For the last few years, I’ve wanted to blog. I love to write, but even more, I love to choose what I write.
I started a blog, but it lacked direction. A few months later, another idea consumed my mind, and I purchased another domain name and created a cute logo. I didn’t even publish that blog before moving on.
Though I was frustrated by the waste of time, effort, and money, the small failures taught me a few things to do before starting a blog. Here they are:
1. Find the Right Niche/Topic
This is everything. If you’re not passionate about your topic, you won’t have the motivation to keep going.
An entrepreneur inspired me to create this blog. I told her I would love to start a business, but I had no idea where to begin. I laid out all of my ideas and what I had dabbled in recently, and she kindly let me know that I was all over the place. She told me that people often make the mistake of starting a business for money and not for passion.
We all need money. There’s nothing more appealing to me than the idea of working when I want, where I want (in my bed), and how I want. But you probably won’t be successful in the long run writing about finance if you don’t love finance. You’ll read things that will say differently, but I personally get burnt out when I’m doing something I’m not passionate about (which has been my life for the past few years). I doubt I’m alone in this.
2. Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas
Get out your notepad, your computer, or your phone, and list every blog post idea you can possibly think of. This has been so helpful for me when I plan the content to write for my blog. It is also helpful to ensure that you have enough material to start a successful blog.
You don’t have to think of every single blog post you plan to write, but having a few dozen ideas is an amazing kick start. Doing this when you first come up with your blog is helpful because your ideas are fresh and they’re coming in quickly.
3. Write Content
When I created this blog, I decided I would do it differently. Instead of buying my domain and setting up my website, I wrote content first. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it and that I would come up with enough material before taking the other steps. I would also feel strange trying to promote a blog that had just one or two posts.
Creating content before you make other purchases for your blog (buying the domain, host, a theme, etc.) can be helpful for a few reasons:
- You can make sure you have enough to write.
- Your blog will appear more seasoned.
- Readers will have more content to browse through.
There’s nothing wrong with looking new—if you have something good to say, it’s valuable even if you’re new. But imagine going to a brand new grocery store and seeing that only the canned foods and cereal aisles were stocked, while there was no dairy, produce, or any of the other essentials you needed. You probably wouldn’t go back to that grocery store anytime soon.
Your blog should have plenty of content for readers to check out. When I was starting out, I read a recommendation to have 20 posts before launching a blog. That’s A LOT! That would be an incredible start, but I think 8-10 posts is sufficient in the beginning. It may take a while to build your audience, and you can whip out content quickly as you work on growing.
4. Create Social Media Accounts
Just like with creating content for your blogs, it’s good to have substance in your Instagram, Facebook page, Pinterest, and other social media accounts. My favorite thing is to start a Pinterest for my blog and just go crazy for a little bit until I have some solid boards to share with followers.
You can keep your Instagram account and Facebook page private until you’re ready to launch your blog. Again, they don’t have to be perfect, but they can be polished and contain enough content for new fans to browse.
5. Schedule Work
When I launched my first blog, I got what every writer/blogger wants: positive feedback. My friends and family loved what I had to say, and some of them were just as gung-ho about my project as I was.
But, as I mentioned previously, I lacked direction.
I didn’t have a clear niche, and I didn’t have a clear plan for where I would go. In the beginning, I published two blog posts a week. Then I slowed down and even went for months without publishing a post.
The excitement about my blog waned and then I felt like it was too late to build it up again.
If I had come up with a clear plan of when I would publish content, how often I would post on social media, and how I would build my audience, my blog could have gone somewhere. Instead, it was like a firework that shoots into the sky and then never explodes.
Create a plan. How often will you publish a post? Will you post on social media every day or just a few times a week? What kinds of things will you post? What platforms will you use?
Planning what you’ll do before you ever launch your blog will help you to have success while momentum is high.
6. Keep Track of Fans
If you’re want to start a money-making blog, you need an audience. Before launching your blog, figure out how you’ll keep track of your fans. If I had done this with my first blog, I may have been able to have more success.
To create an email list builder, you can start with MailChimp, which offers limited free service for bloggers. I’ve also heard great things about ConvertKit, which may be the way to go if you plan to grow a large audience (which you probably do).
Use these tips to make your blog a little more prepared for the big launch. What did I miss? Any other ideas of what to do before sharing your blog with the world?