I never realized how much I loved talking about blogging UNTIL January 16, 2020.
I consider this the start of my business. Just over 2 years ago, I started Creative Purpose. Up until recently, it was called Samantha Laycock Blogging. As I stood at the library, giving a workshop on Blogging For Your Business.
I was so nervous that no one was going to show up. My beautiful friend Jody bought a ticket and then a few days before, I had a stranger purchase a ticket. As I stood in front of them, the nerves went away. It was at that moment that it felt like everything was falling into place.
The struggles of being an entrepreneur.
The struggles of knowing if I was doing the right thing.
Now the struggles of being an entrepreneur didn’t go away and they never will but life felt good. It felt easy. It felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I was FINALLY creating a business that filled my creative side as well as my passionate side.
Two years later and I am still here, teaching women how to blog. Over the past six months, my business has added services that I never thought I would do. With the help of a small business program and the incredible participants with me in that program, they helped me to see more of my strengths and never once gave up on me.
In this blog post, I am doing what I love the most. Some of these questions I have answered in their own separate blog posts so I will be linking to them. If there is a question that you need more clarity on, don’t hesitate to reach out or check out the other blog post about that topic.
This is a condensed version of all of these questions so that you can easily find an answer to what you are struggling with.
What is the best blogging platform?
This answer is going to be different from what other bloggers say. Most bloggers instantly jump and say WordPress. I get it. It is a great platform for blogging BUT it doesn’t mean that it is a platform for everyone.
WordPress has a HUGE learning curve and if you do not have the technical skills, you will struggle with it.
There are so many other options for website platforms out there including Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy. Wix is and always will be my recommendation for a website platform. It is easy to use and I love that it walks you through setting up your SEO. I work with beginner bloggers who don’t understand how SEO works so this is a great option.
However, every blogger is going to have different needs so there is no one size fits all to this question. If you are looking for help on how to figure out which platform you should use, check out my blog post on choosing your blogging platform. You will get access to the free workbook that I created to help you choose the platform that best suits your needs.
Should I use a free platform?
The easy answer is no but the more complicated answer is if you need to.
I don’t recommend using a free platform because you want to be able to customize your URL and you can’t do that with a free platform. However, I also don’t want money to be a reason that you don’t start your blog.
I started on a free platform because it was all I could do when I started blogging in 2014. So if you can, pay for your website platform. If you can’t, start on a free platform and switch to paid when you can.
What is a self-hosted blog?
My blog is a hosted blog because I use Wix. I want you to think of it as renting space. I pay Wix monthly or yearly to host my blog. On the other hand, if you use WordPress.org, your website will be self-hosted. That means that it is open-source software that you download and modify to how you want it to be.
Having a self-hosted blog means that the software is free but you will need to pay for them to host your website files on their servers and you will also need to purchase your domain. This option is great if you are great with technology. If not, it can be a harder option for you to build your own blog and website.
How can I make my blog easy to read?
There are many different ways that you can make your blog easier to read. Here are a few ways that will help. For more information, check out my blog post that breaks down in even more detail on how you can make your blog easier to read.
How do I make my blog mobile-friendly?
Most of your blog readers will be on their mobile phones so you want to make sure that you make it easy for them to read.
This means that you need to ensure that your text is easy to read.
With Wix, I can edit my website as a mobile layout so that I know how it looks. I just had someone reach out to me and tell me that parts of my writing were off on my mobile layout. I am grateful they did because I didn’t even notice when I looked.
Have a friend check out your site once you edit it so that you know everything lines up. It will take a bit of time but it will keep people on your website.
How does my blog show up in search engines?
SEO. That is how your blog is going to show up in search engines. That doesn’t mean that you are instantly going to be on page 1 or even page 2 if you are doing your SEO correctly. It will still take time. Search engines are all about trust. They need to know that your website can be trusted and just like with people, trust takes time to build.
A few things to do to ensure that your SEO is working in your favor are…
You do NOT want to keyword stuff. You want to make sure that the writing in your blog post sounds natural. There will be many different ways to say what your keyword focus is throughout your blog. Here is a guest blog post that was written for my website on how SEO works.
How do I choose a domain?
I just published a blog post on how to do this in detail. Your domain name is important and it can be one of the hardest things to do when starting your own blog.
To start with, think about words that are related to what you want to blog about. You will be able to take these words and combine them with other ones to create a unique domain name.
Read my blog post, how to choose your domain name to see the lists to make to help you.
What legal pages do I need to have on my website?
There are three legal pages that are must-haves on your website. Your legal pages not only protect you but are also going to protect your readers and clients.
You need to have a terms and conditions page on your website. This page is a set of regulations to use your website.
The disclaimer page is to tell anyone who visits your site that the material on your website is for informational purposes only.
To read more on these three legal pages, grab my what to add to your blog to legally protect yourself blog post.
How do I get people to read my posts?
You need to give your readers what they want. Answer the questions to the problems that they are having. Be the solution.
There is more to it than this as well. Make sure that you are engaging with them. That engagement should be coming from your website as well as your social media platforms. Make sure that your readers and followers know that you care about what they are struggling with.
You also need to make sure to show your true self. Be true to who you are. Your readers won’t stick around if you are fake.
Read how to build your blogging audience blog post to help even more.
Where do I promote my blog posts?
This is where social media is going to come into play. You want to ensure that you are sharing your blog posts on the social media platforms that you are on.
Create a strategy to share your blog post. I suggest not sharing your blog post on every platform the same day that you publish. You want to keep sending traffic to your website.
You can also check out Blog Pros to help you build up your readers. This is a website that scans your blog and shares your blog post to relevant people on different social media platforms. For my latest campaign (my latest blog post), it has helped me share it 463 times.
What social media platforms should I use for my blog?
The question that is probably asked the most with my clients. They hear social media platforms and are instantly overwhelmed.
There is no specific answer to this question because it will be it depends. However, there are a few that I will recommend using.
I recommend creating a Facebook page for your blog. This way you can start to build up an audience for your blog on your page and eventually, you can run paid ads if you decide to do that.
I also recommend using Instagram. It is a great way to share your blog posts. What I have done is create a page on my website called Instagram. I have hidden it from my menu but it is a place where I have all the important links. That way, I am leading my followers to my website instead of using a third party like Milkshake (who by the way, I used to use and loved so they are a great option.)
This is not a social media platform but it is a search engine, Pinterest. Use Pinterest for your blog posts. You can create boards that are the keywords and categories on your website. You can create a board that is the name of your blog. I even have created a board that is the best of my blog.
You can also use…
Be sure that you are speaking to your ideal readers on these social media platforms. It will take work and consistency to build up an audience but it is possible.
How do I collaborate with other bloggers?
Reach out to them. It is scary and they can say no BUT they can also say yes.
I suggest that you look at who you follow on your social media platforms. Who in your niche has an active blog? You want to collaborate with other bloggers that are active so that it is beneficial to you as well as them.
Write a list of bloggers that you want to work with. Keep building your website up while you are reaching out to others. You can also collaborate with podcasters.
How many posts do I need to write a month?
I don’t want you to overthink this process. You need to be super honest with where you currently are in your life, what else you have going on, and how much time you have to dedicate to your blog.
A blog can take you anywhere from 4-6 hours to write. In the beginning, I would suggest budgeting your time for 6 hours per blog post.
How much time do you have in your week or your month that you can focus on not only writing the blog post but sharing it once it is published?
This will help you figure out how many blogs you can realistically write.
If you can only write one blog post per month then write one blog post per month. I suggest starting small and building from there. Even if you do two blog posts per month, keep that up for 3 months and then re-evaluate how much time you have.
Should I repost my blog posts?
I am going to answer this question in two ways.
You should repurpose your content and share it with all of the social media platforms that you are on.
You should also reshare blog posts that you published months and years ago to get visits to them again. That is why you are blogging. It creates great evergreen content. You have created great content so keep sharing it.
Places that are great to share and reshare your blog posts.
How do I use my keywords?
Your keywords are an important part of building your blog. They help you to bring in your ideal reader and build your website SEO.
You will be using your keywords in these locations.
How do I figure out my keyword ideas?
Your keywords are going to be a combination of what you are teaching, how your ideal readers speak, and some research.
The starting point is going to be to know who your target reader is.
How do they speak?
What are they struggling with?
You need to know who they are before you can write for them.
You will then think about what you are teaching your ideal readers.
What words are associated with what you are teaching?
Is there a process to what you are teaching?
Brainstorm and then use a keyword tool. I recommend two different keyword tools. I love using Keyword Chef and Ubersuggest. You can type in your keyword idea and they will give you other ideas. Write all of the ideas down that best suit your audience along with the search difficulty.
Do I need an email newsletter?
The short answer is YES. It is a great way to stay connected to your readers. Plus if you decide to monetize your blog eventually, you will already have an audience built up of your ideal clients. I recommend using Flodesk. If you use my link, I will receive an affiliate fee at no additional cost to you.
How do I get followers to read and subscribe to my blog?
You give your readers what they are searching for.
A great way is to create an opt-in to get your readers to join your email newsletter. This will be different than subscribing to your blog. I know with Wix, I can get subscribers through the app that I use. Anyone who subscribes will get notifications if I publish a new post.
You should also link between blog posts. Every new blog post that you publish should have at least one link from a previous blog post that is relevant to what you are talking about. This will be harder when you don’t have blog posts to share and that is okay. Do it once you have other blog posts. This will help keep readers on your site but also give them more information that they are searching for.
How many social media graphics do I create per blog post?
I love showing my clients how many different pieces of creative content you can get from one blog post. This blog post alone would be able to give me over 40 separate creative content ideas.
Ideas on the social media graphics that you can create for each blog post.
Get creative on how you can break up your blog post into different social media graphics. Here are creative ways to reuse your blogging content.
Do I need to monitor the comment section?
Yes. You want to ensure that you are answering questions and making connections with those who have taken the time to respond to your blog post.
How long should a blog post be?
I recommend anywhere between 1,500-2,000 words for beginner bloggers. Remember that not every blog post has to be long but you want to make sure that you are at least over 1,000 words if it can be.
Your writing will change as you continue to write so keep moving forward.
How far in advance should blog posts be scheduled?
I don’t schedule anything more than a month in advance. I like to be able to easily add a blog post without having to change my whole plan months and months out.
This is going to depend on the amount of time that you have to post during the week as well. See what works for you. It will take a bit of time to figure it out but give yourself that time.
With my social media, I plan it out for a week at a time. Again, that way I can easily add or subtract something that I need to.
Should I have a consistent layout for blog posts?
You will find that as you write, your layout will change and find a rhythm. I keep my blog posts the same. It is just how I write.
See what works for you. I just want you to remember that no one wants to read a wall of text. Make sure that you break it up.
Should I delete old blog posts?
No. You should keep them. You were a beginner at one point and there is nothing wrong with keeping blog posts that don’t fit your standard now. You can always archive them if you need to. You can also decide to update them (which is recommended) so that you can reshare them if the information has changed.
How do I get over writer’s block?
The best of us will get stuck in moments of writer’s block. It is bound to happen. There are a few things that I have learned that help me move past these moments.
I keep my phone nearby when I am doing these things so that I can write down anything that comes to me. Here are more ways to overcome your creative blocks.
Can I have more than one niche?
Oh hell yes you can! This is called a lifestyle blog. You can also be like me and create a combination of niches that all fit together.
How do I stand out as a blogger?
You need to be yourself. Be true and honest with who you are. That is the only way that you will be able to stand out as a blogger.
How do I brainstorm topics for my blog?
I just created a fun blog post on this to help you create a list of creative content in 30 minutes a week. To read the full blog post, grab it here and watch the videos that I shared walking you through the resources that I use.
Resources that will help you brainstorm topics for your blog are…
How can I make money blogging?
I love teaching women that they can make money blogging by using the expertise of their past. The list is endless in ways you can make money blogging but here are a few ideas…
Think outside the box to create ways that are unique to you.
How much time does blogging take?
As a beginner blogger, you should estimate anywhere from 4-6 hours for the writing portion and about 2-3 hours for creating graphics and sharing them.
You will get faster as time goes on. I can finish a blog post in about one hour and I can get many of the graphics I need per blog post created and scheduled in 1-2 hours.
Do I need to tell my readers if I use affiliate links?
Yes. You need to tell your readers that you are earning money from any of the links that they use to purchase something. You also need to inform your readers if you were given a product to review.
What should I spend money on as a beginner blogger?
You should spend money on your blogging platform and get a domain. Everything beyond that is not necessary.
Here are the things that I currently spend money on as a blogger.
How should I accept payments when I monetize?
I accept payments in a few different ways to make it easier for any client that decides to work with me. I use Square, PayPal, and e-transfer for those who are in Canada.
Remember that any payment platform that you use will have fees attached to it. Check to compare the fees.
What are the different types of blog posts that I can write?
These are just to name a few of the different types of blog posts that you can write on your blog.
How do I start blogging?
You just start. You choose a platform and you begin to write blog posts. You won’t have everything figured out.
The best is to learn as you go. Otherwise, you will keep making excuses for not starting. If you are wanting help starting, reach out to me. My 12-week group coaching program begins on January 24, 2022. I will walk you through every piece of starting your own blog.
How do I manage my time?
You need to be organized.
I suggest spending 2-4 weeks figuring out how long things take you. I use Clockify to see how long I spend doing certain tasks in my business.
Once you have an estimated time for tasks, you can begin to break down your day with work hours. Time blocking is a HUGE help. I block off time using different colored highlighters. In each of the highlighted sections, I then write what I want to accomplish in that time frame.
How do I stay organized?
Blogging has a lot of moving parts. If you are not organized, you will quickly become overwhelmed and want to give up.
I use a Trello board and planners to keep myself organized. If you want a copy of the Trello board, you can grab it here.
I use the Trello board to keep track of my blog post ideas, monthly numbers, goals, and more. I use a monthly planner to map out my content for the month. I use a weekly content planner to map out my social media content.
How do I gain confidence as a blogger?
You continue to blog. Do not give up. It is hard but you can do this. Confidence comes with practice and time.
What is SEO?
SEO is how your website is found on search engines. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. Think about when you type something into Google. The websites that pop up are there because of their SEO.
I hope that this blog post helped to answer some of your most common questions about blogging. Do you have a question that I didn’t cover? Comment below and I will answer it for you.