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5 Things You Need To Know Before Starting a Blog

5 Things You Need To Know Before Starting a Blog

It has never been easier to start a blog! You can set up a Tumblr or WordPress account in a few minutes and begin sharing your thoughts with the rest of the world. However, if you want to create a successful blog, it’s not quite that straightforward.

There are a few important concepts you must understand before you write your first blog post. This article will share five concepts that will help you create a successful blog that you can be proud of!

1. Having a plan is essential for making your blog a success

Starting a new blog is just like starting any new enterprise — if you want it to be successful, you must plan every step. If you don’t have a vision for your blog, it won’t do well in search engines, won’t attract readers, and won’t achieve the goals you have set for it. Thankfully, creating a plan for your blog is fairly simple.

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Determine the goals of your blog
Think about why you are blogging. Are you promoting a business? Are you attempting to make money via blog monetization? Or is your blog just a place where you express your personal thoughts? It helps to define specific goals for your blog, which may include how much content is posted, how many visitors it will attract each month, and how much revenue will it generate.

Decide what the blog will be about
Most successful blogs focus on a specific niche. Decide what your niche will be, based upon your overall goals, what you enjoy writing about, and what you think readers will be interested in. If you are interested in making money from your blog and ranking well within search engines, you may have to perform an extensive keyword research and niche research before settling on a blog topic.

Research your competitors
If you are blogging for a business or to make money, take a close look at the blogs that are run by your competitors. Do they have any great ideas which you can use? What keywords do they rank for in search engines? How often do they write blog posts? Assess how difficult it will be to create a blog that is better than theirs. Tools like BuzzSumo and SEMRush can help you with the keywords, content & competitor research.

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Choose a blogging platform & hosting
There are dozens of different online blogging platforms that you can use, including WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Squarespace. You might prefer to have your own server, which gives you more control over the features that your blog can offer. Weigh up the convenience, cost, accessibility, and features of each platform. If you are passionate that your blog will be receiving tons of traffic, you would need to think about website speed and performance. Hence, carry out research on what different hosting companies have to offer.

Choose an appropriate blog theme
A blog’s “theme” is its design. Pick a theme that matches the goals of your blog, your intended audience, and the blog’s topic. If you are planning to write about accounting & finance, make sure you’re not using some fancy & over-animated theme.

As mobile search growth rapidly, it’s important to choose a responsive theme that will adjust to any screen size, with the ability to adopt for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

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Decide how often you will be posting 
To be successful, a blog must have a regular stream of original, useful content. Determine how much time you have for writing blogs each week and how much content you will require beating your competitors.

Decide how you will promote your blog
Make a plan for how you will promote your blog. Will you use social media? Will you implement Google Adwords or any other sort of Pay Per Click advertising? Will you consider doing manual outreach and guest contributions?

Decide how you will track the success of your blog
Choose an analytics platform to integrate with your blog, so you have a clear understanding of how well it is doing.

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2. Your blog is more likely to succeed if it is social

The popularity of social media has exploded in recent years. Social media users share millions of pieces of content with each other every day on a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Google Plus. If you want to increase the number of visitors to your blog, you should harness the power of social media as much as possible. Create social media profiles that are linked to your blog and give users the ability to share your posts via social media. If you are creating great content, you will see a massive influx of visitors from social media!

3. Content is king!

Good blogs ALWAYS have great content. Don’t be stingy when writing the content for your blog. It must be original, engaging and valuable for your readers. If you write high-quality content, search engines will pick it up, and it will explode in popularity on social media. Never skimp on content!

4. You may have to learn basic Search Engine Optimization

If you are focussed on having a successful blog that attracts many readers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be important. Basic SEO techniques will help you create a blog that search engines will love, resulting in higher ranking pages and more visitors.

5. Relationships matter

Blogging is a social activity that allows a blogger to engage with readers and other bloggers. If you want to ensure the success of your blog, focus on engaging readers and creating relationships via your blog. Reply to people who make comments, talk to other bloggers & influencers, and write guest posts for other blogs. Think of your blog as being a part of a conversation with other people. That will help you build a loyal audience who love your blog and regularly share it with others!

We hope you enjoyed reading the 5 things you need to know before starting a blog. These techniques will help you succeed as a blogger!

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Dmytro Spilka

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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