How to Start Your Blog – What to do Before you Launch – 12 Days of Blog Tips
Today for my Day 2 of my 12 Days of Blog Tips series, I am going to be talking all about HOW TO GET YOUR BLOG STARTED. I’ll cover it all! Think of it as a “check list” preparing you for your LAUNCH. I hope this helps all those who are wanting to start a blog, but might be unsure of where to start. Well today you will finally have your answer!
What is your Blog Going to be About? Then NAME it.
First things first, WHAT THE HECK are you naming this blog and what are you going to write about?! I’m sure you all have heard the famous blogger word being thrown around. – NICHE.
What in the world is a niche? It’s basically, your area of “expertise” or what you specialize in. For example, maybe you want to write about makeup, makeup looks, hair styles, or makeup tutorials. You would then have a niche in “Beauty”.
Now, a popular question, should you only have one niche? Well, some bloggers would say YES – only focus on one niche and target it well. However, in my opinion you can have multiple niches! In fact, I have multiple niches (things I write about) from blog tips to beauty & lifestyle. And I am doing just fine!
I would pick a niche that you can talk about with ease, and have a passion for! If you have passion for what you are writing about, blogging will come with ease. You will LOVE writing new posts, and you’ll be excited for readers to read your content!
When determining what to name your blog, try keeping this in mind:
What are you writing about? niche? – Incorporate that into your blog name so that readers will know what content your site will probably be offering. Ex: CatesCraftyCrafts (to the point, probably will be a craft blog) OR DailyLifeWithEll (probably a lifestyle blog/vlog)
Including your name adds a personal touch and makes YOU the face of YOUR blog and brand!
*Try and keep your Blog name short and sweet. Something that your readers will easily remember!
Do research before choosing your name. Having a blog name that is available to use on social medias as well is ideal. That way your readers won’t need to remember different user names for each platform. They will think of your blog name and be able to search + connect with you through all social media platforms.*** Just a tip!
Where Should you Start your Blog? – Platform
Now the next question; What platform should you START CREATING your blog on? This leads me to a few questions: Do you plan on taking your blog seriously? Growing success? Monetizing and eventually making side $$? If YES – 100% start your blog on a SELF HOSTED WORDPRESS.
Many bloggers make the mistake of starting their blog on free platforms like wordpress .com or they sign up with squarespace, Wix, or blogger. I’m not saying these are 100% horrible BUT they ARE limited and don’t offer as much as a self – hosted wordpress does.
When you self host, you are using a “server” to “host” your blog for you. DO NOT SIGN UP VIA WORDPRESS .COM – That is completely different from self hosting your website.
The self host server I use & ALWAYS recommend is: SITE GROUND.
Reasons why I love Site Ground
- Fast Server Speed
- The MOST helpful support team who is knowledgable and quick responding
- Affordable starting at $3.95 a month
- High Security with SSL certificates available
- Free site transfers (if transferring from wordpress .com or other hosts/platforms)
Once you sign up with your host you THEN set up your wordpress by installing it onto your host (should give you the option to choose and install wordpress)
*The reason why I say to start on a self hosted blog is because the transferring process does get tricky the longer you wait! So do yourself a favor, and start on it from the beginning! I wish I did!
& BOOM there you have it! An amazing platform to start creating your blog on!
What comes with a self hosted wordpress?
- FREEDOM (It’s YOUR blog + you get YOUR OWN domain instead of it looking tacky ex: ellduclos. wordpress .com – I now have ellduclos .blog (a lot more professional) AND none of these other companies own your blog in any way, it’s ALL YOURS!
- You can monetize any way you’d like. If you don’t self host a wordpress blog you might not be able to monetize the way you want. Some other blog platforms will only let you use specific ad companies, and if you blog on a free platform you aren’t even allowed to use ads or affiliate links! So self hosting a blog is great if you want to make money eventually.
- You have design flexibility with SO MANY options! Especially if you are trying to create a shop, self-hosted wordpress is PERFECT for that!
- PLUG INS! OMG YES! My absolute favorite is the amount of plugins that wordpress self hosted offers you! You can add plug ins to create an over all better look, OR to help with your SEO (search engine optimization), you can even use plug ins to grow your email list! (which is KEY!) There’s so many good plug ins out there HERE’S a list of some of my favorites.
Related: Why You Should Self Host A Blog
Pick a Good Theme
Now that you have your platform to create on, it’s time to pick a theme! What you want your blog layout to be! You can browse through the many themes on wordpress that are free OR you can purchase a theme through my personal favorite: Creative Market. That’s where I purchased mine!
When you are choosing a theme you want to make sure it:
- Appeals to the eyes. Make sure the theme isn’t to busy. Clean, polished , Easy to read.
- Navigates with ease, you don’t want a theme that is hard for the reader to look through. Setting up categories if you have multiple niches is ideal too! Make it so they can read what they WANT to read.
- Has a color scheme and use it through out your blog + social media.
- Has a header +/OR brand logo! I love creating mine on Canva. I’m telling you Canva will change your blogging journey for the better.
Create a BANGIN’ About Me
Make sure your about me let’s your audience know WHO you are and WHAT you’re about! What is your mission? What are you trying to accomplish? Feel free to get personal if you want.
I like to add my email to my about me that way anyone who wants to reach out and ask me something, whether it be brand collaborations or just a way to contact me, It makes it easier!
Set Up Plug Ins
Add some plug ins to your blog that help take your blog to the next level. For a list of 20+ plug ins I recommend, access here.
Set Up an E-Mail List Builder + OPT IN
Having a blog/shop you want an e-mail list. Those who subscribe to your site are your “ride or dies”. They care about hearing from you (usually). ALSO social medias come and go but emails are the real thing. They are HERE. So having a list of emails of your readers is great, in case social media dies out one day.
The e-mail list builder I use is Mailer Lite. I really enjoy Mailer Lite because it’s SO simple to use. I tried using Mail Chimp and just got frustrated. Mailer Lite also has a drag + drop feature that helps when setting up your email!
Up to 1,000 subscribers free before having to invest in an email list builder plan!
You can also set up an automations! This creates an “opt in” (freebie) that you can send to everyone who subscribes! For example: My opt in is; if you subscribe you receive a free 28 day blog challenge.
To create a perfect opt in, you need to think about who your target audience is, and what you think they would like to receive?! What will make them hit SUBSCRIBE.
Having an opt in really helped to grow my list!
Set Up A Blog Schedule
Get a blog schedule set up! I love having a blog post schedule. Planning ahead makes it so much easier, cuts out writers block, AND helps to keep you on task + following deadlines.
The more consistently you post, the more consistent your audiences is! If you post every Monday, Wednesday, + Friday – Your audience will fall into that routine and realize that’s when you update! They will check back on those days and they will be more likely to keep up with your new content!
Having a posting schedule also allows your audience to trust you. This is important if you are trying to eventually monetize. No one will purchase through a blogger they don’t trust!
What I like to do is take out my blog post planner. (I use this one). The beginning of each month I will plan out my blog posts for that month. I will map them out and write down what blog post I want to have up by which day!
Anytime I think of a new blog post idea I will jot it down in my phone “notes”. I’ll look back to my notes when I am planning my blog posts, to remember which posts I had ideas for.
Hope this strategy helps! Also creating series can be really great for your blog!
*NOTE: If you want to incorporate multiple niches, setting up specific days to post content from a specific niche is a great guide to follow! It helps to make sure you focus on each niche without leaving one niche out. Example: Fashion Fridays, Tip Tuesdays, Daily Life Saturday, What to Wear Wednesday, Etc. Get creative and have fun with it!
Related: How to Stay Organized & Motivated
Tease About Your Launch
Before launching, tease your launch to your social media following. If you have been growing your instagram in preparation for your LAUNCH, do an instagram story letting your followers know when you plan to launch! You can do a tweet about the launch date too! Always talk about the date you plan on launching! If your following knows, they will get excited with you and be there for the big reveal! Bringing your traffic up.
What I have learned overall about launching; it’s to NOT STRESS. I know it’s hard not to because it’s so exciting! BUT if you stress over every little detail, you will put your launch off. You just have to GO WITH IT!
Don’t expect your audience to be there right away because that’s most of the time NOT the case. It takes a while to grow a solid audience on your blog. Traffic can be hard to get! So don’t worry about the numbers. Launch and have fun with your blog! The more you stress, the less fun it becomes & then it defeats the whole purpose! Blogging is meant to be a passion, to be a LOVE, something FUN!
The moment blogging isn’t fun anymore, is the moment you need to realize: You’re OVER stressin’ the small stuff. So RELAX.
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I hope this helped motivate you to start your blog + get to launching!!!! YOU GOT THIS!
AND if you EVER need a blog coach to help you bring your blog to the next level, or even help you get the hang of wordpress, check out my blog coaching services.
Until Next Time,