How to start a blog today + FREE Download
I started blogging years ago. I would sit down at my computer, work through some thoughts, start typing, edit, type some more and edit some more, and then after maybe 5 hours, I would get one blog post out.
Let’s just say this didn’t last long. It was only a few months before I was burnt out. Burn out meant that I didn’t blog consistently. I didn’t have any kind of strategy and I didn’t know what I was really blogging about. I was so #OverIt.
My blogs came and went like the 90’s fashion scene. No one talked about it. No one read it except for my BFF’s and only after I begged them with an awkward, "did you read my blog?". And perhaps most importantly, I didn’t make any money off my blogs or secured paying clients as a result.
I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted to quit.
And I'll be honest. For a time, I did give up all notion of starting and running my own blog. But I found my love and passion again. I focused more on personal projects with my photography and as I did, I started to get the urge to tell people about what I saw, where I went and what I ate. I wanted to document everything. Only this time, I wanted to do it the right way.
I began to strategize for the first time. Tbh, I began to strategize more in ALL aspects of my life. I planned out my week, my month to a whole year’s worth of content. I saw holes I needed to fill in my strategy, what I need to promote and I had a clear message.
The hardest part about starting a blog isn’t getting a domain or getting a website up. It’s planning it out, writing your posts, and staying consistent. But let's start at the very beginning.
It's time. Start your blog today, girl! Let's get started with my How to Start a Blog tips:
1. Get a Domain Name
Get your blog name and find out if the domain name is available. The domain will be your URL address and you’ll want to keep that for the life of your blog.
Tips on picking your Blog name
Be sure it is relevant to your topic. If you’re a beauty blogger, you may want to have the word “beauty” in it. It is okay to use your name as your blog as you will most likely be branding you and not what you sell. If you’re an SEO educator, you may try seofortheblogger.com. If you’re a fitness instructor you may try something like janedoefitness.com. If you’re a food blogger you may try janedoecooks.com
Check on godaddy.com to see if your domain is available. This may determine whether you need to change the name of your blog.
2. Get a website
Yep! This is the most important step in your blogging journey. You need a website. My personal favorite because it's so easy to create BEAUTIFUL sites is Squarespace. It’s a drag and drop interface and I can connect almost anything to my website. There are some limits that Squarespace has that only a website developer can fix but the bonuses are they have hundreds of templates to choose from to create your own style, affordable monthly payment, landing pages, and more!
Check out Squarespace's Getting started series. They walk you through EVERYTHING!
3. Create Pages on your website
Once you decide you have your domain and your web hosting, the very first pages you need up is your blog page, contact page and your about page. Don’t worry too much about the rest for now. You’ll build as you go with what works for you and your audience.
Be clear and concise with what your blog is about. Here are some examples.
Example #1: I'm a photographer helping newly engaged couples document the first day of their lives together with photography.
Example #2: I'm a financial advisor educating working woman with tips to manage their money with ease
Example #3: I'm a health and fitness coach educating those who need a little help to stay fit and eat right.
Example #4: I'm a mom blogger helping other moms through their daily life with my go to tips + tricks.
Have a clear email address or use your the forms on your site for easy to write emails to you.
Your about page should be short and sweet but include enough information to make your readers want to get to know you more.
Headline: This should encompass your mission statement. Think, what do I do? Who do I do it for? What will they get in return for reading my blog?
Statement: Small paragraph at what it is your blog will cover, who can get the most out of it (your target audience) and what they can expect to read from your blog. i.e. tips + tricks to save money
Background: Small paragraph about you, your background (No, no. Don't just state your credentials. No one really cares unless you're applying to become a doctor or professor at a university.) and a small version of your why.
Story: A paragraph or two of what lead you down this journey. This is the perfect place to incorporate a story that your audience can relate to.
Bonus: You can include any testimonials as well or your top favorites. i.e. favorite tools, favorite meals, favorite 10 things you've done.
4. Newsletter email provider
Get a newsletter provider. Mailchimp is free until you have 1,000 followers. Its drag and drop feature is easy to use. I prefer Convertkit. It doesn’t have the thousands of templates but you don’t need it. Gary Vee once said in a podcast, “Don’t get fancy, just start!” Convertkit works well for me because the spam rate for emails sent are far less with them. Plus they are making some major changes to come and for the better. If you want to get started with convertkit, click here.
5. Strategize your blog posts
Use the content calendar to strategize and plan out your blogs. (If you haven’t snagged that up yet, sign up for my newsletter to get access to my free resources. The calendar is included there as well.)
Plan out your year with an editorial calendar. (Click above to join my newsletter, an editorial calendar template is a freebie as well.)
Hash out topics for each month. Take into account what holidays are celebrated and plan an overall topic that relates to your niche or blog type. If you are a financial planner, you’ll probably want to talk about taxes, deductions maybe in January and how it relates to people's goals. If you’re a fashion blogger, think about the seasons and what’s happening in the fashion world. You can easily Pinterest what happens when in your field or niche. Or take a look at what others are chatting about in certain months.
Break those down into quarterly plans. How many times do you want to post per month, per week or per season? (I always recommend that you try and blog at least 1x/week but if you can’t commit to that, try 1x/month. Don’t let the frequency of your blog hold you back. If you can fit more in or have more info to share, then add 1 blog until you get your desired set amount. The key is to be consistent.
Blog dump each month. List all blogs topic you can write about and get it out of your head.
- Break out that blog dump into your monthly blog plan. My trick is to have a set topic for the week and set blogs during that week that align with that topic. I also take it one step further and have a topic for each day. I.e. Motivational Monday, Travel Tuesday, Tip Thursday, Photo Friday.
- I set my blogs on these topics and for the week and day. I.e. the weekly topic is self-care. On Mondays I may blog about how to reach your goals. Thursday I may blog about how to save time blogging and Friday I may blog about how to take more personal photos. They all align with self-care and fall into the day’s topic.
- When your month is filled out, you now have deadlines to meet. I take one day to write out all my blogs for the month. (If you only have one, that should be easy.) Then the following day I take a chunk of time to work on taking photos or finding stock photos to fit the blog topic. The third day, I take that time to make any revisions to my edited blog post and get them scheduled. My three-day process works for me, but do what works for you time wise. If you can fit this all in one day, by all means, do it. If you have to take more time blog writing or want to split the time, then do it. But give yourself deadlines and a good chunk of time to write. The hardest part about blogging isn’t the posting and photos, it’s sitting down with your thoughts and getting them out in writing coherently.
Tips: I always recommend at least 3-4 blogs up before you announce your website to anyone. This just makes it look as if you had a few blogs up already instead of just one. Here are some ideas for your first three blogs to write:
Blogs to write before you launch
The welcome blog
This should a little more in-depth about you, who this blog is for, why you are doing what you’re doing and what they can expect out of reading your blog. When you make it clear what they can expect. (start a blog and monetize it.) They’ll be more likely to stay and read on.
Your why blog
This helps you connect with your audience. It also helps attract and repel. Attract more of those who will grow to love, know and trust you and repel those you don’t quite jive with. It’s okay to repel those who do not align with your mission. In fact, this is the best way to weed out those who are not going to be your tribe.
Answer any questions you’ve gotten to this point from friends and family or those already following you. This blog is a great place to send someone that may have answers about your products/service and easy to refer to when asked these same questions.
Your product knowledge or services you offer
This will give you a chance to go in depth on what you offer or are selling. Think of this as a tutorial or behind the scenes at how you run your ship.
How your product is made, the materials you use and why
If you are a service based business, What is your process with clients when you are working with them.
Behind the scenes blog
Behind the scenes of your office, lab, workstation, tools you use, etc. This could also be a guide for your services/products.
That's it! What's holding you back? Picking a name? The tech stuff? Let me know here in the comments or straight to my inbox what's the top thing keeping you from starting that blog you know you want to start.