There’s a lot that goes into learning how to start a blog, but one of my best lessons was failing on my first effort. However, instead of wasting your own time and effort, you can learn from my mistakes.
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
Having a broad niche hurt me with my first blog. If I had narrowed my ideas, I might have been able to grow my website into an actual business.
Passion is also essential to keep you going when you have to work incredibly hard to keep your blog going. If you’re not passionate about your topic, you might lack motivation.
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 it.
I’ve read things that will say differently, but I 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 that comes to mind. I wrote down a few dozen ideas before beginning this blog, and it has been so helpful for me to have that massive list of ideas.
It’s also useful to brainstorm blog post ideas before beginning your blog so you can determine whether or not you’ll have enough material to maintain a successful blog.
You don’t have to think of every single blog post you plan to write, but having a large list of ideas is an amazing kick start. Check out this post from Molly Marshall Marketing on how she planned a year’s worth of blog post ideas in one hour.
Doing this when you’re still in beginning stage of 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 things differently. Instead of buying my domain and setting up my website, I wrote multiple blog posts first.
I wanted to make sure I enjoyed what I wrote about 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. I’ve 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
It’s good to have substance in your Instagram, Facebook page, Pinterest, and other social media accounts before launching them to the public. I had a blast creating a Pinterest account for my blog. I went crazy for a little bit until I had multiple 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.
I definitely wanted to take my blog seriously. I wanted to have a money-making blog, but desire without direction isn’t enough.
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 kind of content 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 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 might have been able to have more success.
I’ve also heard great things about ConvertKit, which is a good service if you have a large audience. They offer a free trial, and you don’t have to provide your credit card.
There are a hundreds of resources on how to start a blog, but sometimes failure is the best teacher. Learn from my mistakes and create a blog that thrives!
Follow me on Pinterest to see more blogging and writing ideas than you’ll ever need!