If you done even a little bit of looking into starting a blog, you’ve probably already seen some of the wonderful success stories happening now in the world of blogging. I find these stories very inspiring. It’s made me realize, too, that like I used to be, there are some who are looking for help on how to get a solid start with their blog. Before you buy that domain or purchase web hosting, make sure you take these important steps.
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Over the past decade I was in and out of blogging. I was one of those repeat bloggers that start blogs only to get overwhelmed or discouraged after a while. It took years for me to realize what I was doing wrong and that I needed solid planning and consistency if I were ever to succeed. Also, I learned that I need to make things as simple as possible. There is a crazy amount of information out there about blogging. It doesn’t take long to get overwhelmed.
Although, I am still learning, I have found out some important steps to ensure a higher rate of success in starting a blog. As with any business, the smartest start is making a plan. Get your goals and ideas written down. Then you have a road map to guide you in decision making and taking action steps.
Starting a Blog with a Plan
If you are anything like me, you get an idea and jump right into it before you’ve done any planning. Sometimes spontaneity can be fun, but it can also increase the likelihood of failure for a business. By the way, I did say business because blogging is a business if you are planning to earn income from your website. A storefront business owner wouldn’t blindly jump into a business without a plan. Taking time to plan a blog is just as important. Especially, when you consider, some bloggers are making 6 figure incomes.
Now, a blog plan doesn’t have to all complicated and filled legal lingo. Grab a notebook and write down a few things that give you a direction to move toward.
Here’s a few to consider:
Why do you want a blog?
Is it going to be a business by itself or do you want a blog to market your business (aka. direct sales, virtual assisting, or handmade business)? “I want to start a blog to earn an income and stay home with my children.” “I want a blog to market my handmade handbag business.”
Do you a have a goal?
What do you hope blogging will do for you? Such as earning a certain income, getting our debt, or marketing your products. “I want my blog to help me reach an income of $3,000 a month to replace my job.” or “I want my blog to help me market my freelance writing business,gain more clients, and increase my income to $5,000 per month.” Try to be as specific as possible. Later you can break it down to reachable smaller goals.
What’s your niche?
What do want to write about? Do you have a passion for decorating and DIY? Or maybe you’re whiz at organization? A niche helps a blog have focus which helps you stay on track with your writing, branding, and marketing. It, also, helps your readers understand quickly what they will find on your blog. There is also the option of a lifestyle blog, one which encompasses a handful of complimentary topics. Your blog is there to fulfill a need. What interests or talents do you have that fulfill a need of others?
Who’s your audience?
Imagine the ideal reader for your blog and describe them in detail. Some go as far as naming this imaginary person and creating a story about them. That character reflects the real life people you want to gain as readers/fans. “Jenny is a mom of 2 pre-schoolers. She just turned 30 years old and is tired of working outside the home. After talking with her husband, they have decided to homeschool. Jenny wants to learn how to work from home and still have time to homeschool.”
Find a Name
Now that you have your goal, niche, and audience in mind you’re ready to look for a name. This is a step that some either do too quickly and later regret, or they get stuck in indecisiveness. Here’s what I like to do: Set a time limit like one week. Jot down words that describe your niche or just jump out to you. Consider keywords you would use to search for similar blogs. Keep it short, easy to spell, and easy to remember. Some social media limits the length of names (Twitter 15 characters, Pinterest url 15).
Check availability of domain and social media with Namecheckr.com. Even though there are tons of domains with different endings, dot com is still the most recognized. If you see the dot com is taken by another site, I personally avoid dot net. Same the other way around. Also check again trademarks. I know this can limit your choices. I’ve had entire pages of name ideas, only to have them all marked out because they didn’t pass these criteria. Work at Home Maven is my third work at home blog. I like the name much more than its predecessors.
Speaking of domains, many recommend purchasing multiple domains to avoid any competition. When you purchase the dot com, get the dot net, and dot org, too, if possible. I’ve purchased domains from different companies including: Dynadot, Godaddy, Namecheap. And along with domain comes locking down your logo, which can be down quickly and beautifully using an online logo maker like Logojoy.
Find Good Training
Finding good training when a starting a blog, doesn’t only give you the knowledge you need to succeed. It, also, gives you a mentor and like minded folks to help you. Many of the training programs offers access to Facebook groups or private forums for their members. You can ask questions, get feedback, and helps motivate you. I personally recommend: Becky & Paula, Pajama Affiliates, and Elite Blog Academy. These are tested and truly valuable trainings that are worth the investment. Pick one that resonates with you and fits your budget. Although starting a blog can be one of the lowest business start-ups it’s smart to invest in a few things like your domain/s, and good hosting like like RFE Hosting, or HostGator (not a free blog host), a nice theme, and good training.
In conclusion, a few last words of advice. Don’t skip steps to jump ahead. Stay focused on your goals. Other things will try to distract you. Be consistent. Make a to-do list, set deadlines. Without planning, commitment, and consistency your blog won’t be able to see the success you want.
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