The 5 Stages of Blog Growth: How Your Traffic Tactics Should Change as You Grow

If you know exactly what you’re doing, you can build a blog that gets over 100,000 visitors per month in less than year—from scratch.

Chances are, however, you don’t know exactly what you need to do to achieve that, but that’s okay.

The fact that you’re here and ready to learn means that one day, you will know what you need to do to create a fully sustainable business from your blog.

Another factor is the time it takes. Some of you may be able to build a thriving blog in a year, while others may take two, three, or even five years.

During this journey, your blog will progress through five distinct stages:

  1. Blog creation
  2. Initial growth: finding your 100 “true fans”
  3. Scaling up your traffic
  4. Reaping the rewards
  5. Maintaining your success

In this article, I’ll outline the five stages of blog growth to help you understand where you’re today and how far you have left to go. 



Stage 1: Your blog is born

Expected time to complete: Less than two weeks.

When you read most blogs on creating an online business and online marketing, the sexy parts involve hundreds of thousands of visitors and profit.

But traffic and profit are the result; your foundation is the cause of those results. Figuring out the important details of your blog isn’t always easy, but without a solid foundation, you can’t build a skyscraper.

There are four things you need to do in this preparatory phase.

Even if you already have a blog, you may benefit from going over these things again and improving them if you skipped them before.

1. Define your niche

This is the first step—the step where most blog owners fail. It is crucial to know who is going to benefit from your content.

In other words: who do you want to serve?

You don’t need to know how you’re going to do it yet. The products you will make, the content you will create, and your traffic generating methods don’t matter yet. The audience you want to help comes first.

You need to be able to state what type of people you’re trying to serve and be as specific as possible. It’s better to be too specific than too general as you can always expand later.

For example, you may want to serve office workers who want to learn how to eat healthy at work.

2. Create a reader persona

Now that you know the people you want to serve, you need to learn more about them.

In order to create content that actually helps them, you must understand who they are, how they act, and what they struggle with.

You can learn about your target audience in many ways, for example:

  • in-person conversations
  • demographic sites like Alexa and SEMrush

By the end of your research, you should know your target audience’s:

  • age
  • gender
  • job
  • hobbies
  • beliefs
  • values

You can even give your reader persona a name. Note that all of these have to be as specific as possible. For instance, 25-35 years old isn’t an age, it’s a range. Pick one age that accurately describes your ideal reader.

In the end, you want to have one specific person in mind you can write for. This will help you create content that resonates with your readers.

3. Create your blog

If you’re going to build a blog-based business, you will at some point need a functional blog.

Unless you need some really unique features, I recommend sticking with WordPress for now. It’s the simplest option to get you up and running, and you can always redesign the blog in the future.

Here is a guide on how to start a blog using WordPress.



4. Discover where your readers hang out

Before you can even attempt to draw your target audience to your blog, you have to figure out where they spend their time.

Note that in some niches, you may have to get offline and go to conventions or local meetings to connect with your target audience and get them on your site.

To start with, find the most popular blogs in your niche. The easiest ways to do this is by Googling “top [your general niche] blogs.”

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of these sites. In one column, indicate if the blog allows comments, and in another, if it allows guest posts. To check for guest posts, Google “[domain name] guest post.”

Go through any big lists of blogs, and visit each one individually. Look for signs of high traffic such as several comments on each blog post or a lot of social shares.

Add the best ones to your list. You want to identify blogs that your reader persona visits so that you can eventually get them over to your site. Ideally, you want to identify as many as you can, but at least 50. If you’re having trouble getting that many, think broader, e.g., “best health sites” instead of “best nutrition sites.”

After blogs, it’s time to check out forums in your niche. Again, search for “[your general niche]+ forum,” and go through the results on the first few pages.

If you find forums you believe your target audience visits regularly, record them in a separate section of your spreadsheet. Note the number of members, or active members, to indicate activity and popularity.

Forums typically aren’t big enough to use as a main traffic strategy at any point, but they can help you refine your reader persona and can be used for certain promotion tactics.

Stage 2: Finding your 100 true fans

Expected time to complete: Less than four months.

Back in 2008, Kevin Kelly coined a concept called 1,000 true fans. It really took off when Seth Godin started referencing it in his advice.

In short, he described how anyone could make a great living if they interacted with and had support from 1,000 true fans.

This article was written in the context of being a musician or an artist, but the same applies to most small businesses. A relatively small group of loyal readers can make your business a big enough success to allow you to become a full-time blogger (if you aren’t already).

If you have a new blog, going from zero to 1,000 is a big leap. Too big, in my opinion, and unnecessary.

A better goal is to gather 100 true fans.

When you first begin a blog, you’re starting at zero. No matter how well you research your target audience, you’re going to make mistakes. The problem here is that no one will tell you what mistakes you’re making—at least not yet.

As long as you defined your target audience well enough, you will have the ability to attract your first 100 fans (although it could take a while). These fans will play an instrumental role in the growth of your blog.

Loyal readers will comment on posts and respond to emails. They will tell you when something resonates with them through comments and feedback. They will also tell you when they don’t like something either through a comment, email, or silence.

If you have 100 high quality subscribers and still can’t get any comments or email replies, the problem isn’t the subscribers: it’s your content.

In reality, you’ll likely fall somewhere in between perfect resonance and radio silence. On some posts, you’ll get a lot of engagement (say 10-15 comments from your 100 fans), while others will only get one or two.

Use this feedback to tweak your reader persona and craft content that helps this updated persona. That’s when you’ll start seeing consistent resonance and more rapid growth of subscribers.

So, where are we right now?

You have a brand new blog but no audience (or a very small one). This is your main challenge. You need to get your first 100 fans.

In addition, you have a ton to do. You need to create content, build relationships, create more content, promote your content, and more. But you’re likely the only one who can do it since your blog isn’t producing any revenue.

You need to spend your time wisely. That’s why I’m going to tell you the optimal strategies that you should use to get your first 100 true fans.



Optimal strategy #1: Guest-posting

The core of your initial traffic strategy should be guest-posting. The most common places that your target audience hang out at are likely other blogs (in most niches).

You need to find popular blogs that have a huge audience. A small portion of this audience will be your target audience. You can then attempt to get these readers to subscribe to your site through a guest post. Guest-posting is an important strategy for blogs of all sizes.

One common mistake people make that you may also make is to try to write any guest post that you think will be popular on a site. However, even if the guest post becomes popular and sends you a lot of subscribers, they might not be the right ones that you want to build your blog and business around.

Instead, find a topic that you think will do well on the blog you’re guest-posting on, but angle it towards your target reader.

For example, if I were writing a guest post on Forbes (which I regularly do), I wouldn’t write a general article on the current state of the economy. Although it might become popular, I would rather write a slightly less popular article about how the recent economy problems affect your business’ marketing plan, or something along those lines.

Always remember that your goal at this stage is to find that small group of 100 true fans and get them to your site. Attract their attention first and foremost before considering the rest of a traffic source’s audience.

Optimal strategy #2: Create the right type of content for your blog

As I’ve already noted, your time is extremely limited. While it might be ideal to pump out a ton of content to get your blog rolling, it’s not the most important thing.

Right now, you have very few (if any) visitors. You don’t need to continuously create content because no one’s reading it.

It’s better to spend time trying to get traffic from other sources before creating a high volume of posts on your own blog.

That being said, you do need some content on your blog, but some types of content are better than others. Writing an opinion post is going to be a waste of time: why would anyone care what you think at this point? That’s not an insult—it’s a fact. You need to build up your expert reputation before writing a post like that.

But certain types of content can work well at this stage. In particular, you should create a few posts that can attract quality backlinks and help you build relationships with influencers. If you do it right, it might even result in some decent targeted traffic.

These magical content types are:

  • roundup posts
  • ego bait posts
  • “poster boy” posts

You probably already know what link roundups are. You ask several influencers in a niche the same question and then publish the results. Some influencers will comment on the post, link to it, and share on social media.

Ego bait describes a wide range of posts. Essentially, you want to appeal to the ego of an influencer or company with a large following. Make them look good by showing that their advice solved a problem for you or someone else. Let them know you created the post, and maybe they will link to it.

Finally, you can use the “poster boy” formula. It’s a lot like ego bait, but it takes the tactic to the next level. Find a few particular influencers, and find a particular piece of strategy or technique advice from them.

Then, implement that advice and track the results. Create a case study of your results that make the influencer look amazing. This will lead the influencer to keep linking to your case study as evidence of their awesomeness.

This last tactic is a lot of work, but it produces results. Bryan Harris was able to get over 400 subscribers with this technique on a new blog.

Optimal strategy #3: Paid traffic

If you have more money than time to invest in your business, paid traffic is a way to accelerate your growth.

That being said, it’s completely optional. Many successful blogs never use paid ads, while many other successful blogs do it at one point or another.

The big benefit of paid ads is that despite having no existing traffic base, you can create an audience. It can get expensive, especially if you’re new to using paid advertising. It’s very important that you spend some time improving your email opt-in rate before blowing through thousands of dollars.

Here are some of the best resources on using paid traffic to build a blog’s audience:



Optimal strategy #4: Develop social media presence

Last but not least, you have to attend to social media.

Popular social media platforms have boatloads of traffic, and the most popular ones—Facebook and Twitter—almost definitely contain your target audience.

The problem is that any good social media strategy takes time to work. If you’re going to use social media, you have to be prepared to consistently use your chosen platform for months before it starts to pay off with some decent traffic.

If you’re really set on using social media to funnel traffic to your site, you can speed it up by using paid traffic. As I’ve shown on the nutrition site case study, paid ads on Facebook are relatively cheap and can help you build an authoritative page quickly.

I don’t recommend using social media as a primary traffic strategy unless you’re willing to continually invest in it. However, you can still identify one or two channels to start building while you focus on other traffic generation methods.

What about SEO?

If you know me well, you know how much I love SEO and benefit from it. But aside from building authoritative links when you get the chance, you shouldn’t focus on it very much at the beginning.

Gaining the authority and trust from search engines takes several months of publishing high quality content. You should start seeing some real organic search traffic after about a year, and that’s when you can shift more of your focus toward SEO.

Stage 3: Attracting swarms of fans—scaling up

Expected time to complete: 8-24 months

Now that you know almost exactly what your audience needs help with and wants, it’s time to kick your traffic growth efforts into overdrive.

Although you will be growing much faster than you did during the last stage, this will take time too.

Look at the NeilPatel.com blog as an example. I began the blog at the very end of September 2016. In the month of May, 2015, my traffic grew to 63,827 visitors—that took about eight months.

Consider that it took me eight months to grow to this point even with my experience and personal brand. Additionally, I’m still in the process of scaling up the traffic to that blog, which means it falls into this stage.

At this point, you have some traffic and a good idea of your target audience. Your main challenge now is starting to create great content on a regular basisIn addition, your time is still limited.

Optimal strategy #1: Continue with your traffic-building strategies 

Since now you have to spend more time on content creation, you will have less time to spend on getting traffic from other sources. Nevertheless, you need to continue your traffic strategies from Stage 2.

Although you may have 100 true fans, your rate of growth will be too slow if you solely depend on those fans to spread the word. Instead, as you gain traffic during this stage, start spending more and more time on creating and promoting content on your own blog.

Optimal strategy #2: Create a content schedule

In the previous stage, you started creating content for your blog. Now, it’s necessary to do it on a regular basis. Think about not just those specific types of posts that we looked at but any type of content your true fans may enjoy.

You need to decide how often you want to post and what you will be writing about.

A thorough content calendar will help you plan out content for up to a year in advance. At this point, you’re still getting a lot feedback from your 100 true fans. I’d recommend planning your content for only a few weeks or months so that it can be adjusted based on the feedback you receive.

Once you achieve consistent resonance, you can plan your content schedule as far in advance as you’d like.

Optimal strategy #3: Start considering monetization

Traffic is nice, but the end goal should always be to produce revenue.

If you’re selling a service, e.g., offering consulting, you can do this early on with no issues. It doesn’t take a lot of time to create a simple landing page. Put a link to it in your menu, and drop it in your emails to subscribers when appropriate.

The long-term goal of your blog may be to sell a product. If you already have a product, you can start selling it during this phase and put some time into improving your conversion rate.

If you don’t have a product, now is a great time to start paying attention to the major pains of your audience so that you can create a product around them. Most products take months to create, so the farther you can plan ahead, the better.



Stage 4: Reap the rewards—getting paid

Expected time to complete: three to six months

The line between Stages 3 and 4 is often blurred. Once you develop a sizable audience (most go with 5,000-10,000 subscribers), you need to monetize your blog as soon as possible. At the same time, you need to keep growing and continuing to do all the growth strategies described in Stage 3.

Optimal strategy #1: Focus on monetization

“Why does it always have to be about the money?”

I know that you might feel like I’m telling you to be greedy by advising to monetize as soon as possible, but it’s the opposite of that.

At this point, you have tens of thousands of visitors a month (at least!).

If you don’t monetize your blog, how can you continue to serve your visitors well? You can’t invest in better content, and you can’t respond to all emails or comments any more. One person can’t service an audience of thousands.

If you really have zero time available to create a product, know that once you have a sizable audience, you will be approached regularly for joint ventures (JV).

Essentially, the other party will create the product; you provide the audience to sell it to; and you split the profit. Don’t immediately accept the first JV offer. Take your time, and only work with someone you trust and respect to provide as much value for your audience as possible.

Finally, you can always promote other reputable affiliate offers if you feel that you’re not quite ready to create your own product.

Optimal strategy #2: Hire

Now that you are deriving some income from the blog, you can start getting some help so that you can continue to help your audience as much as possible.

First, you need to decide which parts of the blog need your attention the most.

Personally, I like to be the one writing my blog’s content (on Quick Sprout and NeilPatel.com), so I can’t outsource that. However, on Crazy Egg’s blog, I’ve hired an editor that has assembled a team of writers to produce content.

Here are the most common areas that blogs usually hire for:

  • product support
  • product development
  • answering simple emails (get a virtual assistant)
  • graphic design (images and infographics for content)
  • web development (for site redesign)
  • content strategy development
  • content writing

Once you’ve identified which parts of your blog require your personal attention, start hiring people to take care of the rest.

Do this slowly, and make sure you’re hiring quality people to help you. It’ll save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Stage 5: Maintain your position on the Golden Throne

Expected time to complete: hopefully, you stay here forever! (or until you sell)

At this point, you have a full-fledged business.

Your blog should easily be generating enough so that you can focus full-time on it. This is the stage that Quick Sprout has been at for quite some time.

In some niches, you will reach this point faster than others, just due to your specific audience and the size of your market.

But if you just sit on your success, you will lose it. Your business is almost always in a state of growth or decline. Obviously, it’s better to focus on growth than let the results of your hard work wither away.

Your main challenge at this point is to continue producing high quality work in the form of blog content and products. Additionally, you still have limited time to take advantage of all the opportunities now coming your way.

Optimal strategy #1: Keep hiring

If you’re doing things right, your traffic is only going to keep increasing. To keep up your quality standards and to free up time, you will have to find more reliable people to add to your small team.

The hardest thing about maintaining a successful growing business is finding and keeping good people on your team. If you find someone who does their job well, pay them accordingly even if you could get them to work for you for slightly cheaper.

This not only keeps them happy while working, but it prevents them from wanting to leave in the future. Not having to continually find, hire, and train people will save you much more in the long run than saving a few dollars on salaries.



Optimal strategy #2: Automate

The great thing about having a significant amount of revenue coming in is that you no longer have to do things you don’t enjoy. Almost all boring parts of running a blog can be automated, either with a paid tool or an employee/freelancer.

Most hires should be for a specific task. When you hire someone, don’t just leave them to figure out things by themselves.

You need to create easy-to-follow systems that outline what you’d like your employees to do step-by-step. Although initial training will take time, in the long run, it will save you from having to waste time correcting mistakes and changing their work habits to suit yours.

Optimal strategy #3: Be selective

At this point, you are going to get offers to do all sorts of things, including guest-posting and conference appearances.

Since you have very limited time, you need to pick your opportunities carefully. Right now, it’s about getting a little bit more traffic and building your personal brand. Pick the opportunities that will have the most positive impact on your reputation and position as a thought leader in your field.

Optimal strategy #4: SEO

No, I didn’t forget about SEO. By now, your domain has a solid amount of authority and trust, and you should be seeing a significant amount of organic traffic from search engines.

At this point, there are three things you should do:

  1. Evaluate your blog design for optimal “link juice” flow.
  2. Re-evaluate old content, and see if you can optimize for better terms.
  3. Strategically incorporate keywords into your future content.

If you don’t have experience with SEO, you could always hire an expert to help you out, now that you are generating revenue.

Conclusion

The purpose of this post was to give you a clear layout of how a blog-based business grows over time.

Growing a successful blog is not something that can be done quickly.

What I hope you get out of this is that if you use the right tactics at the right time, you will strategically grow your blog and take guessing and luck out of the equation.

You can learn all of the tactics you need on Quick Sprout and the NeilPatel.com blog.

As a final note, never stop learning about your readers and trying to help them. Even though this blog is past the initial stages, I’m still learning how I can serve you better every day through your comments, emails, and viewing habits.

To better understand where you are with your business or blog, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a comment below telling me what stage you’re currently at.

28 Fresh Blogging Statistics That Change the Game and How You Should Blog in 2019

Content is still marketing’s reigning king and that means blogging should be a top priority for B2B marketers in 2019.

As you plan your content for the rest of the quarter (or next quarter), it’s beneficial to take a look at recent data to get a better picture of the current state of B2B blogging. 

You’ll notice some trends are changing, but there are several things that remain the same. For example:

  • Business blogging is steadily on the rise
  • B2B companies with a blog receive more leads than those that don’t
  • A B2B blog has tremendous SEO benefits and organic search attracts high-quality leads
  • A company blog has more long-term ROI than traditional marketing efforts

These aside, there are also several emerging trends to plan for as well:

  • Longer blog content tends to perform better in search engines and average word count numbers have increased in the last couple of years
  • Video is becoming more popular content on blogs. 
  • Paid promotion/distribution for blog content has dramatically increased


Let’s take a look at some more specific blogging statistics for 2019.  

1. 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. (HubSpot)

Between lead generation, brand awareness, SEO, and thought leadership — there are few areas of marketing that don’t benefit from blogging.

2. 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (Source)

Make your blog stand out. Use headers, videos, and other visual tools to make the most important pieces of your article get noticed and remembered. 

3. 36% of people prefer list-based headlines (Source: ConversionXL)

Listicles still have their appeal, but not necessarily as much as you’d guess. 

4. In 2017, 66% of marketers reported using blogs in their social media content. (Social Media Examiner)

The value of your blog doesn’t stop when you hit publish. It can also be used to drive traffic and engagement on social media. 

In fact…

5. B2B marketers (75%) are more likely to use blogs in their social media content than B2C (61%). (Social Media Examiner)

If you’re a B2B marketer, it’s likely your competition is using blog content on social media. 

6. 65% of marketers planned to increase their use of blogging in 2017. (Social Media Examiner)

The competition in search engines is getting higher every year!

7. Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages. (source)

An important factor of SEO is having a lot of content for search engines to crawl and index. This helps search engines more easily recognize that your website is a resource with tons of information for people to consume.

8. The Number of Bloggers is expected to reach 31.7 million in 2020. (Statista)

9. B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging than B2C businesses. (source)

Blogging is essential to B2B business marketing success because there tends to be more emphasis on lead generation than B2C companies.

10. 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) 

Your blog should include content for all stages of the funnel. While top-of-the-funnel content is likely to draw in new people, more middle-of-the-funnel content will start laying the foundation of working with your organization or considering your product. 

11. Blog articles with images get 94% more views. (source)

Including an image or visual with blog posts used to be merely a recommendation. In 2016, it’s mandatory and the numbers prove why. 

12. 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others. (source)

This statistic illustrates the importance of creating blog content that is actually useful. If your blog content isn’t helpful, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t get shared. 



13. B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not. (source)

The traditional methods of lead generation are simply not as time or cost-effective as blogging for B2B marketers.

16. The average word count of top-ranking content (in Google) is between 1,160-1,285 words. (source)

Blogging continues to get more competitive and Google favors in-depth content that provides a ton of value over short blog posts that used to be the norm.

15. 71% of marketers report using visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy. (source)

Visual content is more engaging than text alone and as people consume more content from mobile devices, the value of visual assets only goes up. Incorporating these into your blog articles and content strategy show that you are in touch with your audience while ignoring it will be detrimental to your success. 

16. Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts. (source)

Success with content marketing rarely happens by accident. You have to make blogging a priority if you want to achieve the best results.

17. SEO leads have a 16.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (source)

At the heart of blogging is the goal of getting found by search engines. High-quality blog articles that are keyword focused and optimized for search engines can help you get found by more qualified individuals who are ready to close. 

18. Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. (source)

Every time an authoritative website links to a blog post (or any page) your entire website reaps the SEO benefits. Attracting links is much easier with high-quality, engaging blog content.

19. Just over half (51%) of business owners report that content management is “very important” or “absolutely critical” to creating a cohesive buyer journey. (source)

The buyer journey should feel like a natural progression for your leads, but creating that experience requires purposeful planning and mapping of your blog and premium content.

20. 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results. (source)

Paid search can certainly be rewarding, but the most valuable locations in search results have to be earned through blogging and SEO, not bought.

21. On average, Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. Additionally, more than half of those searches are coming from mobile devices. (source)

If there are people in the world who are interested in your products or services, there will never be a shortage of those people on Google. To leave the best impression on those people, your website and blog need to be mobile-friendly.

22. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. (source)

In the early days of inbound marketing, blogs weren’t taken very seriously. However, in 2016, they are viewed as one of the most valuable and credible sources of information. Make sure yours lives up to the hype!

23. While more bloggers reported publishing on a daily basis in 2015 compared to 2016, the majority of bloggers (66%) are still publishing less often than daily, but more often than monthly. (source)

Daily blogging isn’t ideal or practical for all businesses, but you should be publishing content weekly to maximize your lead generation potential. Publishing more frequently may not only boost your traffic but act as a differentiator. 



24. Only 6% of bloggers publish the majority of their original content as guest posts. (source)

You want your brand’s website to be the central hub for all of your inbound marketing efforts, but guest blogging is still a powerful tool for lead generation and SEO. Taking advantage of it is a great way to give yourself a step up on the competition.  

25. Bloggers are increasing their use of promotional techniques that drive traffic to their posts – including paid ads, the use of which increased by 93% over the past year(source)

Although it’s not a necessity to be successful with inbound, paid promotions amplify the power of your blog posts by getting more eyes on your content in a short amount of time.

26. On average, compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (Source)

In other words, don’t neglect your older content! If you’re anything like us or HubSpot, a large amount of your traffic is coming from content that wasn’t created in the past 6 months. To keep this content ranking and driving traffic and/or leads, optimize it. 

27. 61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly. (Source)

Communication in any team is key, especially for content marketing teams that want to remain flexible and adapt to changes in their business on the fly. If you’re not meeting with your team regularly, now’s the time to get started.

28. Only 8% of marketers plan to add Medium publishing to their content strategy. (HubSpot)

Republishing/distributing your blog content on Medium can be an extremely effective strategy for driving traffic and building awareness. 

How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps

Writing a blog post is a little like driving; you can study the highway code (or read articles telling you how to write a blog post) for months, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing like getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road. Or something.

How to write a blog post student driving

“Wait for it… wait for it… BASS DROP.”

Now that I’m done thoroughly mangling that vague metaphor, let’s get down to business. You know you need to start blogging to grow your business, but you don’t know how. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a great blog post in five simple steps that people will actually want to read. Ready? Let’s get started.



How to Write a Blog Post in Five Easy Steps [Summary]:

  1. Step 1: Plan your blog post by choosing a topic, creating an outline, conducting research, and checking facts.
  2. Step 2: Craft a headline that is both informative and will capture readers’ attentions.
  3. Step 3: Write your post, either writing a draft in a single session or gradually word on parts of it.
  4. Step 4: Use images to enhance your post, improve its flow, add humor, and explain complex topics.
  5. Step 5: Edit your blog post. Make sure to avoid repetition, read your post aloud to check its flow, have someone else read it and provide feedback, keep sentences and paragraphs short, don’t be a perfectionist, don’t be afraid to cut out text or adapt your writing last minute.

Now let’s review each step in more detail.

How to Write a Blog Post, Step 1: Planning

First, a disclaimer – the entire process of writing a blog post often takes more than a couple of hours, even if you can type eighty words per minute and your writing skills are sharp. From the seed of the idea to finally hitting “Publish,” you might spend several days or maybe even a week “writing” a blog post, but it’s important to spend those vital hours planning your post and even thinking about your post (yes, thinking counts as working if you’re a blogger) before you actually write it.

How to write a blog post planning stage

Does your blog post have enough circles and crosses?

Long before you sit down to put digital pen to paper, you need to make sure you have everything you need to sit down and write. Many new bloggers overlook the planning process, and while you might be able to get away with skipping the planning stage, doing your homework will actually save you time further down the road and help you develop good blogging habits.

Choose a Topic That Interests YOU

There’s an old maxim that states, “No fun for the writer, no fun for the reader.” No matter what industry you’re working in, as a blogger, you should live and die by this statement.

Before you do any of the following steps, be sure to pick a topic that actually interests you. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – will kill a blog post more effectively than a lack of enthusiasm from the writer. You can tell when a writer is bored by their subject, and it’s so cringe-worthy it’s a little embarrassing.

how to write a great blog post

Don’t go there.

I can hear your objections already. “But Dan, I have to blog for a cardboard box manufacturing company.” I feel your pain, I really do. During the course of my career, I’ve written content for dozens of clients in some less-than-thrilling industries (such as financial regulatory compliance and corporate housing), but the hallmark of a professional blogger is the ability to write well about any topic, no matter how dry it may be. Blogging is a lot easier, however, if you can muster at least a little enthusiasm for the topic at hand.

You also need to be able to accept that not every post is going to get your motor running. Some posts will feel like a chore, but if you have editorial control over what you write about, then choose topics you’d want to read – even if they relate to niche industries. The more excited you can be about your topic, the more excited your readers will be when they’re reading it.



Write an Outline For Your Post

Great blog posts don’t just happen. Even the best bloggers need a rough idea to keep them on-track. This is where outlines come in.

An outline doesn’t need to be lengthy, or even detailed – it’s just a rough guide to make sure you don’t ramble on and on about something tangential to your topic.

For example, this is the outline for this post that I sent to my editor before getting to work:

Introduction

[Quick summary explaining what the blog post will cover]

Section 1 – Planning a Blog Post

– Things bloggers should do before putting pen to paper – outlining, research etc.

Section 2 – Writing a Blog Post

– Tips on how to focus on writing, productivity tips for bloggers

Section 3 – Rewriting/Editing a Blog Post

– Self-editing techniques, things to watch out for, common blogging mistakes

Section 4 – Optimizing a Blog Post

– How to optimize a blog post for on-page SEO, social shares/engagement, etc.

Section 5 – Conclusion

– Wrap-up

The purpose of this outline is to make sure I know what I plan to cover, in what order the various sections will appear, and some bare-bones details of what each section will include.

Outlines keep you honest. They stop you from indulging in poorly thought-out metaphors about driving and keep you focused on the overall structure of your post. Sometimes I’ll write a more thorough outline (and sometimes I won’t bother with one at all), but most of the time, something like the outline above is perfectly acceptable.

Whether you write your outline in your word processor, on a piece of paper, or even scribbled on a bar napkin, do whatever works for you to keep you focused.

Do Your Research

One of the biggest secrets professional bloggers (myself included) don’t want you to know is that we don’t actually know everything. Truth be told, sometimes we don’t know anything about a topic before we sit down to write about it.

how to research and write a blog post

Pro tip: you don’t actually need a passport to write a travel marketing post.

This doesn’t mean that all bloggers are insincere fakers. On the contrary, many bloggers’ natural curiosity is what makes them great at what they do. If you blog for a living, you have to be comfortable jumping from one topic to the next, even if you don’t know anything about it. What allows us to do this, and to write authoritatively about subject areas that are new to us, is knowing how to properly research a blog post.

It almost goes without saying, but relying solely on Wikipedia as a primary source is almost always a bad idea. Yes, Wikipedia does have thousands of excellently researched articles, but it’s not infallible, and erroneous facts do make their way into articles without site editors noticing. Plus, every verifiable fact on the site is cited from links elsewhere on the web, so why cite the middleman?

How to write a blog post citation

Lou Diamond Phillips was a total beast in ‘La Bamba.’

If you’re relying on third-party information to write your blog post, choose authoritative sources. Official associations, government websites, heavily cited research papers, and preeminent industry experts are all good examples. Nobody is right all the time, though, so approach every source with a the practiced skepticism of a journalist and question everything until you’re positive your information is solid.



Check Your Facts

A few years ago, I edited a piece written by a colleague focusing on the highlights of a major technology conference. The writer, under a seriously tight deadline, had done a bang-up job of writing great copy in virtually no time, but he failed to properly check his facts. He cited an article from Forbes in which the writer claimed Steve Jobs was using PowerPoint on stage – something that never happened. It was lazy journalism on the part of the Forbes writer, and an easy mistake to make on my colleague’s part, but the result was the same; one poorly researched article directly impacted another because both writers failed to do their due diligence.

How to write a blog post Steve Jobs PowerPoint quote

All it takes to tank your credibility is one glaring error. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s crucial to avoid gaffes like this. If you’re just starting out, your credibility and authority will take a major hit if you publish inaccurate information, and even if you have a blog with millions of loyal readers, your regulars will be all too eager to jump all over your mistake – just take a look in the comment sections of publications such as Wired or TechCrunch to see how quickly this can happen.

In the event that you fall prey to a well-executed hoax, repeat widely circulated misinformation, or simply make a mistake, own up to it right away and be transparent about your edits. If you try to slip something past your readers, you can bet that they’ll call you out on it, further compounding the damage. Be honest, be accountable, and fix it – fast.

How to Write a Blog Post, Step 2: Writing a Great Headline

Everyone and their grandmother has an opinion about headlines. Some say you should be as specific as possible (to avoid misleading your readers and manage their expectations), while others recommend taking a more abstract approach. Vague headlines might work just fine if you’re Seth Godin, but for most of us, being specific is better.

How to write a blog post funny headline example

Some headlines practically write themselves.

There are two main approaches you can take to writing blog post headlines. You can either decide on your final headline before you write the rest of your post (and use your headline to structure your outline), or you can write your blog post with a working title and see what fits when you’re done.

Personally, I don’t adhere to a rigid strategy one way or the other. Sometimes I’ll come up with a strong headline from the outset and stick with it, whereas other posts will take a lot more work. Although sites such as Upworthy arguably ruined internet writing with their clickbait headlines, the process behind the site’s headlines has merit, as it forces you to really think about your post and how to grab your audience’s attention.

How to write a blog post Upworthy headline rules

Your approach to headlines should also vary depending on your audience. For example, let’s look at these super-specific headlines from around the web:

The exact figures presented in these headlines are all framed within a context of providing actionable advice to other marketers and startups. “Case study” blog posts like this often perform well, due to their transparent nature (which pulls the curtain back from successful growing businesses and the people who run them) and the “how-to” angle (which attracts people who want to accomplish the same thing by following real-world examples).

How to write a blog post funny how-to article

People LOVE how-to articles.

That’s all well and good if that’s what you’re looking for – which, in my case, is rare. I didn’t read any of these posts, simply because it seems that at least half of the blog posts in my RSS feed are structured in this fashion (including this one). They’re great for the sake of example, but I glossed right over them because they’re so similar to the dozens of other posts I see every day telling me three hacks to grow my startup by X percent in Y months.

Another common technique is posing a question in your headline. Done well, this can be extraordinarily effective, as it is in these examples:

However, this technique is also growing tiresome, and fewer publications are utilizing it these days (thankfully alongside the always-irksome “You won’t believe…” headline). If you opt for asking questions in your headlines, be sure it’s a question your audience will be genuinely interested in.  

Writing headlines for blog posts is as much an art as it is a science, and probably warrants its own post, but for now, all I’d advise is experimenting with what works for your audience. If your readers want hyper-specific case studies on how to do stuff, by all means let ‘em have it. Don’t, however, do something just because someone else is, especially if it’s not resonating with your audience.



How to Write a Blog Post, Step 3: The Writing Part

So, you’ve done your research, settled on a headline (or at least a working title), and now you’re ready to actually write a blog post. So get to it.

How to write a blog post writing

Be sure to actually turn your computer on before you start writing.

Similarly to headlines, there are two main approaches to writing a blog post. You can either sit down and write an entire draft in a single sitting (my preferred workflow), or you can chip away at it gradually over time. There is no right or wrong answer here – only whatever works for you.

However, I’d recommend getting as much done in one session as possible. This makes it easier to stay focused on the topic, minimizes the chance that you’ll forget crucial points, and also lets you get the damned thing out of your hair faster.

Even if you work more effectively in short bursts, try to maximize the amount of writing you get done in those sessions. The more times you have to revisit a draft, the more tempting it is to add a little here, and a little there, and before you know it, you’ve gone wildly off-topic. Get as much done as you can in a single sitting even if you prefer to draft a blog post over three or four writing sessions.

Like most skills, writing becomes easier and more natural the more you do it. When you first start, you might find that it takes a week (or longer) to write a post, but with practice, you’ll be knocking out great posts in hours. Unfortunately, there are no “hacks” or shortcuts when it comes to writing – you have to put in the time at the coalface.

NOTE: A lot of people struggle with writing introductions. A great strategy is to write the introduction last. Just get into the meat of the blog post, and worry about the introduction later. 

How to Write a Blog Post, Step 4: Using Images Effectively

Writing for the web is an entirely different animal than writing for print. Oftentimes, people simply don’t have the time, will, or ability to focus on lengthy blog posts without some visual stimulation. Even a well-formatted blog post consisting solely of text is likely to send your reader screaming back to Reddit or Twitter within minutes, which is why it’s so important to include images in your posts.

Images Help Your Blog Post Flow More Effectively

One of the most important reasons to include images in your blog posts is to break up the text. Many people scan blog posts rather than pore over every word, and interspersing images throughout the copy will make your post seem less intimidating and more visually appealing.

Images Make Great Visual Punchlines

Everyone likes a good laugh, and a well-chosen image can help lighten the tone of your posts and inject some much-needed humor into a piece. This can be particularly effective if you’re writing about a dry (or flat-out boring) topic.

How to write a blog post funny picture example

This image has nothing to do with blogging.

Images Make Complex Topics More Easily Understandable

Let’s face it – sometimes, digital marketing (and hundreds of other niche topics) isn’t the most accessible subject to newcomers. That’s why images are an essential part of your blogging toolkit if you’re hoping to expand your audience. Diagrams, charts, infographics, tables, and any other visual assets can help your readers understand abstract or complex topics and grasp the points you’re trying to make.

How to Write a Blog Post, Step 5: The Editing Part

Actually writing a blog post is hard. Editing a blog post is harder. Many people mistakenly assume that editing is simply striking through sentences that don’t work or fixing grammatical errors. Although sentence structure and grammar are both very important, editing is about seeing the piece as a whole and, sometimes, being willing to sacrifice words (and the hours it took to write them) for the sake of cohesion.

I won’t explicitly tell you to check your spelling and grammar – you should be doing that anyway. I will, however, offer some self-editing tips and suggestions on how to tighten up your writing so that it packs a punch and keeps your readers scrolling.



Avoid Repetition

Few things are more jarring to read than repetition of certain words or phrases. Once you’re done with the first draft of your blog post, read through it and check for words that can be replaced to avoid repeating yourself.

How to write a blog post avoid repetition

Repetition – avoid it.

BONUS: Every writer has a “crutch” word or phrase. This is a word that, no matter how carefully they might try, the writer simply cannot help themselves from including in their work. Identify what your crutch word is, be vigilant, and make sure it doesn’t appear more often than it needs to.

Read Your Post Aloud to Check Flow

This is a trick that many writers learn in workshops. If a piece reads awkwardly out loud, it will probably read awkwardly in your reader’s mind. It might seem a bit weird, but force yourself to read your post aloud to check for wordy bottlenecks or contrived sentences. Find yourself struggling with the flow of a sentence? Rework it until it rolls off your tongue.

Have Someone Else Read Your Work

This is crucial for inexperienced or casual bloggers. Asking a friend or colleague to check your work isn’t an admission of weakness or a sign of failure – it’s a commitment to making your work as strong as it possibly can be.

How to write a blog post proofreading

Consider asking someone else to read your work.

Ideally, ask someone with editing experience to proof your work. Also, be sure that they understand you’re not looking for help spotting typos or grammatical errors (but if they do, great), but that you want to hear their thoughts on the flow of the piece and whether it makes sense structurally. Do your points come across well? Is your position on a contentious topic clear? Does the piece prompt the reader to think or challenge an existing belief? Is the advice you’re offering worth following? These are all questions that having another set of eyes read your work can help answer.



Keep Sentences Short and Paragraphs Shorter

Nothing will intimidate or outright anger a reader faster than huge walls of text. It’s a common mistake for inexperienced bloggers to make, and one I see far too often in a lot of online articles.

Sentences should be as short as possible. They’re easier to read, making your audience’s job easier. Shorter sentences also reduce the likelihood of going off on tangents. For example, I recently came across a sentence in an opinion piece in Wired that had no fewer than seven subordinate clauses, an editorial sin of almost unimaginable magnitude.

Paragraphs should also be short and sweet. The shorter the paragraph, the more likely your readers are to keep going. The “rules” of paragraph structure have been bent a little since web-based publishing became the norm, but try to keep individual ideas isolated to their own neat, short little paragraph.

Accept That Your Blog Post Will Never Be Perfect

There’s no such thing as a perfect post, and the sooner you come to terms with this, the better.

I’m not advocating for publishing sloppy work, nor am I saying you shouldn’t be obsessive about the details. I am saying, however, that even the best blog posts could always be better, but time is always against us. Again, unless you’re Seth Godin, you probably need to publish more than one post a month, so agonizing over every post will sap you of the desire to write and waste precious time – not to mention likely to incur the wrath of your editor or content manager.

Make every post as good as it can be, learn from the experience, then move on.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Cuts or Adapt on the Fly

You may have forgotten, but I originally included a section in the example outline for this post that dealt with optimizing blog posts for SEO. I fully intended to write this section, but when I looked at how my first draft was shaping up, I realized this was too substantial a topic to tackle in an already lengthy post. As a result, I made the decision to cut this section from the post altogether. I purposefully left the outline intact to demonstrate that you shouldn’t be afraid to make editorial decisions like this.

How to write a blog post editing

Unless there’s something you absolutely MUST include (say, a section that your sales or managerial team is expecting in a post that you agreed to deliver), your outline is not carved in stone. Remember – an outline is a guide, not an immutable series of commandments. If something doesn’t work, whether it be a sentence, a paragraph, or even a whole section, don’t hesitate to make the cut. Be ruthless with your work.

That’s All She Wrote…

Blogging is one of those jobs that seems easy until you have to do it. Fortunately, it does get easier, and with time and practice, you’ll be blogging like a pro in no time.

If there’s an aspect of writing a blog post that I didn’t cover, or you have specific questions about my process or anything generally blog-related, let me know in the comments – I’ll answer them as best I can.

Now take up thy pen, go forth, and blog like a badass.

How To Build a Successful Blog While Working Full-Time

Many people first start their blog as a creative outlet while still working full-time, and once they realize they can actually make money blogging or even make passive income blogging they start to wonder how they too can grow their own blog while working full-time.

I’ll be upfront – it’s a lot of work. I was doing full-time client work when I first began this blog and it’s definitely manageable with some good (read: great) time-management skills!

So let’s dive right into how you can grow a profitable blog while working full-time.



GET SELF-HOSTING

If you want to make money blogging, self-hosting isn’t negotiable.

You need to be self-hosting if you want to grow a profitable blog. If you’re blogging just for fun then you don’t need to self-host but here are some reasons why self-hosting is necessary to make money blogging:

  1. self-hosting allows you to put ads on your blog
  2. self-hosting gives you 100% ownership of your content (you don’t own your content if you aren’t self-hosting)
  3. brands will be more inclined to work with a blog that appears legit and has their own domain
  4. you can earn from affiliate income (lots of affiliate networks will not approve blogs that aren’t self-hosted)
  5. you can view precise analytic information (in order to turn your blog into a business you’ll need access to your analytics. You can’t grow a website if you have no idea how many visitors you are getting each day)
  6. you’ll get approved for more influencer platforms (these platforms require access to your analytics so if you aren’t self-hosting you won’t be able to provide that and won’t get approved)

I recommend you host your blog through Bluehost! Their hosting is not only reliable and fast, but their support is incredible.

They will also help you transfer everything over from your existing blog onto their platform so you don’t have to worry about anything technical when switching over.

As a web designer, I’ve worked with many hosts and Bluehost is the only one I’d recommend.

MAKE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Your first step is to sit down and plan. You’re going to need to plan this out.

Because those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

I’m not here to throw cliches your way, but it’s true!

When planning your content out, make sure you stick to something that you’ll be able to accomplish. Don’t plan to write 5 blog posts per week if you don’t think you’ll have time to write 5 per week.

If you are working full-time, I’d aim for 1 great post to start. If you find that is easy to achieve, start adding more onto your plate. But it’s better to start off slow rather than burn yourself out!

Remember: it’s always better to write a one wonderful blog post that a handful of mediocre blog posts.

One way I’ve found that helps me write content when I’m really busy is to pick a theme for the month and write several posts around one topic.

Not only does this help me to come up with article ideas, but it also helps me write faster and cuts down on the time I need to spend researching.

WRITE YOUR BLOG POSTS

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to write. You’re obviously going to want to schedule your writing time for a day when you aren’t going to be preoccupied with your full-time job or anything else.

In other words, pick a day that will be easy for you to remain focused.

This will differ from person to person. I personally love to write at night, but you might find it easier to get up before work to get some work done or work over the weekend.

You’ll need to find a couple of hours each week where you’ll be motivated to write, and dedicate those chunks of time to your blog.

Write these times down so you don’t forget them and make sure to stick with your schedule.

If you’re currently only blogging when you feel like it, you probably feel overwhelmed and like you aren’t getting enough done. By blocking out your time, your not only treating your blog like a job, you’re allowing yourself to stay focused and actually get your tasks done.

Pro tip: I’ve found that blog batching is the best way to write more content in less time. With blog batching, you are essentially blocking off chunks of time and dedicating each time chunk to a specific task.

Batching has been proven to increase productivity and I’ve detailed exactly how you can implement your own blog batching strategy!



OPTIMIZE YOUR BLOG FOR SEARCH

Having a good grasp on search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for bloggers.

SEO is a way to drive organic traffic to your blog posts through search engines. In other words, you are getting free traffic on auto-pilot to your blog.

If you are busy working full-time, learning to drive traffic on auto-pilot over to your website is incredibly important!

To optimize your blog posts for SEO, you are going to want to add in keywords to each post so that Google and other search engines know where to place it in the search results.

For example, if you are writing a post on “gardening tips for beginners” your keyword would be “gardening tips for beginners”.

You should include that keyword throughout your post.

PROMOTE YOUR BLOG POSTS

After you’ve written your blog post, the next step is to promote it.

Blog promotion is something that is often heavily ignored. I get it; nobody really likes self-promotion. It can feel so uncomfortable but the truth is, it’s going to be really hard for people to find your content if you aren’t promoting it!

80% of your time should be spent promoting your blog post while the other 20% is writing it. So if you take an hour to write your blog post, you should be spending 48 minutes promoting it.

Raise your hand if you aren’t spending that kind of time promoting your content (girl, at one point my hand was raised). I didn’t know you should spend so much time promoting your posts.

I used to send a Tweet out, post it to my Facebook page and that was that.

But that doesn’t actually get your posts seen by the right audience!

If you are working full-time, you might not think you can find the time for any extra promotion. But if you spend 10 minutes a day promoting your blog posts, you’ll be able to get a great amount of promotion in!

You can easily spend a portion of your lunch hour and dedicate it to blog-promotion and be well on your way.

I’ve put together a list of 11 free ways to promote your blog, but here are a few ways to get you started:

  • Facebook groups
  • Quora
  • Yahoo Answers
  • Reddit
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Email list
  • Triberr
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Paid ads

AUTOMATE CERTAIN TASKS

If you’re working full-time, all of this might feel like it’s just too much. Which is why I recommend automating as much as possible.

To schedule all your social media content, Buffer has a free plan where you can schedule up to 10 posts at a time. If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend setting aside one day each week to schedule all 10 social posts throughout the week.

You can also schedule as many tweets and Facebook posts as you’d like through Twitter and Facebook themselves.

If you use Pinterest, Tailwind is one of the best investment you could make to schedule all your pins. Some days, I sit down and schedule months worth of pins all at once. This isn’t possible with Buffer’s free plan above! If you use my referral link for Tailwind, you can get your first month free to try.



ASK FOR HELP

Having a good blog mentor can help you narrow your focus and turn your blog into something that can one day replace your current full-time job.

A blog mentor or coach can give you a fresh perspective on what your blog is currently doing awesome, what you should be doing more of and where you can improve!

DON’T GIVE UP

Following the above tips will definitely help you grow a profitable blog while working full-time, but there will still be days when you feel unmotivated and frustrated – and that’s ok!

There’s a ton of different ways you can stay on track after you’ve lost motivation. Remember: you can only do so much and if you feel you need a break, take one!

IN CONCLUSION

It’s definitely possible to grow a profitable blog while working full-time, but requires lots of planning and setting aside chunks of time to work on your content and promote it!

I recommend getting some type of planner and blocking out chunks of time to get your tasks done!

By treating your blog like a job, you will be setting yourself up for massive success!


Do you work full time while blogging? Tell us your time-management tips below!

How to Protect Your Blog with Legal Pages

Let’s talk about the legal side of blogging. Yes, this subject typically causes bloggers to fall asleep or run for the hills…but it’s super important to talk about it.


The fact is:
 your blogging business comes with some risk, and you must be proactive in protecting yourself, your blog, and your readers.


The better fact is:
 this part of your job doesn’t have to be complicated! Today we’re going to cover 5 simple ways to legally protect your blog…and they aren’t scary at all, I promise!

 




Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Just some important lessons I’ve learned over my years as a blogger.

As an online business owner (yes girl, you are a business owner now), you are taking on some risk. There is the risk of someone stealing your content…the risk of being sued for stealing someone else’s content…the risk of someone being negatively affected by the advice you provided on your blog. Yeah, the risk list is real, and it goes on and on.

So, how can you legally protect your blog from these headaches? Here are a few simple ways:

 

  1. CREATE YOUR OWN ORIGINAL CONTENT

    This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many new bloggers think it’s okay to copy/paste someone else’s content on their own blog. You’d be equally surprised by how many bloggers have stolen MY own content over the past few years.

    For those that didn’t know, this is illegal, so you probably shouldn’t do that.

    Instead, focus on creating your own original content, based on your own real experiences and expertise.


    How does this legally protect your blog?


    FIRSTLY…

    You will know with 100% certainty that your content doesn’t fall into any possible category of plagiarism or copyright infringement. If you don’t know what plagiarism and copyright infringement really are, then it’s important to do some research and make sure that all of your blog content falls within its legal bounds.

    Here is a helpful article on plagiarism.

    Here is a helpful article on copyright infringement.


    SECONDLY…

    You have your own copyright protection on your original content the moment that you create it. Yes, “your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form,” according to Copyright.gov (an excellent resource for my fellow U.S. bloggers, by the way)! This means that if you are creating your own original work, you are the legal owner of that content and no one is allowed to reproduce or distribute that content without your permission.


    LASTLY…

    You’ll draw your own genuine readers to your blog. People that relate to YOU and YOUR content. People that trust your recommendations, share your work, and want to buy what you’re selling. All of this helps you to gain traction and authority as a blogger.

     

  2. GET PERMISSION

Throughout your blogging career, there will be times that sharing someone else’s content with your audience can really benefit your readers and followers!

Maybe it’s an infographic that someone else created, or an article they wrote, or a recipe they made. Or maybe it’s just someone else’s beautiful picture you want to share on Instagram.

Instead of copying their work or using their content without permission, it is always best to ask them if you can use/share their work. It only takes a quick minute to send an email or private message to your colleague and ask for their permission to share their work on your platform. ** The exception is if they post the content publicly and make it “shareable” in a way that still credits them as the original creator (such as Facebook sharing or using the embed option).



Most of the time, this leads to additional exposure for that blogger, so they respond with a resounding “sure, no problem!” But sometimes, for their own personal or professional reasons, bloggers don’t want their content shared anywhere but their own platform. This is their legal right, so it’s important to respect it.

 

  1. GIVE CREDIT

    This one goes hand-in-hand with getting permission to share someone else’s content with your audience. When you do have the privilege of sharing that content on your own blog or social media channels, it’s important to give proper credit to the original creator.

    Keep in mind, you didn’t create this content, and failing to credit the creator could easily land you in the plagiarism/breaking the law category. You are essentially passing off someone’s work as your own, and that is NO BUENO.

    So, always always always, give proper credit to the original source. If you’re not sure how to give them proper credit, ask them. Usually, proper credit simply involves mentioning the fact that this content belongs to someone else and sharing a clickable link to their own blog or social media channel.

If you fail to give credit to the original creator, they can take legal action against you for stealing. You can also get penalized by search engines…It happens alllll the time, and it’s kind of a big deal.

So, keep this in mind. When in doubt, ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT.

  1. USE COPYRIGHT-FREE STOCK PHOTOS

    So far, we have covered a few of the important ways that you can legally protect your blog. Basically, be an honest and good human. Create your own stuff and give people credit for the stuff they created.

    But, what happens if you need some pictures for your blog and you don’t know how to take them yourself? Can you just hop on Google and snag the first great picture you see?

    No.

    Remember, that content has copyright protection and you can get into legal trouble if you use it without permission.


So…what’s a blogger to do??

Thankfully, some companies provide stock photos to their customers with no strings attached and no copyright protection. Meaning, you are allowed to use their photos on your own blog, and most of the time, you aren’t even required to give credit to the creator. Yay.

It’s still important to be careful and choose your stock photo sites carefully. Just because someone says they have rights to share stock photos with you doesn’t necessarily mean they do.

Paying for a stock photo subscription is going to be your best bet, because that company has their own legal obligation to YOU, their customer. Here are a few of my favorite paid stock-photo sites (most of them give you a few free stock photos just for signing up)!

 

SHUTTER STOCK

HAUTE STOCK

PIXI STOCK

iSTOCK

GETTY IMAGES

DEATH TO THE STOCK PHOTO

You can also snag free stock photos from free platforms like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay.

 

  1. GET YOUR LEGAL PAGES

We saved the most important one for last. As online business owners, we all have a legal obligation to our audience and our government.
 

At the very least, your blog should have these THREE important legal pages: a privacy policy, a disclosure, and terms/conditions.

These legal pages protect you and the readers who frequent your website.


If you want to legally protect your blog, you absolutely MUST HAVE these three pages on your website, easy to find and read, and drafted by someone who knows the laws of your country.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

At the end of the day, we all just want to have a successful blogging business, a legally protected website, and happy readers.

Following these five simple tips will be the key to reaching those goals and having the legal protection that you need for your blog.

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