Now that you’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog, are you ready to take the plunge?
If your answer is ‘Yes’ then this step-by-step guide will walk you through the steps you need to start a successful blog today!
How To Start A Successful Blog
During the past few years, I’ve realized that many of you want to start a blog, or want to monetize your content, but you don’t have the setup in place to do so.
As a result, I’m dropping the blueprint to start a successful blog below!
(1) Set A Launch Date
This means that you need to make up in your mind when you’re going to launch your blog AND write the date down!
You can write it down in a calendar or even just in a Google Doc.
Either way, WRITE IT DOWN.
The truth is, you’re 42% more likely to launch your dream blog if you write it down, and make it a goal.
(2) Determine Your Blog Name
Decide on what you want to name your blog, also known as your brand!
Will it be your name?
Will it be a nickname?
Is the name taken? Research the online space to see.
For example, I chose to use Baydian Girl, which is a play on my Barbadian heritage. I simply removed the ‘rba‘ and replaced it with a ‘y‘ to create my brand name, Baydian.
Then I searched for the availability of the name for my website on Bluehost! You can click here to do the same.
At this point, I’d also take note of what the domain name will cost plus the variables of the domain, including .org, .co, etc.
(3) Create A Blog Tagline
A tagline is simply a phrase that lets anyone who comes across your blog understand in a few seconds what your content is about.
Most bloggers usually place this under their logo on their website but that’s not always necessary.
You can also place it in your blog’s home page title. See the screenshot below.
(4) Define Your Target Audience
But Tamara, I’m just starting out!
That may be true but you can still jot down an idea of who you want to read your blog!
Focus on the following qualities:
- Stage of Life
Think of it like this, you can aim an arrow better when you can see the target.
(5) Decide Blog Topic or Topics
Basically, what will you create content about?
Are you going to focus on beauty for women of color?
Will you write about fashion and beauty?
Maybe your topic is carnival, like my girl, Bahamianista?
The choice is entirely yours! And again, you need to write it down!
(6) Decide Blog Post Frequency
This is one of the biggest hot topics in blogging because the truth is you have to be consistent.
However, the good news is that you get to decide what that means for you!
So, do you want to post a blog every day, once a week, or bi-weekly?
Make up your mind and then commit!
Pssstttt…this step also helps you know how much content you need to batch to get started.
(7) Create A Brand Style Guide
A brand style guide is a must-have tool of any digital creator since it’s a quick representation of your blog’s unique style and visual identity.
The core elements you need to include are as follows:
- Logo – A basic logo to help you start your content creation journey + a downloadable file
- Purpose – A sentence outlining what sets you apart as a digital creator
- Style – Three (3) words that describe your brand identity
- Brand Niche – Your brand’s area of expertise
- Voice – Three (3) words that describe your brand’s attitude and personality
- Color Palette – A specific color scheme that will set your brand apart + each color’s HEX codes
- Fonts – Two (2) complimentary fonts to differentiate your brand
(8) Purchase A Computer Or Laptop
If you already have one, skip this step!
But if you don’t, consider purchasing a brand new device.
Either way, having a computer on hand to help you create and edit content will support your success!
(9) Purchase Website Domain
Remember the blog name you wrote down in Step 2?
Go ahead and purchase that domain!
Here’s the link again, just in case: https://www.bluehost.com/domains.
(10) Establish Social Media Accounts
Now that you’ve got your website domain, you need to establish your social media presence with the same name.
This creates a consistent online presence and makes it easy for your audience to find you on social media platforms.
The key here, though, is to establish your brand on TWO platforms!
Well, by starting with TWO platforms, you can focus your promotion and stay consistent. When you try to do all the social media things, you end up feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin. That is no fun, trust me!
Once you’ve created these social media accounts, opt for the business/creator profiles and turn on the analytics ASAP.
Ladies, you have to do this!! Brands don’t just want to see pretty photos, they want to know how people react to them. You can only know that by having the analytics activated for your social media accounts. Okay??
(11) Research Hosting & Blog Themes
First, what is hosting? It’s an online service where a company gives you access to the internet so that your website can be seen worldwide.
Second, what’s the cost? It depends on who you buy it from.
Based on personal experience, using Bluehost is the most affordable option! It starts as low as $2.95 per month.
Now, in the spirit of transparency, you’ll be paying for the hosting on an annual (yearly) basis, which is what makes it so inexpensive. What’s even better is that if you can purchase multiple years at once, the monthly cost becomes cheaper.
For example, when I started my blog, I spent about $300 for 3 years of hosting. That’s around $8 per month for the package I purchased!
Thirdly, what blogging theme will you use? Well, that plus the cost is totally up to you!
My favorite store is Envato Market’s Theme Forest. Since I love WordPress, I shop there for the best themes and plugins.
Whether you choose to purchase from there or another boutique store, you need to look for themes that have the following features:
- Responsive (meaning it will adjust for mobile device screens)
- Recently Updated (which means the developer keep everything recent with new technology)
BONUS: Here are my 3 favorite blog themes for a new blog or one that’s being rebranded.
- Soledad – Multi-Concept Blog Magazine WordPress Theme
- Artmag – Clean WordPress Blog and Magazine Theme
- Florence – A Responsive WordPress Blog Theme
(12) Purchase Hosting & Blog Theme
Once your research is finished, go ahead and purchase your hosting and subsequently, your preferred blog theme.
(13) Create & Connect Google Analytics
Next, create a Google Analytics account.
Why? This will help you understand how your audience engages with your content online, what websites send traffic your way, etc.
When your account setup is complete, make sure to sync it with your website.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP by ExactMetrics is a great option for a WordPress site.
(14) Create & Upload Website Content
The website content you should create for your launch is listed below:
- Main Menu – The main pages displayed to help people navigate your website.
- About – A page that will tell your reader exactly what you will do for them through your content.
- Contact – An SEO requirement and gives people a very easy way to contact you.
- Disclaimer – Use a free service like Website Policies, especially if you want to work with brands or participate in affiliate programs.
- 3 Blog Posts – This number fills your home page nicely and gives your new audience a good idea of what to expect from you moving forward.
(15) Publish & Promote Blog
Now it’s that time to hit publish and show the world what you’ve been working on!
Plus don’t forget to promote via simple methods like word of mouth, text, social media, business cards, and even email!
Share your blog as if you were sharing your favorite restaurant!
Wait, There’s A Free Checklist For You!
One more thing, if you’d like to have this in a checklist format, I created one just for YOU!