My first blog log!

Hello and welcome to my first post in my blog log! In this section I’ll be providing as much detail as possible about how I use my blog, what I post and what SEO I’ve used to get ranked in the search engines (or not!).

I’ve been building and managing websites in a professional capacity for about 20 years now but haven’t done any blogging before so this is a voyage into the unknown for me. I’ll share all the knowledge I’ve gained over my professional career along with anything I learn from my new blogging activity. My aim is to help others and give me something to refer back to.

So here goes my first blog log which will cover everything from my first few weeks including identifying a niche to finding a domain name, setting up web hosting and wordpress, and choosing what to write. My second blog log will cover the my first blog posts and how they’re performing.

Why start blogging?

For me, blogging is about the only thing that I’ve not tried online. In the past I’ve been heavily involved in affiliate and content marketing including PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. I’ve owned around 30 websites which have had success in varying levels. I currently have two food/recipe websites and three event sites, one of which is doing quite well. I also work a full time job as a Digital Manager.

So, with all of that going on why start blogging? I hear you ask. Well, as I mentioned it’s the one thing I’ve not really tried before and I love to write about stuff. I’m hoping it will be an opportunity to vent about things, share my learning and engage with like minded people. A little extra money on the side would be nice too!

Choosing a blog niche

Choosing a blog niche was not as straightforward as I had hoped and I’m still not sure that I’ve got it right. I knew I wanted to write about money and being frugal (hence the name of my blog) but, I didn’t want to be constrained to just that.

One of the top blogging niches is money, saving money, and being careful with money, so it seemed obvious to me that money and all the various topics that surround it would be a good choice. Before I went any further I did a little research just to be sure that setting up a money blog would be worth the effort.

In order to confirm there would be an appetite for my content, I visited lots of forums including Money Saving Expert and NetMums. Forums are a great place to get an idea of what everyone’s talking about and the subject of money takes up a lot of space on the forums. There are some great communities all talking and sharing information which means there’s a real hunger for the subject amongst website users.

Not too focussed!

I’ve learned through trial and error that creating niche content sites can be a great method for earning money through affiliate marketing. However, being too focused can be huge limiting factor in the lifespan of a project as there’s only so much that you can write about one specific aspect of a subject. Keep things broader and you give yourself space to expand your writing into sub categories and topics which can produce new opportunities. Success may take longer but the returns will be greater with a broader range of topics to write about.

Finding a good blog name

So, I knew that I wanted to write about money among other things, and my wife and I have always been careful about how we spend money, so the word frugal worked quite well for the first part of my blog name.

One of the things I wanted to do in my blog was to search and find information and then share it with others. So I thought “spy” seemed like a good second part for the name. I know there are some negative connotations associated with the word spy which I will have to avert by keeping my content original and honestly curated. Original content on a blog is essential for SEO anyway and I will be keeping my distance from any Black or Grey hat SEO.

I’m not aiming to be a new Martin Lewis or anything and I would like to write about topics other than money too so my blog will be more of a lifestyle blog with a bit of frugality thrown in. I suppose I could have thought about this a little more before jumping in but hindsight is a wonderful thing and this section of the blog is as much about sharing failures as it is successes.

Buying a blog domain name

Buying my blog domain name was an easy one for me as I already have web hosting with Siteground, I was able to check my new domain name availability and purchase it all from within my Siteground account.

Best web hosting for blogs

Over the years I must have used 15 web hosting companies. The reason why I’ve moved from one host to another has usually been because something has gone wrong. There’s no way I’m staying with a web host who doesn’t take my hard work seriously, and many of the hosts I’ve used have at one time or another seriously let me down or raised their prices to unrealistic levels.

New SEO metrics such as site speed have also been a contributing factor in changing web hosts.

I’ve been with Siteground for four years now and they have been brilliant. There’s a real commitment from them to deliver the best possible service. I’ve been really impressed with some of the improvements they have introduced such as SSD drives and caching to help WordPress sites such as this one, which gets close to 100% in Google speed audits. All I’ve done is enable the Siteground caching!

Uptime and support from Siteground has been superb. My support tickets have been answered quickly and problems have been handled on the first attempt which is a real positive.

Siteground have some specific tools to help people using WordPress such as content staging and Git integration. They also offer automatic security updates for added piece of mind.

Until next time…

And that’s it for my first blog log! In my next update I’ll be covering how I’ve structured my blog in terms of user experience and SEO. I’ll cover the importance of category pages and their descriptions. Some more general SEO techniques I’ve used and, how to place Adsense ads within the WordPress templates, rather than adding them manually to posts. I’ll also go over what plugins I’ve used for SEO.

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