1) The Best Blogging Platform For Beginners
The best blogging platform for beginners in my opinion, is WorPress. It’s what I use here on Clever Leverage, and I’ve tried most all of them. (WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Tumblr, Blogger/Blogspot, etc…)
The main reason I think it’s the best platform, is because it allows you to graduate to higher levels of user functionality as you become more comfortable with the way it works. In the beginning, you don’t need crazy premium plugins and themes that add custom functionality to your blog… You just need it to work well, and stay simple to use so you’ll use it more often. We all know if something is difficult and cumbersome to operate, the chances of us using it everyday drop dramatically. The point is, self hosted WordPress gives you a nice balance of ease of use in the beginning, and ease of customizing later on.
The other key point I’d like to help you avoid, is starting out blogging on a platform that will leave you hanging when you start to become successful. For instance, you can’t upgrade your hosting plan on Blogger/Blogspot like you can on a self hosted WordPress install. So let’s say 6 months after you start blogging, one of your parenting or children posts goes viral on Facebook. There’s too much traffic coming to your site and it crashes. On Blogger, there’s little you can do here, compared to simply upgrading your hosting plan if you’re on a self hosted version of WordrPress. You have complete control over what you can do with your blog at all times, which I would highly recommend since you never know what might become popular overnight in the future. (it’s a bitch having to move from Blogger to WordPress… save yourself the hassle now before you start)
How To Create A Blog For Beginners Step By Step
Most people already have a blog setup, and just want to get better at blogging since they’re new. For those that don’t have a blog yet, and want to know how to start a blog step by step, I have a great beginners guide with a video tutorial that will help you with that. You can find it here.
That page will take you through the steps (in video and in written form) you need to get your domain, blog hosting, and even setup a neat free theme to give you a polished look and feel. In addition to that, I’ll be adding an advanced guide at the bottom that will show you how to use some free tools to find out what your readers are looking for.
Beginners Guide: Tips And Tricks For Starting Your First Blog And Choosing A Platform And Blog Host
If you use the guide page above, you don’t need this section. I know in the intro to this article I said go with self hosted WordPress, but I didn’t help you with where to get it. The easiest way to set your blog up, is to use Bluehost. They have specials all the time for $3.49/mo which is the cheapest you’ll find. They have excellent phone support (tested it myself many times), and most importantly they give you a free domain with signup so it even easier to setup your blog in less than 20 minutes. Normally, you’d have to learn how to connect your blogs domain name to your blog hosting account (which can be frustrating for beginners), but with Bluehost they take care of it for you right when you signup.
2) Killer Blogging Ideas For Beginners Not Knowing What To Blog About
The first is Portent, a simple tool that will help you generate blog post ideas and headlines/titles. It can be a bit off every now and then, but for a complete newbie it should be helpful and get the juices flowing. Once you get good at coming up with blogging ideas on your own, you won’t need a tool like this. But in the beginning, you might stumble on to something you never thought of before… I know I did many many times.
The second, is Hubspots Blog Topic Generator. They help you put together words and phrases from the topic your blog is focused around. It’s easy to combine topics, so whether your running a personal blog or a business blog, you can get ideas for any type.
The third is my blog post headline cheat sheet you’ll find on the starting a blog page. Check it out, and see if it sparks some inspiration for your writing.
3) How To Write Content For Your Blog For Beginners
When starting out, most bloggers don’t know how to write a blog unless they’ve been a writer all their lives. It’s not that hard, and gets easier with practice and a few guidelines to get you going.
There are a few types of content that are easy to put together for beginners, and can help you gain some momentum to get a blog posting schedule going. Consistency is key, and it’s something I’ve struggled with quite a bit. Lets go over two types of blog posts you can write easily:
- Top List Posts – An example of a top list post would be: The 4 Must Have WordPress Plugins When Starting Your Own Blog
- These are easy to put together on any topic you have a lot of experience with. For me, I’ve been using WordPress for almost 8 years now, and have used tons and tons of plugins during that time. When I start a new blog, I automatically know which plugins will be the most useful, and how they could help beginners as well.
- List posts are easy to formulate if they’re giving tips and tricks aimed toward an actually product. Since the product already exists, you simply link to each one, and give an example of how you’d use or why it’s valuable. (what it can do for your reader)
- Q&A Posts – An example of a question and answer style post would be – Where To Buy A Domain Name Without Web Hosting
- These work very well because you can use free tools to find out what people in your niche have questions on (I show you how here). All you have to do is formulate them into blog posts, and answer them. It’s the same thing GaryVee does with the Ask GaryVee Show.
- The options for these are endless, and people will always have new questions that come out each year. The tools to find these questions will only get better and better. Another free one you can use is FAQfox.
4) Where To Get Good Free Stock Images For Your Blog When Starting Out (and a free plugin that makes it’s easy for a beginner to download the photos straight to your blog!)
The one thing that sets a good looking new blog apart from a shitty looking one, is it’s images. I’m going to skip all the mumbo jumbo about how to get free stock photos and blah blah. It’s a waste of time for you to go on a hunt for those. You need to focus on getting your content out the door, and improving it’s quality.
Quantity breeds Quality. – Don’t remember where I read that, but it stuck with me.
Here’s the thing. I’m going to show you a free WordPress plugin that will automatically download high quality free stock photos to your WordPress dashboard. If you thought I was an idiot when I was preaching WordPress ease of use above, you’ll probably miss out on this awesome plugin that’s makes life so much easier for beginners.
Here it is – Unsplash
If you want to buy stock photos for cheap (it’s what I do), the only place I use right now is Deposit Photos. I normally spend $100 at a time whenever they offer their bundles and whatnot, and the quality and selection is second to none.
5) Where To Get A Premium Theme To Customize The Look And Feel Of Your Blog So It Looks Professional
If you’re not happy with some of the free themes in the WordPress repository, you can buy premium themes from Themeforest like I do for a little under $49. This very blog you’re reading right now is built on a Themeforest theme believe it or not. (I also put together a tutorial showing you exactly how to build a blog just like this if you’d like to do that)
Simply changing the theme can dramatically change the way your blog is perceived. So if you’re blogging about fashion, don’t use a corporate business looking theme since it doesn’t fit the look and feel your audience will be interested in. The options are pretty much endless, and you can see the list of other WordPress themes I use in the tutorial videos here.
6) The Most Helpful WordPress Plugins For Beginning Bloggers Just Starting Out
In my opinion, the biggest thing with blogging is to just get going… Consistently! Consistency is key, and one of the things that has helped me, is the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin. It’s easy to have tons of ideas in your head about what you’d like to blog about. But then when you look at your post history, it can be pretty pathetic in reality. One of the ways that has helped me get good at posting more frequently, is to see my posts planned out on a calendar even if they’re not done.
What I do is create draft posts for a tons of topics that I want to write about. Then I go in and assign each one to a date on the editorial calendar within my WordPress dashboard. Even if they’re not done, when I check my blog, I know exactly which posts have to be done when. Something shifts inside my brain and like Billy always says about Kai Greene, “I just start chipping away at it.”
7) How To Make Money With A Blog For Beginners
The easiest way, by far, for a beginner to make money blogging, is to link up things they talk about with Amazon. The Amazon Affiliate Program has the largest and most versatile inventory of anything out there, so no matter what your topic is, you’ll be able to find products that are in alignment with whatever you’re blogging about.
The beauty of it is, sometimes people don’t even buy what you’re linking to in your blog posts. You’ll see many other crazy items that were purchased that have nothing to do with what you’ve been blogging about. The way that works is you get a 24 hour cookie dropped when someone clicks over from your blog to Amazon. Anything they buy during the next day you get credit for. (You earn a commission on all sales from Amazon, not just the product you referred)
This makes it very easy to integrate Amazon products into your blog posts. After all, most of us already buy everything from there anyway. To give you an idea on how you can blog about this stuff, you could review products like I do whenever I purchase something from Amazon. I show the good and the bad, and I’m genuinely looking to get good stuff for myself, so my review tend to come across very well.
This wraps up the 7 blogging tips for beginners. I hope some part of this was helpful for you, and if you still have questions you’d like answered, head on over the QOTW page and tell me your question of the week!
See you next week!