11 Helpful Blogging Resources to Improve Your New Blog
One of the most effective ways to educate yourself on how to blog is to start one yourself. You will find plenty of resources from bloggers who are serious about helping others start blogging, if you know where to look. (And you do.)
The blogosphere is a huge community comprised of groups of people already involved in publishing and content marketing. Over the past months, I've been scouring online pages for the best guides and tutorials to help me with my blogging journey.
I'm a firm believer in our own ability to teach ourselves anything, but showing up is just the beginning. To blog effectively and productively, you need to get to know the common resources to help you create and improve your content.
1. Online Communities
They come in different names and guises. Forums, groups, networks, clubs, hubs, organizations, unions, message boards, social networking platforms, what-have-yous. These are all a social network of individuals who interact across political boundaries and geographies, who are guided by similarities in their interests and quite possibly their goals.
Instead of traveling across traffics to meet at a coffee shop, we gather at a website. Instead of conversing face-to-face, we post messages to each other. We don’t even have to fuss over the time and place to meet, because the nature of an online community is that it is always available.
2. Other Bloggers
Newbie bloggers will often feel intimidated by other more successful or more experienced bloggers. But the truth is other bloggers are your most valuable "resources." At first you might feel nervous or reluctant about connecting with them, and that’s quite normal. In fact, that is what differentiates the beginners from the experienced.
More experienced bloggers are often quicker to connect and to offer their help. On their blogs, you could probably find guides or other resources written for newbies and returning bloggers. These are resourceful people with the technical know-how.
In return, offer them some type of value in exchange for the many ways they are already helping you. For example, if a blogger links to your post, offer to link back. If someone is sharing your content across social media, offer to share their post in return. If they let you use their images or infographics for your posts, credit them for it.
Sensible universities and college departments will provide “academic resources for blogging.” And no, I don’t mean the traditional libraries. Because universities have a culture of making things look easy, even when they’re not, blogging can really be a huge challenge for faculty members.
As a former faculty myself, I was not happy with how disinterested the professors are about “screwing up in public”, because who’s going to show us how to think in the open, if not these “professional thinkers” we know as academics? It is very important for us that our academics maintain their own blogs.
Academic resources for blogging can be in the form of academic blogs, online blogging courses offered by universities, college guides to “writing online” and “writing for the web”. Find research studies on the impact of academic blogging, university articles about student publishing, academic writing blogs, digital storytelling initiatives, studies on the academic contributions of blogging, etc.
4. Online Hosting
Your online hosting services are there to help you out with your blog installation and provide customer support. They can be a valuable resource for technical knowledge about blogging, about running a small business, and, of course, about SEO. Most hosting will have a blog where they share their knowledge base articles and all the how-tos of your blogging business. And then finally, check out their affiliate programs. An affiliate program is one way you can earn money with your blog while helping other bloggers.
5. Blogging Platforms
Blogging platforms are a great source of information on how to get more involved with blogging. An experienced blogger would usually create their own training materials and online courses to help other bloggers with their blogging journey. Knowing this, many blogging platforms would often organize events to facilitate discussions.
WordPress.com, for example, offers support workshops for women. Wordpress.org offers many ways to contribute: their TV channel, the training team, the marketing, the design team, WordCamp, etc. From these platforms, you can learn the ins and outs of growing your online community.
Google has a number of must-have tools for blogging. Not just for creating your blog, like the new Google Sites tool, but also for managing your workflow, measuring your blogging success and achievements over time. These are just some of the most common ones, but Google has plenty of other tools that you should definitely look into.
6. Adwords (Now Ads)
This popular advertising tool is useful for bloggers to popularize their sites. It is a paid service, but inside Ads you can find free keyword planning tool to help you with your keyword ideas. From Tools, navigate toward Planning and select the Keyword Planner. From there, you can use the tool for two things: find new keywords and get search volume and forecasts.
The Keyword Planner can help you research keywords to use in your articles and find supporting keywords that are relevant to your blog topics. You will find use statistics such as search volume to help you decide on the keywords to use. The forecasts will provide an idea of how your list of keywords might perform.
Perhaps you have heard of AdSense, Google’s website monetization tool. With it, you will be placing ads on your website and on your YouTube channels. If you have been blogging on Blogger, you can also easily show ads between your posts. But first, your sites need to be eligible for monetization with AdSense.
Most accounts are not activated because of some sort of issue on the website, whether it be content or something technical for optimization. Whatever it is, you can only activate your account after you have fixed the problem Google found on your blog.
In order to add a new site to AdSense, you must first have an activated account; your site should comply with the program policies. With an active AdSense account, you can monetize more than one website and link your account with Analytics.
Everything you do as a blogger is marketing. Maybe you’ve never thought of it as marketing, but it is. So Google’s most favourite marketing tool is your new best friend.
Analytics is a tool to better understand your customer, in order to improve your website and reach out to your target audience lists. It is basically there to help you do what you’ve set out to do with your blogs. You can do a lot with analytics, such as find out the number of visitors you have, the demographics of your readers, source of referrals, their interests, etc.
The Webmaster tool is a must-have for website owners. With it you can be notified of issues related to your blogs. You can even make improvements to your codes, check up on your website’s health, and verify your authorship on the web. In short, it helps you make sure that your blogging business gets found on the web. But it could also offer help for possible situations, such as a possible hack.
Google Forms can be a super useful tool for bloggers. For starters, you can create a simple contact form and use it with your landing page. You can also use it to create a survey gathering information related to your visitors. Collect their names and email addresses for keeping a network, for newsletter subscriptions, for downloading freebies, and so much more.
Writers often use Forms and Google Docs to organize their work, to collaborate with other writers, and to actually write a blog post! You can save your documents in many file types: DOC, XLS, CSV, and HTML. If you need to create a graph, embed a video, or draw, you can do all that with Docs.
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