Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Blog

Whether you love writing — or hate it — blogging can be a powerful growth engine for your business.

But if you’ve never had a blog before, starting can feel overwhelming. There’s so much to think about: writing, SEO, keywords, site maps, web hosting — the list goes on.

That’s why I wanted to speak to Ben Cummings — Founder and Creator of Blog with Ben — on the latest episode of The FWD: Thinking Show. Ben breaks down blogging and makes it easy for small businesses and bloggers to make a living blogging online. 

Plus, Ben reassures listeners that starting a blog isn’t as overwhelming as you might think. 

Let’s get into the conversation. 

Listen to the episode now

Do blogs make sense for businesses of all kinds?

The way that you use your blog will drastically change your strategy.

For instance, businesses use blogs as an engine for their content marketing efforts — prioritizing SEO, driving traffic to their content and converting leads. 

Meanwhile, other businesses can be built entirely around blogging, like travel blogging and food blogging. In those cases, you may be more focused on monetization, brand recognition and audience growth.

However, there are a lot of similarities between blogs for content marketing and blogs for businesses, because ultimately it all comes down to creating valuable content that people love.

Hear Ben’s best tips

Blogging tips for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google is your friend when it comes to finding keywords that you want to rank for. Even simple searches can give you a lot of ideas.

You can also use Google Ad’s Keyword Planner to do more in depth keyword research. It’s free to use and can give you great insight on what people are searching for.

Or, if you have a WordPress blog, the Yoast plugin is a huge value-add for SEO. It even teaches you about writing with an SEO focus. 

However, SEO goes beyond keywords and content — there’s also a technical side to SEO. 

Ben’s best advice: Keep it simple when you’re just starting out and don’t get bogged down by the details of technical SEO. Focus on setting up a well structured site, privacy policy page, contact page, and create helpful content.

How to promote blog content

Organically, a good way to boost SEO is to use your social channels. Share your content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to increase word of mouth and create a direct line to your audience.

Another way is to build an email list and share new content with your list. When you can get traffic to your new blogs, that will help boost SEO as well.

Ben’s #1 tip to grow an email list for your blog: You have to create an incentive that will entice visitors to sign up for your list. Present something of value in exchange for your email list. People are signing up for you and your personality. So be yourself, be patient, provide value for your audience and the rest will fall into place.

Monetize your blog

Blogging gives you the potential to earn a full time income. And it goes hand in hand with helping your audience. 

There are a handful of ways to go about it:

  • Running sponsored content
  • Selling advertisements
  • Selling products
  • Set up a paid membership
  • Sell your website
  • Affiliate marketing

Ben shared affiliate marketing is his favorite way to earn a passive income through blogging. Affiliate marketing is promoting other companies’ products and services for a percentage of a sale. But affiliate marketing only works if you truly believe in the product or service you’re promoting, because your audience will only trust you if you’re truly genuine about your support.

To get started, you need to have a digital platform, like a blog. But then you can apply for products and services that speak to you through different affiliate networks. 

Do you need to like writing to have a blog?

The answer is plain and simple: No. 

You don’t need to like writing. In fact, you don’t need to write to have a blog. If you’re looking for a content engine for your business, you can hire third-party help, like freelancers, to create content for you.

Having an editorial content calendar also makes it a lot easier to create content that speaks to your audience and stay consistent with your writing. 

About Ben Cummings

Ben is the creator of Blog With Ben, where he helps people build, grow, and monetize their blogs by providing free, easy to follow, step-by-step tutorials. He’s an expert in all things WordPres, blogging, web hosting, SEO, copywriting, and how to run a successful online business.

Check out Blog with Ben online. And learn more about getting started with affiliate marketing with Ben’s Affiliate Blogger Academy.

Take me to the episode.