Blogs and bloggers are now firmly part of the media landscape. And the number of blogs is growing. Whether applicants, freelancers or professionals who want to earn money with blogs: Anyone who wants to start a blog doesn’t need much to do so. We show you here, the best tips and tricks for bloggers and beginners, how to find topics and build initial reach…
10 warning signs not to blog
Even though blogging has numerous benefits, there are also good reasons not to blog. A blog that is run carelessly or for the wrong reasons can turn into full-blown reputational damage in no time. A lack of commitment to your blog sends a clear message – just, unfortunately, the wrong one. So before you set out to design or create a blog, we recommend that you align your goals and expectations with the following warning signs.
- You are basically enthusiastic about the possibilities of a blog – but you rule out experiments or new formats from the outset.
- One article per month is quite enough. You definitely don’t want to invest more time.
- You assume that your blog and your articles must be about you and you alone.
- Comments and feedback are welcome – critical remarks, however, should be deleted immediately or not even be activated.
- After three to four months at the latest you want to see results, otherwise the blog has failed from your point of view.
- You are aware that other blogs also write about the topics you have chosen. And you see the relevant bloggers as competitors, not network partners.
- You don’t even plan for active networking around the blog. Good content needs to speak for itself, in your opinion.
- Link other blogs? Never! You’re not helping the competition, after all.
- You think SEO is a new social network or parlor game.
- Active monitoring? Much too costly.
Start blog: Where should I start?
You’ve decided to start blogging, you’re ready to invest time and effort into your blog and do it seriously, now you’re wondering how to get started. At the beginning there is a question: what do I want to blog about? Take enough time to answer this question. Answering it involves thinking about what your interests lie in. What excites and moves you? However, that alone is not enough. In addition to interest, you also need a background of knowledge in order to write usefully and exchange ideas with other bloggers and readers.
Once you have answered the first question, you are now faced with the decision of what form your blog should take. Should it be a video blog, microblog or text blog? Of course, formats can be combined and a blog can also be set up in multimedia form, but you should still basically decide which way you want to communicate. If it is to be the classic variant, you are faced with the choice of a hosting service. There are two options here:
You take advantage of a free hosting service.
If you want to set up a blog quickly and for free, you can use blog hosting services like blogger.com or wordpress.com. However, these come with the disadvantage that only selected themes and plugins are available and the domain points to the service, so xy.wordpress.com, for example.
You host your blog yourself.
At wordpress.org you can download for free the technical system to install your blog yourself on a web server. It’s a bit more work in the beginning, but the longer you blog, the more you’ll appreciate the design options.
You use a managed WordPress hosting provider.
If you want to use the full functionality of WordPress without having to take care of the hosting yourself, a provider specialized in hosting WordPress sites is a good choice. Generally, there are four areas that distinguish a WordPress hoster from a regular hosting provider:
Support. The team of a managed WordPress hoster usually consists of professionals with specific expertise in WordPress core software, themes and plugins. This allows technical WordPress issues to be fixed more quickly and efficiently.
Updates. Automatic updates of WordPress software, plugins and themes are included with many managed hosting packages. Thus, security gaps are closed promptly and the website is always up to date.
Caching. Caching ensures faster page delivery by keeping individual pages in cache. Caching is included in the hosting plan of many managed packages. Some WordPress hosters also rely on proven third-party solutions for this purpose (for example, CloudFlare.com) to provide a high level of functionality.
Flexibility. The advantages of managed WordPress hosting lie in its technical as well as contractual flexibility. Resources can be added or reduced on demand. There are no limits on disk space, traffic or number of WordPress installations. Even peak loads can be easily balanced thanks to the special server configuration. Flexible managed hosting is especially important if the blog is expected to have short-term load peaks –
for example, because of a TV commercial or reports in wide-ranging media. There are also contractual freedoms with providers: Contracts can often be terminated on a monthly basis.
Find blog topics: What should I write about?
Now you can get started. You may have decided on a topic focus, but where can you find ideas for your articles and posts? Here’s some help:
- Other blogs and websites in your topic area
- English articles and blogs whose content serves as inspiration and free translation basis – of course not without your own ideas and additions
- Magazines, (professional) journals and books
- Youtube channels and podcasts
- Conversations and discussions with colleagues or business partners
- Experiences at work or in a professional context
- Situations and circumstances that at first glance have nothing to do with your topic
Capture inspiration and ideas
The list shows what you probably already knew: Ideas and topics for new blog posts can arise from almost any situation in life. Most of the time, however, the best ideas come to you when you’re not expecting them at all. Who doesn’t know the brilliant idea while weekend shopping or in the shower? In order to capture and use these fleeting ideas, it is crucial that you jot them down promptly. Whether you use pen and paper, your smartphone’s note-taking app, Evernote, voice memos, a photo, or other methods to do so is secondary. All that matters is that…
- you can derive the topic from the note later.
- you can capture ideas in any situation.
- the effort for a note is minimal.
- you systematically file the notes later and use them for your topic planning.
- you decide on a method and use it consistently.
Prepared in this way, you can also use spontaneous ideas and sudden bursts of inspiration to find topics. However, to take your topic search to the next level, one trait is essential: the right view. No matter what you hear, see, experience – the question is: Can it be blogged?
The perfect blog article: What does it look like?
Anyone can blog, but no one wants to read it. This sobering experience is made by numerous bloggers every day anew. It is extremely frustrating to invest time and effort and still be able to count the readers on one hand. That’s why the number one rule is: good blogs offer readers added value on interesting and exciting topics.
What does added value mean in this context?
- Insights into companies and work processes.
- Practical tips and tricks from the relevant specialist area.
- Solutions to concrete problems.
- Inspiration and food for thought.
- Cause and help for reflection and course correction.
- Interesting and little-known information and aspects.
- Portraits and information of employees or well-known people.
- Testimonials that can serve as role models.
- Good entertainment and appealing humor.
How to write blog articles worth reading
Formulate an interesting headline. Choose a headline that is exciting, promising, provocative or entertaining. Formulate it briefly and crisply and take your time. A good title often determines whether your readers pay attention to the article at all. Find out exactly what a good headline needs here.
Deliver on the promise you make. With your headline, you’re raising expectations and making a promise to your readers. Fulfill it. Put another way: If the title promises practical tips, these must also be included in the article. Otherwise you will lose your readers.
Include images. We can’t say it enough: blog articles without images are boring. You can offer the best content, but you’ll hardly attract readers with pure text deserts.
Put some thought into the layout. Speaking of text deserts: besides images, the layout and design of your articles also play a role. Subheadings, highlighted sentences or keywords, text boxes and lists loosen up an article and increase readability.
Speak the language of your readers. Write comprehensibly and choose appropriate wording. If you use unnecessary technical terms or too much denglish, you often effectively drive readers away.
Structure your texts. This applies not only to the look and layout, but also to the content. Make it easy for readers to follow the thread.
Bring in examples and experiences. Valuable information is good, but if you enrich it with your own experiences, it goes down even better with readers – in our experience.
Write with wit and humor. Humor or irony, while not appropriate for all articles, can make text more engaging and put a smile on your readers’ faces.
Use a variety of formats. Checklists, guides, tutorials, practical examples – these are all article formats and elements that you can use to make your articles more interesting.
Varied content: ideas for different formats
Once you start blogging regularly, you’ll realize that a lot depends on how you prepare content. Always following formula-F will quickly become boring not only for the reader, but also for you as an author. Ideas on how to prepare your articles:
Analyses. Take a closer look at current developments and events in your industry and give your professional opinion.
Summaries. There is a hot topic? Then collect good articles and reports on it and link them – with commentary – in a separate article.
Recommendations. Do you read other blogs that your readers can benefit from? Then an article in which you recommend and link other bloggers is obvious.
Reviews. Of course, you should also read reference books to stay up to date. There is nothing against reviewing recommended literature on the blog.
Reviews. You can also present gadgets, techniques or courses that have added value to you in the context of reviews.
Checklists. Checklists with the most important tips on certain topics are always popular. In general, it is clever to convert such lists into PDFs from time to time and offer them as downloads. For two reasons: Reader service & SEO.
Infographics. If you find thematically suitable infographics, you can also knit excellent articles from them. Or, if the author allows it, pack the graphics with it. Attention only with the image rights!
Videos. Also technically and qualitatively good videos represent a good article basis. Pay special attention to the quality.
Interviews. Use contacts to respected professionals or experts and present them in interviews.
Mistakes. Speaking of learning experiences: Feel free to describe mistakes you’ve made and show what you’ve learned from them.
Commentary. You can comment on current events or articles in trade magazines – in a professional manner, of course.
ABCs. Instead of checklists, you can also present an ABC of the most important technical basics and terms.
Comment responses. Also use articles to respond to incoming reader comments, showing that you care about your readers’ concerns.
Retrospectives. A review of the development of your industry or professional methods can also lend itself to use as an article.
Messages. They don’t always have to be in-depth articles. Sometimes a reference to a recent development is enough.
Event report. Do you attend trade fairs and congresses? Then blog about them and share them with your readers.
Quotes. Well-known or memorable quotes are an excellent starting point for articles. Please observe the applicable quotation law.
Parables. Instructive parables and similes can also enrich blog.
Irony. Ironic articles can add variety to your content. Please make sure the irony is recognizable.
Comparisons. Compare different methods and techniques in your industry and present the advantages and disadvantages.
How-to guides. If questions keep coming in about a particular topic, use them as the basis for a how-to post on the blog.
Start a blog: build reach and network
Good quality articles with high user relevance are certainly the basis of a high reach, but alone they are not enough. In addition to good content, the design of the blog and the community building also have a decisive influence on your reach and visibility.
For example, prominently integrated social media sharing buttons are essential to encourage readers to share and recommend articles. An appealing design, a clear and concise layout of articles and a clear call-to-action at the end of an article can also help to make the article attractive to readers and encourage them to share. To help the blog achieve maximum visibility, there are a few other points you should consider. These include…
linking your relevant social media presences to your blog.
the linking of your blog from your social media channels.
the targeted and active use of your Youtube channel from which you link to the blog.
the active sharing of your posts on your social media channels.
asking for feedback and comments at irregular intervals.
After optimizing your blog and articles and actively using your social media channels, there is still extensive and important work waiting for you: targeted community building. Only by actively building relationships, new contacts and networks can you permanently and sustainably increase the reach and visibility of your blog. To do this, participate in discussions in forums and social networks, comment on other blogs, answer questions and contribute as an active and valuable part of the community.
There are two ways to do this:
1.Guest articles. With the right strategy, guest articles on other blogs can noticeably increase the reach of your blog and sustainably strengthen your reputation and networking. However, if you distribute your guest articles too generously across a wide variety of blogs, you not only dilute your profile, but often damage your reputation as well.
2.Blogparades. Basically, a blog parade is an invitation. A blogger calls on other bloggers to blog about a certain topic within a clearly defined period of time. In principle, any blogger can participate. Why you should do this? Because it can increase the visibility of your blog, enable contacts with other bloggers and stimulate discussions.