Are you interested in starting a blog? Just want to see what it would take? I want to walk you through some of the steps that you should take and put in place before you publish your first post.
As the Mother of a few failed blogs over the last 5 years, I have finally come up with what I think is the “secret sauce” to blogging success. The key is to build an infrastructure before you launch your blog. These are the things I did to build a solid infrastructure that helped me make this bog successful from day 1.
**this post may contain affiliate links – read more about that here**
If you have already started a blog, make sure to read about the 7 Blogging Mistakes New Bloggers Make!
1) Pick Topic(s)/Niche(s) for your blog
The first thing you need to do when you start a blog is pick a topic or a niche, aka what do you want to write about?! If you have been looking into and doing research on starting a blog, you have probably heard the term “niche.” A niche is pretty much a topic or the subject that your blog will focus on. My niche is self improvement and lifestyle. Other bloggers write about fitness and nutrition, some bloggers blog about blogging!
You can write your blog about anything! Jut make sure what you pick a topic that you are passionate about it. Ask yourself the questions below to really know if a niche is right for you!
- Can you talk about this topic for hours?
- Do you spend your free time thinking about this topic?
- Are you able to come up with 10-15 long blog posts about it?
- Do you find yourself looking through other people’s blogs about this topic?
- Have you always been interested in it?
- Do you have a unique perspective of this topic or voice that you can share with other people? Will they find it interesting?
If you can answer yes to a lot of these (or hopefully all of these) questions then that topic or niche is probably be right for you! This is a very important step because you need to have a lot to say or share on this topic. You don’t want to run out of ideas or fail to engage your readers. There are probably a million other bloggers out there doing the same thing. Make sure you are unique!
2) Find a host + pick a domain name
After you have figured out a blog niche or topic(s), you have to pick a title for your blog! This title will soon become your domain name. Your domain name is what your readers will type into their browser to get to your site. Make sure the name of your blog really stands out and is relevant to what you want to write about.
After you have narrowed it down to a few ideas go check to see if someone has already taken that domain or title (you can check if your domain is taken or available by clicking here). There are millions of blogs out there and thousands of them being created everyday.
After you have picked a domain name, you have to find a host for your blog. A host is a company that literally hosts your blog on their server. I personally use lithium hosting. My friend referred me to them because they are cheap and have a wide variety of options at different price points. As a beginner blogger you do not want to invest a lot into the blog unless you have to. With Lithium hosting you can start blogging at only $3 a month.
Lithium was perfect for me when I first started blogging because I didn’t have many viewers. As I got more traffic and needed a bandwidth upgrade, Lithium provided me with a wide variety of options. I only needed to pay $1 more a month without any other obligations or annual fees. Lithium offers significantly more flexibility and a smaller investment than other hosting sites. While also giving you some of the highest customer satisfaction that I have experienced. They work with you until your problem(s) are completely solved.
You can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Lithium Hosting and view all of their hosting plans here.
3) WHo is your audience?
Now that you have picked your niche and have a domain name I want you to think about your audience. Who would want to read your topics? If you are writing about parenting, your target audience is probably other parents. Maybe you want to write about fitness and nutrition? Your audience is probably people who want to lose weight or are also fitness junkies.
If you do not know who your audience is, that is okay. They are not too hard to find if you put in a little effort. I know when I started this self-improvement blog I had no idea where to find my audience. What did I do in this predicament? I dabbled!
Okay, no one says that word dabble anymore but I think it sounds better than experimenting. I took to the internet and read about what the top bloggers were doing in order to promote their blogs and I mimicked them. It looked like most of them were on Pinterest and Stumbleupon, so I decided to join those two.
I also tried other avenues that I thought would work for me! Some did really well and others drove no traffic to my blog. You have to go through a little trial and error to find out exactly where your audience is.
4) Open Social Media Accounts
After you have accessed your audience and figured out which social media platforms you will find the greatest following, go join them! Make sure that you accounts have the same name as your blog or as similar as you can get. This way your audience will be easily able to find ad recognize you.
I know that a lot of names will be taken but luckily the display name (the name that people will see) can be easily changed, even if the user name that you signed up with is different. Some of the major platforms that bloggers use are:
The good thing about most social media platforms is that they are free and you can sign up for them in less than 5 minutes each!
5) Research, Research, Research
If you are reading this post that means that you have already been doing research into blogging. Amazing job! I think a lot of people jump in head first without knowing what to do (like I did). Continue doing as much research as possible. Blogging is not easy, it takes a lot of hard work, especially if you want to make money off of it.
Make sure to also research and look into already established blogs in your niche. Read their articles about what has and has not worked for them. Read into how to use social media platforms for blogging to drive traffic to your blog. After you have looked into all of those things, mimic their process to success.
Also look into what search engine optimization (SEO) is and get to know it really well. Then do more research and then do some more research. There are a lot of resources out there to help you! After you have a full and well rounded view of what you want to do (and what you are really getting yourself into), come up with a plan.
6) make a plan
Whether that be a business plan or a blogging schedule, make sure that you have a plan before you move forward. When you first start out blogging, I think that you should have concrete goals. This is the biggest mistake that I made when I first started blogging. I had no idea what I wanted out of it. The blog had no direction and I had absolutely no plan. The blog just sat there with no readers and me disappointed. Start by brainstorming major goals for your blog.
- How often do you want to post?
- How many readers do you want to have in the first month, second month, etc?
- What amount of followers do you want to have on each social media platform by XX amount of time?
Really think about your goals and write them down. After you have written down the goals, write down all of the steps that you need to achieve those goals. Once you have that list, start checking them off!
I use my handy planner, like this one, to help me visualize and prioritize what I have to do. I typically plan out my goals by the month. Then week by week, I write down what I need to do each day in my planner! That way I can visually see what I need to do so that I don’t get overwhelmed.
7) write 5-10 posts before launching
If you do anything before you start a blog makes sure you have plan and make sure you write at least 5-10 posts before you launch your blog. This is probably my favorite piece of advice that I give new bloggers. Because you do not need to have 5-10 posts built up but it helps a lot if you do.
This will lead to you having a repository of posts in case you fall behind. Life can get in the way of blogging. Life can get in the way of a lot of things! These built up posts will ensure that you always have content readily available in case you don’t have time. It will save you a lot of stress and anxiety in the future.
If you are in the higher range of pre-written posts, try to publish a few of them on your website so that your new readers will have other things to read when they visit. It will make you look like a seasoned blogger and not the newbie that you are!
This way you can also have a clear touch point of whether or not you can write about the niche you are trying to get into.
Thank you for reading! Come back for new posts every Tuesday!
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