Updated: Mar 6
Starting a blog has been one of my better life decisions. Being able to share my passion for writing and creating content has been beyond therapeutic for me and knowing that some of you have benefited from sharing my story is such a gift.
Deciding to take the plunge and jump in when I knew absolutely nothing was the scariest part. I am someone who does tons of research and never feels quite ready, so I research more until I lose my momentum and just give up due to fear. For this blog though, that wasn’t the case. I just did it and learned as I went.
I have learned so much and of course want to share that with you. So, if you are looking to start a blog and have interest in learning how to quickly and efficiently, here’s how!
1. Set up your domain name, social handles, and web host
To start things off you have to think of a name and this might be the hardest part. Try to think of something that is catchy, simple, has personality, and helps people distinguish that is is yours.
Once you’ve committed to your blog name, make sure it is available both as a domain and as social handles. The less you have to adjust on social media the better. Try to keep them the same as much as possible.
Next is time to find your web host. There are so many sites like Bluehost, GoDaddy, Siteground, etc. Do you research and see which works best for you and your needs. Personally, I’ve been very happy with GoDaddy. My domain and site are both managed by GoDaddy and the customer service is top notch.
2. Figure out your niche and target audience
Deciding on your niche and who you’re speaking to is crucial in setting up your blog to succeed. Figure out what you’re passionate about. Understand what there is a need for. How does your voice on certain topics benefit others? What can you bring to the blogging world that is either a. missing or b. not talked about enough or efficiently enough. Once you pick your angle, then you can start planning out your content, categories, etc.
3. Branding you + your blog
Depending on your angle, it’s time to brand your blog. Whether that means branding you specifically or not is different for everyone.
It’s a pain to re-brand your blog later on, so really spend sometime envisioning how your blog and brand looks in terms of the following:
a. Color scheme b. Fonts c. Graphic-style d. Vibe
How do you decide on these? Well, let’s break it down…
a. Color scheme:
How do you see you blog when you think about it? What colors correlate with your theme and niche? What colors call to you specifically? Create a mood board and see which colors you keep going back to. Decide between one and three and those will be your colors.
Fonts are great for deciphering your brand on Pinterest. I would utilize Canva for your social fonts. This may be different from your actual website fonts depending on if you use a pre-built theme or not on WordPress, or if you can customize them more specifically on a different web builder site. Fonts to consider solidifying are as follows:
– 2 bold fonts graphics – a script font – a regular font – a subtitle font
Next up are your graphics. What type of graphics will you be using? Stock images? Free images off of sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Gratisography, Picjumbo, etc.? Or are you taking your own photos and creating your own content from the ground up.
Search different types of graphics on sites like Pinterest and Google and see what you’re drawn to. Notice the tones in the images, the size, the layout, etc. and try to replicate certain qualities with each post to create a sense of cohesiveness and aesthetically pleasing.
What is your vibe? How do you want people to feel when they are looking at your Instagram or your site? What lifestyle are you trying to “sell”? This correlates with everything from color scheme, fonts, graphics, and your overall content. This will come together in a mood board.
4. Blog Theme
Now we need to find your site theme. There are so many websites that offer themes to purchase.
You can Google WordPress themes or themes to use for your self-hosted site and see which you prefer. Try to think about how it will convert to clicks and post hits. Clean and simple is always nice and helps the content speak for itself.
5. Create a logo
Create your logo. You can do this easily on a site like Canva, create one on your own on Photoshop, or have someone create it for you. If you need help, please feel free to reach out!
Make sure your logo is sizeable to where it can be a Favicon. (A favicon is the small icon that shows in your web browser tab). Make sure your logo has your brand colors and fonts if possible.
If you use WordPress, plugins are your best friends. They take your blog from amateur to professional instantly. Not only can they help with your social shares, engagement rates, rankings, and optimizations, but they can also help you track your analytics and see how you can improve your blog. Some great plugins that I recommend:
Easy Google Fonts This plugin allows you to easily add custom fonts to your site off of Google.
Google Analytics Get all the analytics and data you need to see what posts are doing the best, how people are finding your site, what their behaviors are, their demographics, etc.
Insert Headers and Footers Any codes you need to add to your site for whatever reason can be added to the header and footer of your site invisibly without having to go into your actual coded site and figure out how to accomplish editing your HTML and theme files.
Instagram Feed Help increase your follower and engagement rate on Instagram by adding this feed plugin on to your site. You can customize how the grid looks and how your posts are shown as well.
Yoast SEO This plugin is a MUST have. Yoast SEO works on your Search Engine Optimization on your posts and makes sure your keywords are proper choices in addition to being high ranked. It helps you rank higher on search engines and also makes sure your content is top notch.
Disqus Comment System allows your comment threads to be more engaging. It allows you to upload videos, do polls, eliminate spam and more.
7. Setup your Email Marketing Service
Building an email list is very important for the success of your blog. Before you can do that, you need an email service that will allow you to not only collect emails from your readers and followers, but allows you to create email sequences that are automated. Having an email list is the best way to then make your blog profitable down the road. Starting from the jump helps set you up for success. Some great options for email services are:
8. Set up Tailwind and Pinterest
These two work hand-in-hand and are amazing for leveraging viewers and visitors to your blog and your posts. First setup your Pinterest profile and specific boards to things that correlate with your blog and you as a person. Make sure they are searchable.
Then it’s time to join groups. Finding groups can be difficult but using a site like PinGroupie can help you find active group boards that will help promote your content. There are different rules for each one, so be sure to make sure you are paying attention to what you are agreeing to before joining. I suggest you find out who they group board is managed by and message them directly on Pinterest unless the board itself has directions on how to request joining.
More info on Pinterest to come…
Tailwind is a way to automate Pinterest and plan your pins. Like Pinterest, instead of groups they have tribes that you can join to also help promote your posts. Tailwind is great for scheduling your pins at optimal times on regular and group boards. More info to come on Tailwind as well…
9. Create an opt-in form and freebie
Most people need some type of incentive to give their email address away. So for building you list, create an opt-in form (you can look for plugins to do this) and create some sort of freebie potential subscribers receive for sharing their email address. Create something that would be high demand and useful for your target audience and demographic. This can then tie into your email service and they can receive their freebie automatically.
10. Create 5 pillar posts
Create five posts that are the pillars of what your blog stands for. 5 crucial posts that help readers understand who you are, what to expect from your blog, and what categories you will speak on. Make them fun, light, and either educational, inspirational, or entertaining.
Pull the trigger and go have fun. Learn as you and don’t get caught up on not knowing what you’re doing. You will find your rhythm and your flow for what works for you and your blog. Use captivating headlines, create great content, and share your voice.
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