Easy Steps on How to Start a Blog for Beginners

Been thinking of starting a blog?

Since you’re reading this, you must be.  No worries, we will be holding each other’s hand through this guide. 🙂

In this 6-step Tutorial on How to Start A Blog in Less Than 1 Hour, you’ll be ready to conquer your way through the blogosphere in no time!

Let’s start to blog!

(This post may contain affiliate links)

Put your blog ideas in action

If you have been thinking of starting a blog, you may already have some blog topics that you would like to share with your future readers.

Or you are casually thinking about blogging and you don’t have any ideas yet.  In any case, here are some pointers to get you started with your blog ideas:

  • Make a list of blogs or websites that talks about the topics you like
  • Use Google Instant to have a list of topics that other searchers are looking for

blog ideas google instant

  • Use Answer The Public, a free website tool that will show you the common questions about your topic

blog ideas - answer the public

  • Use Epicbeat, this is my favorite. It will show you relevant published articles about your topic and you can see which format works best, so you can also plan what type of blog posts you will create. My favorite feature is you can see who are the influencers and bloggers you can connect with. Fast way of gaining online friends and resources, if you ask me.

blog ideas - epicbeat

Name your blog

Now that you already have blog and blog post ideas, it’s now time to think of a name for your blog.

Your blog name will be used as your domain name. Domain name is your online address where your readers can access your blog (e.g. thegeekmommy.com is the domain name of this blog).

How to choose a domain name? Glad you asked –

  • Short and easy to remember
  • Easy to spell (you don’t want your readers going to another blog because of misspellings)
  • What do you want to be known for? (this will be your branding)

Make a list of possible domain names and ready them aloud. Pick the top 3 best sounding domain names from your list. You can check the domain availability here.

Hosting your blog

A lot of new bloggers are confused with web hosting and why this is needed. Yes, there are a lot of free blogging platforms out there and they provide a good platform. WordPress.com is one of the best free blogging platforms around and it is the most popular.

But do you really want to have your blog on a free blogging platform? Let me tell you some important reasons why (even as a beginner) you should use free blogging platform and go for self-hosted blogs.

  • You don’t ‘own’ your space and your blog can be terminated at any time without notice
    • Imagine having created a great blog and you have loyal followers, and suddenly you can’t log in – yup, it can happen. Here’s WordPress.com’s TOS – “Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of our Services at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”
  • Your blog design and theme is limited only to what is available in their repository. You can’t use custom theme and you can’t upload plug-ins to extend your blog capabilities. You’d like to have your blog ready to scale up and not hold you down.
  • You have to pay extra for custom email. Free email address are good and I still use them. But if you want to make a brand for yourself, it is more professional looking if you have a custom email with your domain name.
  • They can display their (not yours) ads. ” Automattic reserves the right to display advertisements on your blog unless you have purchased an Ad-free Upgrade or a VIP Service account.” If this was self-hosted all advertisement income will be yours.
  • Your blog domain name is going to be longer than you wanted. (remember the pointers above?)

Are you convinced that using a self-hosted blog is the way to go?

There are a lot of web hosting providers to chose from. In this blog, we used Hostwinds as our web hosting provider.

We used Hostwinds, for a number of reasons:

  • Their customer support is top-notch and friendly. For whatever reasons, you can get in touch with them 24/7.
  • While others give 30-day money back guarantee, Hostwinds offers 60-days.
  • Unlimited Bandwidth. You can have as many web visitors as you want.
  • Unlimited Disk Space. You can blog to your heart’s content.
  • Free Dedicated IP Address. This is needed if you want to make your website secure against hackers.

Here are the steps to set-up your self-hosted blog:

  • Go to Hostwinds.com (this link will go directly to their shared hosting page). hostwinds-shared
  •  For beginners, I suggest you chose the Basic Plan. Click the green, Get Hosted button.

hostwinds-shared-basic

  • Enter the domain name you picked above, and click submit.

register or transfer domain name

  • Continue with Step 2 (Click the green continue button)
  • Fill out your login details and billing information

login and billing info

  • After payment, you will receive an email containing details of your account. Keep this email, this will have your passwords.

Your blog platform: Self-hosted WordPress

Once you receive your email from Hostwinds, use the link to login to your cPanel using the username and password provided.

On the bottom portion of your cPanel dashboard, click WordPress.

wordpress - hostwinds

 

Click Install Now.

wp install hw

Begin your WordPress setup. Choose your domain (if you only have 1 domain, it’ll be chosen automatically). For the Site Name ans Site Description, refer to the blog topics you made from previous step. You can change this later.

wordpress setup 1

You will be asked to enter the username and password for the admin account for your blog. This is different from the access credentials Hostwinds emailed you earlier. Please keep a copy of your WordPress blog username and password. The admin email is where all information about your blog will be sent to.

wordpress setup 2

You can leave the default for the Advanced Options and leave the Limit Login Attempts unchecked. You don’t have to select anything from the themes provided and just click Install.

wordpress setup 3

After you click Install, it will work its way to install WordPress in your Hostwinds hosting.

Now you can log into your WordPress blog

http://www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
Log in with your username or email and password

Setting up your WordPress blog

When you login to your new WordPress dashboard, you will see something similar to this –

wordpress fresh install

You can remove the sample Post, Page, and comment.

Post: Click Post > All Posts > Click Trash on the Sample Post

Post: Click Page> All Page> Click Trash on the Sample Page

Comment: Click Comments> All Comments> Click Trash on the Comment

Terminologies:

Pages – these are often used present timeless information about yourself or your site — information that is always relevant. You can use Pages to organize and manage the structure of your website content. Examples are About Us, Contact Us pages.

Posts – these are entries that display in reverse order on your blog. Posts usually have comments fields beneath them and are included in your site’s RSS feed. (RSS will be explained as a separate topic).

Media – consists of the images, video, recordings, and files that you upload and use in your blog. When you create a post and attach an image to it, it is stored in this section.

Appearance – here is where you will edit the theme of your blog, customize for granular changes like colors, fonts, widgets (contents on your sidebar), menu (your navigation menu), header, background, and editor. I don’t recommend you ever touching the editor unless you know what you’re doing.

Plugins – this will extend the functionality of your blog. You can add contact form plugins, caching plugins (to make your site load faster), sliding banner plugin (to create banner or image carousel), and many more.

Settings – here is where you can customize your site title, tagline, etc.

wordpress settings

Site title – Enter the name of your blog here.

Tagline – explains what your site is about.

WordPress Address (URL) – you can leave this at default.

Site Address (URL) – Enter the address you want people to type in their browser to reach your WordPress blog.

E-mail Address – Enter the e-mail address to which you want WordPress to send messages regarding the administration and maintenance of your WordPress site (comment approvals, etc.)

Membership  : Anyone can register – leave uncheck, disallowing anyone to be able to register an account on your site.

Writing – you can leave at default for now.

Reading – Front Page Display:  allows you to choose what content appears on your site’s front page.

Reading – Blog pages show at most:  lets you choose how many blog posts are displayed per page. The default setting is 10 posts per page.

Reading – Syndication feeds show the most recent __ items:  lets you set how many blog posts will be sent out at once via your RSS feed

Discussion – you can leave at default for now.

Permalinks – the permanent URLs to your individual pages and blog posts, as well as your category and tag archives. A permalink is the web address used to link to your content. Recommended setting is  – Custom: /%postname%/ so you blog post doesn’t have dates on the URL.

permalinks

 

Setting up your First Post

To add your first post, click Post > Add New.

add new post

(the image shown might not be the same to your current installation of WordPress)

Enter the post title, post content, and after you’re done click Publish.

If you want to add images and video, you can click Add Media either upload from your computer or insert from URL and then insert into your post.

To add a link, highlight the words you’d like to attach a link to and click the Link Icon.

link wordpress

You can also format your post – heading, fonts, alignment, indention, lists, etc.

You can also schedule your posts to be published at a later date or backdate the post.

Congratulations! You have just published your new post.

How to Write Blogs that Rank on Page One

Image for Blogging for SEO: How to Write Blogs that Rank on Page One

Did you know that the search result in #1 position on Google gets 33% of search traffic? And that page 1 search engine results resulted in 92% of all traffic, dropping off by 95% for page 2?

Numbers don’t lie. If you want to climb to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), well-written, engaging content alone won’t cut it. You also need to focus on writing SEO-driven, keyword-focused content that attracts not only website traffic, but the right kind of traffic. You might be thinking, “That sounds great, Courtney! But, how do I get started?”

We’re sharing 5 essential tips for creating SEO-friendly blog posts without sacrificing user experience and engagement, tips you can start using today:

1) Pick highly-effective keywords

Google handles over 40,000 search queries a second. Staggering, right? If you want to cut through search result clutter and outrank your competitors, you need to target the specific keywords and phrases your potential customers are searching. How else will they find your content and website?

To identify those hot keywords, head on over to the social platforms your target audience frequents and see what’s trending. Pay close attention to the exact phrases they use and monitor popular industry terms and topics.

Google Trends can also give you a feel for what keywords are popular at any given time. If you see searches are steadily declining over time for a specific keyword, you know that’s probably not the right keyword to target for your marketing and vice versa for increasing trends.

If you’re ever running low on keyword ideas, get inspiration from your competition. Use tools to see what keywords they’re currently ranking for — if these keywords are relevant to your business, consider using them too! SEMRush lets you enter a competitor and see the keywords they’re ranking for, their position in search results, traffic received for that keyword and other key metrics.

Keep in mind that the most obvious keywords aren’t always the best keywords. Searchers tend to use very specific “long-tail” keywords, keyword phrases and questions when they’re looking for something. Long-tail keywords comprise up to 70% of all search traffic and can unlock the door to successful SEO. When WPBeginner, the largest WordPress resource site for WordPress beginners, adopted a long-tail SEO strategy, they increased their organic search traffic by 20% in just two months!

Because you face fierce competition for shorter, more general keywords, you often have a better chance of ranking in the top results for long-tail keywords. And, long-tail keywords allow you to zero in on higher quality website traffic that often knows what they’re looking for and may be farther along in the buyer’s journey.

Once you’ve done your research and built a list of what you think are the most valuable, relevant keywords, plug them into a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Ubersuggest, Keyword Tool and so on. Many keyword research tools give you the monthly volume for any given keyword. Test out different keyword tools — marketers are drawn to different ones for different reasons.

Depending on your business or industry (or budget or bandwidth for SEO efforts), it may be important to rank for high competition, short tail keywords. Still, try to also optimize for a healthy dose of long-tail keywords that are high in search volume but low in competition. You may find it’s much easier to rank for these words.

Remember that your focus keywords will evolve over time as trends shift, terminology changes or your product/service line changes. Be sure to conduct keyword research periodically to ensure you’re still focusing on the right keywords for your target audience and not missing out on vital ranking opportunities.

2) Naturally integrate keywords throughout your posts

Once you’ve decided on a list of target keywords, it’s time to write a blog post focused on one of these keywords. Brainstorm blog topics with your team and decide on a topic that will entice and engage your target audience.

Keep your buyer personas, their motivations, challenges, interests, etc. in mind throughout the brainstorming process. Choose a topic that will emotionally resonate with your potential customers and their needs, desires or pains.

As you write your blog, your keyword and natural variations should be regularly interspersed throughout the post. Your primary keyword should appear in these key places:

  • Title
  • Headings and subheadings
  • URL if possible
  • Image alt text (search engines can’t read images)
  • Meta description
  • Throughout the content

Remember that you’re writing for humans, not search engines. Focus on engaging readers with a natural writing style that takes their needs and interests into account.

Be sure to avoid overusing any keyword (also known as “keyword stuffing”) at all costs. Keyword stuffing may lead to a website being penalized or banned in search engine results pages either temporarily or permanently. But even more importantly, if your keyword appears too often and feels forced, you sacrifice a reader’s experience, insult their intelligence and compromise the article’s quality. Don’t give readers any reason to hit the back button and turn to a competitor’s blog for answers.

3) Link to influencers

As you build out your blog post, don’t be afraid to link to other articles or blogs. Linking to applicable and reputable websites not only offers blog readers additional reading material to expand their knowledge, but it also shows Google and other search engines that you’ve done your research. And the blogger or writer may even return the favor and link to your site.

Nothing strengthens a blog post like hard-to-argue-with, research-backed statistics from influential websites. Compelling stats help you build a more convincing and concrete argument that will get your readers thinking (especially when they’re from trustworthy sites they know and love).

4) Aim for scannable, longer posts

In an age of short attention spans (average of 8 seconds for humans), you would think shorter blog posts are the way to go. But search engines actually prefer longer, in-depth blog posts.

The longer your blog post, the greater its chance of appearing in the top search engine results. SerpIQ found that the 10th position pages have 400 fewer words than 1st position pages. Longer posts will rank more easily for your target keyword.

Think about it: the more content on the page, the more clues search engines have to figure out what your blog is about. We recommend writing a minimum of 300 words per blog post. This length gives search engines plenty of keywords and text to crawl and helps them understand what your blog is about.

The downside to longer blogs is that they may scare off your readers. We live in a world of skimmers and scanners. In a heat map analysis, CoSchedule learned that only 10-20% of their readers were making it to the bottom of their posts. So, the million dollar question is, how can longer blog posts appeal to today’s online readers?

You can write scannable, readable blog posts that hook online readers by tightening up your sentences and paragraphs. Turn a long-winded sentence into two. Keep your paragraphs to 2-3 sentences max.

Also, take full advantage of bulleted lists and subheadings that grab reader’s attention. By following these tactics, you’ll create blogs that are easier to read (especially on a mobile device!) and less intimidating to the scanner’s eye.

5) Don’t forget internal links

Linking to other pages or blog posts on your website helps search engines crawl your website and create a more accurate sitemap. It also helps your audience discover more of your content and get to know you as a trustworthy, credible source of information. Internal links to other valuable content keep users on your site longer, reducing bounce rate and increasing your potential for a conversion (and isn’t that what it’s all about?).

When linking to any pages on your website, or even outside sources, use natural language for your anchor text. Avoid using spammy or generic text such as “top-rated cheap laptops” or “click here.” Instead, use descriptive keywords that give readers a sense of what they will find when they click on the hyperlink, such as a search engine optimization guide.

Never force feed links to your top webpages, featured products or discounted items. These types of links will only turn off readers and could lead to search engines penalizing your website.

A word of caution: don’t overdo your internal linking or any linking. We know it’s tempting to link to all of your blogs and webpages, but only choose the ones that best enhance the point or insight you’re writing about in any particular blog. Always think about whether or not these links naturally tie in with the subject matter and if they will offer significant value to your readers.

Bottom Line

If you want your blogs to rank at the top of page one (and why wouldn’t you?), your main focus should be on creating blogs that both users and search engines will love. By optimizing your blogs for both, you can earn higher rankings in SERPs, get more qualified web traffic and increase conversion rates. And wasn’t that the exact reason you started blogging to begin with?

What are your strategies for optimizing your blogs for SEO? Did we miss any? Share with us in the comments below.

This story was first published on

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blogging-for-seo

iWork, iMovie & GarageBand apps now free to all Mac & iOS users

Apple quietly rolled out updated versions of its iWork, iMovie and GarageBand apps on Mac and iOS today, making them free for all customers on both platforms. Many customers already had free copies of these apps, as they came free with new Mac or iOS devices.

The pricing change, however, removes the requirement to have bought new Apple hardware to get the apps for free. This expands the apps’ reach to anyone using Apple devices, even if they never bought new or are using older devices.

The news of the price change was first reported by MacRumors, and we’ve confirmed.

iWork is actually a suite of productivity apps — Numbers, Keynote and Pages — meant to rival Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Meanwhile, GarageBand and iMovie are more consumer-focused tools, for music and video editing.

Prior to the price change, the Mac versions of the iWork apps were $19.99 and the iOS versions were $9.99 apiece for those customers who hadn’t bought a new device in the past few years. iMovie and GarageBand for Mac were $14.99 and $4.99, respectively, and their iOS counterparts were $4.99 on the App Store.

Since late 2013, Apple had been bundling these apps with new iPhones, iPads, iPod touch devices and Macs, or making them free to download.
Below is a list of the now free apps, along with the software version requirements needed to run the latest versions:
  • iWork Mac: macOS 10.12 or later
  • iWork iOS: iOS 10.0 or later
  • iMovie Mac: macOS 10.11.2 or later
  • iMovie iOS: iOS 9.3 or later
  • GarageBand Mac: macOS 10.10 or later
  • GarageBand iOS: iOS 10.2 or later

This article was first published on:

Apple makes iWork, iMovie & GarageBand apps free to all Mac & iOS users

 

Adverse effect of new technologies and gadgets on children

These days children are friendly with new technologies and gadgets. Children under the age of two can easily access any of the smartphone or iPad without any guidance. They spent most of their time on smart gadgets either playing on them or watching cartoons and movies.

Now the question arises this a right thing for children who are spending hours and hours on these gadgets?

Various psychotherapist has said there is a clinical and neurological research that stated the screens are having a pretty significant effect on children.

A licensed psychotherapist Dr. Nicholas Kardaras said “There have been over 25 brain imaging studies that show the physiological changes that happen to the brain as a result of excessive screen exposure, and there have been hundreds of clinical studies that show the effect of screens with things like ADHD, aggression, anxiety depression and even psychosis”

There was also a study conducted in Perth in Australia monitoring stationary  behavior and daily physical activity of 10-12-year-old kids, where they were put for eight weeks each of access to normal gaming consoles, total denial of access to the consoles, and selective access to electronic games that were activity-based and interactive.

The study showed a significant increase in daily physical activity when the children were completely isolated away from the consoles or put on “active” electronic games. Technology is now an important factor in children’s lives

With adults glued to electronic devices, like television sets in the earlier generation, they can not expect that children sacrifice their electronic entertainment avenues.

Owing to this a school in the UK has taken a decision to isolate Xboxes and Playstations from students as their academic performance in classrooms has been going downwards. To find a solution of this problem school administration justified the move stating that teachers complained that overnight gaming was leaving students exhausted in classrooms.. With children growing up in an environment where personal computers, mobile phones, gaming consoles, social media, and video-streaming have become all-pervasive, the impact that this entertainment-driven digital revolution will have on their learning abilities, social interactions and physical health are yet to be fully understood.

In a globalized world, India has not escaped any of these changes. Both adults and children are increasingly self-absorbed in their digital domains posing challenges to parenting and schooling that require being treated with empathy and sensitivity

http://www.newsleakcentre.com/health/adverse-effect-of-new-technologies-and-gadgets-on-children/

On – 13 Apr, 2017 By Arjit

Zenfone 3 Zoom: Asus Latest Smartphone

Another Asus smartphone on it Zenfone 3 line.

Zenfone 3 Features

Zenfone 3 Zoom’s Camera Systems

[easyazon_link identifier=”B01I9JRP1A” locale=”US” tag=”geekmommy-20″ popups=”n”]ZenFone 3[/easyazon_link] Zoom sets the new bar for mobile photography, combining two entirely new camera systems.

  • 12 megapixel ƒ/1.7 aperture, wide-angle lens primed to capture everyday scenes, especially in dark environment
    • Perfect for night time shots and low-light environments.
    • You’ll also benefit from both optical and electronic image stabilization (OIS and EIS) technologies for blur-free shots and video every time, a RGB color-correction sensor for true-color photography
    • True 4K UHD video recording
  • 12 megapixel 2.3x optical zoom for high-quality close-ups from farther away
    • Magnification to a 12x view
    • High-quality close-up
    • 59mm focal length lens creates more depth to its background object

Switching between ZenFone 3 Zoom’s dual cameras takes just an instant, and the combination enables an all-new depth-of-field effect — for portraits that look like they were shot by a pro.

Zenfone 3 Zoom’s Power

Fitted a high-capacity 5000mAh battery, it can even charge attached devices as a power bank.

With this vast power resource hidden within [easyazon_link identifier=”B01I9JRP1A” locale=”US” tag=”geekmommy-20″ popups=”n”]ZenFone 3[/easyazon_link] Zoom’s slim 5.5-inch frame, you’ll simply stop worrying about battery life.

Quick Stats:

Battery power – 5000 mAh

Standby – up to 42 days

3G Talk time – up to  48 hours

Wi-fi web browsing – up to 25 hours

4K video  recording – 6.4 hours

Can function as a power bank

Zenfone 3 Quick Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm S625
  • CPU process: 14nm
  • GPU: Adreno 506
  • Power Efficiency:35%
  • RAM: Up to4GB
  • ROM: Up to128GB
  • Cat 7 LTE: Up to300Mbps
  • DSDS: 4G/3G
  • Fast Charging (10 mins charged): 5 hr talk time
  • USB-C port

%CODE1%

First Braille Smartwatch Enable Blind People Read Messages On Screen

The smart Braille watch, ‘Dot’ is a stylish, wearable device that outputs text in Braille (and its many versions) on the watch-face. It is completely practical and easy-to-use. One prominent difference between an existing smartwatch and ‘Dot’ is within the usage scope: accessing information in Braille rather than in text or graphics. To achieve this, a state-of-the-art, refreshable Braille Display is used. It utilizes cutting-edge, electro-dynamic cells to seamlessly relay information. In such an active era, the device aims to fuel the ones deemed ‘limited’ or ‘immobile’.

The Dot Watch: Smartwatch for the Blind

braille smartwatch dot

The Dot Watch development underwent a metric ton of ideations and formulations that led to the current version (nearly finalized for production). During such planning, it was discussed the possibilities of adding multiple Braille cells to accommodate lengthier contents. However, the visionary concepts entail mobility and functionality in a single, accessible package. In short, the developers don’t expect users to be reading entire volumes of text while using Dot Watch on the move. The belief is aligned with how drivers shouldn’t be operating their smart devices while at the helm of a vehicle. It’s meant to maximize movement while staying connected.

Non-blind People Can Also Use Dot Smartwatch

The point is that the Dot Watch will serve as a medium to promote an eye-free experience to users, whether they be low-sighted or fully-sighted. With the Dot Watch, developers want to see  users navigating, moving confidently while being aware of what sorts of notifications are arriving on their smartphones, to have the users stationary and reading lengthy contents is not our goals with the Dot Watch.

Much like some flagship [easyazon_link identifier=”B01F9PHIM8″ locale=”US” tag=”geekmommy-20″ popups=”n”]smartwatch devices[/easyazon_link]  with large followings, it would be able to display text messages, social media notifications, and other customizable information in Braille. For this, it will have a Dot mobile application where you can pair certain applications with the device. The possibilities are endless.

As it is still a watch at the core, it will naturally display the time, being the first Braille watch ever to display down to the seconds.

More details at https://dotincorp.com/