If you’re just getting started as an amateur blogger, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together the 43 most important tips that will help you succeed with your own little corner of the web. From getting started to content creation to promoting your hard work, let this blogpost be a guide post for you.
43 Proven Growth Tips
to Help You Succeed Amateur Blogging
Getting Started with Amateur Blogging
This is everything you need to get started. From picking a blog name and topic, to how to approach your content.
1. Niche Down
In the words of the immortal Pat Flynn: The riches are in the niches (say that like it rhymes). Or in other words: What is your blog about?
If your blog is about cooking, don’t write about fixing a car. Blogs are not for a jack of all trades. When you do a google search for Lentil Recipe, the #1 search result would never be how to pick the right couch for your living room. It doesn’t fit.
Pick something you are passionate about or successful at, and can offer the world something they need.
2. Name That Blog
Once you’ve got your niche figured out, pick a name that describes your passion.
We obviously chose Diapers On A Plane because we fly with kids around the world. It’s a play on Snakes on a Plane, because everyone initially freaks out at the thought of flying with kids.
It doesn’t have to be super witty but it does need to make sense, be easy to remember, and fairly short. Above all never put dashes, numbers, or underscores in your blog title.
3. Spend Money to Make Money
After you’ve shelled out the cash for your domain name, don’t put your wallet away just yet. By no means are we saying that you have to spend a fortune to be successful, but there are key tools that will help you move from the amateur realm to the pro’s.
Consider investing in a few tools and resources that will give you an edge over the other hobby bloggers.
- Domain Names
- Productivity Apps
- Virtual Assistant
For a deep dive into how each of these tools and resources can elevate your blogging game, check out The Best Essential Amateur Blogging Tools for Investing in Yourself.
4. Secure Your Domain Authority
A lot of emphasis is put on DA, and while it can have an effect — the #1 thing that matters the most towards DA is a unique domain name, that defines your blog, on a secure hosting site.
Diapers On A Plane is always going to come up #1 when searching for Diapers On A Plane. Try googling Fahrenheit 350 and guess what comes up.
We use GoDaddy to purchase all of our domains. Don’t think you can switch over later, there are hundreds of horror stories of losing everything during a transition from a free site to a secure domain.
There really is no excuse to not invest in a domain name from the beginning. If you are not ready to invest $25 into your blog, you aren’t serious about creating a blog. You are an amateur.
5. Splurge on Dedicated Hosting
Hosting is something you definitely don’t want to be cheap about if you want to separate yourself from the amateur bloggers out there.
In addition to using GoDaddy for our domain name, we also use GoDaddy for our hosting, and we’ve never had a single complaint after years of blogging (they didn’t even pay us to say this).
Your WordPress theme will run through your hosting site. A full functioning WordPress site can be set up in a matter of minutes.
6. Theme it Right
Speaking of WordPress, use it.
Using a free WordPress theme is a good way to get up and running and to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. Eventually, as in, very early on, you are going to want to be more unique and break out of the standard cheap templates.
There are a number of great WordPress themes available for a flat fee of $50 or less.
Justifications for purchasing a robust theme include:
- Tech support
- Speed Optimization
- Better Looking
- Branding Options
You may be surprised how many bloggers use the same theme, and you’d never know it. That is what a good theme can offer you — complete customization that fits your brand and niche.
7. Stay True To Yourself
You can’t come at this trying to copy anyone else. Whereas using someone else as inspiration is a great tool for collecting ideas, framing your whole identity after another blogger is disingenuous.
What works for one, may not work for you.
Don’t compare yourself to others, and remember that people only put the best of themselves out there for the world to see. That’s why we have things like video editing software, and photoshop.
In one of our most popular YouTube Videos, we look like the picture perfect family that never fights and always has a ton of fun. The truth is, 5 seconds earlier we were having a huge fight about how to film it — but in the end you’d never know.
Content Creation for Amateur Blogging
This section is all about curating your content. From types of content creation to easy noob mistakes to best practices for interacting with your audience.
8. Content is King
Pretty simple. Content is the nucleus of your blog. It holds everything together. Any other effort you put into your blog is pointless if your content isn’t valuable.
So, what types of content do you need…
9. Types of Content
People absorb information in 4 different ways and you want to appeal to every one of these styles, or at least as many as possible.
The 4 styles are:
- Written (Blog Post/Written Article)
- Auditory (YouTube/Podcast)
- Visual (Graphics/Pinterest Pins/Infographs)
- Tactile (How to Guides/DIY/Step by Step Guides)
Each of these styles are valuable on their own, but when you put them together they can be a powerhouse.
10. Final Draft
Think back to high school English; you never turn in your first draft. It’s not good. I don’t even have to read your blog to say this with authority.
Revisions make everything better. Sleep on it, research some more, get inspiration. Write, rewrite and write some more.
And then refresh. Once you’ve posted your blog, your work isn’t done. An amateur blogger is one who never goes back and sees what he could do better.
11. Be Original
Don’t rubber stamp your content. While you should stay on topic and remain in your niche, you should NOT have a standardized formula that never changes.
Templates are a great starting point for creating your unique brand. While they are a great jumping off point, if used too often or without deviation they will quickly make your content feel boring, stale and even robotic.
Make sure you are keeping things fresh by trying new things often, and interjecting your personality in everything that you create.
12. Dumb it Down
When we first started, we valued wit and poetry over content and readability. As good as those $20 words sound rolling off the tongue they don’t always get the point across in the easiest way possible.
The most important thing that you can do is make your blog post titles and content easily understandable to the widest demographic possible.
When it comes to amateur blogging, the acronym KISS couldn’t be more applicable: Keep it simple stupid. The best way to write with authority is to make it understandable for everyone.
13. Don’t Be a Robot
On the same note, don’t dumb it down so much that you sound like someone who isn’t even passionate about the topic. Or worse yet, has no first hand knowledge of what you are writing about.
People love a good story. Remember that you are writing to other human beings not mindless google index servers hungry for the perfect data. Take your time to use interactive and descriptive words that tell your story and keep the reader not only informed but interested in what you are presenting to them.
14. Respond to People Not Machines
As your blog grows you’ll create a fan base. Regardless of where you interact with your audience, be personable. Calling everyone your dear friend who you don’t know in real life is a sure give away that you’re trying too hard.
People aren’t a formula to be hacked. They followed you because they found you interesting. Keep it that way.
15. Use the Cloud
When creating content, never rely on one source to store your valuables. Save, and backup as often as possible.
Don’t ever, ever, ever, write your articles in WordPress. Always use a software program or google drive and save, save, save.
This goes for your website too. You could get hit with a virus, or a hacker and all your hard work is lost in the blink of an eye.
16. Education is Invaluable
Short and simple: there are certain things you just do not want to skimp on with your blog. This is one that took us a long time to finally accept.
The biggest mistake you can make amateur blogging is not investing in education. You can either struggle and figure it out as you go (like us), or you can start out with the tools you need to succeed from the beginning.
If nothing else, figure out SEO before you start. And this doesn’t mean reading a few free articles online, or just installing the Yoast plugin on WordPress. It means taking an online course, downloading an ebook, or checking out our introductory course to get you started making money amateur blogging including how to rank on the first page of google for every keyword. It may also be worth consulting a local seo pro as well to see if they have any useful advice.
17. Writing with SEO in Mind
There is a fine balance that must be maintained when writing your posts with SEO in mind. You want to use a main keyword and sub keywords that help the page rank on google, but you don’t want your writing to be so keyword stuffed that it is unreadable amateur garbage. You have to learn how to both write for google indexing and the audience.
Nothing says amateur blogging like not ranking for anything on Google. That is the very definition of wasting your time.
When we first started no one could find our articles, and no one was interested in clicking on them either because our titles were so boring and verbose they didn’t engage the reader. This is where education is invaluable.
18. Utilizing On Page SEO
On page SEO is how you tell google what the most important topics of your blog are. They also hook the reader to keep scrolling.
These are things like using the correct headers, font size, quotes, images, alt tags, etc. These will not only improve readability and lower the bounce rate, but teach the google bots how to read your article.
Writing for the internet is different than writing for literature. Not only do you need to dumb it down, but you need to spell it out. Tell the reader what you are going to tell them in the header before you give them the specifics. Use small sentences and break up paragraphs; never type more than 3-4 sentences per block.
You can check out various business websites and see how they make use of regular language in their blog pages. For example, when you read a law firm’s blog content, you’ll easily understand what they are trying to convey, even if you do not have a law background. Of course, such companies hire SEO professionals like the ones at SERP Co (https://serp.co/services/seo/lawyers/) who guide them and optimize the content for better marketing reach.
19. Add Links to Your Posts
External links to authority sites can help build your credibility. Don’t be selfish with links that help the reader.
However, never link to a competing keyword that is already ranking on the first page of google. Change your search to include a similar yet relevant keyword, and then link to that one.
20. No-Follow Links
Along with not linking to competitors, you must learn when you should do follow links, no-follow links, referral links, sponsored links, and more. Learning these distinctions are key to amateur blogging.
21. Don’t Stress About Back Links
Quality content far outweighs all the backlink hype that amateur bloggers seem to think is so important when starting their blog.
The truth is — Domain Authority doesn’t help you rank in google. It does help you get noticed faster and more frequently, but if you do everything else listed here, DA is inconsequential.
Time and high ranking posts will improve DA and will tell google to index your page more and more frequently. As we said before, content is king.
22. Create Original images and Videos
A huge block of text can be daunting to your readers, and like we mentioned above, you want to break up your text with other mediums.
Whatever you do, use high quality engaging images – but whatever you do, don’t use copyrighted imagery.
If you don’t want to pay for Photoshop there are plenty of free options that do a great job such as Canva or Gimp. The same goes for video editing software with options like OpenShot, DaVinci Resolve, or Veed.
Your PC may even have a video editor pre-installed.
23. Good Looking Photos
If you’re an amateur blogger, congratulations, you’re an amateur photographer as well!
Now is the time to invest in a good camera. In fact, it’s a better idea to invest in several cameras. Check out our post on the Best Blogging Camera.
Seriously, photos are so important. Photos give your blog authenticity. When a blogger uses generic photos or a source photo, it’s a dead giveaway that they have no experience in what they are writing about.
Original photos give you authority to write about your topic, they brand you and help the reader get to know you, and they offer additional context.
24. Claim Your Photos
Google favors websites and photos that use captions and alt tags. So use them!
This goes along with dumbing it down. The more explanation and context you can give to your images, the more effective they will be. Plus, it will improve your SEO!
We’ll talk about this more in a minute, but good bloggers plan content ahead of time. Bloggers spend time curating and preparing their product in advance to use that content in the future when seasonally appropriate, or when their schedule allows.
This ensures that there is always new and fresh content for readers and viewers.
Nothing is as crucial as knowing where to find your photos and drafts that you’ve already prepared in advance. At some point you’re going to need a photo you took months ago, and you need to know exactly where it is.
This is especially important for us as travel bloggers because we aren’t able to blog in the moment, however, this is true for bloggers in every niche.
26. Keep Photos under 300KB
One of the mistakes we made in our amateur blogging journey is thinking that bigger is better. We were uploading the full size image onto our website which not only increased our load time, but took up a huge amount of space.
Google hates pages that take forever to load. So do readers!
Keep two folders. One for high res images that you use for videos, and one for html web images that you use for your blog itself. It’s best to size your in article images between 600-800 pixels, and your cover photo at 800-1080 pixels.
27. Keep on Topic
What are you writing about? What is the topic that you will be known for? What do you have to offer the world?
It’s important that you stick to your niche, this will help your readers know what to expect when they come to your blog. And, it will keep them coming back for more.
Trying the kitchen sink approach will confuse your audience and you will not build up a reputation for being a trusted expert.
28. Stay in Your Lane
Not only should you keep on topic, but you should stay in your lane. Be the authority on what you know. Don’t write about things you don’t know about, just because you found a high powered keyword that you think will drive traffic.
If you’re a travel blogger, write about travel content. If you are a food blogger, write about food. If you are a tech blogger, write about tech. If you are a tech guru that likes food, then start a second blog.
29. Don’t Plagiarize
If you don’t know why you shouldn’t do this, you’re going to have a bad time.
I’m told google will actually downrank you if you post duplicate content, but that’s obviously not entirely true because I wrote an article about flying with a buddy pass that someone siphoned nearly word for word. She used her DA authority to rank higher than me.
This blogger plagiarized my first hand knowledge and claimed it as her own. From the headers down to the individual paragraphs. She changed a few words here and there, but only enough to get some of the information entirely wrong. She is called out in the comments section, and eventually it’ll catch up to her.
30. Push Out Consistent Content
Want to separate yourself from all the other amateur bloggers out there? Make a post more than once every six months. You will never be successful at that rate.
We cannot stress this enough. Consistency may be the most important factor in building up your traffic.
Have you ever read the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?” Everything is cyclical. When you are consistently working on content, you are constantly improving. When you are constantly improving, you are trying out new ways to do things. When you are trying out new ways to do things, you learn new things. And when you are learning new things, you are consistently working on content.
It’s just like the old adage, practice makes perfect.
31. Schedule Content In Advance
People don’t buy Christmas gifts on Christmas. They start months in advance. Every blogging niche should prepare content for upcoming events no matter what you write about.
Planning your content in advance is a great way to avoid writer’s block and other distractions that will keep you from being successful. We use google spreadsheets to help ensure that ideas are kept safe and planned out for the future.
You never know when inspiration will hit. Always keeping a notebook handy is another great tool to use.
And last, but not least, if you really want to separate yourself from the amateur bloggers on the web, schedule out some time for brainstorming sessions so you can really fill up your calendar and schedule it out.
Promoting Your Amateur Blog
You should be your biggest fan! Don’t second guess if you are good enough. If you enjoy what you are putting out, then so will other people. We’re talking about social media, networking and emailing.
32. Your Blog is a Job
If you want to be successful at anything, you have to treat it like a job. Your blog should be something that you work on rain or shine.
If you want to separate yourself from all the other amateur bloggers out there you have to do what they aren’t willing to. Give up Netflix and replace it with SEO research, writing and making videos.
33. Embrace Social Media
We used to naively think that all we had to do was write some witty content and it would somehow magically appear in front of all the rabid readers hungry for our unique content. Enter SEO: No one can appreciate what they can’t find.
The truth is, you can write the best articles in the world but if nobody reads it, there is no point.
You have to advertise yourself, and social media is one of the easiest ways to do that. Share your content everywhere you can. Don’t rely only on search algorithms for distribution.
What would normally take 6 months or more to be indexed, can be reduced significantly if you push the content out where people will see it. By sharing on social media you can kick off the process faster and gain readers earlier.
The best source for this is Pinterest.
34. Don’t Be a Robot
This is so good we are repeating it again. This can be applied across the board in everything you do.
When you promote your content, don’t just push out articles or videos. Create trailers, caption a funny or inspirational quote, or ask an intriguing question to grab interest and get people to click.
35. Respond to Every Comment
Replying to comments is one of your biggest opportunities to build relationships with your community and develop connections. They can also offer critique on your work by way of user generated feedback.
Ignoring questions and comments can sour a potential fan to your content.
Remember one of the most powerful phrases in the human language is “thank you”. Even if that is all you have time to say, it makes your fans feel important and acknowledged. However, if you use it too much, you’ll sound like a robot. See above.
Reach out to other amateur bloggers in your same niche. Making friends with other bloggers with common interests gives you a support group. They can provide great inspiration and increase your drive and ambition.
Join Facebook groups, participate in group chats on Twitter, collaborate on Pinterest group boards, and attend blogging conferences! Don’t be afraid to meet new people and make connections!
37. Sharing is Caring
A lot of amateur bloggers think that if they share someone else’s work it will dilute their presence. In fact, it does the opposite.
When you share quality content, it boosts your authority. People know that you will always provide great articles about topics that interest them, regardless of the source.
You can do this by:
- Commenting on other blogs
- Sharing and RT’ing
Not to mention, by contributing to the conversation you can potentially gain a part of their audience.
38. Stick to Your Strengths
When you begin amateur blogging focus on what you can do well. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do everything you see the full time professional bloggers doing. Don’t compare yourself to someone who is a lot farther along in their journey.
You will be small to begin with, and that’s ok. Everyone starts somewhere. Build your brand around your strongest assets.
39. Growing Your Team
Once you start having success and ranking for your niche, you can start to consider hiring for the tasks that are keeping you from focusing on your strengths.
In the beginning, Gabriel did all our video editing – and he hated it. When shooting the videos our focus was always on editing them, rather than making quality content. This type of approach was painful and our family suffered because of it.
We interviewed several editors and found one that meshed with our personal style and brand. Hiring the right person for the job catapulted us out of amateur blogger status, and making videos was fun again.
40. Build Your Email List Now!
If there is one thing that I hear over and over and over again, it is this: It is never too early to start building your email list. To be fair, this is still something that we have never truly gotten the hang of. You could say we are still in the amateur blogging phase of this growth tip.
The idea is your email list will be a source of immediate connection to your community should anything go wrong. Like, heaven forbid a hacker that could potentially take down your entire website like we talked about in tip #15.
Whether you use your mailing list to share your latest post or to create a sales funnel, be honest about why you are asking for a reader’s email. An email list is a supplemental way to share your content, and puts the power in your hands instead of the hands of the internet corporations.
41. Before Your Monetize
Don’t put the cart before the horse. The only thing you need to be successful is readers, and once you have that, you can focus on more lucrative advertising sources. In the beginning, this is not the thing to stress about.
Sure, go ahead and add google adsense and stick in your amazon links, but your focus should be on getting 50,000 monthly readers so you can apply for the bigtime ads.
That is when you will no longer be an amateur blogger.
42. Buy Business Cards
This may not seem important, and in the grand scheme of things it is definitely not a necessity. However, nothing says I am not an amateur more than flashing a shiny professional business card.
As a travel blogging family we have enjoyed having business cards on hand when we travel. It’s fun to hand them out when we strike up conversations with people we meet and ensures that they won’t forget our name. Not that Diapers On A Plane is easy to forget.
With an ever growing crawling web, business cards help ensure that your small business isn’t confused with anyone else’s. You’d be surprised how helpful a simple business card can be in helping find your blog and social media posts.
43. Keep Your About Me Page Fresh and Updated
Your About Me page connects you with your readers on a personal level. Think about how many times you’ve clicked on the ‘about me’ section of a blog that you loved. People want to see the person behind the post. It not only humanizes the content but can be a powerful tool in helping to build your brand.
It’s also one of the reasons that it’s such a good idea to make YouTube videos to compliment your blog posts.
Ultimately it will be your brand along with your content that will help you become successful.
► Nap-Time Version: 43 tips to help you with your amateur blogging journey.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments and we’d be happy to help or point you in the right direction. Be sure to check out our Introductory Course on SEO and The Best Essential Amateur Blogging Tools for Investing in Yourself.
And remember you can always manage to find something to focus on rather than what you should be doing.