Starting Out

When you first learn how to start a blog, one of the most common things to do is get a good web hosting company, set up WordPress, maybe start an email list (hey, you really ought to do this, no “maybe” about it), and start writing. Soon thereafter, you hit Publish and voila, your first web post!

So that gets you started, but isn’t there more to life than just writing and publishing? Oh yeah, there is!

Since I love to help learn ‘ya 👩‍🎓 👨‍🎓, here are 9 blogging tips for beginners that will really take you places!

Full disclosure: I mention products and include links to those products on this site, and I’ll earn an affiliate commission for any purchases you make using the links I provide (however, there is no extra cost to you for using these links), and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 


Tip # 1: Formatting a WordPress Blog Post (4 Amazing Tools)

If you’re going to be formatting a WordPress blog post, there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.  Maybe that’s harsh… so let me say “less optimal and more optimal”.   Yeah.

So, let’s learn what’s what!

Writing is about content and formatting. Formatting a WordPress blog post is not something to take lightly.    
Why?  Because you need to keep your reader interested. Your content needs to be easy on the eyes, and you need a clear call to action (CTA). You have to keep readers on your site and not wandering off to other sites. When they wander off your page, it’s called a “bounce”. Tools like Google Analytics will actually measure your bounce rate and show you what that number is on your analytics dashboard. High bounce rate is not good for ranking your site on the first page of Google’s search results (and that’s the place you want to be).
 
Formatting a blog post is similar to any good writing assignment you’ve had in school, with one important difference.  It’s not a composition or research paper.  It’s an informative and easy-to-digest piece of copy that keeps your reader interested.  Think of your favorite magazine article. Like that.
Key points to writing like that include:
  • Telling your audience something informative
  • Answering a plaguing question
  • Solving a problem
If you want to go deeper (and you should, student), here’s a good source of information by Anne Dorko, including 4 nice tools, to help you format your WordPress blog post. Check out the expert advice she provides.

Tip #2: Using an SEO Checklist

Blogging tips for beginners MUST include mention of SEO! What is SEO and how do I use it? It stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the steps you take, the things you do, to make certain that your content shows up as high as possible on the search engine results page (SERP). The better you are at SEO techniques, the more likely your site will be in the top 10 search results.  Top 10 is the sweet spot on the SERP.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have an SEO checklist to refer to and make sure you’ve done things right?

Neil Patel stated it this way: “One of your primary goals as an SEO or content marketer is to improve the ranking of your website. ”

Example: If you enter a search term like “seaplanes”, you want to get information about airplanes that land on water. If you do a good job with SEO, the search engine will see that your information relates very well to the search query. The better you do at SEO, the higher you can rank on the search results page!

SEO SERP Example
SEO SERP Example

 

So, what you need is a guide to the best tips for optimizing what you write, something that makes it easier for search engines to serve up your site on the first search results page.

Let’s go there, with a well rounded SEO Checklist, from Brian Dean. Once you learn what he says is important (and Brian knows what he’s talking about), you can help automate that with SEO plugins for WordPress like “SEO by Yoast” and “Rank Math”. As a beginner blogger, you should read the article and understand important SEO topics first, before you jump into plugins.


Tip #3: Write Good Copy with these 8 Tweaks

Tips for New Bloggers
Pixabay at Pexels

This bear looks really interested in that book. Good copy, no doubt! How to write good copy is something we all need to learn or improve upon as bloggers. Think about how you read content. Does it differ by the type of content? Are you reading a long page of complicated sentences? Are you scanning the information quickly so that you just get the main points?

Your blog’s readers have the same thing going on. When they read an online post or tip, most people scan, especially when scrolling their phone or tablet screen. Wouldn’t it make sense to write good copy that helps your reader quickly get through the information and decide whether it’s worth reading in depth?

If you’re writing for the web, this means that good copy is broken down into short blocks of scannable content that keeps the reader engaged. Good copy also makes use of white space around bolded statements, which helps focus the reader on the point you’re making at that spot in the content.

When you write good copy you also want to make use of:

  • Bullet points
  • Highlighting or alternate text color
  • Italics for emphasis

If you run long sentences together in huge paragraphs, you’ll overwhelm the reader visually

As a blogger you need to know as many techniques for writing good copy as possible.  Help people stay with your content. You don’t want them leaving mere seconds into arriving. The good news? There are some super-neat tweaks you can make to your content that will improve it and keep your readers with you.

Pray tell what are these tweaks ?

How about using “you” instead of “we”, or talking directly to the person reading! There are quite a few easy adjustments you can make, and Pamela Wilson walks you through them here


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Tip #4: Write Better Email Subject Lines

Did you know that you can craft better email subject lines and improve open rates ?

Open rates for emails in an email marketing campaign that bloggers send to subscribers are typically low, so you need to do whatever you can to improve on that.

For example, have you ever received an email with a subject line like in this screenshot?

better email subject lines

A subject line like this fails the primary objective of a good subject line – to take the reader from their inbox to your content… to actually have someone read it. In order to make that transition happen, you need to introduce your reader to the email in a catchy, brief, informative way.  The hook. Without the hook, the reader moves on.

Your hook – your “hey you need to read me because it will make a positive difference to you” subject line – grabs their attention.  In a micro-second, your reader will decide to read your email or pass it by. Make the hook a good one.

TIP: Make it good, but not complete. It should not tell the whole story.  If the reader gets it all in the subject line, there’s no point to reading the email. It’s like saying “Yo, amazing joke here!” and then throwing in the punch line right there.  Let the email tell the story. Lead your reader in via a better email subject line.

Consider these actions:

  • Don’t use too many characters
  • Consider using an email subject line tester
  • Do include impactful words that make your reader open the email and read on
  • Do include the first name of the recipient in your subject line if possible. You will get a better click-through rate than if you don’t.
    • Email service providers know that, and include that capability in their products by including a name field in their opt-in forms. If you’re interested in these kind of email service providers, you can check out some popular ones on my Resources page.

Some people ask: What about Emoji 😜 in the Subject Line ??

Do emojis do any good in email subject lines? 😜  Yes and no, so you need to think about it. They draw attention, which is good. One study mentioned by Katey Charles Communication showed it increased open rate by 18% in one case and 37% in another case.

There are some downsides, though. The emoji may cause your email to be seen as spam. The emoji may not display as intended. They may not have the same effect on readers that you hoped for.

If you want to try using them, craft your email subject line and while your cursor is still in the subject box, use the combination of Windows key + period (Windows + .) to bring up the emoji keyboard, then just click the icon you want:

better email subject lines

So, back to the subject line. Try these:

  • Use words that are known to increase open rate – power words (see Tip #9)
  • Avoid words that could decrease open rate (just use common sense)
  • Include a number in the subject line
  • (See above) – use emoji in the subject line
  • Keep subject lines short (15-25 characters)
  • No more than ~5 words for the most impact

Your emails may be impactful, but who’ll read them if they don’t send the subliminal message “I’m worth it”? Click To Tweet

Here’s more detail from Nathan Ellering and Robin Selvy Re with some awesomely masterful subject line tips for better open rates.


Tip 5: Look for Quality Backlink Sources

Backlink Sources - Website Authority Votes

Bottom line up front: Getting quality backlinks is a key way to grab Google’s attention

Therefore it’s a key way that you can improve your search engine ranking. Backlinks are the “votes” that search engines look for to conclude relevancy while answering a query.

Did you know that “A single quality backlink can be more powerful than 10,000 low-quality backlinks”?  –backlinko.com  

Here are some things you need to dig into and get cozy with to really make the most of quality links:

  • Links within text versus standalone
  • Website source
  • Keyword and Anchor Text
  • Topical Relationship
  • DoFollow versus NoFollow
  • Previous linking
  • Paid or Not Paid
  • Broken links that can bring you backlinks

You get the idea – there’s a lot to know about backlink sources

Here’s more info on the subject for you. Find a quiet place, grab your favorite travel mug full of a hot beverage (here’s mine because I love it so much) and take some good notes on untapped backlink sources in this hefty guide


Tip #6: Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy

Level-up time!

Did you know there’s a formula for getting your reader’s attention and moving forward toward a purchase?  It’s not something up-and-coming either.  It’s been around quite a long time, but it’s not usually applied to blogging or digital marketing.  Oops.

Selling Formula

You should learn how it works

Why?  Because it can help you engage, persuade, and convert your readers into buyers.

Meet AIDA.  It’s an experience funnel.

Ryan Johnson (Ramit Sethi’s Sr. Editorial Director) tells us it’s one of the “fundamentals of sales. Use the AIDA formula (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) to make sure your funnel will move people from where they are today to actually purchasing your product:”

Why do we care?

Because as a blogger or digital marketer (beginner or otherwise), you’re trying to meet people’s needs. You need a way to move them from passive curiosity to purchasing.  You need to both educate them enough to spend cash and provide them with a solution to their problem.

It’s really fundamental to selling, and there’s some real meat in this article on  content marketing strategy by Jayson DeMers at Forbes.


Tip #7: Promote Your Posts (and here’s up to 10 places to do so)

You want to promote your posts. Well, there are many ways to do that and you can probably think of some right off the bat. For example:

  • Mention them in group forums
  • Use Pinterest
  • Talk about them on Facebook and point back to your blog
  • Tweet about them and link to your content
  • Tell friends about what you published

All good, except they all point back to the same place – your website!  You already have a certain sized audience there, why not go big?

How can you increase the reach of your content?  Well, what if your content showed up other places besides your blog?

You also need to promote your posts in places with quite a different reach!  It’s a big world out there…

Increase your blog reach

How do you promote your posts and get your content out there, way beyond the audience you normally enjoy and interact with?  How do you piggyback your content so that not only your blog readers and customers see your content, but readers and customers of other platforms do as well?  Here’s how – you take advantage of other platforms that allow you to re-publish on their larger platform.

Clever?  Heck yeah!

So, come with me and let’s check out all the cool places you can precycle or recycle your content, as Erica Verillo via medium.com spells out what can work for you to promote your posts.


Tip #8: Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block got ya down? Are you a content creator with nowhere to go? No ideas? Whaaaat??

Here are some thoughts about this evil menace:

Almost everyone goes through it
Sometimes you feel that you’ve come at your topic from every possible angle and there’s nothing else you can squeeze from it
You kinda don’t care about your topic anymore
You’re distracted
Too much on your plate, it’s hard to focus
Sometimes writer’s block presents itself as brain fog, drawing a blank, no focus, no inspiration
OK, we all get writer’s block

The thing is, as a blogger or digital marketer, content is your life blood.  It’s not necessary to have a lot of content (many posts), but it is necessary to have in-depth, long posts, with actionable content.  Brian Dean from Backlinko.com states it this way – “Long-form content ranks higher in Google’s search results than short-form content. The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.

blog post word length backlinko.com
source: backlinko.com

The problem is when you have writer’s block, there’s not much chance of usable content flowing from your fingers onto the screen.

Luckily, there’s a way you can prod a few good ideas out of thin air! 

Walk this way… here’s some solid guidance on the topic from portent.com – and it’s called the Content Idea Generator.


Tip #9: Use Power Words!

What are “power words” and why should you use them? Simply put, power words are words that get people to take action! They tend to trigger a psychological or emotional response. This response can be either positive or negative and will help readers reach your desired outcome. They’re persuasive, and people find it harder to break away from content that contain power words.

Question: Which is a more powerful statement:

“The place I stayed at last week was pretty cool” or “The place I stayed at was incredible”?

I’m guessing you felt the one with “incredible” did a better job.  Right on!

Whether this is a breakthrough concept for you or not, it bears paying attention to.  It makes for better copy and increased reader engagement.

(Yeah, “breakthrough” was a power word)

So – why is this important to bloggers and internet marketers? Because it delivers value to your readers and helps them get motivated to do something useful and helpful, to take action. From the business perspective, that can translate into more readers for your blog and more sales for your storefront.

So, what words make good power words?

Well, let’s explore that in impressive depth with today’s captivating and comprehensive offering by Sarah Peterson

(see what I did there?)

Bonus Tip: Educate Yourself Daily on other blogging tips for beginners – and more!

You are awesome! You owe it to yourself to keep moving forward… one way to do that is to educate yourself daily about beginner blogger tips (or advanced ones, too). Read other blog posts, subscribe to my email list, absorb like a sponge, apply what you’ve learned. There are tons of resources out there (books, tools, courses). Take advantage of it.

PIN ME!

tips for beginner bloggers


Thanks for spending time here today, I hope you’ve left a little smarter!

Blogging Tips for Beginners
Pixabay at Pexels

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also, I’d love to read your comment below about something you’ve learned here, or something else you want to learn (blogging tips for beginners or otherwise!)

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