A lot of people start blogging with great intentions! But, if you don’t have a firm foundation to build on, you can easily get frustrated and burn out when it doesn’t grow. It’s important to learn what makes a blog successful and how to set your blog up with the right foundations for success from the beginning.
Purpose of a blog
Blogging has changed a lot since the 1990’s when the first “weblogs” emerged. While in the beginning, they started more as ways to share news and political commentary, they quickly evolved and grew. Many of the early blogs were very simple journals and often contained the thoughts and ideas of the author with no clear intent or purpose.
We’ve come a long way since then, and blogs today are used in a much different capacity. While you can still find personal journals and commentary-style blogs, the majority of blogs now have a purpose or focus. This may be to share news and information, provide expert advice or insights, sell products or services, or any number of other things.
The important thing to keep in mind when blogging today is that there are a lot of blogs out there, and yours needs to stand out by providing valuable and helpful content to your readers. In today’s blogger world, the purpose of a blog is to provide value, education and/or entertainment to a specific group of people (known as your niche).
Having the right mindset
Before you start a blog, it’s important that you have the right mindset. Blogging takes time, effort and dedication to be successful. It’s not something that you can expect results from quickly.
A few things to keep in mind as you embark on becoming a blogger:
- you will need to carve out time every week and make it a priority
- you will need to be willing to get outside your comfort zone and learn new things
- to be successful you’ll need to keep going during the hard times
- you need to have a clear understanding of your purpose and goals
- friends and family may not understand blogging so be sure to make connections with other bloggers
What it takes to be a blogger
Now that we’ve talked about the mindset you need to have as a blogger, let’s talk about some of the practical things you need to get started. While it’s true that anyone can start a blog, there are certain things you’ll need to be successful.
First, let’s talk about some of the important personal characteristics needed. While there’s no one type of person that makes a good blogger, there are some important skills you’ll need to have or develop.
- willingness to grow and learn
- a positive attitude
Now let’s talk about some of the practical things you’ll need to get started:
- a computer or laptop with internet access
- a minimum of $300-700 to pay for a domain, hosting, theme, plug-ins, etc.
- at least 5-10 hours per week to work on your blog
- a roadmap or plan
What you need to do before launching a blog
Before you ever publish your first blog post, you’ll need to tackle some of the important things you need to do before you launch. These are things that will help ensure your blog is set up for success from the beginning.
1) Choose your niche
The first thing you need to do is choose your niche. This is the topic or area you’ll be blogging about. It’s important to choose something you’re passionate about because you’ll need to write about it a lot! But, it also needs to be something with a good potential audience. You can’t be the only one that cares about your niche and you want to be sure you’ve clearly defined your ideal reader.
2) Set up your blog
Now it’s time to set up your blog. You’ll need to choose a domain name (this is what people will type into the browser to find your site), as well as a hosting service (this is where your website lives on the internet). Once you have those things set up, you can install WordPress (this is the software that powers your blog) and choose a theme (this is the design of your blog). We won’t go into all the design and setup work that needs to be done here, but be sure you plan to spend 20 hours or more on this stage of setup.
3) Make a plan
One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is not having a plan. You need to know what you’re going to write about, how often you’re going to write, and what your goals are for your blog. This will help keep you on track and ensure that your blog is successful. Creating realistic and tangible goals and timelines is one of the most important things you’ll do when it comes to blogging.
4) Write your first post!
Now it’s time for the fun part – writing your first blog post! You’ll want to be sure you have fully researched your title and content to be sure it’s what people are looking for. Make sure it’s easy to read and that you proofread it on both mobile and desktop to make sure it’s something you’re proud of before you hit publish. And, don’t forget to promote it! And even more important, make sure you provide an easy way and call to action to ensure your readers share your content as well!
Starting a blog can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to remember that some work goes into setting up a successful blog. If you’d like help getting started on the right foot, head over and join us in The Blog Depot, where we will help you lay a solid foundation so that you can create a successful blog!