STARTING YOUR BLOG
Deciding your niche. This will be a fundamental step because we cannot pick an appropriate name for your website without first deciding what you will be writing about. The biggest hold back I see for writers is that they feel a niche can trap them in a box and by doing this step they will not reach everyone. YOUR NOT TRAPPED! I am going to let you in on a little secret. You absolutely do not want to reach “everyone”.
You want to narrow it down to a select group of people you are targeting. For me, its women 27-45 who are moms and aspiring entrepreneurs. There are so many people out there and so many ads circulating on social media that there is just not a true chance of being found if you do not get specific with this step.
Let’s do some stats shall we? There are 2 billion users on Facebook, 1 billion on Instagram, 400 million on Twitter, 300 million on snapchat and 150 million on Pinterest. HOLY MOLY LADIES! That’s a lot of people. What if you had 200-500 people who purchased your products, read your articles, commented and interacted with you? Or you can try and reach 1 million that you will never get past a nice to meet you DM if you’re lucky. This lifestyle and career is all about connection. At any time, you can branch out on different topics, but you must first write about certain things to maintain a target audience and grow your following.
Will you write about parenting, makeup, your dog, traveling, business, or recipes?
Figure out where your passion is in creating content. You most likely will not make millions overnight and so passion will be what drives your writing.
What are you knowledgeable about? Where is your life experience? Start here. It only takes a starting point.
(Remember what we talked about earlier, you can always branch out later.)
Picking your website and business name. Spend no more than an hour on this step. You can get lost in perfection and then we are right back on that hamster wheel. Here are some example ways to start your brain storming.
Combining two words:
Curlers and Cupcakes
Beauty and Baking
Band-Aids and Books
Write down what your niche is and look at the key words from that niche to get ideas for a name. Will you be writing about Parenting? What is the tone? Are you funny, serious, a world changer, crafty, or cute? Try to combine your personality in with the name because this is what your audience will view first.
You can also list description words to get a head start on the perfect “Blog Title” for me they looked a little something like this:
- Mommy hood
- Handcrafted Business
- Sweet and Inspirational
- Motivating for Moms
- Real and Transparent
- Life hacks
From this list I started to pull words and see if I loved anything. “The Sweetest Little Life” covered exactly what my target audience was and my niche which I would primarily be writing about.
Now here’s the trickiest part of this step. We must make sure the name you fall in love with is not taken already. Google can be a great way to see if 1. Its copyrighted and 2. It’s a famous baker out in London and you will never be found because they are all over the first 10 pages of google. After checking Google look up your name on all social media platforms and make sure that its available to use as your name. We don’t want to start out your blog swimming against the current. There are plenty of ways to get creative, make a few adjustments, and own your name like nobody else!
Purchasing Your Domain. You do not have to be tech savvy for this step. Trust me ladies, I am the most technology challenged woman you will ever meet for my age group. The minute I see coding is required or too many options I panic. For purchasing your Domain, I always advise to just keep it simple.
Pick your platform you will be blogging on:
Squarespace, Blogger, WordPress, Wix, Go Daddy, or Blue Host. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, but these are my favorites. WordPress.org is my jam. It gives me freedom to use ads if I choose, its user friendly, and I can do everything all on one website. This is huge. Bouncing back and forth between three websites during your set up process can feel a little daunting. I purchased the Thesweetestlittlelife right on WordPress and then just renew yearly as I build my blog.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this – Get your computer out, pick a site that tickles your fancy and get that domain.
To recap, the sites most popular and user friendly are:
WordPress.com – Free
WordPress.org – more for long term and business (Will cost a little) but worth investing in.
Blogger.com – Free and great for beginners
Squarespace.com – Excellent for starting out
Wix.com – Very user friendly and Free
Setting up your Site. This should take no more than two hours. It’s an ongoing project that you will pour little bits of your heart and soul into as we go along over time. For now, let’s get it up, looking clean and legible, and live.
Once you have your domain you can pick through hundreds of templates and find what your style is. Take about 30 minutes to customize and create your pages. (About me, blog, contact)
If you are feeling extra motivated, you can start playing around with widgets and linking your social media pages to your site. You want to own this. Make everything you have created online link together in one spot.
(This creates more chances for you to be found.)
If you get jammed up at any time most of the sites I recommended have an online chat for help where an expert can walk you through any step of setting up and adding different items to your website.
Writing your first blog. EEEEEEEKKKKKK! Are you excited? Get excited? I am jumping for joy with you! Were less than five hours in and ready to start writing! Say what???? Picking a topic can be tricky the first go around, we want to make sure that we pick a topic that is trending and searchable by your audience. (Buzzsumo.com is a great resource for finding a topic already proven to be popular with your target audience) We are talking fail proof planning here!
The next step is a headline that crushes it! Did you know that research shows, readers will scan articles and in two seconds decide if they want to read your material or someone else’s. TWO SECONDS – This means we must make it count. Your audience needs to read the headline and say YES, I NEED TO READ THIS. What is the first thing they see on your blog post? The Headline.
We must nail this step ladies. A few tips when deciding how to create this is answering questions in five words or less. You want to deliver exactly what your blog is about in that headline. You do not want to leave people wondering if it’s about diaper rash or discounts. Think adjectives, feelings, and purpose. All these words can be included in the headline. Major magazines such as Vogue, Seventeen, and People all use a similar technique to create an amazing headline that has you begging for more. If you’re like me you scan the entire magazine while waiting in the grocery store line.
Here are some simple techniques to truly have an impeccable header.
How to + Benefit
How to save $200 on making your own ship lap bed.
How to + Benefit + Timeframe
How spending $40 on pinewood made me $1200 in a 3-month period.
How to + Benefit + Positive Motivation
How to crush blogging without being a writer.
Asking or Answering a question
Why most Mompreneurs quit before they even get started.
Taking lifestyle photos like a professional on an I phone – Are you in the know?
Listing what you’re all about
10 staycations for summer with kids.
If you want what someone has. Do exactly what they do.
Creating Quality over Quantity. No one wants their inbox flooded with blogs your first week. The minute your site is set up, it’s easy to get over excited and want to write a new blog post every day and every night. This is where strategic planning is perfect. If you are in the mood to write and feeling inspired, write until your hearts content. However, save these awesome sauce posts in your drafts or as a scheduled post so your content is consistent and not overwhelming with a spam feel.
Timing is everything. There are ideal times and days you’re more likely to get more likes, comments, and readers on your website. You want to utilize these time slots. For example: I post my blogs on Thursdays and Sundays between 6 – 8 p.m. because over time my stats on WordPress have shown me that’s this is when I have the most engagement on my site. Starting out it’s crucial to have the right set up so you are ready for success. CoSchedule Editorial Calendar is an absolute necessity on WordPress. This allows you to schedule every blog post and social message. It also enables you to collaborate with your content market and make project management simple.
What day is best for traffic? Monday around 9 – 11 a.m.
What day is best for comments? Saturday around 9 a.m.
Best Publishing Day for your blog? Mondays and Thursdays at 7 a.m.
You will get more engagement if you post in the mornings vs. at night when people are winding down and just scrolling to mind numb before bedtime.
These times and days will vary with who your target audience is, what social platforms you are utilizing and overall strategy of what your individual goals are.
As a guideline watch Google Analytics to see where your standing in the online world with your audience.
Be Consistent. Once you find your groove make it consistent. If you choose to post Monday and Thursday, make it exciting for your audience to want to read those two days a week. Talk about what you will be writing about on social media, ask your fans what they want to hear about, start relating to your target audience on a creative and personal level. You have the world right at your fingertips. Most importantly know that establishing your blog and your personal brand takes time. Therefore, patience and passion are so important. You need to create this labor of love before you see profit. If you’re doing this just for the money, you will probably get frustrated and fail.
Let’s Rewind a Minute back to the basics. A niche you love will make you succeed.
Collaborating. An efficient way to start building your brand is to collaborate with other established brands that you admire and have a similar interest as your own. Be careful not to get to eager on this step though. You don’t want to waste your time promoting socks when your target audience is moms. Find something that works for your brand. Remember this is about reaching out, building, marketing, and branding. We want to network to get our name out there. For example: If you are a travel blogger, reach out to high end luggage companies, hotels, travel agencies and offer to promote their brand in exchange for product. You will not only gain some of their followers, but you will be able to enhance their company with free advertising in a “trade” style. Influence Marketing has never been at a higher point, it is amazing the amount of work out there if you just know where to start, and how to approach companies and brands which you admire.
The Power of Video. Video is everything. This can create instant connection with your audience. You do not need fancy cameras and a professional editor to make this happen effectively. When I first started blogging I tried to get an editor and a film crew just for these small snippets. It was time consuming and a waste of money. My audience wanted to connect with me and see my real day to day struggles and life accomplishments. Not some synopsis that was all scripted out. We can just go watch Bravo for that. Build a compelling story about your life that will attract your target audience and keep them coming back for more. Let people in to get to know the real you, get vulnerable, put yourself out there.
Be brave mama.