When I started blogging I had no clue what I was doing, I did my research and gained some knowledge as I went. Looking back I wish I did things in a different order and perhaps all together a lot sooner than I did but I have no real regrets. If you are thinking of starting a blog I think these steps are pretty handy to keep in mind, in fact I’d say they are a must when getting started.
Buy your domain
Yes there’s a cost to this step but it’s not as pricey as you might think. It’s also not essential but I definitely think it’s worth thinking about. Thinking of a great blog name is tough so when you finally have it, it’s better to buy the domain name before someone else does first. This basically means you own the name and that not-so-professional-looking url (eg thimblesandspoons.blogspot.com) becomes a fabulous looking ThimblesandSpoons.com which let’s face it is much easier to remember and looks more serious to brands.
Find your platform
The majority of bloggers decide to use Blogger or WordPress as their platform and I am one of them. I started out using Blogger which is a free and very simple platform to use especially when learning the ropes to your new blog. It’s handy but I’d highly recommend diving into WordPress from the get go.
I held back from jumping to WordPress because I thought I’d struggle with the navigation and technical elements. In reality it’s quite simple and it’s a lot more customisable so you can add those little personal touches. There’s free and paid options to suit your needs so you don’t have to make a big commitment if you want to find your feet first. It’s by far my favourite platform I have used.
Plan your content
Before you go live with your blog, take some time to jot some ideas down of what you want to write. Whether you stick to a niche or not is completely up to you but it is handy to have a list of ideas to keep “Bloggersblock” at bay.
My advice is to try and get ahead of yourself. Write up as many potential posts as you can and keep on top after going live. This makes your schedule easier to maintain when unexpected plans come up and you won’t miss out on posting a days content. We’ve all been there!
Sort out a schedule
Working out a schedule sounds boring I know but it’s a necessity if you want your content to be consistent.. and believe me consistency is a must when trying to grow your audience. Work out when you want to post and how often. I recommend posting atleast twice a week when you first start out but you can decide what’s best for you. Try to stick to the same day and time each week for best results. This allows your new readers know when to check in.
There’s plenty of apps that can help you keep to your schedule too. I use Hootsuite to promote my content on Twitter, Tailwind to schedule my relating pins and I’m currently trying out Planoly for Instagram. It’s definitely worth checking a few out to promote traffic back to your blog.
Invest in a template
I know another cost, but I’d say the max you’re looking at for a professional looking template is around £50. But don’t worry there’s other options that are a lot cheaper too. Finding a template that looks professional and easy to navigate will be something your readers really appreciate. It also helps you stand out to other bloggers around you.
Think of it as a snippet of your personality and something that your audience will remember. If your blog looks professional and is easy to read, you also have more chance of brands wanting to take the plunge and work with you in the future. How amazing would that be?
Something else that will make you stand out is a good logo or blog header. Try making one yourself or find someone to help you, either way this is a step will make you look like you have you s*** together. It’s a way of branding your blog and giving yourself a boost at being recognisable to new readers. Everyone knows that big M sign means a McDonalds is near by and that’s the power of a logo. Of course that’s a pretty big example but who knows where your logo will take you.
Add social media
I’m telling you now if you think just having a blog is all you need to grow then you are wrong. Your blog isn’t going to be seen by anyone unless you promote and what better way to promote then on incredibly popular platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
You don’t have to use them all but I definitely recommend using at least 2 to drive traffic back to your blog. Make sure your social platforms are shown on your blog, take note of the little icons at the top of the page and the side bar. This is a great way to stay connected to your audience. Just remember to try and keep your name as similar to your blog name as possible for consistency and recognition.
If you decided that WordPress was for you you might want to invest some time in looking at plugins. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is and it’s well worth doing. There are plugins for so many things like SEO, loading speed, comment forms and so much more.
Here’s a few I use:
Connect, connect and connect some more!
So you’ve gone live and are posting consistently, you are ahead of the game when it comes to content. So now what? It’s time you start connecting with others in the same boat as you. Comment on posts and show some love on social media. I guarantee you will see just as much love and support back which means you have more chance of driving traffic back to your own blog.
Have a look on other blogs and show your support because the blogging community is an amazing place and you may just need some help in the future. Who knows what friendships you will make.