How to Start a Profitable Blog for Beginners – step-by-step directions to setting up, growing, and monetizing your blog. Start making money doing what you love! Part Three: The key secrets to blogging success + 10 things every blog post needs.
We’ve already talked about how to create and set up your blog/website and how to write a blog post, so today I’m going to teach you the most important secret to blogging success. Honestly, it’s not really “secret” by any means, but it’s great information and the ideal mindset to get into as you start your blogging journey.
Content is King
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before, but the adage is true, content is king. The key to your blogging success is in producing quality content, and producing it consistently. Quality content generally provides value or service for your readers – a helpful article, a funny story that elicits emotion, an easy-to-follow DIY that provides them with a new skill or technique, etc.. Share your knowledge and skills with them, become a trusted and useful resource, connect with your readers, and build a community around your awesome content.
Content is king – it really is as simple as that. Now, that’s not to say that there’s not a lot of time, heart, and hustle involved in running your blog as well (there’s lots of that!), but creating engaging content should always be the #1 goal.
Imagery is Queen
While your written content may be king, your visual imagery is definitely queen of the castle. The way in which you present your high quality content means EVERYTHING in the creative blogging world. In this day and age of Pinterest, Instagram, and other visually driven social media channels, including professional-quality graphics and photos in your blog pots is an absolute must…but that doesn’t mean that you need to be (or hire) a professional photographer!
Professional quality photos can be taken with any type of camera, and you don’t have to have a “fancy” DSLR camera to take great photos. Great photos are a combination of lighting and composition (and some good editing!), and there are loads of books and online classes to help you learn more. Presentation is often the make or break factor for new bloggers, so I highly recommend checking out these books and classes:
The Ultimate Photography Book for Bloggers by Aniko Levai is an amazing resource that covers everything from learning your camera settings to staging photos for projects, recipes, interior design and more. Definitely a MUST read!
- Basics of Digital Photography
- Product Photography at Home
- The Essential Guide to Photoshop
- The Essential Guide to Lightroom
Photography & Styling Books:
- The Beginner’s Photography Guide
- BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginners Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro
- Art of Everyday Photography: Move Toward Manual and Make Creative Photos
- Light Right: Learn How to Create Images, Set Up a Studio, and Launch Your Photography Career
- Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling
- Food Photography for Bloggers: Focus on the Fundamentals
- A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book: 95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends, Your World, and Yourself
(Note: several of these books are directed towards food bloggers, but the information included may be helpful to other genres of photography and blogging as well.)
If you find yourself struggling to get the perfect shot, check out these stock photo sites that allow you to purchase images for use in your blog posts:
Once you’ve nailed down your amazing content and your awesome photos, there are a few more things you want to make sure that you’ve done before you hit publish.
10 Things Every Blog Post Needs:
- Original, Useful & Valuable Information – this falls back to the “content is king” category, so you’ve already got this one checked off the list!
- An Enticing Title with SEO Keywords – Posts titles are one of the most important components of search engine optimization (SEO), so make it a good one! Choose clear descriptive terms and consider which keywords readers would use to search for a post similar to yours.
- Proper Spelling and Grammar – always double check your work!
- An Easy-to-Read Format – break up large blocks of text with headlines and images.
- SEO-Ready Images – Name your photos with clear and descriptive text for SEO purposes, and change the alt text to a descriptive sentence or two. You can change alt text several ways, but the easiest way is via the WordPress media library. Simply select the image from the library, and fill in the “alternative text” box in the right hand column.
- Pin-Worthy Featured Images – Pinterest’s feed favors vertical images, so make sure that you have at least one vertical “pin-worthy” beauty shot in your post. You can also include vertical photos with text to increase your Pinterest reach.
- Meta Description – the meta description is a snippet of text that appears below your post title in search engine results. It also appears as the description when your post is shared on several social media platforms, so it’s important for the meta description to convey the right message. The most useful description is usually a “teaser” of what your post is about, written to entice the audience to click over and read it.
- Links – try to include at least 2-3 links in each of your posts that link to other posts you have written. If you’re using an idea that was inspired from another blogger, make sure to give that person their due credit by linking to their website as well.
- Categories/Tags – assigning proper categories and tags (we talked about these last week in Part Two, remember?) to your posts makes it easier for readers to navigate your site and provides necessary organization for your site.
- Call to Action – ending each of your blog posts with a question or a call to action is a great way to boost engagement and build community.
If you missed any of the posts in the “How to Start a Blog” series, check them out here:
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What would you most like to learn about blogging? Let me know in the comments below!