Starting a blog can be overwhelming, and yet there’s nothing better for your personal brand.
Here are the steps to take to starting a solid blog to solidify your online presence and build your brand.
Niche selection (What you want to blog about)
It kind of goes without saying, yet it’s worth repeating. You need to have a clear idea of what it is you’ll be blogging about. Be it something you’re passionate about, or a niche you’ve determined is undeserved and profitable, or both…you need some direction.
Write down what you aspire to be in 5 to 10 years. This step is closely related to your vision: your dream. If you have a dream that you believe in, it will unfold a path for you to take. Let me put it another way: You connect the dots behind you, not in front of you. This is how most leaders become what they are. Their path ahead looks chaotic, but it’s led by vision. Looking in the past, they can see how the dots actually aligned quite nicely.
Text Optimizer is a great tool to help you find cool angles and topics based on your target search query:
Define a purpose for your blog
Why are you doing this? What will you get out of the blog (money?, satisfaction?). You need to understand the reason your blog will exist and why you’re doing it.
Write down your 1 to 2 year goal. Your vision shows you where the North Star is and your goal will help you with your initial steps. This allows you to focus on something attainable and in sight. Everything you create as part of your plan should align with a single goal. This direction and narrowed focus keeps you on track.
Figure out and implement all of the technical details
Install WordPress (don’t think about other platforms…just use WordPress).
Find then install a free or paid WordPress theme (this is what dictates the look and feel of your website/blog).
Write a killer About Me page and an epic first post
The About page is one of the most visited pages of any site. It’s an important page that is often neglected. This is a great opportunity to establish your relationship with your readers. Let them in on who you are as a person. You want to make a connection with your visitors and this is a great way to do that.
And why an an epic first post? Because why would you start anything with something mediocre? Don’t do one of those “Hello world, this is my first attempt at a blog…I hope it works out well, blah blah blah”…kind of posts.
That doesn’t set the tone for your blog. It gives the impression that you’re not sure about this and that doesn’t inspire confidence in your readers. OWN your niche from the get-go. Establish that you are an authority on your subject, even if no one knows who you are.
Contact-me page is another one to create prior to launching. You want people to be able to reach out offering help and partnership. You also want to find clients from your blog as well. Set up a business phone line, a business email address and possibly a chatbot. All of this can be quite affordable and easy to set up, so don’t get discouraged here/
Write for others
There is simply no better way to increase your traffic, and grow your audience than by leveraging the audience of someone who is already an established authority in your niche. …that is, unless you want to pay for traffic…but that’s not generally very fruitful for a new blog with no source of revenue.
You want to seek out a list of the top blogs in your niche and closely related niches. Then pitch them on article ideas that you would like to post on their site. These posts would obviously contain links back to your site. Don’t worry about being unknown. If you can provide great content to a blog owner, they don’t care who you are. Really. Find out what the most popular posts are on their sites, and pitch something similar.
Bonus 6th Step: Be able to capture emails from day one
Email marketing is the most important step, regardless of a niche you are in. Sign up for an email service like MailChimp, GetResponse or Aweber. Put email list sign-up forms on your site.
ALWAYS be pushing visitors to sign up for your email list. This will be the most valuable asset of your blog. Guaranteed.
No matter what else happens, you will have a list of subscribers that you can write, promote and sell to. And believe it or not, email is the largest contributor of repeat visitors for most successful blogs.
Of course, there is a lot that goes into each of these 6 steps… a lot more than I can provide here. But these are the basic fundamentals that will get you started in the right direction.
- Put yourself in the position of the target reader and figure out what they want to read about (not what you want to write about). Experiment with topic formulation and discussion angles: articles as lists, pros/cons, free/essay narrative, etc.
- Create articles regularly, once a week, twice a week. It is important to keep the schedule. It will drive the returning visitors.
- Make sure to properly configure your platform for SEO (it always helps to aid the search engines). It is not as effective as striking some hot topic, but definitely helps.
- Configure proper caching and/or CDN, the faster the site, the better (empirical evidence in my case is that when page loads are more than 2-3seconds, the users drop)
- Be original! If you’re in for the long run, build content slowly with a strategy, if not – always follow the hottest or the most controversial topics.