As someone who has been blogging for many years now, new bloggers often ask me what’s really important when you’re just starting out. Sure. You want to share your story with the world. You want a profitable and sustainable blog. But, how do you get there?
Today, I wanted to share a few new bloggers tips to help you get things started on the right foot. Building your blog on a firm foundation can ensure success for years to come.
1. What’s Your Goal?
There is no single path to success, and every blogger’s initial vision of what they want to create is different. Some people just want a small online journal where they can share their thoughts and day-to-day happenings with family and friends. Some people start a blog with the dream of one day being a famous author or television celebrity. Some people could care less about fame and notoriety and just blog as a means to monetize their knowledge and experience.
Your goal may change over time, but you should determine what it is you want right now. Everything you do going forward stems from that.
2. What’s Your Plan?
One thing is for sure regardless of your end goal, you need to establish a plan for attraction. If you wanted to keep your thoughts and words private after all, you would just be writing things down in a paper journal or a private online document. Bloggers are wanting to get their message out. You need to get people over to your blog for that to happen. That requires a plan.
A few of your first questions to answer will be:
How often will you publish?
You need to create great content on a regular basis to attract and keep readers. There is no magic number here. But consistency is key.
How often can you realistically produce a great new blog post? Once per week? Twice per week? Twice per month? What’s sustainable?
How will you promote?
Blog publishing needs to be followed up with promotion. You cannot wait around for people to find your blog on their own. Period. It simply will not happen. You have to get the word out. I know it’s scary. But it’s so essential to make marketing a priority.
Promoting your latest content isn’t difficult. Just make yourself a checklist and check those boxes.
- Send it to your email list
- Share it on social media
- See if there are any questions on Quora or in Facebook Groups that your new post answers
- Optimize your post for search
- Share it on your Facebook profile
3. Grab Your Social Media Profiles
Even if you aren’t ready to conquer them all – and you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do everything at once – you should go ahead and secure the handles for your blog on the most popular platforms; Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Even if they are sitting dormant for now, you will at least have a branded identity later.
I would recommend putting some time into Pinterest. It doesn’t require a lot of time but can yield huge rewards. Create a Pinterest-friendly image for your posts and Pin it. Facebook is also a popular platform among bloggers. Set up a Page and start sharing your new posts on it.
4. Define Your One Follower
It’s really hard to write blog posts for every person on the planet. Not every piece of advice or story you tell will be relevant to everyone. Trying to keep things bland, generalized and “safe” is a recipe for disaster. You may never connect with anyone.
Instead, define the one person you want to talk to when writing. How old is she? What’s her life look like? What’s she going through? What does she need from you?
This is your new best friend. Every time you sit down to write, talk to this person specifically. Tell her why your story is important to her. Answer her questions. Trust me. This is going to make your job so much easier.
Some people stopping by your blog may not relate to your story. That’s fine! The ones that do are going to become your biggest fans. Quality over quantity.
5. Make Some Friends
There are so many Facebook Groups for bloggers. Find a few relevant, active, non-spammy Groups to join. In many of these Groups, you may be given the opportunity to share new posts on occasion. In these threads, you may be able to drop your latest link in exchange for promoting another blogger’s latest post. This is a great way to make friends while extending your reach. Be generous, not jealous.
6. Secure Subscribers
As you start getting traffic, make sure those people have a way to follow you long-term and that you are inviting them to do so. An email newsletter is a great way to do that. AWeber is an affordable newsletter service and where I first started. (I still use AWeber for one of my blogs to this day.)
You can also include links on your site to follow you on social media. Just remember, social media can be fickle. Those platforms come and go and fall in and out of love with bloggers on a regular basis. Your email list is yours.
7. Create Pillar Content
When you first start blogging, you may be in a rush to publish a lot of posts. Instead of focusing on creating long, thorough, incredibly useful posts – aka pillar posts – you write a lot of little piecemeal posts thinking it makes you look like you’ve been around awhile.
From a reader’s standpoint, I would by far rather have a meaty post that answers all of my questions as opposed to a bunch of little posts that I may or may not ever find or fully read. Quality over quantity. Very few people are ever going to read more than one or two posts on your blog at one time. Make it a memorable experience if you want them returning.
8. Get a Grasp on Images
We live in an image-driven society. Why do you think Pinterest and Instagram are so popular? We love those pretty pictures. We click through those pretty pictures.
Therefore, it’s so important to make images a priority. As a matter of fact, Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for many bloggers. And it requires very little maintenance or time. So, optimize for it!
I personally use Canva for creating my blog post images. They have a lot of social media templates available that are free to use. They also offer some great tutorials on design.
When it comes to sourcing my images, I use a few sites:
Preview their current collections to see if they match your niche and are the look you are going for.
9. Install Google Analytics
Once you start getting traffic, you will want to make sure it’s headed in the right direction. You will also want to know where that traffic is coming from and what content is resonating with people. Google Analytics is the standard for this. Google offers some great free learning for beginners.
Custom dashboards can also help you streamline your information. If you have traffic coming from Pinterest, I really like this free one from Kristie Hill.
10. Focus on Long-Term Success Not Flash in the Pan
Blogging success doesn’t happen overnight. And just as success doesn’t come overnight, you don’t want it gone overnight either. Focus your time and energy on creating a strong, sustainable foundation that can support your goals for the long run.