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Every Beginner Should Learn These Blogging Tips and Tricks

Every Beginner Should Learn These Blogging Tips and Tricks

Before we start, we need to answer a simple question: what is a blog? A blog is a kind of online log or journal, where you can post almost anything you want. Blogging today is easier than ever. You can use a blog to promote your business or post your creative content; anything from text, videos, to images, drawn or taken with a camera. A blog usually covers a single topic or closely related topics, so you can write in a more serious tone, or casually. An important thing for a blog is that it’s frequently updated and that it has plenty of useful information or fun content that visitors will enjoy. Here, we’ll mention some of the more important things you should have in mind when starting your very own blog.

Choose a topic you know and make it interesting for visitors

You probably already know what it is that you want to blog about. Keep that in mind and try to brainstorm a little. You must choose a topic that is wide enough, so you don’t run out of things to write about, but at the same time not too wide, because you don’t want to lose focus and bore people. You must develop your idea, do research before starting, and check whether similar blogs already exist. You should also think of something else, funny or entertaining, that you could incorporate into your blog to keep things interesting. Remember that you must update your blog frequently, preferably on a daily basis, because if you neglect it, the number of visitors will begin to drop. Many blogs with great starting ideas have failed, only because their owners forgot to check in regularly, or they posted too much for their visitors to keep up. You must find that golden mark and stick to it.

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If you are an entrepreneur and want to blog about your business to attract visitors you can stick to industry-related topics, but do not keep it too professional, and try and be subtle yet efficient when advertising your products or services, as the focus needs to be on facts, news and tips relevant to your niche. Even those of you who just need a creative outlet may want to consider the possibility of taking up blogging full-time in the future and monetizing your blog. So, if you have that creative spark and a good degree of knowledge and hands on experience in a particular field, creating your own blog and writing about it is a great way to organize your thoughts and help others out.

Create a beautiful blog that people will love to read

Once you’ve decided to take up blogging, whether it’s just as a hobby or you hope to make it your job one day, you’ll need to set up shop. There are different ways of going about this, depending on the amount of effort and money you are willing to put into the project. First of all, there are some websites that will get you well equipped for starting a successful blog. You can use the most popular ones, such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com, which offer several options for beginners, and let you control the content that is posted there by you, or by your visitors. You can build a good looking website, and it will cost you nothing, but of course there is always an option to do some sort of upgrade, which will allow you even more control over it. If you are planning on doing some serious work, sooner or later you might want to start thinking about buying an upgrade. Some free packages will let you choose a theme, different font types, adjust the content for mobile phones, and let you choose your unique address, usually ending with a suffix .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com, of course.

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It is important to mention that, while free, some blog providers will place advertisements in your posts, so that your visitors will be forced to view them. If you want to avoid that, you can always buy the upgrades we’ve mentioned, and switch to a better package. Some of the improved features that come with these packages include a custom site address, increased disc space, no ads, premium themes, and improved support via live chat, email, or direct phone call.

Focus on keeping the quality of your posts high without sacrificing frequency

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Hands typing on keyboard

    We’ve already touched briefly on the importance of uploading content regularly, but it is also important to note that it can be easy to let the quality of that content slip, or veer off into subjects that your readers don’t particularly care about. That’s when you lose traffic and even some loyal fans. To avoid this, it’s important to not compromise quality for quantity. You can still remain consistent, while slightly reducing your post frequency.

    For example, you can start putting out content every other day or twice a week instead of every day. You can also have shorter posts to cover these little gaps between big chunks of popular content, and you can play around with different formats. Playing with formats simply means that, say, once a week you create a cool infographic, funny chart, or photoshopped picture.

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    Fridays could be Q & A days, Mondays you could do some video material, and you could always switch between different types of content, from informative, to funny and sarcastic, to personal. A fitness blogger may write a bit about motivation, do product reviews, answer some questions, do tutorials and how to’s, have both exercise and nutrition segments and give some first-hand examples from personal experience. There’s a lot you can do to keep things interesting without sacrificing quality or moving too far away from the type of content that is most popular.

    Hit the social media and look for ways of monetizing your blog

    When a website is made, be sure to post a link of your blog on your Facebook page, or simply put it in your signature area when sending emails or posting on forums. This way you will be able to spread the word about the blog and get people interested. You can also get friends and family involved through social media to get some help attracting visitors when you first start out. As your blog grows, i.e. you start getting more and more visitors, you can start thinking about monetizing it and making blogging your full-time career, or at least making some extra money doing what you love. Both sites we’ve mentioned above are great for a beginner, but, if you ever think about expanding, you will need your own personal domain name, and some proper hosting solution provided by a professional company.  This way you can start establishing yourself as a renowned blogger in your chosen niche.

    On a hosted website, you can add your own ads, sell merchandise and make money for yourself. However, it’s not just about the money – when people come to your website to read your thoughts on a regular basis, it can make you feel like you’re truly making a difference and contributing to society in your own small way. A lot of successful blogs that earn a decent amount of money started out as little more than an avenue for the blogger to voice his or her opinions, give some advice or just as a way for them to put their thoughts into words. If you chose to take this rout, you need to be careful when choosing your provider, as there can be many hidden costs, and don’t be fooled by their ads, as nothing is really free, or unlimited. It is recommended that you use specialized sites that rate the most popular hosting services and do a thorough review. If you are really serious about it, think about web hosting solutions as early as possible. Once all is set, be persistent, and with a lot of effort, and a little bit of good luck, your blog will be a success.

    There are a bunch of little things you need to consider before becoming a serious blogger, but when all is said and done there is only one big piece of advice you should take from all of this – start writing about what you know and enjoy while striving to be fun and informative, and keep writing and researching every day.

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    Ivan Dimitrijevic

    Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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    Last Updated on December 5, 2018

    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

    How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

    Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

    We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

    How do they do it?

    By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

    1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

    There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

    If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

    2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

    Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

    According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

    Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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    3. Demand Learning from Your Team

    CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

    “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

    His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

    Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

    “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

    Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

    4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

    Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

    Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

    • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
    • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
    • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
    • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
    • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
    • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

    5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

    Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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    Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

    • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
    • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
    • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
    • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
    • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

      “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

    Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

    6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

    The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

    Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

    You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

    7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

    Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

    But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

    On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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    • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
    • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
    • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
    • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

    8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

    Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

    When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

    9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

    The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

    What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

    Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

    10. Empower Your Employees

    Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

    They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

    Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

    You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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    If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

    11. Nurture Your Company Culture

    Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

    Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

    However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

    Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

    Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

    Be a Leader, Not a Boss

    Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

    However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

    In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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