If you’re ready to start blogging, you’re in the right place. Simply put, blogging involves setting up a site, adding content, attracting visitors, gaining subscribers, selling stuff and scaling up. While that might sound simple, growing a blog into a real business takes time. In order to succeed, you’ll need to develop the discipline to keep going even when it feels like you’re not making progress.
To help you start your blog, I’ve distilled over a decade of my personal blogging experience into a 15 step checklist. These are the same fundamental steps I employ with every project. Hopefully this info will help you avoid my mistakes and accelerate your success.
How To Start Blogging
Here is a general overview of steps you can take to start and grow your blog. Keep in mind that some of these steps can be accomplished today, while other steps may take months. Regardless, the best time to start blogging is right now!
Where it makes sense, I included recommendations for helpful software, products and services. In full disclosure, if you click the links and make a purchase, I may receive compensation. (This is called affiliate marketing. And adding affiliate links to your own blog is one of the ways you can make make money online.) If referrals aren’t cool, feel free to ignore the links.
1. Pick Your Overarching Blog Topic: Many people choose a blog topic based on popular trends and not passion. Don’t do this. It may take you many months to grow your blog. And if you don’t love your topic, you won’t be able to fully serve your niche audience. To avoid burnout before you start, choose a blog topic you love.
2. Break Your Blog Topic Into Categories: Once you find your blog topic, your next step is to break your topic into smaller chunks. For example, filmmaking consists of screenwriting, producing, directing, marketing and distribution. By breaking your own niche topic into smaller categories, you will define a framework for your overarching topic. I recommend creating at least five categories.
3. Create 10 Articles For Each Category: After breaking your niche into smaller categories, create at least ten article ideas for each category. This simple exercise will allow you to come up with at least fifty article ideas. Fifty articles will provide you with two articles per week, for the next six months.
4. Choose Blog Platform: Many blogging networks allow you to post blog content for free. But if you’re serious about blogging, I suggest you forgo the free stuff in favor of a blog you own. To do this, you’ll need hosting and a domain name. One company I’ve used (and promote as affiliate) is Bluehost. The hosting packages usually include a domain.
5. Set Up Traffic Tools: One of the most comprehensive traffic tools is called Google Analytics. The software is free, easy to install and allows you to monitor who’s coming to your website, how long they stay in where visitors exit.
6. Create Your Facebook Account: In order to provide community, at the very least you will want to set up a Facebook page that links to your blog. This page will allow you to interact and build relationships with your audience. Set up a Facebook page here.
7. Create A Twitter Account: One of the easiest ways to get visitors to your blog is to set up a twitter account. Once set up, you will be able to tweet about new articles on your website. In this sense, your twitter followers will click the link and visit your site. Set up a twitter account here.
8. Link Your Blog to Facebook and Twitter: The Internet is nothing more than a series of links. Your goal is to make it easy for someone to find your website. Once your Facebook page and Twitter account is established, you can then set up automatic updates on each page. Any time you publish a new article your Facebook fans and Twitter followers will know.
9. Set Up Email Opt-In: There is an expression Internet marketing that says your money is your list. Many bloggers make the mistake of relying solely on social networks to manage their list. But as you know, social networks often go out of vogue. So you will want to set up a system whereby you can manage your own email list. Visit our affiliate partners at Aweber to get started.
10. Create Content: It will take search engines a few months to start taking you and your blog seriously. You goal during this time is to continually add content to your blog. You will find this very challenging at first. Keep going! Think of it like a game. If you can write 50 articles over the next two months, you will begin to gain traffic.
11. Sell Ad Space: As your blog gains popularity, one of the easiest ways to make money is to sell ad space on your blog. With this model, more traffic increases the likelihood that someone will click on the ad. And since most ads are based on Pay-Per-Click, this can generate significant revenue. The downside of selling ad space is you may send targeted visitors away from your blog.
12. Create Affiliate Relationships: If you consistently produce great content, your efforts will result in a massive traffic and a robust mailing list. At this point, you may want to start referring your visitors to products and services that complement your niche. This is called affiliate marketing. One of the easiest places to find affiliate products is clickbank.
13. Create Your Own Products: One of the most profitable steps you can take involves leveraging and re-purposing your content to create your own information products and services. While this is a lot more time consuming than promoting affiliate products, the upside is higher profit margins and creative control. Additionally, affiliates start working for you!
14. Increase Your Traffic: There are several ways to drive traffic to your website, including online and offline. You can choose to pay for advertising or look for ways to create free traffic. Some examples include press releases, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, banner ads, newsletters, advertising in magazines, guest posting on blogs and sharing ideas on social platforms.
15. Partner With Other Bloggers: Nothing can help you get noticed in the noise faster than a vote of confidence from a blogger already established in your niche. I suggest taking a moment to send an intro email to these folks and ask for an interview. Because you are thinking about ways to promote other bloggers, this will help you get on their radar.
Most people start blogging, write a few articles and then give up. Don’t be like most people. To rise above the noise and grow traffic, you need to start blogging with the goal of publishing useful content (to serve your audience) for six months straight.