Advice Blogs: How to Set Yours Up the Right Way
So you’re thinking about starting your own advice blog, huh? Congrats! It’s a lot of work, but boy is it worth it! This website was started to give people advice on writing, too! In fact, my first ever blog post was to give people ways to get over writer’s block! It is a fun and rewarding experience that I would seriously recommend to anyone who has something to say. But there are so many dead, bad blogs out there which don’t add any value out there. Owners spend so much of their time and get their hopes up, only to give up when they realise people don’t care. I get it! It’s a challenge!
But you don’t have to fall into that trap. Advice blogs are a great way to help people, get your name out there and even make a little bit of money here and there! If you start off the right way, you could make sure that your blog thrives! You may even become a household name! It just takes some hard work, determination and know-how. If you’ve got the first two covered, I can help you with the last one!
So let me talk you through how to start your advice blog the right way.
Make Sure You Have Something to Say
One of the worst things about a lot of the advice blogs I see is that they all say the same things. They’re all just regurgitated versions of one another, which can be super frustrating for your readers. They want to learn new knowledge each time they go onto a blog! Why should they click on your blog just to read the same old thing that they’ve read over and over again? If you’re not coming up with anything original, why should they reward you with clicks and views?
If you want to have a good advice blog, you need to add value to the tips you’re giving people. It is all well and good to make sure that you read from lots of other sources before you start talking about the topic at hand. In fact, I recommend it! I promise you that there’s always something to learn. However, you need to make sure that you are adding your own thoughts and ideas to it, or your readers might as well just go and learn about the topic from the source.
On top of that, make sure that you have a nice bank of topics that you can talk about before you even start. There are way too many sites where there are one or two great posts, followed by months or years of inactivity. The writers run out of ideas pretty quickly and abandon that blog with all of its promise. It’s really sad!
To combat that, I suggest that you make sure you have at least 10 title ideas before you even start your blog. Right now, I have 93 blog drafts just waiting to be finished! It means that I always have something to write about.
Choose a Good Service Provider
There are loads of great companies that help you to set up your own advice blog or website quickly and easily. If you want to make your life easy and you just want to write blog posts, consider Medium. Then there are the providers that help you to make a full site of your own, like Wix and SquareSpace.
My personal recommendation is WordPress.com. WordPress is a great way to make your own site! It is easy to use and packed with themes and plugins to help you. There is a free version that lets you make your own blog. However, if you have a bit of a budget to put into this, I recommend getting one of the premium subscriptions. You get full support and loads of new ways to make your site look and feel amazing.
I have been with WordPress.com for three years now. I love its block editor and how user-friendly the back-end of my site is. It means that I can focus on writing without having to think about too much else.
Of course, there is also WordPress.org, which is free. You do need to go and find your own server and buy a domain name yourself, though, which is where things can get hard. With WordPress.com, all of that work is taken away from you, and you can even get a domain email address if you want to!
A good service provider can help you to make your site look professional. If it looks like a pro site, people are much more likely to trust your advice. So don’t get stingy with the research!
Design Your Advice Blog Well
It is so important that your advice blog is well-designed. It’s not just about looking pretty. You need to make sure that the people visiting your blog can read the content easily and find what they’re looking for quickly and effectivetly.
In this day and age, we get everything quickly. Fast food. Next-day delivery. Instant messaging. So it is crucial that your blog keeps up with what we’re used to! Don’t over-clutter your design and ensure that the page loads quickly. Design your site so that people can view all of the important info at the click of a button. Not four or five clicks! That’s why I have a sticky menu on my site: so that my viewers don’t need to scroll up to the top of the page to get to where they want to go.
Then you need to think about visibility and readability. Make sure that your background and text contrast enough so that the words can be read. If the colours are too similar, the text might blend in and become a nightmare to read. I like to make sure that the main body of my site text (the actual blog post words) pass all of the tests on this website so that I can be sure that all of my readers can see what they need to.
Dyslexia is also a big concern if you want to be writing online. Try to stick to a font that is the easiest to read for people with dyslexia.
Visibility is one of the most important things that you need to think about. If people can’t read what you write, then there’s no point in having an advice blog in the first place! If you aren’t sure if everything can be seen, ask a friend for help.
Write Before You Advertise
I have seen this issue way too many times on Episode. So many people proudly advertise their new advice blog on forums, beaming with joy and talking about all of these amazing plans they have for the future. As a fellow blogger, I am happy for them! So when they ask people to check out their blog, I naturally click straight away. After waiting a few seconds, I am sent to a barren website. There is no advice there! They have a detailed “About the Author(s)” page with the promise that there’s more to come, but there is an absence of the very thing the website claims to be about! Advice! So, there is nothing of value to keep people interested!
I cannot stress this enough: do not advertise your blog until you have some content worth clicking on. When you are building an internet brand, you need to make people trust you. If their first encounter with your brand is you promising them lots of advice and sending them to an empty blog, they’ll probably never come back! Why would they? You’ve made them waste their time searching for advice that doesn’t exist already! They won’t make the same mistake twice!
Please don’t fail on the first hurdle. Don’t get too hasty by advertising your site before it’s ready. Try to write some blog posts before you ask people to have a look. Give them something to look at! I get that you’re proud of the time you spent designing your site, but people aren’t as invested as you are. So when you make them check out your blog, ask yourself “what’s in it for them?” Make sure that you’re not the only one benefitting, or it defeats the whole point of giving advice!
Look Into SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it is the best way to advertise your advice blog for free! Well, it’s as free as you want it to be, anyway.
In short, it’s all about making sure that all of your blog posts and site pages are written and displayed in a way that search engines like Google will like. It can all seem a little complicated when you first start, but really, you just need to make sure that you make it clear what the subject of your blog post is about, write in a way that’s clear and easy to read, and make sure that your site can be indexed by search engines.
Of course, there is more to it than that, so it is a good idea to have a read about SEO from the experts. I recommend checking out Yoast SEO’s Guide if you would like to learn more about how it can help you. They offer a great freemium plugin which can help you if you decide to make your advice blog through WordPress (either .com or .org).
Once you get SEO sorted, you’ll find that Google does a lot of you marketing for you. If a user searches for a term on Google and you have a useful blog post about it, SEO can help to make sure that your post is one of the first that they see. So all you need to do is make sure that you make content worth clicking on!
Spamming Kills Your Advice Blog
When you make an advice blog, it can be tempting to want to scream about it to the hills. You might read a post or two on how to get traffic on your site and take to Facebook, Twitter or a forum or two to let everyone know about it. That can be a great tactic if done well! If you mess it up, it can make people angry with you, or even get you banned from some spaces.
You see, as I have said before, you need to give people a reason to care about your blog. No, “I made it and I want them to check it out” is not a good reason. In fact, expecting people to care about your blog post just because you asked them to can make you seem a little narcissistic! It looks like you think you’re entitled to views that you didn’t put the work in to get.
So don’t even consider spamming as many platforms as you can. Nope! You’re just going to ruin the reputation of your advice blog before you even get one!
Instead, add value to wherever you post your links. Don’t just force your blog in their people’s faces. Show them that you can give good advice on the topics they need. Then, link your blog in your profile. Only put it in your post if it is related to the topic of conversation.
I recommend answering questions related to the topic of your advice blog on Quora. It is a great way to show people that your site may be useful to them! Plus, Quora posts feature quite high in Google searches, so it’s a great way to make sure that loads of other people see your blog in a good light.
Use Good Featured Images
One thing I learnt quite recently is the importance of a good featured image. I’ve been running my own advice blog for over two years now, and for the longest time, I didn’t pay much attention to them. Most of my pics were stock images with no context. Some posts had no pics at all! I mean, how much can a pic matter? It’s all about the words, right?
Wrong. A good featured image can help you so much! Say someone comes onto your blog. They land on the homepage, a little confused with what they might find. They aren’t going to look at your long title for info on what they can gain from your blog. Nope! The first thing they will notice is the pic that goes with your post. If it looks interesting, you might catch their attention for long enough for them to read your title.
If your blog post has a good pic, it will be much more successful in catching people’s attention. That will up their chances of wanting to know what you have to say. Then you can sell them with your words!
So don’t make the mistake I made by underestimating the power of a good blog post pic. Take the time to give your readers a good pic to complement your good content. If you’ve put the work into writing a helpful post, it deserves a good pic to match!
Running an advice blog can be both expensive and time-consuming, so it is a good idea to find ways to make it worth your while. It is ok to earn a little money from all of your hard work! On this very site you are on, I have many ways to monetise my content. Here are some of the best ways:
- Affiliate Links
I recommend setting up Google AdSense as soon as you can, but make sure that you don’t lose it because of invalid traffic like I did!
Other than that, make sure that your affiliate links relate to your blog in some way. If you offer writing advice, look for some affiliate links that will help writers! If reading is your thing, why not add some book affiliates?
I use Patreon for my blog and Forums, making sure I add Patron perks like the Restricted Section!
Keep your donations open, if you can. I use both PayPal and Ko-Fi for the fans who just want to give back from time to time.
I hope I get a good sponsor or two in the future! Writing a blog post or two for a sponsor can be a great way to be sure you’ll make a little bit of income. When that happens, you can be sure I’ll tell you all about it!
Check Out Your Stats
Stats are a great way to make sure that your advice blog is on track. Stats can help you to learn what posts and pages are doing well with your viewers, so you can make more content like that. Just make sure that you don’t keep writing the same posts over and over!
Make sure that you have both Google Analytics and Google Search Console on your site. While Analytics is the place you should go if you want to know what parts of your site people are visiting and how many people are spending time on your blog, Search Console helps you to find out what people are searching for on Google when they click on your site! You want to be on the first page of Google for as many of these as possible! That’s where SEO comes in!
Just make sure you don’t spend all of your time looking at your stats! For the first few months, or even years, it can make you feel pretty sad if you sit there and stare at them for long periods of time. Don’t do it when you release a new blog post, either!
I recommend checking your stats regularly, but not obsessively. I check mine once every day in the morning so that I know if there has been a dip in activity. Then I can change something or add some new content if I need to! Let your stats guide you, not freak you out.
Realise that Good Advice Blogs Take Time
I have been running my advice blog for over 2 years now and I still can’t make a living from it. Soon, I hope! The fact is that I haven’t made nearly enough posts for that yet, and I have a very niche blog type. There are going to be less people looking for advice on how to start an Episode story than there are for coding or school help.
But the more content you have on your blog, and the better your advice is, the more chances you will have of it doing well. So it will take your time and energy to get it to where you want it to be. Be prepared to be dedicated! If you are the type of person who needs to see quick results overnight, maybe advice blogs just aren’t for you?
If you stay through the initial stress of not having many page views, you’ll find that it will get easier and easier to get your traffic up. With each new blog post, you’ll get more views! Why? Well, they won’t just look at your new blog post. If someone likes what you have to say, they might stick around to read more. The more posts you have, the more they’ll have to read!
So don’t feel put out if you don’t get all the views you want to tomorrow. If you want your advice blog to do well, stick with it. No one likes a quitter, after all!
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[…] to set up the blog, make content that counts and do all of the other things that I suggested in my Advice Blogs post. Then you have to take the time to build your audience, gather your affiliate links and keep […]