Blogging For Dummies In 2019: The Only Cheat Sheet You Need

blogging for dummies

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Is blogging dead? No. In 2019, it’s more relevant than ever. Blogging helps drive traffic to your website. As a result, it gets eyes on your content. If you aren’t getting visitors, you’re not getting your message, product, or service out in the world.

Check out any major site; chances are, they have a blog of some kind that’s relevant to their business or niche. Sites like Microsoft, Google, and Disney all run blogs even though they already have a large following. That’s because they know that blogging is an essential part of a strong social media presence.

Getting started can seem like a big job, though. There’s a lot to learn. That’s why a simple, easy-to-follow guide — like blogging for dummies — is so useful to anyone who’s looking to get more web traffic. You can take it one step at a time until you have a functioning blog that’s full of great content. Don’t push yourself to do everything at once; building something is a process. It takes time to get to where you want to be.

So is blogging dead? Absolutely not. Read on and find out how to get started writing, publishing, building an audience, and even earning some income.

What Does Blogging Mean in 2019?

In 2019, blogging means traffic. It means engagement with visitors. It means staying relevant in your industry. Blogging means reaching the people you want to make a connection with. It can add different kinds of updated information to your site. It can reach people in a more casual, friendly tone than the rest of an official website. It can provide an entry point for people who don’t yet know your brand.

The point is the blogging is essential. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You might be able to run a successful site without a blog but people can also cross a continent without a plane. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should choose an option that isn’t the most effective. Having a good blogging cheat sheet can help you figure out how to get more people looking at your content.

blogging for dummies

Blogging Platforms

The first step in blogging for dummies is choosing a blogging platform. This is where you’re going to get your blog up and running; it’s an important choice because each platform comes with a variety of features that can help enhance your writing. While WordPress is the most popular and runs about 32 >percent of sites on the internet, it isn’t the only option. Consider the pros and cons of a few different providers before making your choice.

WordPress

WordPress is a good choice for most bloggers who want to make money — especially if you’re selling something or looking to create an entire site and not just a blog. It’s the most popular blogging platform and has a lot of plugins and features that can help you create anything from a family-share blog to a business blog followed by millions.

Blogger

If you’re torn between WordPress and Blogger, check out this more in-depth article about the benefits of each platform. Blogger is Google’s blogging platform and it’s not suited to blogs that want a lot of extras. It doesn’t have a thriving plugin community like WordPress and it’s not a content management platform that can support the rest of a website. It’s just a good way to keep a blog that acts like just that: a personal blog.

Ghost

The Ghost blogging platform is another option that’s especially good for someone who just wants to create a basic blog. The founder, John O’Nolan, believed WordPress had moved away from blogging and more toward content management. Ghost was designed to be a blogging platform that focused directly on blogging. If you like simple blogging that’s focused on writing and publishing, check out the Ghost blogging platform.

For most people, WordPress is the best option.

WordPress Management

There are a few things you need to do to get your WordPress blog going:

  • Sign up for a WordPress account.
  • Decide whether you want to run your own blog or use a different host. Most of the time, you’ll want to use a host. There are plenty available at all different price points.
  • Install WordPress on your host’s site. The process will vary depending on which host you choose and their help guides should be able to lead you through it.
    • Be ready to enter information like your blog name, email address, and the password you want to use as you’re setting everything up. You can always go back and adjust things later if you change your mind.
  • Choose a theme. A WordPress theme is basically the design of your blog. There are thousands of themes available for free but you may be able to find something more professional and specific to your niche if you look at paid options as well. Keep in mind that free themes will also likely be used by other sites.
  • Decide on your plugins. WordPress plugins are one of the best things about using WordPress because they add so much functionality. There are so many options in so many categories that it may take some time to decide which ones you want to start out with. As you progress, you’ll find the need for new ones comes up occasionally. Just remember to always back up your blog when you add or remove plugins.  

Getting all this done simply is what blogging for dummies is all about. It may seem complicated at first glance but if you take it step by step, you’ll be rewarded with a great blog.

Blog Setup

While the basics of setting up a blog are so simple that they don’t need to be included in a blogging cheat sheet, do consider branding from the beginning. You want to name your blog something easy to remember, something that refers to your niche, and something that you’re happy to see for a long time.

If you’re hoping to reach a lot of other readers, brand yourself from the beginning. Decide what kind of image you want to present and stick with it. Do what you can to maintain a coherent blog with the same tone. Check out other popular blogs in your niche to see how they use language, images, and color to present a consistent image.

Getting Started

Before you start writing, you need to get an idea of what people in your niche are doing. Do a search for terms you want focus on and check out what other people are writing. Look at the blogs they link to. Seeing what’s popular in your blogging community is very important. Take notes, read comments, and consider starting to interact with other blogs early by commenting and linking to them in your own high-quality posts.

How to Write a Blog Post

Knowing how to write a blog post really comes down to what you have to say. Writing is key. Your writing is how you connect with your readers and it’s also what keeps them on the page. First, decide what you want to write about. You need to think of a specific topic for each blog post. Once you know what you want to write about, just get some words on the page. Writing is all about practice. The more you write, the better a writer you’ll become.

One key to writing a blog is that you’ll want to update regularly. Google appears to favor blogs that update more often; it prefers new content over old in many cases.

Improving Your Posts

Of course, your blog isn’t just about the writing. Any good blogging cheat sheet will recommend you refine your posts by improving your metadata and images.

Make sure that you’re adding attractive, eye-catching images. You want ones that are relevant to your posts and ones that can help your reader by showing examples of concepts you discuss. Use image tags to appear in image search results as well.

Always update your metadata. You want your posts to register with the right title, snippet, and date they were published. You can find plugins that help you with your metadata, keyword selection, and utilization. Knowing how to write a blog post and then show it to its best advantage will put you ahead of people who only know how to do one or the other.

You also want to include a blog disclaimer. Check out these examples to find out how to write your own and protect your blog.

Blogging Resources

There are a lot of resources out there for an aspiring or experienced blogger. One essential element of blogging for dummies is learning to use these resources to your advantage. Check out this list of 25 blogging resources to help you get started in your hunt for great tools.

Writing tools help you create great blog posts, which is essential. They can also help you figure out what other people are writing about. Sometimes writing about trending topics can help you get an audience by grabbing views before other bloggers hop on the topic. Writing tools can also help you figure out whether or not a headline is going to grab attention from your readers.

Other resources help you stay productive. They keep you on track, let you make schedules, and help with focus. Sometimes blogging can be difficult — even the best blogger’s mind can wander when they need to be getting words on the page. Using productivity apps and programs can help you get things done quickly.

There are also resources to help you make your blog look great, publish your posts, and find an audience. If you aren’t using blogging resources, you’re missing out. Another sign that points to no when someone asks if blogging is dead in 2019? The sheer amount of blogging resources available with just the press of a button.

Making Money With Your Blog

Monetizing your blog is both simple and complex. It’s simple in that it’s a basic process: advertisements, partnerships, and affiliate links make up a lot of blog income.

Advertisements are usually run through companies that place ads on your blog and give you either pay-per-click revenue or pay-per-impression revenue. The first pays you when someone clicks on an ad. The second pays when someone views an ad on your page. In general, pay-per-click advertisements pay more per interaction than pay-per-impression ads. Programs like Google AdSense are easy to set up and can help you start earning money quickly. They’ll attempt to place ads relevant to your content and your viewers.

Once you have an audience, you can use partnerships with companies to make money as well. They may send you items for free, pay you to place ads directly on your blog, or give you money for mentioning them. Just make sure to disclose that you’re representing that company when you write about them.

Affiliate links are links to products that you mention in your blog. When someone purchases the product behind the link, you get a certain amount of money. There are multiple affiliate programs available. One of the most popular is Amazon Associates which lets you link to products for sale on Amazon.

Part of a great blogging for dummies guideline, though, is to learn how to get enough traffic to make your monetization strategy work.

How to Get Traffic to Your Blog

One of the most important skills to learn as a blogger is getting people to read your blog. Without an audience, you’re just sending your content into the void. So how do you get an audience? It’s all about keywords and exposure.

Search Engine Optimization

blogging for dummies
Bloggers who want to get views use keywords to help find an audience.

Search engine optimization is one of the most important talents to learn as a blogger. You won’t get anywhere without it. People use search engines like Google to find content that interests them by entering in keywords — search terms. You want to use the keywords you’re hoping people will use to find your blog in your writing. For example, if you’re hoping to get hits for the term “sugar free lemon bars,” you’ll want to use that term multiple times in an entry. You should also choose search terms for your overall blog — not just one entry. These keywords relate to your niche and the type of audience you’re hoping to build. An automotive parts company blog might use terms like “car repair”, “do it yourself”, or “diagnose engine problems”. You can also use trending terms to stay relevant and find traffic.

Blogging Connections

Another way to drive traffic to your blog is to take advantage of your blogging community. Most blogs have comment sections where you can link your own blog in the name you use to comment. If you leave valuable, well-written comments, people might be encouraged to check out your blog to read more. You can also partner with other bloggers to trade links to each other, which might help your audience find new content that interests them — and vice versa. Setting up a blog according to a simple blogging cheat sheet can help you create one attractive and relevant enough to catch a fellow blogger’s eye once you have enough content. One of the most important parts of blogging for dummies is making sure you interact in your community — it’ll pay off.

blogging cheat sheet
You can use your name and blog link to attract people to your blog in other blogger’s comment sections.

Blogging for Dummies

So is blogging dead in 2019? Definitely not. With a simple guide like blogging for dummies, you can get started on your own blog and have a thriving one in no time at all.

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