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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 September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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