These are some of the most frequently asked questions about blogging and publishing content online. For people starting out, there are so many new things to do and be aware of, that it’s difficult to get it right first time around. This is why asking questions, looking for examples and learning from people who have been there and done that makes sense at this stage.
I spend a lot of my time answering questions. Most of the articles on this blog started from me getting questions from other bloggers. I respond to many emails, I interact in social media and even have a Quora account where I am active from time to time.
I’m always learning too from other bloggers and their experience. You should always look to accept the advice that the more experienced bloggers have to share and learn from what they’ve learned and from the mistakes they have made. This all will give you new ways around the most annoying bumps in your blogging road.
Cannot find the answer to the question that’s on your mind? Take a look at the archives of my blog for all the blogging guides that I have published. Do also use my contact form to reach out to me and ask me anything about blogging. I will then also update this page.
For majority of the answers I have also included links for more in-depth and detailed practical advice. Let’s get started:
I don’t get enough traffic. What do I have to do?
You have to do the work actively in order to attract visitors to come and visit your content. They will not find you on their own. You cannot just publish something and expect people to start coming in. You have to get out there, find the people interested in what you’re doing and show them enough value to get them to stop by your online home.
Aim to spend the majority of your time in the early days of your blog going to the different places where people in your audience hang out and working on attracting them to come to you. Go to social media, go to forums, go to other niche sites, go to other big blogs in your field and on and on.
How do I come up with content ideas for things to post about?
You need new content in order to build the archives of your blog and to attract an audience. Creating and publishing new posts is one of your main tasks as a blogger and something that you should prioritize.
Getting ideas is all about being able to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What is on their minds? What questions are they asking? What are they struggling with? Start thinking and get creative.
Nobody wants to share my content on social media.
It’s very difficult to get social media shares when you’re just starting out. You need to put in the effort to provide a lot of value to people. You need to build a connection and a relationship. Your content needs to be relatable, and something people would gladly share with their family and friends.
I don’t know how to code – can I still be a blogger?
This is one of the beauties of being a blogger. You can start today without any coding skills or any tech knowledge. There are many platforms available out there that make it simple for you to start. They have nice user interface, and the only thing you need is to write in an editor that pretty much looks like a Word document or a Google Docs. It’s as simple as that to publish content online these days.
Which social media platforms should I be active on for my blog?
This depends on what type of audience you are trying to attract. You should not be active on all the platforms there are out there. You should pick those that are popular for the people in your audience. Focus on establishing a presence on those platforms only and forget about the rest. You will get nowhere if you try to be everywhere at the same time.
Nobody follows me on social media. How do I get followers and page likes?
You need to ask yourself what value are you providing in your social media presence and what the main reason should be for someone to follow you and take note of you. When you have that sorted, you just cannot wait for people to find you first. You need to go find them yourself. Search the different platforms for people talking about your topic and follow them first. Join the conversation and show them why you’re worth listening to.
What should I name my blog?
There are many strategies for picking a name for your blog. You simply need to spend some time thinking about it and getting creative. One simple solution is calling the blog by your own name. Many have been successful with this approach. One option is to create a name around the topic that you will be covering. This is the solution I took for my blog. I write about blogging and how to start a successful blog and so I named my blog How To Make My Blog.
How do I pick a domain name for my blog?
In most cases, it’s best to keep the name of your blog and the domain name of your blog the same. This keeps it simple to understand for your audience and simple for you to communicate. In cases where your blog name is very long it’s probably worth to cut it or shorten it. You don’t want to have a domain name that’s too long, that’s confusing, and difficult to spell.
I don’t have money. How do I get started?
This is one of the beauties of blogging. You can start in few minutes without needing to spend any money at all. Even if you want to do podcasting and video blogging, you don’t need any more equipment than the technology you have inside your smartphone. The biggest investment you will make in blogging is the investment of your time. Blogging simply needs and craves many hours of work in order to work.
I don’t have any specific expertise. What should I create content about?
You need to dig deeper and find what makes you special and different. What is it that you spend many of your hours on? What is it that you enjoy doing in your free time? What is it that you know a lot about? There always is something that you have that other people can find value in. Be it educational, informative and/or entertaining.
There are so many blogs out there – how can I stand out?
The answer to this question is all about you. You are unique, you are different from everyone else. You need to put more of yourself into your content and into your blogging presence in general. By putting more of yourself into the open, the more unique your blog will be. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just get yourself out there and enjoy the process.
Should I write in the English language or my mother tongue?
This all depends on the topic of your blog and the ambition you have with it. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Writing in English gives you access to a larger audience than if you’re writing in any other single language. With English, your blog is ready for a global audience. It also does mean that you are competing with many other blogs that are written about your topic in the English language.
Writing in your own language may result in a smaller audience potential but your competition might be easier too.
How many words should my articles have?
There are no definite rules on how many words your blog articles should have. There are successful posts with 100 words and there are successful posts with 10,000 words. It all depends on your situation, on your style, on the topic you are covering, on the multimedia formats you are using and more.
I started by writing a minimum of 300 words per article (this was back in mid-to-late 2000’s) but recently most of my posts are 2,000+ words. I find that covering a topic in a long and detailed guide full of practical advice works best for my field in attracting visitors to my blog. In your case this might be different. Try things out, experiment and analyse what works and what doesn’t by looking at the response you get. You should focus on what you audience wants to spend time on and that will answer your question.
How many times should I post per week?
There’s no right or wrong answer for this. There are successful blogs with a variety of posting frequencies. Some post short but frequent posts. Some post rare but long. Some mix and match these approaches. In first couple of years of blogging I posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I did that for 2 years without missing one day. There was no reason for this schedule, I picked it because it fit me well in those years. More recently I publish much less frequently. Again I picked this because it fits me better at this point in time.
Most important thing I would say is to not put yourself on a strict schedule that you cannot cope with, as that may make you lose motivation and quit blogging. Think about what you are trying to achieve and how each article fits in a bigger picture. Always measure how each article performs and base your future decisions on insights you get.
I get a lot of spam comments. What can I do to stop them?
Most comment sections anywhere online struggle with a large amount of spam and trolling. One quick way to get rid of this is to simply disable the ability for visitors to write comments. This is, for example, the option I have taken after years and many hours spent on moderating the comments area. It was just not worth the time for me anymore.
Still, the solution may be different for you. Comment sections can add a lot of value to some blogs and take them to another level. Luckily for you, there are many different settings and plugins you can install in order to minimize the amount of spam comments.
I get no real comments. How can I attract real conversation?
It’s important for new bloggers to know that less than 1% of visitors actually end up in the comments section. So despite you not having any real comments doesn’t mean that your content is bad and that nobody cares about it. It’s just that comments are not that interesting for the majority of people. Still, there are ways for you to try and build the community feeling on your blog.
It all comes down to the approach you take in your content, to the way you address people in social media and to the way you connect with people interested in what you’re doing,
I don’t know anything about web design – how do I get a nice looking blog?
You’re lucky as by using tools such as WordPress you do not need any design skills to have a pretty blog. WordPress comes with thousands of different design templates ready for you to use. Simply spend time reviewing and testing the different options to find the one that you like and the one that fits what you’re trying to do. It’s one click to setup a new design so you don’t need any skills nor much time to change the look of your site.
My blog is slow to load. How can I speed it up?
Your blog needs to be fast to load as people are very impatient. They simply won’t wait for 10 seconds (or even much less time) for your site to load. The back button is their friend, and it’s your enemy. Keep your blog to the minimum. Only keep the most important features. Remove everything that’s not necessary. Have a large sidebar that nobody looks at? Get rid of it. Did you upload very large pictures? Optimize them for the web.
I think my blog just got hacked!?
There are many people out there trying to access blogs all across the world. The majority of these hacking attacks are automated and scan the internet for vulnerable blogs and are not really single and specific attacks on you. There are many tools you can use to make your blog more secure, starting with a stronger password to your user account and always keeping your software upgraded to the most recent version.
I hate my voice – how can I do podcasts?
Most people find it awkward to listen to their own recorded voice. It just doesn’t sound like the voice that you hear in your own head. It’s important to remember that this experience happens to everyone when they start and that only time makes it better. You simply just need to continue recording and getting content out there. You just need to work on getting better with each and every recording.
I’m shy – how can I do videos?
Watching yourself in videos is something you just need to accept and get used to. It’s difficult even for those who have been doing it for a while, but it gets better with experience. Just close your eyes and get that video out there. Keep working on it and keep improving.
You don’t need any special video editing skills or professional equipment to get started. Simply use the camera on your smartphone or your laptop and record yourself like you would when sending a video message to a friend. Many big YouTube celebrities have started as simple as that.
How can I make a living by maintaining my own blog?
This is a dream for many. Starting a blog and making enough money so they can quit their jobs. It’s an impossible to achieve dream for most so you should have realistic expectations right from the start. The first step towards making money is to actually get that blog online, start producing content and start building an audience that trusts you and sees you as an expert and someone that can help them achieve their own dreams.
When you have an audience of people that like you and trust you making money from your blog becomes easier.
See more: How To Earn First $500 From Your Blog
I cannot find my blog on Google – how do I get in the search results?
Getting your blog indexed by Google and other search engines is one of the important aspects of getting traffic to your site. Google can be a great source of organic traffic to your blog. Simply starting to publish regular content and getting a presence Twitter, Facebook and other social media will be a great first step for getting into Google results too.
How can I syndicate my blog content?
Syndication of blog content is all about getting your content in front of more eyeballs. One of the early examples of this is guest blogging. Getting in touch with a popular blogger in your field and submitting a valuable post that links back to your own blog. There are also many other publications always on the look out for guest contributors. There are also many online platforms that love to host content, such as Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook and so on.
All of these should be considered and should become a regular part of your marketing routine.
What tools do you recommend me to use in my blogging?
One of the misconceptions that newbies have about writing and blogging is the importance of and the focus on the tools of the trade. Seems like people are prepared to spend money of getting the tools that their blogging idols are using. This is probably in hope of getting a shortcut to the high levels and is an unrealistic hope to have.
This is why it’s not as useful to spend too much time thinking about which tools to use or what equipment to buy. Nobody can tell you what equipment is best for you. It is not about the tools, it is about the ideas and the inspiration. What makes a great writer is not the tools he uses, but how the person uses it.
You can even take great pictures and videos with a simple mobile phone. It levels the playing field and allows anyone to bring life to their dreams. You can improvise with whatever tool you have at hand. It makes the idea the central part of your project, it is the idea that counts. It is the idea that will help you spread the word about yourself and will help you reach your goals. The real master does not need any special tools.
No one tool equals success, and the gear that works for one person won’t necessary work for someone else. But people don’t like hearing this. A simple formula would have been easier. Not having all the latest and greatest equipment could be an inspiration. All the constraints could help drive and inspire your creativity. All you need to communicate online these days is an access to a computer with internet connection.
There will come a time where you reach a point and you need to add a new tool to your arsenal. This will happen naturally as you progress in your blogging and you build your skills. Until that point, it’s simply not worth thinking too much about it.
It’s best to start with a great idea in mind, and use the simple tools you have at hand to try it out and then build it from there according to the feedback you get. There’s no reason to start by investing money into buying fancy equipment and tools.
What are the differences between all these content publishing platforms?
There are so many platforms that invite people to write and publish content. New platforms are arriving daily. Any of them can be useful if nothing else than for getting you to release content out into the wilderness of the internet. The important thing to note is that you need to figure out what your goals are in the long term. Most of the platforms out there are not too flexible in terms of you being able to change things too much after you’ve started.
This is why I always recommend WordPress, the most customizable of the platforms. With WordPress you simply do know that wherever your blogging takes you down the line you will own your blog, you will own and fully control your content and the way you want it to be presented and displayed. Most of the other platforms don’t allow you this freedom.
Why should I use WordPress?
WordPress is the best and most popular content publishing platform online. Millions of companies and people use it every day. 25% of all the web is hosted on WordPress. It cannot be beaten in terms of features and the ability it gives you to create your own website. It’s also free and open sourced so you are sure that it will be kept getting better.
How difficult is it to use WordPress?
WordPress can difficult to use for new users, but it can also be easy. It all depends on your approach. To minimize your frustrations with WordPress install a clean and updated version with carefully selected, maintained and well-supported design theme and plugins. Then you’re ready to go and you are sure that you’re using the most advanced and best platform there is for publishing content online. You are also always kept updated with all the new features and tweaks.
I’m going on holiday – what do you recommend me to do?
The ideal would be for you to take your smartphone with you and continue spending a bit of time daily on your blog. It’s always useful to have some social media posts going out and to do comment moderation. It doesn’t have to be something you spend hours on daily. Alternatively, you can always schedule these things in advance and leave the comment moderation to be automated.
I haven’t updated my blog for a while – how can I restart it?
It all depends on what you want to do really. The majority of blogs that are started become inactive and dead soon after. If you’re motivated and think that blogging can contribute with value to your life than you can simply restart it. Refresh the design, rethink the way you approach your content, publish some new posts and get out there looking for an audience. There’s no regret and no looking back.
How do I know if I’m doing well with my blog?
One way to do this is to look into your analytics data and see if people are visiting your site, what they are viewing on your site and how long they are staying on it. It’s also useful to see if you’re getting any comments in your comment area or in the social media. It’s useful to see if anyone is sharing your articles on social media too. After all it’s down to you to set your own goals and your expectations and then regularly check your progress towards them.
I just don’t see much progress – do you have any advice for me?
Blogging takes a lot of time. You may need to spend hours every day, for many weeks and months before you start seeing any results. It is important to understand this and be ready to spend time on this in the long-term. It also helps if you create some smaller goals that you can work towards achieving, which will help you keep track of your progress.
Achieving smaller steps may not look like much, but doing many of them over a longer period of time will move mountains for you and your situation.
Should a company run a blog and publish content?
Many companies have heard the buzz about content marketing but don’t have a bigger idea of what they want to use social media and blogging for, or not even what strategy to approach it with or even why they want to get involved.
So it is important to dig deeper into the buzz word and figure out what blogging is, realize that it takes a lot of effort and doesn’t give instant results, set the right goals and targets, find correct people who can not only create the strategy but also implement it by using the latest tactics and tools.
First thing to discuss is actually what the value is of having a blog and what the difference is between a blog and a website. Here’s my introduction on blogging for businesses:
Should I integrate the blog into my existing website?
The choice is between whether to include the blog within the existing website (such as yoursite.com/blog) or to keep it separated and create a new domain name for it (i.e. yourblog.com). It is a very important decision to make and a good question to ask yourself, but there is no right or wrong answer really. It all ultimately depends on what goals you have with the blog and the website and what you want to achieve. Take your time and look a bit deeper into the two options:
Keeping the blog along the website on your existing domain name is the most integrated approach. They both will look and feel like one site and in terms of branding it will be the most consistent approach. If your blog is well-integrated within the rest of your website, the content would be a good way to attract interest to your products and services.
Having a blog that is regularly updated with quality content and that has people sharing the articles via social media can be a very positive influence to your organic search engine rankings and will help your website rank for targeted keywords. This will indirectly help get more attention and visitors to your site and to your products.
Domain name is one of the most powerful factors in getting organic traffic from search engines. If your existing website has no keywords in its domain name (if it is companyname.com), it is worth looking into getting a keyword rich and descriptive domain name. This will help establish the site in search engine results for relevant keywords. This way you would have a better chance of ranking for important keywords that you may not be able to with your main website.
Having a stand-alone blog could lead to you building a good informational source of content for your specific topic with a different branding than your main site and more editorial freedom. This could lead to more opportunities for you, like selling advertising. It would be harder to sell ads on your company website, while on a popular blog it is a very natural thing to do.
To help you make a decision it is important to understand how blogging software like WordPress can be integrated into your existing website CMS. How easy is it to integrate them? Can the design be same on both to offer a better user experience? Answers to integration questions like these might show you what your best option is. Self-hosted and open-sourced WordPress is your best bet.
Did I miss answering the question that’s on your mind? Let me know and I’ll get back to you.