From recipes to home improvement to homework help, people of all ages and interests use the internet for just about anything. Not only does the internet offer a plethora of resources for people to find the info they want, but bloggers abound with their own personal take on lifestyle interests, hobbies, advice, and more. With the new year here when resolutions underway, blogs can even act as online journals for your year. And you never know who may be interested in what you have to say! Whether you are new to the blogosphere or a seasoned vet, here are some blogging resources you should know about to make your blogging top-notch.
1. Know your platform options.
Depending on the style of blogging you pursue, there are many different websites that can host your thoughts for free.
- WordPress is a site that allows you to create either full websites for businesses or is a perfect platform specifically for a blog.
- Squarespace – With the tagline, “Build it beautiful” Squarespace offers a blogging option for creating sites with it.
- Wix is another dynamic platform that is good for both site-building and blogging that includes tons of templates and animation options.
- Tumblr is a site popular with younger bloggers, but is unique in its ability for bloggers to interact with one another by sharing each other’s content.
2. Set alerts for your blogging content.
Google Alerts has long been known as a blogger’s best friend for letting you know when new content is being generated about topics you want to follow. However, in recent years, Google Alerts has gone under fire for having some potential glitches. Described as “nearly identical” to the Google interface, TalkWalker is another resource for bloggers to use to stay abreast of what people online are saying about you and your brand or your blogging interests.
3. Become social media savvy.
On its own, blogging can be a fun hobby — but if you want to engage other people with your topics you have to get the word out. Hootsuite is a great tool that links up all kinds of apps like Instagram and Youtube with your site and helps you monitor how many people are viewing your content. You can also schedule posts to your blog ahead of time and share them across several different social media platforms.
4. Notify your audience of blog updates.
Once you have established an audience for your blog you should let them know when you add great new stuff for them to read. Services like Mailchimp allow your followers to sign up for a newsletter that you can use to update them about your content. Filled with templates and simple editing tools, Mailchimp allows you send emails to up to 2,000 followers for free.
5. Polish your grammar skills.
When writing for others, good grammar is key to maintaining a popular blog. If your writing is difficult to understand you aren’t likely to hang on to many followers. Below are a few grammar resources you might want to bookmark for quick access.
6. Learn how to properly cite any sources you use.
HubSpot offers a comprehensive list of the ways you can avoid accidental copyright infringement. An important part of successful blogging can sometimes be linking up with other people in your blogging content community. This creates a bigger social net for you to be a part of. However, when sharing content you have to be careful not to make other people’s work look like it belongs to you.
7. Resources for stock photos.
Not every blogger is a professional photographer. If you aren’t a person who has the time or skills to take your own photos, stock photo collections can be handy tools for jazzing up your blog. I Can Build a Blog has a list of 30 different resources bloggers can use to find the perfect photo to top off a post.
8. Funky fonts!
The design of your blog can say a lot about your content and personal style. Fonts are an easy way to convey tone, mood, and personality. Here are a couple sites with collections that provide unique fonts to suit you best.
9. Brainstorming resources.
If you regularly update a blog, sometimes inspiration isn’t always immediately with you. It can be hard to keep the creative juices flowing. When writer’s block takes its toll check out this helpful list of resources from Mashable. Focused on brainstorming and “mind mapping” these sites will surely jump-start your process.
10. Test to make sure your blog is easily understandable.
With the Clue App, bloggers can create a 5.5-second test for their followers to take that will help them determine how easy to understand the most immediate content on the blog is. Whether you are setting up a new blog or redesigning an existing one, you always want to be sure that internet surfers who happen upon your site know exactly what they are looking at. The Clue App shows testers the front page of your blog before any scrolling down for 5.5 seconds before asking them a few questions about the information they took in. Based on users’ answers you can determine the best design for your site.
11. Monitor your comments section.
If your blog is highly trafficked and you have a comments function available, there is a good chance that your followers may interact with one another in regards to your blog. Always monitor your comments section for unnecessarily hostile content that is meant to trigger readers. Stay on the lookout for spammy comments that could contain links with viruses. You can also read this article from MarketingProfs about turning negative feedback into a positive.
12. Learn about and use feeds.
RSS feeds are great ways to diversify the way you distribute your content. Readers can see large amounts of content quickly and they make your site easier to subscribe to. Check out this “Feed 101” article from Google to learn more about how feeds work and what they can do for your blog.