Revealed: 19 Things to Know Before You Start a Blog in 2014

By: Ramsay 102 intelligent o!inions" add yours
Start a #log in 2014
Thin$ing that you%d li$e to start a #log in 2014&
'r !erha!s you already have one and want to stay u! with the trends&
This !ost is for you(
You see" the thing a#out #logging is that it )hanges regularly #ut also hardly ever )hanges at all(
That might seem li$e an odd statement #ut it will all ma$e sense soon enough(
*n this !ost *%m going to show you some really im!ortant things you need to $now a#out starting +or
running, a #log in 2014( -o!efully if you follow these ti!s you )an save a lot of time and energy(
.et%s do it/
0'T1: This !ost on starting a #log )ontains some affiliate lin$s( *f you !ur)hase a servi)e through
one of my lin$s * will earn a small )ommission at no e2tra )ost to you( Than$s for the su!!ort/
3hat%s different a#out starting a #log in 2014&
Some things never )hange when it )omes to #logging(
'ther things" however" )hange 4uite regularly and it )an #e really )onfusing if you%re new or 5ust
loo$ing to get started(
* )onstantly get as$ed 4uestions li$e:
63here do * start a #log&7
6Should * use 3ord8ress or Blogger or Tum#lr&7
69o * need :we#er or will ;eed#urner suffi)e for my mailing list&7
6Should * u!date my #log daily&7
6-ow should * moneti<e my #log&7
61t)( ad infinitum(7
These ty!es of 4uestions are timeless #ut the answers often )hange from year to year( :nd even if
the answers don%t )hange it is sometimes ne)essary to remind #loggers that the answers haven%t
)hanged/ That is: $ee! doing what you%re doing(
.et%s do some of that now(
Things you need to $now a#out starting a #log in 2014
:s always" * $now you guys are going to have things to add to this list of items( *f you disagree with
any of them or )an thin$ of other im!ortant ones !lease head to the #ottom of this !ost and answer
the 4uestion that *%m !osing(
1( : self=hosted 3ord8ress #log is still your #est #et
3e har! on a#out this a lot #ut #est thing you )an do a#out #log hosting is to set u! your own
3ord8ress(org #log on your own host( * am still of the firm #elief that free #logs li$e Tum#lr and
Blogger +and even 3ord8ress()om, do not give you the )ontrol" ownershi! and #randing o!tions
that you need(
-ere%s a 4ui)$ gra!hi) * shared over on >oogle? a#out the differen)e #etween a free 3ord8ress
#log and a 3ord8ress #log that you host for yourself( 1ven here you%ll noti)e that the differen)es
are huge(
3ord8ress(org vs 3ord8ress()om
:s *%ve said #efore" the one !redi)tion * have for !eo!le using a free #log host is that one day you
will want to migrate it to your own host( :nd that )an #e a really annoying !ro)ess( *t%s mu)h #etter
to set yourself u! the right way from the #eginning(
* re)ommend Blue-ost for all new #loggers +get a free domain name when you #uy a hosting
!a)$age,( This tutorial will ta$e you through the setu! !ro)ess @ ste! #y ste!( *t should ta$e around
10 minutes(

2( Aisual )ontent will only get #igger
*f you aren%t ta$ing your own !hotos yet it might #e time to get started(
:t a minimum" you want to #e !art of a 4uality sto)$ !hoto site that allows you to use !hotos on
your site with an attri#ution li)ense( * use 9reamstime for a lot of my !hotos #ut * also ta$e my
Aisual )ontent has #een growing for years and it a!!ears to #e s!eeding u!" not slowing down( 3e
now have retina dis!lay ta#lets and our smart!hones are getting #igger( So)ial networ$ing sites li$e
;a)e#oo$ and >oogle? are favoring images over te2t @ never mind sites li$e 8interest whi)h are
totally #ased around !hotos/
*f you%re not wor$ing with visual )ontent yet it%s time to start(
B( >rowing a mailing list is still the most im!ortant thing
*f you as$ed a #ig #logger for advi)e a#out the most im!ortant thing to do in 2004 they would have
!ro#a#ly told you to grow a mailing list(
Ten years later and nothing has )hanged(
Your email list is a means to get into !eo!le%s in#o2es whenever you li$e( That )an lead to in)reased
traffi) to your new #log !osts as well as more sales when you laun)h a !rodu)t or !romote an
affiliate !rodu)t(
But the main reason that you want to grow an email list is #e)ause you 5ust )an%t trust >oogle for
traffi)( :nd you )an%t trust so)ial networ$ing sites that )onstantly )hange their !oli)ies( *t%s only the
mailing list that gives you a )onstant sour)e of traffi)" should something go wrong(
* re)ommend :we#er for all #loggers #ut there are many other o!tions out there(
4( *t%s time to get smart a#out )om!etition analysis
* re)$on a#out 90C of #loggers that * tal$ to do <ero resear)h when it )omes to writing new !osts"
)reating new #logs or )oming u! with !rodu)ts(
0o one is thin$ing a#out the )om!etition/
This is a #ig mista$e in my o!inion( :lmost every !ost that you write has #een written #efore(
1very #log that you thin$ of is already out there( Dost !rodu)ts have things that are !retty mu)h the
*t%s really im!ortant to use a 4uality !rogram li$e Dar$et Samurai to do some resear)h into the
)om!etition( : 4ui)$ loo$ around and you%ll #e a#le to see what $eywords !eo!le are targeting" how
many #a)$ lin$s they have for their main !osts and where those #a)$ lin$s are )oming from(
This is invalua#le information as it hel!s you de)ide whether or not you )an )om!ete in )ertain
ni)hes and $eywords( *f someone has lin$s )oming from -arvard" 3i$i!edia and 0:S: then it is
unli$ely you%ll #e a#le to outran$ them in a hurry(
E( .ong )ontent still wor$s
.ong )ontent has #een wor$ing for years( 'ne of the first !osts * ever wrote on this site was several
thousand words on how * sold a #log for F20"000( That !ost went viral and got the attention of a lot
of #loggers(
*t !ut Blog Tyrant on the radar(
*f *%d 5ust written a little E00 word u!date on the to!i) nothing would have ha!!ened( The whole
thing would have fi<<led out into nothing(
Gnfortunately that is what ha!!ens to a lot of #loggers(
0eil 8atel has tal$ed a#out how well long )ontent wor$s for him and now even >oogle has
laun)hed an in=de!th arti)les se)tion on their sear)h results(
;orget a#out short little u!dates and start wor$ing on longer )ontent that solves !ro#lems and
!rovides so mu)h value that !eo!le )an%t hel! #ut share it with their friends(
H( *t%s time to s!end money on !romotion
;or some reason #loggers hate the idea of s!ending money on advertising( *t%s a real shame(
'ne thing you%ll start to see more and more in 2014 is that the #igger #loggers +and other internet
entre!reneurs, will start to !ay to !romote their !osts and !rodu)ts a lot more(
There is so mu)h noise online( Iust thin$ a#out the ni)he you are in @ how many )om!etitors are
there that are doing #etter than you&
3ell" one way to #y!ass their domination is to s!end a little #it of money !romoting your #est wor$
to a targeted grou! of !eo!le who are li$ely to #e interested in your stuff(
: s!onsored !ost in ;a)e#oo$
: s)reenshot from my ;a)e#oo$ newsfeed @ a sim!le s!onsored !ost(
The great thing a#out advertising on so)ial networ$s li$e ;a)e#oo$ is that it%s low )ost and there is
a )han)e that !eo!le will share it of their own free will" on)e they%ve seen your advert( -ere is a
sim!le s!onsored !ost that a!!eared in my newsfeed while * was writing this !ost( 1asy to ma$e
and very effe)tive(
You don%t need mu)h( Set aside F2E for a test and see how you go(
J( Da$e #ig )onne)tions early
Something that a lot of new #loggers fail to re)ogni<e is that your su))ess is often largely de!endent
on the allian)es that you form(
*f you are going to start a new #log in 2014 it%s a good idea to start ma$ing )onne)tions with the #ig
#logs and #loggers in your ni)he as soon as you )an( *%m not tal$ing a#out s!amming them with
guest !ost re4uests either @ *%m tal$ing a#out ma$ing genuine friends that )an su!!ort ea)h other for
the long term(
Start #y finding the #ig !layers on Twitter and sharing their stuff( Dention it on your site and let
them $now a#out it( *t%s a ni)e little introdu)tion(
K( >oogle? will grow to the !oint of ne)essity
Dany !eo!le already argue that >oogle? is essential(
*n fa)t" *%ve said it to my readers a few times in !osts on how to set u! >oogle authorshi! and the
#est >oogle? ti!s(
:t least from an S1' !oint of view" !eo!le are already seeing results from integrating >oogle?
with your #log( 3hen you get authorshi! set u! you get your !hoto in sear)h and it seems li$e you
also get slightly higher ran$ings( This is still u! for de#ate(
-ere%s one thing you need to )onsider( :s >oogle? grows +it%s already the se)ond #iggest so)ial
networ$, you%re going to have more !eo!le #eing logged in when they do sear)hes( *f you are in
their Lir)les there is a greater )han)e that your !osts will show u! on their results( This means more
traffi) and !otentially more shares(
-ere%s a gra!hi) * made re)ently a#out how >oogle? )an hel! im!rove your #log%s ran$ings in
*t%s time to get on it(
9( Res!onsive #log designs are a must
Do#iles and ta#lets are now a !rimary sour)e of we# traffi)( *f your theme doesn%t res!ond to the
smaller s)reens there is a good )han)e you will #e losing valua#le traffi) as !eo!le )li)$ away to
find something easier to navigate(
*n the ne2t two wee$s you will see this site )hange into a res!onsive design( Dore im!ortantly" you
will see me laun)h a #rand new site that will hel! you out a lot when it )omes to your res!onsive
3ord8ress themes in 2014(
The only thing *%ll say now is that you should #e on the mailing list to ma$e sure you don%t miss out
on this one( *t%s going to #e #ig(
10( 'utsour)ing will ma$e you !rolifi)
1ver sin)e * )hatted to Lhris 9u)$er on S$y!e last year *%ve #een more and more loo$ing to
outsour)ing as a way to get things done(
*%ve #een doing it for years" #ut it wasn%t until tal$ing to Lhris that * reali<ed that the !ro)ess )ould
#e streamlined with the use of a virtual assistant @ someone who )an manage all of your tas$s that
you would normally )ontrol yourself(
There are a few reasons as to why this will #e even more im!ortant in 2014(
;irstly" it hel!s you )reate more )ontent and frees u! time for you to fo)us on the tas$s that really
grow your #log( Se)ondly" it gives wor$ to someone who really needs it and" ho!efully" is a lot
#etter at that tas$ than you are( 0ote: 3e had a #ig de#ate a#out this on my ;iverr !ost(
'ver are the days where you do everything on your #log from the writing to the !hotosho!!ing to
the -TD. editing and outrea)h( *t%s time to get hel! with it all(
11( Your health will #e)ome a !riority
The s)ien)e is in(
Sitting still for long !eriods of time is a lot worse for your health than first thought( *n fa)t"
resear)hers are now showing that sitting still )an lead to early death as well as a whole host of #ad
The #ad news is that going for a run or to the gym at the end of the day does not undo the damage(
This means we need to start moving regularly" wor$ing while standing u! and ta$ing regular short
#rea$s to stret)h the mus)les and get the #lood flowing(
0ow that we $now how #ad it really is it%s time to do something a#out it(
12( Se)urity threats will in)rease
*nternet se)urity is already a ma5or issue( : really stressful issue at that(
Lom!anies" small #usinesses and organi<ations all around the world are falling !rey to nasty
intruders on an in)reased #asis( 0o one is safe(
So what )an you do&
Kee! #a)$u!s
Try to $ee! #a)$u!s of your we#sites" #logs and im!ortant do)uments #oth on and offline( There
are many !lugins to hel! you do this(
Gse a good se)urity !lugin
*%m no e2!ert on this #ut there are several se)urity !lugins and servi)es around li$e Su)uri and
Bullet!roof Se)urity( These )an hel! lo)$down your #log(
Resear)h regularly
-ere%s an old !ost * wrote on the to!i)( Try to $ee! u! to date with the trends as they )hange(
* don%t want to frea$ you out #ut * do want you to thin$ more a#out $ee!ing your #logs" emails and
)om!uters safe into 2014(
1B( 8ersonal #randing will #e)ome more im!ortant
:s we mentioned a#ove" >oogle? is on the rise( :nd something you need to $now a#out >oogle? is
that it is really a#out the !ersonal #rand of the author( >oogle wants to ma$e ea)h individual a
useful !arti)i!ant in their sear)h engine +and thus the internet,(
Ta$ing from this lead" in 2014 we need to fo)us more on our !ersonal #rands(
0ow" this is a really )ontentious issue for some !eo!le( * on)e got a really sour email from a reader
when * tal$ed a#out !ersonal #randing as they thought it was disingenuous and a sign of a sell out( *
understand where they )ome from #ut" to #e honest" also understand that it%s a ne)essary evil in
today%s online world( 8ersonally * thin$ the selling out !art is u! to ea)h individual( You )an )hoose
to #e an honest !erson of integrity and thus ma$e your !ersonal #rand a trustworthy one(
*n 2014 * thin$ #loggers will need to get their fa)es out there more( S!end less time #uilding a
we#site and more time #uilding the !erson #ehind the we#site( This in)reases trust and allows you
to )reate new !ro5e)ts that aren%t lo)$ed in to 5ust one stale #rand name(
14( 9iversifi)ation of in)ome will #e $ey
This is another one of those ti!s that have #een around for a while #ut #e)ome more and more
relevant with every !assing year(
*f you start a #log in 2014 you should e2!e)t your in)ome streams to )hange( That )an #e a really
s)ary thing if you aren%t !re!ared(
;or e2am!le" if you rely on >oogle :dwords from organi) sear)h traffi) and your #log suddenly
get%s !inged in some u!date you might wind u! with <ero in)ome for a while( The same goes with
an affiliate !rodu)t that you might #e !romoting with natural traffi) vs !aid traffi)( That )an dry u!
in an instant(
Try to thin$ a#out diversifying your in)ome streams so that you aren%t u! the )ree$ should one dry
u!( The #est #et is a strong mailing list that you )an use to laun)h your own !rodu)ts and affiliate
1E( Buying #logs will get more !o!ular
;li!!a is already $illing it( But in 2014 * thin$ they will $ill it even more +not sure what that means,
#e)ause more and more !eo!le are going to #e #uying #logs to s$i! the initial stages of a #log%s life(
You see" when you first start a #log you have to do a lot of groundwor$ that ta$es time( Resear)h"
!illar arti)les" networ$ing" logo )reation" so)ial media a))ounts set u!" et)( *t is a very time
)onsuming !ro)ess(
So what *%ve noti)ed is that a lot of !eo!le are s$i!!ing all this and #uying #logs that are already
!retty well esta#lished( * saw a four=month=old #log sell for F120"000 the other day(
This is not a #ad strategy if you want to get straight in to things and you have a few thousand to
s!are( There is" however" a .'T to )onsider #efore you #uy a #log so !lease do not rush into it( *f
you%d li$e to learn more a#out this idea !lease leave a )omment and *%ll )onsider doing an arti)le on
1H( You%ll need to start !lanning for 201E
*%ve always tried to em!hasi<e the idea that you need to have short term and long term !ro5e)ts on
the go(
*t%s a terri#le feeling #eing a self=em!loyed and reali<ing that you%ve s!ent so mu)h time wor$ing
on a long term !ro5e)t that you have no short term money )oming in to !ay the #ills(
Similarly" it%s an even worse feeling reali<ing that you s!ent so mu)h time wor$ing on !aying the
#ills that you%ve forgotten to laun)h those long term !ro5e)ts that are your main sour)e of
So one thing * wanted to tell you a#out #logging in 2014 is that you really want to start thin$ing
a#out #logging in 201E( That means !lanning" resear)hing and develo!ing ideas now instead of
Kee! wor$ing on the short term stuff #ut ma$e sure your long term stuff still ha!!ens(
1J( S1' will )hange +#ut not really,
*%m a little #it over S1'( * don%t have the !atien)e re4uired to #e any good at all the little things that
ma$e a differen)e(
But something *%ve #een noti)ing is that #logging S1' is )hanging" #ut only in some ways( *t%s
almost li$e a )ar in that the design" )olors and minor features )hange ea)h year #ut the )ore remains
the same( *n this )ase the )ore is #a)$ lin$s and the features are things li$e freshness" authorshi! and
so on(
The #est ran$ing sites are still the ones with #a)$ lin$s( * was going to write 6the B1ST #a)$ lin$s7
#ut de)ided against it as there are a #un)h of #logs in my ni)he that ran$ with a huge volume of
)ra!!y #a)$ lin$s(
#a)$ lin$s
: s)reenshot of a #log in my ni)he that has around J0"000 #a)$ lin$s sin)e Iuly 201B and is ran$ing
num#er one for some really )om!etitive terms( .egit&
The $ey here is to $now your limits and $now your ni)he( *f you have a ni)he where the ran$ings
are dominated #y fresh results then you need to start wor$ing on getting fresh )ontent" and so on(
You don%t want to #e throwing thousands of du#ious lin$s at your main #log if you don%t $now what
you%re doing(
The ma5or thing to remem#er here" however" is that 2014 will see more )om!etition for organi)
lin$s #e)ause more and more !eo!le are moving away from the old 6lin$ #uilding7 methods of the
!ast in favor of a 64uality )ontent7 a!!roa)h to S1'( To get those #a)$ lin$s you%re going to have
to get noti)ed first(
1K( Tum#lr" >host and Dedium will tea)h us things
:t the very to! of this #log !ost on the things you need to $now to start a #log in 2014 * mentioned
that * still thin$ a self=hosted 3ord8ress #log is the #est #et for serious" !rofessional #loggers(
3ell" that doesn%t mean that we should totally ignore the other !latforms(
*%m not saying that you need to go out and sign u! for everything else right now" #ut * am saying
that we should learn a few things from the new $ids on the #lo)$ li$e Tum#lr" >host and Dedium
whi)h are innovative" se2y and )oming u! with some really #ig wins(
Ta$e the Tum#lr 6;ollow7 #utton that slides out of the right hand )orner as you s)roll down the
!age( That feature is very hard to ignore and has !layed a #ig !art in Tum#lr #eing so 6viral7
amongst users of that !latform( *t has sin)e #een )o!ied #y a lot of non=Tum#lr #loggers who have
found it )onverts 4uite well(
'ne of the main lessons * thin$ these new !latforms are tea)hing us is that !eo!le want sim!li)ity(
Sim!li)ity of design and layout" and sim!li)ity of su#s)ri!tion and u!dates(
*%m going to #e $ee!ing an eye on these ty!es of #logs in 2014 to see what they do to get even
#igger( * might even mu)$ around with a few to see if * )an ado!t any features over here(
19( *" !ersonally" will not #e waiting around
This last !oint is more of a !ersonal goalMam#ition for any new #logs that * start in 2014" as well as
the )urrent #logs that * run(
;or me" 2014 is going to #e a#out !utting things out there and not waiting(
* have a tenden)y to want things to #e !erfe)tN laun)h dates" syn)ing of !ro5e)ts" image design"
arti)le stru)ture" et)( 3ell" * thin$ that has resulted in a lot of lost o!!ortunities for me #e)ause
instead of getting things out there *%m mu)$ing around #ehind the s)enes on issues that only * )are
So" my mantra is going to #e something li$e this:
9on%t s!end 9EC of your time twea$ing the last EC of your !ro5e)ts( @ Lli)$ to Tweet this(
*%m sure a lot of !eo!le will argue that it is that EC that ma$es the differen)e #ut *%m not so sure
anymore( Be !re!ared to see a lot more stuff from me in 2014 and e2!e)t it to #e only half=!olished(
Lalling out for 2014 !redi)tion !ostsO
'$ay" so * thought *%d try something a little #it different here and )all out a few !eo!le that *%d love
to hear from on this to!i)(
*f you%d li$e to hear from them as well !erha!s shoot them a Tweet and let them $now a#out it( *%ve
made their names lin$ to their Twitter a))ounts for ease(
Lhris 9u)$er @ 'utsour)ing" virtual assistants and owning we# )om!anies(
Rand ;ish$in @ Sear)h 1ngine '!timi<ation" !eo!le management +he%s good at that, andMor start
Brian Llar$ @ Lo!ywriting and !rodu)t develo!ment in a 2014 digital environment(
Iames Lhartrand @ Blog design and #randing +she%s 5ust done a #ig new design herself,(
8at ;lynn @ 8od)asting and managing the idea of 6#eing everywhere7(
:my 8orterfield @ ;a)e#oo$ and so)ial media strategy in general( :lways has )ool things to say(
*t would #e really )ool to see a !ost from one or more of these internet=giants a#out what they thin$
2014 will #ring for their area of e2!ertise(
3hat else do you need to $now to start a #log in 2014&
*%d really li$e to $now what you guys thin$ a#out starting +or running, a #log in 2014( 9o you thin$
there will #e any #ig )hanges& 9o you disagree with any of the !oints *%ve made a#ove& 8lease
leave a )omment and let me $now what you thin$ 2014 has in store for #logs and #logging(
G!dated: 24th :!ril" 2014(

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