If you’re just entering the world of blogging, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed. After all, there are so many things you can focus on, so many directions to take the blog, and such a massive amount of competition out there it can be incredibly daunting. How do you compete for eyeballs with the millions of other blogs out there? What can you possibly do that’s new, different or in any way unique? Try not to get discouraged right out of the gate. You probably decided to start a blog because there’s something you are passionate about that you want to discuss in an open forum. And it doesn’t really need to be any more complicated than that. But if you’re in it for the long haul and want to set your site up for success, just follow these top five blogging tips for beginners.

The first rule is also the most important, and that’s focusing on quality content. No matter how fancy your site and how genius you are at search engine optimization, you won’t entice readers and retain them for any length of time without a high quality of regularly posted content. So think long and hard about your articles. Are they interesting, informative or entertaining? Do they fill a void on the internet, or add something useful to a preexisting conversation? It doesn’t matter what you write about, as long as it is quality and necessary. Keep an eye on the other blogs in your niche and always be sure your posts are timely.

The next step is setting your blog up for the best chance to go viral. It’s not going to happen right away, but if you write a blog or post a video that spreads virally across the internet, you’ll basically guarantee your audience for at least the next year. Make sure whatever you are doing is interesting, and bring an edge to it. The content that has the best chance of going viral is visual, so try to incorporate memes, infographics, videos or comics on at least a semi-regular basis. If you luck upon something that people find witty and want to share, you’ll significantly increase the traffic to your blog.

Once you’ve got these basics down, it’s time to turn your attention to SEO. You don’t have to be a genius to handle a few simple on-page actions, even if you’re using WordPress. You’ll find many workable plugins for WordPress that will help move you along. Just make sure you are keeping up with your meta tags. Give each post a distinctive title and description. Regularly write in whatever data the WordPress SEO system asks for, and adjust the theme so that it is easily picked up by search engines. Don’t worry about ads at this point, or pay too much attention to keywords. Keep it natural and organic, but if you lay the groundwork correctly you can add to it later down the line.

Next, make sure your blog is supported by all the major social media sites. Start out with connected profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, and once your blog is regularly packed with new content, expand outwards as you notice your readers engaging in other sites. Research your niche, and where people spend their time. Make sure you are active on other blogs and message boards, always linking through to each additional platform.

Finally, try to make your blog appealing to links. That will naturally occur through creating interesting content and viral pieces, but there are things you can do within each blog post to increase the chances of another blog picking up your site and linking to it. Mention other prominent people in your niche in the body of your blogs. Create top ten lists on various subjects, or interview someone who is much more widely known than you are. Make sure your WordPress slider plugin is set to accept links, and the more connections you create, the larger your audience will grow.