Creating An Excellent Blog: 5 Fundamentals

by Jun 23, 2020

I have gotten several requests about what tools I use in running the Barbarian Rhetoric blog site. These questions got me thinking about how long I have been blogging, which has not seemed like a long time to me at all.

I started thinking about doing a blog of some sort in the summer of 2017 at this time. I started researching and looking into what it would take and where I wanted to go. Here I asked Are You Cut Out To Be A Blogger

Between blog posts and youtube videos, I was overwhelmed with information and had to simplify my approach to it.

INFLUENCERS

I give two men credit for heavily influencing me when I started.

Charles Sledge’s early posts on writing and how to influence people on his blog helped shape several of my concepts as I was going into blogging. It has taken a couple of years as I have continued to blog to understand lessons that he puts forth. The wealth of information that he gave out for free, I wish that I had understood better at the time. Somedays I am slow learning

Kyle Trouble with his niche course helped shaped my thoughts on the back end of things and help internalize what was needed to succeed. He has written, podcasted, emailed extensively on best business practices. These nuggets of wisdom have been great and keep me thinking on how to improve my business. Especially with the changes of the times. Kyle continues to evolve to meet current needs. Instead of working with the status quo. 

WEBSITE

Platform

 I tried to remember what I started with and escapes me. I am a simple man who needs very user-friendly programs and plenty of video tutorials to get me through. I finally settled on WordPress press due to the amount of information out there to customize what I wanted for the blog. I had dabbled with Squarespace and Wix, which are both great if you have more a tech background, in my opinion.

WordPress allows me to tap into a wealth of information and themes. At which the end day has worked well for me

Hosting

I would have to dig through old paperwork even to see who I started on. Currently, I use A2Hosting. Which has been great, customer service is excellent. In two years, I have had only one downtime. For me, that is a pretty dam good track record. Even during the downtime, they kept me informed of what was going on. 

How I judge customer service in the techy world when I ask what I know is a dumb question, and the response I get back is still well answered and thorough. Most often, with a tutorial on how to fix what I need to do. Customer service is something A2Hosting excels. I wish to learn, and sometimes knowing the right questions to ask. 

As in anything, you may need a back plan, keep tabs on how other hosting sites are doing. I ask my friends all the time what they are using and why. Each hosting company has its pros and cons. 

Another benefit over going with some free service for your blog is that you own it. If your hosting service for some reason shuts you down, pack up and move to another. I think writers should own the domain and use private hosting.

Domains

I am not sure exactly why I went with them in the beginning; I use NameCheap. I have not had any issues and have stuck with them for the time being. I have read more than once you should keep your hosting and where you get your domains separate. In this day and age of idiocracy, it is good to keep somethings separate, so you don’t lose all it all at once.

Theme 

 I started with just a basic freebie one, moved to thrive themes for quite some time. When I first started with my thrive themes, I found it very user-friendly and had plenty of tutorials. Over time as they upgraded, I feel they outpaced their tutorials with them becoming outdated with the current offerings. It became to techy for me. For a tech person, I think they still have a lot to offer.

I talked with a good friend who is knowledgeable in this area, and he suggested Studiopress. Settled on Essence Pro for a theme, and I have been delighted with the outcome. Responsive and easy to use. Being able to tap into all the apps that are offered for WordPress. Has allowed me to try a multitude of apps out.

Writing articles

Yes if you are going to have a blog you need to write and I personally think you need to write quite a bit, I have talked about consistency and that is key with a blog.

I usually write everything in word. It what I used for when I work at my previous company and what I am most familiar with. Though it does have some drawbacks, writing is an area that I have recently upgraded using other apps for editing and cohesion.

A big one lately that I have come to enjoy is Grammarly. When I first tried out the app, it was not very robust, and I felt word did a better job of it at the time. Since then, though, I have been reintroduced to it and see the benefit of the robust nature it has become. Those that are not English majors and need any help they can get I recommend it. Is Grammarly perfect? No far from it, but it will help you to the next level. 

Another that I recently learned about is Hemmingway. I have yet to delve into it extensively yet. Though I can see how it could help me to write more precisely, take a look.

With working with these apps, I have once again started to look at what other apps are out there. Many have come along way in the last couple of years since I started to blog.

Blog

Social Media

Plain and simple, if you do not get into the social media side of things, you will have a hard time getting your blog noticed. There is a couple of ways you can look at this; pick one platform and go all out on it, and push hard on it or work several of them and see what takes off. Social Media is a challenge that I think many bloggers face.

I think as time goes on, I have concluded one should concentrate on one, then use content from it to push onto the others. Reusing material is a vital way to get you noticed for different groups of people.

Now you will have guru’s tell you this and that about each platform. Here is an opinion, Twitter is suitable for people with books and courses. Instagram is good for people with products. Facebook is another good for products. Each lends itself to advertising differently, and you need to learn your platform. Work with what you are comfortable with then start learning how to use the other. Being comfortable is especially true for us that are older and did not grow up with all the social media. It can be a challenging learning curve. For those that are younger, use the one you are on the most. Keep it simple.

Twitter

A big problem is getting sucked into the vortex of spending more time on it than necessary. You need to have a presence without being present all the time.

To this end, I have come to rely on HYPEFURY. Its creator, Sammy Dindane, continues to add to the robust nature with new tools continually. His team continues to grow. I will say any developer that is willing to sit and have a chat for a couple of hours with a prospective client is a plus. He won me over with his mission of what he wishes to do with hypefury, and he is making good on it.

blog

I have used both buffer and Hootsuite while both are decent I feel they have over complicated things. They are ever-changing, so today’s opinion may not hold six months from now.

Instagram 

 I have a love-hate relationship with it. My and age and savviness with Instagram is constantly put to the test. Those that help me with it continue to laugh at me. Somedays I just don’t get it. The crowd there though I feel are more even keel than the twitter folks. Currently not using any apps to push there. Hypefury does have a tool to push tweets to it. 

Facebook

Willing to admit this is a weak area for me, I can see a substantial benefit to many that use it, though. Expespecially for business purposes. My most significant thought is to work to automate as much as you can and not get sucked into pissing matches with people. Similar to twitter presence over being present.

Linkedin

I feel this is uncharted territory for many with blog and business. That is starting to change, though, as more people see the power of it for networking. Where once it was more about a career, an online resume, you could say. I feel it has grown into something more than that. Being more business-oriented is a huge plus, people, for the most part, are there to do business. A win in my book

Youtube

For many, I think they have missed the boat on the get quick rich in advertising. Where I feel youtube is most decisive for people is the free advertising of your brand. Don’t worry about monetization as much as getting your name out there. Make your own commercial and get them out there. 

Other social media

Above are the big ones; there are a lot of other players in this market. Some are stagnant, some are upcoming, and for each of the above, there are replacements. Going forward, you need to prepare. At any given time, you could get kicked off. Have a backup plan be looking at other options.

Closing thoughts

If you want to be a blogger and make something of it, you need a clear picture of what you want to blog about. It is not for everyone, way too many blogs are started every day, and their creators don’t carry through and stay consistent with it. Like any business, it takes time to grow and build. You need to use the tools that are available to you to get it out there.

Yes, you can start a free blog or write on many of the platforms out there. If you want something more than that, you are going to have to put in the work. 

 Above is what I have learned so far going down this path into the blogging world, I continue to learn more each passing year. These are my opinions. You will see more or less mileage than me. I hope this answers a few questions if you are looking into blogging. 

 Have another question for me on blogging, hit me up in comments. I will do my best to answer. 

Nathan

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