(This post contains affiliate links. Please view my disclosure.)
Starting a blog is relatively easy, these days. And it’s a good thing, because it’s a proven marketing strategy for any business. While the basics of starting a blog seem straightforward, here are 4 little-known blogging tips that may help you take your beginner blog to viral status.
Pay attention to Security!
Effective July 2018, Google now penalizes any site that doesn’t have an “SSL certificate” installed. An SSL certificate helps ensure that the data your site transmits between computers and servers stays secure and private. Having an SSL certificate means that your URL (your website address) goes from HTTP to HTTPS.
Without that certificate, your blog will suffer. It won’t be ranked as high in Google searches. And for some browsers, users might get a warning that your blog address is unsafe. That will minimize your web traffic!
Blogging Tip # 1: Install a FREE SSL certificate.
If your site host doesn’t offer you an SSL certificate included in your hosting package (my host SiteGround does!), don’t stress. You don’t have to pay extra for security. On a WordPress site, you can download the WP Encrypt plugin from Let’s Encrypt for a FREE SSL certificate. Then use the plugin Really Simple SSL to complete the installation, and you’re good to go!
If the plugin method doesn’t work for you, you can still get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. They have detailed instructions on how to set everything up. Or you can work with your host to set it up too.
Don’t forget to backup your blog!
Anything can happen. You can be updating something and something goes wrong, and oops — you just lost everything. Or you can get locked out for some reason, and the only way to get back in is to reset it back to last year! Having a regular, frequent backup will prevent these crises from becoming complete disasters.
Blogging Tip #2: Back up to external storage.
Many backup plugins and software will allow you to have backups right inside your site. But that won’t do you much good if you can’t even get in your site. So back up your data to Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Drive, or some other source. You could even set up a new email address for just your backups, so that you can keep it current without worrying about storage limits.
Images impact your site load speed!
So this probably isn’t news. We all know that visual content is what attracts, but that visual content can slow down your website. It’s a fine line to walk between having enough images and having too many images. Because the fact is, site performance is a huge factor in whether or not someone will stay on your site or not! The stats say that you lose a third of your site traffic if your site takes more than 7 seconds to load.
Blogging Tip #3: Shrink your image file sizes before uploading.
You may have a 3000px wide image, but you only need an image that’s 750px wide to fit in the blog post. So before you upload it, edit the size. You can do that without any special program. Simply open the image in whatever picture viewing software your computer has, and click edit. You should be able to scale the image size down to something more useable for your website.
Blogging Tip #4: Use a plugin to shrink your image files even more.
On WordPress sites, there are a lot of plugins that will shrink your images as you upload them to your site. Try WP Smush or Hammy to bulk shrink your images, and then do it automatically for all future uploads.
Improve your site speed with caching!
Images aren’t the only way you can improve your site load speed. You can use a caching function to help speed up your site too.
Caching is a process where your server is able to load a page faster. Basically it loads it once, then holds it in readiness for the next viewer. When the next one requests the page from your server, your server doesn’t have to go looking for it. Instead, it shows what was sitting there right away from the “cache”. Your server checks for new content or changes periodically and updates the cache, but generally, your site will load faster since the content isn’t being re-processed every time someone visits.
Blogging Tip #5: Use a caching service to reduce site load times.
There are tons of caching services available. Some might even be included with your hosting package (like mine from SiteGround!) You can have both free and paid caching services, too. And some caching services will offer other site load speed optimization options, like optimizing scripts for you. But anything is better than nothing!
Post regularly and frequently!
The whole point of a blog is that it’s content that is regularly updated. Many new bloggers wonder how often they should be posting, but frequency isn’t what is most important. Consistency is!
If you post every day for a week, then nothing for 3 weeks, then a couple of times over a week, then only once the next week… well, your readers are going to be confused and probably not follow your blog.
You may not have a lifestyle that allows you to sit down and write a post every single day. Or even once a week. You may spend a weekend and write 4 posts all at once, but then not be able to write anything at all for 2 weeks!
Blogger Tip # 6: Schedule your posts.
This may seem obvious, but it seems like many people forget this. You can write as often as you like. Just schedule out your content to post at regular intervals. So if you spend a weekend writing out 4 posts, only to not be able to write for 2 weeks, you’re covered. Those 4 posts can be scheduled out to post once a week for the next month, or twice a week for the 2 weeks you’re unavailable.
Blogger Tip #7: Create a content calendar.
If you’re struggling with writing and posting consistently, create a calendar. It will help you not only to develop your posts, and the related promotional material, but it’ll also help prevent you from duplicating your own content. And you’ll be able to brainstorm ideas easier, without as much pressure on yourself.
Content calendars can have themes that help you generate post ideas. And you can look ahead to things like holidays or upcoming events that you can then use to promote your blog and business. Just write something that’s related to the upcoming special time, and you capitalize on trending. And that translates into more traffic for your site.
“If you build it, they will come” DOES NOT apply to blogs.
Many new bloggers have this idea that all they have to do is write it and publish it, and boom, the Google does its magic, and everyone will know about it.
Sorry, that’s not how it works.
The only way people will view your blog is if you TELL them about it. So you need to promote your blog. Everywhere.
Blogger Tip #8: PROMOTE often, regularly, and as many places as you can!
Well, that is, if you want people to view your blog. Maybe you don’t? That’s ok too!
For the rest of us who want our blog to be seen by as many people as possible, we’re going to have to promote it. And that can be a bit scary!
Blogger Tip #9: Use a scheduler to promote your stuff.
One of the easiest ways to promote your stuff without getting nervous is to use a scheduler. There are free options as well as paid options, but they all work similarly. Using a scheduler means that you can take your amazing blog post and load it into the scheduler to be shared at a later time. It takes the nervousness out of pushing that “share” button!
Starting a blog is easy. Growing a blog is harder.
There’s so much to learn and so much to do to turn your blog into something that pays. If you need help getting started, read Starting a Blog Business for more great tips.
What’s your best blogging tip?