Something we all should read::
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I am sure you have joined 1 or 2 forums about blogging and have noticed how some questions spring up consistently. For example, there are evergreen “Blogger Or WordPress? Which Is Better?”, “How to make money with my blog?” and “How to SEO my posts?” questions that never seem to get older!
We also often get many blogging questions. So, I decided to write a big FAQ list once and for all. Yes, I am not claiming that is fully complete and addresses everything. After all, how much can one homo-sapian (=man, for those who bunked science classes! ) do!
Like all my lists, I have made sure to categorize questions so that they are easy to navigate!
Basics are everything! You don’t know them, you are doomed! So, here are FAQs by new(or soon to be) bloggers:
1. What is a blog?
Blog is a website where you write articles about anything you like.
2. Why should I start blogging?
I can’t answer this! Why? Because it is upon you! You can start blogging if you want to:
- Make Money.
- Have a big audience that listens to you.
- Become a net celebrity.
3. How do I start blogging?
Choose a topic, select a platform and start writing! Simple.
4. Is blogging that simple?
No, blogging is not as simple as question #3 made it look. But if you are new, the most important thing to consider is writing good content and I suggested just that!
5. How much time should I spend writing?
Well, as I said in earlier points, writing new content should be on top of priority list for you. At least half of your blogging time should be spent on writing new and great content.
6. I need help. Where to find help?
7. I am blogging too much but I enjoy it! What to do?
This is blogging addiction. If you are blogging too much and your personal/professional life is getting affected because of this, you need to get rid of blogging addiction.
8. I am not motivated enough!
Motivation is something that comes from inside. Follow these 9 Steps to Maintain Blog Motivation.
9. I need a tool for ________ . Where to find it?
10. How do I make my blog more user-friendly?
Do not add too much ads, avoid pop-ups, give preference to quality and select a good theme. For more, read 25 Tips To Make Your Blog More Accessible For Readers.
11. I am spending too much time on blogging. Any tips?
Yes, check out 4 Quick Time Saving Tips For Bloggers.
12. I just found a course that claims to make me a ProBlogger in days. Is it legitimate?
Most probably, no! However, we do have a secret magic spell to turn you into a ProBlogger.
13. I have a slow internet connection. Can I still start blogging?
Yes, of course. All that matters is your enthusiasm. A slow internet connection can cause some small limitations like not being able to download large files and waiting for big pages to load but that’s it.
14. Do I need to spend money to start blogging?
No, you don’t. However, I’d suggest spending at least $10 for getting a domain name as it is one of the most important things. But if you don’t want to, don’t get it. In fact, I myself started with $0.00 on internet and earned everything online without any investment.
15. I just created a blog. Now, what to write?
Nothing! Because that’s not the way to start a successful blog. First, you should find the topic that you want to write about and then start blogging. Starting a blog first and then deciding the topic will only end you up with a dead blog later.
16. I selected a good name for my blog but .com domain is already taken. What to do?
Try looking for .net or .org version. If one of these is available, you can get it. Else, try adding a hyphen to your name.
1. Do I need to be a good writer?
Well, no! You just need to know your language and communicate your thoughts well. If you want to blog in English, make sure to follow at least the basic grammar rules! For more, read Writing In English As Second Language.
2. How to check my posts for errors?
Make sure to read every post at least 2 times before publishing. You can also use tools like After The Deadline that make it a bit easy. Reading out loud also helps.
3. How to make my posts more attractive?
Add images, use lists and choose a good theme.
4. How to get ideas for posts?
You can read articles from other blogs, search forums and use search engines to find ideas. For more details, see 10 Magnetic Tips To Attract Ideas.
I must admit that this post is very long! I am getting bored, Do you have something interesting or funny to read?
Yes, we have. Check out our craziest tip ever: How To See A Dead Horse For $500?
5. I am trying to write a post but I seem stuck after some lines. Is it normal?
Yes, sometimes bloggers(and writers in general) get stuck. This is called writer’s block. You can try some of these tips.
6. Can I copy posts from other blogs?
Yes, you can copy but you should not! Because this may lead you into lot of trouble. instead, try stealing ideas.
7. And what if blog owner that I want to copy is young and may not know law?
OK, this is not a question and not even a FAQ but I once encountered it on a forum(and besides, I am sure you had a small laugh because of it!). Anyway, answer is still no. Anyone who writes online has content protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act and if the owner can prove the your posts are copied, you are in a big trouble.
8. What is a scraper?
Scraper means someone who steals other’s content either automatically using some software or manually copies.
9. Someone is copying my posts on his blog! What to do?
Keep your proof ready and if possible, find a cached copy in Google as solid proof and then contact the website owner. For more, see How To Find And Fight Content Thieves.
10. I had a great idea this evening but forgot it. How to remember those little ideas?
Use a note taking software or keep a notebook with you. Related: 4 Free Tools To Quickly Note Down Ideas.
11. What is ideal length for posts?
Well, this is a top-secret that we have discovered after a lot of research. So, you will have to visit this top secret page(Sshh… This page is really secret and only visible to you since you are a special reader )!
12. What is ideal posting schedule?
Ideal posting schedule, well again like most the things, depends upon your personal preferences and niche. If you want to write about a general topic, you can post with any schedule from once a week to once a day. However, if you are planning to run a news blog, you might need to update several times per day.
13. If I post more, will I get more readers?
That depends on your particular niche. However, one thing is sure that if you post often, you can get more visitors to your blog. This is because search engines will get more fresh content on your blog and will show it often for latest results.
14. I would like to post more content on my blog. But I can’t write that much! What to do?
You can partner with people in same niche or hire writers.
15. I have heard about auto-blogging. What is it?
Auto blogging means that you do not write content but use a plugin or script to fetch other people’s RSS feeds to your blog.
16. Seems really easy. Should I start an auto blog?
If you only want to make money pennies, go ahead and start one. Remember, auto blogs are basically content stealing schemes and if you get caught, you will be in trouble.
Marketing & Promotion
1. How to market my blog?
You have different options. Start by commenting and guest posting on relevant blogs. Also use social media sites for getting traffic.
2. I started commenting on blogs but my comments disappeared. What to do?
Most probably, this is because of anti spam solutions, To get yourself unblocked, contact blog owner.
3. Which social bookmarking site to use?
The answer differs from blog to blog. For a definite decision, check Which Social Bookmarking Site Is Best For Me?
4. Recently, I have heard a lot about Twitter. What is it? A robot?
Twitter is a micro blogging service where you can write your status in 140 characters or less. Related: 50+ Awesome Tools For Twitter + A Free Report.
5. I just got a marketing email from a well know blogger. Can I send something like this too?
Yes, you can use a service like FeedBurner or MailChimp for sending emails to subscribers.
6. Which is the best email marketing service?
Again, this depends on specific requirements and budget. However, we recommend and use MailChimp. Find out more here: MailChimp Vs. Feedburner: Which Is Better For Bloggers?
7. What are simple ways to promote my blog?
Commenting and guest posting are the simplest ways to promote a blog. Find more in 20 Dead Simple Ways To Promote Your Blog.
8. Can I use Facebook to promote my blog? Isn’t Facebook for people?
Yes, Facebook is for people but you can promote your blog there easily by creating a Facebook page for your blog.
9. Some of my commentators leave really nice comments but have strange name. Is this normal?
No, this is not normal and there are high chances that these people are actually spammers. If they use names like “used tires” and “mortgage loans”, they are definitely spammers.
10. I spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs but don’t get much traffic in return. Why?
If you are commenting on other blogs, make sure they are good quality blogs and most importantly, that your comments are high quality. Your comments should not suck.
11. Which blog directories should I submit my blog to?
None. At best, only submit to 5-10 well known non-reciprocal directories. Directory submission is not worth time it takes.
12. What is that “non-reciprocal” thing that you mentioned in last question?
Blog directories can be reciprocal as well as non reciprocal. Reciprocal means that they ask for a link back from your blog to get you listed while non-reciprocal means they do not need such a link.
13. Why do you recommend non-reciprocal directories?
Because when you link to reciprocal directories, they ask you to link back. Now, what’s wrong in that? Well, by placing link to them in sidebar, you are linking to them from each and every page of your blog. And in return, you are getting a single link from a page deep down in the directory. You have nothing in the deal while link directory will get good links from you.
14. I joined this site that is very cool and it asks me to add a badge to my blog. Should I add it?
Only if it offers value to readers.
15. I want to increase number of subscribers. How do I do that?
To increase number of subscribers, the best strategies are to place the email subscription form at a highly visible place on your blog and offer an incentive.
16. What kind of ‘incentive’ should I offer?
Most common incentives are e-books and reports. However, you can also offer free videos and case studies.
17. OK, I have an incentive ready. How do I send it to subscribers now?
To learn about sending free stuff to readers, check this great post by Daniel Scocco: How To Deliver An Ebook To Email Subscribers.
1. Can I make money blogging?
Yes! You can!
2. How much money can I make from blogging?
Again, if depends upon you. You can make anywhere from $0.00 per day to $10000 or even more!
3. $10000 or more? It seems a bit like other scams I have seen over the internet! Is it a scam?
Blogging is not a scam. You make money by getting people to click/buy from other sites or selling other products. Some companies might fraud you but it varies! In short, if you choose ad networks carefully and sell good products, it won’t be a scam!
4. How can I make money blogging?
This is a big question. I’d advice to take a look at Make Money Blogging series. It is not the definitive list but has a lot of info!
5. Which ad network should I choose?
AdSense is pretty good in beginning as ads are contextual(targeted according to your content).
6. How many ads should I put on a page?
“Not too much”. You can intelligently place 3-4 ads on a page and still not look ad heavy. However, it is best to put 2-3 ads per page.
7. What is best place to put my ads?
It differs from blog to blog. Usually, placing ads above the fold works fine. Ads near the content also tend to perform well.
8. What is PayPal?
PayPal is a service that allows you to send and receive money on internet. It is like your online valet.
9. I have credit card. Can’t I use it instead of PayPal?
Yes, you can use your credit card but with your credit card you can not receive money. You will need PayPal for that since it is most widely used service for online transactions.
10. What do I need to create a PayPal account?
You need a valid email address, a credit card(for verification) and a bank account(to transfer money to). Additionally, some extra info might be needed in your country.
11. How do I create a PayPal account?
Just follow the instructions on PayPal site: How Do I Get A PayPal Account?
12. I want to make money blogging but I can’t afford to spend much time in promotion etc. Any solutions?
Yes, you can try working as a staff blogger where you will get paid for every post you write or use blogging alternatives.
13. I am a beginner. Which ad network should I use?
In beginning, it is better to build quality content and then move to monetizing. And since the ads will only make a few pennies(and sometimes, $0), it is better to avoid ads in beginning.
1. What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing your articles and blog for search engines so that you get higher ranking on search results page. Learn more in Complete SEO Guide For Beginners.
2. What’s the benefit of SEO?
If you properly optimize your blog, you will get higher ranking in search engines.This means that more people will visit your blog.
3. How to SEO my posts?
You can SEO your posts easily by following these basic steps(or habits!)
4. Do you recommend any tool for SEO?
I use Scribe SEO for almost every article I write and recommend it for SEO.
5. How do search engines find what my post is about?
Search engines send their spiders(bots) to “crawl” the web pages. They scan a page for related keywords and take hints from meta tags to find the topic. For more details, read How Search Engines Find Topic Of A Blog Post.
6. Should SEO be my top priority?
I can’t force you but I recommend not to make it top priority. The first concern should be writing posts that are good for readers and their eyes. Personally, my top priority is HEO.
7. Do you recommend any good software for SEO?
Yes, I use and recommend Scribe SEO Software for SEO.
8. What are meta tags?
Meta tags are HTML tags that provide information to search engines. Common meta tags are title, description and keywords.
9. What do meta tags do?
Meta tags have different function. For example, title tag is used by search engines as anchor text while description is used as excerpt in search results. Keywords help search engines to identify the topic of post.
10. What is black hat and white hat?
Black hat means using “under-hand” tactics to gain advantage in search engine results. White hat means using only using “good” methods.
11. Which way to go, White Hat or Black Hat?
I’d recommend staying with white hat methods. Black hat methods are risky and usually short-term. If you are discovered by search engines using block hat methods, you will get banned. White hat methods take some tip to show results but are permanent and do not cause any penalties.
12. How does domain name affect my ranking?
Domain name has some effect on rankings. If you have main keywords in your domain, you will find it easier to rank for related terms.
13. What is keyword density?
Keyword density is a measure of the number of repetitions of a keyword in a post. For example, if your post has 10% keyword density for word “blogging” and it 100 words long, it means that it contains 10 instances of word “blogging”.
14. What is ideal keyword density?
Many SEO Experts recommend 5% as ideal keyword density.
15. I got a mail from someone claiming that they can take my blog to rank first in Google. Can I trust them?
I’d say no. There are many such companies around that promise top spot in Google and many will surely contact you about this. Well, just think. If they could take any website to first page, wouldn’t they take their own website there and then earn lot of money rather than spending time and money contacting you. What they will basically try is to get you to pay them or place links on your blog. Here’s a quote by daveg from Bloggerie’s Blog Forum thread SEO Myths:
What most newbies don’t realize is the ‘results’ that the SEO experts promise are either:
1) totally unreasonable (like the #1 spot on Google)
2) simple enough that anybody could do it (submit to search engines, on-site optimization, etc.)
Traffic & Statistics
1. Is there a way to find the number of visitors on my blog?
Yes, there are several ways to keep track of your blog visitors. Google Analytics is most common and we recommend using it.
2. What is bounce rate?
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who left your blog within seconds of their visit. People “bounce” because they either can not find information they needed on a your blog or do not lie design or content.
3. How do I reduce bounce rate?
To reduce bounce rate, first thing you can do is to make your posts attractive. Then, also pay attention to quality of posts. And at last, try tools like Apture to keep visitors on your blog.
4. Is Page Rank important?
Different people have different views about it. Some believe that Page Rank shows your authority in Google. However, I know many cases when websites were penalized but still get traffic.
5. Is Alexa Rank important?
No, it is not that important. It can be used to show off but that’s it. I say so because it tends to be inaccurate and does not provide very useful information.
6. Which ranks should I care about?
None. The most important thing you should be concerned about is building a community around your blog and writing quality content.
7. What is normal bounce rate for blogs?
40-70% is the normal bounce rate for blogs. Anything higher means your blogs are not performing that well and anything lower means that you are doing a great job with your blog.
8. I heard about a blog traffic exchange. Should I use it?
No. Avoid any traffic exchanges. They send low quality traffic. Instead, spend that time in writing awesome posts and leaving equally awesome comments on other blogs.
9. My search engine bounce rate is too high!
This is normal since many times, search engine visitors come looking for solutions and once they find the answer to question, leave.
10. Are forums good way to attract traffic?
Yes. I have observed that while forums may send less traffic, the traffic is highly targeted and visitors spend more time on blog.
11. How can I count number of subscribers to my RSS Feeds?
You can use FeedBurner, the free service by Google to count number of subscribers to your feeds.
12. My FeedBurner count keeps fluctuating. What should I do?
This is normal. Feedburner uses different matrices to count your subscribers and these can keep fluctuating. A good way to count number of actual subscribers is to see the average number of subscribers over a week or month.
WordPress & Blogger
1. Why should I use WordPress?
2. How can I use WordPress?
You can start using WordPress by getting a blog at WordPress.com or download WordPress for your own server from WordPress.org.
3. What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is free and is hosted by Automattic, company behind WordPress. You will get a your choice.wordpress.com address for your blog. You can not use any ads on WordPress.com and theme and plugin choices are also limited. On WordPress.org(self-hosted), it’s your own party. You can install any plugin, theme and also use ads.
4. Should I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
If you want to make money, WordPress.org is the way to go. But remember that you will have to be responsible with WordPress.org as a single error can take whole site down.
5. Do I need to buy my own server for using WordPress.org?
No, you can simply buy a hosting package from a hosting good hosting company. We use and recommend.
6. Where to buy a domain?
If you are on blogger, use Google to get your domain. If you are self hosting your blog, use NameCheap or GoDaddy.
7. How much does hosting cost?
Quality hosting plans are available from $6 to $10.
8. When should I upgrade WordPress?
Well, the best time is 1-2 weeks after a major release(WP 2.9 to 3.0) and 3-4 days after a minor release(WP 2.8 to 2.9). For more, refer to Should You Upgrade To WordPress 3.1. Shirley wrote this post after a reader asked the question about WordPress 3.1 but the advice is valid for all versions!
9. I want to experiment with Blogging on Blogger and then move to WordPress. Is it possible?
Yes, it is possible. But keep in mind that it takes more time to import a blog rather than simply starting with WordPress.
10. I have a great widget for my sidebar. However, I do not know HTML.
You don’t need to. Learn how to to create sidebar widgets with clickable images.
11. Can I use a .com address with blogger?
Yes, you can use a .com address of your choice with your blogger account.
12. OK, I brought a .com domain. Now, how to use it with Blogger?
You can learn about linking your custom domain with Blogger in this video by Shirley: Link Your Custom Domain To Blogger.
13. My WordPress blog is too slow! What is the cause of this?
Most common reason for this is installing too many plugins. Another is bad hosting. Reduce number of plugins and contact your host for help.
14. How can I speed up my blog?
To speed up your blog, you can try a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache. Learn How We Decreased Blog Loading Times By 75% With W3 Total Cache.
15. Which theme should I choose for my blog?
OK, so that completes 101 FAQs. But this list is not a definitive list, so:
- If you have another question in mind, add it in comments. We will answer it.
- Have encountered a question again and again, add it (and answer) here.