Are you considering starting a blog? Now is the best time to do so since aspiring bloggers have access to numerous tools that help them make everything simple. Up until now, it was intimidating to start a blog since there were so many new things that had to be learned. This all changed and it is easier than ever to start your own blog. However, this does not mean you should start blind.
Just as everything in life, your first steps are really important. With this in mind, let’s talk about some must-have resources that are needed to start a successful blog. While there are many things that can be said about the topic, when you use the tools and resources presented below, it is much easier to start a blog you will be proud of.
1. Domain Name And Hosting
In order to have a blog online, you need a domain name and hosting. The domain name is the address you have, like domain.com. Take as much time as you need to choose a suitable domain name, based on the blog that you want to launch. Buying one is extremely easy, with Namecheap being highly recommended. Namecheap is trusted by millions and you can easily buy the domain name you want at affordable prices, with discounts often being available.
While you could also buy hosting from Namecheap, a better option, especially when you first start out is Bluehost. There are over two million blogs hosted by Bluehost, which managed to create a really easy-to-use interface for aspiring bloggers. Some of the features you will be interested in include:
- Install WordPress with one click – The blog can be online in just 5 minutes.
- Stellar customer support – You never know when a problem appears and you need the help of a specialist.
- Safety – You want to be protected from hackers.
- Scalability – You can start with the $2.95 per month WordPress hosting package and then upgrade when your blog grows.
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS (content management system) available. It was built for blogging so it should be no surprise that it is now used to power tens of millions of websites from around the world. This is basically your blog’s headquarters, allowing you to control everything.
In the past, you had to know how to build your site through coding. This is no longer needed.
While there are other content management systems that you could use, like Drupal or Joomla, WordPress has some clear benefits you need to know:
- It is really easy to use – The learning curve is much faster than most people think.
- Very simple content editor.
- Numerous themes that can be used – With zero knowledge you can have a blog that looks great.
- Numerous plugins – These are add-ons that increase blog functionality.
- Community support – Because millions use WordPress, if you run into a problem, there is surely a tutorial already written about it.
Other Things To Consider:
- After you install WordPress, it is important that you choose a suitable theme and the plugins you will use. Speaking about themes, some of the best can be found at Elegant Themes, which is a directory of paid themes, among other things. While this means you would need to invest more in your blog, you get extra functionality and increased flexibility.
- As you choose what plugins to add, be sure you at least add an SEO plugin since this helps guarantee your site will be favored by search engines. One that is highly recommended is Yoast SEO.
As a blogger, you need to know what people are looking for so that you can write about it. This is true for absolutely every single topic you would like to cover. If you write about something that people have little interest in, your traffic is limited. This is where a keyword research tool steps in to help.
There are different such tools that can be used, with options like Ahrefs or SEMRush being really popular among internet marketers. However, since we are talking about starting a blog, KeySearch is highly recommended.
KeySearch is an all-in-one search engine optimization tool that includes competitor analysis, research, SERP analysis, keyword research, rank checking and much more. With a new blog, you can use the Free Trial version and then move to the membership of $17 per month, which is a lot less than the competition.
The most important part is the keyword research tool. It allows the use of a user-friendly interface that is perfect for beginners. You can find really good keywords that you can target with your blog posts and even see how hard it is to rank high for them.
If you want to get the most from KeySearch:
- Make a list of keywords you think people will use to find your blog. Then, check to see if they are actually used. If so, the keywords can be utilized to create highly-relevant content.
- Use KeySearch to find alternative keywords you had no idea existed.
- Use KeySearch to see what keywords your competition uses.
This is definitely a must-have if you are serious about blogging. The tool allows you to guarantee proper spelling and grammar in your articles. This is actually done automatically. If you want to build a blog content strategy, you need to offer great writing. Most people rely on the grammar and spelling check in Microsoft Word but the system is not even remotely as good as the free version of Grammarly.
If you want to get the most from Grammarly:
- Install the free browser extension – It works within WordPress to check your spelling and grammar as you type.
- Install the Word add-on – Useful if you are the type of blogger that first writes in Word and then adds the content in WordPress.
When you blog, you need to write posts with spotless grammar and spelling. Grammarly helps you to have exactly that. Even if you are really good, it is possible to make mistakes without even realizing it. This tool helps spot mistakes you normally miss.
The free version of Grammarly is already a lot better than other similar tools on the market. However, if you want to improve your grammar even more and you have some cash available to pay, the paid version is simply incredible.
5. Readability Test Tool
Average college freshmen read at the level of a seventh grade. When you write at a level that is way too technical, the audience will have problems in understanding content. It is so much easier than what you may think to write content that is hard to follow.
In order to make sure that blog posts are really easy to read, use this Readability Test Tool. It analyzes numerous readability indicators in order to highlight
Some quick tips to improve blog post readability:
- Use sentences that are short.
- Do not use words that are too complex or technical.
- Make content direct.
- Use words that have just a few syllables whenever possible.
6. Google Analytics
After writing blog posts and promoting them on social media, you want to track results. This is where Google Analytics steps in. It helps you to easily track content performance. It is suitable for both beginners and advanced users. However, remember the fact that there is a learning curve.
When using Google Analytics you are mostly interested in 3 areas:
- Audience – Learn who visits your blog.
- Acquisition – See how people find the blog.
- Behavior – Learn what people do after landing on the blog.
The first time you start using Google Analytics there is a good possibility you will feel a little overwhelmed. However, the more you use the tool, the simpler it becomes to take full advantage of what is offered.
After using Google Analytics, you can see what your best content is in order to create more like it in the future. Also, you get to see what promotional methods work best. Does your traffic come mostly from social media? You can focus on that in the future.
GTMetrix is a tool you need to use in order to check page loading speed. This means figuring out how much time passes for pages to load on your blog.
Many bloggers make the mistake of not caring about page load speed. This is a huge error because of the fact that people have short attention spans. If your blog posts take too long to load, visitors simply look for what they want somewhere else.
There are numerous things that can increase loading times. Many can be tough to fix. However, everything starts by knowing what needs to be done. GTMetrix gives you detailed information about what causes page load speed to be low and tips on how you can fix it.
When your blog is filled with text, the content is not appealing. Visitors are turned off. You always want to add visuals like charts, infographics, featured images and more. The content needs to be as digestible as possible.
Many bloggers face one problem: they cannot integrate images into content or do not have the skills to do so. A solution for that is to use stock images. There are numerous sites that offer free stock images but they tend to be impersonal and are not eye-catching. Canva allows the blogger to create high-quality custom graphics that go perfectly with blog posts.
Canva already includes numerous templates for various graphics types you would need as you blog. This ranges from
If you want to get the most from Canva:
- Use the quote overlay to create highly-effective social media images.
- Create custom banners that can be used for your blog posts to create unity.
- Use only the best stock images you can find when designing in Canva.
After you create high-quality content, it is time to promote it. One way to do so is to use social networks like Pinterest and Instagram to drive traffic to the new blog. At first glance, this seems simple as you just add a few images from time to time. After the blog grows, it is time to post a lot more. This is where a tool like Tailwind can be really useful.
Tailwind gained its popularity as a Pinterest scheduling tool but it quickly became a full marketing toolkit.
With the use of Tailwind, it is possible to:
- Quickly upload images to Pinterest and Instagram.
- Schedule pins based on the perfect time to do so.
- See how pins perform.
- Use Tailwind Tribes to gain access to brand new audiences.
If you want to use other social networks besides Pinterest and Instagram, like Facebook and Twitter, Hootsuite is the tool to use. It allows you to streamline social media management and gives access to numerous content discovery tools.
Through the use of Hootsuite you can:
- Monitor your social media accounts.
- Schedule posts at the right times for the best possible engagement.
- Interact with other social media users straight from the Hootsuite dashboard.
- Discover new popular content that can be shared.
- Be notified when people comment on your social media posts.
One extra tip to remember:
- Install the Google Chrome Hootsuite extension to allow you to schedule content on your social media points right as you visit a page.
One of the best ways to increase repeat traffic for your blog is to use email marketing. You want to build a mailing list and update loyal followers whenever something important can be shared. However, sending emails to everyone one-by-one takes way too much time. This is where email marketing software steps in to offer a much-needed helping hand.
ConvertKit is quite a new option available on the market. It targets the professional bloggers, YouTubers, course creators and podcasters. However, this does not mean you cannot use it as a beginner blogger.
ConvertKit is highly recommended if you want to use targeted campaigns. It offers a really flexible segmentation system so you can send people exactly what they want to receive from you. Take advantage of the inbuilt page editor that makes it really simple to manage your entire campaign from a single location.
Check out this list to learn the best and easiest tips on how to grow your email list and get hundreds of email subscribers in no time!
Final Thoughts Before You Start Your Blog
Launching your first blog can be overwhelming. It seems there are always some things that need to be learned and there is no time to learn them. However, the tools and resources that were presented above can easily help you start with the right foot. They are also
Always do all that you can in order to create the best possible blog posts you have. Then, analyze results. Engage followers on social media and respond to every single comment. When you offer high-quality, people remember you and keep coming back.