So...You Want to Start a Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

first steps to take when you start a blog

I love blogging. I have met so many great people and learned so many new skills. However, as any blogger does, I have a couple of things I've started that I wish I would have done from the start, as well as some things I wish I would have known as a beginning blogger. It's hard to tell when your blog is "big enough" to do some things, but I hope to dissolve those doubts for you in this post!

To Do Right Away:

Start a Facebook page and any other social media accounts you want but don't have.
If you're just starting, you probably won't get any likes for a while, but it will be there when people discover you! If you don't have a Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, you should consider getting one for your blog. You won't start out with a ton of followers, but months down the road, you'll wish you had opened up these profiles when you were just beginning!

Make a blog email.
It looks professional and helps you seperate your blog and business/school correspondence. Getting one right away also helps you choose a blog domain that's available (so you won't be stealing someone else's) and ensure no one takes it in the future!

Add an "About Me" page and contact information.
As soon as people visit your blog, they're going to want to know about you. Take a couple minutes to set up an "About Me" page. You should also make sure people can find your blog email address and social media accounts easily on your blog (I highly recommend putting social media buttons on your blog from the beginning.)

Set up Google Analytics.
This is something I didn't do for months and I really regretted it. Google Analytics is way more accurate and useful than Wordpress or Blogger stats but it only starts tracking your pageviews once you set it up. When you're just starting out, it can be frustrating to see how low your pageviews are, but it's satisfying to see them grow over time, even if the growth is slow.

Make a style guide.
To establish your blog's brand, you want your aesthetic to be consistent. You don't want to go back and change all your images months down the road once you finally realize you need to stick to just a few fonts and colors.

On that note, you should also decide if you want a signature following your posts. I decided I wanted a signature about 100 posts down the road. I couldn't figure out how to automatically add it to every previous post, so I ended up editing a lot of posts.

Join blogging communities.
I didn't know these existed for the longest time, but they are so helpful in building your blog. A few have requirements (Her Campus Blogger Network requires you to have been blogging for six months, for example) but a lot of them are easy to get into!

To do over the next six months:

Guest post on other blogs.
It helps you get exposure, become acquainted with other bloggers and obtain more writing experience. It's especially helpful if you can find other beginning bloggers to collaborate with. That way, you both do each other a favor. (Beginning bloggers are often easier to get ahold of anyway.)

Find your niche.
It can be hard to tell from the start what you want to blog about, but after a while it will start to become clear. Sometimes, your niche will might switch enough to warrant a rebranding, but it helps if you start out with a flexible enough name to blog about a broad niche (although not too broad!)

Build your blog.
Use social media to your advantage, make blogging friends and learn new skills.

In six months:

Apply for the HCBN.
I love this blogging community and it's really easy to get in. However, you have to have been blogging for six months.

Consider a domain.
Unlike some people, I don't think it's a terrible idea to start out with a .blogspot.com or a .wordpress.com. But, once you've commited to blogging and your brand, you can definitely drop your url ending to just .com!

Apply for the BlogHer Influencer Network, Clever Girls Collective etc.
Other things you have to wait six months for. Additionally, you should have higher traffic, which will help you to get into the programs.

Any aspiring bloggers out there? I would love to help you out: just shoot me an email!

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