Beginner’s Guide: Starting a Writing Blog

Have you been dreaming of starting a writing blog? Maybe you’ve been writing on your own for what seems like ages and you’re finally ready to show your work to the world. Or maybe you just have a lot to say and want a place to say it. 

Well, luckily, starting a writing blog is a lot easier than it used to be. You don’t even need any website experience. All you need is some creativity, free time, and a laptop. 

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything about blogging for writers; how to start a writing blog, the dos and don’ts of blogging, and the answers to your blogging questions. And by the end of this guide, you should have all of the tools that you’ll need in order to start your own writing blog.

We make it easy to get your work out to your network and beyond with all the marketing tools you need.

What’s a blog?

This might seem like a strange question, but some people have the wrong definition of a blog. A blog is a website with all kinds of content published on it. The content is written conversationally, and each post usually concerns a single topic.

A blog can take on a lot of different forms and can span across different industries. Just as a website typically has separate webpages, a blog is made up of separate blog posts. 

A blog doesn’t have to use a specific format or be limited to specific topics. Anything can ultimately become a blog with enough written content.

What’s the purpose of a blog?

Reasons for starting a writing blog can vary depending on what kind of writing you do. And while you may just want to start a writing blog as a hobby, it can also be a business. As a matter of fact, almost every blog on the internet is set up to make money for the owner of the site. 

Many corporate bog sites often pay a writer to create their blog content, but since you’re a writer, you’re not paying for writing services. This gives you both financial freedom and the ability to grow your blog as you see fit.

A blog is an important part of your online marketing. It’s a big focus for experts who explain how to do online marketing for writers.

How you make the money, however, is up to you. There are several different methods of making money through your blog.

Selling your online book

If you’ve written a book, then a blog is a no-brainer. Selling books online works much better when you have a blog to point readers in the right direction. 

As you probably already know, the only way to sell a book is to advertise it. A lot. A well-kept blog is a completely free way to advertise your book without directly doing so.

You’ll simply encourage readers to visit your site and buy your book to learn more about a given category. Keep in mind, this works best when your blog occupies the same “niche” that your book was written in (more on that later).

Generate ad revenue

One of the oldest money making techniques on the internet is to sell ads. Common website hosting apps tend to have automatic ways to add ads to your site and generate some income.

If you didn’t know, ad revenue increases according to how many views or clicks an ad gets. The more people you get to read your blog, the more money you make through ads.

Certain ad companies will only sell to websites that have an average viewership that is above their predetermined requirement. But, they pay more money for a larger audience base.

As your blog keeps growing, you’ll keep making more money through ads. And there’s nothing wrong with putting ads on your page, even if you have another purpose for your blog — just be cautious not to have so many ads that they overpower your blog and annoy your readers.

A blog that links to your professional writing website is very efficient. Through the blog, you’ll show your abilities as a writer and your knowledge in a certain category. An interested reader can then easily follow the trail of breadcrumbs all the way to your professional website.

Once your reader is there, it becomes that much easier to make a sale. They’re already interested in you as a writer, so becoming a customer is the logical next step.

Of course, this step is easier if your blog is part of your professional website. In which case, traffic to your blog also counts as traffic to your website, which helps in organic SEO.

Have you ever read a product review and noticed that the product was conveniently linked a bunch of times? You click the link and you’re immediately directed to a site to purchase the product. This is called using affiliate links, and it actually makes the blog owner money without the customer paying extra.

Amazon is one of the biggest players in this space. When you embed an affiliated Amazon link in your blog, you’re hoping that the reader clicks the link and completes their purchase. If they do, you get a certain percentage of the total sale. You also receive a certain percentage of the money that they spend on Amazon over the next 24 hours or so.

The customer doesn’t spend any extra on these purchases. The blog owner is getting paid as a “thank you” from Amazon. The blog post referred the reader to Amazon, so the blog owner gets a commission of the sale(s). While an Amazon affiliate profile is free to set up, they do have certain benchmarks that have to be met before you can become a paid affiliate. 

This style of blog works well when it comes to guides, comparisons, roundups, and “Top 10 Products.” If your niche allows you to use affiliate links, there’s a lot of room to increase profit.

Promoting your personal website

Another purpose of blogging for writers like you is to promote your personal website. Your personal website is the embodiment of your online persona. When people use Google to search for your name, your personal website will probably pop up.

Blogs that solely promote a personal website are pretty rare. However, a blog on a personal website that promotes and highlights your work and expertise as a writer could help you attract more clients.

Make it big, then sell the blog

There are certain writers that bounce from one blog to the next. You can actually sell a blog for 12 to 24 times the amount of monthly revenue you can make on it.

The idea is to put together so much great content that you start gaining a following. Once you start making money through ads and affiliate links, you can then sell the blog online.

After selling the blog, you can start a new blog and repeat the process.

Using SEO on your blog

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. As the name suggests, this is a way to optimize your blog to show up within the highest-ranking results from a search engine. In almost every case, the search engine in question is Google. Another way to think about SEO is as the “Google-ability” of your blog.

Some experts devote their entire careers to studying SEO and creating a perfectly-optimized blog. For your blog, a few general best practices of SEO will suffice.

Why do you need SEO on your blog?

Your blog is completely hosted on the internet. This means that people can find you when they search for certain terms and Google key phrases. If your blog is SEO-friendly, then your name will pop up when people look up the right terms.

SEO works a lot like buying a Google Ad, except you don’t have to spend a penny on it. SEO will boost your ranking on Google, which will dramatically increase how many people view your blog. However, unlike an ad, SEO takes time to move your blog to the top of the search results, so don’t expect overnight success.

While you’ll be exposed to the 10 steps of how to start a writing blog later in this guide, none of the steps matter quite as much as the overall SEO factor of your site. 

Who can start a blog?

Anyone can start a writing blog — there are no real requirements. You can even start a free blog today. Right now. And you don’t have to pass a comprehensive writing test or solve a complicated puzzle.

However, the best type of person to start a writing blog is a writer that is knowledgeable about a certain subject or subjects. Blogging for writers is a much more fruitful venture than simply paying a writer.

Since you’ll be writing the content yourself, there’s no real overhead when it comes to starting a writing blog. As long as you can carve out some free time, you can create a blog entirely on your own.

Some writers like to bring in a web designer to handle the website side of things. A little bit of cash upfront isn’t the end of the world if the result is a website that you’re proud of. On the other hand, you can skip this step and produce a website entirely on your own (even with no coding or website-making experience) by using a website builder tool.

The 10 steps for starting a writing blog

These 10 steps will outline how to start a writing blog. The process of starting a blog is pretty simple and this outline is fairly comprehensive. If you have questions after reading any of the steps, be sure to check out the FAQ at the bottom of this guide.

1. Pick a niche

The first thing you have to do is pick a niche. What’s a niche? It’s another word for a writing category.

You’ll notice that every successful blog on the internet has a niche. All of the content on that blog will revolve around its niche. 

This is the important thing to highlight — all of your content needs to connect to your niche one way or another. It is worth noting that it’s usually better to have a rather specific niche. A general niche about “business” won’t perform as well as one about “small business owners of restaurants.” 

How to pick a niche

A lot of writers struggle with picking a niche. Some writers will try to force their way into a “high profit” niche. These kinds of niches have a lot of attention and get plenty of searches each month. Typical “high profit” niches are tech, business, and finance based.

The truth? You can make a large profit no matter what your niche is. The secret to starting a writing blog that’s successful is to select a niche that you know inside and out. This could mean a hobby, a passion, or a profession that you had in a past life.

In short, if you are knowledgeable about a topic, then make that your niche.

A good way to pick your category is to sit down and think about what excites you. Do you like working on cars? What about traveling? Are you hiking every weekend? It really doesn’t matter what niche you pick — if you know what you’re talking about and you write engaging content, the money will come.

On the other hand, if you try to choose a niche that you know nothing about because there’s a promise of big profit, you’ll be in trouble. You’re starting off at a disadvantage, and you’ll wind up doing a ton of research just to catch up. The worst part? A true fan of the niche will know that you don’t actually know much about it. 

It can hurt you if you select the wrong writing category but don’t freak out — if it doesn’t work out, you can always scrap the blog and try again.

2. Define your audience

What good is a blog with no audience? It’s time to determine who your audience is going to be. 

If you’re trying to sell your services, your audience should align with the demographic that your services target.

Remember, this audience is going to be within the industry that your niche is targeting. Do you want industry experts or the everyday hobbyist? Are you targeting a specific age range or gender? Is your content location-specific? 

Knowing the right audience to target will help you develop the voice of your blog. 

3. Choose where to put your blog

The next step is to figure out where to host your blog. If you already have a writing website, then it’s best to put your blog on a separate tab of your existing website. This method is typically best for writers who sell their services or a product on their main website. 

As mentioned earlier, starting a writing blog can help connect people to your services and put more eyes on your business. In this case, you definitely want your blog to appear on your business website.

Don’t have a business website? Not a problem. There are two options when it comes to hosting your website.

The best overall choice is using Constant Contact’s Website Builder. It’s a paid program that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and has many convenient features to get your blog off to a great start. The price you pay for the service is significantly lower than the value you get from the different tools and widgets.

Another option is to host your website on WordPress. The site lets you layout a nice format and completely customize your site with no coding skills at all. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to set everything up on your own. And while popular, this process will take significantly longer to set up than Constant Contact’s convenient builder.

4. Pick the perfect URL

After starting a writing blog, you’ll be asked what “domain name” you want to use. This is the URL that people type in when they want to see your blog.

You should pick a URL that is directly related to your niche, the fact that you’re a writer, or a defining characteristic about your blog. All of these aspects will help with the SEO of your website.

Stick with a professional URL that people can easily pronounce. When people talk about your site, you don’t want to make it hard for them to remember and say its name.

Your domain name can be changed in the future if it doesn’t work out initially. A good suggestion is to choose a domain name that’s short and sweet. 

It also helps if you can use the same name on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to help complete the circle. Starting a writing blog with a shared name across your social media accounts makes it very easy to cross-promote your content.

5. Select a theme and design

In this step, you’ll be adding some flavor to your website. The most common reason why people use Constant Contact is because of the variety of themes and custom designability of your site. 

Your theme should reflect the tone and voice of your blog. If your blog’s purpose is to promote your business, stick to a professional and clean design. If it’s to promote your children’s book feel free to use bright colors and whimsical images. 

Whatever theme you choose, ensure that you put the most attention on your blog’s homepage. This will be the first thing that viewers see and will give them the strongest impression of you and your brand.

6. Start writing

Of course, starting a writing blog means nothing if there’s no content. And as a writer, you should already know the best ways to get your point across but there are a few points that are worth mentioning.

Make sure that you use industry-specific wording but don’t go overboard with the jargon. Unless your blog is targeting industry experts, you should keep things pretty general and easy to read — think 8th-grade reading level. The use of jargon is simply to show the reader that you know what you’re talking about.

Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of maintaining your brand’s voice as you develop content. You don’t want your third blog post to sound completely different from your first. Being consistent is part of what makes you appear reliable.

7. Use SEO best practices

After writing an article, you should always revisit it and spruce it up for SEO. There’s a lot to learn about Search Engine Optimization and how to use it on your blog. To keep things simple, focus on these three points: readability, keywords, and links.

The readability of your blog

Google has a soft spot for content that’s easy to read. As Google determines which search results to rank at the top of the first page, readability plays a major role.

This is great news for a professional writer. You specialize in making highly readable content, so starting a writing blog with readable content should be a breeze.

Even if your blog is targeting industry experts, you can still find a way to make the content easy to read. As you’re churning out content, don’t forget this fundamental idea — Unreadable content goes to the back of the line on Google.

The keywords in your blog

Another major factor when it comes to SEO is keywords and phrases. In fact, this is the part of SEO that almost everyone recognizes.

What are keywords? They are the words and phrases that will connect you with your readers. They are the terms that someone will enter in Google’s search box when they’re looking for something specific.

As a writer, you can hone in on a handful of keywords and the result will be a better ranking on Google. The idea is that when people search for these terms, your blog post will pop up.

For writers looking to promote their professional services through a blog, a keyword might be “professional writer for hire.” For a 3D printing blog, you might use a term like “best 3D printer under $500.”

Using links in your blog

If your blog has links to reputable sites, the SEO of your blog will go up. By creating a network of links throughout your site, your blog will start to rank higher and higher on Google’s list.

If someone links to your blog, you’ll see even better results. Something as simple as linking to respected and knowledgeable sources in your blog entries will also help your blog.

You can also link to different pages of your website or blog. If you’re promoting a service on a different part of your website, sprinkle in some of these internal links throughout your blog posts.

8. Promote your blog and be consistent

Once everything is set up, it’s time to start promoting. You want to spread the message through every channel that you have. Social media, friends and family, coworkers — let everyone know that you have a blog!

Try visiting different industry-specific forums online and talk about your blog. As long as your post on the forum is helpful, and your blog article is even more so, people typically won’t mind the promotion.

However, promoting your blog won’t do you any good if you’re not consistent about writing. You need to maintain your blog and commit to posting on a regular basis. How often do you need to blog? Well, that depends on you. For some, once a month. For others, several times a  day. A good rule of thumb is to commit to a blogging frequency of at least once a week.

Keep in mind that older blogs will fall down Google’s ranking system (if they’re not updated on a regular basis). And, if your blog is too old, then it won’t show up at all. As difficult as it might seem, keeping up with your blog is essential. This is one of the most common oversights when people are starting a writing blog.

9. Track the data

If you’re using Constant Contact to host your blog, the next step is to track your data. Data will come in the form of who is reading your blog, how many views you get, and the interactions that people make on your site.

You’ll be able to discover and track whether people are reading just one post, or if they read a lot of your posts. 

This data will tell you exactly what you need to do in order to run a more profitable blog. If a handful of posts are getting a majority of the attention, try to figure out what makes them different. Are you promoting those ones differently, or is the topic more interesting?

10. See who’s talking about you

The final step is to see who is talking about you. Check social media to see who is interacting with you and search for your blog’s name to see if anyone is mentioning it.

Google your blog’s name and see if you’re getting coverage from any media outlets or people discussing your blog. This new information can help you compose blog posts that are tailored to the people that are talking about you. You might also mention them. This will create a more loyal following, which can translate into more money in your pocket.

Talking to another writer about their blog

The world of blogging is a mostly friendly community. Starting a writing blog takes a certain level of skill, knowledge, and focus. And bloggers tend to respect one another.

Even bloggers in the same industry won’t view each other as enemies. For this reason, you might want to begin by having a one-on-one conversation with another blogger. They don’t even have to be in your industry.

Ask them what lessons they have learned along the way and what they wished they had done differently in the beginning.

It’s always great to establish a close connection with someone who’s gone through what you’re looking to go through. Perhaps, by speaking with different bloggers, you’ll find one who can be a mentor as you continue to grow your blog.

When is the best time to start a writing blog?

There are no time restrictions when it comes to starting a writing blog. If you have a few ideas, then you can get started today.

Since it’s so easy to set up a blog, there isn’t much work that you need to do ahead of time. As a writer, you should already have a level of creativity and ingenuity that will guide you through the process. 

Blogs don’t have hours of operation or any seasonality, so you can write whenever you have free time. Maybe that means putting together a blog at night after working during the day. Some people only write for their blog on the weekends and use their blog as a lucrative side hustle.

8 tips for running a successful blog

Before getting too far ahead of yourself, make sure you follow these tips for running a successful blog. This goes beyond just starting a writing blog — it entails making a blog that will be profitable and won’t get blacklisted by Google. These tips are listed in no particular order.

1. Never plagiarize. Ever. 

Maybe, back in school, you could get away with copying homework from a peer if you had different teachers, or were at different class levels. However, in the world of blogging, you’ll never get away with it. Now, the “teacher” checking your work, is one of the strongest search algorithms in the world. Yes, that’s Google.

Google searches its database to identify plagiarism whenever you put up new content. If a certain amount of your content is plagiarized, then Google will blacklist your entire blog and you’ll never show up on the first page of Google — ever.

Plagiarism is simply the copying and pasting of content from another site without directly quoting and citing it. Google has a zero-tolerance policy for this. 

It’s okay to take inspiration from other blogs, but never lift your content directly from them.

2. Keep your voice

Your blog posts should read similar from one post to the next. This doesn’t mean talking about the same ideas — it means using the same voice.

Your writing voice for your blog needs to be consistent across the board. It’s okay to develop and evolve over time, but there should be a gradual transition of your voice. In the short-term, a reader should be able to read two of your posts and know that the same writer composed them.

That’s the benefit of running a blog as a writer. You’ll be putting together most, if not all, of your content by yourself. 

A consistent writing voice will help to build a following for your blog.

3. Research what you don’t know 

Even though you’re an industry expert, there are going to be things that you aren’t 100% sure of. A big part of writing is doing research ahead of time. It ensures that your information is up-to-date on any given topic.

An added benefit to researching is that it might also provide you with additional ideas to implement in your blog.

4. Use tools to make your life easier

There are numerous tools available for you to optimize your blog. One of the big ones is a set of social marketing tools from Constant Contact

This set of tools will help spread the word for your blog to amass a bigger following.

It connects your account to all of your social media accounts, helps you find new customers, schedules the delivery of your content, and even lets you see when people talk about you.

This tool alone will handle four of the 10 steps for starting a writing blog. Meanwhile, it will save you a ton of time by eliminating the need for you to do these manually. 

5. Never forget your reason

As the weeks, months, and years go by, a lot of bloggers forget the reason why they started their blog in the first place. Their blog’s voice will start to drift and the content will noticeably shift.

If you’re not purposefully changing the main intent of your blog, be sure that you aren’t forgetting your reason for blogging. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of purposes for a blog.

For example, if your blog exists to direct people to your business site, keep linking it as you make more blog posts.

6. Don’t get discouraged

Another tip to remember is that things will get frustrating over time. You’ll run into writer’s block, you might get a negative comment about your blog, and you might not get the following you were expecting.

Blogs take time to become money machines. No one became a millionaire overnight thanks to a blog.

It takes long-term, consistent work. Don’t get discouraged — just keep generating new content. The only way to build your blog and learn more about blogging is by continuing to do it.

7. Create templates and standards

Automation in a blog is a beautiful thing. A lot of blogs have a similar structure and format across different blog posts. This gives you an opportunity to create a template and standardize some of your work.

This will save you a lot of time as your blog progresses. Starting with a template makes the job easier than starting with a blank piece of paper. 

8. Don’t forget your call to action

The final piece of information in any of your blog posts should be a call to action (CTA). This tells the reader to do something actionable.

In many cases, a CTA might be “to learn more, visit my site here” with a link to your site. A CTA might also ask the reader to reach out to you to learn more, buy your book, take your course, or purchase your affiliate product.

How do you come up with blog post ideas?

You have probably heard of (and maybe experienced) writer’s block in the past. It’s a very real phenomenon where a writer simply can’t come up with an idea to write about. For a blogger, this is fatal.

Not having an idea for a blog means that you can’t write an article and your blog will fizzle out. 

So, how are you supposed to come up with new blog post ideas?

Bring in a writer

It might seem silly, but bringing in a writer for your blog might inspire you. Carefully screen the writer to make sure they’re legitimate and will help your blog.

You should do the final edits to ensure that the piece fits with the voice of your blog and has the right industry or niche knowledge. While reading the blogs that your writer composes, you might get inspired by parts of them.

What are your competitors doing?

Nothing’s wrong with peeking over the fence to see what your neighbors are doing. Take a look at other blogs in your niche and see what type of content they’re putting out.

If their audience and niche are aligned with your blog’s, then you can borrow some of their ideas. Keep in mind, you never want to copy and paste content from another person’s blog — that can get you in a lot of trouble.

If you read some of their content, be on the lookout for categories or blog ideas that you can use on your own blog. 

Try reading some of your competitor’s posts and see if you get inspired during the process. Simply viewing a post elsewhere might spark a thought that’s somewhat related, resulting in a new post for your blog.

What’s something that might interest a reader to learn about?

A good method is to consider some interesting facts about your niche. What’s something that you recently told a friend, family member, or colleague that interested them about your primary subject?

What’s a piece of information that you might use as a “did you know…”? Any of these would be a good example of a blog post.

Remember that your purpose is to engage a reader to the point where they want to know more about you and what you do. You want them to sign up to your mailing list, click your links, buy your affiliate products, and purchase services from you.

One of the quickest ways to achieve all of this is to produce interesting content.

Make an “ultimate guide”

If you’ve already put out some content and you’re stuck, then it might be time for an ultimate guide. This is a long-form blog that does a deep dive into a certain part of a niche or industry. This might be a 5,000-word how-to or an introduction to a category.

While you’re writing this guide, you’ll be including a lot of different information. Any one of the categories in this ultimate guide can branch off into a separate more-specific blog post. That’s what makes an ultimate guide so powerful for your blog.

As you’re assembling the ideas and content to hit a word count, you’ll likely come up with additional ideas for blog posts.

Bonus points if you link the blog posts to one another!

Record your thoughts

Another tactic that some writers use is recording their thoughts as they talk about a subject. You might begin by explaining what makes your blog interesting and then allow your mind to wander.

Say any blog topic that comes to mind — don’t filter yourself. After a few minutes, stop the recording and go for a walk to clear your mind. Come back and record yourself for another few minutes as you discuss the subject and brainstorm ideas.

After this second recording, go back and listen to both recordings.

This works in two stages: First, you might come up with some good ideas while simply talking about your subject. Second, you might think of a new idea while listening to the recordings.

Either way, you should now have a few ideas to work with.

Reach out to another expert

Another technique you can try is to reach out to another expert. Ask them what interests them about your niche and what they wish everyone knew. A simple conversation like this might be all you need to start putting together more blog content.

Keep in mind — it is preferable that this expert isn’t a writer. You want them to approach it strictly with your industry in mind, not what makes for good, written content. You’re the writer here, so you can decide which topics are worth writing about. 

FAQ

Now that you know more about starting a writing blog, you probably have a thousand questions. To clear the air, here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

How often should you post?

People’s opinion on how frequently you should post really varies. Some people claim that posting daily is the only way to run a blog. Others stick to a monthly post.

In general, the best frequency to post would be at least once a week. In the beginning, you might opt for three times per week to generate content and build your blog quicker.

Since you’re doing the writing yourself, it’s not a matter of money — it’s just a matter of time. Do you have enough time to crank out a high-quality article every day? There’s an important distinction here: The quality of your posts shouldn’t suffer so that you can post more often.

You can also create a ton of blog posts at one time and release them according to a schedule. For instance, you could write 50 articles this week and then commit to releasing two or three per week. There’s nothing that forces you to post an article the moment that you finish writing it.

What kind of things can you blog about?

So long as it’s within your niche and for your audience, there’s no limit to what you can blog about. How-to’s, product reviews, roundups, informational or educational pieces, opinion pieces, news, and Top 10’s are all acceptable blog posts.

If you have knowledge about something that’s aligned with your niche which your audience would enjoy, write about it! Otherwise, do some research and put together a piece that would be equally enjoyable.

If you look at a dozen blogs within the same industry, you might find hundreds of topics that are completely different. That’s the beauty of running a blog. You can write about whatever you want.

How long should each post be?

The length of your articles is going to vary from industry to industry. Even the subjects that you’re talking about are going to require different post lengths.

One of the components of SEO is the length of each blog post. Google doesn’t want to show something that’s either too short or too long.

In general, targeting a word count between 1,000 and 2,000 words should suffice. An occasional post that’s below or above that range is acceptable as long as it makes sense.

Adding words for no reason is called padding, and Google frowns upon it. It will not only hurt your SEO but will also hurt the readability of your piece. Also, keep in mind that readers won’t want to stick with your blog if you routinely put together 10,000-word articles.

Why does a niche matter?

You keep hearing about the importance of picking a niche and sticking with it, but why does it even matter? It matters because you want to attract a certain group of people who will consistently follow your blog.

If all of your content revolves around kayaking, then kayakers will follow your blog religiously. Once they are engaged, they’ll hang on every word that you write and be dedicated to reading along.

If your blog is about random content with no connection, then why would anyone follow you? In general, people don’t have many things that they’re really passionate about. They select a few hobbies that they love and then want to be immersed in only these — nothing else.

The short answer is this: dedication to your niche will create a strong following that translates to a loyal customer base.

Conclusion

Armed with this information, you should have everything you need for starting a writing blog. 

No matter what your niche, industry, audience, and reason for a blog are, the format for how to start a writing blog is more or less the same. 

Good luck and happy writing!

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