WHAT IS A BLOG?

WHAT IS A BLOG?

What is a blog exactly? How does blogging work? And why is blogging so popular?

Maybe you’re considering starting a blog and are wondering how blogging actually works. Or perhaps you know someone who is a blogger and are wondering why the heck they are spending all their free time in front of a computer. I mean, seriously, is blogging that time-consuming?!

Spoiler alert, yes, it is!

I’m going to answer all blogging-related questions in this article. So, grab a cup of tea (or coffee) because this is going to be a long one!


DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, visit my affiliate disclosure.


 

What is a blog?

The definition of “blog” goes as follows:

A type of website where new content is published regularly and displayed in reverse chronological order.

But I’d like to add that a blog is also a content marketing tool businesses use to acquire new customers. People don’t like being sold to. So, businesses use various means of content marketing to sell their products or services. A blog can be a great tool to achieve that.

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

As I mentioned, a blog is a regularly updated website, whereas a traditional website is static. It means that a website consists of static pages only. A blog includes both static pages and articles.

Blog’s main focus is the creation and distribution of new content.

A website’s main focus is communicating a product or service.

Although, nowadays it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish those two.

There are websites that are:

  1. just blogs (such as Blogology)
  2. websites with blogs (such as my business The Blogger Assistant)
  3. just websites (such as Canva)

What does a blog consist of?

The most common blog structure includes:

  • Header with the logo and main navigation menu
  • Content area
  • Sidebar with additional links
  • Footer with the sitemap and links to legal pages

What are the characteristics of a blog?

Although not every single blog is the same, there are some aspects all blogs have in common:

  • Blog posts published in reverse chronological order
  • Similar structure
  • Original content
what is a blog infographic

What is the purpose of writing a blog?

There are a lot of reasons to start a blog. A blog can be used as an online diary, but it can also be a powerful content marketing tool for your business. That depends on why the blogger started the blog in the first place.

It can also be a great way to connect with people from all over the world.

Here are some reasons why people start blogs:

  1. to make money online
  2. to connect with other people online
  3. to promote their products or services
  4. just for fun

The main purpose of a blog is to attract readers relevant to your niche.

TYPES OF BLOGS

#1 PRIVATE BLOGS

If you want to write a private blog just for the joy of your family and friends, it’s absolutely possible. You can write about everything and anything, not worrying about strategies, posting schedules, SEO, or growing your audience.

#2 PUBLIC BLOGS

A public blog is any blog you can view on the internet, and what this article is about. It’s also what Blogology is about.

#3 PERSONAL BLOGS

A personal blog is written by an individual. Personal blogs are often written as online diaries but that’s not a rule. By writing a personal blog, you’re building your online personal brand. An example of a successful personal blog is Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income.

#4 BUSINESS BLOGS

Business blogs are created by companies as a content marketing tool to spread awareness about their products or services. They are usually a standalone part of the website. A great example of a business blog is Moz. Apart from being a great SEO tool, Moz is also an acclaimed SEO blog.

#5 NICHE BLOGS

Niche blogs are dedicated to a specific niche. An example of a niche blog is HubSpot, where you can read about digital marketing.

On the other hand, you can also start a multi-niche blog. I suggest you start a niche blog, but you can be successful with a multi-niche blog as well. Proof of that is Gathering Dreams. A blog dedicated to traveling, personal finance, and healthy eating.

RECOMMENDED READING: How to Find the Right Niche for Your Blog

#6 COLLABORATIVE BLOGS

A collaborative blog, or a group blog, is a blog run by more than one blogger. The content is usually written on a specific topic. Collaborative blogs tend to be written by several employees of a company. Business blogs are often collaborative. An example of a collaborative blog is WordStream.

#7 GUEST BLOGS

A guest blog is a blog run by an individual, where the majority of the content is written by guest bloggers. The difference between a collaborative and guest blog is that the writers of a guest blog are not employees of the company. An example of a blog where women, in particular, can submit their posts is Blog Her.

#8 NEWS BLOGS

A news blog reports on the newest information either locally or globally. A news blog can be dedicated to one industry, or it can report on general news. To be completely fair, any news website is actually a blog.

This is the most basic way of categorizing blogs. Most blogs don’t fit only one category. Most blogs fit at least two.

For example, Moz and WordStream are both collaborative and business blogs.

Why are blogs so popular?

Although there is no single reason why people blog, blogging is a popular activity. I think there are a lot of reasons why:

  • You get to share your thoughts and opinions on the internet
  • You can find like-minded people from all over the world
  • You can blog from anywhere in the world
  • Blogging can improve your writing and digital marketing skills
  • You can establish yourself as an expert in your niche
  • You can turn your blog into a money-making business
  • You can use a blog as a content marketing tool to promote your business’ product or service

But most importantly, blogs are popular because they are accessible. Anyone can start a blog.

Who is a blogger?

A blogger is a person who is writing and maintaining a blog.

A blogger is also someone with various hard and soft skills needed to run a blog. What are those skills?

  1. WordPress (or any other content management system)
  2. Content writing
  3. Copywriting
  4. Digital marketing
  5. Social media marketing
  6. Selling
  7. But also empathy!

RECOMMENDED READING: 10 Important Skills Every Blogger Needs

Someone who is a blogger (and runs their blog by themselves) is also a:

  1. Writer
  2. Web designer
  3. Graphic designer
  4. Social media manager
  5. Digital marketing specialist
  6. Customer service manager
  7. But most importantly, a CREATOR

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    How does blogging work?

    Blogging sounds simple, doesn’t it? All you do all day is writing, then you publish whatever you’ve written on your blog, people come to read it, and they start paying you, right?

    Wrong!

    We all wish blogging was that straightforward.

    So, how does blogging work?

    1. Blogger selects a niche
    2. Defines a target audience
    3. Creates valuable content based on the target audience’s needs
    4. Keeps promoting the blog
    5. Builds a readership
    6. Monetizes the blog

    1. Selecting a niche

    Before a blogger sets up the blog and starts publishing content, they need to find a niche. That’s the topic they will be writing about.

    The blog needs to have a niche for various reasons:

    1. So the search engines can understand what the blog is about
    2. So the readers know what kind of content they can expect
    3. And also so the blog has a structure

    RECOMMENDED READING: How to Find the Right Niche for Your Blog

    2. Defining a target audience

    Now that the blogger knows what the blog is going to be about, they need to define a target audience. That’s the kind of person they are writing the blog for.

    They create a target audience persona which is a profile of the ideal reader they want to attract. This profile is based on the person’s demographics and psychographics.

    No, creating a target audience persona isn’t like creating a fictional character. I mean, yes, in the beginning, you write down what kind of person you’d like to attract. But then, you need to keep researching what works and what doesn’t and what the reader wants to read, purchase, and most importantly, what the reader’s pain points are.

    RECOMMENDED READING: How to Define a Target Audience for Your Blog

    3. Creating valuable content

    Now that the blogger has defined their target audience (and set up the blog), it’s time to create content.

    But, can you write about anything you want?

    No!

    Well, unless you don’t care about the kind of audience you’re attracting and aren’t blogging for money in the first place. Which is totally okay! If that’s the case, you’re free to skip a lot of steps on this list.

    Anyways, if you do want to blog for money, you need to create content based on your target audience’s pain points and struggles.

    For the most part, a goal of a blog post is to address and issue your target reader is struggling with, and offer actionable solutions to that problem.

    But how do you know what your target audience is struggling with?

    1. By doing a keyword research
    2. Tracking the content that’s getting you most views
    3. Once you build an audience, by asking them directly

    4. Promoting the blog

    Will the readers just eventually come?

    No!

    Once the blogger creates content, it’s time to start promoting the blog.

    How do you promote a blog?

    1. SEO
    2. Social media
    3. Blogging communities
    4. Guest blogging
    5. Blogger outreach
    6. Email marketing
    7. Networking with other bloggers

    Just to name a few!

    I don’t want to be sitting here going through each way to drive traffic to your blog. So, just very simply:

    To promote your blog effectively, you need to practice good SEO. I also suggest picking one social media platform for faster results. Yes, just one. After you get familiar with and are getting results from it, you can implement another one. The key here is to pick a platform where your target audience spends their time.

    It’s also important to get your blog in front of the eyes of existing audiences. There are a few ways to do that:

    1. Guest posting
    2. Blogger outreach
    3. The skyscraper technique

    Then you also need to retain the visitors who have already come to your blog. So, first things first, you need to create good content if you want your visitors to keep coming back.

    The best way to retain your visitors is email marketing. Your visitors sign up to your newsletter and you send them an email each time you post a new blog post.

    Is it really that simple?

    No.

    In order to capture your visitors’ email addresses, you need to put up opt-in forms throughout your content with an offer, and also corresponding landing pages. The offer is also called content upgrade, lead magnet, or a freebie. It can be a checklist, template, webinar, course, or just an offer of weekly tips and tricks delivered to their inboxes.

    It doesn’t matter what exactly it is as long as it:

    • is valuable
    • makes your audience’s lives easier
    • is free

    Okay, but why is it important to collect emails?

    Your biggest fans are going to be on your email list. You can use the list to notify your subscribers about new content, but you can also monetize the list. Your email subscribers will be the first one’s to know about your paid offers and you can also monetize the list using affiliate marketing.

    You can start building an email list with an email provider, such as ConvertKit.

    Sounds simple so far, doesn’t it?

    Well, you need to keep in mind that the copy of your opt-ins and landing pages needs to be persuasive enough for the visitor to give you their email address. That can take a lot of trial and error.

    TIP: Don’t use your email list just for notifying your subscribers about new content. Nurture your email list by sending them freebies and sending valuable emails with exclusive content.

    5. Building a readership

    Building a readership takes time. You can’t expect posting just a few blog posts and building hundreds of loyal readers and making thousands of dollars.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

    Running a blog is like running a business, and in every business, it takes time to build a clientele and start making some good income.

    6. Monetizing the blog

    And now the hot question: can you make money blogging?

    Yes, you can make money from your blog. But it will take time and dedication.

    So, how can you make money blogging?

    One thing you need to understand is that blogging is selling. If you want to make money from your blog, you need to be selling something.

    What can you sell on your blog?

    1. Ad space (either private or via ad networks such as Google AdSense, Monumetric, or Mediavine)
    2. Third-party products via affiliate marketing
    3. Digital products
    4. Physical products
    5. Memberships
    6. Services
    7. Or you can also sell your blog

    A lot of bloggers also collaborate with brands on paid blog posts. You can get paid for reviewing someone’s product or just mentioning it in your blog post.

    Once you decide what you want to sell, you’ll also be creating sales funnels to streamline the selling process. This is mainly applicable when it comes to products, services, and memberships.

    How much money you can make from your blog depends on your niche and the size of your audience. Some niches are more profitable than others. Also, the bigger following you have, the more money you’re likely to make.

    Of course, this is just a simplified overview. The order of these points can also differ based on the type of blog you’re running.

    For instance, if you’re running a business blog, you won’t be waiting to build a readership to monetize your blog. You create the paid product first, and then you’ll be using the blog to attract customers.

    But hopefully, you can understand why it can take time to start making money from a blog.

    Are blogs still relevant in 2020?

    Yes, they are. According to Hosting Tribunal, there are over 500 million blogs to date. Of course, not all of those websites are active, however, the number is still rising.

    The days of blogging as a hobby are almost gone. Nowadays, most bloggers blog for money. It’s safe to say that blogging has changed, but it’s certainly not dead.

    Should you still start a blog in 2020?

    Yes, you should. If you’re considering starting a blog, I think you should do it. Depending on your niche, there might be a lot of competition. But that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. If you want to start a blog, do it.

    There is just one important thing I want to say: if you want to start a blog now and be successful with it, you need a strategy. You need to consider:

    • Your niche
    • Your competition
    • Your target audience
    • How you are going to reach your target audience
    • What your target audience struggles with
    • How you are going to help your target audience

    Then you also need to consider the product you are going to sell, and how it’s going to help your audience overcome what they are struggling with.

    To anyone who is reading this to understand why your friend or family member is blogging

    If you came here wondering what’t the hype behind blogging and why someone in your life is doing it, I want you to know a few things.

    1. Support them!

    Blogging is hard work. It takes a lot of time and dedication. It might seem to you that your friend or family member is sitting in front of their computer all day doing nothing. But that’s not the case. I know they are working hard on their blog. They don’t need you to be putting them down and telling them that starting a blog is pointless. Support them and acknowledge their hard work.

    2. Making money from a blog takes time

    If your friend or family member has been blogging has been blogging for months and still isn’t seeing any sustainable financial return, that’s completely normal! It can take months or even years to turn a blog into a business. But that doesn’t mean the blog is failing. You’ve read the ways you can monetize your blog I’ve written about in this post, right? Well, so hopefully you understand why!

    CONCLUSION

    To summarize everything…

    What is a blog? A type of website where new original content is displayed in reverse chronological order.

    Why is blogging so popular? Because it’s accessible to everyone as long as they have access to the internet.

    Can you make money blogging? Yes, you can.

    Is it a good idea to start a blog in 2020? Yes, as long as you are willing to put in the hard work.

    So, do you understand what a blog is? Let me know!

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      14 ESSENTIAL METRICS EVERY BLOGGER NEEDS TO TRACK

      14 ESSENTIAL METRICS EVERY BLOGGER NEEDS TO TRACK

      How do you know if your blog is successful if you don’t track its progress? We’ve already talked about how to measure blog performance, but what are the blog metrics that matter?

      In other words, is it necessary to track all of the KPIs I mentioned in that post? 

      Definitely not!

      That’s why, today, we’ll have a look at the most important metrics every blogger needs to track.


      DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, read my affiliate disclosure.
      This post is a paid collaboration with Nakturnal. All opinions are my own.


      What Are KPIs?

      KPIs stands for “key performance indicators”. In the words of KPI.org:

      “Key performance indicators are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making, and help focus attention on what matters most.” 

      KPI.org

      In other words, KPIs are the metrics you should focus on to measure the performance of your progress. In this case, the progress of your blog.

      Why Do You Need to Measure Your Blog’s Performance?

      Measuring your progress is important. Without tracking, you won’t know if your strategies are working and if you are moving in the right direction.

      But before we go any further, I want to make it clear that there’s no point in tracking a metric if it doesn’t lead to your long-term goal. 

      Take some time to think about what you want to achieve. I’m telling you about the most important blog metrics in general, but you should set a clear long-term goal and specify a set of metrics that are relevant to that goal. 

      With that being said…

      14 Metrics Every Blogger Needs to Track

      Okay, so we’ve already made it clear that you need to track your blog’s performance. I go through the whole measuring process in my post on How to Measure the Success of a Blog. But what are the most important blog KPIs to focus on?

      1. Overall Traffic

      The foundation of your blog’s success is traffic. That goes without saying. But how do you measure blog traffic?

      There are several metrics to focus on:

      • Pageviews
      • Average pages per session
      • Average time on page

      What are pageviews?

      Pageviews are the number of overall pages users visited in a specific timeframe. This number refers to all your blog posts and pages on your website.

      Why is it important to track pageviews?

      Because pageviews are the foundation of everything. If you want to analyze your blog performance, pageviews are the metric to start with.

      How to track pageviews?

      There are several ways to track metrics, but the best option is Google Analytics.

      Go to Audience > Overview.

      Google Analytics Pageviews

      What are pages per session?

      Pages per session refer to the number of pages a user visited during one visit. 

      Why is it important to track pages per session?

      Because pages per session are a good indication of the quality of your content. The more pages per session, the more engaged your visitors are. 

      How to track pages per session?

      In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Overview.

      Google Analytics Pages per Session

      What is the average time on page?

      Unsurprisingly, this metric refers to how much time visitors spend on your blog on average. This number goes hand in hand with the bounce rate. 

      Although, you need to be aware that these two metrics aren’t the most accurate. Why is that? Well, you need to understand how those two metrics are calculated. 

      In the words of Google, bounce rate is calculated this way:

      In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

      Google

      This means that to calculate the average time on page accurately, the search engine needs the second click to know how long the user has been on the page. Otherwise, the time on page is calculated as 0:00.

      NOTE: Rather than tracking the average time one page of your blog, keep an eye on the average time on page and bounce rate on specific pages.
      Why?
      Because some pages, such as your freebie landing pages, will naturally have lower time on page.

      Why is it important to track time on page?

      Time spent on page is a good indicator of the quality of your content and your website. If you find that your bounce rate and time spent on the page are high, it might mean that there’s something about your content or website that puts your visitors off.

      What can cause a high bounce rate?

      • Slow-loading website
      • Irrelevant content
      • Bad web design
      • Bad formatting
      • And more 

      How to track average time on page?

      In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Overview. If you want to know the average time of specific pages on your blog, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

      Google Analytics Average Time on Page

      2. Sources of Traffic

      How do you know if your strategies are working? By tracking the sources of your traffic!

      What are the traffic sources?

      Simply put: the way people find your site.

      Why is it important to track traffic sources?

      As I already mentioned, your traffic sources tell you whether your strategies are working. Tracking your sources will help you:

      • Better understand your audience
      • Which strategies are working for you
      • How to improve your strategies

      How to track traffic sources?

      Go to Google Analytics > Acquisition > Overview.

      Google Analytics Traffic Sources

      As you can see, there are four types of traffic sources:

      • Organic
      • Social
      • Direct
      • Referral 

      Organic traffic is the traffic coming to your website from the search engines.

      Social traffic refers to the number of visitors coming to your website from social media.

      Direct traffic refers to the visitors who either typed your URL directly into the search engine or also traffic coming from your PDFs or any kind of tools you’re putting out. It can also refer to the traffic coming from email.

      Referral traffic is the traffic coming to your website from another site. Referral traffic helps you determine how much traffic you’re getting from your backlinks.

      3. CTR

      What if your links are getting good impressions but no one is clicking on them?

      What is CTR?

      CTR stands for click-through-rate. It’s the percentage of the impressions and clicks your link got. In other words, it’s the percentage of people who saw your link and clicked on it.

      This point is generalized. I’m not talking about a specific source of traffic. I’m talking about all the places where you are promoting your blog. No matter whether it’s Google, Pinterest, or Facebook ads. This point applies to all of them.

      Why is it important to track your CTR?

      You CTR tells you whether:

      • The article is relevant to your audience
      • Your titles are click-worthy enough

      How to track your CTRs?

      That depends on the platform. If we’re talking about traffic coming from Google, you’ll find this data in Google Search Console. If you want to track data from Bing, go to Bing Webmaster Tools. 

      If you’re using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, go to your Pinterest analytics and look at your link clicks and link click rate.

      You should also pay attention to your email CTRs. If people are not reading your newsletters, you should probably change the type of content you’re sending out. Your email provider has some sort of analytics. 

      But what if you’re sending out some sort of mass email? For instance, you’re sending out blogger outreach emails. Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be sending them in mass amounts. Each email should be personalized. But that’s not the point. You can use an email tracking tool such as GMass to track the open rates and CTRs in your email. 

      4. Email Subscribes and Unsubscribes

      We’re going to stay in email marketing for now. What’s the core of any email list? Unsurprisingly, email subscribers!

      You should pay attention to how many subscribers your email list counts, but also the unsubscribes. 

      What makes people unsubscribe from your email list? 

      There are a lot of reasons. Here’s a short list:

      • You’re sending out too many emails
      • Your email content isn’t relevant to them
      • They simply don’t like your content
      • You might have said something offensive in one of your emails
      • The person subscribed to get your freebie and never intended staying on your email list in the first place

      How to track email subscribers and unsubscribers?

      That depends on your email provider. I’m using ConvertKit. If I go to Subscribers, I see all my subscribers, how many people unsubscribed, but also the unconfirmed subscribers.

      ConvertKit subscribers

      5. Conversion Rates of Your Opt-ins

      How do you get people to subscribe to your email list? By creating irresistible incentives! To get those freebies to your readers, you need to create sign-up forms. 

      But what if the incentive doesn’t turn your visitors into subscribers?

      That most likely means that your readers aren’t interested in your incentive. It might also mean that the copy of the opt-in isn’t persuasive enough and can’t sell the incentive.

      What is a conversion rate?

      It’s the percentage of people who have some across your opt-in and subscribed.

      How to track the conversion rates of your opt-ins?

      Once again, this depends on your email provider. In ConvertKit, go to Landing Pages & Forms and you’ll be able to see the conversion rates of all your opt-ins.

      ConvertKit conversion rate

      6. Email Open Rates

      I’ve already touched on this. Why send out emails each week (or however often you’re sending them out), if your subscribers are not interested in them?

      That’s why it’s important to be tracking your email open rates. 

      If your open rates are low, you should probably change the type of content you’re sending out. 

      What is an email open rate?

      The percentage of your email subscribers who opened your broadcast.

      How to track email open rates?

      I’m going to repeat myself, once again, this depends on your email provider. In ConvertKit, you can track your average open rate in Subscribers. If you want to track the open rates of a specific email, go to Broadcasts where you’ll find all the email you’ve sent out and the open rates as well.

      ConvertKit open rates

      7. Most Viewed Posts

      Tracking your most viewed posts will give you an idea as to the type of content your audience wants to see the most. 

      How to track your most viewed blog posts?

      You could use a plugin such as MosterInsights for this. If you don’t want to use a plugin, go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Overview and you will find your most viewed posts. In the top right corner, you can set the time frame.

      8. Engagement

      Engagement is an important metric to track. Although, it’s quite vague to be referring to it collectively as a metric. Engagement isn’t just one metric. Rather, it’s a collection of metrics.

      What are those metrics?

      • Comments
      • Likes
      • Shares
      • etc.

      As you can tell, this doesn’t relate to your blog posts only. This can refer to your social channels as well. 

      It’s a good idea to be tracking your average comments, shares, and likes to see if your post is doing well in terms of engagement. 

      9. Backlinks

      Backlinks, or inbound links, are another important blog performance metric. It’s the first SEO-related metric we’re going to cover.

      What are inbound links?

      Those are the links pointing to your blog from another site.

      How to track your inbound links?

      There are several things you should keep an eye on when it comes to inbound links:

      • The number
      • The domains
      • Where on your site they are pointing to
      • The quality of those links

      Ideally, the inbound links should be pointing to specific pages on your website, rather than the homepage.

      How to track your backlinks?

      The best tool to track your inbound links is Moz. Type your URL into the Link Explorer. You’ll see something like this:

      Moz Inbound Links

      If you scroll down, you’ll see where those inbound links are coming from as well as the anchor text.

      10. Ranking Keywords

      The best way to measure your SEO strategy is by keeping track of your ranking keywords. 

      How to track your ranking keywords?

      If you want to track your keywords in Google, Google Search Console is the best tool to go for. 

      If Bing is on your radar, use Bing Webmaster Tools.

      11. Sitespeed

      Sitespeed doesn’t indicate your blog’s performance. But it can greatly impact it.

      Look, if your site takes 20 seconds to load, who’s going to be waiting there? I’m most likely going to click away and by doing that, your bounce rate will increase. 

      Not good, right?

      What is sitespeed?

      Sitespeed, also pagespeed or loading speed, is how fast your website loads after a user clicks on your link.

      How to track your sitespeed?

      Both Google Sitespeed Insights and GTMetrix are the tools I swear by. Each one gives you suggestions for improvements.

      12. Profit

      If you started your blog to make money online, there are also marketing metrics to track, such as your profits.

      What is profit?

      It’s the amount of money you’ve made after deducting the cost, tax, and other expenses.

      With that being said, you also need to keep track of your cost. Running a blog can be expensive. Of course, you will need to make some initial investments. But you also need to make sure that your investments are not constantly higher than your revenue.

      Then you also need to take things like tax into account.

      I often see this in bloggers’ income reports. Yeah, it’s nice to see how much you’ve made. But how much did you invest in? What about tax deductions?

      How to track your profit?

      You can use either:

      • Pen and paper
      • Spreadsheet in MS Excel or similar software
      • Use a bookkeeping tool such as Quickbooks

      13. Overall Growth

      This isn’t a specific metric per se.

      Look at your analytics to see your overall growth since the time you started. You might not see that much of a difference in your month to month progress. But if you look at your progress since the time you started, things might look a lot differently. 

      14. Your Performance

      In all honesty, no metric matters if your performance sucks. Apologies for putting it this way!

      I’ve had times when I had to look back and review my performance as well. 

      Set a specific goal, such as “I’m going to publish one in-depth blog post a week. This post will contain no less than 2,000 words and will also come with a freebie.”

      Is this a realistic goal for you?

      If not, how can you simplify it? You see, not each one of your posts needs a freebie. Rather, create a few freebies that can be used in multiple posts.

      Conclusion

      So, those are the metrics every blogger needs to track.

      When measuring your progress, always start with your traffic. That’s the foundation of everything.

      Other metrics to focus on are also SEO and email marketing related KPIs. With that being said, also don’t forget about your performance. 

      What other metrics do you think are important? Let me know!

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        Featured image courtesy of Negative Space via Pexels.

        Metrics every blogger needs to track BLOGOLOGY
        HOW TO FIND ENDLESS BLOG POST IDEAS

        HOW TO FIND ENDLESS BLOG POST IDEAS

        You’re staring at the blank screen in front of you. The deadline is approaching. You’re supposed to publish a new blog post in just a few days and yet, you have nothing written. 

        You can’t afford not to post. Consistency is key, right?!  If you don’t publish once according to your editorial calendar, your traffic is going to drop and your blog is going to fail!

        Well, hold on! If you miss one day, it’s okay! You won’t lose any significant traffic and nor will your blog fail. But yes, consistency is important. 

        The key to staying consistent with your posting schedule is generating ideas for blog posts consistently. 


        DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Visit my affiliate disclosure for more info.


        I know that finding out what to blog about is difficult.

        I studied creative writing at university. Usually, I was oozing with ideas for stories, but once there was an assignment I had to complete, my mind was blank.

        But, you see, ideas are everywhere. I know that this concept might be difficult to comprehend.

        For instance, I’ve been wanting to write on Medium for a very long time. Most writers on Medium don’t stick to a single niche. But for some reason, the freedom of being able to write about anything I like has my brain cells completely blacked out. 

        So, what’s the point of this? Stick to a niche. 

        If you’re running a multi-niche blog, it’s the same process. Except, you’ll be searching for ideas in those niches. 

        The idea is that when you stick to one niche, it’s easier for you to know that niche through and through and therefore keep generating content.

        With that being said…

        How to find endless blog post ideas

        We know that coming up with blog post ideas can be tricky. So, how to find blog post topics?

        1. Look into your target audience avatar

        There’s one thing I’m always going to preach: it’s all about your audience. Your blog isn’t about you. It’s about providing value to your readers and helping them overcome a pain point.

        It doesn’t matter how big this pain point is. It can be something small such as sharing quick dinner recipes or helping others overcome depression. 

        So, what to do?

        Have a look at your target audience avatar and the pain points specifically. You want to write a piece of content that addresses one of the struggles.

        2. Pick a topic

        At this point, all you need to do is to come up with a topic. Not a specific idea, just a topic.

        But what’s the difference between a topic and a specific idea for a blog post?

        TOPIC: Writing tips
        BLOG POST IDEA: How to never run out of blog post ideas, How to end a blog post, How to format your blog posts

        See the difference?

        Pick a topic and once you narrow it down, you can pick a seed keyword.

        What’s a seed keyword?

        That’s one or more words that describe your blog topic.

        Let’s say I want to write about something that has to do with blog posts. My seed keyword is most likely going to be “blog post”.

        EXTRA TIP: Use the topic cluster strategy. You’ll divide your content into specific topics around which you’ll be creating “clusters”. Apart from better SEO, this will also help you when generating blog content ideas.

        3. Use Pinterest suggestions

        A great place to find keywords and ideas for blog posts is Pinterest. Specifically, Pinterest’s autosuggestions.

        If you go to Pinterest and type in a keyword, Pinterest will automatically give you some of the most searched queries associated with the keyword. 

        You can view those in the autosuggestions or you can click search and you’ll see them in the top bar. Don’t quote me on this, but it’s generally believed that the keywords toward the left are searched the most.

        find blog post ideas with Pinterest autosuggestions

        4. Make use of Google autosuggestions

        Did you know that Google can be a great place to find ideas for blog posts?

        Similarly to Pinterest, you can use Google as a blog topic generator. Just type in your seed keyword and see what comes up. 

        You can either have a look at the autosuggestions or you can scroll down to the bottom of the page.

        A good idea is also to look at the results.

        What are they about?

        TIP: You can also type in your seed keyword and then try adding each letter of the alphabet one by one to find any hidden queries.

        find blog topics with Google autosuggest

        5. Use Answer The Public 

        Or you can use a tool that can do all of this for you!

        Answer The Public is a keyword research tool. After you type in your seed keyword, it will scan all Google search results for any related queries. It does the same thing I described in the previous point. Except it’s much quicker than if you were doing it manually.

        It gives you ideas for both queries and questions.

        Answer The Public is a paid tool, but it also has a free version that gives you five free searches a day. To be honest, in most cases, that’s all you need.

        Use Answer the Public to generate blog content ideas

        6. Or you can use other keyword research tools

        If you want something that will also give you data about the search volume and competition, you can use a keyword research tool.

        Using these tools is similar to what we’ve already talked about. You type in your seed keyword and the tool will tell you the related queries and the search data.

        So far, I’ve tried Ubersuggest, KWFinder, and the free version of Moz. All of them were great. I’ve also heard great things about Keysearch, but I haven’t tried it.

        If you want a more advanced tool, you can try something like Ahrefs or SEMRush. But those tools are very expensive. We’re talking about monthly recurring payments of $100.

        If you want a free keyword research tool from Google, you can use the Google Keyword Planner. The data is not as specific as the other tools, but you have to keep in mind that all of the keyword tools I’ve mentioned get their data from Google Keyword Planner. That’s why the data might not always be accurate.

        How do you know?

        Let’s say you type in a keyword and the tool tells you the search volume is zero. But then you’re typing the keyword into Google, and the search engine keeps autosuggesting. That’s a sign that people are searching for that keyword and that the search volume is certainly not a zero.

        how to find ideas for blog posts

        7. Generate blog post ideas with Google Search Console

        Another great place to find blog post topics is the Google Search Console. It happens often that your articles appear in searches that don’t match what the article is about. 

        Have you ever thought about writing about these topics?

        I mean, sure, some of the queries are downright nonsense. But some of them could be great ideas! 

        Also, since you’re already appearing somewhere for that keyword, your new post could appear for it as well!

        8. Pay attention to questions in Facebook Groups and forums

        A great place to find blog post ideas are Facebook groups and forums like Reddit or Quora.

        You can join groups and forums in your niche and read other people’s questions. You can then go and write a post addressing the topic discussed and can even go back and link to that post.

        Just read the rules of the group before you do that!

        9. Or use FAQ Fox for faster results

        If you don’t want to spend time scrolling through online forums, you can use FAQ Fox instead. It’s a content marketing tool that allows you to find forums about a specific topic with only one click!

        Simply go to FAQ Fox and type in your keyword. And voila, you’re ready to find topics to write about.

        FAQ Fox blog topic generator

        10. Ask your readers

        This is the easiest way to find ideas for new blog posts. Simply ask your readers!

        There are several ways to do that:

        • In emails
        • On social media
        • Surveys
        • Quizzes

        You can just send them a newsletter asking what they’d like to see next on your blog. Or you can create an Instagram story poll, or even tweet it out.

        An interesting way to ask your readers what they’d like to read from you is to ask them as a part of a survey. To be honest, I’ve never tried creating a survey, so here’s an article on how to create a survey, and here’s a tutorial on how to create a survey in WordPress using WPForms.

        Or you can also use quizzes. Quizzes are a great way to get to know your readers better. I’ve never tried creating a quiz for my blog either. But there is a tutorial from WPBeginner.

        If you don’t want to use a plugin to create a quiz for your blog, you can do it with an email marketing tool. I’m using ConvertKit, so I’m not sure if other email tools have this option as well. So, here’s a tutorial on how to create a quiz.

        11. Pay attention to comments on other blogs

        If your blog is new and you don’t have an audience to ask, you can use other blogger’s audiences.

        Well, that’s an interesting way to put it. We’re not going to be using them. But bear with me.

        What you can do is that you can go to other blogs in your niche. You can go to any blog post you like. You scroll down and read the comments.

        Still with me?

        What you’re looking for are comments asking about topics that haven’t been discussed in the article. You can use it as a cue to write that article yourself.

        12. Use BuzzSumo

        If you don’t want to be scrolling through your competitors’ blogs, you can use BuzzSumo instead. BuzzSumo lets you see the most popular topics that are being discussed right now. You can search for topics by keywords or by websites.

        You can enter your competitor’s URL and see their most shared content. It’s a paid tool but the free version gives you enough information. The only downside is that the free version gives you only ten searches a month. So, use them wisely!

        Find ideas for blog topics with BuzzSumo

        13. Look inside Amazon books

        Did you know that you can use Amazon to find ideas for blog content? Yeah, the books section is perfect for it!

        You can select a book on the topic you’d like to write about and have a look inside. Each book on Amazon gives you a limited amount of pages you can view without purchasing the book. It gives you enough pages to see the contents. You can then use those contents to generate ideas for blog posts.

        Amazon look inside

        14. Keep a list of blog post ideas

        Do you have these kinds of days when you’re oozing with ideas?

        Take advantage of that and write all of them into a notebook. It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical list or just a note on your smartphone. 

        I prefer using my smartphone. Ideas usually strike me in the state of falling asleep so it’s easier to type it into my iPhone than into a notebook.

        15. Expand existing content

        If you don’t want to be leaving the comfort of your own blog, have a read through your old blog posts.

        Is there something that could have its own separate article?

        Here’s what I mean: Let’s say I’m reading through this particular post. I could grab any of the sections in this post, and expand them in a separate article. I could write follow-up posts on how to use BuzzSumo/Google Search Console/FAQ Fox to generate blog post ideas.

        Well, I’m not sure if “How to use Google Search Console to generate blog post ideas” would make up for an entire article.

        But hopefully, you get the point.

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          16. Read

          Read a lot!

          Reading and consuming content creates new associations in your brain and forms new ideas. If you don’t know what to write about, the answer is simple: read!

          You don’t have to read about topics in your niche only. In fact, that might lead to information overload. 

          Reading books can be helpful and boost your creativity!

          17. If everything else fails, use blog topic generators

          If everything fails, you can resort to blog topic generators.

          Similarly to blog topic generators, there are also headline generators. Those can also be helpful when searching for topics to write about.

          They work pretty much the same way. You can just type in your seed keyword and the tool will give you ideas.

          Here are my top picks:

          To be honest with you, I’m not a huge fan of blog topic generators. I feel like the results are, well, generic. 

          I had a bit of a laugh when reading some of the ideas. One blog post generator suggested: “How to become the Elon Musk of blog post”. 

          Sounds interesting! I want to know!

          But for some topics, it might be a great tool. I mean, you can find some unique blog post ideas there.

          18. Repurpose old blog content

          If you genuinely don’t know what to write about, you can repurpose your old content. Is there a post that could be updated? Update the post and republish it.

          Republishing old content on WordPress is very easy. You don’t have to create a new post from scratch. All you need to do (after you’ve updated the post) is to change the publish date to a different day.

          19. Start a series

          To prevent similar situations where you don’t know what to write about in the future, you can start a blog post series. 

          For example, on my old fashion blog, I create a series on how to dress according to your body shape.

          With six female body shapes and one shape being published monthly, I had content for the upcoming six months. I was publishing weekly, so of course, I had to come up with different ideas as well, but it did help.

          Conclusion

          How to come up with a blog post idea?

          There’s not a specific process to come up with a blog post idea. Look into your target audience avatar and create content based on your target reader’s pain points. Pick a topic, pick a seed keyword, and do your research.

          How do you find blog content ideas? Let me know!

          READ NEXT:
          How to Write a Blog Post

          How to Write a Blog Post Outline

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            HOW I MADE MY FIRST AFFILIATE SALE IN MY SECOND MONTH OF BLOGGING

            HOW I MADE MY FIRST AFFILIATE SALE IN MY SECOND MONTH OF BLOGGING

            Yes, that’s right! I made my first affiliate sale in my second month of blogging. But other than that, I also go spam-blocked on Pinterest for a week and burnt out.

            But I’m getting ahead of myself.

            In some areas, this month was more successful than my first month of Blogology and in some areas, it wasn’t.

            But why am I sharing this with you?

            Because I want you to know what it’s like to be a blogger and run a blog. I want to take you behind the scenes. That’s why I’m trying to be as detailed as possible.

            But before we go any further, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way.

            DISCLAIMER NO. 1: This isn’t my first blog. I’ve been blogging on and off since 2008, professionally from late 2018. In early 2020, I decided to leave my fashion blog SaraViktorie.com. Then, there were quite a few months when I was working on Blogology before I officially launched it. By now, I completely abandoned my previous blog, but here’s my Instagram account I’m trying to revive, and here’s an interview with me with a company I used to be working with. I was cringing a bit when I was rereading it, so don’t read it if you don’t have to haha!

            DISCLAIMER NO. 2: I’m not an expert at blogging. I do have experience with starting and running blogs, but I don’t know everything that goes into blogging. I only teach what I know. In the venues where I’m still lacking, I provide you with other resources.

            AND

            DISCLOSURE: This blog post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Read my Affiliate Disclosure for more information.

            Why did I start Blogology?

            Well, I have a few reasons:

            • Blogging has always been my passion and that one thing no one could ever take away from me
            • To test my content marketing skills
            • To show introduce you to the world of blogging and take you behind the scenes of running a blog
            • To make money online and be able to travel full-time

            Content

            One thing I decided to change this month was my posting schedule. Until now, I was posting four times a month – every Monday.

            In August, I decided to change that number to only three posts – main posts every other Monday and a blogging report the first Friday of the month.

            Why?

            Because my posts are very detailed and I try to get the nitty-gritty of the discussed topic. Researching, writing, and putting together these posts takes a lot of time.

            Also, this schedule will give me more space for guest posting and gain visibility that way.

            Posting less gives me more time to:

            • Create better content
            • Guest blogging
            • Promoting my blog

            So, apart from my first month of blogging report, I also published:

            Blog traffic report

            In August, I got exactly 1,145 pageviews from 1,028 visitors. The bounce rate could be lower. I’ve already started making some small steps to improve it. But, to be fair, I’m quite happy with the average time on page.

            Blogology Google Analytics

            Although, I want to make it clear that those two metrics are difficult to track and they are not the most precise metrics. I go over this in How to Measure the Success of Your Blog.

            What does the high bounce rate mean?

            Well…

            • My posts are either so good that my readers find all the information they need and they don’t need to click on any other posts to find for information
            • Perhaps my posts are so bad that people leave immediately
            • Or the users don’t even land on my page in the first place

            Hopefully, judging by the average time on page, it’s the first option haha!

            To be fair, I also have quite a few landing pages with email opt-ins and freebies where the reader won’t spend a lot of time. I keep promoting those pages a lot, so that might be the reason as well.

            As you can see, most of my traffic comes from social media. My highest source of traffic is Pinterest.

            Blogology Google Analytics top channels

            To be honest, at the moment I’m not having much luck with Google. But I’m aware that this takes time. I’m getting a few clicks from Google every now and then, but I’m not appearing on the first page for any of my articles.

            That being said, I do have a few pages that rank on the first page of Bing. So far, the CTR isn’t great, but at least I have some data and have an idea as to what to improve.

            Second month of blogging report Bing

            SEO

            As I mentioned, my results from SEO are close to non-existent at this point. Here’s a report from Moz:

            Second month of blogging report Moz

            What shocked me was the number of backlinks. If you go to my last month’s report, you’ll notice that the number is a lot different.

            I checked it and apparently, the majority of those backlinks come from DoSplash, which is a blogging community. A lot of those links don’t even come from my submissions, so I’m honestly confused about this.

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              Growth Strategies

              As I said, I started posting less. Did it affect my traffic? I don’t think so.

              Here’s what I do each week:

              • I pick three posts I want to promote that week
              • I tweet them on Twitter and submit them to comment threads in Facebook groups
              • Every time I post a new article, I also submit it to Blog Post Vote Up, DoSplash, Mix, and Bloglovin’. To be honest, I’ve only seen a few clicks from Blog Post Vote Up and DoSplash, other than that, I haven’t had much luck with the other two. But that’s okay, I’m putting more time into other strategies.

              Social media

              I mentioned that Pinterest is my main source of traffic. In August, I was pinning four fresh pins a day. I pin them to 4 to 6 boards (including 1 to 2 group boards). I generally keep my descriptions 2 to 3 sentences long and include 3 to 5 keywords.

              Throughout the month, I was also including 5 to 7 hashtags but I stopped doing that toward the end of the month.

              As you could notice in my first month of blogging report, the impressions on my pins were great. That wasn’t the case for the link clicks. I was happy when I got four link clicks a day.

              So, I decided to play around with my pin designs, colors, and also titles. Titles are the most important part. I started including different power words and just was trying to craft better titles that I thought might get more clicks.

              So, for example: How to Plan a Blog Before You Launch It became 6 Crucial Things You Need to Plan Before You Start a Blog

              See the difference?

              So, what were the results? Very good! Since last month, I have decreased the amount of daily fresh pins. Similar reasons for posting less on Blogology: I’m focusing on quality rather than quantity.

              Because of that, my account stopped growing in terms of impressions. My impressions remained at around 600k monthly viewers. But my link clicks started increasing. Suddenly I went from 4 link clicks daily on average to 30 link clicks on a good day.

              Second month of blogging report Pinterest impressions

              Well, until this all stopped.

              See the dip there?

              In week three, all of a sudden all my pins stopped getting impressions and therefore zero link clicks. After a few days of this, I contacted Pinterest Support. I heard that a lot of accounts are being mistakenly flagged as spam. All I got was a generic response that I should be pinning mainly my content and focus on producing fresh pins. Good to know haha!

              After a few days, I connected with a few other bloggers who had the same issue. I was advised to keep contacting Pinterest until the problem is resolved.

              Second month of blogging report Pinterest link clicks

              But then, exactly a week after it started, I noticed that my pins started getting impressions again. As of now, my account is almost back to normal. Honestly, no idea what the issue was.

              Other than this, I wasn’t paying too much attention to social media. That’s changing in September, so stay tuned!

              Blogger outreach

              This month, I decided to try a new strategy. I link out to other articles and blogs a lot. So, why not let the authors know and perhaps get some traffic from it?

              The way this works is that you link out to an external resource, let the author know, and if they like the content, they share it with their audiences. Ideally, you should pick bloggers that have similar audiences to yours.

              This was the case for How to Brand a Personal Blog. I demonstrate some of my points on three blogs. I contacted the bloggers a few weeks before publishing the post letting them know that I’d like to feature them and if it would be okay with them.

              All of them said yes, and then when the post was finished, I sent them the link. Some of them did share the post which also resulted in some extra traffic.

              NOTE: I didn’t ask for shares in any of my emails. I understand that not all of them would like the post and so I let the choice up to them.

              I definitely will be using this technique in the future.

              Email marketing

              In August, I grew my email list to 35 subscribers. The good thing is that no one unsubscribed!

              Blogology ConvertKit email marketing

              I rebranded my newsletter to the “VIP Club”.

              What are you getting?

              Weekly exclusive tips, updates, and freebies. I’m also thinking about starting a series where we look at successful blogs, analyze them, and identify why they are successful.

              I want Blogology to be very analytical and well, sciency. In a way.

              But I’m not sure about this series just yet.

              In August, I released my pre-launch blog planner, which is my most popular freebie to date.

              How do I collect emails?

              I use ConvertKit to collect emails. I have a pop-up on most pages throughout my blog and I also have opt-ins throughout my content. I also pin my landing pages on Pinterest.

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              Join my newsletter to get access to exclusive tips and be the first one to hear about what’s happenning behind the scenes!

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                Blog income report

                At the moment, I’m monetizing my blog with display ads and affiliate marketing. I also own a business called The Blogger Assistant which I’d like to turn into an agency. I’m aware that some bloggers also include their freelance gigs in their income reports. I mean, this business has a lot to do with blogging. However, I’m not including my earnings from that in this report.

                AdSense

                Last month, I made almost $6 from AdSense. Well, this month, despite getting more traffic than last month, I received fewer ad clicks.

                If you didn’t know, AdSense is a CPC network. This means that I make a commission only if someone clicks on the ad.
                To be honest, AdSense is known to pay less compared to other networks, so I’m not expecting to make big bucks from this. Also, I don’t have the ads on all pages, and if I do, I have just one ad per page, since I don’t want Blogology to be covered in ads. User experience is very important to me.

                So, how much did I make from AdSense in my second month of blogging?

                £0.04 which is roughly $0.054 at the time of publishing.

                Google AdSense Blogology

                Affiliate marketing

                I’m a member of a few affiliate networks and programs. You can have a look at my affiliate disclosure to see which ones.

                I promote my affiliate links in my content where it makes sense, on my Tools page, and I also share my affiliate links on Pinterest.

                NOTE: I add #afflink in the description to make sure the visitor knows they are clicking on an affiliate link.

                As you can tell from the title of this report, I made my first affiliate sale in my second month of blogging!

                So, how much did I make?

                £0.15. This is roughly $0.20 at the time of publishing.

                It’s not much, but I was very happy to find out.

                Blogology CJ Affiliate commission

                So, in total, I made £0.19 or roughly $0.25 in my second month of blogging.

                Expenses

                In August, I didn’t have any expenses whatsoever! I invested quite a lot of money before launching (over $500) so I decided not to buy anything this month. Mainly because my SiteGround renewal is coming soon. They raised their prices a few months ago, so I’m bracing for the renewal haha!

                Struggles

                Pagespeed

                Similarly to last month, pagespeed has been an issue. I started taking some small steps to improve it. For example, I started embedding my email opt-ins in HTML as opposed to JavaScript. JavaScript is a heavy code and you should use it with caution. I also started cleaning up my database with the WP Sweep plugin.

                Blurry images

                I noticed that suddenly most of my images are blurry. I tried the Regenerate Thumbnails technique but it didn’t help.

                I remember that when I first started building the website, I had the same issue. I also remembered that to solve it, all it took was going to Settings > Media and change the image sizes to zeros.

                Oh, and yes, I’m talking about WordPress haha!

                I’m noticing that some of my images are still a bit blurry, but to be honest, I have no idea what the issue is. Perhaps it’s the quality of those images. But the thing is that when I’m viewing them on my computer, they are okay.

                Burnout

                After months of not taking a single day off and working my businesses, I burnt out. I saw it coming, but I tried pushing through it. Nope, it didn’t work.

                Putting myself out there

                I’m quite shy and introverted so networking and putting myself out there is pretty difficult for me. But I do want to step out of my comfort zone in September and change this.

                Conclusion

                So, this is all for my second month of blogging report. A part of me thinks that I could have done better and a part of me is happy with the results.

                What do you think?

                PREVIOUSLY:
                The Most Detailed First Month of Blogging Report You’ve Ever Read

                NEXT:
                Third Month of Blogging (Report)

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                  HOW TO BRAND A PERSONAL BLOG

                  HOW TO BRAND A PERSONAL BLOG

                  So, you want to turn your blog into a recognizable brand, right?

                  But how to brand a personal blog? And should you brand it in the first place? Well, if you want to turn your blog into a successful business that stands out, you should brand your blog.

                  I understand that this whole process is confusing and overwhelming. When I was starting my previous blog, SaraViktorie.com, I didn’t give a second thought to branding. I didn’t see the importance.

                  That’s why I have this blog branding guide for you. I’ll also show you some examples towards the end of the article.


                  DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I’ll receive a commission. For more information, visit my Affiliate Disclosure.


                  Before we begin, let’s define some of the most used branding terminologies.

                  What is a brand?

                  A brand is how you are perceived by others. It’s an identifier that sets you apart from your competition. It’s how you make people feel.

                  As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, puts it: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

                  This means that your branding isn’t necessarily what your blog is about, but how you choose to present your blog.

                  What is branding?

                  Branding is a series of elements that create your brand.

                  When people hear the word branding, they often think of it in terms of logos, slogans, etc. But there are a lot of elements of branding. Not a single one of them creates your brand. Rather, it’s the combination of all of them that make up your brand.

                  What is brand positioning?

                  Brand positioning is the position of your business in the mind of your customers that differentiates you from your competitors.

                  What is a brand identity?

                  Brand identity refers to the visual elements that make you instantly recognizable.

                  Do you need to brand your blog?

                  Yes, you should. If you want to turn your blog into a business, you should make your blog a brand. 

                  And if your blog is a creative outlet? Well, based on the definition mentioned above, in a way, you’re branding your blog anyway. Even if you don’t have a logo or a mission statement in place, the look of your website, your personality, and the content you put out there is your brand.

                  You see, the main goal of branding is to distinguish yourself from your competitors. So, if you want your blog to stand out, you should brand your blog.

                  Why is it important to brand your blog?

                  1. It helps you stand out
                    I already mentioned this one, but yes, good consistent branding distinguishes you from the competition.

                  2. Your blog looks more professional
                  Let’s face it, if your branding is consistent on your website, social media, your products, and everything else, your blog looks more professional which in turn increases trust.

                  3. Good first impressions
                  It’s happened to all of us. You land on a page with an ugly font, colors that don’t go well together, and just nothing evokes a good first impression. And then you visit a different website where everything ties well together, the writing voice is consistent, and you want to know more. Which one do you want to be?

                  HOW TO BRAND A PERSONAL BLOG

                  1. Get your foundation right

                  There are a lot of aspects of blog branding. I see a lot of bloggers start with picking their brand colors or designing logos. And even though those are the fun things of branding. But to build your blog brand, you need to get your foundation right first and foremost. 

                  1.1 Decide what you want to be known for

                  First things first, you need to be clear about what you want your blog to be known for. This comes down to your niche. I suppose that at this point, you already know what your blog is about.

                  But how is it going to stand out?
                  Do you want your blog to be known for a different angle on your niche?
                  Do you want to be telling the honest truth of behind the scenes of your niche? 

                  RECOMMENDED READING: How to Find the Right Niche for Your Blog

                  1.2 Who is your target audience?

                  One thing I’m always going to preach: it’s all about your audience. Everything you do on your blog, whether it’s picking your brand colors, coming up with topics to cover, or creating paid products, needs to be done with your target audience in mind.

                  What is the target audience?
                  A target audience is your ideal readers. The kind of reader who finds your content valuable, relates to your blog, keeps coming to your blog, signs up to your newsletter, buys your paid products, and recommends your blog to others. It’s the kind of person your blog is designed for.

                  So, when positioning your blog in a niche, pick a specific group of people to dedicate your blog to.

                  RECOMMENDED READING: How to Define Your Blog’s Target Audience

                  1.3 Research your competitors

                  Let’s be clear, nowadays, no matter what your blog is about, there are already other blogs talking about the same thing.

                  As I already mentioned, the goal of branding is to stand out from the competition. But if you want to stand out, you need to know what’s already out there.

                  What to look for when conducting a competitor analysis?

                  • What does their blog look like visually?
                  • Who is the blog for?
                  • How are they monetizing the blog?
                  • What do people say about them?
                  • How engaged are they with their audience?
                  • How are they marketing the blog?

                  Depending on the size of your niche, analyze 5 to 10 blogs. 

                  RECOMMENDED READING: How to Research Your Blog Competitors

                  1.4 What are your plans for the future?

                  When you’re branding your blog, you need to consider where you see your blog in the long run.

                  What are your goals?
                  What is your ultimate vision for the blog?

                  You need to keep this in mind when branding your blog. I’m not saying your branding has to be perfect from the beginning. The branding process takes time, but it’s good to keep your future plans in mind.

                  Branding Your Blog?

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                    2. Start developing your brand identity

                    Now that you have the foundation right, it’s time to set your blog apart from your competitors and dive into the branding process.

                    We’re finally going to have a look at different elements of branding.

                    2.1 Unique selling point

                    To brand your blog the right way, you need to identify a specific element that sets you apart from the competition.

                    I’m going to show you later, in some examples, what a unique selling point can be. But really, it can be anything. It can be unique web design, a product you sell, or your own angle on things.

                    2.2 Personality

                    Whether you like it or not, your personality is a part of your brand.

                    No matter what you write about, people are generally looking for content from people they can relate to. One of the best ways to make your readers relate to you and is by showing your personality in your content. So, don’t try to put on some fake persona.

                    Be yourself.

                    2.3 Your story

                    What is your story?

                    Each of us has a unique story. What made you start your blog? Sure, you most likely wanted to change your life and make money doing something you love. Cool! But why?

                    This relates to what I said about the personality. People want to relate to you and they want to know who’s behind the screen and why you do what you do.

                    TIP: Write a compelling about me page where you’re going to tell your visitors who you are, why you started your blog, and why you want to help them. Tell them about your struggles and how you overcame them.

                    This helps to build a better relationship with your audience.

                    2.4 Mood

                    What overall mood does your blog have? Do you want your blog to feel friendly and approachable, or do you want to evoke a more of a professional, sophisticated feel to your blog?

                    What words would you associate with your blog? What do you want the visitors to feel when they land on your website and read your content?

                    TAKE ACTION: Pick a few adjectives you want to describe your blog. They should reflect what the visitors feel when they land on your website.

                    2.5 Message and values

                    Your blog’s brand message is communicated through your values. Your message isn’t necessarily an actual paragraph of what you want your readers to take away from consuming your content.

                    Instead, it should be expressed through the other elements of your branding. Before you decide what your message is, you need to first identify what you stand for.

                    2.6 Name

                    The very first thing that will differentiate you from your competitors is your domain name. That’s why your name needs to be:

                    • Short
                    • Easy to spell
                    • Easy to pronounce
                    • Easy to remember

                    I also suggest your name relates to what your blog is about and what your vision for the blog is, and what the main premise of your blog is.

                    FOR EXAMPLE: I named this blog Blogology because it’s a blog about blogging that introduces aspiring bloggers to the world of blogging. My vision is to create an easy-to-navigate website where new bloggers can find all the information they need. I also refer to it as “the science of blogging” because I go very deep in my articles and try to uncover every single detail.

                    RECOMMENDED READING: How to Choose a Blog Name You Won’t Regret

                    2.7 Mission statement

                    What is a mission statement? 
                    It’s a summary of the aims and values of your blog.

                    Your mission statement is based on your target audience and how you are trying to help them. 

                    Think about why you started your blog, who it’s for, and how you’re trying to help your readers. Then summarize this in a few sentences.

                    The mission statement is based on your who, why, and how.

                    EXAMPLE: I help [who] because [why] by [how].

                    2.8 Tagline

                    What is a tagline?
                    A tagline is your slogan. It’s usually displayed in the header of your blog. 

                    The tagline should reflect your values and your message.

                    EXAMPLE:
                    Blogology – the science of blogging
                    Apple – think different
                    Nike – just do it

                    2.8 Elevator pitch

                    What is an elevator pitch?
                    An elevator pitch is a few persuasive sentences that summarize what your blog does. It should be short and interesting. 

                    It’s similar to your mission statement but it’s longer.

                    Your mission statement is more like “Hey, this is what I do!”. Whereas your elevator pitch is trying to sell your idea.

                    NOTE: You’ll be using your elevator pitch mainly when pitching to brands for collaborations, when networking with other bloggers, and you can also use it when applying to affiliate programs.

                    Your elevator pitch should include:

                    1. Who you are
                    2. What you offer
                    3. How you are different
                    4. What problem you solve

                    2.9 Keywords

                    Pick a few keywords you want your blog to rank for. Ideally, you should pick a few low-competition keywords that summarize your blog. You can then include those in your name, tagline, or homepage.

                    2.10 Brand voice

                    Brand voice is the way you talk to your audience. Your brand voice should be reflected in your content and the way you respond to comments and emails.

                    Developing a strong brand voice will help you find a connection with your readers and better communicate your values and mission.

                    Your brand voice should be a reflection of your personality.

                    TAKE ACTION: To find your brand voice, pick a few traits you want to reflect your brand. It can be a combination of pretty much anything. For instance, Blogology’s brand voice is passionate, friendly, authentic, but also a bit sophisticated. And I also like to think I’m a bit funny.

                    Branding Your Blog?

                    Get a free printable blog branding workbook to make the process easier!

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                      3. Visual branding

                      Let’s get into the fun stuff!

                      3.1 Colors

                      When it comes to your color palette, I suggest you choose 2 to 6 colors that will represent your brand. Two of them being your primary colors, and the rest secondary. 

                      In the case of Blogology, the colors are white, black, and red. 

                      You can pick your brand colors based on color psychology, but you don’t have to. I’d say, use common sense. If your blog is about sports cars, your color palette most likely won’t include pink.

                      blog branding color psychology

                      EXTRA TIP: I’ve heard some bloggers struggle with sticking to a handful of brand colors. If you want to change up your theme based on the season or whatever, pick your primary colors and then select secondary colors for whatever time of the year you want.

                      3.2 Fonts

                      Fonts are an important part of your blog branding.

                      When it comes to brand colors, there’s no need to be using all of them every single time. But when it comes to fonts, you should be using the same fonts. You’re going to be using them on your graphics, and if you’re using a text-based logo, it’s going to be written in the fonts you’ve picked.

                      I suggest you pick two fonts. A primary font and a secondary one. 

                      3.3 Logo 

                      Similarly to your blog name, your logo should be memorable.

                      That’s why it should be simple. Think about it; some of the most memorable brands in the world have simple logos.

                      What does Apple’s logo look like?
                      Nike’s?
                      And McDonald’s?

                      See? There’s no need to create a complex logo for your blog.

                      In fact, I think that a simple text-based logo is completely acceptable. Especially when you’re first starting out.

                      But if you want a professional-looking logo but aren’t good at graphic design, you can always hire someone on Fiverr.

                      3.4 Graphics

                      As a blogger, you’ll be creating graphics for your blog. Those include infographics for your blog posts to demonstrate a point, graphics for your social media, etc. 

                      A lot of it comes down to your colors and fonts. But you can go even further. Think about how you can make your graphics unique and more recognizable. 

                      3.5 Web design

                      Your web design is the first thing your reader sees when they land on your blog. You should keep your web design clean and consistent with your visual branding.

                      If you’re on self-hosted WordPress, I highly recommend the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. It comes with a drag and drop page builder which makes it easy for you to create a professional-looking website.

                      3.6 Favicon 

                      A favicon is a small icon you see in the browser next to your URL.

                      It’s just a small element but it makes your blog look more professional than the default globe.

                      You can use your logo or just a small element of your logo.

                      4. Reflect your brand in your content

                      As I said, branding isn’t just your logo. Your branding should be tangible in all areas of your blog.

                      4.1 Writing tone and voice

                      You express your personality through your writing. And as we’ve established, when it comes to branding a personal blog, your personality is a cornerstone. So, stick what is natural to you.

                      4.2 Long-form vs short-form content

                      Decide if you want to produce mainly long-form or short-form content.

                      Even though for SEO purposes, long-form content is a better option, I feel like this comes down to your target audience. Would your readers prefer long detailed blog posts or shorter ones?

                      4.3 Posting schedule

                      Decide how often and when you want to post new content on your blog and stick to it.

                      This is important, as your most devoted fans will know exactly when to expect a new blog post.

                      Do you want to post weekly?
                      Bi-weekly?
                      Three times a week?
                      Or even every single day?

                      It doesn’t matter how often you post as long as you post regularly.

                      4.4 Content structure

                      You should write unique content that’s recognizable just by looking at it. This goes beyond your writing style. 

                      Think about the elements you want to include in your content.

                      Perhaps some kind of unique formatting?
                      Do you start your blog posts a certain way?
                      Unique images throughout your content?

                      NOTE: I’m not addressing “unique content” in terms of content ideas. You see, no matter the niche, everything has already been written and addressed. 

                      5. Stay consistent

                      Congratulations! You’ve branded your blog!

                      Oh, wait! You haven’t. All you’ve been doing the whole time was just reading this guide. Never mind. 

                      Anyway, when you do brand your blog, the key is to keep it consistent throughout your blog, social media, and everywhere else where you’re presenting your blog.

                      Examples of strong blog branding

                      I picked a few blog branding examples to show you how you can differentiate yourself from your competition.

                      I deliberately picked blogs from the same niche. They all provide different services, have different values, and are aimed at different audiences. Each of them has a different unique selling point.

                      Before we go any further, I just want to make it clear that I’m showing you these examples just for demonstration. By no means am I telling you to copy any of these bloggers. Don’t imitate what has worked for somebody else. You won’t stand out if you’re copying somebody else.

                      Stray Curls

                      stray curls logo

                      Angela’s blog Stray Curls combines blogging and creativity.

                      Her blog is for women who want to start an online business or blog that stands out. And she does it well herself.

                      Her unique selling point is her illustrations. That’s what makes her content stand out. I mean, just look at the screen recording below. Whether you land on her blog or come across her pins on Pinterest, you know that this is Stray Curls content.

                      A Self Guru

                      A self guru logo

                      Amira’s blog A Self Guru mostly covers the legal side of blogging and running an online business.

                      She, herself, is a lawyer. And this is what makes her stand out. There are a lot of blogging blogs out there. But not many that specialize in the legal side of running a blog.

                      Amira sells legal templates that every blog needs. She saw a gap in the market and created a product the audience needs.

                      NOTE: Purchase Amira’s legal bundle here. It includes a privacy policy page, terms and conditions, and the disclaimer template.

                      Boss Girl Bloggers

                      Boss Girl Bloggers

                      Ell’s blog Boss Girl Bloggers is mainly about the marketing side of blogging.

                      Her blog is for women who want to change their lives and make living doing something they love – blogging. Now, you can’t not notice that there are a lot of “girl bosses” in the industry. I believe that Ell was the first one to come up with this concept. She managed to grow her brand to a community that counts over 40k people.

                      So, what makes Ell stand out?

                      • She genuinely cares about her audience
                      • She’s very engaged in her Facebook group
                      • She shows her personality in everything she does

                      Her audience loves this and has a big trust in her.

                      NOTE: Join Ell’s Facebook group here.

                      What did we learn from this?

                      1. Branding isn’t just about the logo or the color palette. It’s also what you provide and how you provide it.

                      2. Don’t just pick a niche. Pick a specific group of people to target your blog. Think about what they need and create content and products according to that.

                      3. Think outside of the box. If you want your blog to stand out, don’t be generic.

                      4. Show off your personality. It will improve your relationship with your audience.

                      Tools to help you brand your blog

                      Based on what we’ve talked about, I picked a few tools that will help you with your blog branding.

                      Grammarly

                      Grammarly is a spell-checker, but it also has a writing tone checker which tells you what your writing sounds like.

                      Canva

                      Canva is the ultimate graphic design tool for complete beginners or people who can’t design. You can pick from hundreds, if not thousands, of templates for pretty much anything you need to design.

                      ColorPick EyeDropper

                      ColorPick EyeDropper is a Chrome extension that lets you pick a color from any web page, which will make it easier for you to keep your colors consistent all over your blog.

                      ColorPick EyeDropper

                      Pexels

                      Pexels is a website with beautiful free stock images.

                      Key takeaways from how to brand a personal blog

                      The main goal of branding is to stand out from the competition.

                      Your branding should be based on your target audience.

                      Show off your personality.

                      Branding a blog takes time. I’m still in the process as well.

                      RECOMMENDED READING
                      How to Start a Blog

                      Branding Your Blog?

                      Get a free printable blog branding workbook to make the process easier!

                        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

                        Featured image courtesy of Andrea Picquadio via Pexels