With the new year comes new resolutions and new dreams. Each year I notice more and more people choosing to start a blog. To share their life, recipes and travel adventures with the world. However, as many people would want to start a blog only about half of them actually go through with it. Why? Because becoming a blogger is overwhelming and a terribly scary experience. Sharing all of your life with the world can be daunting. Trying to even create an online space, especially for those who aren’t technically suave (like my self) can be a game changer.
If you haven’t already then I highly recommend you read the first of this series before we begin. Those bloggers are masters at well… blogging! They can truly help you set the stage before you even consider what you’re going to write about. I am not kidding. They know everything about the part of blogging that they’re masters at. But for beginners here are the basics. This is what I tell all my friends when they’re considering blogging.
1.Create Your Name & Grab It
This is number one because it’s the most important. Your name will set the tone for your blog for ever and ever. It’s also hard and expensive to change your name later. So spend sometime and think it over. You’re in no rush to start your blog today, right in this moment. Think it over, decide what you’re going to be talking about and find something that fits you. I recommend a name that’s easily interchangeable. You will grow as a blogger and your name should grow with you. See how I created my blog name HERE.
2. Decide on a Publisher
Deciding who will host your blogs site is a big deal. Each of the main three blogging houses (WordPress, Blogger and Squarspace) each offer different things. Personally if you’re wanting your blog to go pro one day or plan to only write recipes then go with WordPress. They’re more user-friendly with plugin’s such as their recipe cards, woocommerce and SEO. But if this is strictly a hobby blog then stick with Squarspace and Blogger. If you decide later that your blog is actually something you do intend to take pro later on Megan at shapingupyourblog.com can easily (and cheaply) move your blog from Blogger to WordPress within a week. Just like she did with me.
3. Set Up a Theme
Decorating is my FAVORITE past time. I am the ultimate woman when it comes to decorating my space. With blogging it’s the same way. A clean space is exactly what every one is looking for when they stop by blogs. No one like’s looking at a kaleidoscope of colors, it makes their brains hurt. The same goes for overly dark blogs or blogs that are bogged down with ads, and other things on your side bars. Remember, more is less. If you’re on Blogger I recommend checking out April from Sweet-Madness she normally does a personalized Blogger design once a month. She did my first two for me when I was on blogger and she created my button that is still on my side bar. If you’re with WordPress my FAVORITE blog designer is Restored316 Designs. My last two blog designs have come from her and I am sure many more will. She has great tutorials on how to install them yourself. They’re super user-friendly. I know I just did one! Or you can purchase different packages and she will install it herself. Want my theme? Click HERE
4. About Me
Your about me section is important. More so than any other part of your blog. I am constantly updating mine to keep it current as my blog grows. Many people who find a post they love of yours is going to click right on over to your about me page and read it. I always incorporate posts that will help them get to know me more and three of my most popular posts of all time. Your about me page should be fun, personal and explain exactly what your blog is or isn’t. You’ll also want to add pictures that highlight not only your blog space, but you as well. Your about me picture and short about me synopsis should all be consistent. You’ll want to add them to ALL your social media profiles to keep it cohesive.
5. Make Your E-Mail
Your e-mail is the second most important aspect of your blog. Depending on who you speak to some would say it’s your most important. I know Kristen from Sweetteaandsavinggracblog.com would say it is the most important. Setting up your mail chimp and feed burner so that you can collect and store your emails is paramount to how you get a steady stream of readers to your blog, even when you’re too busy to promote on social media. Creating a fabulous email is how you get people to come check out your space every day. So make sure you’re creating a great automated email each week. Sign up for ours to get a good idea!
This is extremely important and you should have this made before you post your first blog post. I know you’ll be creating wonderful images to share on social media, content that is out of this world and at times, may even do a sponsored or affiliated post at times. Your policy page makes it clear to your readers that even though you sometimes will do a paid or potentially paid post, have paid for links or create awesome stuff, it doesn’t take away from the integrity of your blog and you don’t want your stuff used without permission on other’s sites. Especially if those other people are companies or other bloggers. You can check out mine HERE (please don’t steal mine, create your own) or if you want a more detailed look of what your policy page should look like then I would read Building a Frame Work By Abby Lawson. She’s goes into some serious detail about not just the policy page but everything we’re talking about today.
7. Google Analytics
You need to set up your google analytics on your blog space. It helps you track who is comes to your blog, what they’re looking at and when. It’s a create place to help you formulate what is popular on your blog and where it’s being viewed the most. You can check out my post on how to set it up for Blogger or WordPress HERE. It’s super easy to do and the best thing for you as a blogger.
8. Create an Incentive
FREE STUFF. People love it. I love it. Everybody loves it. It brings people to your space and spreads the words to the masses. I created three free chalkboard printables for the kitchen that have been shared 2k a piece on Pinterest. It took me like 4 hours to make. Only because I had zero idea what I was doing. But once it was made, people flocked to it. Kristen has a great tutorial on how to best utilize your free incentives, but Abby really explains the dynamics behind them and she helped me create a few ideas for some that I have going out this year as well. So create a couple. Preferably something that goes along with your blog space.
9. Shareahloic & Hello Bar
These two plugin’s have really helped me discover what people like and how they share them. It also makes it easy for people to share your content on every social media out let helping boost your SEO and Google ranking. Now don’t get too carried away and have like 9 different pop ups, share bars and share now buttons. It will bog down your site and make it hard for people to not only read your content but load it on to their devices. So just one or two for them should be just fine for your site.
10. Write Your Blog Posts
Every one of the people I’ve mentioned about will tell you. Go ahead and start writing two or three posts. More if you have the time and know what you’re wanting to write about. This will help alleviate some of the pressure of getting posts written and up on your blog so you have more time to focus on the other things. Don’t know what to write about first? A great place to start is a welcome post. You can go into detail about you, your blog and what you want from not only your space but from your readers as well. It’s also a wonderful thing to link on your about me page. Then write 3 really great niche centered posts with your images included. This will give you time to see how they will look on your blog, what images work best and to do research if need be. That way when you do go live you have a cohesive look for all three posts and people will want to look at them more and more.
11. Promote, Promote, Promote
Once you have finished all of the above, read up on some fabulous blogging tips and have posted your first or second blog posts, it’s time to promote! Promoting your blog post or just your blog in general is the easiest way to get people interested in what you have to say. Where do you start? After publishing your posts on your social media outlets (hoot suite is a great free option to get started) then it’s time to share it on blogging groups. Other bloggers will share your content to their readers and help drive traffic to your site. Don’t get to hung up on these sites though, they can quickly occupy all of your time. So pick two or three to do at a time. Build relationships with these bloggers and start seeing if you can guest post on some of the blogs you love. Guest posting really helps their readers see what you have to offer. Two great blogging Facebook groups with daily threads is Show Your Blog Love and Blog Passion Project.
These simple steps will make starting your blog that much easier, taking away some that overwhelming feeling. Make sure you check out our other blog posts for easy tutorials. Also, sign up for our email newsletter. Our What I Work For Series has TONS of tutorials. When I find them I added them to the latest What I Work For.