40 Blogging Tips for Beginners (Part 1)July 6, 2018
This year marks my fifth year of blogging. Wow!
I can’t even believe I lasted this long.
When I started blogging I literally had no idea what I was doing. I was simply sharing my journey to financial freedom. It was just a hobby to track what is happening to me financially.
I didn’t even know you can make money blogging in the Philippines!
Last year, my blog finally had its own breakthrough.
I reached my first Google Adsense Threshold and went from zero to 20,000 a month in pageviews! My email list ballooned to 1000 subscribers and the SavingsPinay Community became blessed with almost 5000 members!
What a year it has been.
And you may wonder what I did differently?
I tell you what, I simply applied every single blogging tips for beginners I read from how to start a blog, being a productive blogger grow your traffic to monetizing!
So today I will be sharing to you a massive list of blogging tips for beginners that will enable you to create a profitable blog, attract thousands of traffic, reach your monetization goals and blog productively.
As this will be a long post to read I will divide each blogging tips for beginners in four different categories:
- How to Start a Blog
- Productive Blogger
- Grow Your Traffic
- Blog Monetization
[This post will have Part 2 where I will reveal 20 more tips on How to Grow Traffic and Monetize Your Blog]
How To Start a Blog
We will begin with the most important category, how do you really start a blog? This topic include helpful tips to ensure that you begin your blogging journey on point and avoid the common mistakes new bloggers fall for.
1. Find out what you really want to blog about
Decide what you want to blog about
This step is a no-brainer when it comes to blogging.
Of course you need to know what to blog about before you even start a blog.
Your blog topic will help you decide the name of your blog as well as the content you will be writing.
So, how do you decide what to blog about?
Go with what you want
What topic are you most excited to write? What topic do you consider yourself an expert?
The only consideration I made for making a beauty, lifestyle and travel blog is because I LIKE IT.
I enjoy collecting makeup, following good skincare routine, bullet journaling, traveling and everything in between!
Because I blog what I love about it became way easy for me to write. I am serving no one but myself for every post I publish.
Gaining readers and getting extra money became bonus only for me.
Ask yourself this question:
What do you want to write about?
For this I highly suggest creating a mind map of your interests and seeing how each relates to one another.
Go with what the readers want
What are the common problems people search in the web? What do they normally get frustrated about?
I started SavingsPinay a year after IzzaGlinoFull. My main focus why I started a personal finance blog is to serve as a source of information for the others.
I saw the need for more financial bloggers and how my journey to financial freedom could influence a common Pinay out there.
SavingsPinay is a type of niche blog. A blog that focuses on a particular niche, solves a familiar problem and speaks to like-minded audience.
And because SavingsPinay falls in a niche category, it is way easier to build profit around it.
Ask yourself this question:
What do people want to read this days?
For this I highly suggest researching on Google for that right topic for you.
2. Go with a blog platform you are most comfortable with
Blog platform refers to the software or program where you publish your content. There are plenty of platforms available today for newbie bloggers.
Among the top choices are Blogger, WordPress and SquareSpace. I am using both Blogger (for my beauty and lifestyle blog, IzzaGlinoFull) and WordPress (for my personal finance blog, SavingsPinay) and I have nothing but A-MAZ-ING experience with both.
Here’s my tip for you!
Just go with a blog platform you are most comfortable with. If you are not as technical when it comes to design, Blogger can be a better option.
But, if you are into making it as professional looking as it can be, go for WordPress.
3. Get your own domain name and hosting plan
I have mentioned this over and over again how getting my own domain with Pangalan was the biggest turning point of my blog!
Having my own domain increased my credibility as a personal finance blogger, made my blog easier to search and to remember.
Your blog, no matter how small or big it may be deserves its own domain. If you are really serious in blogging and aiming for it to grow and make money, invest in a domain and hosting solution from Day 1!
I recommend using Pangalan for your domain name and hosting especially if you are a blogger from the Philippines. Why?
- Pangalan brings in quality services to Filipinos from domain registration to reliable web hosting, domain forwarding or website creating and management.
- Easy payment terms even if you don’t have Paypal or Credit Card. You can call their customer service and ask if you can pay over the counter.
- Their head office is located in Makati City, Philippines so you can always pay a visit if you are experiencing problem and wanting personal explanation.
- Excellent customer service. If you have any question or technical difficulties setting up your domain and hosting on either WordPress or Blogger you can call their hotline and receive immediate action. An e-ticket will be sent to your email to confirm the issue has been resolved.
4. Have a draft plan for your blog
Treat your blog as your own passion project. Create a plan on how make it work even before publishing your first post.
A blog business plan is a living document that provides you with a quick information about the necessary who, what, where, when, why and how of your blog.
Open a Word document and just answer the following questions:
- Why do you blog or what is your blog’s mission?
- What do you want to achieve as a blogger in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years?
- Who are your target audience?
- What main topics will you write or blog about?
- How many times a week will you publish a new post?
- What social media strategy will you use?
The blog plan will provide you with quick insights on how to grow your blog and build an audience. There is no need to be technical with your answers too.
As this is a living document your answers will surely change in time as your and your blog grows.
5. Quality content is king
Your content is what will separate you from the rest of the blogs out there. You want to be useful and relevant to your target audience.
When I started SavingsPinay I didn’t focus much on having quality content. I just publish whatever comes to my head.
In 2017 I learned to be more intentional with what I post. I started to plan out my content and write better. The result definitely surprised me.
Here’s what I found out:
Quality content is king. People will surely find you as long as you provide great content.
Your Next Steps:
- Write longer. Posts with 1500 to 3000 words are better when it comes to search engine optimization. I tend to write between 3000 to 5000 words now because it creates a deeper connection to my audience. I want them to visit my blog and see that I really spent time writing and making sure I only feed them with great content.
- Focus on pillar or evergreen contents. Pillar or evergreen contents are type of posts that people are searching for. Among the examples of pillar contents are How-To Articles, Interview Posts, List Articles and Ultimate Guides. If you notice in SavingsPinay I publish at least one to two pillar content every month. These type of contents will help you get found.
- Make your content easy to read. Use a lot of headings and subheadings when you post. Keep each sentence short and build a lot of white space so your readers will find it easy to read and absorb the information you provide.
6. Create graphics for your blog posts
Images play a crucial part in blogging because readers tend to be very visual.
As a reader myself, I enjoy posts that have images that speak clearly on what your post is about and encourages me to share the post in social media.
I use Canva to design my every blog graphic I need for SavingsPinay and IzzaGlinoFull. Creating an account is free and you get to choose from hundreds of free templates available.
Honestly don’t know what I’ll do without Canva as I’m not a good graphic artist unlike my eldest sister in All Things Ellizoid.
A great tip is to make your images look similar. You can do this by using the same font and style all throughout like what I did in my beauty and lifestyle blog. This is a good technique to save time and effort when making a new blog image.
I also use Unsplash as the main hub for stock photos I need. Unsplash offers high resolution images for free that you can download all you want.
7. Maximize key elements of your blog
A basic blog design includes a header, sidebar, search bar and footer. These key elements are made available to ensure easy navigation on your content.
The Header is a good place to include an image of you and the name of your blog. You can fill the sidebar with your about section, most popular posts and ads.
Don’t forget to include a Search Bar so your readers can just type a keyword and look through your content easily. Lastly, the Footer is a good spot to repeat your main menu and include your pageview count.
8. Build an email list from the start
An email list is something I didn’t take that serious until June last year. All along I thought having plenty of pageviews is the key success indicator of a great blog.
I was wrong.
Pageviews are only for short-term while email subscribers are what you can hold onto for a very long time.
Plenty of bloggers I read invest in building an email list. They buy annual subscriptions to top providers, spend time to create freebies and really engage with their subscribers.
Thankfully last June 2017 I completed the revamp of SavingsPinay and enabled a private resource library where anyone who would like to subscribe can get a free access.
After a year my email subscribers grew to 1000! I offered a 5-day “How To Invest in Stock Market” email course and created checklists and other free offerings to gain momentum.
On top of that I make sure to send emails to my subscribers at least once a week. In return I know that those who have entrusted me with their emails deserve the utmost value of their subscription.
You can still sign up here.
9. Blog on the side
If you are currently working in a 9 to 5 but want to really pursue blogging, try doing it on the side. Allot an hour to two every workday for your new blog and spare a little more during the weekends.
Quitting early without even testing whether blogging is really the passion project that’s right for you may put you in a difficult situation.
It is easy to start a blog but to become a successful bloggers takes time, sweat and tears. Try blogging on the side first until you are getting enough money equal to your monthly salary. After all blogging is one of the best side hustle to start with a full-time job.
10. Just start a blog now
Last but ultimately not the least, just start a blog now.
If you are delaying starting a blog because…
- You don’t know how to create a blog
- You have no idea which niche to write about
- You want to wait for more ideas to write
- You are afraid to be criticized of your writing skills
- You don’t know how blogging really works
Then, you will never know unless you try!
So, stop making excuses and just start a blog now!
How To Be a Productive Blogger
If there’s a recurring goal I set myself every single month it is to be a productive blogger.
Blogging consumes a ton of time especially for my weeknights and weekends. Writing a new post alone takes me 3-4 hours long.
If I include editing, creating photos and sharing on social media, it takes 7 hours in total to up a single blog post in SavingsPinay.
But over the years I find out helpful tips and tricks that slowly changed the way I blog and made me more productive as a blogger. Here are some:
11. Plan Your Content Ahead
As mentioned earlier, I used to write whatever is on my mind. I don’t really follow a blog schedule before. I was happy as long as I have a new post up.
But I got to the point wherein my lack of planning ahead hindered the growth I wanted to see on my blog life. I noticed that most of the bloggers I follow write long and valuable articles.
From then on I personally maintain a Google Calendar strictly for plotting my posts in advance. I visit my blog topics, try to come up with blog post ideas and plot the days when the post should be published.
Because I can easily see what’s next I became more prepared to finish writing and spend time editing the posts.
12. Get clear with your blog topics
It is important to specify the topics you want to cover on your blog. If you are in a personal finance niche there will be a hundred of topics you can choose to blog.
But you have to pick the top five to seven topics of your focus.
Serving your readers too much topics that are not related with each other will cause you to lose traffic. Focus on the main topics of your blog.
At first I covered various topics on SavingsPinay. I thought of covering banks, insurance, tips for OFWs and more. But after listening (and observing) what my readers need, I narrowed my focus down to only five topics.
For example, SavingsPinay talks about:
- Saving money
- Making Extra Money and
- Early Retirement
While my other blog, IzzaGlinoFull has posts about:
- Beauty (Makeup and Skincare)
- Bullet Journal or Planning
- Life and Travel
You will notice how I stay within the topics I specified for my blogs.
13. Automate if you can
There are certain areas of your life as a blogger that you can automate. Here are quick ways you can automate to be a more productive blogger:
- Create a blog post template or an outline on Google Docs for the recurring posts you have on your blog. I, for example, have a template already for my income reports since they go live every month and follows the same format.
- Automate your posting schedule on social media with free online application such as Buffer. Buffer helps you automate publishing content on Facebook, Facebook Page, Facebook Group and Twitter.
- Get Tailwind for Pinterest! Pinterest has been the newest source of traffic for my blog and I owe big time with the automation that Tailwind provides. This secret tool provided me with almost 5000 monthly traffic! Try Tailwind now!
- Use your blog platform’s scheduling functionality! Each content management system offers the ability to set your own date and time for when a post should be live. You can schedule as many drafted posts you have without worrying.
14. Focus on the tasks with the highest impact
Again, there are plenty of tasks involved in maintaining a blog. These tasks goes from daily, weekly, monthly to yearly! Most of the time it gets overwhelming and it become easy to be trapped with your massive to do list.
What I learned for the past five years is this: focus on the tasks with the highest impact.
Stick to the goal you’ve set at the start of the new month when you are listing down your intentions of the week or of the day. If for July you want to add 100 subscribers in your email list then focus on the tasks involved when it comes to building an email list.
Increasing readership is another main task with a high impact in every blogger. For this, you want to make sure there’s a new quality content getting up, you are engaging to your audience and you are continuously marketing your blog.
15. Batch your tasks
Batching is a new productivity I learned which is very helpful for bloggers. Instead of doing the same task every single day, you instead block out a particular day or time to have plenty of similar tasks get done.
Among the tasks you can batch are:
- Writing posts
- Researching for new content
- Outlining blog posts
- Editing Posts
- Filming YouTube videos
- Taking blog photos
16. Use Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro is a time management method wherein tasks are broken down to short, timed intervals mostly 25 minutes.
The idea is simple, whenever you do a particular task, set your time to 25 minutes. Within this timeframe you are not allowed to be distracted. You just focus on the task you are doing until 25 minutes is gone.
After that, you can take a short break of 5 minutes and continue to another task. For this you can have a longer break of 15 minutes before moving to a new task.
You can also use 45 minutes for longer and more tedious tasks such as writing blog posts, editing a YouTube video or researching for topic ideas.
17. Set your own working hours
Here’s a great trick to really become a productive blogger: set your own working hours!
Choose when you want to start and to stop working for your blog. Say you can only spend 10 hours every week for your blog (which is a realistic number BTW). How do you want to spent that 10 hours?
You can blog for 5 hours on Saturdays and another 5 hours on Sundays. Or you can spend two hours every weekday to blog and have the weekends free.
Proper time management is one of the best way you can succeed as a blogger. Setting your own working hours or blocking out the time frame is what I find the best way to do so.
18. Dump your ideas on paper
One great tip that I always say to people around me is the importance of “Idea Dump”.
Idea Dump is basically throwing all of the things that’s bugging your mind either via pen and paper or through your digital app. Think of brainstorming. You undergo a process of just going through with all the thoughts and the solution for your problem.
I love Idea Dumping. It is easy, effortless and it will really ease your mind. I most commonly brain dump for my blog especially when I badly needed new ideas for my next posts. I also do some idea dump when I go grocery shopping and also when I think of how my next month will be.
Here are four tips when doing the Idea Dump:
- Decide on whether you will go with paper or paperless. There are those who doesn’t like writing things so you can always use an app to help you. Always bring a paper with you even with just a mini notebook or post its so that if anything pops up in your mind you are ready.
- Do not rush. Spend a good 10-15 minutes of your morning or your night to do the Idea Dump. Rushing in the process can cause you to lose some valuable notes along the way.
- Make it a habit. Of course part of my tip will be to incorporate “Idea Dump” in your routine. Make it a habit that you will look forward to. Remember that it will take 21 days for something to form as a habit.
- Organize your Ideas. Once you dumped it you need to segregate the ideas depending on what’s most actionable. I actually put most of my idea as part of my Weekly Tasks or my Daily Tasks. There are some thoughts that are for future so I mostly use them as reference.
19. Be productive even when waiting
Yes, it is possible to wait productively!
Most of us will find ourselves caught in a traffic, a long queue or just simply waiting for someone to arrive. These type of situations could be advantageous to you too as a blogger!
The next time you find yourself caught into “WAITING” then why not do these simple yet doable actions that will keep you “PRODUCTIVE”.
Below are tasks you can definitely do while waiting.
- Compose An Email. If you are a blogger you’ll understand how an email is important to keep your blog active. As much as I can I love to compose an email for questions and blog comments I receive. This is my way of managing my multiple blogs effectively.
- Update your Calendar and To Do List. This will help you be in track on how your coming week will progress. This should take only 5-10 minutes of your precious time so why not include it for your productive tool.
- Have A True Break. Sometimes keeping your mind free from all the stress of work starts by simply emptying your mind and soul. Try to have a real break while you wait wherein you just let your thoughts fly away.
- Go for God’s words. Either read a verse from your physical Bible or online Bible app and meditate on God’s words. This is a no-fail productive habit as you wait that will keeps you motivated all throughout.
20. Learn to prioritize
Last but not the least, learn to prioritize!
Each area of your life as a blogger calls for proper attention. You need to examine what you want to do/settle first. Proper ranking can definitely be a big help so that you’ll know how to balance your time and your effort effectively.
As mentioned in tip #14 one should focus on tasks with the highest impact. Determine where your priority should be, is it writing posts, marketing your blog or finding new content ideas.
Final Notes from SavingsPinay
Blogging can be a very stressful hobby with the amount of time and effort you need to exert, but I hope the above blogging tips for beginners did help you start a blog and be productive doing it.
I will be posting the Part 2 of this soon where I reveal 20 more tips on How to Grow Traffic and Monetize your blog.
I wish you all the best as you start blogging for real. Comment below your thoughts, questions and suggestions.
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Izza of SavingsPinay promotes financial literacy for the young and young at heart by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing and online entrepreneurship. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglinofull.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at email@example.com