PICK A “LOOK” OR A THEME
Alot of new bloggers, when they are just starting out, often don’t think about the kind of look they want for their blog. Do you want a bright, colourful theme that immediately draws attention?
Or do you want a more, simple, minimalist look like the theme my blog currently runs? To start your blog on the right path, a great place to start is to decide on your colour scheme/ branding.
It is also very important that you ensure that the colours you choose are reflected across all of your social media platform. My current colour scheme is grey, white, black and gold with a bold green as an accent such as you’d see on my Instagram page.
You should also decide what it is that you will be blogging about. You can choose to blog about one specific subject such as DIY or travel, or like me, you can choose to have a more general theme that focuses on everything lifestyle.
A few popular categories for blogs are Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Personal Development and Food.
When you are choosing your theme, if it’s one thing that I ask, it’s that you be passionate about it. If you choose a theme in order to make money, you might not last very long. Also consider if you have any experience with the subject matter? Does the category you choose enable you to think of MANY post ideas and be creative?
CHOOSE THE RIGHT HOSTING PLATFORM
To set your blog up for success, you need to choose the right platform to use for your blog. Self hosting is when you own your domain and pay a company to effectively host that domain so that the world has access to your amazing content.
This means that, unlike free platforms, you have complete control over your blog content, theme and everything else. On a free site, if the site were to be shut down tomorrow, all of your content would be lost. When self hosting, however, your content will be available for as long as you choose to blog.
A major reason to choose self hosting over free platforms such as wordpress.com is that you have the added ability to monetize your blog. Monetization can be done via google adsense, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing etc. If you also would like to create your very own online shop as a part of your offerings, self hosting is the way to go.
Blog self hosting was one of my first investments as a new blogger and I am incredibly happy that I did so. In my honest opinion, the best self host you can choose is Site Ground.
Not only are they an excellent host whose servers are never down and known for never having been hacked, they also provide knowledgeable, readily available technical support 24/7. Trust me, I have asked many a question and their customer service agents were always there to help me out.
Plus if you are currently using a free version of wordpress.com, they will transfer your site for free!! This was a big help for me when I had no idea what I was getting myself into last year. You can access Site Ground here for a low monthly fee of only $3.95 per month.
DON’T TRY TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE
Lemme break this down for you. As much as you have grand ideas of what you want to blog about, you do not have to blog about everything.
It is quite okay to stick to just one subject or category, and you do not have to include your personal life if you are not comfortable doing so. Whatever you decide to blog about should be a reflection of the things you truly care about and want to share with the world.
The word “want” is very critical here. It makes no sense to start a blog about food when you hate eating out or don’t have the funds to do so. It also isn’t the best idea to start a fashion blog if you dislike being in-front of the camera.
This is your blog and you have complete control over the kind of content you want to release. If anything at all makes you uncomfortable or just really annoyed, heck, skip that ish. Your blog does not have to be like other bloggers because your blog isn’t for other bloggers, it’s for you.
One of my favourite bloggers of all times focuses on strictly DIY crafts because that is what she truly enjoys doing. And you know what, she totally rocks that niche!
A large reason many new bloggers, or even experienced bloggers fail is because they are as inconsistent as snow flakes. They have no set schedule and release content whenever they feel like it. If you do this, you are creating a recipe for disaster. The first thing I decided on, before I started writing content, was when I would be releasing it.
Since I have a full-time job as a teacher, I started out twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays and this worked out really well. I recently started my lifestyle YouTube channel however, which posts on Wednesdays, so I now post on my blog twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.
This gives me enough time to juggle all three of my most active platforms while sticking to a schedule that my readers are accustomed to.
Choose a schedule that you can work with. You don’t have to post everyday to have a successful blog. Some bloggers have a schedule of once a week or even once a month. What matters is that you are able to stick to the schedule and always produce your best content.
If you know that it takes time for you to produce your best content then give yourself the time. I really don’t like it when bloggers pump out mediocre content on a daily basis when they could have done so much better had they done only one or two blog posts weekly.
INVEST IN PINTEREST
Can I just say that Pinterest is amazing? When I was a really new blogger, I used to ask more experienced bloggers how I could have a successful blog. The number one piece of advise was to invest in Pinterest because it works.
After using it for about two months now I can completely agree. Pinterest is a visual search engine so it is not really a social media platform. Pinterest can be your number one way to grow your blog traffic exponentially.
The first thing you need to do is to switch to a Pinterest business account. Doing so enables you to link your website or blog. Here is a detailed post on exactly how to claim and verify your website using Pinterest.
As soon as you have verified your website, use the Pinterest Analytics tab to study your traffic coming to your Pinterest profile and the traffic going to your blog as a result of Pinterest.
Because Pinterest is a search engine, you can create pins (which are amazing picture representations of your blog posts) that link to your site. This enables you to keep traffic flowing to your blog on a daily basis. I currently use Canva because it has a Pinterest template with dozens of layouts available for use.
In order to get traffic to your blog, you should share your newly created pins on Pinterest and this can result in other users re-pinning your content. This effectively increasing your chances of being seen. There are a number of tricks and tips for properly utilizing Pinterest. You can find a detailed post on exactly how to kick butt on Pinterest here.
BE PATIENT AND WORK HARD
I’m sorry to say this but I have to. Do you want to know how to start your blog? I can tell you that. Are you wondering how long it will take to become successful? That is one thing I cannot answer. There are many factors that decide how quickly a blog will become a successful and profitable blog.
I can guarantee though, that if you utilize the information in this blog post, you will definitely be on your way to building a successful blog and maybe an incredibly fulfilling career.
The idea of success varies from person to person and whether or not your bog will be a success is entirely up to you. It does not happen overnight. It takes time, hard work, adapting and constantly learning (among other things) in order to get your foot through the door of success.
You cannot start a blog today and expect to be successful tomorrow. That’s just not practical. So be patient. Plot your road-map and be prepared to make changes along the way. Give yourself time to grow, time to experiment and really own your niche.
During the first few months to first year of blogging, you’ll work out the kinks and figure out what works for you and your readers. Allow yourself the time to figure out what content you enjoy producing, what routines work for you on a daily basis and where you want to be in the world of blogging.
The longer you work at it, the more surprised you might become. You’ll realize what topics you really enjoy writing about and what topics your readers love to receive from you.
Remember that no matter how much you prepare you will never know everything so don’t pencil yourself into a box like I did when I first started. No matter what happens, if blogging is really what you want to do, never give up.
HAVE A BOMB OPT IN
Whenever I visit a blog, I see pop ups asking me to subscribe to the blog for the latest updates or follow the journey. The problem is why should I subscribe to your blog if that is all the benefits I will gain? What are the added benefits? And why should I care about your journey.
This sounds harsh but those are literally the questions that visitors ask themselves when they visit blogs and other websites. That is where opt ins come in. Every good blog needs a great opt in, in order to grow their subscriber list and gain loyal readership.
Depending on your niche you can offer free printables, a resource library or even email challenges. I suggest doing your research. Look at what’s been working for other bloggers within your niche and go from there.
Finally I ask you to be authentic. Never let the thirst for fame change who you are or what you stand for. Many new bloggers start their blog sites with a specific intention then slowly begin to do more trendy posts in order to stay relevant. Please do not let this be you.
It is okay to change your blogging perspective as we all grow and mature. It’s not okay to lose the spark that makes your blog unique and allows it to stand out from the sea of other blogs. Always ensure that your blog is a 100% representation of who you are.
Another key point in being authentic is to create a kick-butt “about me” page. Your blog’s about me page serves as the first introduction to your readers so you need to leave a mark on them. Be genuine with your introduction and you can be as creative as you’d like.
Do you have any silly photos that represent your blog site? Include them. This page is where you are allowed to really express who you are, what your blog offers and what you expect from your readers in return. Give it your best shot!
Knowing how to start a blog can be really daunting at first. This is especially so because there are hundreds of new blogs popping up daily. The difference between you having a successful blog and a blog that fails will be the work that you put into it. How authentic you are will also make a big difference in the outcome. Do your best. Work hard and never give up. Looking forward to seeing your success stories one day 🙂