Tag: Blogging, Blogging Advice, Blogging Training, Blogging Tips, WordPress Training, Content Marketing,

How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform in 2020 (Compared)

How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform in 2020 (Compared) – A useful WPBeginners Article…

Last updated on January 2nd, 2020 by Editorial Staff

Are you looking to start your own blog, but can’t figure out how to choose the best blogging platform?

It’s a tough choice since there are several different blogging platforms out there.

How do you find out which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll help you choose the best blogging platform by going over the pros and cons of the most popular blogging sites.

Here are the popular blogging platforms we’ll be comparing in this article. If you’re interested in a particular platform, you can click the link to skip ahead in the article.

WordPress.org
Constant Contact Website Builder
Gator
WordPress.com
Blogger
Tumblr
Medium
Squarespace
Wix
Ghost
Choosing The Best Blogging Platform – What to Look for?

Before diving in the list, it is helpful to know what you’re looking for in a blogging platform.

As a beginner, you’ll want a blogging platform that’s easy to set up, has a low learning curve, and doesn’t require any coding skills.

You’ll also need to think about what kind of blog you want to create, now and in the future.

As your blog grows, you may want to change the look of your site and add more features for your growing audience.

That means it’s important to choose a blogging platform that’s flexible, with room to grow.

Starting off with the wrong platform can make it very difficult to switch later on.

Lastly, even if you don’t have plans to make money blogging right now, it’s smart to make sure you have the option to do so in the future.

With all that in mind, let’s compare the best blogging platforms for beginners.

1. WordPress.org

WordPress.org is the world’s most popular blogging software. Started in 2003, WordPress now powers more than 30% of all websites on the internet.
Note: It’s easy to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com, which is a blog hosting service mentioned later in this list. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.org is an open source free blogging platform that allows you to build your website or blog within minutes.
It is a self-hosted solution which means that you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider. WordPress is a great option if you want to have full control over your blog’s future.
Pros
WordPress.org gives you control over every aspect of your website.
You can grow your blog and add extra features like forums, online store, and paid membership. This makes WordPress the best blogging platform to make money.
There are thousands of free themes available for WordPress. This allows you to create a beautiful website that stands apart from the crowd.
You also get access to more than 54,000 free plugins. These plugins are like apps for your WordPress blog that allow you to add features like contact forms, galleries, etc.
WordPress is search engine friendly. You can easily create SEO friendly URLs, categories, and tags for your posts. Plus, there’re a good number of great SEO plugins for additional features.
Cons
Managing your own website comes with a bit of a learning curve.
You will have to manage your own backups and security.
Pricing
WordPress software is free, but you’ll need to have a domain name (about $14.99/year) and hosting (usually starting from $7.99/month).
You need a domain name and web hosting for starting any type of website.
WPBeginner users can get started for only $2.75 per month with Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider. They are offering our users 60% off on web hosting and a FREE domain name.
See our guide on how to start a WordPress blog for complete step by step instructions.
2. Constant Contact Website Builder

Constant Contact Website Builder is an intelligent A.I. powered website builder that allows you to create a free blog, business website, and even an online store within minutes.
You can start with their large templates collection and customize your website design using an easy to use drag and drop interface. You also get access to other helpful tools such as a custom logo maker, professional stock photo library of over 550,000 images, and a whole lot more.
Pros
Easy-to-use drag and drop website builder with no technical skills required.
Quick and easy setup, since Constant Contact will host your website for you.
Very generous free plan that allows you to try out the service and even build an online store before buying.
Free domain and Free SSL certificate is included with all paid plans.
Cons
The developer ecosystem is small, so there aren’t as many third party plugins like WordPress.
Limited integration with third party platforms.
Exporting your site from Constant Contact website builder to another platform is difficult.
Pricing
Constant Contact website builder offers a very generous free plan that allows you to create a blog, business website, and even an online eCommerce store.
You can upgrade to the Starter plan for $10 per month which gives you access to a free custom domain name, free SSL certificate, and other powerful platform features along with phone based support which is a big plus considering most other website builders don’t offer phone support.
The business plan which costs $20 per month gives you access to advanced eCommerce related features.
If you’re a small business who don’t want to use WordPress, then Constant Contact is the next best choice considering everything you get for the price.
3. Gator by HostGator

Gator is a website builder and blogging platform created by HostGator, the popular web hosting company that we use to host the WPBeginner website. Gator offers a drag & drop tool that you can use to build any type of website including blogs, business sites, and even an online store.
It’s important that you don’t confuse the Gator builder with HostGator website hosting. You can use HostGator hosting service to start a WordPress blog like we have done.
However if you are looking for a non-WordPress all-in-one blog platform and hosting solution, then Gator is the perfect option.
Pros
Easy drag and drop builder to customize your blog & website design.
Quick setup – no technical hassle.
Backups, performance, and security is all handled by HostGator (no headaches).
Free Domain and SSL certificate is included in all plans.
Can easily add an online store to your blog with just a few clicks.
Cons
There is no free account, but they do have a 45-day money back guarantee.
Ecommerce features are restricted to higher plans only.
Limited number of apps and extensions.
Pricing
WPBeginner users get 55% off on all Gator builder plans. The Starter plan costs $3.46/month and it comes with all the features you need to start a successful blog including a free domain and SSL certificate.
You just need to make sure to use our Gator Website Builder coupon code: wpbeginner to get 55% off.
4. WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a blog hosting service offered by Automattic, a company created by WordPress.org co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
WordPress.com offers a basic blog hosting service for free. You can purchase additional options like a custom domain name, additional storage, and other premium services.
Started in 2005 with a goal to bring WordPress experience to a larger audience, WordPress.com is a good blogging site for users who don’t want the advanced features of self-hosted WordPress.
Pros
No setup required.
Easy to use and manage.
It’s completely free if you are happy with a WordPress.com subdomain. Your free website name looks like this: https://example.wordpress.com.
Cons
Limited options to extend your site. You cannot use custom themes and plugins for customizing your blog.
You cannot run advertisements on your blog. Instead, WordPress.com will show their ads on your free website.
You do not own your blog, and WordPress.com can suspend your account if they find you are violating their terms of service.
Pricing
The basic WordPress.com account is free, but it will have WordPress.com ads and branding.
You can upgrade to their Personal plan for $4/month (billed yearly) to remove WordPress.com logo and advertising from your website. You also get a custom domain (such as www.yoursite.com).
For $8/month (billed yearly) you can get additional design tools and extra storage.
Because of the similarity in names, beginners often start with WordPress.com thinking they are getting the powerful WordPress.org software. After seeing the limitations, users often end up switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org to have more features and control over their website.
5. Blogger

Blogger is a free blogging service by Google. It offers a quick and easy way to create a blog for non-tech-savvy users.
Blogger is one of the earliest blogging platforms in existence. It was first launched in 1999 by Pyra Labs. Later in 2003, Google acquired Blogger and redesigned it as the product we know today.
All you need is a Google account to start a free blog on Blogger.
Pros
Blogger is free.
It’s easy to use and manage without any technical skills.
Has the added advantage of Google’s robust secure platform and reliability.
Cons
You’re limited to basic blogging tools, and can’t add new features as your blog grows in popularity.
Design options are limited, with fewer templates available. Third party templates for Blogger are often low quality.
Blogger does not receive frequent updates or new features.
Google can suspend your blog at any time, or even cancel the Blogger service altogether. (They have a history of abandoning projects without warning, such as Feedburner.)
For more pros and cons of Blogger, see our comparison of WordPress vs Blogger (Pros and cons).
Some users start out with Blogger because it’s free, but eventually as their blog grows, they end up switching from Blogger to WordPress to get more features and control over their website.
Pricing
Blogger is free with a Blogger subdomain like https://example.blogspot.com. If you want to use a custom domain, you need to buy from a third-party domain registrar.
6. Tumblr

Tumblr is a little different than other blogging platforms. It is a microblogging platform with social networking features including following other blogs, reblogging, built-in sharing tools, and more.
Pros
Tumblr is free with a Tumblr subdomain like https://example.tumblr.com. You can also connect a premium custom domain name.
It is very easy to set up and use.
It has an integrated social media component.
As a microblogging tool, Tumblr makes it easy to quickly blog videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats.
Cons
Tumblr comes with a limited set of features that you cannot extend as your blog grows.
There are many themes available for Tumblr, but they can’t offer additional features.
Backing up your Tumblr blog or importing it to other platforms is difficult (see our guide on how to move from Tumblr to WordPress).
Pricing
Tumblr is free to use. You can use a custom domain (purchased separately) for your Tumblr blog, and there are also third-party themes and apps available to purchase.
7. Medium

Launched in 2012, Medium has grown into a community of writers, bloggers, journalists, and experts. It is an easy-to-use blogging platform with limited social networking features.
Medium works much like a social networking site where you can create an account and start publishing your articles. After you sign up, you’ll have a profile address like this: https://medium.com/@yourname. But you cannot use your own domain.
Pros
Medium is easy to use, with no setup required and no coding skills needed.
It allows you to reach an existing online community of people of similar interests.
You can focus solely on writing, instead of designing a website.
Cons
Features are very limited in terms of design or building a brand.
Medium owns your audience, so losing your blog means losing all your followers.
You cannot use your own domain name. You’ll simply get a profile page like in Facebook, e.g. https://medium.com/@yourname.
You cannot run your own ads to make money.
For more detailed comparison, see our guide on WordPress vs Medium – which one is better?.
Pricing
Medium is free to use.
While the platform looks attractive at first, the lack of monetization and control leads to most people switching from Medium to WordPress.
8. Squarespace

Squarespace is a website building service that allows you to create beautiful websites using easy drag and drop tools. It focuses on small business owners who are looking for an easy way to create an online presence.
Started in 2003, Squarespace currently powers millions of websites online.
Pros
Squarespace is simple and easy to use for beginners who aren’t very tech-savvy.
It has beautiful professionally designed templates.
It separately offers domain name with SSL/HTTPs and eCommerce stores.
Cons
Squarespace is limited to the features built into their proprietary platform.
Integrations are limited to a select few services and tools.
See our guide on WordPress vs Squarespace for a more detailed comparison.
Pricing
Squarespace has different pricing plans for websites and online stores.
Pricing for their Personal website plan starts at $16/month, or $12/month if you pay for the year in advance. For the Business plan, pricing starts at $26/month, or $18/month billed annually.
Whereas pricing for online stores starts from $26/month and up to $40/month.
Often users end up switching from Squarespace to WordPress to minimize their expenses and add more features on their websites.
9. Wix

Wix is a hosted platform to build websites. It offers a solution for small businesses to build a website using drag and drop tools. You can also add a blog to your website by adding the Wix Blog app.
Wix.com was founded in 2006 as a platform where anyone could create their own stunning website with no coding skills required. It has currently over 110 million users across the globe.
Pros
You can customize your site using dozens of templates and third party apps.
Build your site with easy drag and drop tools; no coding skills required.
Setup is quick and easy.
Cons
The free account is limited and shows Wix branding and ads on your site.
Free third party apps are limited.
Once you choose a template you cannot change it.
Ecommerce features are limited to paid plans, and even those features are limited.
Blog features do not match up to the other platforms in the list.
See our article on Wix vs WordPress for a detailed comparison of the two platforms.
Pricing
The basic Wix website builder is free. With a free Wix account, you’ll get a Wix subdomain that looks like this: https://username.wixsite.com/example.
However, you can add a custom domain for $4.50/month. Their premium plans start from $8.50/month and go up to $24.50/month.
10. Ghost

Ghost is a minimalist blogging platform with features entirely focused on writing blog posts. Started in 2013, Ghost is available as a hosted platform and as a software that you can install / host yourself. We’ll take a look at both options.
Pros
Focused on blogging and writing.
Clean, clutter-free, and intuitive user interface.
Written in JavaScript, so it’s super fast.
No setup required for the hosted version.
Cons
Not easy to customize with apps.
The simplified user interface means options are very limited.
Not enough themes to change appearance of your site.
Complicated setup if you install it yourself.
Take a look at our comparison of WordPress vs Ghost for more details on the topic.
Pricing
The self-hosted version needs a custom domain (about $14.99/year) and web hosting (starting from about $7.99/month).
Pricing for the hosted version starts at $29/month for 2 staff users with a 100k page view limit. Unless you buy a custom domain from a third-party domain registrar, your blog will be a Ghost subdomain ending with ghost.io.
Our Pick for the Best Blogging Platform

We believe that WordPress.org outperforms all other blogging sites. It is powerful, easy to use, affordable, and the most flexible of all available blogging platforms. Here are all the reasons why you should use WordPress.
To help you start your own WordPress site, we have created a complete guide on how to start a blog in 7 Easy Steps.
If you need help, then WPBeginner’s team of experts can even help setup your blog for free. Learn more about our free WordPress blog setup service.
If you’re looking for a WordPress alternative, then our second choice for the best blogging platform would be Constant Contact website builder.
Their free A.I powered drag & drop website builder makes it easy to build any type of website from blog to business website to an online store.
We hope this article helped you choose the best blogging platform for your next blog. You may also want to see our guide on 27 proven tips to increase your blog traffic.
If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.
1.9K
SHARES
Share Tweet Share Pin
Popular on WPBeginner Right Now!

Checklist: 15 Things You MUST DO Before Changing WordPress Themes

How to Start Your Own Podcast (Step by Step)

How to Properly Move Your Blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

About the Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Trusted by over 1.3 million readers worldwide.

— Read on www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-choose-the-best-blogging-platform/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

9 Great Content Marketing Tips (Blogging & Social Media Narketing Tips), From Buffet

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>We’ve experimented with lots of different content marketing methods at Buffer, so I wanted to share with you 9 of the best ways we’ve found to increase engagement and improve your content strategy.

Especially after launching Buffer for Business recently, a lot of business approached us, asking which practical tips we had for them to improve their social media and content marketing.

So here are our best and most practical ways to see a big impact from your actions on social media:

1. Share Images on Twitter: Increase Retweets by 150%

Since Twitter announced inline images, we’ve been experimenting with this change by adding images to a lot of the tweets from our @buffer Twitter account and have noticed a big difference in the engagement we’re getting. To get a better idea of what a difference inline images has made, I took the last 100 Tweets including a link from our @buffer account (not including any Retweets) and compared the averages of the tweets with and without images included.

Using Buffer’s built-in analytics, I was able to look at the number of clicks, favorites and Retweets each of our Tweets received.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

The first data point we looked at was clicks:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Our click-through rate did grow, but not by very much. My theory on this is that with an inline image, there’s more content for the user to consume without leaving Twitter (which is probably what Twitter wants), so they’re not much more likely to click-through. Of course, that’s just a theory so it’ll be interesting to see what the data says over a longer time period as we keep experimenting with this.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Favorites increased quite a lot. Along with Retweets in the graph below, this shows a lot more engagement with the Tweets themselves. Clicks, on the other hand, show engagement with the original content.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

2. Share Content More Than Once

We often share our blog posts multiple times on social networks, for a few difference reasons. Some of the biggest benefits we get are more traffic, reaching people in different time zones and sharing our content with people who’ve followed us since we last posted it.

1. More Traffic

The first, and perhaps most obvious, reason to share your content more than once is to drive more traffic that the initial share.

Tom Tunguz did an experiment on his own blog to show how reposting the same content helped him to boost traffic.

To get an idea of how many people were seeing and sharing his posts, Tom looked at the number of Retweets he got when Tweeting a link to one of his blog posts. We can assume from this that actual visits to his posts increased with each Retweet, as well.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

With each subsequent Tweet of an existing blog post, Tom noticed that he got around 75% as many Retweets as the time before.

We’ve also noticed that Tweeting posts from the Buffer blog more than once gives us more traffic and more engagement (favorites, Retweets).

Here’s an example where we’ve done this:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

2. Hit multiple time zones

Guy Kawasaki is known for posting the same content multiple times, and one reason he advocates doing this is to reach your followers in different time zones. He’s found that this increases the traffic to his content, particularly when Tweeting the same link several times:

The reason for repeated tweets is to maximize traffic and therefore advertising sales. I’ve found that each tweet gets approximately the same amount of clickthroughs. Why get 600 page views when you can get 2,400?

Guy generally repeats Tweets of his blog posts (with minor variations) four times each, to hit different time zones:

We provide content repeatedly because people live in different time zones and have different social media habits.

3. Reach your new followers

Something we’ve noticed at Buffer is that a lot of our posts are still relevant months after we publish them. The other thing that changes after we publish a post is that more people follow us on social networks, so if we repost content from our blog that’s six months old, many of our followers will be seeing it for the first time, so they’ll get value out of it even though it’s old content.

You can use a tool like Twitter Counterto track your follower growth, so you know when it’s a good time to repost some of your older content.

3. A/B Test on Social Networks

Since we usually post the same content to Twitter multiple times, we take advantage of this opportunity to test out what headline works best for the blog post.

Here’s how we usually run that kind of experiment:

  1. Find 2 headlines for an article that you think will perform well.
  2. Tweet both of these headlines at roughly the same time, at least 1 hour apart. We’ve found that posting the two Tweets both in the morning or both in the afternoon works best.
  3. Compare the data for each Tweet to find the best headline for your blog post.

Here’s an example of the analytics from a headline experiment we did on this blog post:

First tweet:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Second tweet:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

The second Tweet clearly performed better as we found out through our social analytics and Buffer’s algorithm also identified it as a top Tweet. In fact, you can clearly see that the second headline got double the number of clicks.

When we see a big difference in engagement on a different headline like that, we usually go back to the original post and change the title itself (the URL never changes, just the heading of the post).

4. Reframe Content to Suit Your Audience

Something we try to do each time we post a piece of content is to slightly reframe it so we’re not just repeating ourselves.

Here’s an example of how we might do that on Facebook.

First, we post the actual link:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Then we go and post only one image to explain part of the post:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

This way we can sometimes get double or even triple the amount of engagement by highlighting different elements of the content each time we post it. We often do this on Twitter as well.

First we publish it as a link:

Then, taking advantage of Twitter’s new expanded images feature, we publish it as an image and reframing it:

You can simply right click any image on the web with Buffer’s browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome to share a new image post on Twitter or Facebook, that according to the latest social media statistics, will garner significant more clicks, Retweets and favorites.

We also try slightly different wording each time we post the same thing, like this:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

5. Re-Buffer Posts and Buffer Native Retweets

A fairly recent feature we added to Buffer is the ability to drag-and-drop updates. You can now easily copy updates from your Twitter account to your Facebook account. For example:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

And you can also copy past updates back into your Buffer queue, which is really useful for getting more out of popular posts:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Another neat feature of Buffer is that you can schedule native Retweets from Twitter.com. This is super easy and works with the click of a button. To get started, you just need to install the Buffer browser extension.

Now, whenever you see a Tweet that’s worth sharing, you can hit the Buffer button:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

This will let you easily schedule a native Retweet from any of your Twitter accounts:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Plus, you can easily change the Retweet to the old school “RT @username: Text of the tweet” format. If you hover over the composer, you’ll see an option to “change to quote”:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

That’s all it takes! Now you’ll see that Retweet in your Buffer queue, waiting to be published. Of course you can still edit the update to delete, change it to a quote or move it around in your queue:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

6. Keep on Top of Your Brand and Find Great Content with Mention & Buffer

Mention is a great tool to help you keep on top of your brand all over the web. It lets you monitor mentions of your brand specifically, as well as industry keywords, competitors and more. When you sign up for an account, the first thing you’ll want to do is create a new alert. This is as simple as naming your alert and adding any keywords you want to monitor:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

To get the most out of the recent integration of Mention + Buffer, you can now add your Buffer account to your Mention alerts so you can publish results to social networks. You can do this when you create a new alert, as well as adding your Facebook or Twitter accounts:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

If you add your Buffer account, you’ll be able to publish to all of your connected social profiles and pages, just like you can from the Buffer dashboard or browser extensions.

Inside your alert results, you can filter by source including images, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, videos and more. If you choose blogs, you can find some great content to fill up your Buffer account:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Once you’ve found a post that you want to share, just click on the “React” menu and choose “Add to Buffer”:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

7. Use Followerwonk to Tweet at Optimal Times

Followerwonk is a tool that we love using at Buffer to work out when is the best time for us to tweet.

To get started, head over to Followerwonk and click on “Analyze followers”

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

Next, pop your Twitter username into the box and select “analyze their followers” from the drop-down:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

When your report is done, you’ll see a graph that shows when your followers are most active:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

If you use Buffer, you can take advantage of this by creating a Buffer schedule based on your Followerwonk report. Just choose how many times you want to post each day, and hit the “Schedule at Buffer” button.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

8. Transparency

Something we’ve found that’s really helped us to bond with our readers and build up a community around Buffer is to be really open about how we run the company. We share details about Buffer on our Open blog, as well as in interviews and on other sites.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

cm open

We share details about our support team and how we handle customer support each month:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

cm support

And about our revenue:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

cm rev2

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

cm rev1

And we’ve even published a deep-dive before on how we manage our content strategy for the Buffer blog:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

cm blog

9. Set Up Google Authorship

Google Authorship is not just the photo and byline that appears on search results pages, thought that’s a large part of it.

Below is a search results page for the term “Google authorship” showing many entries that have taken advantage of authorship:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

In addition to the byline, there is a strategic layer to Google authorship. The tie-in with Google+ profiles creates verified connections between content on the web and the creators of the content. This gives Google the ability to identify quality, human-created content.

There are several benefits of setting up Google authorship for your content:

1. Your authorship byline will get you noticed.

Look at the below heatmap generated by eye-tracking studies. As you might expect, the top results on the page get a lot of looks, but so too do the results with rich snippets (and not so much for the results in between).

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

2. Entries with rich snippets have higher click-through rates.

A study performed by search marketing firm Catalyst found that clicks improved 150% with Google authorship.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

3. Authorship is an advantage to the little guy.

Authorship offers a competitive advantage. A recent study found that only 3.5% of Fortune 500 companies are actively using authorship. Until they do, they are giving a big opportunity to the rest of us.

Authorship may be the future of search.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from Google’s Eric Schmidt. He sees a future where identity plays a big part in search results.

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.

To get started with Google authorship, you can check out this step-by-step guide on the Buffer blog.

That’s it! I hope some of these might be useful for you here. We’ve recently introduced the brand new Buffer for Business too, so in case you’re looking for a powerful social media management tool, take a look, we’d love your feedback on it.

Subscribe to our new Definitivenewsletter: High grade digital marketing guidance, topically sorted, and curated to the max. You pick the categories, we deliver the content. The best content from around the web, on topics you care about and need to be an expert in.

Image credits: Tomasz Tunguz

For more see –

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/9-best-from-buffer/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

16 Great Blogging Tips from 16 Great Bloggers…

I’ve heard blogging referred to a couple of times recently as a mixture between an art and a science. If this is true (and I think it is), there’s no ‘right way’ to approach blogging if you want to be successful. There are plenty of people who’ve done a great job of it though, and I thought it would be useful to learn from them.

These 16 bloggers shared one important tip each for blogging beginners. No doubt, even if you’re not a beginner these tips will probably prove to be useful.

Create blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people you engage with on social media.

Dave Larson, founder of @tweetsmarter

This can be a great way to gather ideas of what topics people would most like to read about, which will help your blog grow! One of the best ways I’ve seen this in action is through blog comments or Tweets. In one example, here on FastCompany a lot of people requested a post that features more women entrepreneurs:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - screenshot

Now, a few weeks later adding such an article where just women contributed and built great businesses was a big hit:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - fastco screenshot

 

Understand your audience better than they understand themselves. It takes a lot of upfront research, and often means being a member of the very tribe you’re trying to lead – but it pays off.

Brian Clark, founder and CEO, Copyblogger

Understanding your audience better means you’ll have a better idea of what blog content will resonate with them, which is a good start when you get to writing blog posts.

A great technique for doing this is to simply ask your readers first on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn with an engaging quote. If people respond well to it, than this is probably a great topic to write about. An example for this comes from Andrew Chen who famously “tests” his blogpost ideas on Twitter first.

And so does Joel here at Buffer. Take this example from a recent Twitter post of his, where he simply tweeted one quote to see how well people liked a topic before he blogged about it:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - tweet

 

Write for yourself first & foremost. Ignore the fact that anyone else will read what you write; just focus on your thoughts, ideas, opinions and figure out how to put those into words. Write it and they will come.

Adii Pienaar, founder of PublicBeta

Adii’s experience in writing for himself firstly has made a difference to his blog in ways he didn’t expect:

Yes, since I’ve been writing for myself, I’ve found that I write more and I publish more often. I think though that the main reason for that is that I don’t decide whether to publishing something based on the traction / reception that the post will receive within my audience; instead if I want to publish something, I do so. For myself.

Start building your email list from day one. Even if you don’t plan on selling anything, having an email list allows you to promote your new content to your audience directly without worrying about search rankings, Facebook EdgeRank, or other online roadblocks in communications.

Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger

When you’re asking readers to sign up for your email list, you might want to try experimenting with different language. Willy Franzen found that his subscription rate jumped 254% higherwhen he changed his call-to-action from “subscribe by email” to “get jobs by email”:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - subscription rate

Using this phrase more clearly tells Willy’s readers what they’re signing up for, which clearly worked well!

 

Love the readers you already have. A lot of bloggers get quite obsessed with finding new readers – to the point that they ignore the ones they already have. Yes – do try to find new readers but spend time each day showing your current readers that you value them too and you’ll find that they will help you grow your blog.

Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger

Focusing on your readers is a great way to get to know them better (see tip #2). I love the way Daniel Burstein describesblog readers’ expectations of you as a blogger:

A blog is really two things. One, simply a piece of technology, a platform. But, two, it is a promise in the minds of most readers, who expect that the blog should have actual content with some elements of value that is hyper-targeted to their needs. Much like with a newspaper. Readers don’t just look at a newspaper as newsprint that is delivered on their driveway every morning. They look at it as valuable information about their city, where they live, and the things that they do.

 

I screwed up for years. I’d blog and blog. Some of my posts were doing very well on places like Hacker News, but I had such hard time getting return visitors. And very few people bothered to follow me on Twitter.

Don’t rely on people to do the work to find your Twitter account. Don’t rely on them to do the work to find your details in a sidebar. People are blind to sidebars. Thanks banner ads!

Finish your blog post with some kind of call to action to signup for an email list or follow you on Twitter. When I started doing this, I immediately increased my Twitter followers by 335% in the first 7 days.

Nate Kontny, founder of Draft

Nate uses a simple call-to-action on his blog now, that looks like this:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - nate screenshot

This particular technique we’ve also tested here on the Buffer blog and found it to work amazingly well to bring attention to other blog posts we’ve written, like this:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - buffer ss2

or to Buffer product features, like this:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - buffer ss

 

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - jeff_bullas

7. Give stuff away

Give away free content that adds value to people’s lives “until it hurts” and they will love you and become loyal fans.

Jeff Bullas, blogger and author of Blogging the Smart Way

A great example of this is the research done by Incentivibe, who found that adding a giveaway contest pop-up to the bottom-right of their website led to 125% more email subscribers.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - contest

 

Consistency is one of the most important things that bloggers tend to forget. It’s much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up, so make sure you consistently blog.

Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics

A study by Hubspot showed that consistent blogging actually leads to higher subscriber growth rates:

Over a two-month span, businesses that published blog entries on a regular basis (more than once a week) added subscribers over twice as fast as those companies that added content once a month.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - subscriber growth

 

Don’t be afraid to showcase what you know. Too many bloggers hold back the good stuff out of fear of giving away the “secret sauce.” There is no secret sauce in a world where everyone has high speed Internet access at all times. Today, you want to give away information snacks to sell knowledge meals.

Jay Baer, author of Youtility

Jay’s advice is to share the knowledge you have, rather than keeping it tucked away for a rainy day. Chris Guillebeau follows this advice by offering two free, downloadable PDFs to his readers. Chris also does what Jay calls giving away “information snacks to sell knowledge meals.” On both of the free PDF download pages, Chris markets his book on the right-hand side.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - cg

 

Stay true to yourself and your voice. People don’t care to follow sites so much as they care to follow people.

Chris Pirillo, founder and CEO, LockerGnome

Another blogger who advocates the importance of the writer’s voice is Jeff Goins. He says that your voice is the most important, yet over-looked part of blogging:

Writing isn’t about picking the right topic; it’s about finding the right voice. What matters, what readers really resonate with, isn’t so much what you say, but how.

Plan to invest in blogging for a long time before you see a return. The web is a big, noisy place and unless you’re willing to invest more over a greater period of time than others, you’ll find success nearly impossible. If you’re seeking short-term ROI, or a quick path to recognition, blogging is the wrong path. But if you can stick it out for years without results and constantly learn, iterate, and improve, you can achieve something remarkable.

Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz

Rand shared these great images with us from his wife’s travel blog, Everywhereist, which shows just how long it can take to see a return on your efforts:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

 

If you’re blogging to create a business, a movement, or to support a cause, then you need to build an email list. It’s not an option. I don’t even consider my blog to be my community, my email list is my community. Caring about these people, writing for them, and delivering value to them should be your number one goal.

James Clear, entrepreneur, weightlifter and travel photographer

When the New York Public Libraryfocused on growing email subscription rates, this simple home page design with information about what readers could expect to receive boosted numbers by 52.8% over a more complicated version with less information about the actual newsletter:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - nypl

 

No matter how great your content is, it won’t matter unless you have an amazing headline. People have a split second to decide if they should click on your post, and your headline will make them decide. The headline is also essential in making it easy and desirable for people to share your post. Keep your headlines SPUB: simple, powerful, useful and bold.

Dave Kerpen, author and CEO of Likeable Local

Something we do at Buffer is to test several different headlines for each of our blog posts to determine which ones works best. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - headlines

You can read more about this particular approach in more depth here: A scientific guide to writing great headlines on Twitter, Facebook and your Blog

 

There isn’t one specific set of rules to be successful in blogging. When I started blogging, I had the opportunity to learn from experienced and successful bloggers in the industry. One of the best lessons I’ve learned from them is to simply be me. I didn’t have to be too “professional” or use “big words” to impress others. I had to simply be me.

By being me, I enjoyed writing and the process more. It had me writing more than I usually would too. If you look at the the most successful writers like Seth Godin and Chris Brogan you’ll notice that they are different and unique in their own ways.

Aaron Lee, social media manager, entrepreneur and blogger

Moz CEO Rand Fishkin agrees that telling your company’s story is important, as opposed to following a formula for successful blogging:

Emotion and storytelling have been part of how we communicate with each other and inspire action for thousands of years.

 

Biggest lesson I learned in my past year of blogging. Keep it in the 1–2 minutes read-time length.

Derek Sivers, founder of Wood Egg

Working out the best length for your blog posts can be tricky. You generally need about 300 words minimum to get indexed by search engines, but otherwise the length of your post is up to what you think feels best.

Derek Sivers noticed recently that his shorter posts were much better received by readers and seemed to be shared more, unlike his longer posts:

When I’ve written articles that were too long or had too many ideas, they didn’t get much of a reaction.

When I read books, I often feel bad for the brilliant idea buried on page 217. Who will hear it?

Stop the orchestra. Solo that motif. Repeat it. Let the other instruments build upon it.

The web is such a great way to do this.

Present a single idea, one at a time, and let others build upon it.

According to this Chartbeat graph below, many visitors to your site won’t bother scrolling, and most visitors won’t read more than about 60% of what you’ve written. Keeping it short and sharp then, could be worthwhile.

” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important”>

blogging advice - chartbeat graph

If you’re looking for a general guide to blog post length, Joe Pulizzi’s blog post, “A blog post is like a miniskirt” might be useful:

A blog post is like a miniskirt.

It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.

 

One thing I always try to keep in mind before publishing a post is would anyone want to “cite” this for any reason? Just like interesting research is great because it leaves you with a fascinating finding or an idea, I like for my posts to be the same. That doesn’t mean relying on research, but simply making sure each post has an original lesson or actionable item, making it “citable” on the web.

Gregory Ciotti, marketing strategist at Help Scout

Our very own Buffer co-founder Leo has written about a similar thing before:

When writing a post, I get into a mindset to answer just this 1 question with a Yes: “Would anyone email this article to a friend?”

It’s an extremely simple proposition. Yet, it has changed my writing completely. If I put myself into a reader’s head going through a post and seeing whether someone will say “Oh, this is interesting, John will really like this”, then I go ahead and publish it. It’s almost like an invisible threshold to pass. I need to improve the post until this level is reached. I will iterate, find more research, get more examples, until I can truly imagine this happening.

I’m sure there are lots more great tips out there about building a blog. What’s your favorite?

Image credits: David G. Larson, Copyblogger, The WordPress Podcast, Party Biz Connect, Darren Rowse, Nate Kontny, Jeff Bullas, FounderTips, Social Media Examiner, Chris Pirillo, LinkJuice, James Clear, Dave Kerpen, Joshua Titsworth, Derek Sivers, Unbounce

For more see:

https://buffer.com/resources/blogging-advice-for-beginners-from-16-experts/amp

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me