Asides

Crucial tips and tricks for blogging beginners

8 crucialBy Sharon Chihaka Chanyau

It’s an open secret that there are millions of blogs out there, but don’t let this worry you! When you are new to blogging, it can be a daunting task figuring out the best practices to follow,  how to start and keep going on. Don’t worry that is why I am here for, helping you through your baby steps until you can “walk” on your own. In this article I highlight some of the tips and trick that have helped me in my blogging journey.

Have ORIGINAL content

Seasoned and experienced bloggers do a keyword search and research on what other bloggers have written about on the topic they want to write on, or similar ones before they put words on paper. The main reason for this is to check out the competing bloggers while intending to grab the attention of their readers. It is always good to check out on what other bloggers in the same niche has written on a particular topic as it can widen your scope on the subject and who knows, you can get inspired! By choosing the right keywords, you can increase blog traffic and gain readers that can turn into loyal followers.

For blogging beginners, you can read experienced bloggers articles as a way of research, planning and preparing your blogs but PLEASE you absolutely should not copy their work verbatim at all. Why I am stressing on this is that, this may not only cheapen your blog but it can end in Google penalizing you for it. How?  You ask. The Google bot runs and gathers all of the information from all websites (yours included) and does its analysis on it. It will find your post and see it as a duplicate of someone’s work, this will result in your website suffering the consequences and your rankings will tumble. Plagiarism is not something that Google tolerates! Check out

Use Killer Titles

Take your blog post title like the cover of a magazine or a book. Normally book/magazine covers are designed for one purpose…to get you to open the book/magazine. These covers are catchy and attractive and the same should be true for a blog post. The greatest blog post in the world might not be read unless you have a compelling and catchy title. There is saying that goes like “first impressions count”, the headline of your post is the first impression to a reader. After you have done your keyword search and you have decided on a post you are going to write, remember it is very important to insert your keyword in the headline, so don’t forget to include it! Read more about how blog titles are important for your blog. How to boost traffic to your website

Remember Less is more

Chances of your audience reading through your entire content are high when blog posts are shorter, instructive and to the point. Only on a rare occasion is there a need to ramble on about an issue. Make sure you use short, clear sentence and paragraphs. Do not let your readers get lost in one long and complex paragraph which can be nicely put across in fewer words. Get rid of unnecessary words! Readers tend to scan through a page before they really read your content, and personally for me, long paragraphs are a biggest turn off. Breaking longer paragraphs of text into smaller chunks makes the post look less daunting to a reader.

Remember sometimes less is more when it comes to blogging. Rambling on and on may bore your readerTweet: Remember something less is more in blogging. Rambling on and on may bore your readers

Map out your way.

Most beginner bloggers who start blogging without any training start with a multi-topic niche blog. There is a saying that goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none”, for you to succeed in a particular field you have to set yourself and focus on one particular thing and become an expert. When you establish your niche, chances are you get loyal audiences and followers who love to know more about the topic that you write on. This grows your brand and makes you an authority and influencers in your niche. You are much more visible to companies for advertising campaigns. With a well difeined niche it becomes easier for you to choose and place yourself  in correct group boards on social media platforms.

Engage in the Blogging Community

Blogging communities are found on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. These platforms can help you in three ways.

  • They help you quickly boost your blog traffic. Create viral headlines. They always bring you instant traffic from social media sites.
  • Use social media sites to build connections with the influencers.
  • You can build your own tribe using your Facebook fan pages, groups or Twitter chats.

It does not matter what niche you choose, it is very important to be involved in a blogging community as there are so many benefits that come with it. Benefits include meeting and learning from your niche influencers, creating working relationships with other bloggers, finding collaborations with other bloggers etc. I have seen great things happen in blogging communities. For example, a travel blogger meets and collaborates with a photography blogger and they all work on one massive project, each one bringing in their expertize and ideas from their respective fields.

Focus on Building an Email List

Most bloggers make building an email list second priority. This is a huge mistake. An email list should be built and focused on way before you have start blogging. If you ask successful bloggers to share their biggest blogging mistake, most of them will say “I did not start list building from the first day.” Would it not be awesome to have 500 or more email subscribers waiting for and reading your very first blog post? Your email list can be built through your friends, family, Facebook and Twitter followers. You can incentivize signing in on the email list by offering a freebie or free eBook, printables etc.
Email marketing platforms that you can use to build your email list.

On another note: Building an email list is not enough for your blog on its own. You have to create engagement. You need to build trust. You have to find ways to sell your email list. That’s a story for another day. Watch this space!!

Do the Basics.

This is basically spell check, proofreading, checking out facts to make sure that your facts are true. A well presented, error free blog post is always a joy to your readers and followers. Read more about the the importance of doing the basics here: How to create great content for your blog

Don’t give up on blogging just yet

It is very common and frustrating to anyone to blog for several months and not see immediate results. You may get frustrated when your comments are at zero and the traffic is not what you thought it would be. You may think your hard work is not being recognized. Always remember what made you start blogging in the first place when you are thinking about quitting. Motivate yourself to continue and focus on the next step.

Blogging is quite enjoying and satisfying when you get the hang of. Like in every aspect of life, anticipate failure and have a counter plan for it. Be focused and resilient.

If you have any questions and contributions on this topic please leave a comment or contact me at schihaka@zoho.com. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Blogging!

©Sharon Chihaka Chanyau ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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6 Time management tips for bloggers

6 time managementBlogging is one way that you can generate passive income from. It can also help you generate more referrals for your projects and business. It may seem like an easy way of earning money, at least for some it is but getting to point where everything is smooth sailing can be a very hard way. One of the hardest things about blogging is finding the time to practically put pen to paper. In this article I will cover time management tips. Hopefully they will help you and other bloggers find the time to blog even when you are also on a full-time job. If you have been finding it difficult to balance your time in blogging then this article is for you.

Set specific goals for your blog

Having specific goals as you approach your blog each day or week helps you cut out unnecessary things that will not help you achieve what you want. It helps to write out a number of goals for your blog for the month/year and keep them at hand from where you work from. I have made my goals as a wallpaper for my phone! Refer to them often. It can also help to make your goals public, in order to help put some pressure on you. I always share my goals with my Husband and children. (My seven y.o is very good at reminding you of what you have said). It is always good to start small, make sure your goals are attainable and will not leave you burnt out for the whole year.  Goals are a huge motivation to doing something. Work progressively, step by step and as you attain that goal set another one.

Create an editorial calendar

Do a brainstorming session where you come up with a list of blog post topics that you would want to work on. From your brainstorming session, transfer your topic ideas to days you will publish your blog articles and plug those topics into an editorial calendar. This will help you determine what day you will publish a specific blog post. The calendar helps you when to write your blog post and what topic exactly you are to write about. You can also add other bits and pieces to your editorial calendar, such as keywords, an outline for your blog post. Editorial calendars come in various formats, you can choose a wall/ desk calendar or Google calendar. Choose the one which works best for you and your style of work.

Limit social media

We all know that having a blog isn’t just about the writing. After writing we PROMOTE our content. It is very important to promote your blog and normally bloggers do that by networking through social media. Social media is good but it can swiftly waste all of your time. Spending too much time on social media can leave you all hyped up, feeling like you have accomplished a lot with hardly any work done. I can work more effectively and come out with good and well researched content when I limit my time on social media. It’s very hard, but I think we can do it. Good, well placed comments and encouragements may come via the mediums you have used but do not get caught up glitz and glamour of social media! When I started blogging and promoting my content I got carried out away by the traffic and feedback I was getting that I spent time monitoring my stats and the comments. It’s important to interact with your readers but set a time in a day for that.

Schedule and stay organized.

Scheduling is setting up your posts to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, and wherever else you want. I have noticed that, in terms of readership numbers, the more you publish posts the more your readership will grow. This however should not force you to do hurried and low quality posts. Yes, frequently give new and exciting posts to your readers. Scheduling your posts can be helpful on this one.

What has helped me to schedule my posts:

I use

  • Hootsuite to schedule my twitter status update.
  • Facebook to schedule my Facebook posts.
  • Tailwind to schedule Pinterest and Instagram

There are other apps like  scheduler

Also, remember you can schedule for today, tomorrow, next week and even for the whole month.  Please, please go right ahead and schedule a few posts over the next several months and do not forget to come back and thank me.

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Use a timer.

 A timer has helped me a lot and I have grown to love my timer! I use it to keep myself on track when I need to get specific things done. I set my time for every task I have to do on a day. I set a timer every morning to check email. I have loads of mail coming in so I give myself  45 minutes to deal with them, then I check my mail every 2hours for 5 minutes. It will be very helpful to use your timer when you are on social media so that you do not get carried away . For example on a day that promoting your content on social media is not high on the priority list. Set aside 10 minutes for every hour and a half to check posts that needs your attention and replies.

Focus on one task at a time

As women we pride ourselves in our ability to multi task. I recommend that you put our focus on thing until completion. It is good to jot down your ideas as they come, even if they are for another post scheduled to release in a month. When it comes to blogging, whilst it is good to have a few outlines on various post, when it comes to completion, work on one, polish it and finish it. By putting half the amount of effort on two tasks, put 100% of your effort into one, this will help you dish out good blog post.

Extra thought: Think of blogging as making a family meal plan. You plan your menus in advance, making sure you have the right food items in your kitchen, it will be much easier to plan and prepare fo meals. The same is true for blogging: plan and you will be able to serve up a blog post that will satisfy your readers — all while saving you valuable time.

I would also like to know how you manage your time as a blogger. Please get in touch!

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©Sharon Chihaka Chanyau ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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