If you’re thinking of starting a blog, and actually want people to be able to find it and read it, there are a lot more steps that go into just signing up for any blog site and writing posts. If you’re looking to start a successful blog, make sure to do these 9 things before publishing your first post to guarantee your blog starts off on the right foot.
Follow me on Instagram to see how I run my channel: @TheWhimsySoul
Think Hard About Your Blog Name
Your blog name is everything. It’s your url, your social handles, your email and above all, your brand identity. The biggest mistake new bloggers make is picking the first name they think of, and then changing it a few years down the road when they realize it isn’t exactly right. This is such a mistake because you’ll have to change your domain name, which means all the work you put into spreading blog posts up to that point will be lost and no longer link to your blog. You’ll also have to change your social handles, which is confusing to followers and, let’s be honest, sloppy.
Instead, spend a few days (or more!) thinking about what you want your blog to be about and researching possible names. Check if there is already a website with that name, or social handles available before settling.
Use the Same Handle On All Social Channels
When I realized that Whimsy Soul was the perfect name for my blog, I immediately bought the domain name and checked all the social channels for @whimsysoul – turns out, that was already taken on some platforms, so I settled for @thewhimsysoul instead. It would be confusing if on Instagram I used @thewhimsysoul, on Twitter @whimsysoul and on Facebook @whimsysoulblog. Try your best to secure the same handle on all social channels so it’s easy for your followers to find you.
Buy Your Own Domain
Seriously. If you have blogname.wordpress.com, you look unprofessional and it’s hard to remember compared to blogname.com. Domains are about $11 a year, GoDaddy even usually has .99 cent domain name sales for new customers, so there is no excuse.
Get A Professional Email
firstname.lastname@example.org is 100% more professional than email@example.com. For just $5 a month, you can host your email through Google Gsuite, so the interface is just like Gmail, but you have a fancy email address. I use it and love it!
Design A Nice Logo
Be honest with yourself – if you don’t have good design skills, look somewhere else to get a nice looking logo. Your branding will be the first thing readers and brands (aka potential sponsors) will look at when landing on your blog, so make sure it represents your brand well. I suggest heading to either Creative Market to download a logo template and tweak it in Photoshop to fit your blog, or find a designer on Fiverr to purchase a custom logo for $5.
Get On WordPress
No, don’t sign up with Blogger or Squarespace (unless you want to also sell products, then Squarespace is great for that.) WordPress is the leading blog platform for blogging and if you start on another platform, I know you’ll want to switch down the road and it’s a pain in the butt to migrate your blog. So, instead, start on the best platform.
Invest In A Nice Blog Theme
Yes, when I say invest, I mean buy one. If you mean business with your blog, for the love of shoes, invest in a nice theme, not some crappy cheap one you found. I recommend Creative Market or Pipdig for great WordPress blog themes. This will probably run you about $50 and worth every penny.
Set Up An Email List
Starting an email list early is key for quickly growing your audience and retaining them. Mailchimp is the best place to start when you are new to email marketing. Put signup sheets on the bottom of posts, the sidebar and maybe even a pop-up.
Build Up Content Before Going Live
I suggest writing 5-10 posts and posting half of them before making your big launch. Then, space out the remaining posts after your launch. This does two things. First, it makes sure you have content on your blog so when people read your blog posts, they aren’t clicking on the homepage only to find an empty website. Second, this buys you time after your launch to start getting in a habit of creating consistent content.
All of these 9 Things To Do Before Starting A Blog are key to having a successful blog, and I swear if you do them, you’ll knock it out of the park!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram for more blogging tips and content ideas!