10 Gifts Your Blogger Friends Would Love To Get!

12/01/2016



10 gifts your blogger friends would love to get


It's here, the holiday season and I've put in a lot of effort to compile this gift guide especially for all of us bloggers and creative business owners out there.

If you've read my previous post about how I fell in love with Etsy, then you'll know I love shopping on Etsy because it is that one platform which truly cares for us "bloggers" and creative business owners.

Do you know why? Because Etsy is made of such small business owners, bloggers, creative business owners, etc.



gifts your blogger friend would love to get






I've seen so many bloggers and small business owners never tell their friends and family about this "side" hustle of theirs which they put a lot of time into until they become a happy and successful story.

But if you have been fortunate enough to be told about your friend's blog or small business, then you should try and help them out by getting a little creative with your holiday gifts this time and show them that you support their venture.

So if you know a blogger friend or a creative business owner, etc. then it's time to give them gifts that will help them take their blog and businesses to the next level, and trust me they'll thank you for it!

And you won't have to spend a fortune and break your savings either.



Wait... Why Can't I give my blogger friend a more common 'gift' item?


Actually, you can. You can give your friend whatever you want. And while it's really fun to get those funny mugs (I love funny mugs, and they make for great gifting items), but if someone gave me a gift and it helped me in my overall blogging journey, it would be special to me, and I'd always remember that.

It's like telling your friend that you know, understand and support them in everything they do. For example, your friends will help you through a lot in your life but your best friends go that extra mile for you, don't they?

And this is why I insist that if you have any blogger friends, you should consider buying these gifts this holiday season instead. 




A premium blog theme

With a lot, and by a lot I mean A LOT of bloggers out there it's getting harder and harder to get noticed. The competition is more than just stiff;  the big guys seem to have beautiful and professional looking blogs because they've spent a lot on their design.

It's not possible for a newbie blogger to be able to afford to spend thousands of dollars on a blog they're launching and get a custom design, in fact, most bloggers can't afford custom designs until their blogs start giving a decent ROI (Return on Investment).

So instead, why don't you play Santa this time and gift them a premade premium theme for their blog or website?

You'll be surprised to know the amount of professional and beautiful themes out there on Etsy for just under $30 and as low as $5.


I consider my blog's theme to be very elegant and professional, just the way I like it. And it cost me just $5, (Update: it now costs $10 as the shop owner has ended her sale)and it comes with support so if I mess anything up, I just get in touch with the owner (who made this theme) and she's always ready to help! That's my theme, by the way, it's called Orianna and was made by FearneCreativeDesign.


Update October 2017: I'm no longer using this blog template, instead I have a custom blog design which was designed by me and developed by my team member Kate.




OR

A custom blog or website design


custom blog design



I know it's not about the money, and if finances are not a problem with you and you can afford to or want to spend a few hundred dollars on a gift for a loved one, then why not!

Depending on which platform the receiver of the gift is blogging or running their website on, a custom blog or website design can cost you anything between $100 to $1500 on Etsy

And if you find someone outside of Etsy it's around $800 on a minimum with just the development part of the website or blog, the branding, graphics, etc. are all separate and not included in that.

So if you're looking for quality at the best prices, then Etsy should always be your go-to! (Just make it your homepage xD)

If your friend or a loved one is on the blogger platform, I've seen some sellers offering custom blogger templates at an affordable price of $60 (Update: the owner is now selling this design at $85) as well.


custom blogger design


A premade blog logo

If you're wondering what a blog logo is, then it's that thing that defines your brand. You'll see a lot of people using logos instead of their own pictures on social media, better yet, logos are like icons that people can identify you or your brand with. 

For example, when I think of Etsy, I think orange with a white letter 'E' on it and that is Etsy's logo. In the long run, your friend's blog is better off having its own branding in place, that means your friend needs a blog logo, and it's time to be Santa again and gift them one they like!

You can go for a one that you think resonates with them a lot, premade logos cost around $2.5 to $150, or you can buy a custom logo listing around the price range of $50 or up and they can tell the designer what they want and how they want it.

Or buy one from me at PrettyBlogGraphics for just $10. I've got a pretty good collection of premade blog headers in my shop and if you want a custom one my pricing starts at $89 for those, feel free to get in touch for that as well :)


premade blog header



Styled stock photography

The big guys in the blogging world, yeah, they get professional photos taken, yeah, those cost a lot. And there's no way your friend as a blogger can compete with that, right?

Wrong.


blogger to blogger etsy gift guide



If you've not heard about it before, styled stock photography is professional photography at throwaway prices! These photos can make your friend's life as a blogger or business owner smooth and easy. 

They can also be used as social media templates, and all you have to do is find photos that a have a similar colour scheme as your friend's blog or business and they'll love this unique thing you did for them!

Styled stock photography can easily be purchased at a starting price of $10 per photo on Etsy. Or buy this bundle of 9 photos for just $15.


stock photography


Mockups



mockups



These are particularly beneficial for those who run a creative business, for example, those selling printable art, tend to use mockup where they can just drag and drop their prints into professionally taken photographs and showcase their products. 

Much like stock photography but a little different. I love mockups because they help me showcase my designs to my target audience in a professional manner without having to pay for a photoshoot.

So if your friend is selling mugs on her website, then gift her some beautiful mockups, and she'll love that you put in so much effort just to help her out.

Mockups on Etsy generally start from $6 and go up depending on the product you're looking for. 


Blog Planners and Diaries



pretty diaries



Blog planners help bloggers stay organized, plan goals and keep track of everything else. Gifting your blogger friend one of these is something they'll surely be using, and it won't be a gift that gets lost in some corner either.


You have two ways to do this thing, either buy them a printable version that they can keep re-printing when they need it or purchase a beautiful diary, and they can use that as a blog planner. 
You can't go wrong with a diary as it can be used for anything that has to do with writing. I use both a printable planner and a physical diary to keep track of my work. And being given cute stationery and things I can actually use, just makes it all mean so much more.


ClipArts



clipart



These are images of objects clubbed together in a theme, such as fashion, food, Christmas, etc.

They're wonderful because they can be used in a lot of ways. They can be used to make social media templates, featured images for your friend's blog, etc. 

Your friend can even make items for resale with those clip arts, provided they come with a commercial use or an extended license (Just ask the seller. Usually, it's written in the description of the listed item). 

I'll give my example, I use florals to make my most of the images of my blog, featured image, Pinterest-able pictures, etc. 

Get my point?

So if your friend runs a fashion blog, buy a fashion clipart and just gift it to them, they'll find creative ways to use them, and they'll love it for sure! (Just be sure to ask the owner of the shop that you want to purchase this for a friend as a gift as a lot of the times these sets are non-transferable so they'll guide on  how to go about it.)


Digital Papers


digital papers



These are a set of 12 x 12 inch or 8 x 8 inches or 6 x 6 inches patterns, that are delivered to you for keeping. You can print them out, wrap something in them or you if your friend is a blogger, they can use them as social media templates, featured images or graphics for their blog or business.

There is such a huge variety of these on Etsy, and they're really inexpensive.

Look how beautiful this set of Christmas digital papers is at just a little over $3.

And I believe they make for a perfect gift for a blogger or creative business owner.


Blog Branding Kits


These help blogs get a brand of their own. A colour palette, fonts information, etc. they help you visualize your brand. 

They are perfect for bloggers that want to appear professional and serious with their blogs and the work they're doing. 

You can pick one you think your friend will like, or ask them to choose, and it helps them craft their own identity online.

Have a look at this Blog Branding Kit  (Update: this branding kit is now $37) I made:


blog branding kit



Services

Not everyone can do everything, so if you know your friend is really struggling to write their "About Me" or "Hire Me" page, chances are they could use some help. 

Just gift them a copywriting service from an Etsy shop that has good reviews and let someone else handle that work.



services for copywriting



And if you're wondering what to give your non-blogger friends, then browse Etsy's Editor's Picks for great gifting ideas right now!


P.S. A lot of the times Etsy sellers don't want people to share items they bought, so make sure you tell the owner of the shop that you're looking to purchase the said item as a gift for a friend before you buy the item itself. They'll help you with the rest.

Etsy sellers till date (in my experience), have always been understanding and really welcoming to me in all purchases I've made, so be sure to clear whatever doubts you have, they're always willing to help out :)



How Etsy Has Helped Me In My Blogging Journey

10/11/2016


how etsy helped me in my blogging journey



I first came across Etsy, as in, I got to know of its existence in 2014 and decided it was just one of those things I could live without.

Fast forward to 2016, I launched my blog in April this year after I decided that freelancing was still leaving me with a lot of free time on my hand. And I wasn't ready to take on more clients yet still wanted to do something productive in my free time.

After careful consideration, and keeping in mind the advice almost everyone gave to me, I decided to go with the blogger platform keeping in mind I might have to migrate to some other platform someday; as many others have — I didn't want to spend too much on a design.
But, I still wanted a clean and professional looking design.

And that's how I found Etsy for the second time, And when I searched for "Blogger Templates" Etsy had so much to offer!

how you can use etsy to help you in your blogging journey just like me




So I adjusted the filters in Etsy and kept my budget to a minimum. To my surprise, a seller was selling such clean designs for only $5.

I knew then that Etsy has something for everyone, no matter your budget, and I fell in love with the marketplace.  <3


My first purchase from Etsy made me fall in love with Etsy


My blogger template was the first purchase I ever made from Etsy; I purchased it from FearneCreativeDesign, and the name of the template is ORIANNA. And It was only $5.

Update: The price for this theme has now changed to $10.


orianna theme



I asked for the free installation that Eve M, the shop's owner offers. She was so helpful and quick to respond; I even ordered another template from her for my sister's blog.

Update May 2017: My sister decided to move to WIX as she felt that platform suited her blogging needs more.

In September, I wanted to have some changes made into my blog's theme and thought I would have to pay for it, to my surprise I was told that the themes come with support and she (the owner) never charged anything for it! 

Made me love Etsy even more.

Update October 2017: I do not use this theme on my blog anymore, instead I have a custom theme designed by me and developed by my team member Kate.



My second purchase from Etsy gave me a realization of the diversity of the marketplace



My first experience with Etsy was so great that it formed a trust, and I started exploring other things one can get on Etsy.

I was having difficulties in being productive, and after being advised to get a planner I thought, let's do it.  

So I searched 'Blog Planner' on Etsy, and it didn't fail me. There were so many options to choose from here as well. 


And I finally settled on this one from PlanningInspired.

Update: The price of this planner has changed to $10 now.


blog planner



Blog planners are perfect for helping you stay on track with your blogging goals, and have all your blog related information in one place.

The good thing about these printables is that once you download the file you can print it as many times you want, if you lose the file, just contact the Seller, and they usually provide it to you again, or you can download it from your purchases panel.



How Etsy has helped me as a blogger


I never thought to get a blogger design I liked would be so easy for and for my wallet. Etsy helped me set up my blog; it helped me get a blog planner so that I could plan more efficiently. 

And now, I'm considering buying some beautifully styled stock images from them, so that I can get my blog looking and feeling exactly the way I want. 


styled stock photography




Styled stock images are great especially if you want your blog to have a distinct yet professional feel to it.

And since it's Etsy, I know I'll find what I want, even if I'm on a budget.

Why Etsy is for you, no matter who you are


Like I mentioned before, and being totally unoriginal here, "There's an Etsy Shop for That."

So far, results have turned up for everything I searched for on Etsy, and that makes me glad.

Whether you're a small business owner, a lover looking to surprise your loved one, a mother homeschooling your child, I've seen Etsy have dedicated products for your need.


Everyone is unique, with different tastes and likings, and this Difference is what Makes Us Who We Are. Etsy understands that. 

And that is why I wanted to be a part of Etsy's DifferenceMakesUs Campaign.

If you're looking for something today, for anyone, or yourself, I say, give Etsy a chance. It won't disappoint you.

P.S.  you'll love the little Thank You notes people include when they send you your order.


Did I mention I run my own Etsy Shop as well?


You know now! Here's a special something in case you're starting your blog:
And you'll have your very own professional and distinct looking blog in just minutes without burning a hole in your wallet.

P.S. we both offer free installation :)




How To Write High-Quality Blog Posts No Matter What Niche You're In

9/20/2016


write high quality blog posts in any niche




Think of high-quality content as the founding pillars of your blog. The higher the quality of this pillar the more solid your foundation becomes.


With a solid foundation backing your blog, you can grow your blog to be profitable really fast! (Not an overnight fast but, fast enough)


How will high-quality blog posts help my blog?


I don't think there's a single blogger out there that doesn't want to write high-quality content that both the search engines and readers love. 

The reason you can even make money out of blogging is that you have "readers" or "traffic" on your blog. 

Writing amazing content that your readers love serves you and your blogging business well. These high-quality blog posts keep attracting readers to your blog over and over again for years. And that's why your safest bet is to create content that your readers can't live without!


learn to write high-quality blog posts


What are the attributes of high-quality blog posts?


  • They are highly relevant to your readers
  • They often solve a problem or a query
  • They are entertaining 
  • They provide detailed information
  • They are easily readable and not hard to understand
  • They have stunning visuals
  • They have catchy and curiosity-inducing headlines
  • They make people think "oh that describes me" that is, they are relatable to the reader.
  • They are well-structured and error-free (no spelling mistakes, no punctuational hazards, etc.)
  • They are well-researched 
  • They are written in a conversational manner
  • They usually end with a call-to-action 

Your Blog Post Should Be Relevant To Your Readers


It's very important that every single time you sit down to write (in this case type) a blog post, you have a specific reader in mind. 

Without that, your blog post could turn out to be all over the place. When you write, think about the person reading your blog post, think about what he or she wants to know, why they want to know it and what will be the best way to give them that information. 

For example, while writing this post I have you in mind, you are a person that already has a blog, or has started a new blog, and you want to be able to write posts that your readers will love, the search engines will love. And a blog post that will become a solid traffic-driver for your blog in the long run.


how to write high quality blog posts click to tweet image




I also think that you want to make your blog profitable, and so you want to write all your blog posts in a manner that strikes with your audience. You want most of your blog posts if not all to be of great value to your readers.

Deciding on all these things helps me write a blog post in which I can teach you all I know about writing high-quality blog posts.




Your Blog Post Should Not lack in Giving Crucial Information on Your Topic



Say, if I have a blog about making healthy ice creams at home, I can not get by without telling people the recipe of the healthy ice creams I make at home. 


Similarly, I also can't tell them the recipe without telling the exact measurements of the ingredients. 


If your post is lacking in giving proper information to your reader, they will want to look up to other sites as well. That is where you lose a reader and as a blogger, you don't want that. 

If you've chosen to write on a particular topic, you should have a structure laid out so that you don't miss any important points to add in your blog post. 

The practice that will make sure you never miss any important points in your blog posts is a one I often use myself:

I make rough drafts, in my blog planner. These drafts are often hand written as I enjoy writing itself. 
They also help me plan key points that I must add in my blog posts. 

This one habit will help you out so much when you're writing a blog post. You don't necessarily have to write them on paper like me, if you're more comfortable using your laptop then write it down there. 



Your Blog Post Should Solve a Problem or Answer a Query


A lot of people use search engines to help them find answers to their questions or help them solve a problem they are facing. 


Giving your readers a solution to their problem through your blog posts will help them identify you as an authority on that subject. They will come to you seeking your help, every time they have a problem.


These kinds of posts that have a 'problem-solving' nature are loved by readers because they help your readers in solving their problems. They're also often loved by search engines. 


how to right amazing quality blog posts click to tweet image




Your Blog Posts Should Be Detailed; Appropriately.


Did I tell you, Google loves detailed, explanation filled content? Well, you know now. So keep that in mind when you're writing your blog posts.


If you're writing a post that teaches someone about something, you can't afford to miss on the details.

You should try to give your readers the best and the most detailed information possible.

If you're wondering why, the answer is simple — there are so many blogs out there that have written what you are writing about a thousand times before.

Why should your blog post be chosen over any other? The answer should be because you wrote the most detailed piece on that topic, ever.


Writing a detailed blog post means that there's not a single piece of information for which a reader will have to look up to Google for that topic again after they've landed on your blog or website; that is what you should aim for every single time you write a blog post.


Please don't get me wrong, by writing detailed posts I DO NOT mean writing lengthy posts, some posts become lengthy (have a lot of words) because they are detailed.

But even a fashion blog post can be detailed without being 3500 words or more. It doesn't always matter how many words you write, what matters is that the information is complete and makes enough sense to your reader.



Your Blog Post Should Be Entertaining 


Unless you run "iwillboreyou.com" your blog post should be entertaining to your readers. 

That domain name is available *wink wink*

Let me give you an example of an incredibly entertaining blog post I read in 2012, that is when the iPhone 5 came out. Wait, what does iPhone have to do with high-quality blog posts?

You'll find out...

I've never used a case for my iPhone 4. Not even after the back broke for the third time. I didn't do it because, unlike my grandma, I don't cover my sofas with plastic. Or unlike idiots, I don't protect my car's front with a bra.
And while you and the other billion people who bought iPhone 4 cases had the totally legitimate excuse of the fragile glass back—arguably the stupidest pretty thing Apple ever did—and the questionable antenna—the second stupidest—you just don't need a f*cking case for your iPhone 5. Really, you don't.
The fact is that there's no fragility excuse anymore because the iPhone 5 is made of aluminum casted by Asgardian dwarf blacksmiths and put together with magicomicronometric precision by virgin she-dragons made of living gold. It can't break, unless you shoot it with a silver bullet at the witching hour under a full moon." 

These were the opening paragraphs of  You don't need a f*cking case for your iPhone 5 written by Jesus Diaz for Gizmodo

This was back in 2012 when I never used to read any tech-ish or gadget-sy blogs. And while I didn't even have an iPhone back then this blog post was extremely entertaining!


There was humour, and it was spot-on.  I've always remembered this blog post, even when I got me an iPhone, and you know what, I'm still convinced that my iPhone does not need a case — ever.

This is the impact you want to leave in your reader's mind as well, make them want to remember you because you wrote it all so well, and in a manner that it didn't bore your reader at all.



Your Posts Should Be Visually Appealing


Here's another thing you need to have in your blog posts! Visuals.

Our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and that's why it's easier to understand infographics than just paragraphs and paragraphs of text.


Written text is and remains important for bloggers, but that shouldn't be an excuse to concentrate only on the text. Your blog needs visuals, and so do your blog posts.


Visuals help people associate with what you're writing, they help them see something different now and then between paragraphs in your posts, they are a great call-to-action and beautiful images lift people's moods. You see men and women both; are visual creatures.

So make sure you leverage visuals and graphics in your posts.



how you can write killer blog posts not matter your niche click to tweet image



Make Your Blog Posts Easily Readable


Nobody will read your posts, or like to read them if your posts aren't easy to read and simple to understand.

How to make sure your posts are optimised for readability?


  • Keep your language simple
  • Avoid using words that make people feel their English isn't good enough or what you've written is hard for them to comprehend (understand).
  • Use Headings, Sub-Heading, and minor headings to make your content easily scannable.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Use proper spacing between lines.
  • Your font should be easily readable.

Alternatively, you can use Readability Score for measuring the readability of your content and improving upon it.



Write Catchy Headlines


Headline or your post's title is like a first impression, and you need to get it right.

Most of the time people will judge a book by its cover.  And that's why your post's headline is so important.

These words are like your first impression, and you know what they say about first impressions, don't you?

You want to write headlines in a way that they spark your reader's curiosity, and makes them think "what's this about?". This way, they'll click on your headlines and read what you have to say.


why are headlines important for high quality blog posts
John Jantsch in his article at Duct Tape Marketing


Some headlines that people usually like, have the following components:


  • How-To [Anything]
  • "N*" ways to do [anything] (a numbered headline)
  • Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
  • [Anything] on a budget
  • Headlines with real data (for example, 81% bloggers never make more than $100 here's how not be one of them) 

A good practice is to brainstorm at least five headlines when you start writing and then choose from them. I've noticed that I always end up changing the original headline I came up with once my post is ready to be published. 

You don't need to be Tim Ferris to write hit headlines (he too wrote several titles for his book, which then became a mega hit), for now, all you have to do is try to write headlines that you think you are likely to click on as a reader.

Take note on the headlines you usually click on when you're reading news online, other blogs, and on social media and gradually you'll start to get the hang of it yourself.



Write Original and Error-Free Content


Google hates plagiarism, and your readers won't like it either, so it's best if you don't get into that. If you're really serious about blogging then make sure your content isn't just cut, copy and paste from lots of other websites (which can also get you sued by the way).

If English is not your native language, write a blog in your language or use free programmes like Grammarly to help you reduce errors in your content.

I've written about the importance of writing error-free content before, and it's crucial for your blog posts to be considered high-quality. 

Think about it, if your reader can't make proper sense of what you've written will they ever think that your advice or the content that you write is good enough? No.


For checking Guest Posts submitted to your blog for plagiarism


In case you want to check posts others have submitted to you like guest posts, you can use Grammarly if you have their paid plan. Honestly, I think it is worth every penny as it helps you catch those mistakes you usually overlook. And with Grammarly I don't have to double-check my posts because grammarly does that for me on its own.



Conclusion

I wrote this post with one thing in my mind, helping you (the reader) to be able to write quality content on your blog day after day. 

Some more tips that I would like to mention are that when you write your posts, write them in a conversational tone, as if you're talking to someone one on one, it helps the reader connect with you and the advice you're giving them in a better way. 

Some posts require to be well-researched, and filled with data to back up your claims, so make sure that you add appropriate sources wherever necessary.

Another useful tip is to add call-to-actions in your blog posts, if you're writing about health, encouraging your readers to be healthy in your finishing lines is a great call-to-action and reminds them to take healthy choices every day!

You can even use interactive elements such as polls, quizzes, etc. to make your posts even more engaging for your readers. 


If you follow all these tips I've mentioned in this post, you'll always be able to write quality posts that your readers will love, and they'll come back for more! 

And if you're stuck anywhere, just leave a comment down below and let me know what it is that troubles you.

how to write great quality blog posts in any niche click to tweet image



Grammarly Review: A Must Have Tool For Bloggers And Freelance Content Writers

8/25/2016


Grammarly review


Grammarly is a reputable, and widely-used cloud-based, English writing enhancement tool developed by Grammarly Inc.

It was released in 2009 and is co-founded by Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn. In 2017, it was made public that Grammarly had grown into 6.9 million users that used Grammarly every day.

In 2018, Grammarly has 10 million users using it every day! That’s quite the growth, I would say.


The 10 Point Blogging Framework That Will Help You Build A Profitable Blog In 2016

8/12/2016

Blogging Framework


You're no longer a blogger if you've decided to start making money with your blog.

I'm quoting Jon Morrow:

If you've taken the decision to build a profitable blog, you've just become an entrepreneur, and your blog is your business. " 



It doesn't matter if you're new to the blogging world, you can make your very own profitable blog this year, remember:

 A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."   — Lao Tzu


This simple blogging framework outlines and discusses what you need to do to start a profitable blog.


12 Important Decisions To Make Before You Start Blogging

8/07/2016


12 important decisions to make before you start blogging




If you've recently decided to start your own blog, I highly suggest you decide on these important things before you start blogging.



12 important decisions you need to make before you even think of starting a blog




1. Decide If Blogging Is Really Something You Want To Do



If you've ever read an income report from a successful blogger before, you'll know that can be tempting enough for you to try and start your own blog. And that's alright, we all want to be successful people, we want to achieve something in life no matter how big or small it is.

But, if income reports from certain successful bloggers are your only inspiration, then that will be the biggest factor responsible for your blogs stagnant growth

Blogging takes time, it takes patience and a lot of it, there is no instant gratification when it comes to blogging. So thinking carefully about whether blogging is something that suits you, interests you and is something you can be passionate about for a long time.




2. What Kind Of Blogger You Want To Be


In the blogosphere, there are many types of bloggers. Some people blog only as a hobby and some are part-time and/or full-time bloggers. From the moment you decide you want to be blogging, you should also decide the kind of blogger you want to be. 

What I mean is, you should be asking yourself these two questions:


  • Am I planning to blog full-time? (You should have a very solid plan for taking up this option.)
  • Or am I planning to blog part-time? (I recommend this, later you can be full-time if your blog grows.)

If you're just starting out as a blogger, I strongly suggest you do it part-time, this will help you figure out whether you're going to be able to keep up with blogging or if the lifestyle suits you.




3. Decide If You Are Going To Blog As A Hobby Only


This probably means you'll be spending less than 3 hours per week working on your blog. If you think you only want to blog as a hobby, you're better off with a Tumblr or Wordpress Blog, or for that matter any blogging site that lets you blog for free

If you've decided to start blogging only as a hobby, you're not alone. There are many bloggers out there that don't give a damn about blogging for profit. 

However, if you would like to keep the option of making money from your blog then this is a decision you should take before you start your blog.



4. Decide What Your Blog Will Be About 


This is what most people generally term as the "niche" of your blog. In simple words, you need to figure out what you will be writing about. 

Knowing what your blog is going to be about can help you:
  • People will start to associate you with what you write about.
  • Your blog's niche will determine who your target audience is and who will read your blog.
  • Once you know "who" your people are you can try to solve their problems one by one through the medium of your blog and become a successful blogger.
  • Over time, and with consistent effort you'll be the go-to person for your niche. People will trust your verdict.
Alternatively, if you want to go for a blog which blogs about a little bit of everything then that decision should also be made before you start blogging.



5. Decide If You Want To Make Money Blogging



I prefer using the terms professional blogging or profitable blogging. But the idea is that you need to decide if you ever want to make money from your blog. 

Even if you're starting a blog only as a part-time or weekend thing, you still need to decide if you'll ever be wanting to make any money off of it. Because the moment you decide you want to monetize your blog you'll have to plan your blog accordingly.

Making money from your blog is possible, but it takes careful planning and execution, so know what you're up for. 



6. Decide Whether Your Blog Will Be Self-Hosted

I can't tell you how many "how to start a blog" posts I've read that immediately throw the "get a self-hosted site" on you when they are telling beginners how to start and set up a blog. 

You know what, that should be your decision!

Think about a newbie blogger who just wants to blog for fun, reads up one of those tutorials and ends up paying yearly fees and what not to start a blog because that article told him/her to do so. That's just so misguiding!

Blogging can be entirely free, partially free and fully paid depending on what a person chooses is best for his blog:

  • Entirely Free: Using popular blog creation site like Blogger or Wordpress etc.
  • Partially Free: Using a free hosting service like Blogger or Wordpress but using your own custom domain name 
  • Fully Paid: Buying a custom domain name, buying hosting, buying a premium theme for your blog, hiring content writers, using paid campaign to bring around traffic etc. 


I wrote about the differences between using Blogger and WordPress for blogging, which a person who uses a blog for journaling his/her thoughts, writing about hobbies, and personal musings should opt for.




7.  Decide How Often You Will Be Able To Post On Your Blog

Starting a blog is the easy part, running a blog is what will take most of your energy and free time.

Depending upon the amount of time you can set aside each day, week, and month you should be making a schedule of how often you want to post on your blog. 


So whether you decide to blog every day, every alternate day, once a week, once every fifteen days, so on so forth is up to you.

But deciding on it is important so that you can effectively and efficiently manage your time and your blog.



8.  Decide On The Theme Of Your Blog

No matter what platform you choose to blog on, you will need a design. This design is what is called your blog's theme. 

  • You want to decide on whether you want to use a paid or a free theme for your blog. 
  • You want to decide what type of a theme you want,  floral, vintage, modern, black and white, minimalistic etc. since there are a lot of options to choose from, deciding this from the beginning will help you in branding yourself in a better way.

I've personally used Designer Blogs and my current theme is from Fearne Creative Designs and I liked both their works so you can give them a try if you're looking for paid themes.




9.  Decide What Pages and Categories You Will Have On Your Blog


Say what?  That's right, I'm telling you to decide the pages you're going to have on your blog, and the categories as well. 

Here's why:

  • If you are getting a custom design for your blog, your designer will need you to tell them this information.
  • Knowing what categories you will write on will help you decide on what you are most interested in writing on. 
  • It will keep you from going off-track with your blog. In case you're into fashion blogging a smartphone review is not something you want to write about and your categories should remind you of that. 

I also suggest having these pages on your blog for your audience to connect with you better:

  • About 
  • Contact 

And also consider adding some specific pages to your blog, where necessary. For example: If you're a freelance writer who blogs as well, having a Hire Me page is a good thing.  Just like I do ;)




10.  Decide On The Layout Of Your Blog 


Whether you want a two-column layout, three column layout, or something different entirely this is the time to take that decision. 



blog layout



If you want your blog to look like a blog, or have a landing page where you collect e-mails etc. are all things you should think about before you start blogging.


I personally prefer the blog style two-columned layout where it's easy for my readers to be able to easily locate the information they want. 

For example: If my readers want to follow my blog, they can do it through Bloglovin' or by Putting in their e-mail, this is a functionality I chose to give my readers so that can read what I write no matter where they are and what they are doing. They don't have to visit my blog daily to see If I've written anything new, they can just check in their inbox.

So deciding on these little things is really important for your blog to look and feel they way you and your readers would want.




11. Decide What Social Networks You're Going To Use For Generating Awareness For Your Blog


This is the phase in which you're taking baby steps towards setting up a blog since your blog is going to be very new, you're going to need something that will help you get noticed.

What better way is there to do that other than going social? 

But managing a social schedule along with blogging will quickly become overwhelming if you're a one man/woman army. So until and unless you have a team of people with you, I suggest you stick to a few social networks. 

I would recommend Google+, Facebook, and Twitter in the beginning and if you want to choose only one, for the time being, go with Google+  as the number of +1's you get on Google+ will boost your SEO. [Tweet This]





12. Decide On A Social Media Strategy


google ranking factors



Once you've decided what social media platform to use for generating awareness about your blog, you'll need a social media strategy to back you up and help you do that. 

Without an effective social media strategy, your page views could take forever to grow to the point where you want them to be. 

I've personally used Holly's Twitter Schedule and it has given me great results. And I promise you her schedule works! 

I'm not on Google+ or Facebook yet, but these are the strategies you can use for growing your social media accounts:




Is there any decision you'd like to add to this list? Let me know what you're thinking!


Happy Blogging :)



How To Buy GoDaddy Domain And Hosting

7/15/2016

godaddy custom domain and hosting guide


If you are thinking about launching a blog or a website, congratulations! Blogging is a very rewarding profession, and if you’ve decided to make a living out of it, you need to have a blog.
I’m making a few assumptions here:
  • You want to launch a blog that is self-hosted and you want to use GoDaddy to do so.
  • You’re starting your journey to professional blogging (blogging to make money).
  • You’ve never purchased a domain name or hosting before.

How To Use A Custom Domain Name From GoDaddy For Your Blogger Blog

4/15/2016


step by step guide to using a custom domain on blogger for godaddy


In my previous post, I talked about the differences between a Blogger powered blog and a Wordpress powered blog (not self-hosted) and helped you decide which one will be the best option for you when you have just started your blogging journey.

When you're first starting out as a blogger, you don't know if years down the lane you'll be successful, and there are chances you'll find out that maybe blogging is just not your thing.

So, it's important that when you're a beginner you start with either a Wordpress blog or a Blogger Blog (Blogger powers mine) that way you don't have to pay anything for the upkeep of your blog (hosting, domain, etc.).  Within some months you'll actually find out if blogging is something you want to do because you like blogging, and you're not here only for some cash.


Which Free Blogging Platform Should I Choose For My Blog: Blogger Versus WordPress

4/09/2016

which free blogging platform should you choose


Whether you just seemed to come across this whole blogging thing or you've been considering starting a blog of your own for a while now, anyone interested in starting a blog will have to choose a blogging platform.

I've always encouraged my readers to be more aware before they make a decision. The blogging platform you choose for your blog should be one you are comfortable with not the one someone else likes and is comfortable with. 

I've insisted, time and again that your blogging platform should be your choice, and that too an informed one. This will help you save time and energy by having to go through the trouble of switching from one platform to another, and it will save you money as well.

If you really want help in deciding what platform to choose for blogging between Blogger and WordPress I've compiled a detailed review of the pros, cons, and overall usability of the platforms so that you can compare yourself and decide which platform is the best for your blogging needs.



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