Looking to start a blog but not sure where to start?
No worries. Funny thing, that was me 3 years ago. Seriously, I had no idea what I was doing, and now this blog gets over 1,000 hits a day.
Ready to get yours going in 5 minutes?
Then I’ll hit you with some blogging secrets that will have you blogging better than 99% of other bloggers right outta the gate, including:
- how to unearth blog topic “gold nuggets” in 45 minutes or less, and…
- my single-best advice for getting significant amounts of traffic.
OK, on to step 1…
Step 1: Set Up Your Custom Blog in 5 Minutes
For your website, go with an easy-to-install WordPress site, which will give you full functionality and control similar to 99.9% of websites out there.
You’ll need your own domain name and hosting, and I’ve found Bluehost or Hostgator as both fast and reliable web host solutions you could use.
Here is the exact process using Bluehost:
(A good way to go…free domain, and web hosting for under $5/mo)
Go to bluehost.com, then click “Get Started Now”…
( I secured a free domain and $3.49/mo discount…use this link here)
(make sure you already know your generic blog topic you want to cover before choosing your name)
…then, pick your domain name:
Two things when picking your domain:
Stick to .com, .org and .net (in that order), and make the domain brandable.
A brand can be your name, a creative wordplay, or something simple like “Multiple Streams” (because I blog about multiple streams of income).
Next, when you are signing up, make sure you leave these 3 boxes unchecked:
Short version: you don’t need any three of those upgrades.
I love Bluehost (their support is top-tier, and their web hosting is fast and reliable) but they got a little greedy here. Lol.
Ok, once you have your account, you’ll need to install WordPress.
Click “Home” inside of your Bluehost account, then inside your control panel, you’ll see a WordPress icon that says “Install WordPress”.
Click on that, choose either a http://www.domain.com or just http://domain.com (does not matter), fill out your WordPress credentials, and then click the “install” button.
You’re now live, and you can start blogging immediately.
Go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin, throw in your WordPress creds in there, and you’re inside your WordPress dashboard.
Step 2: Find “Hidden” Topics You can Cover on Your Blog
First, find your topic on Stumbleupon to trigger ideas for your blog..
(or the closest category in Stumbleupon that is your blog niche)
Clothing, business, bodybuilding, day trading, film-making, international politics…whatever suits your blog topic the best, pick that category on Stumbleupon and begin “stumbling” (clicking the red “stumble” button will just bring up another piece of content in that category).
(after 30 minutes of this, your creative juices will reach colossal levels)
You’ll find outside-the-box pieces of content that went viral and unearth subtopics and categories that are goldmines for blog topics.
After 4 “stumbles” in the survivalist category on Stumbleupon, I found this post on DIY Bow-Making:
Great, great niche.
That is a niche that is so simple and targeted, (and virtually zero competition) you could start blogging about your journey of making your first DIY bow and arrow, and it would probably be the best “DIY bow” blog on the internet.
To further validate your blog topic, throw some keywords into Google’s keyword planner, which will show you monthly keyword volume (how often people search for the keyword).
You can see, for DIY bows, the keyword volume is decent, but probably not enough to be the flagship topic for your blog (maybe DIY hunting gear instead?)…
Next, for a more analytic approach, use Quora.
Quora is basically Yahoo Answers for techies and hipsters, and you’ll find exact questions of people desperately looking for answers.
Again, choose a category, and jot down specific topics and categories that people are having a hard time finding answers.
Quora provided me with this question in their survivalism category:
33 people followed this question, which means they’re all interested in the answers, as well.
This is pure data of what people want to know, and chemical survivalist hacks would be a niche worth exploring.
Think about it, if they’ve taken the time to ask a question in a forum, they probably couldn’t find a reasonable resource that answered their question elsewhere.
Use Stumbleupon to find hidden subtopics and Quora to source questions that people are asking.
Using the above exercises, you should find several creative (and validated) blog topics in 45 minutes or less.
Step 3: Become an “Authority” Blogger
To get the most traffic for your blog, you need to become an authority on your topic.
Become an expert in one thing.
Think: yoga for rock climbers…or paleo diet for diabetics.
In other words, don’t start a “weight loss blog for women” (dime-a-dozen), but start a “slow-carb diet blog for women” (doubt there is one), and then become the expert in that space.
You can think about expanding your audience reach once your blog is pulling in 100-200 visitors a day.
Sticking to your area of authority or expertise, Google will surrender groupie, boy-band love to your blog.
Just recently (July 2014), powerhouse brands such as ebay, Biography.com and History.com lost significant amounts of traffic from Google because their content became too far-stretched and generic.
These sites became too broad and, ultimately, too lazy with their content.
Thankfully for you, though, Google is letting these thorough, niche bloggers beat out huge, aggregated brands now, which wasn’t always the case.
Becoming the authority means putting out better content than other websites and bloggers. Content that is longer-form (2,000+ words) and stuffed with helpful graphics and visuals.
Typically, these are:
- How-to Posts & Tutorials (“How to Double Your Blog Traffic…” step-by-step guides)
- Resource Posts (“50 Ways to…” or “17 Hacks for…” titles stand out, great click-bait)
- Expert Roundups & Interviews (“31 Nutrition Experts Weigh In On Energy Drinks” hint: email 20 experts an intriguing question…boom)
Instead of hitting the publish button as many times as possible on your blog, brainstorm what resource or guide you could put together that would help your niche community.
Think more about epic, less about frequency.
Just like this blogging tutorial site is done: Start Blogging Online.
And, as Seth Godin says, “become the purple cow” by being remarkable and different.
All killer, no filler.
Enjoy your blogging journey.
About the Author:
Jeremy Page created Multiple Streams to help struggling bloggers get bigger followings and fatter bank accounts.
He has been featured in Hack College, Read Write, Huffington Post, and has guest-lectured about blogging at universities.
Sometimes, he enjoys blogging with Major Lazer beats and NOS energy drink.