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Basic Blogging

donnamerrilltribe.comI was compelled to write this post because I had so many people asking me blogging questions this past week. They wanted to know how I was able to kick out a blog and get so many wonderful comments.

Well, it is fairly easy to do when you know a few simple rules.  I have created this clickable “Mind Map” for you so that it breaks down the many complicated questions into a simple map.  Just click it and see for yourself.


BASIC BLOGGING2013-02-17 at 1.42.36 PM

Well there you go just a few ideas to keep in mind how you can start blogging with a few simple rules of thumb!


Your Blog Is Your Home – this means that whatever you learn or have knowledge about you write it in your post.  I would suggest that you stick to your niche and just make things simple for people to understand.  This is where you “Brand” yourself. So give some thought as to how you want people to know, like and trust you.


Keep in mind that you are writing to people and not to yourself.  So make your content interesting and informative no matter what your niche is.   You have a passion inside you, express it in your blog.


The one thing you DO NOT want to do is write about your product or service all the time.  You will end up having a grave yard blog where no one wants to comment and it is just bad business.  Now there is nothing wrong with mentioning a product or service here and there but please use the Pareto Principle.  I wrote about it in my blog The 80/20 Rule.


Comments Are Important!  I cannot stress this more.  When people come to your blog and comment, REPLY!  Now go to their blog and reciprocate.  READ the post..Leave a good comment.  And go the extra mile to connect on social sites.  This is how you engage with people on an organic basis.


You will note on the left side of the Mind Map all the social sites where you can connect with people.  I won’t go through that now, because it is self explanatory or can be a post for another day.


Sounds quite simple doesn’t it.  Well truth be know, it is.  Once you have your mind map and follow those few simple rules, you will eventually be a blogging rock star.  But always remember that reciprocity is the key to engagement.  Mind your manners and most importantly be Ethical!





P.S.  Your comments and input are greatly appreciated. 






Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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47 Responses to Basic Blogging

  1. margie May 1, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    Hi Donna

    please excuse my naivety when asking the following questions but all of this is totally new to me…

    What is a ‘spammer’?
    Are all blogs a business? how is a blog a business?

    i have been looking at the EmpowerNetwork due to a friend being involved but it is a bit overwhelming. your comments on this organisation have been really helpful so thank you! i am still undecided about them…
    i would really like to have an online business/income so that i can ‘work’ form home as i have three young children that i would like to be at home for rather than return to paid employment in my previous job.
    Seems like lots of people are able to do this via blogging, but i just dont understand how. If you can help me i would really appreciate it.

  2. Monica March 17, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Thank you for your short, simple tips yet very powerful. And I’d like to implement this to my routine when I’m posting my blog. Especially the right side of the blog map . I believe that commenting to others post contributes to get organic traffic. But this take a lot of time but surely the hard work will get paid off. 

    Just wondering if you could suggest how can I find posts to comment to? I currently getting comments through reciprocating from my Facebook groups, but this time I want to reach out other bloggers to comment to my posts…

    Thank you.

    • Donna.Merrill March 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Hi Monica,

      I see you have an Empower Blog. Notice how I had to edit it not to show it on your comment. Goggle is getting very controlling about EN blogs, so I had to do that.

      Lots of bloggers/marketers won’t comment on an EN blog, except other EN people. Just had to share that cold hard fact.

      If you had a WordPress blog along with your EN one, you would be getting more comments. – Another cold hard fact 🙁

      Setting up your own WordPress blog will become your own property, like real estate. From there you can join blogging alliances and Facebook Groups that do have a high level of reciprocity.

      You will get more comments if you do that. Setting up a wordpress hosted blog will cost some money, but worth it. You can have your EN opt in on the right hand side of the blog and continue to use both.

      If you have any questions, email me.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Plan Your DayMy Profile

  3. William Amis
    February 24, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Donna, this has shown us readers a great starting point in what it takes to have a blog that has interaction. That is the heart of any blog and without communication being done. You will end up with a dead blog as you stated.

    I love your mind map and it looks wonderful. When I have the time I will review more of your articles and find out how to make that mind map. I usually do that on my white board all my life. It is something I have used when teaching and during all areas of growing my business.

    Thanks Donna for having vision and being a wonderful coach in our industry. I appreciate your ability to share usable information.

    • Donna.Merrill March 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Thanks William,

      I used to use that white board too, but now that I am using freemind, it is a whole lot easier for me.

      As anything else, it takes a little while to get used to, but I find it a good share when teaching.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Why I’m Reviewing The Empower Network AgainMy Profile

  4. marquita herald
    February 23, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Great tips Donna. Another thing – which you do very well – is to be consistent. I’ve been working with a lot of authors lately and there is this mental stumbling block many have that they should only post new content when the “inspiration strikes.” It’s been a real challenge getting across that unless their blog is intended to be little more than a personal journal, they need to be thinking about getting “eyes” on what they’re writing – and that means giving people a reason to return, again and again.
    marquita herald recently posted..Adaptability: The Essential Ingredient to Successfully Manage ChangeMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill March 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

      Hi Marty,

      How did I miss this one? Sorry for the late response.

      Thank you, I had to do a lot of inner work to be consistent, but here I am!

      You are so spot on when you say that we need t give people a reason to return again and again.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Why I’m Reviewing The Empower Network AgainMy Profile

  5. Jemima Pett February 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Thanks for the reminders. Always good to think about the basics. Reminder to self: Leave comments. Return to others’ blogs…. 😉

    Jemima at Jemima’s blog

  6. Pauline February 20, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Hi Donna
    Like many others that have commented I love your mind map, it is easy for newbies to follow.
    I soon found out how much blog hopping and leaving comments can help, I have seen a nice steady increase of traffic since doing this every day, i is a great way also to build up relationships with my readers.
    It is so important to reply to every comment, like you have shown in your mind map, it is very rude not to reply, I have visited many blogs and left a comment that the owner has never bothered to reply to, needless to say I have not returned to those blogs…
    You have given your newbies some great advice on how to get started with their blogs.
    Hope your day is going great
    Pauline recently posted..Some Great WordPress Plugins For 2013My Profile

    • Donna.Merrill March 2, 2013 at 12:07 am #

      Hey Pauline,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Look at me replying to you 9 days late!

      Sorry, but somehow you had ended up in my spam box…weird!

      Thanks again,
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Strengths and WeaknessesMy Profile

  7. JanBierens February 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Ahh, advice to my liking.
    Ok, I’ll admit, I tend to go overboard every now and then, but I try to live by those rules. I would like to add “Keep things simple and consistent” and “be patient without leaning back (to much)”.
    Excellent advice!

  8. Michael Shook February 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Thank you, Donna, for a great mind map about basic blogging. It is so true what you have written here that these are the basics, the things you start with.

    Good content, good interaction, and being a good citizen of the blogging world. I think of a blog post as part of a social contract, we start, then someone else comes along and joins in and we continue the conversation and see where it leads.

    I never have figured out why some people don’t do things this way. I have no issue with people making their own choices, but the ideas you have written about here just seem to make perfect sense. 🙂
    Michael Shook recently posted..Positive Thinking Made SimpleMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks Michael!

      I put together this mind map to simplify just a few easy rules to follow. Too many people make it so complicated.

      I like to put it simply because when you do it this way, you save time, thereby getting more productivity done.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Organize Your Space, Clear your MindMy Profile

  9. Neamat Tawadrous
    February 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    A great simple post about the basics of blogging. Can’t get any simpler. I also liked you mindmap. It is self-explanatory and anyone can understand.

    You brought up great points about our blog being our real estate and we should concentrate on our niche and learn and share all what we know on our blogs. These are all great points and I would add that consistency is the name of the game with our blogs. We need to be consistent by providing fresh content that will help others in our niche and also consistent with the commenting which is really the main thing in blogging as it creates the engagement with our readers.

    Thanks Donna for such a great, simple and educating post as always.

    Be Blessed,


  10. Sue Price
    February 19, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    Hi Donna

    Love your mind map it is awesome. I have copied it for my own reminder. I do most thing but figure I can use this to be a little more systematic.

    You have covered the key points very well.

    I love your point you are writing to other people and not yourself. That seems so obvious but it was not to me when I started. When I became clearer about my target market it was much easier to write like I was talking to one of them.

    You are right it does sound simple but when people are starting out it is not so. This is a great post for anyone who is new or newish to blogging Donna.

    Thanks and love the mind map!

    Sue Price recently posted..Being Who You Want To BeMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

      Hi Sue,

      Good to know you liked my mind map. I put it together because it helps some who like to learn visually.

      The map does say it all, especially for newbies. I wish I had that organization when I first started. I was all over the place.

      It does sound simple but it is great for newbies as well as those not paying too much attention to the social networks.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  11. Michael A Buccilli February 19, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Hello Donna, I agree with you about how simple putting out a blog actually is. When writing is your passion, it isn’t considered work when you love doing it.

    You have taught me quite a bit lately and most important is commenting and replies; Engagement with your contacts.

    I haven’t had a chance to check out the mind map but will be doing so shortly.

    • Donna.Merrill February 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes..I find the most important thing we can do with our blog is comments and replies.

      It is amazing how quickly we bond with certain people.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  12. Sylviane Nuccio
    February 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Hi Donna, you’ve said it!

    Replying to comments and reciprocating is very important. That’s how my blog comments are increasing steadily for the past year.

    It’s a give and take. If you don’t care about visiting other blogs and building relationships, well, people won’t care about you either. That’s as simple as that!

    As you’re saying, we don’t blog for ourselves, we blog for others, so content is very important as well of course. If you don’t write valuable content, people won’t keep coming.

    I really like your map, by the way. Good stuff 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Simplify Your Writing To Get More Readers And Keep ThemMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      Hey Sylviane,

      Very true! It s all about reciprocity. When we first start, our blog is a ghost town, but following just a few simple blogging rules will get more visitors to our blogs.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  13. Chery Schmidt February 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Great Post Donna & I love how you have simplified this with the mind map.
    Of course I am going the extra mile 🙂 and connecting you to my social sites. Thanks for sharing Chery 🙂

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm #


      That’s too funny lol! Yes, it is simple and easy. But sometimes we don’t realize “the beginning” of our journey with blogging and have to teach others so they won’t be mislead.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  14. Dee Ann Rice
    February 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm #


    I agree with everything in this post about blogging.

    I especially like what you say about comments. I think they are really important but some bloggers don’t seem to think so.

    When I go to blogs of people who comment on my blog, the first thing I do is look at their comments to see if they have responded to any. I don’t know how many blogs I go to for the first time and find no replies from the blog owner. I am always in a query as to whether I actually want to take the time to read their post and comment when they are not going to take the time to reply to me.

    Great post.

    Dee Ann Rice
    Dee Ann Rice recently posted..Link Cloaking Made Easy!My Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Hi Dee Ann,

      Sometimes when I visit a blog like that, I take a shot at commenting on it if I find it interesting. I’ve had pretty good luck with that because the person would come back to my blog.

      If they don’t I wouldn’t bother again.

      Comments are the backbone of blogging. Leaving a good comment on someone’s blog will increase the reciprocity usually. But also remember that people do read the comment section. If you give a good comment, one of the readers may be interested in you. Works well for me!

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  15. Teresa Farrell February 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Good recap…blogging 101 in a nutshell. I love mind mapping and, as a visual learner, I am complete sucker for a mapping diagram. Good focus on the main thing. Thanks..I will keep the mind mapping on my wall. 🙂
    Teresa Farrell recently posted..Viral Traffic Tips to your BlogMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Teresa,

      I always used paper and pens, for mind mapping, but using this system and not getting to elaborate works for me.

      I can do it in little chunks when working on a project. If I’m creating a product, I have to list all the things I have to do and I found this program was a great deal of help for me. And its free so what the heck!

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  16. RobG February 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Hello Donna GREAT article and very right to the point, everyone should be so simple and display information like you did in this post.

    I see to many blogs promoting their products which is ok like you stated but after awhile it gets kind of old and people won’t want to keep visiting your blog.

    If you like blogging and develop a product it’s fine to display it on your blog or website, but if you also want to keep your readers coming back then you better focus on them as well.

    Thanks Donna for a great and simple read…
    RobG recently posted..How to Publish Weekly And Keep Your Readers Aroused And InterestedMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      Thanks Rob,

      I tried to keep it as simple as I could for the “newbies” out there. Too much noise and confusion for them. Everyone has their own twist on blogging, but I wanted to stick to facts.

      My newbies were so confused, so I broke it down to basics.

      Yes, there are too many blogs out there that I call “Buy Me Bloggers” and I cannot seem to summon up a comment.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  17. Holly Robinson February 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    These are all great, very practical tips, Donna. Nice post! I especially like the one about NOT making your blog about self promotion. People are much more likely to read what you write if there is some information there that they can use.

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Welcome Holly,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, blogging cannot be self promotional otherwise you end up with a ghost town!

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  18. Adrienne
    February 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    I agree, great post and I sometimes forget how many new people are blogging now and it seems like that is continuing to grow every single day.

    I think you explained this beautifully and the mind map was an added plus. It will help those that are more visual but you’re right. It is easy but it won’t happen overnight which is why so many people get frustrated.

    You’ve given them the formula though so all they have to do is start taking action every single day. They’ll be delighted, surprised and in awe of how this really works. Yay!!!

    Thanks again for sharing this Donna and you enjoy your week.

    Adrienne recently posted..Marketing Tips the Walking Dead Could Teach You about BloggingMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      Thanks Adrienne!

      When your email box is full of the same question, you just have to blog about it!

      It’s funny how that happens sometimes. “It’s a sign” lol Seriously, there are so many new people coming on to this platform and I’ve been meeting lots of new people. I looked at some of the blogs and I cringed! Instead of telling them one by one, I wrote this post and emailed it to them.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  19. Harleena Singh
    February 18, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    Couldn’t agree more Donna!

    I loved your Mind-map diagram that said it all. 🙂

    If we take our blog to be our home, it will feel like a home and that’s where you welcome people warmly – isn’t it? The warmth flows through our content we share that’s for the people, and through the comments and interaction that takes place on our blog.

    I fail to understand how some people with blogs who post great content, but they just don’t reply to comments, nor reciprocate the visit, or that personal touch just isn’t there. I guess they aren’t the kinds who bother much about building relationships or wouldn’t care less. Commenting surely has helped me build a community of wonderful readers and friends at my blog, and it does wonders. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these with us. 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..How to Change Your Life with KnowledgeMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm #


      Yes, I have seen those blogs where there is no communication. What I found is that some have their posts up and are marketing without the use of a Social Media Presence. There are several people I know that do this and are focusing on their lists or paid advertising.

      Now that’s all well and good, but I do feel that without using engagement, we don’t have that “Know, Like and Trust” factor that is the backbone of any business.

      I have an offline business also whereby I engage my clients all the time. In turn, they use word of mouth. I never advertised a day in the past 30 years in this business. It was built up by trust. So I cannot figure out how those other bloggers do it?

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  20. David H. Paul February 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    What a great set of basic reminder steps. I glad to have had the review, because it can be soooo easy to get sidetracked and distracted by all the bells and whistles online.

    Thank you.

    To Your Peace and Prosperity,

    David H. Paul recently posted..Local Marketing Ideas That WorkMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi David,

      Good seeing you again. I had so much in mind to “answer the question” from many newbies contacting me this week.

      I created that mind-map to simplify it all. It is sometimes difficult to go back to blogging 101, but important to share.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  21. Suzi Shumaker February 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Great suggestions and I love your visual as well. I often do not respond to comments on my blog because either they are mean-spirited/argumentative, or they are really general. I do reply to questions or thoughtful comments though.

    • Donna.Merrill February 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Hi Suzi,

      I wouldn’t even accept a comment that is mean-spirited or argumentative. It is just feeding the fuel of a fire.

      If someone disagrees and is respectful about it, sure..I love that. I also don’t accept people with a one liner like “great post” I have more comments in the trash than on my blog lol.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  22. Mayura
    February 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    It’s not simple enough and people struggling with it but you have made it simple dear 🙂

    The first ever thing is we need to care our blog like a home and I do. We can see how people abandoned their blogs imagining they are just money making machines or just filling up content. I think they don’t value blogging at all 🙂

    Indeed, Reciprocity is the key to engagement and I believe we need to be honest there, not to do a basic comment on a blog just thinking he/she will comment back 🙂 I can see how some folks just leave one line of comment knowing the person is coming back for their blog. I feel something fishy there Donna 🙂 But in long term they are hurting themselves.

    Have a wonderful week up there dear 🙂

    Mayura recently posted..What is Google PageRank?My Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Thank you Mayura!

      I had to break it down and make it as simple as possible. There were so many emails and comments I have received this past week from people who were so confused about this issue.

      Sometimes we just have to step back and explain the basics which we have long forgotten to teach. My newbies that are coming to me lately had no clue what they were doing. They were selling on their blogs, and some of them had content that I just couldn’t believe one would put on.

      One had content that was like a tweet with a picture. Go figure…
      I made that simple mind map to make things easier.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  23. Barbara Charles
    February 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    Hi Donna. Great post. You’ve explained things quite well and easily for the newbie blogger. Great job. Love that you did the mind map to give a picture of us visual learners. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I know that this post will help thousands of newbies to get started on the blogging and how to work it for maximum benefit!
    Barbara Charles recently posted..What I’ve Learned From My Parrot About Business and PerseveranceMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Thank you Barbara!

      I had so many people coming to my old blog asking me about how to blog,that I just had to write this post.

      Although I write mostly about self-development, I feel like this is all part of it too. People need to develop their blog in order to do business correctly.

      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

  24. Raena Lynn February 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I love your mindmap. I’ll bet you had fun creating it! I know you titled this post Basic Blogging, but what you have outlined are the basics for every blogger. If a blogger follows everything you have told them to do, new or seasoned, they will have a successful blog with good, organic traffic and people who want to engage.

    I’ve been to some great quality blogs and I’m so surprised when I see only a couple of comments. Obviously, writing quality content is just the beginning. You have to engage and it has to be done on several platforms. It isn’t easy and it takes a lot of time and consistency. I also agree that return comments are KEY. Your readers will return when they know you have taken the time to reply to their comments.

    It is important not to write only about promotions. It’s a sure way to scare your readers away. Believe me, I know. I’ve been working on the 80/20 rule again…80% content and 20% promotion. It works so much better and leaves room to develop relationships. Great tips Donna…thanks!

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..The Prosperity Game Journal Part 2My Profile

    • Donna.Merrill February 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      Hi Raena,

      Isn’t that mind map fun? Just downloaded the program for my personal use but decided to do a blog with it.

      Yes we have to engage on several platforms in order for people to get to know us. True, it isn’t easy and takes time. But it is a labor of love!

      Thanks for your great comment,
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Basic BloggingMy Profile

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