So you are thinking of starting a blog, however, you have no idea where to start or the things you need to do before you start, this article is for you.
I started my blogging journey seven years ago and just like you, I had no idea where to start from neither did I have anyone who was willing to hold my hands. The only information I had about blogging was that there was a platform online where I could blog. I searched on the internet and found the “blogger” platform. That was how I registered my first blog. From that moment on up until today, I have made several mistakes than I could keep track of and if there was anything I wished I did differently, it was that I had someone to put me through.
I am glad that you are ready to blog and even more glad that I can hold your hands in this journey you are about to start. It is always a great thing when you have someone who can put you through.
Blogging is not for the faint-hearted and the journey is more of a marathon than a sprint. I have heard of some people who achieved tremendous success with their blogs within six months while many more had to wait for 1, 2, 3, 5 or even 10 years. Your success rate will depend on many factors most important of which is to make sure you get started on the right note.
10 Steps to Launching a Successful Blog
1. Pick a niche: When I started my blog, I knew I wanted to write for small businesses and startup. I was and still is extremely passionate about small business success. Because I knew what I wanted and the audience I wanted to serve, it was easy for me to write a cohesive content that my audience couldn’t wait to devour. However, I have met many business owners who started with the mindset of wanting to write about everything. There is a problem with this and the problem is, trying to capture everyone’s attention in the marketplace is extremely difficult and mostly a waste of time, effort and energy.
One of the best decisions you can ever make before you start blogging is to have a niche.
Don’t say “I want to write about everything.” You may be good in a lot of things but you can’t be great at everything. Having a niche separates you from the crowd, helps you cut through the noise and attract the right audience who truly need to hear your message. Ask yourself, “what topic areas fascinates me the most?” “What can I write about and I’ll not get tired even if no one is reading?”
Blogging is not for the faint-hearted neither is it for those who cannot withstand the pain that comes with patience.
It is not something you do with the mindset of just testing the waters. If you are only trying to test the waters, blogging is not for you. However, if you truly want to make an impact and build a platform that will become a force to be reckoned with, blogging is for you.
2. Choose a Content Management System: Once you pick a niche, the next thing you’ll need to decide on is choosing your content management system. I do not want to confuse you but some of the most content management systems out there include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, ExpressionEngine and Text Pattern. Out of all these, I recommend WordPress.
I started using WordPress in 2014 after making so many mistakes on my journey to building a great blog. Why do I use WordPress?
Based on market share statistics, it is the most popular content management system. It is used by over 28% of all websites on the internet, and by 59% of all websites using a known content management system, followed by Joomla and Drupal.
WordPress has two versions and these are WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you are serious about building an empire from blogging, you need to create an account with WordPress.org. However, if you are yet to do so, don’t open an account yet, instead keep reading.
3. Secure your domain name: Your domain name is the URL you will give to people when they ask for your website. For example, if you asked for my domain name, I will tell you, it’s theonpointsuccess.com. For you, it will definitely be different. No two domain names are the same and when you are choosing a domain name, be sure to use a simple name that can be easily spelled by anyone. There are many platforms where you can secure your domain names but it’s preferable if you secure your domain name from your hosting provider.
4. Choose a hosting platform: In order for your website to function, you need a hosting provider to provide you with a hosting platform. Examples of hosting platforms include Site Ground, Blue Host, Go Daddy, InMotion etc. Most of these platforms are already compatible with WordPress and they offer one-click install option for your website. If you need a step-by-step direction in getting your domain name and getting started with your blog, here’s one.
5. Choose a theme: The great thing about using WordPress is that you can buy a theme and determine the look and feel of your website. A theme is a template of how you want your blog to look and feel to users. Most themes are priced between $30 – $50 although there are premium themes that are priced way higher and if you do not have enough funds, you can use the inbuilt themes until you are ready to invest.
6. Find great topics: Once you have established your website following the steps I described above, it’s time to find topics to write about. Great topics are excellent ways you can use to drive traffic to your blog. Without traffic, the purpose of your blog will be defeated. No matter how small your blog or big your blog is, it is important you find out about great topics that your audience will love. My favorite ways of finding topics is to check focus Facebook groups, ongoing trends in my niche or even better still, I conduct a survey and ask people on the topics they want me to teach about.
7. Use a content plan: Your blogging success will depend on how well you plan your content. It is not how much you write but how well you write. Using a content planner will replace randomness with intentionality, help you prevent being overwhelmed, helps you stay on task and gives you the ability to recognize when your actions do not align with your vision.
A content plan is like the GPS that is leading you to your intended destination.
Always remember that as you blog, you are leading your readers on a journey to an expected end and once you derail, an average reader will notice it and they will stop following you. A content plan does not have to be complex and there are many content planners out there that can help you if you need help with that. But if you are operating on a lean budget, you can come up with your own content plan using your calendar.
8. Create an email list: Proximity is power and one of the best ways to have access to and influence your loyal followers is by creating an email list. When you have a list of your loyal readers’ emails, it gives you the power to influence them and impact them in ways they can never imagine. If you are yet to get on my email list, I invite you to join so you will never miss a post from me. In order to create your own email list, you have many options and these include Mailer Lite, AWeber, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Convert Kit etc. Out of all these, I recommend Mail Chimp for a start. It gives you the flexibility of creating a list of 2000 subscribers for free and I believe their plan is the best for starters. Once you start growing and your email subscribers exceed the 2000 limit, then you may start considering other options if you wish.
9. Create Blog Posts: Once you create your email list, it’s time to start creating your blog posts. Always remember that the internet has no restrictions and that there no limit to where your blog posts can reach. When you create your blog posts, have it at the back of your mind that your reader can come from any part of the world. Create quality blog posts that will be educative, instructive and compelling.
10. Launch your blog to the public: Starting a blog is a lot of work and therefore it is highly imperative that everyone knows about it once you are ready. If you need a step-by-step guide in setting up your self-hosted WordPress blog, here’s one.
As you start your blogging journey, always remember that success comes from consistency. For your blog to succeed, you need to be consistent. Do not expect to become successful overnight. Focus on working hard and keep doing all you can do to make things work. In the end, everything will take shape.
Thank you for reading. Have you started blogging? What other questions do you have about the steps to take to get started with blogging? Ask your questions below and remember to share this post with a friend.