What makes a successful blog? Anyone can start a blog, but to start a blog with the potential to be successful is something else. Whether your website is going to be a success or not is entirely in your hands. Here’s how to set up a blog that will be booming!
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STARTING A SUCCESSFUL BLOG
Starting a blog is fun! It has a lot of different aspects to it that make it challenging and very interesting. If you like doing lots of things like me, blogging might be perfect for you. It’s a creative outlet that acts as the perfect tool to share your message or offer help and guidance to many people. You get to define your brand and design your website to make it look exactly as you want it to. It will keep you very busy, but a good kind of busy, you know?
A BLOG AS A BUSINESS
I registered my blog, My Passion Projects, as an official business this year. It was always my goal to make money blogging. I always dreamed of making money online, from anywhere in the world. At first, I felt kind of guilty for wanting to make money from my blog, but as I went, I realized it takes a lot of time, effort and investments to run a blog. I stopped feeling guilty for wanting to get paid doing what I love. In this blogpost I am explaining how you start a blog and set it up for professional success!
Let’s get started with what it takes to set up a successful blog:
WHAT WILL YOU WRITE ABOUT?
Bloggers are writers. If you want to start a successful website, it’s important that you decide what you are and aren’t going to write about. For example, you can write about your own life and start a lifestyle blog or share recipes and workout tips and start a food and fitness blog.
Decide what you want to be sharing on your blog and think of a general theme for your blog. This will help you attract readers that are interested in all the content on your blog, not just one post.
You don’t necessarily need to pick just one niche, but the more specific the topics you write about, the more likely your reader is to read more posts once they’re on your website.
YOUR IDEAL READER
Think about the person who you want to read your blog. What are they like? What do they enjoy? And what do they need? Ask yourself every question about them that helps you define this person. Then find out where you can find them. What social media do they have? Where do they shop? Where do they go out and with who?
By focusing on your audience, you will be able to provide quality content that fits their needs and wants. This will keep them coming back to your blog for more!
PICK A NAME
Next thing you want to do is pick a catchy name for your blog. It should be memorable, not too long and easy to write. Try to refrain from using anything other than letters (and numbers) as this will make it confusing and people won’t be able to find you very easily.
A lot of people are starting off with a free blog, but this is not something you want to do if you want a popular or profitable website.
Going self-hosted means that you are fully in control of your website; you are the owner of it and its content. This is not (always) the case with free services, which might make you display advertisements that you don’t want and earn no income from.
You can host your website for as little as $3.95 per month through Bluehost. Bluehost is a powerful hosting provider that is very easy to use. It’s perfect for people who are completely new to blogging and for people who are more experienced with blogging alike. For this $3.95 a month you also get a free domain name, so that’s an amazing deal!
Bluehost has a very easy sign-up process and works with WordPress, which in my opinion is the absolute best. WordPress has so many (free) options for plugins and themes to customize your website that you can make it entirely your own without spending any money.
REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN AND GET STARTED
If you already have a name in mind for your website, you can check if it’s still available here and get started right away. You could have your very own website up and running in just a few minutes! How exciting is that?
MAKE A PLAN
Now that you have a domain and a website, making a plan is vital for your blog to succeed. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to make money from your blog, you need to know how you’re going to do that. I made a business plan for my blogs before I started and it helped me keep my focus. I know what needs to be done to grow my blog and the steps I need to take to start making money from it. Making a plan provides a sense of seriousness along with a clear view of how you’re going to grow and promote your blog.
WRITING BLOG POSTS
Okay, so now you have a niche, a name, and a website. As I mentioned, you can customize your website to make it look exactly how you want. By now, you’ve probably considered some topics you’d like to write about. Figure out what you want to tell your audience, what they will gain from it (in other words, why they would want to read it) and how you’re going to tell it. My posts generally contain anywhere between 1000 and 2500 words. Longer posts perform better. You also want to think of a catchy title and format for your post. How-to’s, lists and why’s always do well in the blogging world!
Before you launch your website, you want to have some content on your blog. I recommend starting out with anywhere between 3 to 10 posts so people can click through a bit and get an idea of what your blog is all about.
Of course, you want your blog to look great too. You found yourself a kick-ass theme that makes your website look awesome but don’t forget you want beautiful, quality pictures too. If you’re not into photography or simply don’t have the time to take a lot of pictures, you can also opt for (free) stock photography. There are tons of websites out there that provide you with free pictures you can use for your blog.
There’s also a lot of photographers that you can buy pictures to make your site look amazing. I work with stock photography on this blog (for now), because I am not a great photographer (understatement of the year, and yes, I know it has only just begun) and don’t have time to teach myself to take incredible pictures right now. However, it’s something I’d like to work on in the future.
PROMOTING YOUR BLOG
If you want your blog to be successful, this is probably the most important part of this blogpost. It takes a lot of time and effort to get people to visit your blog, especially when you first start out. I spent several hours a day for a full month on social media connecting and engaging with people so they would already know me once my blog launched. When I launched my blog on December 1st, 2017, I had gained 500 followers on Twitter and Instagram while remaining very active on both.
I think I spend 20 percent of my time actually creating content for my blog and 80 percent of it promoting it through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. The last three of those drive the most traffic to my blog, but I’ve heard of people getting major success with Facebook.
The key to being successful on social media and building a strong following is being genuinely interested in others and engaging with them. Be kind and reply to their messages and posts. The only way to do this is by investing a lot of time into it, but it will help ensure that many people will come to your blog.
There’s another upside to being active with your followers on social media. I’ve met a lot of amazing people, many whom I now call friends. It’s a lot of fun talking to (like-minded) people. If you have fun doing it, then it will show and attract even more people who want to follow you and your blog.
Before you launch your blog, you will want to create hype around it. You can do this by sharing your process of building your website and sharing sneak peeks. Make sure to interact with your potential readers every day and give them the opportunity to know you before you start. On the day of my launch, I had over 500 views on my blog. A lot of people were interested and curious to see what my blog was about by simply including them in the process and talking to them before the launch.
CONTINUITY AND QUALITY
Update your blog regularly and add new content to it at least once a week. I started out by writing one post a week, but now I’m publishing two. With just one post a week, it’s quite difficult to maintain your views throughout the week.
However, you should stick with a schedule you are comfortable with. Less is best if publishing more posts compromise the quality of your content. Quality is always the most important thing about your blog. People will not be coming back if they aren’t learning or getting anything from your content.
It might take a while for your website to catch on and become popular. It will take even longer before you start making money from it. If you’re just in it for the money or “fame”, then blogging won’t be for you. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to build your business and brand, but having fun will help you make it through the hard times when you feel unmotivated. If you write your blog because you love it, I am certain you’ll make it in the blogosphere.
With much love,