If you’re thinking of starting a new blog, you might be asking yourself questions like ‘How do I set this up?’, ‘What do people want me to write about?’, or ‘How to I know what content people are enjoying?’
Starting a new blog is a lot of work, but we at 34SP.com wanted to talk about some of the handy tools we’ve used to get started on new projects this year.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
Good hosting can make all the difference when people are visiting your website. If you want visitors to be greeted with a fast, secure website, you are going to want to look at non-shared hosting.
Shared hosting means multiple websites are hosted on one server, which is usually cost-effective but means your site is battling with other websites for the resources available on that server. If one site is getting a lot of traffic, it can slow all the sites that share the server down.
VPS-based, or non-shared hosting is easier to come by these days, and if your site will use it is a question you should to ask your hosting provider when looking at a new package to host your blog.
Our WordPress Hosting starts at £9.95 per month and is VPS-based, with WordPress pre-installed and free SSL. We save you setup time so you can jump straight into choosing your theme and writing content!
Bearing in mind that WordPress is pretty SEO friendly out of the box, you might wish to use a plugin to help monitor keywords, broken links, or connect to Google’s search console.
The most popular plugin for this is Yoast. Yoast has a wide range of features including better sitemaps, meta tags, and feedback on the content you are writing.
We do find Yoast’s keyword writing tools a little too much if you’re trying to write coherent content, but it’s a good all-round SEO plugin to help you keep an eye on issues and make small improvements as you go.
Internal Link Juicer
Internal Link Juicer is a favourite amongst the bloggers in our team. This plugin allows you to set keywords for all your posts and pages and when those words are used in another area of the site, it will automatically generate a link to them.
This plugin is great for building internal links and makes integrating content a much easier task.
Track The Click
Do you want a better understanding of your visitors’ behaviour? Track The Click is a handy plugin that monitors when and where your visitors are clicking throughout your site. It’s useful for showing advertising value and learning which areas of your site are popular, which can generate future post ideas.
Answerthepublic.com is a useful tool for finding content ideas and titles. If you have a vague idea of what you want to write about, you can put a few keywords in their search bar and they will return a list of potential blog post titles. These are based on what people have been searching for in Google, so can be useful for finding out the types of content people want to read.
Now we know what we want to write about, we should think about our uploads. Images count for a large portion of site slow-down so we want to be serving images as fast as possible.
Compressing images before uploading can be helpful, and we do recommend this however there are many handy plugins you can use for image optimisation.
EWWW Image Optimizer is a free and feature-rich image optimisation plugin. You can set the level of compression you want, and the plugin will apply that preference to all future uploads. It also has a handy tool for bulk optimising images that are already on the site.
As well as making sure your images are well optimised, you will want to make sure you are setting captions, descriptions, and alt text for your images. These help your images appear on Google, and also provide helpful accessibility to those using screen readers.
Getting a new website off to a good start can be a challenge but there are many tools available to help. These are some of our favourites; let us know if you have any other blogging tools you love and we’ll be sure to check them out!