card required) for up to 500 contacts which is more than enough to get you started. Then its very reasonable pricing. It also contains a key element in that it will crawl your site and email your subscribers when you have a new blog post. More on why this is important at the end of this guide. Get response also comes with several options to integrate with your blog to allow your readers to sign up for your newsletter.
How do I use Facebook to get more traffic to my blog?
Its very important to make a Facebook page that is specific to your blog. Make it have the same look and feel. Once you have it setup invite your friends and you can even export your contacts from gmail or other email providers and upload that list and Facebook will automatically invite them to like your page. Your posts when shared on that page will appear in your friends newsfeed which will drive more traffic to your blog.
This seems like too much work. How can I automate this?
Now this isn’t really a question I get a lot but its the true Ninja tip that makes it all come together.
Ok so you’re all setup. All you need now is software like Hootsuite (free for up to 3 social media profiles) that monitors your blog and automatically posts your new blog post to your Facebook blog page, and other social media profiles you plug in (twitter, linkedIn, etc).
So lets recap on what is happening here:
- You make a blog post.
- The email platform automatically emails your subscribers letting them know you have a new post.
- This brings readers to your site where they now have options to share your post or just like your Facebook Page or follow you on Twitter.
- Your post is also automatically shared on your social profiles so this brings people to your site where they can now sign up for your blog newsletter.
Why is this new and why does it work so well ?
Back in the day everyone used an RSS reader and would subscribe to blogs. Those days are long over. Almost all RSS readers are out of business including even Google’s awesome RSS reader. They unsupported it a few years ago (it still might work though).
The fact is social media completely changed the game on how people find and come back to blogs. People are no longer dedicated readers of a blog but now follow people on twitter and like Facebook pages to get updates on posts. But the real magic happens when you have a newsletter because not only are you able to automatically bring users back but also mail them out other items.
And now you know how to become a Ninja Blogger!
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