The Steps, Resources and Marketing You Need
So, you’re going to embark on one of the most fun, rewarding and time consuming tasks of your life? YAY! You’re going to love it, I promise.
There are a lot of steps that go into successfully starting your blog.
First you need to start with becoming clear on your WHY and your BRAND.
(If you’re already a super hero and have this part complete scroll down to the technical aspects.)
1. What’s Your ‘Why’?
Do you want to write a blog about motherhood? About fashion? About animal watching? Awesome! But why? Is it an outlet for you to share your personal interests and lifestyle updates? Great! But you probably don’t need to worry about amassing a following (which greatly dictates how you set up your blog.)
Or are you looking to blog as a form of assistance and inspiration to your target reader? If so, it’s important to get clear on the heart-centered meaning behind it. For example, if you’re looking to blog about motherhood you have a BIG pool of competition. It’s important to define the reasoning behind your blogging as to stand out in the crowd and truly help others. Do you want to help mom’s feel less overwhelmed? Do you want to help them discover their uniqueness and feel like a real person again? These are ALL important aspects, but it’s vital that you find your place in this niche. Not only will this help you craft your content and find your target readers, but it will help you make real strides in growing your blog. People care about people who care. Show them how much you do by being clear about your content and mission.
2. Define Your Ideal Reader
How old are they? What interests do they have? What struggles do they have? What social media sites are they on? What country do they live in? The more detailed you can get the better! Defining your target audience early on will help you throughout every step of the process. Using our same mommy-blogger example, if your mission is to help overwhelmed moms find joy and peace in the little things then you probably don’t want to do an extravagant design with a lack of clear direction. If these same moms are very active on Facebook, but haven’t heard of Twitter, then you know how to craft future posts and what profiles to optimize and link-up to your site. Additionally, as you make decisions throughout the course of your blogging journey you can think back to your WHY and you IDEAL READER and ask yourself, “Does this resonate with my mission and would my target audience be interested in reading this?” If the answer to either of those questions is ‘No’ you can proceed with clarity.
3. Branding, Branding, Branding
This can be one of the most fun (and most frustrating) pieces of creating your blog. Spend time on this piece. Be very intentional with it and ALLOW yourself to take extra-long on researching colors, fonts, templates, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I made a decision on color scheme, only to do research of my co-bloggers + ruminate on the feeling those colors represent, to end up ultimately disliking the idea a week later. You want to decide on pieces that are timeless, representative of your mission and interesting to your target audience.
Now onto the technical side
1. Purchasing Your URL
After you’ve taken care of your branding and know the name of your blog it’s imperative to look up the URL on a domain register website. My favorite is GoDaddy, the customer service is thorough, the pricing is great and the functionality of the site is stellar. After finding the URL you want, simply purchase and go on to step 2.
2. Choosing Your Platform
The leaders in website/blog creation are Wordpress, Blogger, Squarespace, and Wix. These all come with their pros and cons. I encourage you to delve into reviews on each before making an investment. After doing my research and taking into account my current skill level + budget I chose Squarespace. If you head to www.Squarespace.com and create your account you’ll automatically enroll in a 7 day free trial (tip- they will email you on the 7th day and ask if you need more time on your trial. This will give you an additional 7 days, totaling 14.) Squarespace comes complete with a TON of gorgeous, clean and modern templates to suit any style. These templates are *almost* completely customizable and come with every bell and whistle needed for a beginner/intermediate leveled blogger.
With Squarespace specifically you will take your site ‘live’ once finished with the design and content. At this time you will walk through the SUPER EASY domain syncing process. All you do is click on the ‘Domain’ tab and it will walk you through 3 simple steps. Voila! Your site is live.
As you have edits to your site’s content or blogs to add, you will head to Squarespace.com, login and manage everything directly from the same dashboard you used when creating the site.
3. Marketing Yourself + Building Relationships
Once your site is live it’s time to find those ideal readers.. exciting! I encourage you to start by posting at least 4 blog articles. We never want those target readers to find the site just to end up clicking away due to a lack of content.
Try some of these to start:
- Use relevant keywords to optimize the site so that Google sees it as a viable source on that topic.
- Build out your social media profiles and add relevant content while connecting with others/commenting on their posts.
- Apply to be a contributor on other blogs within your niche.
- Link to your previous posts within your new posts (when applicable) to take care of some of that backlinking.
- Comment on other blogger's posts and leave a link to your home page (this will help with SEO + relationship building- score!)
Above all, I encourage you to dive into researching digital marketing. There is SO much rich content available for bloggers to truly grow their platform, and it’s all at your fingertips.
If you have ANY questions about starting a blog, setting up Squarespace, marketing, and so on, please feel more than welcome to put them in the comments section below. I will be happy to answer you in as much detail as possible.
Also, if you found this article on your way to building your blog I would love to see your journey and the evolution of your site! Drop your link in the comments below and I’ll check you out. (This will help with the backlinking we discussed above!)