How to blog effectively

This week, I've been invited by the team over at Fleetstreetblues blog to write a series on how to blog effectively. This includes brief articles on how to set up a blog, build traffic to a website, how to monetize a site and why bloggers should become experts in a niche, rather than just reporters.
Fleetstreet blues start off my series, writing: "Journalists often look down on bloggers, and sometimes with good reason. All too often, blogs can be filled with the kind of junk that doesn't make it into even the most disreputable of papers - bile-filled comment, lame jokes and unsubstantiated gossip. But there's no doubt that for better or worse, blogging is transforming the way the media works and information flows, and for better or worse, citizen journalism is becoming a force to be reckoned with (see's record that speaks for itself.) In an increasingly dire jobs market, a great way for trainee journalists to practice their craft."
Everybody to anybody are now blogging  — having their say on the events that shape our world. If like me, you started off not having a clue about setting up a blog, gaining traffic, and also having the daunting task of choosing which blogger platform to use, then here is a short guide to putting those wheels in motion for the start of a successful blog. What is a blog? A blog, (or weblog) is a series of posts set out in diary format, where the writer of that blog can post his thoughts, comments, news (both personal and wider). Choosing a niche: When people start a blog, they are often stuck for what topic they should choose. As they say in the trade, content is king. So, it is essential, when you set up a blog, you have a firm idea of what you are going to write about. For me, having studied journalism, my passion was always going to be for news and politics. Blog design comes a close second, but the two do need to be compatible. Internet marketers, those such as the Australian guru Yaro Starak, who runs the entrepreneurs-journey blog, (I really recommend you visit it) says the key to great content is writing something that will benefit the reader. These posts of content are called  'pillar articles.' What is a pillar? A pillar article is a series of  'how to' posts which teach the reader something they didn't know, or may have not been sure about. They can include anything from how to design a blog template, to posting a guide on how to use Twitter, or even tips for journalists wanting to get into the industry. Something which Fleetstreetblues has got spot on. Your blog, in the beginning, will need to have atleast 10 pillar articles, before you move on to choosing your topic. You know why? Because at the start, potential readers of your blog are sceptical, and are never sure how long a new blog on the already crammed market will last. With pillar articles, this can ensure a first time reader will come back to read your blog, and it will lead to a new subscriber. When starting out, you need to write as much as you can. Your posts do not always have to be pillars, but it is essential you keep your blog fresh with a daily news, a witty comment piece, or ofcourse, the pillar. And keep your posts short and to the point. Here is a selection of other posts you could write: Quote of the day Twitter of the day Puzzle posts Competition post  — (when you have a few more subscribers) (Can you think of any others?) Tomorrow, I'll be briefly summarising ways to build up traffic to your blog, which is an art in itself. Stands to reason, no traffic, no dollars!