Since you’ve landed on this blog post, I’m going to assume that you’re considering launching a brand new blog or you just start a blog and need a few tips on what to do before you go live! First off, I’m super excited that you’re thinking of starting a blog. Blogging is my favourite way to make money and it’s a ton of fun. Second, I really hope this blog post helps you in your blogging journey and gets you started on the right foot!
When I started my first blog, I learned everything very, very slow. I found myself missing steps and missing major things that would skyrocket my growth and I don’t want that fate for you! Make sure you get all of these 9 ducks in a row before you launch your blog for maximum success.
9 Things You Must Do Before You Launch a New Blog
#1 – Choose a Great Host
If you’ve never had your own website before, you probably don’t even understand what a website host is but it is one of the most important things you need to start a blog. A lot of people start a blog on a website like Blogger or WordPress.com for free, and this is not the way to go if you want to treat this blog like a business.
Free websites that host your blog for you actually own all of the content you post and they could completely delete your website at any time without notice. That’s scary stuff, right? You don’t want to devote your time to starting a blog and writing and then just have it disappear without warning. It’s also really hard to monetize on a free platform because it doesn’t have as many capabilities as a self-hosted wordpress site.
So, how do you get a self-hosted website that you own and can monetize however you want? You must pay for hosting. So, what the heck is blog hosting? It’s essentially just the power behind your website. Your blog is like a host at a good dinner party, they make sure everything runs nice and smooth and your blog is up and running at all times.
My recommendation for blog hosting for a brand new blogger will always be Bluehost. Why? Because Bluehost works amazingly with WordPress which is the best way to run a blog, and their hosting only costs $3.95 if you sign up through my link. Bluehost has awesome customer service so you can ask them all sorts of dumb questions when you just can’t figure things out and they make you feel like every question is valid!
#2 – Pick a Great Theme
A good theme for your new blog is what your readers are going to see, it’s all about design! If you have a bad design people will click off your website faster than you can say hello. When you’re a new blogger, you don’t want to pay for someone to design your website and most of the time even getting a paid theme is hard because money is tight.
I made a list of my favourite FREE WordPress themes that are beautiful, run well, and that I’ve used myself.
#3 – Decide on a Niche
The niche of your blog is what you’re going to be talking about, for example, my first website NotQuiteAnAdult.com is in the personal finance niche, my second blog LazyGirlFit.co is in the health and fitness niche, and this website is in the blogging niche.
Deciding on a single niche is hard, but not having a niche is harder. It’s a lot easier to get a devoted audience if they care a lot about the topic you write about. If you’re writing a blog about parenting and then throw in an article about cars, your super devoted readers are going to be a bit turned off by it.
So, how do you choose a niche? There are two real factors that go into picking your blog niche, the first is passion and the second is profitability.
- Passion – It’s really important when you decide on a niche that it’s something you actually enjoy writing about. Could you imagine writing at least one post a week on a topic that you only chose because it could make you money? That sounds awful. Chances are you’ll run out of topics in a few weeks and your blog will fall into the dark abyss of the internet to never be seen again.
- Profit – If you’re starting a blog to create a business, you may not want to go into a very random niche with a small audience because it’s going to be very hard to monetize. That’s not me saying that you can’t make money, but you will see more struggling. Some of the most profitable niches include: finance, health & fitness, blogging, parenting, and food.
#4 – Activate Your Social Media
Social media is the best way to get your blog out there for almost no money! A really good thing to do before you launch your blog is to secure your @ names on all the important social media channels (i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.). There are people out there that register accounts of websites that don’t own the website just to try and get the person to pay for the @ handle! How rude.
This is why it’s super important to get your social media accounts ready and running before you launch the blog!
#5 – Get Pinterest Ready
Pinterest is going to be your best friend for blog traffic. The best thing you can do for your blog is to get your Pinterest set up correctly from the start. I get 75%+ of my blog traffic directly from Pinterest it only takes me an hour a week to get Pinterest set up and automated.
When I first started learning Pinterest I bought an ebook called Pinteresting Strategies that teaches newbies how to get their profile set up and how to pin without ever having to pay a penny. This is a great strategy when you’re first starting out because manual pinning teaches you exactly how Pinterest works and will show you how the platform functions!
#6 – Create an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is one of the greatest things you can have for you to stay organized and consistent with your writing. Before I created my first editorial calendar, I was writing twice a week but the topics were all over the place. I was always struggling to think of topics because I didn’t have a plan. An editorial calendar doesn’t need to be created 6 months in advance, one month at a time will suffice.
My favourite way to do my editorial calendar is to assign each day a different blog category. For example, my blog Not Quite an Adult is about personal finance and the categories are saving money, making money, debt payoff, and budgeting. Since I write one post a week for that blog, each category gets a new post each month!
#7 – Pick an Email List Provider
Email is the most powerful tool at your disposal and my biggest mistake is not starting to collect subscriber emails earlier on. It took me four months to really understand the importance of an email list and to actually get one going.
Why is email so important? Your email list is the only way you can have your readers subscribe to you that you have total control over and that you actually own. If you take your blog readers over to a social platform, like Twitter or Instagram, you never know what is going to happen with their algorithms and you could lose all your engagement overnight. Email allows you to talk directly to your reader in their inbox weekly so they don’t forget you exist.
There are a ton of different email service providers you can choose from but many of them are too expensive for someone who is just starting out. Currently, I’m using Seva (formerly convertkit) for my ESP but when I first started collecting emails I used Mailerlite which is incredible and has a ton of awesome capabilities for you to use! Best thing, Mailerlite is free for your first 1000 subscribers. Speaking of email lists, wanna join mine?
#8 – Decide on a Promotional Strategy
A bit mistake a lot of newbie bloggers make is that they assume they can just write a blog post and then walk away and the readers will come. This couldn’t be more wrong. Unless you’re a magician, I guess? Blogging is 20% writing content and 80% promoting that content.
There are a ton of different platforms you can use to promote your blog. My favourite will always be Pinterest. You can get a ton of traffic from Pinterest for FREE and it’s fairly easy to get it. People also use Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook for free promotion for their blogs. You need to have some ideas of how you’re going to promote your blog posts before you ever hit publish.
#9 – Write (and schedule) 5-10 Posts
The most important thing on a blog is… well, blog posts, right? Duh! Writing posts before you hit that launch button is so important because you don’t want to launch too early. There are a ton of benefits of having more than just one blog post written when you hit live.
- If someone stumbles upon your blog, you want to try and keep them on your website for as long as possible. This is good for your “google juice” (known by professionals as SEO or something, who wants to be a professional? I like google juice!). If someone really likes the post they landed on, you want to make sure they have the option to read something else.
- Having posts pre-written and pre-scheduled to go out about once a week for your first month after launch is awesome. Why? Because the first few weeks of a blog can be confusing, and stressful and you’re going to be pulled in 100 different directions during the first few months. Having content that’s already ready to be posted will help ease a ton of stress and keep you on a consistent posting schedule.
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be scary, just take it day by day, one step at a time. You don’t want to dig in too quickly and end up just spinning in circles. If you have any questions about the basics of starting a blog, email me through our contact page and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
Thanks for reading!