Skipping the outlining process can seriously damage the quality of your blog post. And no one wants that, right?
You see, when it comes to blogging, creating quality content is extremely important.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to write a blog post outline step by step. It’s a fairly detailed process because I believe that poor content quality is a result of poor preparation.
Let’s dive into it!
DISCLOSURE: 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.
What is an outline?
Why do you need to outline your blog posts?
You might be wondering, why even bother writing an outline? Why can’t I just type up the blog post?
Well, you can! You can do whatever you want. But I highly recommend you outline your blog posts beforehand.
Well, a few reasons:
1. It makes blog writing much faster
Once you sit down to write your blog post and see the main points in front of you, you’ll know the exact structure and the points you want to get across.
2. It helps you beat writer’s block
If you regularly plan and outline your blog content in advance, the risk of hitting writer’s block will decrease significantly.
3. It makes finding your key point more efficient
Sometimes we write something, but then when reading through the piece, we actually find out that the post is missing a key point. Outlining your blog post in advance makes this easier as it allows you to see the piece from a bird’s eye perspective.
4. It makes structuring your blog post much easier
There’s nothing worse than writing up a massive blog post only to realize later that the structure is just off. It might even make sense in your mind, but for somebody else reading your blog post, it just feels like a pile of crap and like nothing makes sense.
How to write a blog post outline
Great! Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you that it genuinely is a good idea to create an outline for your blog post, let’s have a look at how to actually outline a blog post.
1. Write down the main information about your blog post
I’m a natural planner. I plan literally everything I can. And I believe you should do the same for your blog content.
That’s why before you start outlining the blog post, you need to write down some basic information about the piece.
The basic information is:
What problem it solves
Who it’s for
Call to action
This is the very first step you need to take before you start creating. You need to know where you are going.
Carrying with the previous point, now it’s time to decide on the format of the blog post. Is it a step by step guide? A listicle? A checklist? Something else?
And how do you even know?
Well, each title has its own search intent. The search intent is the reason behind the query.
Someone typing “how to start a blog” into Google is most likely looking for a guide that will walk them through the process of starting a blog.
On the other hand, someone searching for “ways to monetize a blog” is probably looking for, well, ways to make money from their blog.
See the difference?
And how do you even know?
This is going to be a part of your keyword research. Once you’ve decided on the keyword and title, type it into Google and have a look at the results on the first page. Are they guides? List posts? Hybrids? Something else? You’ll most likely want to write something along the same lines.
This will dictate the format of your blog post.
Now that you know what your blog post is going to be about, it’s time to do some research! Blog writing is similar to writing essays. You need to back up your claims!
After all, everyone can publish anything on the internet. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you’re looking at it. While doing your research, bookmark any extra resources you want to link to.
Make sure to thoroughly research the topic, add your own ideas, and add any questions that need to be answered.
But how do you know what to include?
Have a look at the results on the first page of Google, read through them, and pay attention to the comments. Is there something the readers find missing?
Still on the first page of Google, have a look at the featured snippets and read through the questions people are asking. Then also scroll down and note the related queries at the very bottom of the page. Those will help you shape your blog post as well.
NOTE: Don’t forget to include links to related blog posts you’ve already written!
5. Write down your subheaders
After you’ve done your research, it’s time to write down your subheaders. Those are going to be the main points you want to get across. If you’re writing a guide, the steps will make up the main portion of your subheaders.
Write down your main points. Then think of the subpoints for each main point.
This way, you’ll create a subheading hierarchy. Subheading hierarchy is the structure of your blog post. It’s created by tags that go from H1 to H6. H1 is your main title, which means you’ll only use it once. Your main points will be H2s and each H2 will have H3 subpoints. Likewise, H3s will have H4 subpoints, and so on.
EXTRA TIP: When outlining your blog post, write a tag to each corresponding subheader.
6. Note your key points for each subheader
Now that you have your subheaders, write down your key points, or any other notes to each subheader. This will help you later when typing up the blog post. You’ll have a clear idea as to what the point is about, and as a result, when you finally start writing the blog post, it will pretty much write itself.
NOTE: I like to start my blog posts by introducing the topic and listing the importance of it. Just like I did in this article. Note that this won’t be applicable to everything you write, but it’s a good idea to implement this approach into your blog writing.
7. Outline the key points for your intro and conclusion
Once you have all your key points and notes written down for the main body of your blog post, it’s time to decide what you want to get across in your intro and conclusion.
I like to write those two sections last after I’ve written and reviewed the main body of my blog post. But it’s always good to know what these two will include.
You can decide now how you’re going to start your article and how you’re going to end it.
So you’ve finished your outline! Congratulations! What now? You can start writing immediately, but I suggest you let it sit for a few hours or days and then revise your outline.
It’s just like writing. It’s a good idea to let it sit for a while and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. You might find you need to move some things around, and it’s definitely easier to do when you haven’t written the post yet.
Your outline is ready! Now you’re good to go and create your first draft! I don’t have any specific tips on drafting your blog post. I’m sure you already have that process in mind.
But if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on writing a blog post, here it is!
Blog Post Outline Example
Okay, but what does an outline look like?
I thought it would be a good idea to show you an example of a blog post outline. So, here is an outline I created for the article you’ve just read:
How to write a blog post outline (H1)
Intro Talk about the importance of a good outline
What is an outline (H2)
Why it’s important to outline your blog posts (H2)
I. Makes writing faster (H3) II. Helps you beat the writer’s block (H3) III. Makes finding your key point more efficient (H3) IV. Makes structuring your blog post easier (H3)
How to write a blog post outline (H2)
I. Write the main information (H3) II. Pick a keyword and craft a title (H3) III. Decide on the format (H3) IV. Research (H3) V. Write down subheaders (H3) VI. Write down key points for the main body (H3) VII. Outline key points for the intro and conclusion (H3) VIII. Revise (H3) IX. Draft (H3)
Blog post outline example (H2)
Conclusion (H2) Summarize the importance of blog post outlines
See? It’s fairly simple!
Outlining your blog posts can seem like an unnecessary task and perhaps even a waste of time. But I believe that it has a lot of benefits. Creating an outline for your blog post will make the writing process a lot faster, it will help you avoid writer’s block, and it will also help you create better quality content for your blog.
Perhaps your friend or someone in your family is a blogger and you want to give them something useful for Christmas, their birthday, or any other occasion.
But damn, what are some practical gifts for bloggers? You don’t want to give them something they’ll never use, right?
Let me tell you straight away, blogging can be pretty expensive. There are some basic necessities each blogger needs to run their blog and those can be quite an investment.
But hopefully, you’ll be able to find something in this blogger gift guide that will suit your budget.
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.
I’ve put together a very basic pricing guide to make the search a bit easier for you.
$ – up to $250 $$ – $250 to $500 $$$ – $500 to $1000 $$$$ – $1000+
Use discount sites
As I already mentioned, blog equipment can be pretty expensive. That’s why, if you want to give your blogger friend or family member something from this gift guide, I suggest you use discount sites.
You can use sites such as Honey. It’s a Chrome extension that scans the internet for related discount codes and applies them for you!
By the way, this is by no means sponsored. I just think this is a great service!
Discuss before you purchase
Before we go any further, I’d just like to let you know that you should discuss everything with your friend or family member before you buy anything.
Each blogger has different preferences when it comes to the products they use. There are also different blogging niches and the equipment may differ slightly (or even significantly) from niche to niche. For instance, a person who blogs about “how to make money online” most likely won’t need a ring light. Unless they also have a YouTube channel where they are talking about the same thing.
Or buying a blogger the Divi blog them if they use and love the Genesis framework. You most likely have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’ll explain everything as I go!
And, also discuss before you buy, because they might already have the product! No matter the case, you don’t want to waste your money!
Practical gifts for bloggers
With that being said. Let’s dive into the list of practical gifts for bloggers. I’ve divided them into several different categories. So, hopefully, no matter whether you’re looking for gifts for fashion bloggers, food bloggers, home decor bloggers, or whatnot, you’ll be able to find something.
I’ll also tell you what each thing is and what it does so you know what you’re buying.
1. Blog basics
In this section, I’ll go through some of the basic necessities a blogger needs to invest in. This section applies pretty much to all bloggers of any niches.
$ – $$$
Web hosting is a crucial part of any self-hosted blog making it one of the most practical gifts for bloggers. Simply put, it’s what allows the website to be on the internet. A self-hosted blog means the blogger has purchased web hosting and domain name and is the owner of the website. He or she also needs a content management system, such as WordPress.org. But WordPress is free to use, so don’t worry about that!
Not all blogs work like this. Some blogs are hosted via a blogging platform such as WordPress.com or Blogger.
Check with your friend or family member if they have a self-hosted blog or want to switch to one. If they are on a blogging platform, you can offer to buy them a yearly subscription as those services are often paid as well.
However, I highly recommend self-hosting as it means your site can’t be taken down at any point whenever the blogging platform decides.
In general, web hosting services are billed yearly.
Check out this guide if you want to learn more about what web hosting is and the different types of web hosts.
I’ve been using SiteGround for years and I love their service. It’s shared hosting, but a good quality one. It’s fast and their customer service is superb.
I’m seeing a lot of bloggers recommending Bluehost. To be completely honest with you, I haven’t tried them. But I have seen a lot of bad reviews and people switching from them to SiteGround. So, be aware of that.
The most basic SiteGround plan starts at $6.99 per month, billed yearly.
But I can’t stress enough the importance of discussing everything first. Perhaps your friend is already using a different web host or is on a different plan. For instance, if your friend’s blog is generating hundreds of thousands of monthly pageviews, the basic plan won’t be sufficient.
Email marketing software
$$ – $$$$
Collecting emails for your blog is very important. That’s most likely where the biggest fans hang out and it can also be used to monetize the blog.
But to collect emails, the blogger needs email marketing software. This software allows them to send out emails and create a better connection with their audience.
There are quite a few email providers to choose from. A lot of bloggers use ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Aweber, and I’ve also heard great things about Flodesk.
I have been using and recommending ConvertKit. It has all the features a blogger needs. ConvertKit has a free version for up to 1000 subscribers. From there, the prices start at $29 per month and increase from there. In fact, the more subscribers the blogger has, the pricier it gets. So, keep that in mind!
You can choose to pay for the service monthly or yearly.
$ – $$$
Legal pages are a crucial part of any website or blog. They protect the website owner from potential lawsuits.
The issue is that many bloggers use free legal templates that are actually quite insufficient. Having them drafted by a lawyer can be very expensive. The blogger can also draft them themselves, but unless he or she is a lawyer, it’s most likely not a good idea.
Amira from aselfguru.com is a lawyer who also blogs. She has drafted those three legal pages and sells them as a bundle. She actually has three bundles to choose from:
The premium legal bundle includes six legal templates – the three basic templates, sponsored post contract template, independent contractor template, and guest blogger agreement template ($297)
The VIP legal bundle includes 16 legal templates – the six templates I’ve mentioned, confidentiality agreement, design service agreement template, affiliate agreement template, LLC operating agreement template, media release agreement template, sweepstakes terms and conditions template, coaching agreement template, consulting agreement template, website sale agreement template, partnership agreement template ($597)
If your friend or family member is just starting out or has started just a few months ago, the starter bundle is perfectly suitable.
Premium WordPress theme
Having a premium blog theme is a great investment for any blogger. If your friend or a family member owns a self-hosted WordPress site (once again, check with them before you purchase anything!), there are quite a few themes to choose from.
A blog theme is essentially the appearance of the website. It allows you to create a website you like without having to hire a web designer.
Most bloggers when they are starting out just use a free blog theme. But there are quite a few restrictions that come with free WordPress themes. So, as time goes, it’s a good idea to invest in a premium theme.
Now, there are some things to consider when purchasing a premium blog theme:
Two very popular premium WordPress themes among bloggers are Genesis from StudioPress and Divi from Elegant Themes.
I haven’t used Genesis so I can’t give you an overview. However, I’ve been using Divi from Elegant Themes on my websites for a few months and I can’t complain. The theme is easy to use and thanks to the Divi Builder plugin, you can create pages that match your wildest imagination.
Just be careful, because too many features on a webpage can actually slow it down significantly.
If you want to purchase Divi, you need to purchase an Elegant Themes subscription that counts 87 different themes. The prices start at $89 per year and you have access to the entire library of themes. This means that if you’re not happy with Divi, you can try out different themes as well. You also have the option to purchase a one-time payment license that costs $249.
Keyword research tool
For SEO purposes, a blogger needs to perform keyword research before they start writing a blog post. The keyword research can be simplified with a keyword research tool. This tool tells you the search volume of each keyword and also the difficulty of your site ranking for that query at the very least.
As with everything in blogging, there are quite a few products in this category to choose from. There are tuned up keyword research tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush that have very detailed insights into each keyword but are also very expensive. Think $100 per month. No, it’s not a one-time payment. In both cases, it’s a monthly subscription that costs $100 each month.
That’s a lot, isn’t it?
Luckily, there are more affordable options as well. I’ve heard great things about Keysearch, but haven’t tried that one.
I’ve been using KWFinder. It’s a fairly basic keyword research tool. But to be honest, It’s perfectly sufficient for most bloggers.
KWFinder has three pricing plans. The most basic one costs $29 per month and gives you 100 keyword searches per 24 hours, which in my experience is enough.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool for Pinterest and Instagram. I haven’t tried it for Instagram, but it’s been a life-saver for me when it comes to Pinterest.
If you didn’t know, with the new algorithm, Pinterest now wants its users to be pinning new pins daily. This can be quite a time-consuming task, so I find it easier to schedule them ahead. The issue is that the built-in scheduler on Pinterest allows you to schedule only a certain amount of pins before marking your account as spam.
This is where Tailwind comes in. Yes, the blogger still needs to manually pin every now and then unless they want to get marked as spam, but Tailwind can be a great help. It allows you to schedule as many pins as you like. What I like the most is the insights feature that tells you when your audience is most active.
A very popular feature is also Tailwind tribes. Those are groups of pinners where they share their pins and then repin or reshare others’ pins.
The price for each Pinterest and Instagram plan is $9.99 per month billed yearly.
Grammarly is a popular spellchecker. No matter how many times you proofread a blog post, you’ll always be able to spot some grammatical errors or misspellings in there. Or, if you’re like me, and English is not your first language, a good spellchecker can be a life-saver.
Grammarly doesn’t just correct misspellings. It also detects issues in the delivery, your word choice, fluency, and it also detects plagiarism.
I also like the voice tone detection feature which tells you how your writing sounds. This is great for branding purposes. If the blogger wants to keep their brand consistent and sound the same in each blog post, this feature might come in pretty handy.
The monthly plan for Grammarly premium costs $29.95 per month. You can also pay it quarterly ($19.98 per month) or yearly ($11.66 per month)
2. Technical gifts for bloggers
Blogging isn’t just about the software you’re using. It requires some technical gear as well. We’ll go over some of the most used technical gear in this section.
Camera & Lenses
$$ – $$$$
If the niche requires a lot of imagery (think fashion, beauty, food, travel, or home decor blogs), a good camera and lens can be a great investment.
Just a side note, camera equipment can be your best bet when looking for gifts for vloggers!
I’ve been using my Canon EOS 700D (Canon Rebel T5i in America) for my fashion blog and I’m very happy with it. It’s a beginner-friendly DSLR so it doesn’t have any incomprehensible features. What I also like about this camera is that it has a flip screen. That means you can be filming yourself while being able to see what you’re recording.
Each DSLR also needs a lens. You can either buy the body without a lens or you can also purchase it with the kit one (EFS 18-55mm). But to be honest, the quality of the kit lens isn’t great.
I’ve been using a 50mm lens. It’s a prime lens, which means you can’t zoom in or zoom out. You can buy this lens from Canon, but I purchased mine from Yongnuo. This is a cheaper version, but the quality is great.
The DSLR has a crop sensor, which means that these two together will crop the image quite a lot. When I’m shooting my fashion images with this gear, the person taking photos of me usually needs to be standing on the opposite side of the road to get a full picture of me. This can be quite annoying so you can consider purchasing a zoom lens.
I’ve been eyeing the 24-70mm lens. According to the reviews, it’s a great quality versatile lens for a lot of types of photography.
But some people don’t like DSLRs and prefer compact cameras. To be honest, I don’t own a compact camera, so I can’t recommend you any.
When purchasing cameras and lenses, also consider what type of photography the blogger is taking. A beauty blogger will have different needs than a home decor blogger.
A tripod can be a great addition to the photography gear. I have this one from Amazon. It’s a basic light-weight tripod. It’s also super cheap in comparison to other tripods on the market.
If your friend’s blog relies on indoor photography or videos, light equipment might make their job a lot easier. A good ring light or lightbox can be very helpful.
When it comes to the ring light, a lot of bloggers recommend this one from Neewer. Ring lights are generally great for beauty bloggers or recording YouTube videos. If your friend’s blog requires quite a bit more product photography, a better option might be a lightbox.
Laptop or computer
$$$ – $$$$
Surprise, surprise! Blogging requires a computer! Each blogger has different preferences when it comes to the type and also the brand of the laptop or computer.
I love my 12inch MacBook. It’s light-weight and small so I can put it in my tote and go wherever I like.
I’ve also heard great things about MacBook Air which is a similar size and weight.
$ – $$
Headphones or earphones can actually be a great gift for a blogger. They can be great for podcasting and video editing. I use them to block out any outside noises while working.
A portable charger can be a real life-saver. It’s happened to me many times that my phone is about to die when I need it, but I don’t have the option to charge it. Sometimes, I shoot my fashion photos on my phone. But for some reason, this drains the battery like crazy. That’s where a power bank comes in.
I’ve had this one for a few years now and it’s amazing! It even has a flashlight. Although, I rarely use the flashlight.
Some bloggers don’t like working at desks. Some of us prefer staying in the comfort of our beds. If that’s the case for your blogger friend or family member, a laptop stand might be a great gift!
I have this laptop stand from Rain Design. It’s padded with cushions so you can rest your wrists to make the computer work more comfortable.
USB flash drive or external hard drive
$ – $$
Quite a basic item, but a useful one nonetheless. Bloggers create a lot of content that needs to be stored somewhere. Yes, you can keep everything on your computer, but it’s better to be safe in the case of your computer breaking.
ADATA has always been my go-to brand for flash drives. And this one has been my trusty companion for a few years.
A book can be an amazing inexpensive gift for anyone. Bloggers included.
There are quite a few books about blogging, and to be completely honest with you, I haven’t read any of them. But there are also quite a few books that are not about blogging, but I believe any blogger and business owner would benefit from reading. Here are my recommendations:
“Unlimited SEO Search Traffic” by Deon Christie
Deon’s ebook walks you step by step through promoting your blog on Quora and generating unlimited traffic from that and leveraging that traffic with affiliate marketing. The book is extremely detailed and will walk you through the process of setting up your Quora profile to indexing affiliate links. For the price, the book is a total steal!
“The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss
Okay, so the title might be quite a stretch, but it’s a value-packed book nonetheless. Bloggers are responsible for a lot of things in their business. And, let’s face it, it requires a lot of time to manage a blog business. “The 4-Hour Workweek” will teach you how to manage your time better and more efficiently, so you can focus on other things as well and not just work.
“She Means Business” by Carrie Green
Carrie is my absolute female entrepreneur idol. Of course, her book made it to this list! Carrie shares her entrepreneurial journey and teaches the reader how to start a business and become in her words “wildly successful”. She gives you practical advice on starting a business as well as how to program yourself for success by changing your mindset.
4. Photo editing and graphic design
As I already said, blogging is image-heavy. And apart from camera equipment, there are also a lot of programs and software that help bloggers produce amazing visual content.
Canva is graphic design software for beginners. It has a drag and drop feature and a lot of pre-made templates to choose from. A lot of bloggers use Canva for designing their social media graphics, freebies, and various elements of their blogs.
If your friend’s blog requires a lot of photography, editing software is a must. I like the Photography plan from Adobe. This plan includes Lightroom Classic, Lightroom, and Photoshop. Lightroom and Lightroom Classic are pretty much two versions of the same software. It’s a photo editing program that’s very easy to use. Photoshop is also an editing software but different from Lightroom.
Some people prefer using premade presets for their photography. That’s a premade editing bundle you just copy and paste on the photo. Keep in mind that these are exclusive to Lightroom so they will only work if the person already has the editing software.
You can purchase Lightroom presets on sites such as Etsy or from individual bloggers or photographers. Most Lightroom presets cost less than $10 so they make up for a great affordable gift!
Stock photo membership
Blogging, in general, requires a lot of imagery. But not all bloggers like taking their own photos. Some bloggers prefer using stock photos. If that’s the case, a stock photo membership might be a great gift!
There are quite a few stock photography memberships to choose from. But I like the Ivory Mix subscription the most. It costs $197 per year.
$ – $$
To be honest with you, I haven’t taken pretty much any blogging courses, so I can’t recommend you any.
But, if you want to give your friend a course, look for ones in the following categories:
Business or marketing-related
Social media courses
Keep in mind that the prices can vary quite a lot based on the size of the course.
If you know your friend or family member is using Pinterest to promote their blog, a Pinterest course might be the perfect gift! I highly recommend Pinterest with Ell. Ell is a blogger from Boss Girl Bloggers and her course is an amazing course for beginners who want to use Pinterest to drive traffic to their blog.
For $47, this course is a great investment!
Then, I also recommend Skillshare. Skillshare is a platform with thousands of courses on various topics. For the yearly price of $99, it’s a great value!
Here, you’ll find everything else that doesn’t really fit into a specific category.
My ultimate blog planner
I’m releasing a blog planner/blog kit next week, so I’ll update this list then. But it’s going to be a super practical and affordable gift for any blogger!
Fill out the form below so you’re the first one to know about the release!
A good old journal can be an amazing gift for any blogger. Running a blog requires a lot of organization and planning, which also requires a lot of journals, notebooks, and notepads!
Stationary, in general, can be a great gift for a blogger of any niche. As I said, us bloggers plan and organize a lot, and stationery makes it a lot easier.
Some people don’t like using traditional journals and notepads for various reasons. In that case, an organization app could be a great alternative.
I don’t really use organization apps as I prefer physical journals, but a few organization apps people recommend a lot are:
$$$ – $$$$
We’ve already talked about blogging courses, but some bloggers offer coaching services to others. To find one, simply type “blog coach” into Google Search, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or, well, any other social media platform.
But, what I would suggest is that you ask your blogger friend or family member who their favorite blog gurus are and find out if the person offers coaching services.
Just keep in mind that this option will be more expensive than purchasing a course.
What does a blog coach do?
A blog coach is a person who will lead you through the process of starting and running a blog business basically by hand. They will help you find the best niche for you, brand your business, create the best content for the blog, and also monetize the blog.
Blog and website services
$$ – $$$$
Running a blog can be difficult at times. Especially if there’s something not working on your website and you have no idea how to fix it yourself.
You can ask your friend if there’s something you could help with. For instance, your friend might be struggling with the loading speed, but fixing it would require them to dig into the code of the site, which is beyond their skills. You might offer to hire a web developer who will fix it for them.
$ – $$
If you genuinely have no idea what to give your blogger friend or family member, why not give them a gift card to their favorite store?
For instance, when it comes to gifts for fashion bloggers, clothes might be your first idea. But from my experience, whenever someone from my family gives me clothes, they don’t exactly hit the nail on the head with the style of the clothes.
A gift card would have done the job without you wasting your money!
Pinterest pin templates
As I mentioned, Pinterest wants its users to be creating new pins daily. This can be quite time-consuming. Luckily, there are bloggers out there who have created Pinterest templates that speed up the whole process quite significantly.
They are also pretty affordable. Most Pinterest templates cost less than $50.
Most bloggers won’t say no to coffee. Just saying! Ask them what their favorite brand is or give them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.
Once again, if your friend’s blog requires a lot of imagery, especially flatlay imagery, photo props might be a great gift. This can be really anything. From plastic roses to pretty photo frames. Make sure to discuss this one with the blogger.
$$$ – $$$$
We’ve already talked about blog themes, but perhaps your friend or family member doesn’t know or have the skills to create a decent-looking website. If that’s the case, you can hire a web designer for them!
I will repeat myself, but I can’t stress this enough: discuss with your friend or family member before you purchase anything. Each blogger has different preferences and also some products suit different niches better.
Other than that, I really hope you enjoyed this blogger gift guide and let me know what you think!
Consistency is a crucial aspect of running a successful blog. We’ve heard that multiple times, haven’t we?
But since you’re looking for ways to stay consistent with blogging, you’re most likely aware that blogging is hard work, and it can be difficult to stay consistent not only with your posting schedule but with all the tasks blogging requires.
I mean, let’s face it, blogging isn’t just writing. There’s much more than writing that goes into running a blog.
So, let’s dive into the tips on how to blog consistently.
14 Ways to Stay Consistent with Blogging
1. Set deadlines
The number one thing that’s been helping me with consistency is setting deadlines. In fact, I like setting fairly tight deadlines. Have you ever noticed that if you set a deadline that’s a month from now, you’ll finish the work or project by that time? But if you set a deadline a week from now, you’ll get the work done that week.
I’m not saying you should set tight deadlines for yourself to stress yourself out. Set tight but doable deadlines. Do you really need the whole month to finish that project or task? Or are two weeks just enough?
2. Organize your day
Good organization is a big culprit in staying consistent with your blog. What I like to do is that each week, usually Sunday evening, I write down all the tasks that need to be done within that week. Then, each day, I work on the most important tasks for the day.
Generally, I don’t recommend writing too many tasks on your to-do list for the day. It would be easy for you to get overwhelmed and end up watching Netflix instead.
If you’re still new to blogging, don’t work on more than one big task per day. If you put too many tasks on your daily to-do list, you’re just going to rush through them to get them done.
The problem with this approach is that you won’t be happy with your results and will have to go back to rework whatever you’ve done.
3. Set an achievable posting schedule
Often, we are overly optimistic when it comes to posting schedules. Whether that’s for the blog or for social media. You see, most of us aren’t able to stick to daily blogging.
How frequently should you post on a blog anyway?
As many times per week or month you want, as long as your content is of good quality.
If you know you can’t post three blog posts a week, don’t do it. You’re going to rush it and the end product will lack quality. Remember that in blogging, it’s all about quality over quantity. What if, instead, you were posting just once a week? If the content is good, it most likely won’t cost you any traffic or subscribers.
4. Let go of perfectionism
We creators tend to be perfectionists. It makes sense. We want to put out only the best work.
But you know what?
Perfection doesn’t exist! You’ll never be fully happy with anything you produce.
And do you want to know a secret?
Nobody knows what your vision looks like so they can’t compare it with the version you have in mind. Chances are that people will most likely be happy with the version you give them.
Another thing is that, as a creator, it’s difficult to know for sure what your audience will like. Sometimes you produce something you think is going to be a hit, and it’s a big flop instead. And sometimes, you put out something you’re not even in love with, and it ends up being the most successful product/content you’ve ever produced.
Don’t get hung up on perfection. Create the best content you can to your current ability with the equipment you have available at the moment.
5. Write whenever you can
Blogging isn’t all about writing as some people think. But writing still makes up a big part of blogging.
And, although, I believe the best thing you can do is to set a specific time of the day to dedicate to writing, this approach isn’t always doable.
What you can do is to write whenever you can instead. When you’re waiting in a line or when you’re commuting. The good thing is that you don’t need to carry your laptop everywhere with you. You can write in a notebook or even on your smartphone. Sure, writing on a laptop is much more comfortable, but not always doable. Especially if you’re waiting in line. Just saying!
It’s the small steps that lead to big results. And one of those small steps is to show up daily.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate of taking breaks so you can always be the best self. So, yes, take your weekends off if you can, but make the commitment to show up daily.
I’m not saying to hustle daily for eighteen hours a day. That’s not doable in the long run. Just make sure to work on your blog daily to get closer to your dreams and goals step by step. Even if it’s just a small task.
7. Create a daily checklist for yourself
It’s important to create a to-do list with the specific tasks for the day.
But I’ve also recently created a daily checklist for myself with all the tasks I need to get done on a daily basis. These tasks include stuff like upload X amount of stories on my Instagram account, engage with X amount of accounts daily, etc.
Creating this little daily checklist has been keeping me accountable and consistent.
I created a daily checklist for bloggers which you can grab in the form below!
8. Remove distractions when you need to work
When you need to work, try to remove all distractions.
I know that this is not achievable for everyone. Some of you have kids running around or have different commitments.
The key is to work around with your surroundings and find a time of the day when you can work on your blog undisturbed.
9. Use the Pomodoro technique for optimal productivity
If you find that you yourself are your biggest distraction because you can’t concentrate on the task long enough, the Pomodoro technique might be a great option for you.
You work on a project for 25 minutes straight. Then you take a five-minute break. You do this four times in a row and then take a longer break. You can then repeat this whole process again.
10. Batch similar tasks
Batching has been a game-changer for me and has helped me blog more regularly. If you have two or more similar tasks to work on, batch them!
What personally helped me the most has been theming my days. I don’t do this with every single day of the week, but some of my days are themed.
For instance, I have a specific day of the week dedicated to social media. On this day, I create all my social media content for the week and schedule it as well.
Yes, creating all my Pinterest pins in one day and scheduling them can be tiring. But I find this approach way better than creating a few pins a day along with my other daily tasks.
11. Plan your content in advance and schedule in advance
I feel like this is the number one reason why bloggers are unable to stay consistent with their blogging schedule.
Plan your content in advance! I like to plan my content quarterly. At around the middle of each quarter, I like to sit down and create a content calendar for the next quarter.
But it doesn’t end with just writing a few titles down. You also need to create your content in advance. Sometimes life happens and you won’t always be able to write daily.
By creating your content in advance, you’ll also have enough time to go through the content and make sure it’s the quality you want to produce.
12. Republish old content
If everything else fails, you can always republish your existing content. Sometimes stuff happens and you just can’t create new content.
You can go through some of your existing content, update it, and republish it.
If you’re on WordPress, this is very easy. All you need to do is to go to the article and change the publish date to a date in the future. The blog post will be republished on that day making it look like you’ve created a new piece of content.
13. Prioritize blogging
If you want to turn your blog into a business or scale the business, you need to prioritize it.
Don’t treat your blog as a hobby or a side hustle. If you want this to be your full-time career, your blog needs to become your priority.
14. Consider contributors
If you find that you really can’t stick to the frequency you’d love to, consider hiring contributors. There are a few ways to go about this:
Guest bloggers are a great option if you’re not ready for a financial commitment. Generally, those are other bloggers in your niche who will write a blog post for your blog. In return, you’ll give them a link to their website which helps them with exposure and traffic.
Ghostwriters are writers who will create content for your blog but won’t get credit for that. Everything they create will be published under your name. Instead of exposure, you will reward them financially.
Just a shameless promo, my agency The Blogger Assistant, offers ghostwriting services to lifestyle, home decor, and fashion bloggers!
Blogging regularly is important if you want to turn your blog into a full-time career or scale your already existing business. So, how do you blog regularly?
How is it October already? I swear September has been the fastest month of the year. And yeah, it’s time for another blogging report.
But before I get any further, I decided to stop doing monthly reports and do quarterly ones instead. I feel like there isn’t much happening on a month to month basis, so doing them every three months will make more sense.
That means that in this post, I’ll share with you my third month of blogging insights. As well as a bit of an overview of the past three months.
Okay, 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 at the moment, 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 a blogging expert. 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.
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.
Perhaps, a bit. You’ll notice later on that the traffic coming to my blog this month has been similar to last month. That said, I try to write long detailed posts which I can’t produce every week. For me, personally, I prefer quality over quantity.
Blog traffic report
In September, I generated exactly 1,192 pageviews from 1,063 users. If you look at my second month of blogging report, you’ll notice that this month is just slightly better than the previous month.
My main source of traffic remains Pinterest.
Moving on to SEO, I got exactly 60 clicks from Google in September. According to Google Search Console, I’m appearing somewhere in the search for 16 queries.
In terms of backlinks, according to Moz, I have 6.3K inbound links. I checked them, and most of them come from DoSplash, which is a blogging community. And no, I definitely didn’t submit that many links there.
What’s interesting is that Moz now tells me I have no ranking keywords. Last month, I had one, and it was “blogology”. I checked, and I’m still the number one result for that query. Having said that, I still have a lot of SEO related stuff to learn and practice.
This is my September report from Bing Webmaster Tools. As you can see, it’s quite nonexistent. I’m appearing somewhere in the search for 35 queries, and quite a few of them are on the first page. But clearly, they are not very searched.
Here’s what I do each week:
I pick 2 to 3 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.
I’ve been keeping it pretty simple in terms of growth strategies. I don’t want to get overwhelmed with doing too much stuff at the same time. This is not the only blog I’m trying to grow.
That’s why I started with Pinterest for social media. At the moment, I’m pinning 5 fresh animated pins a day. I pin them to 3 related boards on average plus 1 or 2 group boards.
My descriptions are 2 to 3 sentences long and contain 3 keywords. I was previously using hashtags in my descriptions, but this month, I decided not to use them.
I’m also using Tailwind Tribes, but to be honest, I keep forgetting about them.
My impressions on Pinterest keep going down. I got over 300,000 impressions.
That being said, my overall clicks are going up. According to Pinterest analytics, I got 380 link clicks. But then when I was looking at the traffic coming from Pinterest on Google Analytics, it said 577. So, yeah.
When it comes to Instagram, I decided to only post once a week for the feed to keep moving and look kinda nice. But at the moment, Instagram isn’t my priority.
A similar thing to Twitter. I try to engage on Twitter every day, but I don’t have a set strategy. Twitter is a great place to strike a conversation with real people, as opposed to Instagram.
Email marketing seems to be going great because we are now at 78 subscribers.
The average open rate is still around 50% while the average click rate decreased a bit. But this is fine with me as both numbers are above average.
If you’re wondering, I’m using ConvertKit to capture emails.
I create various freebies that I’m offering all over my blog and I’m also sharing them on Pinterest. On my blog, I’m using a pop-up opt-in which you’ve probably already seen at this point, and I’m also using inline forms. Those are customized to fit the topic of the blog post and what I-m offering.
Blog income report
At the moment, I’m monetizing my blog with Google AdSense, affiliate marketing, and I also had a sponsored post in September.
To date, I’ve made £5.19 from Google AdSense. At the time of publishing, this is roughly $6.72.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, I’ve only made one sale so far, and that was in August and it was $0.25.
I had one sponsored post so far, and that was in September. I made exactly $200 from that post.
This means that to date, I’ve made $206.97 from Blogology.
I didn’t invest in anything blog-related in August nor September. However, there were a lot of purchases I made before launching Blogology.
Because you need to make sure you deliver what you promise in the title. After you write a blog post, you only have a few choices for headlines. However, if you do it the other way around, you can first pick from possibly hundreds of titles and adjust the blog post to match the search intent.
So, before you start writing, draft a few titles and pick your favorite.
Okay, so, how do you draft a blog title?
1. Pick a Topic Based on Your Target Audience
When you’re drafting your headline, you should already have chosen a topic for the blog post. Ideally, you should choose the topic based on your target audience’s needs and struggles.
All of your content should be written based on what your target audience is searching for.
Now it’s time to do keyword research and pick the right keyword.
But how do you conduct keyword research?
Choose an expression that best describes the topic of your blog post (this is called the seed keyword)
Type this query into Google search
Take a note of the results and other related queries
Read through the results and note the topics they are including in their articles, but also the formats of the results (this is called the search intent and it’s an important ranking factor)
Scroll down the results page and take note of the related searches at the bottom of the page
You can also use a keyword research tool such as KWFinder, Ubersuggest, or Google Keyword Planner to give you more data on the specific keywords you’ve found
Alternatively, use a tool such as AnswerThePublic to find all queries related to your seed keyword
There’s a video from Income School that describes a similar approach, so check it out if you want to.
EXTRA TIP: For best results, try to include the keyword at the beginning of the title. According to Ahrefs, front-loading your keyword can be beneficial.
3. Look at What’s Already Working
Go to BuzzSumo and check out the topic you’ll be writing about. Which variations get more social shares?
You can even check your competitors.
Which competitors have already written about the topic? How are those posts doing? How can you do it better?
4. Brainstorm 5 to 10 Blog Titles
Now it’s time to brainstorm ideas. Ideally, write 5 to 10 potential blog post titles. Let them sit for a few hours or days and then come back.
Which one do you find most enticing?
5. Pick Your Favorite
There’s no way to know for sure which one is going to perform the best. Sometimes, you come up with a headline you love, and it doesn’t perform the way you’d like it to. Other times, you don’t give a second thought to the title, and it’s working like crazy.
Go with your instinct. You can always tweak the blog post title in the future.
6. Keep Testing Your Headlines
A/B testing is crucial. There’s no foolproof way to know which headline will work the best for you and your readers.
What is A/B testing?
How do you test a headline?
When testing your headlines, pay attention to the CTR, bounce rate, and average time on page of the specific blog post or page. You can measure the latter two in Google Analytics.
But how do you test two headlines at the same time?
However, I like to use Pinterest paired with Tailwind. I can create tens of pins with different titles linking to the same post. Then, in Tailwind, I can see which pins are performing the best in terms of link clicks and repins.
I’m also using the Divi theme on Blogology. Divi has an A/B testing feature that allows me to test two different titles at the same time, collect the data, and use the better-performing headline.
Tips for Crafting Clickable Blog Post Titles
Although there are different types of blog post titles, there are also some general guidelines you should keep in mind at all times.
So, how to use numbers effectively in your blog posts?
Always use specific numbers and data in your headlines. What do I mean by this?
Which title do you find more clickable?
“Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic by 235% in One Month”
“Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic by 200% in One Month”
This isn’t a question of the higher number. This comes down to the more specific number. A headline that says: “How I Made $968 from My Blog Last Month” sounds more believable than if you rounded up the number to $1000.
Also, “Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic by 235% in One Month” is way more specific and therefore more clickable than “Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic Last Month”.
2. Use Emotions
I’ve said it many times throughout my content – blogging is selling. If you’re not actually selling anything, you’re at least selling your ideas. Emotions are what sells.
That’s the power of copywriting.
The goal is to write headlines that trigger a certain emotion in the reader. No, that doesn’t mean the reader has to burst into tears reading your headline. But there should be some level of emotion in your blog titles.
So, how do you write emotional headlines?
Pick the emotion you want to trigger in the reader
Use power words and other expressions that trigger the particular emotion
Use a headline analyzer
How do you decide which emotion to pick?
Have a look at your target audience avatar and have a look at your target reader’s:
Now, are you writing a blog post based on your target reader’s fears? In that case, the emotion you want to evoke can be fear.
But it doesn’t have to be. You can transform any headline into any emotion you like.
For instance, my target audience’s fear might be not taking off their blog, failing to get traffic, not being able to start making enough money from their blog to quit their day jobs, and respectively not being able to travel the world while making money online, right?
Based on this fear, I could craft a headline and write an article on “Why 94% of Bloggers Are Not Making Any Money”.
Just a side note, I made up that number!
Or, I could give them (well, you!) some hope by writing an article on “How Not to Be in the 94% of Bloggers Who Don’t Make Any Money”.
3. Use Power Words
If you want to evoke emotion in your blog titles, you need to use power words.
What are power words?
What are some examples of other power words?
According to Optin Monster, there are seven types of power words:
Fear power words (disastrous, caution)
Lust power words (mind-blowing, intriguing)
Vanity power words (jaw-dropping, amazing)
Sloth power words (easy, fast)
Trust power words (proven, according to)
Greed power words (bargain, exclusive)
Curiosity power words (little-known, limited)
Anger power words (worst, pitiful)
They have a long list of power words for each of those emotions.
4. Use the Word “You”
If you can, use the word “you”. “You” is the single most important power word.
This might not always be the case, but in most of your content, your reader is going to be the main character. You, as the writer, are helping your main character to overcome a problem.
Your reader should always be the subject of your blog post, and you should always speak directly to her/him.
5. Use a Headline Analyzer
Advanced Marketing Institute has a headline analyzer that tells you the score of your headline based on its emotional value.
The more percent your headline gets, the better.
6. Always Deliver
Avoid clickbait at any point. The goal here isn’t just getting clicks. Which kind of traffic do you prefer?
The kind of visitor who finds your content valuable, subscribes to your email list, and potentially buys the products you’re selling or recommending?
Or the kind of visitor who lands on your blog and leaves immediately?
The latter is exactly what clickbait achieves. But this visitor isn’t worth anything. It’s just a number in your analytics.
When it comes to Google, the quality of the content is paramount. If Google thinks your content is bad, it won’t rank you. Period.
On the other hand, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been clickbaited on Pinterest. You can create the most clickable pin and rank it. But the quality of the content itself is often overlooked.
For example, I once clicked on a pin saying “How to Turn Your Blog into a Money-Making Business”. The actual article was about the ways to make money from your blog.
See what I mean?
If I land on a page that’s supposed to tell me how to turn my blog into a money-making business, I don’t expect to see advice telling me to place ads on my blog.
Look, if this happens one, fine. But if I see three posts of yours that just don’t deliver, I’ll avoid anything with your URL in the future all together.
When it comes to Pinterest graphics, there’s no set amount of words or characters you should abide by. But the general advice is: keep it short and to the point.
Which one looks better?
“How to Monetize Your Blog So That You Can Turn it Into a Full-Time Career”
“How to Turn Your Blog into a Full-Time Career”
8. Use Special Characters
Outbrain did a study and found out that using special characters such as hyphens or colons in your titles increase the CTR by 9%.
So, what does that look like in real life?
Instead of writing:
“How to Write a Blog Post”
“Writing the Perfect Blog Post: Ultimate Guide”
9. Capitalize Letters
I don’t think that capitalizing letters in your blog post titles is going to increase your CTR. However, it’s a generally accepted formatting guideline.
What letters do you capitalize in a title?
These are the capitalization rules:
Capitalize the first letter, all nouns, pronouns, verbs, proverbs, and adjectives. Don’t capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions unless they are the first word of the title.
What does that look like in real life?
“How to Start a Money-Making Blog in 2021”
NOTE: This only applies to blog post titles, not the content of the article. I see a lot of bloggers capitalizing words in their articles. Don’t do that!
Blog Post Title Formulas
There are lots and lots of headline formulas we could go through. But there are three main types of headlines you should master:
The “how to” headline formula is one of the most used. It looks like this:
How to [achieve a desired outcome]
In reality, it looks like this:
“How to Start a Blog” “How Not to Write a Headline” “How to Avoid Running Out of Blog Post Ideas”
But that’s quite boring, isn’t it? To make your “how to” headline more clickable, add a modifier such as:
Like a pro/badass/boss
How to _ without _
How to _ and _
“How to Start a Blog Step-by-Step” “How to Start a Blog in 30 Minutes” “How to Write a Blog Post Like a Pro” “How to Move Without Going Crazy” “How to Make Money Online and Live Your Dream Life”
People love numbers. They give a sense of specificity.
If you can, use odd numbers. Research shows that listicles with odd numbers get more clicks than ones with even numbers! If in doubt, use number 10!
The listicle formula looks like this:
[number] of ways/things/steps to/tips for [achieve a desired outcome]
In practice, it will look like this:
“27 Ways to End Your Blog Post and Keep Your Readers Engaged” “9 Free Ways to Promote Your Blog and Skyrocket Your Traffic” “12 Critical Things to Do Before You Start a Blog” “7 Easy Steps to Starting the Business of Your Dreams” “17 Mind-Blowing Tips for Improving Your Blog Writing Instantly”
Guides can be similar to “how to” posts as they teach the reader to achieve a desired outcome. But that doesn’t always have to be the case.
Some guides are written to introduce a topic to its whole extent.
There are three headline formulas you can use to write an ultimate guide:
“Ultimate Guide to [topic]” “[topic]: The Ultimate Guide” “How to [achieve a desired outcome]: Ultimate Guide”
You don’t need to always use the expression “ultimate guide”. You can switch it up by using expressions such as “beginner guide” or “definitive guide”.
“Ultimate Guide to SEO” “SEO: Detailed Guide” “How to Master SEO: Beginner Guide”
NOTE: Each of these formulas has a different search intent. That’s why you need to decide which headline you’re going to use before writing the blog post.
EXTRA TIP: If you see a headline that catches your eye, write it down for future reference. You can tweak it and use it for your content!
Writing clickable blog post titles takes time to master. Keep practicing and testing. There’s no way to know for sure whether a headline will perform the way you want it to.
Pick a topic
Choose a keyword
Look at what’s already working
Pick your favorite
To make the mastering process a bit easier, grab my free blog post title template!
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:
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.
Although not every single blog is the same, there are some aspects all blogs have in common:
Blog posts published in reverse chronological order
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:
to make money online
to connect with other people online
to promote their products or services
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.
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?
WordPress (or any other content management system)
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.
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?
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?
By doing a keyword research
Tracking the content that’s getting you most views
Once you build an audience, by asking them directly
4. Promoting the blog
Will the readers just eventually come?
Once the blogger creates content, it’s time to start promoting the blog.
How do you promote a blog?
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:
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?
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:
makes your audience’s lives easier
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?
Ad space (either private or via ad networks such as Google AdSense, Monumetric, or Mediavine)
Third-party products via affiliate marketing
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:
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.
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!
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!
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?
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.”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
Bad web design
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.
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.
As you can see, there are four types of traffic sources:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 best tool to track your inbound links is Moz. Type your URL into the Link Explorer. You’ll see something like this:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
On social media
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Promoting my blog
So, apart from my first month of blogging report, I also published:
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.
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.
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.
As I mentioned, my results from SEO are close to non-existent at this point. Here’s a report from 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
In August, I grew my email list to 35 subscribers. The good thing is that no one unsubscribed!
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, in total, I made £0.19 or roughly $0.25 in my second month of blogging.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The very first thing that will differentiate you from your competitors is your domain name. That’s why your name needs to be:
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.
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].
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:
Who you are
What you offer
How you are different
What problem you solve
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.
3. Visual branding
Let’s get into the fun stuff!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.