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Starting a blog can be overwhelming at times, but based on my six-plus years of blogging experience, I put together a list of blogging tips I wish I had gotten when I first started out. I hope they can help make your blog launch easier and more successful! Blogging can be challenging, but I promise if you stick with it, it’s SO REWARDING!
Choose Something You Are Passionate About
Whether you are writing about a niche or multiple topics, it’s important to choose subject matter that you are passionate about, because it takes A LOT of time and effort to create a blog and get it rolling! Your passion will power you through, and it’s SO WORTH it! Carefully choosing the content you want to write about will also save you from having to change your blog around later! Make sure you share your reasons for writing in your About Me page— it will help your reader get to know you better!
While it can be tempting to start your blog on free services like Squarespace, Wix or WordPress.com, if you are really serious about blogging, you go self-hosted from the start. There are a number of reasons why, and you would be surprised that it can also be more cost-effective. You can read all about how to start a self-hosted blog on WordPress HERE.
Make Sure You Have Reliable AND Affordable Hosting
I have been through several hosts over the past six-plus years, and I can say without a doubt that SiteGround has been the easiest to deal with when it comes to set-up, migration of your site, and any other support issues that could come up when you’re just starting out. Their customer service is AWESOME and I can’t say enough good things about it (since I’ve used it many times!). You can use my referral link to get hosting for as low as $3.95 per month (plus a free SSL certificate!). An SSL certificate is great for improving Google rankings and is a MUST if you are going to be selling anything on your blog.
While you will see a lot of Bluehost links out there, I would stay away from their hosting service. I have used them in the past and experienced quite a bit of downtime for my site and didn’t feel like the customer service was as helpful as they could have been when it happened. If you are planning to create a website that will be used by many people for a business, WP Engine is also a great choice. They are pricier but provide a great service for WordPress sites.
Purchase a Premium Theme (You’ll Thank Me Later!)
There are certain things that are a good idea to invest in right from the start. Like hosting, a premium WordPress theme. I have worked with bloggers who have come to me after purchasing the WordPress.com premium plan, only to find out that they could have a saved a bunch of money by self-hosting and purchasing their own premium theme!
A premium theme gives you benefits like regular updates, online support to troubleshoot issues and a unique style that you won’t see all over the internet! You can see some of my favorite places to find premium themes below:
Use High-Quality Graphics and Video
The internet and social media continue to move even more heavily towards visual content, so it’s SUPER important to use high-quality graphics for your blog and social media. The good news is that you don’t have to go out and purchase a DSLR or mirrorless camera, your smartphone can often produce beautiful images. You can also visit different websites that offer free stock images that you can use however you wish. Here are some of the ones I use:
- The Hungry JPEG
- Negative Space
- Creative Market— If you sign up to join Creative Market’s mailing list, they send you freebies every Monday which include image sets, fonts, etc. They have a ton of graphic design items that you can purchase for download, and they have some AWESOME sales.
- Styled Stock Society— I am a member of this program, and I LOVE their image sets. If you’ve visited my site, you will see some of their images on my opt-in form page and Contact Me page to name a few! Membership is $29 a month, but that includes UNLIMITED downloads which are a great deal! Her pictures are clean, modern and VERY professional looking!
Start a Mailing List Right Away
The biggest regret of most bloggers is that they didn’t start a mailing list sooner– don’t be that blogger! 🙂 You may feel like it’s too early to create a mailing list when you launch your blog, but it’s not! It’s not hard to start a mailing list and there are a number of email service providers used by bloggers including:
- MailerLite— this is the service I use because it’s free for up to 1,000 subscribers. Their system is very easy to use and they offer all types of opt-in forms including pop-ups. You can also set up automation for e-mail series or e-courses. You can use my referral link to get a $20 credit when you sign up!
- ConvertKit is another option that is great for bloggers, and a number of my clients have used their service. ConvertKit was created specifically for bloggers, so it’s easy to use and plans start at $29 per month.
Set-up Social Media Profiles for Your Blog and Use them to Network and Promote Your Content
As soon as you start your blog you will want to set up social media profiles. Don’t wait to do this– you want to grab a handle on each platform that is as close to your blog’s name as possible. It doesn’t have to be exact, but you want it to be consistent with your brand and easy to remember!
- Facebook— Create a Facebook page for your blog and share content that your audience wants, not just your own blog content. For every one post, you share, try to share 3-4 from other sources. Experiment with different types of content including memes, videos, and links. I have a helpful blog post on creating more engagement on Facebook.
- Twitter— Twitter is great for networking with other influencers in your niche and sharing quick bits of news and content.
- Instagram— I LOVE Instagram and it’s my favorite platform 🙂 It’s great for showcasing snapshots of daily life or other relevant content from your niche. Instagram stories are also great for connecting with your followers.
- Pinterest— Pinterest is AWESOME for getting eyes on your content, and if you have to choose only one social channel to focus on, make it Pinterest! It’s actually not really a social media platform. It’s a powerful search engine. I recommend doing a combination of pinning manually and using scheduled pins through Tailwind. The Tailwind app lets you schedule out your pins (for weeks!), so you can sit down once and get a bunch of pins scheduled for the future. It saves me a TON of time! Work on getting as many repins (of your original pin) as you can. The repins will help drive LOTS of traffic to your blog. A fellow blogger has also created an AWESOME course called the Pinterest Improvement Plan that will tell you everything you need to know about using Pinterest for your blog!
Join a Facebook Group for Support and Feedback
I have learned SO MUCH from Facebook groups. They are a great way to connect with other bloggers and learn from their experience. It’s also a great space to get feedback on your blog. With the exception of a small minority, I have found bloggers to be a very supportive group! I would love you to join my Build Your Best Blog Facebook group. We have bloggers from all over the world and in different niches, so you will get a variety of perspectives and experiences.
Join Blogger Collectives and Social Media Agencies that Offer Paid Blogging Posts and Social Media Campaigns
Don’t wait to start applying for sponsored posts and other influencer opportunities! You might feel like you don’t have enough pageviews or followers, but brands love working with fresh blogs and you have INFLUENCE. I would rather work with a blogger that has a really engaged audience and social media than a person with a ton of followers/pageviews and gets no interaction! You can get a list of all of the agencies and collectives I work with HERE.
I would also suggest starting to put together a media kit, so you have something to send off to brands and public relations firms when you are approached by brands or decided to pitch them. You can learn more about how to make a media kit and pitch brands in my e-book.
Starting a blog is so exciting and I can’t wait to see the success you have with your blog! Please feel free to contact me at jessica[at]thisrealmom[dot]com with questions. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and need some coaching, you can read more about what I offer HERE.