Blogging has changed my life.
I don’t go to a traditional job. I can set my own hours. I enjoy what I do. I spend the time I want with my friends and family.
You can have these things too with a successful blog.
But there is a downside too.
I have made many mistakes. I have written about the wrong things. I’ve not focused my time on the right marketing methods. I have not always used the best channels to make money.
Blogging is about putting your stuff out there. And if you are serious about blogging you will make mistakes, it’s a right of passage. But, you can learn from mine so you can make fewer mistakes. And you can learn from my success too.
This article has 10 tips to get you started on the right path for your blogging journey.
1.) Find a Topic You Know and That Passionate About
Blogging is hard work!
But if you’re passionate about your topic you are choosing an easier path. Blogging about what you know and what you enjoy makes blogging easier for the following reasons:
1.) It cuts out the time you need to research
2.) You will have resources for your blog already. You will have content ideas, pictures you have taken, know about resources you can direct people to, and much more.
3.) You know your stuff so you are an authoritative voice. You can teach people,solve their problems, answer their questions and generally provide value. This will make it easier to get traffic, encourage people to subscribe to your email list, sell products, services and make money!
This is where you may have a doubtful voice enter your head. I know I did. Mine said, there are already lots of people out there teaching this stuff. What can I offer that’s extra? I don’t know enough to be an expert.
Whatever your voice is saying, it’s certain you have a unique perspective, voice and experiences that you can share which will give value.
The only difference between people blogging about your topic is that they’re out there doing it, putting in the graft!
Women and Moms often have a unique perspective on topics as they have a very different experience of the challenges women may face. These challenges aren’t often being addressed by other bloggers.
Another tip is to combine your life and your blog. As a Mom your time is limited. So take the easy path. Blog about what you do on a daily basis or what you love to read about or listen to. Blog about what you’ve learned in your job, what you do with your kids or where you travel with your family. Combining what you do in your life and in your blog makes writing blog posts way easier!
2.) Explore how you will make money
There are several ways in which your blog can make money. Before you get started it’s important to have a rough idea of how you may make money. You don’t have to be completely sure at this point. But if earning money is something you would like to do from your blog, ensuring you can monetize your blog is important.
Here are some ideas:
1.) Adverts on your blog through a platform such as google adsense.
2.) Affiliate marketing, selling other people’s products and services from your website, if people click and buy from your link you can earn commissions.
3.) Use your blog to sell your services such as coaching, online exercise classes, proof reading, virtual admin etc.
4.) Create online courses and/or ebooks and sell them to your reader.
5.) A combination of all of these.
It’s not necessary to be sure about the specific ins and outs of how your blog will make money at this point. But having some ideas is important. Otherwise, you run the risk of writing blog posts and not being able to monetize them when the time is right.
The truth is, if you’re not sure how you’re going to make money from your blog, it will affect your motivation to keep blogging.
If you’re at a loss as to how you will make money from your blog check what your competitors are doing? What products do they recommend? What services, ebooks or courses are they selling? What types of adverts do they have on their website?
Have a few ideas of products, adverts, online courses or services you can get income from before you set up your blog.
3.) Choose a great domain name
Your domain name is what people will type into the browser bar to go to your website. So the domain name for this site is simpleandonline.com
Choosing a domain name can seem like a really important task. You don’t want to get stuck with a domain name that you don’t like.
However, my advice is don’t stress. It isn’t that important – really!
Here is what I recommend:
i.) Keep it short, memorable and easy to spell. This will help users remember it and type it into the address bar.
ii.) Keep it generic. Don’t make it too niche. Even if you have a really good niche for your blog in mind, you may decide you want to branch out from that niche later on.
For example, I wanted to write about blogging but decided to go with simpleandonline.com rather than a domain name with blogging in it, so I can branch out into other areas (social media, business online etc) later on if I want to.
iii.) You can use your own name.
iv.) You can’t go wrong with .com. Having said this, there are successful .org and .net domain names. Choose one of these three.
4.) Choose a hosting provider
I have several websites and they are all hosted with Bluehost or Siteground. Both are very good.
Bluehost is good for beginners for the following reasons:
1.) A free domain name is included with your hosting.
2.) WordPress is super easy to install
3.) 24/7 support
4.) 60 day money back guarantee if you change your mind (which you won’t ;-))
Siteground is another option, where you can’t go wrong. Their support is second to none. The prices for a beginner startup package are similar to Bluehost. But they don’t include a domain name.
5.) Install WordPress
Once you have purchased hosting and a domain name, install wordpress.
With Bluehost this can be done in 5 minutes. They will walk you through it but if you get stuck this video shows you how.
And if you really want to avoid the tech stuff, give them a call and they will do it for you.
You can then explore the backend of your blog. To login into your blog go to yoursitename/wp-admin and login in with the username and password you set up.
If you’re not used to wordpress the backend of your website is likely to look a little scary at this point. Do not fear! Many of us bloggers have felt the same. It’s a learning curve. Take it step by step and in no time you will be confident in what you are doing.
6.) Install a Theme
A theme controls the look of your blog.
WordPress has thousands of themes to choose from. You can change your theme by going to your dashboard and clicking on Appearance >> Themes in the left-hand side menu.
Then click on the Add New button at the top to select a new theme.
Once you’ve clicked on the “Add New” button, search for the theme you require in the box on the right-hand side.
Once you’ve found your chosen theme, click the install button to install the theme when you are ready.
Here are a few themes to consider:
Astra: Astra is a good theme for beginners and it one of the most popular and fast loading wordpress themes. It’s multi-purpose so it works well to build all types of websites. What’s really good about Astra is that you can load pre-made demo sites. This is great if you don’t have any techy knowledge as it makes it easier to start straight away. Less time has to be spent customizing the look and feel of your site. Read more about the preloaded sites.
Divi – this is the theme I use. It’s paid for but it has a visual builder and you can use it to make your websites look amazing. It also has a drag and drop feature which can be helpful for beginners.
7.) Write An Amazing Post
Now we get to the fun part! Write your first amazing post. Go to the menu on the left-hand side of the bar. Click posts, add post and get writing.
How do you make your post amazing?
Write something you know. Something you enjoy. Answer people’s questions. Provide solutions to their problem. Provide value for your readers. Help them. Support them. Encourage them.
Another tip. Make blogging a habit. It can be easy to lose momentum. You need to make sure you feel like you are making progress. One easy way to do this make blogging something you do consistently.
Try and write something every day, even if it’s only 50 words. Be consistent and keep repeating. Doing a little bit consistently means you are continuously working towards a blogging goal which is brilliant for your mindset. Eventually, you will have a few posts and you will start to have a proper website together.
Don’t worry about being a perfectionist. When your post is good enough, hit publish! You can come back and edit it, add content and rework content. A published post isn’t necessarily a finished one. But get in the habit of publishing, your readers want your content. Don’t withhold it from them.
8.) SEO and Niche Posts
Aim for some of your posts to be niche posts with long tail keywords. This will be easier to rank for top spots on google.
Say what? I hear you ask.
Firstly, what are niche posts?
Niche posts focus on a small, specified area of a topic.
You want to get some articles to rank on the search engines on google. The challenge is the amount of competition on google.
For example, a blogger on pilates may write about “10 Benefits of Pilates”. But a new, small blog won’t be able to compete with this search term on google. You will be competing against much bigger sites. And you will be competing against a lot of similar articles.
Therefore try to write some articles that narrow down on a niche. An alternative article idea is “10 Benefits of Pilates for Runners”. This will have less competition. And is, therefore, more likely to rank higher in the search engines.
Having said this, make sure your topic isn’t too niche.”10 Benefits of Pilates for Long Distance Runners who Have Knee Problems” may be too narrow a topic. You may rank top of google, but that’s no good if people aren’t searching for the answer to that problem.
You’ll find that niche posts are likely to contain a few long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are three and four keyword phrases that are very specific to whatever you are writing about.
Long-tail keywords rank better with google because fewer people have written about them. So there is less competition.
The SEO company, Yoast gives a good example in their article. You may want to write about educational books for children but there is a lot of competition for this keyword. New bloggers will find it impossible to rank. However, if you write about educational books for autistic teenagers, the keyword is much more likely to come at the top of Google.
That’s not to say every article should be concentrate on a niche. If you focus all your time on SEO and niches your content will probably get stale. It can make it difficult to keep up the passion.
Other types of post you should write are posts that are designed sharing on social media. Also, as your blog grows, more general posts that will appeal to the readers you acquire, who specifically want to hear your take on matters.
So make articles fun, try out different post formats. Have fun. Experiment and it will come across in your writing.
9.) Learn to add plugins
Another techy thing you will need to learn is how to add plugins to the backend of your site. Plugins can help improve the look and functionality of your site. You can use them to install features such as contact forms, slideshows, photo galleries and social share buttons. The good news is they’re not as scary as they sound.
It’s super easy to install a plugin.
One plugin I’d recommend installing is Wordfence security. A security plugin like wordfence is important to block malicious traffic from your site and protect it.
To add a plug in, go to Plugins >> add new in the left-hand side of your menu.
Then type the plugin name (in this case Wordfence) in the box on the right-hand side.
Once you’ve done that click the “Install Now” button on the plugin (Wordfence in this case), you would like to install.
Once installed the button will then say “Activate”. Click on the Activate button and your Wordfence plugin is installed!
10.) Start an Email List
You want to have an option to start an email list as soon as you have a few posts up there. Starting an email list early means you can start to capture readers as soon as you start getting traffic.
Don’t wait till 6 months down the line to do this. After you’ve published a few posts, your next step should be to get your email list up and running.
Convertkit is an email software program that makes setting up an email list super simple. You don’t need technical information to create landing pages and it’s easy to connect it to your blog.
11.) Social Media
Another fun part.
Once you have a few posts, start promoting them on a social network.
My advice is to keep it simple. Choose just one social media site that works well with your content. It’s far too easy to get overwhelmed by building your presence on every social media outlet. And you end up with a weak presence on several social media outlets rather than a strong following on just one.
Pick one, learn it, use it. You may not need to then use another one but do it later on, once you’ve mastered one network.
My current favorite for my websites is Pinterest. This works well with my content. But other platforms may be better for yours. Look at what your competitors are using and being successful with to give you ideas. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all work well with different content.
Writing some of your posts so that they can attract readers on your social network important to get traffic too. So mix them up with niche posts and other posts and have fun with it.
That’s it! You just learned 80% of what you need to know to have a successful blog.
What to do next?
Follow the steps, get your blog set up and just start.
As a Mom, time may be a consideration for you. A simple rule is to do a little every day.
If you spend 30 minutes every day on your blog, that works out as the equivalent of 5 working weeks over the year.
Imagine the blogging successes you can achieve in that time. Write them down. They are your first blogging goals. Write those goals down every day and do the 30 minutes. This is your plan for blogging success.