How can I start a blog? Is blogging dead? Is blogging an excellent online business? Will I get rich like Linda Ikeji if I start blogging today? How much do I need to start blogging? We will answer all your questions, and you know if blogging is something worth your time?
Everyone out there will tell you to sign up for their premium course on how to make money blogging like Linda Ikeji. Sure! The classes are real, the strategies are practical, but can you assimilate and implement that information?
They will tell you to quit your 9 – 5 job to achieve financial freedom from blogging. But what those tutors won’t tell you is that they were writing 9 am – 3 am (18 hours) in the early phase of their blogging experience.
They will sell their strategy to you, tell you the best niche you can make money from, but they don’t share their drive (passion) with you. Also, they won’t tell you what motivated them to sit for long hours, creating content without being unmotivated.
In this guide, I will share with you everything you need to know about blogging for free, and how you can start your blog today. Why free?
It is part of my mission to help young people discover themselves and start your journey into entrepreneurship. It will decrease the number of unemployed youths and social vices happening in the country.
WARNING: If all you want in life is to make money, please stop reading now. If you want to learn how to add value to the people around you while making much money, then this guide is for you.
If you are still here, then welcome to the ultimate blogging guide.
- 1 What is Blogging?
- 2 Why Do You Want to Start a Blog?
- 3 Which Blogging Platform Should I Use?
- 4 How Much Will it Cost Me to Create a Blog?
- 5 Planning Your Blog
- 6 How to Choose the Right Topic for Your Blog?
- 7 Choosing a Topic for Your Blog
- 8 Creating Your First Article
- 9 How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
- 10 Promoting Your Blog
- 11 Measuring Your Blog
- 12 Conclusion:
What is Blogging?
In the simplest term, blogging is an act of sharing your discrete opinion on a subject matter.
Blogging is divided into 2 part; there are as follows,
- Why should I start a blog?
- Why should anyone visit my blog?
Imagine your answer is to make money, you are going to create a blog with a million ads on it, which your visitors will find very uncomfortable.
But if you plan to share your views on a specific subject like “Relationship.” You want to help someone else avoid an abusive relationship, maybe because you were a victim yourself. You will find out that the money you were looking for will chase you faster than you expected.
The primary expectation of a blogger is to provide value.
Let’s take a look at the top bloggers and the value they provide.
Linda Ikeji – Her blog was one of the first entertainment blogs in Nigeria. She provided her readers with topnotch celebrity gist and entertainment news. She looks like a smart gossiper.
Uche Eze Pedro – I’m sure you have heard of Bella Naija. Her blog provides updates on Nigerian lifestyle and fashion. She was able to steal our hearts with the exclusive “Bella Wedding page.”
Demola Ogundele – He is the top music blogger and owner of notjustok.com. At a time, people were tired of buying CDs, and in the early stage of the internet in Nigeria. He was there to make Nigeria music accessible to everyone with an internet connection.
We have Jide Ogunsanya, Yemisi Aiyedun, Noble Igwe, and others. The list is endless. These bloggers were able to provide us with valuable content when we needed it the most.
Why Do You Want to Start a Blog?
It is okay to think that your primary reason for starting a blog is to make money. That is not what we are referring to in the segment. The “why” factor here is your purpose of starting the blog. It also answers the question of “what do you have to offer your visitors?
Defining the purpose of your blog will help you connect with your readers. It will also assist you in creating content that will be valuable to your readers. To define the purpose of your blog, I will like to pick a jotter, let’s do it together.
The following questions will help you through the process of identifying your why:
- Who are you?
Example 1: I am John. I am a car enthusiast, a dedicated race gamer, and a mechanic. I fell in love with cars the first time I played the “Asphalt 3 street rules racing by Gameloft”. Since then, I have played every racing game on the store. After ten years of racing, I started my car shop where I sell and fix supercars.
Example 2: I am Deborah, a smartphone photographer. Last year, I started taking photos with my smartphone for fun. Later on, I was employed by a small business in my area to take pictures of their product for their social media accounts.
Why are you blogging?
Example 1: I would love to share my experiences with supercars and to connect with other car lovers around the whole.
Example 2: I want to share my experience on how to take professional photos with your smartphone and how to use it to grow your business on the internet.
What is it for your reader?
Example 1: I will teach my readers how to buy original supercars. They will learn how to tune their cars themselves. Also, I will recommend the best racing games on the planet.
Example 2: I will teach my readers how to save money on professional photos, how to create excellent product photos with their smartphone, and use pictures to convert social media fans into paying customers.
What will you be blogging about?
Example 1: Cars
Example 2: Smartphone Photography and Social Media Marketing.
Sharing this on the about page of your blog will help communicate your intentions with your website visitors. It will also establish a relationship between you and your target audience.
Which Blogging Platform Should I Use?
There are lots of blogging platforms out there. They have different features that can help you stay on top of your blogging game. We will only focus on starting a blog with Google Blogger, and this is why?
- Cost: We want you to learn how to start a blog without breaking your piggy bank. I used my school fees to start my first blog, and I almost lost my admission. I don’t want you to put yourself in the same position.
- Technicality: Blogger does not need any knowledge of code/programming to run your blog. It is easy to use, and you will experience little or no technical issues.
- Features: Also, the blogger platform has limited features. It is an advantage because it will help you focus on creating valuable content for your readers.
At the moment, the primary focus of blogging is to get your message (Content) out there and to build readership. You can always upgrade in the future.
How Much Will it Cost Me to Create a Blog?
Unlike other blogging platforms, Google blogger is free. You would have to pay for the hosting space. All your content is hosted on Google servers.
To give your blog a professional feel. You need to change your blog address from yourblog.blogspot.com to yourblog.com This is important because your readers are aware of this free blogging platform.
They won’t take you seriously if they feel that you cannot invest in your project. Another excellent reason for connecting a domain name to your blog is to monetize your blog in the future.
Planning Your Blog
Failing to plan is planning to fail – anonymous.
Irrespective of what you have heard about blogging. If you do not plan your blog, you are decreasing your chances of succeeding. You need a strategy on how to manage your blog efficiently.
I have sub-divided these strategies into small activities you can complete on a daily or weekly basis. Note: You will good about yourself each time you complete this milestone.
Here are the steps to planning your blog:
- Vision: Your vision will help you identify your target audience and what the value you will offer to them.
- Mission: Your mission will help you identify your unique value proposition. This is what will differential you from your competitors.
- Goal: What’s do you want to achieve from your goal after a certain period. Most people do not get this step right because they focus on their personal goal or their goal for their readers. When creating a goal for your blog, you have to consider both parties. That means establishing two separate goals.Example: The audience’s goal is to teach 100 small business owners on how to create awesome photos for their businesses in 12 months. Your goal for the blog is to get it into the top 50 photography blogs in my country in 12 months.
- Objectives: This is a more detailed structure on how to intend to achieve your goals. You can make create your objectives by segmenting your goals into months, weeks, and days.Imagine you will need to publish 200 articles on your blog to get it into the top 50 list in a year. The objective will be to publish 200/12 articles every month and 17/4 articles every week.
- Strategies: What’s are those principles and values that you will implement while working on your blog. Note: your readers can perceive the kind of values you have when they are reading your content like you are doing right now. You don’t want to be seen as self-centred and always trying to make a sale on every content you produce.
- Activities: This is a simplified version of the objectives. These are the things that you’ll do daily to will help you complete your objectives, which will make you achieve your goal. An example of an activity could be writing an article for 1 hour every day.
How to Choose the Right Topic for Your Blog?
It is crucial to choose a topic for your blog. Your blog will be lousy of you attempting to discuss everything. While selecting a subject for your blog, you might want to consider choosing a topic that you are passionate about.
If you love gossiping, then you might want to start an entertainment blog. You also have to understand that you can’t gossip about everything.
Ask yourself – what do I enjoy gossiping about? If you are comfortable talking about people’s clothes, how they didn’t match the colours correctly, you should consider starting a fashion blog.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think big. But narrow your blog’s topic and keep it simple.
Choosing a Topic for Your Blog
To increase your chances of becoming a successful blogger, you need to choose a topic for your blog. You also have to choose a topic that you are genuinely passionate about.
Research the blogs in your niche
Find out the top blogs in your niche, who owns them, what kind of content they publish, how much they blog generates. Google is an excellent tool for doing that. Also, make a list of the most popular blogs in your niche and study them carefully.
There is no need to try to reinvent the wheels. Copy the strategies and principles that you feel will work on your blog with respect to the overall vision, mission, and goal of your blog.
Get to know the most interactive authors in your niche. Visit their blogs frequently and interact with their content. You must become a part of a community, but what you don’t want to do is spam that community.
Note: You are not there to share a link to your blog or to sell anything. Your primary goal is to provide value to the community for free. Slowly you will gain their trust, and you can share all the links in the world.
Know your audience
It is effortless to write when you have your proposed reader in mind. The factors to consider when choosing a recommended reader are age, occupation, level of intelligence, needs, and, most importantly – why they would read your blog.
Creating Your First Article
After choosing a topic, you want to talk about on your blog. Pick up your jotter or open your word processing software (Microsoft Word, WPS). Type out ten ideas that come to your mind. These ideas much relate to your niche. Choose the first idea on your list and write a full article about it.
Note: There is no acceptable number of words. When you are starting, it might be challenging to write up to 500 words. It is very normal, but if you keep writing consistently, over time, you will write as many words as you want without feeling scared or tire.
You also want to communicate the idea in a clear form to your reader. Ensure to keep your writing simple. You can only add industry jargon when necessary.
Consistent writing is the key to becoming a successful blogger. If you make it past 90 days after you started blogging, you are better than 90% of the abandoned blogs on the internet.
Remember, it takes time to build a successful business – online or offline. Do not expect to have a large number of visitors trooping into your blog, except you want to engage in paid promotions for your blog. It will be a radical decision to promote a blog with just 1 article. Focus on creating great content for your blog.
How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
Once you start blogging, you will come in contact with the term SEO almost all the time. SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. According to Neil Patel, Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your online content is a way that search engines like to show it as a top result of a particular keyword.
A few years ago, SEO was about creating web pages in a way that the search engine spiders could understand them. Currently, the content itself is SEO and how relevant it is to the users. Sharing is an essential factor in SEO as it helps in the identification of pertinent material.
Focus on optimizing your blog for sharing. It is a simple as writing relevant content that can solve a problem or provide insight on a subject matter.
- Post Title: This is the title of your article. It is what will appear in the search engine result pages. However, if you are running a story blog, you don’t want to write the title of your article as “Season 2 – Episode 1,” especially when your blog is just starting.Your potential readers won’t search “Episode 1,” but they will search for “Interesting Fiction Stories.” Now that you understand this, you want to write your title like:“Story of a Poor Girl | Fiction Stories by Your Blog Name.”Note: Your headline is significant. This is the first thing your readers will see. It will determine if they want to read your content or not. You can have a great article, but if your headline is not captivating, no one will read it.
Always ensure to add power words to your headlines.
- Post Description: Your post description, by default, will be the first paragraph of your article. However, you can change this by creating a different explanation that matches a specific keyword or the idea behind your article.
- Slug: The post slug is the URL that links to that blog post. Some blogs set their URL as www.myblog.come/p23452, which in some cases might signify the number of articles on the blog. It will be difficult for the search engine to understand the content of the page.To avoid making the same mistakes. Do not use numbers or strange characters as your post slug. Use the post title, and don’t forget to keep it short.From the example above: Story of a Poor Girl | Fiction Stories by Your Blog Name. The post slug will be www.yourblog.com/story-of-a-poor-girl-fiction-stories.
SEO is divided into two components
The content refers to how the post is structured. The title, descriptions, images, videos (embedded or self-hosted), number of words, and keywords included in the post. A search engine will analyze this information and try to determine the content of the page and which search results will be relevant.
There are internal links and external links. Internal links are linked to content pages on your blog/website together. External links are links pointing to your blog or blog post from another website. The process of getting links to your website is called Link Building.
The most important strategy used to get quality links is creating high-quality content that people would love to link to.
Another effective method of building links to your blog is to submit your blog URL to social sharing sites like Mix, Digg, etc. You need to associate with various communities that are related to your niche.
For example: If your blog is about cars. You should join communities on Forums talking about cars. That way, you are sure that you are sharing your content with the right audience.
Promoting Your Blog
It is time to go into content marketing and press release. Promoting your blog is one of the most important ways of achieving success. Social Media is a great way to promote your blog. It should be the first place to consider when considering you are about to promote your blog. Start by creating a Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for your blog.
By promoting your blog on social media, you will be able to attract a vast number of followers who will visit you whenever you publish new content. Using tools like IFTTT, you will be able to share your blog post automatically to these social media platforms.
“No one signs up on social media to be sold to” – Never forget this.
It will be challenging to grow your social media audience if you are continually sharing promotional content. You need to be able to offer free and valuable content on your social media handles. It is all about building trust and relationships. They need to know that you genuinely care about them.
You can also create a Facebook group that is related to your niche, where you share solutions/answers to the frequently asked questions in your industry.
Another method of staying on top of your social media game is by adding social sharing buttons on your blog. This will help readers on your blog to share your content if they find it valuable. This will help you drive more traffic to your blog.
Forums can be a great way to promote your blog for free. Forums like Quora, Nairaland, LinkedIn will help you get your content to the right audience. Sign up to these forums and share your blog post with your community.
Note: Some forums will not allow you to share links. Others may only allow you to link your website to your profile. As the case may be, ensure to adhere to the community rules and guidelines, so you don’t get banned.
Only join forums that are related to your niche. Before you start sharing links to your blog, establish trust first. Strive to become a valuable contributor to the forum. At every point, add value first.
Article marketing is an excellent way of sharing your content and getting links back to your blog. The concept of article marketing is simple.
Write Article – Submit Article – Search Engine Find Article – Your Sites Get Traffic – You Make Money
The essence of article marketing is to draw readers to your website. Therefore, you don’t have to share your full article. There will be no need for a reader to visit your site, after all. When you are promoting your blog through article marketing, ensure to rewrite your article.
Here are some examples of article directories; you can publish your blog post today.
Measuring Your Blog
The last step in creating an effective blog is measurement. Measuring your blog will help you determine how much progress you have made and the amount of effort you are putting in.
When choosing factors for measuring your blog, you have to keep your blog’s vision and goal in mind.
Example: Our mission is to help 50 young persons to start and grow their online business using the resources on this blog. The key progress indicators used in tracking our blog success are reviews and comments.
Depending on your niche and your vision for your blog, you can choose a separate factor for measuring your blog. Your blog statistics are usually displaced on the STATS tab on your blogger admin dashboard. It displays the following statistics.
- Followers: These statistics refer to the number of visitors that have signed up to your RSS feed. You might not find followers count if you haven’t added the RSS Subscription box to your website also if you are using an external list building tool like Addthis or Mailchimp. Your followers will not display here.
- Post Count: This will show the number of posts you have published on your blog.
- Comments: It shows the number of comments generated on your blog.
- Page Views: It shows the total number of views your blog has. It is displayed – All Time, Today, Yesterday, Weekly, This Month and Last Month.
- Views Chart: It is a graphical representation of your views. It shows the rise and fall in your traffic.
Note: If your blog is powered by WordPress.org, you can install the Jetpack plugin. Connect it to your wordpress.com account, and it will show you your blog statistics.
It is not enough to track your blog’s statistics using the blog’s default analytical tool. It doesn’t display information like Bounce Rate, New/Returning Visitors, and Location. However, this information is essential to the progress of your blog, and it shows your strength and weaknesses. You can then use it to optimize your blog for better results.
Finally, you have reached the end of this ultimate blogging guide. You are ready to start your own online business in Nigeria. You need to understand that everything you have learned of this blog is irrelevant if you do not take action today.
It is not going to be easy, but if you are sincerely interested in starting your blog, you can send me a direct message via my Facebook Page. I will invite you to an exclusive community of content developers in Nigeria. You will have access to premium content development guides, books, and tutorials for free.