December 23, 2016

10 practical and proven blogging tips that will succeed in 2017

If you are a new blogger who has started blogging in later part of 2016 or will open a blog in 2017, you might have looked on the web for tips for new bloggers. Of all tips that you see, many would have become ineffective, if not totally irrelevant, if the tip-giver has not updated his advice.

We bring you a list of top tips that are effective as of 2017.

Take the right steps and succeed as a blogger!
1. Free blogs on Blogger and Wordpress (not blogs created using wordpress.org CMS) rule the blogosphere. 

You might have found some [successful] bloggers advising that you must buy a hosting plan to succeed as a blogger. They are saying this mostly because they have affiliation with some web hosting company/ domain registrar. The fact is that almost all hobby/ personal blogs and many well-monetized blogs are on these free platforms. All blogs using Blogger or Wordpress do not have .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com as the suffix of their URLs. (ITB is one of them!)

So, if you want to start a blog for a company or an organization, or if you wish to have payment tools and such advance features on the blog, do go for a fully paid-for blog. Otherwise, assess your requirements and decide. On these free platforms, you have the option to migrate to a paid format and to upgrade the blog later on.

2. Write on the subject you are passionate about. If passion is essential for personal/ hobby blogs, it is equally desirable for professional blogs. So, this age-old advice still holds good and will continue to be good till blogs are created in any format.

In practical terms, what we are telling is that if you open a blog on a subject in which you are neither an expert nor are deeply interested, you will get frustrated sooner or later. Your ideas will exhaust, you will feel bored, you will not know whether to quit blogging or mindlessly maintain the blog. If you are passionate about the subject, you will get these in plenty: interest, inspiration, ideas, authority, ... and success.

3. Quality matters. Google says so, pundits of web-writing say so.

Let's quickly summarize the properties of quality content:
  • The content is well-researched. That often lends it good length too.
  • It is written in correct and modern English (or whatever language you write in).
  • The prose is presented well, with short paras, sub-headings in case of long prose, perhaps an accompanying image that supports the written word.
  • The content is relevant and appropriate.

4. Design that works elsewhere on the web need not work that well for your blog, so don't copy others' style

Choose a design that makes navigation and reading easy, and is appropriate for the type of blog.

Don't clutter or unduly color the blog. A simple and sober design is often the best.

5. Don't ignore promotion and social media integration of blog. As we wrote elsewhere on ITB, a great writing is lost for ever if people do not get the opportunity to read it. So, link and display blog and individual posts on your other web spaces, network well, inform people about what and where you write, participate in offline and online events...

Not all forms of social media work equally well for all bloggers. Assess and then use the one-two platforms that suit you the best. Too many would waste time. 

Think of automatic postings on social networking sites from the blog, but don't overdo it.

When it comes to online connections, be more sophisticated than just commenting, having a blogroll and  badges and being part of communities.
Say no to link farms and cross-promoting communities that don't add value.

6. SEO still matters.  Google penalizes excessive SEO, but it continues to reward commonsense, ethical SEO to support good content.

Link your old content, link with good sites, be focused on the topic, give the blog a good title and each post a catchy heading, write detailed and authoritative articles. Google loves such actions. 

7. Avoid unethical conduct at all cost. No copy-pasting of others' content. No black-hat (i.e. unethical) SEO tricks. No fooling or tricking readers to commercial pages. No guest blogging unless on a reputed site.

8. Old blog that has been neglected can prove a treasure. If you have a blog that you opened in 2009, run well till 2015 and then abandoned because you wanted to give all your time to your baby or you had been on a scientific mission to a remote place or you just got bored of your routine that included maintaining the blog, 2017 can be the year when you start the old blog once again. Give the blog a new look, edit and update old posts and spruce them up, add new content, cross-link... and you have a fantastic new blog!

9. Blogging needs a professional approach; you need to treat the blog as your enterprise, even if it is a hobby blog. 

Remember, blogging needs discipline and time management more than anything else (passion comes on top, of course).

Set a goal. Prioritize your works including blogging and social media. Be clear about how much time you will give to the blog, social media etc, on a regular basis. Break down the available time to segments: writing, design/ SEO aspects, social promotion and so on.

10. Pay if you are deficient. It is not always good to depend on your own skills. When you make a house, you need others' help even if you are an architect and civil engineer rolled into one. If you start a business, you don't run it alone, do you?

Sometimes you need to pay because you are not sure of your skills or understanding, e.g. technology, SEO or design aspects. Sometimes you are expert in some area but lack supplementary skills, e.g. proof-reading or grammar (especially for English bloggers whose mother-tongue is not English). Sometimes you pay when you need exclusive stuff, e.g. logo, images or videos. Sometimes you pay for a service, e.g. customized emailing or a payment gateway.

You need not pay regularly for such enhancements; sometimes it is one-time payment, e.g. web-design. Take a decision after assessing whether (i) you have the required time and expertise, (ii) you will acquire these, or (iii) it is desirable to buy the needed service/ product. 

All the best! 

Related resources:
Main free blogging platforms
Free or paid? Web-hosting explained
Blogging myths you should guard against
How to make your writing shine
SEO: what search engines like and hate
Google's advice on content quality