Not sure how to start a blog? It takes time, energy and a plan of action. The most useful time you can invest is in setting up your blog properly from the outset. All you need is one idea– and whether you’re a business or individual, there are readers out there who will be waiting to discover your content and rely on you as a go-to for consistent information. Here are 6 simple steps to get started building your next blog.
1. Choose Your Subject
What topic are you most passionate about and find yourself talking about endlessly? Is there a particular field you are an official (or unofficial) expert on and can offer valuable insight? Your answer to either question can be your theme. A clear topic and focused content will help readers recognize and return to your blog, identifying you as a knowledgeable resource.
Discovering your niche also comes into play when you want to start monetizing your blog. If you love cooking, you may have a library of recipes to prepare and share with the rest of the world. You could also be starting a new business and want to discuss important updates and industry-related topics to enhance your brand. As you write your blog posts, keeping your audience in mind will help you to develop your voice and how you want to speak to your readers. It’s crucial to both learn and speak their language, start reading influential blogs within your selected niche now.
2. Set Hard Goals
Even if you’re blogging for fun, identifying your long-term and short-term goals will help you with the upkeep involved. A short-term goal could be as simple as daily blog posting or watching one new tutorial per week to learn more about your topic. Try creating a schedule, plotting out days of the week to write, edit and publish. Attending local events to network and write about afterward will also help you brainstorm new topics to discuss with others who share your passion. Your goals can be more technical, such as a new design or template on your site. Sticking to these goals will help you to see results from your time and effort.
“A good blog name is one that’s as memorable as it is simple.”
For longer-term goals, think about what you’d like to accomplish with your blog over the next year. An attainable and worthy goal is to gradually build an audience across multiple platforms where you can promote content. Gaining engaged and valuable followers takes quite a bit of time, but will give you a quality community that will be your core source of traffic for years. Make a solid decision on if you want to monetize your blog now from the onset. This will influence all future decisions from the ground up.
3. Choose A Name
A good blog name is one that’s as memorable as it is simple. If you don’t already have a name in mind, aim for a title that lets others know what your topic is about or which audience it’s intended for. You may need to come up with a few options or stay flexible with your name choice, depending on whether the domain is available or not. Take a look on WhoIs.net or InstantDomainSearch to see if your domain can be purchased.
Your blog’s title and domain should be short so that readers can manually type it in without having to search their browser history. Use a keyword of your topic, avoid numbers and hyphens. Your domain extension should also be chosen based on your content. A .co extension is generally used to abbreviate a company or community site. Domains with .me can let people know that this site is a personal site used for an electronic resume or portfolio. Using .net is most common for technical or Internet-focused sites. Simplicity is key to make your blog easily recognizable. Take SocialMediaExplorer.com for example, the reader knows instantly upon reading what the blog is all about.
4. Find The Right Platform
Now that you know your topic, audience and domain, you can choose the right platform to use for your content. Beginners and writers will love the intuitive interface and layouts of WordPress. Bloggers who are writing time-sensitive content may prefer Ghost, where they can preview posts on their blog while writing them. Github users will want to use TinyPress, and a big business may opt for Drupal to allow easy media sharing across departments. If CSS or HTML language is foreign or intimidating to you, Weebly or Wix have interfaces that allow easy performance without any coding required. And if you’re all about style, we have to recommend SquareSpace as an elegant and classy option. They have templates premade and optimize for simplicity. For more details on these platforms, along with some additional suggestions for effective web builders, checkout this guide from Cloudwards.
5. Concept A Content Plan
Bring your readers back again and again with consistency. Stick to a strict schedule and be sure to capitalize on high traffic periods. To avoid burning out on one subject, think about how you can break down your subject into several topics and mix them up each week in different formats.
What would you want to know if you were visiting your site? For example, The Financial Diet, a money blog for millennial women has a menu including: Money Talk (investing, living with debt), Career (negotiating, finding a job), College (living on a student budget), Living (DIY tutorials, health, essays), In the Kitchen (recipes, grocery shopping tips), Travel (within a budget) and #TFD (interactive, ask the author). Each category is highly specialized and relevant to their target audience. As you establish your categories be sure to research each one and understand if they’ll resonate with your target audience.
6. Share Baby Share
Don’t be afraid to collaborate with other authors or influencers! Try a content marketing platform like ClearVoice to connect and interact with influencers and making your content more viral. This can help to put your blog in front of more eyes and will help you to build a reliable network of others in your field. Create a list of subscribers on GetResponse, keeping readers updated with exclusive offers or perks for incentive. Set up social media accounts to take your blog farther, as new readers can discover you through Facebook shares, retweets or reblogs. You can engage with your audience members, promote your posts and build your voice through regular social posts in addition to your blog.