A blog is an online web journal where you can publish posts on topics of your choice. Blogging can be carried out as a hobby or for business purposes.
The posts that you create on your blog are known as blog posts, and it can be published as written content, audio files, images, videos, or as a mix of two or more such formats.
History of Blogging
The modern blog evolved in the 1990s when Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore College, began maintaining an online journal for eleven years, starting in 1994. Another earliest example of a blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online diary started by Jerry Pournelle in the same year.
However, at that time, the term “blog” was yet to be coined, and people referred to such online journals as personal homepages. In 1997, the word “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger, who owned the blog named “Robot Wisdom.”
The short term “blog” was coined by Peter Merholz, who broke the term “weblog” and added the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his site Peterme.com. Blogs slowly started gaining popularity with the arrival of hosted blog tools for the first time in 1999.
One of the earliest examples of blogs in 1999 was blogger.com, which was created by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan of Pyra Labs. Google later purchased it in February 2003.
Why Should You Blog?
Blogging has transformed a lot in the past two decades. More than a hobby, blogging helps you network with like-minded people and share your opinions. It gives you a platform to voice your thoughts on various subjects and spread awareness among your readers.
Writing blogs hones your creativity and fuels your writing skills. Blogging allows you to showcase your expertise in a particular niche, and it also brings you fame once you establish a prominent name in the blogging community.
Blogging has opened a new avenue for earning for thousands of people. As your readership grows with quality content creation, you can start monetizing your blog through affiliate marketing, sponsored blog posts, and display ads. We will discuss more on this later in this article.
Blogs are an indispensable part of most businesses that have an online presence. Blogging boosts customer engagement and helps businesses nurture their relationships with existing and prospective customers.
Blogging generates demand by publishing content that is focused on solving customer pain points. It not only increases the trustworthiness of the customers but also develops their loyalty towards a business.
Publishing fresh content regularly boosts SEO and improves its ranking on SERPs. With consistent effort in blogging, brands can establish themselves as industry leaders in their target niches. This, in turn, can increase brand awareness.
Blogs Vs. Websites
Blogs are a type of website with the only difference between the two is the frequency at which they are updated. Blogs are updated frequently as bloggers tend to write a new blog post every few weeks, days, or even hours.
On the other hand, websites tend to be more static as the web content is not updated often. A blog can be part of a website or run independently. Most business sites these days have a separate blog section where they publish new content frequently. This helps them rank well in search engines and gain more blog followers.
Web content revolves around web pages that carry specific information about a brand or a business, such as its line of products and services, contact information, FAQ section, etc. Web content mostly follows a formal tone.
Blog content is written in a conversational style on a variety of topics, which can be classified into multiple categories and tags. Moreover, blog posts are mostly written in an informal tone to build a rapport with the readers.
Blog Posts Vs. Blog Pages
The term “blog posts” and “blog pages” often confuse new bloggers since certain blogging platforms like WordPress come with these two types of content by default. You might already have an idea about blog posts by now.
When you decide to write a new piece of content on your blog, you write a blog post by default. Your blog posts are published with time and date by default. Blog posts appear in reverse chronological order, which is why the newest post appears on the top and the earliest one in the bottom.
Moreover, blog pages don’t have author names assigned, nor are they put into specific categories. Due to their static nature, blog pages don’t appear with the date and time of publishing.
Personal Blogs Vs. Business Blogs
Although blogs are meant to be a medium to express one’s thoughts and opinions, they can be broadly classified into two categories: personal and professional.
Personal blogs are hobby blogs that you write for recreation or to share information that you think your readers may find interesting. A personal blogger doesn’t need to take into account what the readers might want to read on his/her blog.
For most personal blogs, the CTAs are directed towards blog subscriptions. Such blogs might not necessarily follow a definite theme for writing.
Also, there’s no such obligation for personal blogs to write and publish content regularly since they are created solely for enjoyment. Once you start getting a good amount of traffic to your blog, you can monetize it and turn it into a professional blog.
A business blog, on the other hand, follows a definite theme. The purpose of a business blog is to generate more leads for a business and try to convert them into customers. Business blogs can cover topics of the reader’s interests, address their pain points, share customer success stories, create roundup posts, and podcasts with industry leaders and influencers.
A business blog is an excellent way for brands to get discovered on the web. Consistent blogging efforts can help businesses rank well in SERPs and get seen by more people.
Benefits of Business Blogging
Business Blogs Help Educate Customers
Business blogging can help educate your audience about your niche market and build their interest in your products and services. You can use your blog to add value to your customers. Don’t try to sell your products or services on your blog, instead keep the space free from any sales or promotional content and utilize it to educate existing and prospective customers.
Business Blogs Help Address Commonly Asked Questions
If you run a business, you would come across some common questions related to your business. Instead of answering such questions individually, you can write a blog post addressing those questions in-depth and request people to go through them.
To find the commonly asked questions in your industry, you can check out Google’s “People Also Ask” section or use the AnswerthePublic tool. This will give you a fair idea of the common questions people tend to search online related to your niche.
Blogging Leads Search Engines to Frequently Index a Site
When you run a business blog, you need to update it with fresh content regularly, which leads search engines to index your site often and boost your online rankings. As your existing customers get new pieces of content to read and enjoy, you can use the opportunity to increase your site visibility.
Blogging Promotes Thought Leadership
When you take time to research for your blog posts, provide accurate information, and talk extensively about a topic, it helps you stand out from your competitors. As you grow your expertise in your niche market, people will start following your views and opinions closely and consider you a thought leader in the industry. It will also instil trustworthiness in your business and enhance its credibility.
Blogging Help Building Backlinks
Another benefit of business blogging is that it helps to generate backlinks from other websites. A good amount of inbound links can boost your site’s SEO by improving its authority and bringing in more traffic. When other sites link to your blog content, it signals search engines like Google about your site’s authoritativeness and boosts its online ranking.
Blogging Helps in Demand Generation
The initial step of lead generation is demand generation. Businesses can use their blog posts to create demand around a product or service by sharing its features and benefits to the audience. Once the audience finds it interesting, they’ll eagerly wait for its launch.
What is a Domain Name?
All professional and business blogs have unique domain names that help viewers to identify their sites easily. It is the address that you type in a browser to reach a particular site, such as, www.yourblog.com, where “yourblog” is the domain name.
Every domain name comes with a suffix such as .com, .gov, .info, .edu, etc., that indicates which top-level domain (TLD) they belong to. A domain name can be purchased from a verified domain name registrar for a fee. You need to check for the availability of the domain name before making the purchase. The minimum duration for which you can buy a domain name for your blog is one year, which can be increased to ten years.
What is Blog Hosting?
Along with purchasing the domain name, professional bloggers also invest in quality web hosting. Hosting a blog is like buying an online space for a blog to live in. Many hosting providers can host your blog in return for a small fee.
The hosting service stores all your files, including blog posts, pages, videos, and images on its server from where people can find your blog on the web. With a self-hosted blog, you can enjoy unlimited customizations, access a variety of plugins and themes, and play with the blog layout and widget placements.
There are two types of blog hosting services that exist-free and self-hosted. On a free hosted blog, all your files are stored on the server of the blogging platform. The domain name for such blogs will appear on the web alongside the name of the blogging platform, such as www.blogname.wordpress.com.
If you want the name of the blogging platform to be removed from your blog’s URL, you need to buy a domain name. Setting up a blog on a free blogging platform is quite simple. You need to register on the platform, decide a blog name, choose a suitable theme, and start writing. For a free blogging platform, you’ll have limited accessibility to the themes and might not be able to access the plugins, unless you choose a paid hosting plan.
The monetization potential for such blogs is limited, and you get a limited storage space since you’re opting for free hosting. Moreover, you may end up losing your entire site if you violate any of their usage terms and conditions.
For a self-hosted blogging platform, you get maximum benefits because you’re paying the price to keep your site up and running. A self-hosted blog can be customized to the core, including the themes, colors, layout, font, ad placements, choice of plugins, and much more.
If you want to earn money through blogging, a self-hosted blog will be your best choice. While free blogs put out many terms and conditions to allow monetization, you can choose to advertise on your will and earn a 100% commission from a self-hosted blog.
You can integrate your self-hosted blog with Google Analytics to get detailed insights about your blog’s performance, such as the monthly traffic, total views, total clicks, bounce rate, and other essential metrics.
Another benefit of a self-hosted blog is the facility to set up a personal email address with your blog name. This helps your email look professional and also promotes your blog for free. In case you have a blog named www.yourblog.com, your email address will look like firstname.lastname@example.org.
A self-hosted blog can be better optimized for SEO, which can increase your brand visibility and reputation. You can also enjoy 24X7 technical assistance when you sign up with a reliable hosting provider for your blog that saves you from wasting time on solving technical glitches on your site.
Can You Blog Without Any Technical Expertise?
It is possible to start blogging without any technical expertise. In fact, it’s one of the best things about blogging. It’s a common notion for many new bloggers that they need to be well-versed with web designing and coding to develop a professional-looking blog. But this isn’t a correct assumption as professional blogging requires you to be good at writing content and over everything else.
Blogging platforms like WordPress have a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, where you can see the preview of your blog’s user interface as you work on it. The benefits of using such an editor are its ease of use, the freedom to design the blog without any technical expertise, the ability to create web pages fast, and the feasibility to experiment with multiple visual elements on the blog.
Usually, when you decide to go for a self-hosted blog, it is the hosting provider that takes care of all the technical aspects of your blog.
Top Hosting Providers in the World
Some of the top and most trusted hosting providers are:
Hostgator is the largest provider of dedicated, shared, reseller, and VPS web hosting services. Founded in 2002 by Brent Oxley, Hostgator has a wide range of clientele across the world, from freelancers to fortune 500 companies. It hosts over eight million domains in the world that makes up roughly 1% of the world’s internet traffic.
BlueHost is another web hosting company that is extremely popular among bloggers and website owners. It is headquartered in Utah, United States, and was founded in 2003 by Matt Headon. It is considered one of the top 20 web hosts in the world, hosting over two million domains.
GoDaddy is an American web hosting company and a domain registrar. It is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has over 18 million customers worldwide. It was founded by 1997 as Jomax Technologies by Bob Parsons. GoDaddy has sold over 78 million domain names so far.
DreamHost is a domain name registrar and web hosting provider based in Los Angeles. Dallas Bethune, Josh Jones, Michael Rodriguez, and Sage Weil founded DreamHost in 1996. Its shared VPS and dedicated hosting network consist of Apache, Nginx, and Lighttpd web servers running on the Ubuntu operating system. It currently has about four lakhs customers worldwide.
Hostinger is another popular internet domain registrar and web hosting provider. It was founded in 2004 by Balys Krikščiūnas and has over 29 million users worldwide. Hostinger uses cloud web hosting technology and provides hosting with MySQL, FTP, and PHP.
What Type of Blogging Platform is Best For You?
It is advisable to begin with a free blogging platform if you want to use blogging as a creative outlet. With a free platform, you don’t need to worry about the blog set up and other technicalities. Since there is no investment involved in free blog hosting, you can choose to deactivate your blogging account or delete your blog anytime.
However, if you are thinking about long-term blogging, investing in a self-hosted blog will be ideal for you. This also holds true for business blogs, which are an integral part of most online businesses these days. A self-hosted blog will give you the freedom to make unlimited customizations and let you choose from thousands of plugins and themes for your blog.
With a self-hosted blog, you can choose to run as many ads as you want on your site and keep 100% earnings from that to yourself. You also get to explore other monetization opportunities with a self-hosted blog, such as affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and selling online courses and ebooks.
If you want to be professional and commit to blogging seriously, you should opt for a self-hosted blog. Most hosting providers offer SSL certification along with their paid hosting plans, which will make your site secure and trustworthy. You also get to control every tiny element of your blog that determines the quality of user experience, such as the presence of pop-ups, font-size, button-size, overall interface, ease of navigation, etc.
Top Blogging Platforms
The top free blogging platforms are:
The top self-hosted blogging platforms are:
What is Niche Blogging?
Niche blogging is writing for a particular industry. A niche blog may appeal to a specific group of people based on their gender, location, interests, etc. Niche blogs talk on a particular industry and cover various topics related to it. Professional bloggers involved in niche blogging have years of experience in their fields. An example of a niche blog can be a beauty blog or a technology blog or a food blog.
Benefits of Niche Blogging
There are many benefits of blogging for a definite niche rather than blogging on random topics of interest. Let us look at some of the top benefits of niche blogging below:
Niche Blogging Gives You a Well-Defined Target Audience
When you blog in a particular niche, you gain a well-defined target audience. This will help you to curate content that will be loved by your readers. As you start producing quality content in your niche, people will follow you diligently and get driven by your thoughts.
Niche blogging helps in building an online community to support and encourage each other. You can actively participate in the community to understand who the readers want you to write or whether they have any queries or feedback. This will help in improving your blogging activities and gain the trust of your online community.
Google Loves to Rank Quality Niche Blogs
When you consistently publish quality content in a particular niche, other blogs in the same or related niche will start linking your content to their site. This will boost your online authority, and Google will start seeing you as a reliable and quality source of content for your niche market. Inbound links from other websites are also beneficial for improving your site’s SEO and helping your blog posts rank well for various keywords. This improves the click-through rate on your blog and attracts more leads.
Niche Blogs are the First Choice For Affiliate Marketing
When you blog in a particular niche, you attract a specific segment of the audience. With affiliate marketing, you show ads of products or services that are highly relevant to that niche. Naturally, your readers will have the urge to click on those ads and make a purchase through which you can also start earning.
You Can Display Better Targeted Ads in Niche Blogs
When you blog on a particular niche, you get better advertising offers on your blog that is well suited to your target market. Ad networks like AdSense offer CPC and CPM based ads where you can choose to block specific ad categories. However, you should know that in Google Adsense, you cannot control what particular ad will appear on your site.
How to Choose a Particular Niche For Blogging?
Choosing a niche for your blog is not as hard as you think. The presence of innumerable blogs on the internet may confuse you about picking up one particular niche. However, if you take a step-by-step approach to choose your blogging niche, it only takes a little time to pick up. Here’s how you can proceed with it.
Step 1: Consider Your Areas of Interest
Take a pen and a paper and note down a list of topics you are interested in. Don’t care how silly or how serious your topic sounds, just keep them listing until you have at least more than five to six topics in hand.
Step 2: Analyze Your Expertise in Those Topics
If your listed topics belong to more than one niche, analyze them, and see whether you can talk at length on those topics. Also, try to figure out whether you regularly enjoy discussing them and possess good knowledge of them. Shortlist niches that you feel you are more comfortable to talk about.
Step 3: Do Market Research
If you want your blog to viewed by many people, then this step is vital. In fact, all professional and business bloggers must conduct market research before shortlisting a niche for blogging.
If you blog for leisure, then choosing a profitable niche shouldn’t be a matter of concern for you, but if you wish to earn money through blogging, you’ll have to choose a profitable niche.
If you choose popular niches like technology, food, beauty, and health, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort to establish your blog. These broad categories are highly competitive, with thousands of bloggers already writing on them.
If you want to stand out, try to be more specific, such as blogging only on vegetarian cuisine on your food blog or focusing only on yoga on your health blog. Before choosing a particular sub-niche, explore Google trends to discover whether it was a trending topic for a long time.
Any evergreen topic will have a good search trend, however, if you go for topics that are season-specific or target a special event, for example, a blog on US elections or a blog on film awards, you cannot expect it to get traffic all year round.
Step 4: Filter Niches Based on Profitability
To check the profitability of the niche you’ve chosen, try finding if any advertisers are investing their money on AdWords to advertise products or services in that niche. If there are enough ads on that particular category of products, be rest assured that you’ve chosen a profitable niche.
Step 5: Determine the Competition in the Market
The last step to finalize your blogging niche is to type in related keywords to check the competition. You can go to Adwords Keyword Planner and enter a keyword from your desired niche to see the average monthly search volume and competition. You can repeat the step with different keywords from your niche and shortlist the ones with high average monthly searches but low competition.
Step 6: Finalize and Start Blogging
Finally, list down the top three keywords from the keyword research in the previous step and finalize a niche to blog about. Once you finalize the niche, you can start a blog.
How to Start a Blog?
Starting a blog is very simple. It is a stepwise process that shouldn’t take you more than an hour to complete the entire set up. Once the setup is complete, you can begin blogging.
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform
We’ve already covered the two types of blogging platforms in the previous sections of this article. Depending on your goals, you’ll have to choose a free blogging platform or a self-hosted blogging platform.
In case of a free platform like WordPress.com, you can directly go to the website and sign up with your email ID and password. For a self-hosted blog, you’ll have to register the domain name first, followed by signing up with a hosting provider.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name & a Hosting Provider
The second step to starting a self-hosted blog is to choose a domain name. You have to check with the domain name registrar regarding the availability of your domain name. While choosing a domain name for your blog, it is better to use popular extensions like dot com, dot org, and dot net.
Select a domain name that reflects your blog niche clearly, go for a short domain name that is easy to read and remember and avoid using numbers and special characters in your domain name.
Once you register your domain name, go ahead with selecting a hosting plan for your blog. Long-term hosting plans generally come cheaper than short-term hosting, so think carefully before choosing one. Many hosting providers offer free domain name registration with their hosting plan, which is again value for money offer.
Most bloggers who are starting with their blog choose shared hosting plans as it is one of the most economical self-hosting options available. You must always choose a reliable hosting provider over a cheaper one because you don’t want your files and other essential information to be compromised. You must also purchase SSL certification for your blog to secure it.
Step 3: Choose a Theme
Once you register your domain name and buy a hosting plan, you’ll have to work on the blog layout by choosing a suitable theme. Sites like WordPress offer thousands of free and premium themes to choose from. Depending on your requirement, you can select one and activate it on your blog.
While choosing a theme, always go for a responsive one that is compatible with multiple devices. Don’t choose a theme that looks very cluttered or contains unnecessary elements as it can hamper your site loading speed or prevent your visitors from reading your content.
Step 4: Choose the Necessary Plugins
In addition to the theme, if you have a blog on WordPress, you can also choose plugins for your blog. Plugins are special software designed to extend the functionality of a WordPress site. Plugins come in free and premium versions, and you can choose the ones best suited for your blog.
There are some WordPress plugins that every blogger must install on their blog, such as a security plugin to detect malware and spam, an antivirus plugin to protect your blog against virus and detect the presence of any harmful plugins on your blog, Yoast SEO plugin to take care of your site’s SEO, a social media plugin for easy social sharing and a comment plugin like wpDiscuz to improve the commenting experience on your blog.
Step 5: Start Blogging
Once you have the theme and necessary plugins in place, it’s time to start writing your first post. Choose a great topic, to begin with, add an attractive headline, and start writing the blog post. Check for suggestions offered by the Yoast SEO plugin to improve SEO, revise the content, and click on publish.
Step 6: Share & Promote
As you start blogging, you cannot expect people to come and read your blog posts automatically. You’ll have to share your posts through proper channels and promote it as much as possible. To spread awareness about your blog, follow other blogs in your niche, and offer valuable comments on their posts.
Use social media to its full potential and discover online groups where you can promote your blog posts regularly. Actively participate in Twitter discussions related to your niche and build a good rapport with fellow bloggers in your industry for added support and recognition.
How to Optimize a Blog For SEO?
Optimizing a blog for SEO is essential to boost its online rankings and get more traffic.
Conduct Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is the basis of any SEO optimization. The benefits of doing keyword research are many. Firstly, it helps you to understand what users are looking for. Secondly, when you target keywords within your content, it helps you rank well in search engines.
There are many SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Moz Keyword Planning Tool that can help you to find the best keywords for your topic. The best keywords to target for your blog are the ones with high search volume but low competition. Try giving enough importance to long-tail and LSI keywords.
You also need to be very strategic with the keyword placement. They must be added in a way that it matches the natural flow of the content. By no means, you should try to stuff keywords within your content.
Add a Suitable H1 Tag
The H1 tag is the title of your blog post that appears when someone views your blog post. The H1 tag tells the search engines as well as your readers what your content is about. The H1 tag is the most crucial tag on a website. It should contain a long-tail keyword in order to rank in SERPs.
Your H1 tag should be unique for each blog post. Also, make sure that it looks compelling and grabs user attention. The H1 tag should clearly convey the topic covered in your blog post and must be kept 20-70 characters long.
Structure Your Post With Subheadings
Adding subheadings in your content helps in giving a solid structure to your entire blog post. Using them allows you to break your content into smaller sections and make it easier for people to follow. Subheadlines also act as a guide to your entire content and tell the readers what to expect at every section of the content piece. If a reader wants to read only a part of your content, he can do that easily when you structure it under suitable subheadings.
Add Internal Links
To implement proper internal links in your blog, you’ll need to create enough blog posts and pages. Once you have a decent amount of blog posts, you can link these posts with each other so that readers can navigate your site well and discover more content.
You also need to ensure that the internal links are relevant to the blog topic you’ve covered. For example, if you have written a post on what SEO is, you can add an internal link to a related topic, such as on-page SEO or off-page SEO, but linking it to a post on social media tools, won’t be very relevant.
Internal links are essential because they help Google understand the site structure and spread the link juice. This way, Google understands which blog posts and pages to value over others.
Proper internal linking also helps boost your overall page views and reduces the bounce rate on your site as people tend to spend more time exploring your links. Moreover, internal linking helps search engine bots to crawl and index pages that are placed deep within your site.
Add Images and Videos
Visual elements can make a lot of difference to your blog posts. Visual content such as images, videos, and infographics are easy to understand, eye-catching, and naturally more attractive than written content. When you add visuals to your blog posts, it helps in simplifying the topic you’re discussing.
Visual content is easier to remember for a long time as they make a lasting impact on the user’s mind. Visual elements drive more leads and boost conversions as well. Visual content gets more social shares and backlinks because they can convey messages very simply.
You can repurpose written content into visual content very easily. If you have a blog post that receives a lot of traffic, you can compile the content into a beautiful infographic or create a small video on it. This will lead to increased engagement.
Add Alt Text to Images
Now that you know the importance of visuals in your blog let’s move a step closer to optimizing visual elements for SEO benefits. A very common visual element that people use on their blogs is images. Bloggers spend a lot of time curating the best images for their blog posts but fail to optimize it for SEO. To optimize an image for SEO, you need to give them an Alt text. It is a description of the image on your site.
Alt-text is vital because search engines cannot detect images on your site; they read them as plain text, and hence, you must give them a proper description. It is also useful for people with visual impairments and uses screen readers to read your content. Alt text also helps your images rank for specific keywords and appear when images fail to load for slow sites.
Choose a Simple Permalink Structure
A permalink is a permanent URL that links to a blog post or a web page. Good SEO practice is to choose a simple URL or permalink structure that is easy for people to follow. There are different types of permalink structures that you may follow. The simplest one comes with the blog URL followed by the slug, such as www.mysite.com/my-content.
By default, WordPress permalinks are not SEO-friendly. Hence you need to edit them and make them readable and SEO friendly. You can do this by adding your target keyword in the slug. When you add the slug, use a dash (-) to separate each word. Prevent adding stop words to keep the URL as short as possible.
To choose a suitable permalink structure in WordPress, go to Settings>Permalinks and decide whether you want to go with a plain structure or add elements such as day of posting, date of posting, category name, etc. You also have the freedom to build your open custom URL, but you’ve to be careful not to make it sound misleading or too complicated.
Optimize your Meta Description
The meta description snippet is about 156 characters long. If you add a description exceeding the character limit, the excess part won’t appear in the search result, and you might not be able to describe the contents of your blog post very clearly.
When people discover your blog post in the SERP, they come across the meta title and meta description first. The meta title should not exceed 70 characters in length. So, you have to optimize both the meta title and description with the target keyword and maintain the specified character limit.
Write your meta description in an active voice and add a clear call to action that will entice users to click on the search result. Also, avoid keyword stuffing when it comes to optimizing meta descriptions, as it may lead Google to penalize your blog.
Optimize Your XML Sitemaps
An XML sitemap is the list of your website URLs. It helps search engines to discover new content on your site. Therefore XML sitemaps help in fast indexation of your site content. It also helps in solving a variety of issues on your blogs, such as the presence of a deep site architecture or the lack of good internal and external link profiles. XML sitemaps are also beneficial for blogs that publish new content quite often.
XML sitemaps have a limitation of 50,000 URLs or an uncompressed file size limit of 50 MB. You can use gzip to compress sitemaps, but as soon as you hit any one of the above limitations, you have to split the rest of the URLs across multiple sitemaps. These multiple sitemaps can be further combined into a single XML sitemap index file, often named sitemap-index.xml, which is a sitemap of all sitemaps on your blog.
The best practice to get your content indexed faster in search engines is to submit your XML sitemaps in their webmaster tool consoles. Since there is a limitation on sitemap creation, you should only include the money pages in your sitemaps, i.e., the web pages or post URLs that bring you SEO benefit to the blog. Also, avoid adding noindex URLs, URLs that are canonicalized to another URL and URLs that return non-200 HTTP response code in your XML sitemaps.
Backup Your Blog Regularly
If you have been a blogger for a while, you must have invested a lot of time and energy into it; you obviously don’t want it to go waste. A small compromise in your blog’s security or a technical error from your end can make you lose all your data. This irreversible damage can be taken care of if you backup a copy of your blog often.
There could be many reasons why your blog data could be wiped out completely. Hacking is obviously one of the most common reasons you might lose all your blog content and files. Other reasons for such an issue can be server malfunction, incompatible plugins or themes, coding error, or due to backup conducted by unreliable companies.
You can backup your WordPress blog manually or ask your hosting service providers to do it for you. There are many plugins that are available on WordPress that can also help you backup your site data.
Make Your Blog Mobile-Friendly
With an increasing number of people surfing the internet on their mobiles, every big and small blog must make their site mobile-friendly to garner more visitors. If you take a look at your blog analytics, you’ll get accurate data regarding the number of visitors who access it on their mobiles.
If your blog is not mobile-friendly, you’ll lose out on a massive chunk of traffic on your site every month. Therefore, you must choose a blog theme that’s compatible with mobiles and tablets and optimize your blog so that it loads quickly on user devices. A slow loading site can increase the bounce rate and affect the crawl budget, which means the search engine bots will crawl fewer pages and lead to limited indexation.
Consider Using AMP
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is a way to build web pages that loads much faster than regular HTML. Since AMP pages load faster, it improves usability and convinces users to stay longer on your site.
Moreover, AMP pages combined with awesome content can help your site rank well in SERPs as Google prefers AMP sites. If your blog generates heavy traffic from mobile, AMP can reduce the load on your servers and improve the overall performance. However, AMP boasts a simple UI, which is devoid of many page elements that a site usually has, like breadcrumbs and hamburger buttons. If you think your site works well with a simpler UI, go for AMP.
Integrate Google Analytics to Your Blog
If you want to analyze your blogging success and make it more impactful, you need to integrate your site with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an advanced and free tracking platform that can provide you information about your site visitors.
Using the tool you can find out which blog posts get the maximum view, how much time does your readers spend on your site, which devices they use to browse your blog, their location and all sorts of information that will help you to create a persona of your readers and tailor curated content for them.
Plagiarized or copied content published on your blog can lead Google to penalize your site and take it down. Blogging ethically is mandatory if you want to make a mark in the online space and build a brand name. Focus on writing quality content and seeking permission to use something from another blog or site.
Remember to give credit to your fellow blogger when you add their content to your site. The same works for images, videos, and infographics. You should strive to create original images and other visual elements and avoid copy-pasting from other sites to prevent copyright violations.
Prevent Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization happens when you target the same keyword for multiple web pages on your site. If you cannibalize your own keywords, you’ll end up competing with your own keywords. This confuses Google as it can’t distinguish which article to rank for that keyword. To prevent keyword cannibalization, try merging your content or remove keywords that are causing cannibalization.
You can also add a noindex tag to a cannibalized web page so that the search engines can understand which page you don’t want to rank or add a rel=canonical tag to help search engines know which is the main version of the web page for a given keyword. Sometimes, when you face cannibalization issues with low-quality web pages, it is best to delete such content.
Refresh Existing Blog Posts
Content refresh is updating your existing content with relevant information so that users find it useful and up-to-date. Content refresh is necessary to increase your blog traffic for your existing posts, especially those you wrote months ago.
There are many ways to refresh your content, which doesn’t necessarily refer to adding more content. You can refresh an existing blog post by optimizing it with keywords, or finding new link building opportunities, etc.
As we are slowly moving to the age of voice search, you’ll need to format your content in a way that it looks more conversational and targets a lot of long-tail keywords. If you haven’t been optimizing your blog posts for voice search, this is the right time to do so.
A content refresh of your blog will ensure that your posts do not contain outdated content, broken links, or thin content. Therefore, you must conduct it often to help your blog posts rank well in SERPs and direct more traffic towards them.
How to Monetize A Blog?
Monetizing your blog is a crucial step in your blogging journey. When you decide to monetize your blog, you’ll have to look at it more than a hobby and take it seriously. On most ad platforms like AdSense and media.net, you need to have a substantial monthly traffic or page views before you can start earning from your blog.
This means that you need to put in much effort and establish yourself as a credible blogger before you can start earning from your blog. However, the amount of money you can expect to receive from blogging also depends on several factors, such as your blog niche, how frequently you blog, the amount of traffic that you get on your blog per month, etc. Given below are some common ways to make money from blogging.
In affiliate marketing, you promote other companies’ products through affiliate links placed strategically within your blog posts. When people click on those links and make a purchase, you earn a small percentage of money from the merchant.
A merchant who wants to increase sales through affiliate marketing will give a unique link to each affiliate (blogger), which will help the merchant to attribute the sale to the right affiliate. Amazon is a popular merchant associated with affiliate marketing. However, you can go ahead and choose a platform on your own. Then you need to apply for the affiliate program and wait to get approved.
Once you are approved, you’ll have to create good content and optimize it with affiliate links. When people click on the affiliate links and make a purchase, you earn a small commission.
Ad networks pay bloggers based on pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model. In the PPC model, you get paid every time a visitor clicks on an ad on your blog. The CPM model pays you a fixed amount for every 100 people who view an ad on your blog.
You can earn by writing sponsored posts on your blog. To attract good sponsors for your blog posts, you have to first invest time and money in building a professional-looking blog, next you need to join some popular blogging networks and create a good relationship with fellow bloggers in your niche. They can sometimes help you to get in touch with suitable sponsors.
You also need to start pitching brands with your blog and convince them how you can promote their products or services through your blog. If you are just starting, finding sponsors might be a bit difficult. But once you establish yourself as a well-known blogger in your niche, you’ll find sponsorship requests for your blog posts knocking at the doors.
Premium Content Service
Another way to earn money from blogging is to offer premium content service. In your industry, you have to be an opinion leader to convince people to buy premium content from you. Moreover, this premium content cannot be the blog posts that you write on your blog, but content that will actually add value to your readers, like ebooks, case studies, podcasts, etc.
You can offer premium content to your blog subscribers in exchange for a monthly fee. You have to target this plan to your returning followers as they follow your content ardently and might want to read more of your content by paying the price. For premium content, you can pick up various trending topics in your niche or analyze what your readers want to see on your site by conducting a poll or survey.
Offering Online Courses
You can earn money from your blog by offering online courses and webinars. There are many ways to provide such premium educational material through your blog. Imagine you running a photography blog and having some followers who don’t have the money to invest in a premium camera, but are very keen on learning photography. You can target these people by offering them a mobile photography course because there’s hardly anyone today who doesn’t own a smartphone.
You can start by promoting your course a few days before its official release date. Try creating a buzz around the course by highlighting the pain points and how your course will be a savior for those aspiring photographers who want to start with photography.
Keep a few things in mind, such as the price of the course. If it is high enough to meet the price range of a low-budget camera, why would people invest in your course instead of purchasing the camera itself? Moreover, many people offer free courses on the given subject, so what makes your content different from the rest?
The trick is to provide a bonus with your paid course, such as a certification. To pick up a course that sells like hotcakes, you have to analyze the industry and understand what skills are in demand. You might need to sign up for a free course yourself to understand the missing elements.
Once you develop the course by combining the best content, you’ll also need to offer it in popular formats like PDF or PPT presentation. Moreover, you should promote it in your blog by adding CTA directed towards the course at the end of each post, through email newsletters or pop-ups on your blog.
If you find online course creation a time-consuming and tiring process, you can choose to proceed with online consultations on your blog. If you are a home decor blogger, you can offer to provide paid consultations to people looking to revamp their interiors. You can add a feature to your blog that allows visitors to choose a time slot and day for consultation.
Initially, you may need to offer free consultations, but once you start gaining popularity, you may introduce a paid consultation service alongside where you can promise to offer add-on services such as a guide book to choose various elements of home decoration, such as color, space, material, etc. or offer discount coupons in collaboration with various home improvement stores. Online consultation can save your time and money as a blogger while helping you establish yourself as an expert in your target industry.
We’ve covered most parts of blogging in this extensive article, so anybody who is looking to begin a blog or start earning from it can refer to this post. Blogging continues to offer a platform to millions of people worldwide to make their voice heard or make a difference in the world by sharing their knowledge in specific niches. Blogging continues to be an extremely profitable profession that can offer maximum benefits with consistent efforts.