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Blogging can be very rewarding to blogger and reader alike. Whether you are a new or experienced blogger it is my hope that these tools and tips will offer resources for your adventure in blogging.
#1 – Get Found
You can write the most amazing blog posts ever, but if no one finds them, you have no audience.
#2 – Share, Share, Share
Make it easy for readers to share your articles. Don’t miss out on this expected and important tool. Social share icons/plugins are probably included in them, but if not, here are some great plugin options.
Post to your social media accounts. This is the ultimate in free advertising!
Tools to make posting it easier:
• IFTTT – ‘IF THIS THEN THAT’ app. You choose the “Applets” that you want. For example, ‘If I tweet, post to Facebook also’. Countless options!
• Hootsuite Tool for managing multiple social media accounts.
#3 – Network
Join groups and get connected. Rub elbows and see what you can contribute to and learn from each other.
• Utilize Pinterest boards.
• Post helpful and interesting comments on other bloggers posts. People will think you are interesting and may check you out.
• Join blogger groups (get support, seek guest bloggers, share tips, etc.)
#4 – What Time of the Day Should You Post?
If you are looking for optimal readership on posting your articles, it is good to be aware of optimal times to post. 
• Most traffic? Monday at 11am EST
• Most comments? Saturday at 9am EST
• Most social shares? Thursday 9-10am EST
#5 – Invest In a Quality Website
Create a quality website yourself or hire a professional to design it for you. Encourage readers to look around or return to your website.
• Add sidebar content that provides useful links and information. (search bar, brief ‘about me’, categories, tag cloud, recent posts, etc.)
• Have a navigational bar at the top of the page that leads to other areas of your website (home, about, contact, shop, featured content pages, etc.)
#6 – Mailing List Sign-Up
Add a mailing list sign-up to the sidebar or footer. If a visitor is already on your site and likes what they see, don’t miss the opportunity to offer an easy sign-up for your future posts!
A word of caution – don’t assault visitors with your sign-up form. A pop-up that asks you to sign-up for the mailing list when you have not even viewed the website yet is annoying.
#7 – Stay Safe
For your own security and for the safety of your website visitors, take reasonable precautions.
• Install a security plugin, like iThemes Security, WordFence, or WP Security & Firewall.
• Use Akismet to help with comment spam.
• Never use “admin” for your username. If you need to change it, TAP HERE for instructions.
• Choose a strong password.
• Run your updates. Always. When security vulnerabilities, bugs or other issues arise, updates are released to address them. If you don’t run the updates your site can become compromised.
#8 – Back It Up
My rule — If I would cry if I lost it, it should be backed up. Period. I have learned this the hard way.
• Learn to save a copy of the wp-content folder of your website locally through FTP. You can use a free program like FileZilla Client, or a plugin like WP File Manager.
• Use a Managed WordPress or other hosting plan that includes automatic backups.
• Use a plugin to run your backups.
#9 – Use Killer Headlines
Grab their attention. Half the battle is getting a user to engage with your text. What better way than a great headline?
#10 – Write Quality Content
Short paragraphs and concise content are generally preferred. Users often leave web pages in 10-20 seconds  so you don’t have long to hook them.
Article: Clean and Lean Website Design
BUT… Longform Content is coming around. Go figure. Studies have shown people are interested in longer, engaging content. 
Review the recommendations for both brief and extensive content to determine what is more appropriate to your article.
Handy Tools: Plugins can add a ‘reading time’ feature to your post. This is especially nice if you go the ‘Long Form Content’ route:
#11 – Grammar & Spelling
Don’t kill a great article by missing the mark on spelling and grammar. Poor grammar or spelling are unprofessional.
#12 – Show the Love
The nature of blogging is that you are interacting with an audience. Acknowledge that in your approach – whether your blog is a dialogue or a monologue.
#13 – Boundaries
Know where to draw the line. Your privacy and the privacy of your friends and family should be respected. Don’t share personal stories or information without permission and serious consideration.
#14 – Don’t Let It Get Ugly
Don’t vent on your blog. Such a move could sink a healthy blog. Be careful and thoughtful about any content you publish.
#15 – Links Are Your Friends
Links are a great tool for the blogger. They can direct an engaged reader to further content.
Internal links will lead the user to other blog articles that you have written, encouraging them to stay on your website. This increases interest in your blog, return visits, bookmarking, or subscribing to your blog. Who doesn’t want that?
External links provide the user with recommended to resources that are outside of your website. This can increase confidence and gratitude on the part of your user. As they visit the external site to learn more they can find validation for your content and additional information.
Tip: Always set external links to open in a new tab so users don’t lose your site! In HTML language, that means that your link should contain the following: target=“_blank;” within the tags. Click here to see how it works.
#16 – Don’t Overuse Ads
Ads can quickly go from subtle to overwhelming. No one wants to feel they are being bombarded by ads while they are reading your post.
#17 – Post Regularly
Your readers and Google will have more interest if there is a steady stream of posts to your blog. If you go months at a time between posts, Google and users may think you have abandoned your blog.
#18 – Images
People respond well to images. We are visual beings by nature, and images will engage your audience.
• Make sure your images are relevant and punctuate your content.
• Choose quality images.
• Web-ready your images so they do not slow down your load time.
• Make sure you are aware of the permissions and credits you are obliged to when using an image.
Enjoy Your Blog!
I would love to hear your feedback and input! Please scroll to the bottom of this page to find the comments section. There is so much we can all learn from each other that I am sure ‘18 Blog Essentials’ is just the beginning of the list!
Related: Learn WordPress – Advice & Tips for Beginners
Related: Learn WordPress — Maintaining Your WordPress Website
Related: Why Your Business Needs a Website
Image Credit: Elisanth / bigstockphoto.com