It used to be the case that you needed a lot of technical know+how in order to launch your own website. You’ve have to get yourself knee-deep in all sorts of cryptic code and all the troubleshooting would fall on your shoulders. Thankfully, things are a lot easier today and there are a lot of automated tools that you can help you with just about every aspect of launching, running and promoting your website, particularly when it comes to blogging.
And while you may be tempted to outsource just about everything–which isn’t necessarily a terrible idea if you want to achieve the dot com lifestyle–it’s also in your best interest to have a few basic skills under your belt. It’s never a bad idea to keep learning and, if you’re going to be a pro blogger, you may as well love what you do.
Not every blogger needs to be a professional photographer and not every blogger needs to know every in and out of Lightroom and PhotoShop. That’s just unreasonable. However, regardless of what image editing software you want to use, you should have a fundamental understanding of the basics. You need to know how to resize your images, so you don’t hog up too much room on your server (and slow your page load times). You need to know how to crop your images. And it certainly doesn’t hurt if you know some basics for adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation and color levels either.
Simple HTML and Other Code
For the most part, you don’t need to know all that much code in order to have a professional-looking blog. However, when you find yourself relying completely on WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors and templates, you could end up with some very inefficient and messy code.
And speaking of knowing your way around editing your blog, WordPress is clearly one of the most popular content management systems for websites of all kinds but especially for blogs. You really need to know your way around the WordPress dashboard, editing your sidebar widgets, updating your plugins, changing your profile details and the rest of it. After you’ve used WordPress for a short while, it will become second nature and there’s a huge community to help you too.
Traffic will always be the lifeblood of any site and it is definitely in your best interest to track as much information about your website visitors as possible.
Google Analytics is the free go-to tool for the majority of webmasters, partly because it’s powered by Google, but also because it offers an overwhelming wealth of information beyond just the raw number of page views and visitors. You can inspect your bounce rate, look at the geographic and demographic details of visitors, and optimize your site to best suit their web browsers and screen resolutions.
Learn your way around Analytics and really understand what all those different numbers and lists mean. This will help you key in on the content that is performing the best for you, helping you further improve your site’s revenue and conversion rates.
While some people may dismiss Facebook and Twitter as not being particularly useful, social media is playing an increasingly large role on the Internet as a whole and with blogging in particular. Growing your reach on these channels can help to drive even more traffic and social engagement bolsters your overall search engine rankings too. Know how these social networks work and how you can leverage them to your advantage. Use tools like HootSuite to track and manage your social updates.
And above all else, never stop learning and never stop adapting. Blogging today is different from what it was just a few years ago and it will be different again tomorrow. By keeping up with your basic technical skills and staying knowledgeable about trends, you can stay on top of the game and rise as a true blogging professional.