5 tips I’d give myself if I started my blog today

Posted by Karon Thackston on 16 Mar, 2020
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Expert blogger Karon Thackston has years of experience with her blog. Here are the top 5 things she do if starting out now.

Blog tips.

How many times have you wished you had a time machine? Wouldn’t it be great to go back and take a “do-over” on certain parts of your personal or business life? Because Marketing Words (my company) is now in its 21st year in business, I get asked what I’d do differently a lot.

When it comes to my blog, I can quickly name 5 vital blog tips I’d give myself. These are things I messed up early on — and here’s how I would improve them now that I know better.

Blog tip #1: Optimize for SEO keywords

As far back as 2003, Marketing Words offered search engine optimized (SEO) copywriting services. You would think that would automatically cause me to perform keyword research for each post on our blog. But for years, I didn’t. Even though it’s quite simple to use a premium tool like Wordtracker to quickly identify optimal words that would drive traffic… inexplicably, I didn’t.

When I finally realized the potential my blog had for attracting new customers, keyword research was prioritized to one of the first 3 things I do when writing each post.

Blog tip #2: Optimize for speed

Another vital part of SEO for blogs is page speed. It’s also an enormous part of customer experience. Who wants to sit and wait for a post to load on your blog so they can read it?

One primary culprit for slowing down your page’s load time is images. While photos, graphics, and other pictures help guide the reader’s eye through your content, if they are unoptimized, these attention-getters can backfire on you.

Google rewards blogs that have pages which load quickly. That’s because site visitors don’t want to wait 5 minutes to read an article. In fact, most people won’t wait 5 minutes. Or 2. Or even one. If your post doesn’t load within 3 seconds, your visitor will likely click away, according to BlueCorona.

Blog tip #3: Understand your target audience

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by established blog publishers, “How do I find out who my customer profile consists of?” Truthfully, that is one of the 5 questions which should be asked and answered before a blog ever publishes its first post.

However, many blogs evolve over time, which is the case with the Marketing Words Blog.

We started out writing to those people who were website owners who wanted to learn to write their own copy. From there we picked up marketing agency managers who needed a source of good content for their writers. As we branched out, we began incorporating online marketers, Etsy and Amazon sellers, and others who were interested in passive income.

Along the way, we kept an eye on who we were writing to, what they wanted, and how we could best deliver that to our readers.

Two easy ways to do this are:

  1. Surveys – Asking who your audience is, what they do, and what topics interest them most is a simple way to get a handle on who you’re writing to. Once you know what they need from you, it’s easy to refocus your blog post topics to suit your audience.
  2. Google Forms – Create a questionnaire using Google Forms, and then email your list or insert an announcement in the middle of a few of your posts to ask readers to provide their answers.

Making these info-gatherers multiple choice (when possible) can lead to more answers because people won’t have to think about what to answer. You can also leave an “Other” field in case someone has a comment to add.

Blog tip #4: Make a plan

About 15 years ago, I decided to start a blog. So I did.

If I were to do that now, I would create a plan before I created the blog. Because I didn’t follow this simple blog tip, I wasted a lot of time floating around aimlessly without a definite direction to guide me early on.

Based on blog tip 3 above, I’d choose specific categories for my blog post topics. I’d incorporate the subjects of the digital products Marketing Words sells, and look to the future regarding affiliate products we might include, as well as new products or services.

A re-do of my blog launch would involve a monetization plan, so my blog wasn’t a money pit (a never-ending expense) but instead was a moneymaker that added revenue to my bottom line.

Lastly, I would pay more attention to list-building strategies so my blog could help me grow my subscriber base.

Blog tip #5: Jot notes of every blog post idea

One of the biggest complaints bloggers have (as do podcast hosts and video creators) is a lack of topic ideas. I’m one of these people who can look at a roast beef sandwich and come up with a blog post idea. So why was I struggling?

For years I would have excellent ideas that would come in the middle of the night, while I was at lunch with a friend, as I was watching a TV show, and so on. Inspiration would arrive and leave within seconds. It was frustrating, to say the least.

But over the past few years I decided to stop whatever I was doing and jot down a note or two while the idea was fresh on my mind. Most of the time these notes were on scraps of paper or napkins.

These notes consisted of the type of post, any ideas I had for opening paragraphs, titles, research, monetization, and more.

Then I decided to transfer them into digital form so I could have ready access to a searchable list. Since that time years ago, I’ve never been lacking when it comes to blog post ideas.

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