If you’ve decided to start a blog, these tips can get you off on the right foot.
So you’ve been thinking about starting a blog. GREAT! For me, blogging has been an amazing experience and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone!
Maybe you are an avid writer and you want to marry your love of writing with one of your passions. Maybe you are a business entrepreneur and you are looking to grow your client base. Or maybe you just want to write about daily life and connect with other people.
No matter what your reasons for thinking about starting a blog are, there are a few things that you will want to consider when are in the planning stages to give you the best shot at success.
What are you writing about and who are you writing to?
This part may seem really easy for some people and depending on your reasons for starting a blog, this might be really obvious right away. Sometimes, it takes a bit more thought and investigation.
For instance, if you are starting a blog about daily life and you’re writing to family and friends, you’re likely going to be writing to them about your life, struggles, ups, and downs etc.
If you’re blogging to support your business, you want to be creating content that is directed at your ideal client, identifying their struggles and helping them overcome them.
We call this person an avatar in blog-land.
Making a decision on who your personal avatar is can help you focus on your writing content more clearly and you will be able to build a solid tribe of readers that will come back for more.
This whole process is called determining your niche. And it’s very important – especially in building your credibility as a writer.
What do you want to do with your blog?
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Next, you’ll want to determine what you want to do with your blog in the big picture. Where do you see it in the future? What are you trying to accomplish with it?
You may just want it to be all for a hobby- purely for the love of writing and sharing your information. And that’s really great. There are a ton of bloggers who do this for personal reasons only and find a great sense of accomplishment from it.
But you also may want to use all of that time that you’ve invested in growing your blog and followers to generate income. This is called monetizing your blog.
There are a ton of ways for bloggers to make money.
- Many bloggers participate in affiliate marketing partnerships, where they write about other products and provide links to them. If somebody clicks on the links and purchases something, the blogger may receive a small commission on that purchase. Almost every product has an affiliate program to sign up for. Newbie bloggers usually start out with Amazon Associates as they have easy requirements and there are so many products to offer so it works well in every niche.
- There are also larger directories of affiliates that you can sign up to gain access to thousands of affiliate programs at one time. A few popular ones are Awin, CJ Affiliates, and ShareASale.
- Some bloggers also sell their own physical or digital products like books, courses, guides, and templates.
- Placing random ads throughout your site is also a very popular way to generate passive income. This one isn’t necessarily my favorite as it can sometimes be annoying and can clutter up the feed but done well, there are many bloggers that swear by them. Some popular ones are Google Ads, Media.net, Monumetric, Mediavine and FOMO.
- Companies sometimes reach out and actually pay bloggers to write a post about a specific product, called sponsored posts.
- Many bloggers also find extra work through freelance writing, guest posting and even helping others with their social media marketing on places like Fiverr.
UPDATE: Much to my dismay, Fomo Ads Publisher has decided to shut down as of October 1, 2019. If you are looking for a new ad network to collaborate with, Media.net is great for beginners and Monumetric is a great option if you have at least 10,000 page views per month.
Now you can decide how your blog should be set up
If you decide you want to go to the hobby blogger route you can probably use any free blogging site like Wix, Weebly, or WordPress .com (free hosted version).
But if you want to make money with your blog I would highly suggest that you purchase your domain name and be self-hosted. This means you pay for a company to keep your blog on the internet (like an internet landlord) and use WordPress as your writing platform.
Many of the free sites will not work with ads or allow monetization at all. Some of them do with an upgrade to the platform but it’s usually just as expensive, if not more than the self-hosted option.
You might be swayed by the fact that the first option is free, and think to yourself, “I will sign up for that and then if I ever get to a point where I’m making money then I’ll just switch over”.
The problem is that just switching over isn’t quite as easy as it might seem. Especially if you’re not switching from free WordPress to self-hosted WordPress.
Most good hosting companies like Siteground will transfer your free hosted WordPress account to a self-hosted one, but if you are trying to switch from any of the other platforms, it can be very frustrating, exhausting and expensive.
Trust me on this one, you’ll just save yourself all kinds of time and headache if your plan in the future is to make money, self-hosted is the way to go.
PRO TIP: If you sign up with Siteground for the three-year introductory rate, it is LESS expensive than one year at the regular rate SO SAVE YO-SELF SOME MOOLA!
How much time CAN and WILL you invest?
Whether you’re blogging for hobby or blogging for money, having a blog that people want to follow and come back to will take some time and effort.
You’ll want to consider in the beginning how much time do you want to or can you invest in it.
The reality is it’s a fairly large learning curve in the beginning, especially during setup. Once the setup is completed and you’re happy with how your blog looks and it is functioning, you still need to put a considerable amount of time and effort into posting consistent content.
Depending on the amount of content you want to produce, this could take you up to five hours a week for just one post.
But creating amazing content isn’t the only thing that you need to consider.
To have an active blog you’ll need to invest time in a variety of different things.
- You will need to be consistently marketing your blog posts and channel through social media sharing. The majority of my marketing is done through Facebook share threads, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a mix of other platforms. I spend about 20 minutes each day in the morning and night sharing and reciprocating other people’s shares. This helps you to build credibility and traffic and also creates opportunities for meeting other bloggers for future possible collaborations.
- You’ll need to create and maintain your mailing list which is critical in building your readership, creating your authority in your niche, and if you’re monetizing, having consistent sales.
- A huge part of blogging is creating and nurturing relationships with other bloggers in your niche. Relationships create opportunities for guest posts, sharing content more often and being a sounding board for your thoughts.
- You’ll also probably spend some time thinking and developing plans to grow your blog by creating content upgrades like checklists and guides to grow your mailing list and readers
And you’ll want to be consistent about all of these things. This is critical if you want your blog to grow.
At one post a week only, you should expect to spend at least 10 to 15 hours a week on your blog, if not more. Add in a few extra hours for marketing, email list management, relationship building and growing your blog and you might be looking at more like 25-40 hours.
And now you can see how some bloggers make this their
What are your skills?
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, like me, you may not mind sifting through the tons of material that’s available online about starting your blog.
If you’re anxious and you want to get your blog started right away, you may want to consider paying somebody to help you set it up.
In the beginning I figured I could do it all. I managed to get through all of the stages of setup and having my blog look exactly the way I want it to look with very little help.
But there were things that I just really didn’t understand about the blog world. And I finally decided that investing a little bit of money to have someone who knew what they were doing walk me through the process of email marketing was going to be worth my time and investment.
I would suggest writing down a list of all of the things that you might be willing to do on your own. And then make a list of the things you really know nothing about- things that might seem daunting, or might take a long time to learn. And then search out people that can help you to learn those things faster.
I always say time equals money. Saving myself hours and hours of research on email marketing through one $60 one-on-one session with a pro was definitely a valuable investment.
Bottom line. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help or investing help if you need it.