How To Start a Successful Blog That’ll Make You Proud (An Ultimate Beginners Guide)
Step #3: Boost Your Chances for Success by Doing Proper Research and Brainstorming
In this step, you are focusing on setting goals, defining your targeted audience, creating a content plan, and keyword research.
This is an important part of successful blogging, and if you skip something it will get you in trouble shortly for sure.
Let’s see what it’s all about.
Setting Your Goals to Know Where You’re Going
Setting goals is a critical step if you want to grow your blog, or if you’re starting a new blog and you want to make it successful.
You have to know where you’re going, so you can know where you need to go to get the results that you want to achieve.
If you don’t set detailed goals, there’s no way to get there.
What do you want to accomplish?
Write down what you want to accomplish from the methods that you’ll learn reading this or any other guide. And of course, not just learn the methods, but put them into the process and take action and get results.
So what do you want to achieve?
What difficulties do you think you’re going to face to get to where you want to go?
Write them down because they are very important. They aren’t goals. But they are things that might stop you from accomplishing your goals.
Discovering Audience Needs By Identifying for Whom You’ll Be Writing Your Content
One of the necessary steps for starting a successful blog is to know why and for whom you’re writing the content. You need to know who your potential audience is and what problems and challenges they want to solve.
The best way to do this is to create a targeted persona.
A targeted persona is an imaginary and generalized illustration of your ideal audience. This helps you to better understand your audience and make it easier for you to create content for their specific desires, aspects, and problems.
When it comes to blogging, creating a targeted persona helps you to understand what kinds of content you should be writing to attract that audience.
How to Find Your Targeted Persona
You need to think about that personas avatar so you can create your content like you are talking to that particular someone.
- First, you have to know your niche.
- Then you limit it to a sub-niche, which is a minor part of your niche.
- Now dig deeper into microniche, which is a limited part of the sub-niche. This is where your targeted persona is.
When you find out who is he, you have to find out what he wants.
Each person from your audience has problems, and questions about those problems. They need your content to help them to move forward and get results.
So your task is to know their problems and answer their question through your content so they can move forward and get results.
Some Of the Most Common Information About Your Targeted Persona You Should Think About
- Name – Naming your persona helps to be more specific.
- Gender and age – This characterizes your audience demographic which you will know through the market research.
- Location – Where does your target persona live? Do they own a house or they live in an apartment?
- Job information – Specifying this will help you to better think about who you are talking to and more easily understand their wants and needs.
- Goals and motivations – Where they were a couple of years ago? Where are they are now? Where do they see themselves in the next couple of years?
- Pain points – What causes constant pressure in their lives? Which problem is important enough that they will spend money or time to fix it?
- Habits – Where does he or she spend time online? What social media platforms do they use regularly?
You can use Hubspot’s free tool Make my persona to see how it looks like.
Avoiding Writers Block by Planning Your Content in Front
Content planning is the part where you determine what you will do and when. This is where you create topics, choose specific content types and tactics to meet your goals and your audience’s preferences, and then put all of that into your editorial calendar.
When creating your content plan, the first step is to create a list of content ideas.
You’ll want to find topics that are your targeted audience prefers and topics that other bloggers in your niche are linking to.
What you do is to go around the web and check the most popular videos and articles in your niche and write them down. You can use Google Sheets or any other similar tool, or just a pen and paper.
To save your time so you can immediately move forward I’ll explain what I do to find lots of content ideas fast.
How to Find Lots of Content Ideas for Your Audience Fast
First, go to a site called Answer the Public.
This site uses auto-suggest tools from Google and Bing. Just enter your main keywords and wait for the magic to happen.
It shows all the questions related to your keywords, which people are searching online.
Second, go to Amazon and check the books in your niche and try to find their tables of content.
Many of them have a table of content and you’ll be surprised when you see how many content ideas you can find there.
Third, go to Quora. This is a question and answer type of website where you’ll find topics related to your keywords.
Just scroll down through questions that people are asking.
The last thing to use is YouTube. Find top channels in your niche and check the most popular videos to get more ideas.
3 Step Process to Find Popular Topics for Content That Targets Other Bloggers
Here’s the 3 step process for finding topics that other bloggers like to share and link to:
The first step is to find resource pages. In case you didn’t know, resource pages are pages that link to content on other blogs. This is a done for you list of popular topics in your niche.
You can find resource pages on Google with these search strings:
When you find resource pages look for topics that are repeatedly linked. When you find them, write them down.
Popular Posts and Pages
The second step is to look for popular posts and pages on top blogs in your niche.
To find popular posts just visit the blogs and try to find their popular post section. Many blogs have it in the sidebar.
What happens is when you enter a domain of any blog into the SEO tool it will show you the most popular pages and all the keywords they rank for.
Again, look for the topics that are repeatedly coming up again and again. When you find them, put them on your list.
Most Shared Topics on Social Media
Step three is to find topics that generate lots of shares on social media.
You can use the tool called BuzzSummo for this. Just enter the broad keyword into the tool and write down a couple of the most interesting topics from the list.
Now when you collect enough ideas pick the best ones and add them to your editorial calendar.
Creating Your Editorial Calendar
After you finish with your keywords it’s time to make your editorial calendar. Again you use Google Sheets. You’ll need to add headlines, keywords, dates of publishing, and a link to your blog post once it’s published. That way you’ll have everything organized in one place for later so you don’t waste much time searching for your old posts.
For everything you are about to do you probably have a plan for how you’re going to do it. And when it comes to blogging, planning is the crucial thing to do if you don’t want to get stuck in front of the blank screen wondering what will you write about.
Getting Traffic from Google By Targeting the Right Keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases that people are using to find information, resources, or even to find products they are going to purchase.
But, if you’ve been reading about blogging, then you already know what keywords are.
There are three important purposes for keywords. And most people don’t even realize this.
3 Important Purposes for Keywords
The first one is for pay per click in advertising where people are searching for certain keyword phrases in a search engine. And then you’re showing ads to those users based on what they are searching for. That’s what Google AdWords is all about.
The second important purpose of keywords is for content marketing or search engine optimization. When you create content, you should create it around a certain keyword phrase which is part of the headline, meta description, introduction, and which is mentioned a few times in the body of your blog post.
Anything you create to get traffic from, have it ranked in Google or any of the search engines, that all comes down to the keyword level and it’s attached to the keywords.
A third purpose is very important, and oftentimes forgotten when it comes to blogging and making money online. And that’s what the market is thinking.
If you keep up with keywords in your market, they will tell you what they want to buy, what kind of content you should create for them, and what are their problems.
You see, keyword data is very useful.
It will tell you everything you need to know about how to grow your blog. It will tell you how to market to those people, you’ll know what language they speak.
And I don’t mean about English, Italian, or Croatian language.
In every niche, people use their own words and phrases, and names when they talk about specific products or specific things important to them.
It’s what they’re interested in.
And if you learn what those things are, you can target them. You can use them in your blog posts, in your ad copy, or on your landing pages.
The Best Way to Do Keyword Research
The fact is that most people start their keyword research by entering some random keywords into the tool and choose a keyword from nothing.
This isn’t how you should do your keyword research if you want to get traffic from Google and higher rankings.
Where is the problem?
The keyword selected that way might be on a topic that your audience likes and other bloggers link to. But unless you research popular topics, you won’t know that until you’ve already created and published your content, and by then it’s already too late.
Rather, find the popular topics first and then adjust your keyword research around those topics. That way when you publish your content, you’ll know that people will want to read it and other bloggers will be glad to share your content with their audience and link to it.
But how to choose which keywords to target?
The Death of Long-tail Keywords
In the last few years targeting long-tail keywords was the path to success.
The argument for this method is that the 7 long-tail keywords are easier to rank for than for 1 main phrase. And if you put the search volume of those 7 long-tail keywords together, they will match the search volume of a single high-volume term.
This sounds great, but in reality, it doesn’t work anymore.
After years of growing blogs by targeting long-tail keywords, Google changes the game with its Panda update. And all those blogs targeting long-tail keywords lost over 50% of their traffic in a short period.
Now the other problem with long-tail keywords is that Google’s Hummingbird algorithm made longtail keywords outdated. Google now understands the intent behind a keyword and they are showing identical results for all long-tail keywords on the same topic.
The long-tail keyword method weakens your PageRank (blog’s link authority). You need to publish lots of content optimized on a different long-tail keyword and that can damage your SEO.
This can happen because the more content you have on your blog, the more your link authority gets reduced through it.
So what is the solution?
First, what is the medium-tail keyword?
So we have long-tail keywords, which are the phrases consisted of a couple of words like “The Best Running Shoes Under 100$”. These keywords have low search volume, and also low competition.
We have main, one to two-word, high-volume terms that are too competitive like “Affiliate Marketing” or “Blogging”.
Medium-tail keywords are the best of both worlds. Those are the keywords like “Successful Blogging” or “Affiliate Marketing Strategies”.
3 Step Process for Finding Medium-tail Keywords
- Step #1: Enter your popular focus term into a keyword tool. You can use the Google Keyword Planner or any other tool that you like.
- Step #2: Sort listed keywords by average monthly searches, with the highest volume keywords on top.
- Step #3: choose a medium-tail keyword from the middle of the list.
For example, let’s say that you have a blog about coffee. And you find out that other bloggers in that industry link to content about caffeine-free coffee.
So just enter caffeine-free into the tool. It’s that simple.
So after you sort your list, you’ll see main terms that are impossible for you to rank for at the top of your list. These are keywords like caffeine and coffee.
You’ll have long-tail keywords like “The best caffeine-free coffee cakes” at the bottom of your list.
The middle of the list is mostly made up of medium-tail keywords. These are keywords like “Caffeine-free coffee cake” and “Caffeine-free coffee beans”.
Choose the keyword that is the best fit for the focus topic that you found in your research and don’t worry much about the search volume of the keyword.
Because of Google Hummingbird, when you optimize your page or post for a single medium tail keyword, at the same time you’ll rank for many long-tail keywords too.
Include LSI Keywords in Your Content
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are words that are typically found together for a particular topic and are semantically associated with each other.
LSI Keywords are not synonyms, they are phrases that are closely connected to your target keyword.
Today, Google is more focused to better understand the main topic of your article and LSI keywords help search engines to do that.
Google will still scan your page for keywords in your title tag, content, and image alt text but they’ll also scan your page for LSI keywords.
And when they see these LSI keywords in your content, they’ll be sure that your page is about that topic.
You can use a tool called LSIGraph to find those phrases. Just enter your target keyword and the tool will spit out all related phrases you can use in your content.
Google Autocomplete can be also used to find LSI keywords. Just enter your target keyword into Google and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Bold words are your LSI keywords.
It doesn’t matter where you’ll include them in your content. As long as Google finds these terms anywhere on your page, you’re good.
Tools for Keyword Research
For your keyword research, I recommend the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool (affiliate link). The data is hauled directly from Google’s organic search results and Google Adwords and it is one of the most precise keyword research tools available.
You’ll have to sign up for SEMrush’s free account to use it, and the best thing is that with your free account you can use many useful tools like backlink audit, backlink builder, and site audit tool.
Anthony Miller is the guy who’s responsible for the invention of the robotic exoskeleton, multi-use rocket, and a hair growing helmet.
His inventions helped him to become the first man who flown to Jupiter, where Jupiterians greeted him exuberantly and even adored him divinely because of his long curly hair.
“Such lovely beings”, he reported on his return back to Earth.
He’s also been blogging successfully for over 10 years and he took an enormous amount of online courses before he was enlightened by God himself to start helping beginners to transform into successful bloggers.