The Beginner's Guide to Starting a Blog
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There are countless intangibles when you start a blog. Soon enough you will find yourself setting your priorities, reach your goals, and stay on track all by using one tool: creativity. Blogging is rich in learning experiences. It really pushes you to make decisions, find structure, and create outlet for self expression. As you move along your blogging journey you may find there are other factors not included in this post. Do as much research as possible and be confident! Everyone learns at their own pace. If you want to start a blog, here is where you start:
Know the kind of audience you want to create content for. If you are unsure, think of something you love or what you are good at, take some time to explore. If you are looking to sell products on your website, a great tool to start with is WooCommerce.
Once you have found your niche think about a what you will name your blog. Once you find a catchy name relevant to your niche, you can create your domain name ( www.______.com ). A lot of web hosting sites, like Site Ground, offer domain creation when you buy their service.
Yes, this is one of the first expenses with blogging. Make sure you have an awesome web host like Siteground. They make the process of setting up and securing your blog straight forward. Not to say you will not have hiccups throughout your blogging days, but you will rest easy knowing the quality of Siteground’s hosting and their customer service.
Once you get set up on your web host, install WordPress. This will allow you to easily manage your website from the backend. WordPress is the program that gives you the tools to be creative with developing your site. From here you have visible access to all your pages and content.
Now if you need a visual understanding of how the above steps work together here is an example…
These are helpful “app” like products that are installed into your wordpress dashboard that give you a little more customization when building your fortress of a website. There are essential plug-ins such as Jetpack, Wordfence, The Shield for security and tracking website trends. There are also fun plug-ins to connect all your social media pages and email marketing tools.
It’s important to have several layers of security on your website. Firstly, ensure you have a valid SSL(Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This creates an encryption between the server and the browser in order to keep the connection secure and integral. It also changes your website url to https:// vs http://. Plug-ins such as Jetpack, Wordfence, and The Shield are helpful to detect any threats and clean out any potentially infected areas of your site.
Once you have locked down the structure of your website you may or may not already have content. Throughout the day you might think of a hundred topics to write about but when you sit down in front of a blank page, it just doesn’t flow. One word: LISTS. Create a list, everywhere you go carry it with you that way no idea is left behind. Once you have time to create your content, write about the topics that are most relevant to your niche first.
Once you have settled on a niche, the next most important part of blogging is creating a brand. When you market your brand with specific colors, fonts, and designs, your readers will automatically recognize you. Getting into the creatives can make a lasting impression on your future followers.
If you have some solid content and start getting traffic to your website, you may want to consider monetizing your blog using affiliate links. These are links contained within your content and when clicked through, this can help you earn a small percentage of a reader’s purchase such as 5% or 8%. It takes a lot of hard work and patience, but if you want to learn more a great place to start is Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I purchased this course several months ago and I’m always referring back to it for advice. You also get a FREE Bonus for Pinterest Marketing Strategies.
If you intend to create a subscription to your website to keep your readers in the loop, start with a free option like MailChimp or Mailerlite. I recently just switched from MailChimp to Mailerlite for GDPR compliance, and Mailerlite has really made my dreams come true and allowed me to stay within budget. There are so many folks that talk positively about ConvertKit, but it does have a monthly fee, so a more budget friendly option would be MailerLite.
This tool is helpful in so many ways. You can see where your readers are referred from such as your social media pages. You can also see what pages on your site are most visited. It gives you page views and unique visitors and much much more. With this information you can manage and create content tailored to your audience.
Search Engine Optimization. This is the key to get organic traffic to your website. Use keywords and meta descriptions relevant to your niche so when your audience searches for those keywords, you are one of the top results. A free option for better SEO on your website is the Yoast SEO plug in.
Believe it or not Pinterest is a search engine. When you invest in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing you get the bonus Pinterest Strategies which help you get even more organic traffic to your website. There is also has this hidden gem called Tailwind where you can schedule out your pins for blog posts without having to manually pin them. Tailwind has these communities called “Tribes”. You join tribes relevant to your niche where your target audience can find you.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are the main trends at this time. There is quite a large audience out there on these platforms. However social media can be difficult to reach folks without using paid advertising. One simple trick is to use hashtags relevant to your niche.
(Having a blog makes #adulting so much better)
If the blogging world calls to you and you have a hard time summoning the motivation to begin, read up on the rest of my blog articles. They’re motivating & practical. We all need a place to slow down and become better versions of ourselves. Blogging is a gateway to so many positive experiences! It really is all about personal growth.