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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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Published on June 5, 2018

Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance . Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to make it happen for a more fulfilling life.

Signs that you need a career change

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Why a career change is good for you

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

Common mistakes of people making a career change

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. What is your situation?

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  • Desire for an increase of salary: The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time. At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.
  • Overnight decision: Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.
  • Rejected for a promotion: I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.
  • Bored at work: Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization. Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Now that you had a chance to review your work situation and none of these recommendations can help, it is time to take the next step.

How to make the change for a successful career (Step-by-step)

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a career plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh your options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job, in the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be real about the pros and cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are impacting the current situation.

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A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

4. Find a mentor

A mentor that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

  • What is required to be successful in the role?
  • What certification or educational development is needed?
  • What are the challenges of the role?
  • Is there potential for career advancement?

A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: A Good Mentor Is Hard to Find: What to Look for in a Mentor

5. Research salary

Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

6. Be realistic

If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

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Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

7. Volunteer first

A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

8. Prepare your career tools

I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

  • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
  • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
  • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.

Final thoughts

It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will discover the role that is the best fit with your skillsets.

Master these action steps and changing careers will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1]Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
[2]MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan

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