Top 10 Techniques- How To Avoid Looking Like a New Blogger
Scared of looking like a brand-new blogger? Here are 10 easy techniques on how not to look like a newbie.
Writing a blog can give you amongst other things:
- Practical skills in regards to writing
- A potential source of extra income if you wish to pursue that
- A wide support network of people in the same situation as yourself
- The potential to start a new business which could change your life
If you haven’t started a blog and are considering it as an option, I would encourage you to do so, it’s been the best thing I did in 2016! (And I went to the Sziget Music Festival that year and that was absolutely DOPE!) So let’s get started.
1. Don’t be frightened to admit that you’re new to blogging
In December last year, I wrote a guest blog over at frompenniestopounds.com. It was titled ’16 different tips to starting your own business’ (who knew in 2 months I’d be writing articles for other people’s websites!) One of the topics I covered was that when starting a new blog or business fear is one of the things that will hold you back. Specifically, the fear of failure. The biggest lesson I learned early on was that you shouldn’t fear failure or mistakes. Some of the best blogs I’ve read have captured me from their early posts. I’ve often picked up new blogs from early income reports when they were a brand-new blogger. Honesty in these situations can go a long way as it allowed me to see how far they had come. Seeing them progress from being a new writer is a great source of inspiration.
Wouldn't it be great if your blog could be a source of someone else's inspiration? We’ve all got to start somewhere!
Making mistakes will help you learn what works, what doesn’t work and allow you to improve and refine your blog.
Now what’s great about blogging is that even if you’re brand new, you can still be perceived as an expert in your field.
All you need to do is the following:
- Write with authority about your chosen niche
- Know more about your chosen topic than the reader
By doing these two things 9/10 times you will be perceived by your readers as an authority on the subject. Do not be afraid to admit to your blog readers if this is the first time you’ve written a blog. You may in 2 months’ time be sharing with your readers some helpful tips you’ve learned by being brave enough to start blogging in the first place. In the same way I am sharing with you now.
There is a great post available on Leaving work behind about writing with authority, which is really helpful to read as a new blogger; I’d recommend checking it out.
2. Make sure your writing is grammatically correct
This is something that I struggled with at first. I’m sure that I still make mistakes in my writing (It’s a learning curve guys; you’ll have to forgive me). All you need to know is that grammar is very important. If somebody has incorrect spelling or bad grammar, it can distract from the content. A lot of readers out there will bounce off your blog if they don’t think the quality of writing is good enough. So let’s not give them a reason to go!
My top tip for grammar is to have somebody else (who is good with grammar and spelling) to read over your blog posts. Another tip is to never post your latest article straight away, go away and come back to read it again. I would also strongly suggest using the Grammarly add-on, which you can get at this link for free. It’s an extension that bolts into your browser and analyses your writing and gives corrective suggestions to both grammar and spelling, awesome!
I’m very lucky to have somebody who is willing to read through my articles when they are in their draft phase and to help me, acting as an editor. I would suggest when writing a post to not worry too much about grammar while you are writing the content. I find my writing flows better when I’m not considering the grammar and I’m just typing out the content. Make sure you thoroughly check your articles before posting them!
3. Use a Professional domain name / URL for your Blog
This is something that comes down to what you want to do with your blog.
This is hands down one of the most important things you can do for your blog if:
- You are interested in looking like a professional blogger – Free blogs like Blogger or Wix can sometimes come across as amateur, if you want that professional look a great URL can make a huge difference to your first impression.
- You would like to down the line monetize your blog – Customers are more likely to buy from a professional looking URL as it gives your buyer confidence in your brand.
- You want a memorable and easy to type web address – Imagine the conversation now. “Just pop to my site, letsgetjobless.wordpress.com/article1ZFG23” Compared to “Letsgetjobless.com/start-here”.
Now if you signed up for a professional URL domain name through a site like Blue Host your website address could be:
It may cost you to own the domain name, but if you’re thinking about taking this whole blogging thing seriously, that would be a drop in the ocean as it looks a lot more professional.
If the whole talk of domains and WordPress sounds confusing, think of your blog as your business. To run your business you need a business address, and you have to pay a landlord to rent that address. A domain is the online equivalent of your business premises, and the domain host is the equivalent of your landlord.
Traditional Business —-—> Business Premises ——> Payment to Landlord
Online Blog ——————> Website Address ———> Payment to Domain Host
Having a professional domain name for your blog is one of the easiest steps to giving your blog online authority against other blogs.
4. Create Quality Content, Quality over Quantity
When writing blog posts your content must be of the highest quality for a number of reasons:
- The higher quality your content, the more useful readers will find it and the more likely they are to share your content
- Quality content sparks conversation and interaction, readers commenting on your site will help establish you as an expert
- Google will rank your content higher if your content is good quality and relevant
In the first few months of writing your blog, having well written, shareable content can be the key to the amount of traffic you get to your site. It can take a few months before Google starts to properly index your website and you begin to get organic search traffic.
When writing blog content, you always want to be thinking about providing value to your readers. Your earnings are a by-product of how well you serve your audience, so if you can deliver them fantastic content that they can use and benefit from, you will see much better long-term success.
If you spew out an article 3-4 times a week, but the content inside the article isn’t very useful or particularly interesting, nobody will engage with it, and even fewer people will come back for more content. If you release good quality content once a week, your readers will hopefully engage more with the blog post and are more likely to come back. If you periodically release content they will also know when they need to come back to consume more of your content.
5. Think about having a USP (Unique Selling Point)
It really does pay to have a USP or unique feature for your blog that will draw people to your particular niche. Don’t forget that you can use your own personality to make your blog stand out (after all, there’s nobody else in the world quite like you…is there?) Having a great ‘about’ page which tells your story can be a great way to give readers an idea of what your voice sounds like when reading your content.
For example, when reading a blog that I know is written by a stay at home mum with two children, how do you think I will perceive her writing an article? When she’s advising the best way to budget for a new child, she will be very believable. Whereas a blog post written about that particular subject by an unknown author may not carry the same authority.
Try and come up with a unique selling point to your blog; you want to stand out from the crowd. But if you’re struggling, don’t forget you can use your individual personality.
6. Plan 3-4 Categories Within your Niche that You’ll Write About
This is something that I didn’t do when I started blogging and I wish I had planned out straight away what type of writing I wanted to do. When you first start out with any new venture some of your best work and best writing can be produced in the very first days of starting out; however, without a clear direction for what your site is going to be and what you will write about you run the risk of your blog having content from so many different areas that you become the jack of all trades and master of none.
Having just 3-4 main categories that you will write about helps you to focus your blog and stops you from writing about content that isn’t related to what you want your blog to be about. If you find that you’re struggling to keep it within 3-4 categories, remember you can always expand on this later on.
Focus on just 3 or 4 categories of writing to start off with; this will help you to keep your writing focused and you will be able to target relevant keywords more easily for optimizing your site for Google to rank you highly in searches.
7. Do some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Research
Understanding how Google is going to rank you and knowing how best to optimize your site can be a powerful tool to understand. What can initially feel like quite a daunting skill to learn, once you understand a few basics it can help expose your site to much more traffic in the future. By using a wordpress.org based website build (more on that shortly) you will be able to use a plugin called ‘Yoast’. Yoast helps you when writing articles by focusing on optimizing your post for the particular keywords you would like to rank for in Google!
Keywords are the search terms you put into your search bar in Google. For example, if I searched: “Chocolate Teapot” both ‘Chocolate’, ‘Teapot’ and ‘Chocolate Teapot’ are different keywords Google may try to use to rank you. Using Yoast and gaining a better understanding of how this works will benefit you greatly when writing new articles.
I’ve written a guide on the basics of SEO to help you get started on building your own campaign and to start ranking higher in Google’s search. For a guide on the basics of SEO and how to create a marketing campaign using backlinks click here!
As well as this guide it’s also worth using Google’s free keyword research tool to try to find some keywords to focus on in your writing, in order to improve the amount of search engine traffic you will see in the future.
8. Set yourself up with a WordPress Site
If you’re going to go to all the effort of setting up a blog, it’d make sense to go with what looks like the easiest option, right? That’s what I thought when I first signed up my blog with wordpress.com. Don’t get me wrong, the site did what it said on the tin, but the results left the site feeling and looking a little amateurish and I wasn’t able to implement the plugins that I read about on different blogging sites. It also means that now I’ve set up my blog with wordpress.org I’ve had to pay for 2 different sets of hosting. One for my self-hosted platform (that’s the one that you want) via Bluehost and the other for my original wordpress.com subscription as well.
So to add up my expenses I’ve paid:
- $4.99 month (x36 months = $179.64) – for Domain hosting for www.letsgetjobless.com
- $2.95 month (x36 months = $106.20) – For website hosting with www.wordpress.com
- $3.95 month (x36 months = $143.64) – Blue Host including 1 click wordpress.org install
$429.48 – Total Cost for Myself as detailed above
Instead of doing it the way that I did, I would recommend just going ahead and signing up with Bluehost. You can start your own blog with them for as little as $3.99 a month (if you want to get started click here).
The basic account is all you would need to get started, so for me on the same 3-year package I would have paid only $142.20 – 3 years worth of Bluehost self-hosting for WordPress including free website domain.
That’s over a $280 saving compared to what I’ve paid – Research can save you money!
If you want to absolute cheapest package, you can sign up for a year’s worth of hosting for $71.40!
(Just make sure to remove the unnecessary add-ons like Site-Lock & Domain Privacy)
- This includes a free website domain when signing up for at least 12 months, you wouldn’t have to pay the $180 domain hosting like I did.
- Discounted pricing, instead of the usually $7.99 a month plan you’ll only pay $3.95 for 3 years worth of hosting.
- The other benefit is that you will have me on hand if you run into any questions or need any support whilst going through the whole process; don’t worry though it’s a breeze!
If you’re interested in ever making money from your blog, growing a business or freelancing then paying for hosting through Bluehost is a MUST! It’s amazingly cheap to go through Bluehost and getting the free domain is a huge perk which can save you a lot of money and hassle. Making money on free blogging platforms like Blogger or WordPress.com is very difficult, and in the majority of cases never happens. A lot of companies and advertisers actively avoid these types of websites as they don’t appear as professional as self-hosted WordPress blogs.
It’s also interesting to look at other bloggers income reports, you tend to notice a theme that most of these sites don’t start earning significant amounts of money until they switched to self-hosted WordPress platforms like through Bluehost.
For full disclosure, I am a Bluehost affiliate so if you purchase through any of my links above they will throw me back a small commission, this helps me pay the bills so that I can keep bringing you guys great content! It doesn’t cost you any extra in fact you often get an extra discount because of this.
9. Install a Premium WordPress Theme
They say not to judge a book by its cover and that looks aren’t everything, but research has shown that a sexy looking website has much lower bounce rates than a generic looking blog (and who doesn’t love a little individuality, right?) Having a premium WordPress theme can make a big difference to the look of your blog, but it can also add a lot of functionality to your site. Whether it’s in the form of sweeping menus, lavish sidebars or just generally a cleaner look for your blog, having a premium theme can help you avoid looking like a new blogger.
So what’s the difference between a premium WordPress theme to a standard WordPress theme?
A standard / free WordPress theme have their own benefits. They are easily downloadable from the official WordPress.org themes directory. A lot of people when they hear free think low quality, if someone is charging money for premium themes that means the free ones must be rubbish, right? Quite the opposite, free themes are held to a very high standard to be allowed entry into the official themes directory and I’ve used a free theme myself when starting out however there are a couple of limitations.
- There is limited support for the themes if you ever encounter issues
- They often have limited features and tools
- Not very unique
- No warranties
A premium WordPress theme can make your blog look polished and professional. That accompanied by a great domain name and some clearly written, error free content which adds value to your reader and you’re already 100 times better than I was when I first started writing!
You don’t have to necessarily spend a fortune; for a small amount you can invest in some great premium themes from as little as $20-$40 which can drastically improve the look of your blog. Even if you aren’t prepared to invest in a paid for theme straight away there are a multitude of great free themes available that can look very professional while costing you nothing up front.
You can check out some great themes on Theme Forest, this is the site where I got my website theme from and I recommend you check them out. The themes are clearly displayed and easy to choose from, and there is a huge variety.
10. Assess your website to make sure it isn’t too slow
I recently sat down with one of my friends who runs a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization and he did a full review of my website. He showed me some great free tools you can use online to assess your website access speed. While assessing my blog, it brought up some interesting points!
- My website was loading 14.2MB of data on the homepage! (not so bad if you have 50mbps broadband but can you imagine how slow that would be for anybody with older broadband or a dial up connection?!) From a local server, it took 13.5 seconds to access my homepage (the average timescale for people to wait around on a page before bouncing back off it again is 2-3 seconds).
- When we looked into it a little closer the reason my web page was so large was the images I’d used for my blog posts were a really high resolution. Even though they were loading small on my page, I changed the resolution, re-uploaded the pictures and we retested the website. The load time dropped down to 2.1 seconds. That was a huge 10-second improvement!
Use website checking tools to make sure your site is optimized so that when you do get people coming to your site, you don’t scare them away with slow load times! Check out Pingdom for a free website check-up.
To get your bonus tip, my #1 tip on how to avoid looking like a new blogger click the link and get the free PDF!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments If you’ve heard any great stories that have stuck with you over the years and also what your top tip would be to a newbie blogger getting into the writing game.
Until the next one.