Blogging 101 - How to start growing your website, blog and email list

New to Blogging

I have been blogging as a hobby since 2014, so when I started my new business in September 2017 I knew I wanted to have a blog as a way of engaging with my audience to bring fresh new content every week. My new business and blog is only 6 months old, but what a totally new world blogging for business is over a hobby. What on earth is SEO, analytics, website hosting, and most of all subscribers. How do I get them in the first place and then how do I prevent them from unsubscribing? This is how I have managed to achieve 105 subscribers in my first six months of business.

1. Website Hosting

First, if you want a website or a blog or both you need to pick a platform and website hosting. I am not going to go into detail here as that is whole world of discussion right there, but some of the most well-known platforms are WordPress, Goggle Blogger (aka Blogspot) and Wix, just to name a few.

Paid Hosting for Free Site

The age-old conundrum that I see time and time again asked in chats forums and groups, is do I need to pay for hosting or can I set-up a business or blog for free? This also can take up a whole blog discussion of its own, so the short answer I will give for now is either. It is up to you depending on what you want and need.

2. Create your own stunning website

Now you have decided with platform you are going to use and whether you are using a free hosting service or a paid one. Now you get to the fun stuff.

Website/Blog design

Each of the platforms offer a myriad of template designs for your new site or if you are a dab hand at coding, a blank slate is all you need. I tinker quite regularly with the layout of my blog. What is featured in the sidebar or footer. What ads are visible etc. I think it keeps the design fresh and inviting for returning visitors and hopefully strikes an impact with new readers.

3. Get Found and Get Seen

You have created this stunning website/blog, packed full of amazing content, now what? How are people going to find your wonderful little corner of the internet?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Everything you read about SEO is mind boggling to begin with, but ultimately all good advice. You want your site to be indexed in Google. You want people to find you when they search the internet, but it isn’t Google magic. It is your hard word at creating keywords. Keywords are the words, Joe Public types into the search box on the Google home page. Think about what words they would be typing for your site to appear in the search results.

You need a catchy website name or blog post title, but it also need to be realistic, something that would be searched in google. Easier than it sounds to create the perfect headline. Advice is that your headline should be 6-8 words long with approx. 60 characters, containing power words and emotive words. Confused. Yes, another top blogging stress, but you will get the hang of it with a bit of practice.

I dislike, really dislike, clickbait titles. I try hard to make my headline true and honest. If you want to click you will. I am not going to try and trick you. That said though, as much as I dislike it. Click bait works and you are prepared to use the tactic this is a way you can nab those all-important subscribers once they have found your site.

4. Get Subscribers

Now people are finding your website, you want to get them to subscribe. Why? Because these are you most likely customers. They are interested in what you have to say and what you are offering. You want them to engage with your site and ultimately to buy your services from you. You need:

  • A capturing signup screen called a landing page. This is a subscriber box, it is usually a plugin (app) option on your chosen platform. You can usually design how you want your landing page to look and what info you want to collect from your subscriber. This is an example of my landing page and subscriber box:

  • Freebies. Why should I give you my email address, what do I get in return? Yes, it really is as simple as that. Joe Public wants something from you. His/Her email address is precious to them, they do not want constant spam landing in their inbox, so offer them some enticing to get their email address. My subscribers get private access to an exclusive resource library, packed full of information and offers. I have several affiliate programmes with big brands and can offer my subscribers exclusive deals that are not offered to the public.

  • Exclusive content. The other way you can attract subscribers is buy offering a paid for product, but it is of high value to them that they can’t get elsewhere. This is usually an e-book or online course.

5. Keep Subscribers

So now you have some subscribers, how on earth do you keep them? You need fresh, exciting content, posted regularly to keep your readers engaged. Sounds simple, right!

Oh, I have stressed over this. I have done countless research on the best days of the week to post, the best times, how many times a week should I post. When should I promote, where should I promote. AAArrrggg. I have found a balance that works for me and my own personal routine. How do I fit blogging into running my business, managing the home and caring for my children and dogs? I post weekly on a Tuesday and promote daily using Crowdfire social media marketer. I make use of any trending hashtags and take part in a different twitter chat most evenings. I love Facebook business & blogging groups too and find them my biggest driver of traffic back to my site.

Facebook Pages and Groups

Generally, Twitter chats and business/blogging groups are other business owners and bloggers, they help share and promote your content, but they are not your target audience or subscribers, so what you also need to do is make a Facebook business page for your website/blog and create a closed FB group especially for your target audience. My niche is Wild Camping and Hiking. I have created a FB group for Wild camping and Outdoor Enthusiasts. It has over 800 members and my business page has over 300 followers. These members and followers are the ones that will most likely become your subscribers and customers. Engage with them and offer reasons to encourage them to sign up to your mailing list.

You can do it too.

The beauty of blogging/working from home, means that all of this is completely flexible. Perhaps you love writing. You have a wealth of experience with a great deal to say. That may sound vain, but we need to be proud of our skills. You can be a voice for others. Put effort into the content and post design as much as the website/blog design. Try to make the design of your posts follow a colour and layout theme. Readers know it then that it is one of your posts. It builds brand trust and helps with ease of reading and security of authenticity. The key is to help solve a problem for your customer. Help them and they will help you.

Blogging is a steep, although fun and empowering learning curve. Good luck and most of all ENJOY!

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