It can be so exciting setting up a blog for the first time!
I know my first blog (and no I’m not going to tell you about it now!) took me ages to set up. I fiddled with graphics, ordered new graphics, customized themes until my fingers were raw 🙂 and then I waited …. and waited.
When I checked my stats and noticed that there weren’t any visitors or anyone clicking on my enticing ads (at least I thought they were enticing) I made some changes. I added more free content, in fact, I added so much free content that there wasn’t anything really for sale anymore! But I did think with all this value that I was adding that people would come one day 🙂
Eventually, they did come (as a result of a rather controversial post I wrote at the time) but it was too late. I had lost interest in the blog. The lack of any reward for my feeble efforts had sent me scurrying towards another niche.
Don’t make my mistakes 🙂
Have a clear plan
Who are you? What do you plan on blogging about? Who is your ideal audience? You need to have your own voice that is portrayed to your audience and be consistent. Someone that does this extremely well is Frank Kern with his “I’m just a non techie surfie dude that makes money” attitude. Find the real you and the audience that will enjoy it. Another thing that is important is to have a clear vision of the segment of the population that you want to appeal to. How would you describe them, age, sex, education. This is who you will be writing for, design your content for your ideal audience.
Add Fresh Content
Decide on how often you will update your blog and what topics you will write about and do it. A good way of achieving this is by batching your posts. Basically, this is just a fancy way of saying “write all your content at once”. If you sit down, and write your posts for a week you can use the rest of the time to drive traffic to your site. Once your posts are written upload them to WordPress and use the post scheduler so that they drip out for the week. Also consider removing the date from your blog posts. Having a date tends to well …date…your content and can make it appear old and stale.
When I batch my tasks I use a piece of software to keep me on track. Basically I just write down the task, set the period of time I have and start. Basically, I am working against the clock to get the task finished before the alarm goes off. I find this software really helpful so that I can stay on focus (something I struggle with) and get tasks done quickly.
Mix in some SEO
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your content; text, images, video for the search engines to find, index and hopefully return your content in the first pages of the search results. Using a plugin SEO for WordPress (which is free) is the first step. Download the plugin from the WordPress repository and activate it. You will find a great free guide here on SEO that is well worth the read. Once you have read the guide use the information that you have learnt in conjunction with the plugin. Make sure that each post/page that you publish that you do some SEO work on it. You may not see results immediately from your efforts but if you are consistent and persistent with your SEO efforts you will get search engine love.
The easiest way of being friendly on your blog is invite people to comment. You can do that easily by adjusting your commenting settings on a per post basis or in Settings/Discussion. Make it easy for people to comment but difficult for spammers. Plugins like WP Spam Free, Bad Behavior, Akismet and Spam Karma can cut down on the spam comments you receive but you will still need to be vigilant and evict spammers (and ban them in your Discussion settings). Once people comment on your blog you can start interacting with them and building a relationship. You can capture comments by using WordPress, using specific plugins to capture comments in response to your tweets on Twitter or publish extracts of your blog post on Facebook and use plugins to capture the Facebook comments on your blog. You should also comment on other blogs in your niche and let people get to know you. People will often follow your comment back to your blog and make a comment there as well.
RSS can be used in a number of ways. You can invite people to subscribe to your RSS feed so they can read your latest posts (or extracts) in their RSS Reader. Encourage people to subscribe to your feed by inserting a message in your blog using a plugin like What Would Seth Godin Do. You can also submit your RSS feed to your autoresponder so it automatically emails your list and advises them when you have a new blog post. That’s just some of the ways that you can use RSS there are many more.