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Posts about blogging are my new jam (let’s pretend I’ve been doing this for years and this isn’t just my third post) 🙂
In all seriousness though – if you’re just starting out, I think it’s important to create a step by step overview of what you need to be doing in order to develop a successful blog and turn into a successful blog biz.
While there are a million and one “how to” posts I want to share (such as developing your blog business plan, building your website, setting up your analytics, etc.), it’s important to start with an overview of the most vital things you need to get that baby up and runnin’.
This is not a complete list. I’m not superwomen people! These are the basics. The grunt work, if you will. We’ll hash out the rest as we go. Remember, I’ve done this stuff already so I’ll be walking you through everything (ERRRRY-THANG) I’ve encountered, step by step.
DEVELOP YOUR BLOG STRATEGY
You’re not creating any online business without a solid idea and strategy. If you’ve gotten this far, you probably have a firm grasp on what you want to do or the direction you’re potentially looking to go. At some point soon (like very soon if you want to get this baby going) you’re going to need to hone in on exactly what you want to do and start strategizing.
Strategy. Strategy. Strategy. Strategize everything. Grab a pen and paper or something electronic and start making a list. Here are some thought points to get you started:
- What do you want to blog about?
- How will you make money?
- Who else is doing it? What are they doing?
- What can you do differently?
- Is there a demand surrounding your idea? If not, can you create one?
I’ll focus more on this in another post. But for now, spend a good couple of hours jotting down your initial ideas. Then, put your pen (or keyboard down), eat a piece of chocolate cake (or totally boring but really healthy carrot) and step away until THE NEXT DAY. Yelling, I know. But its important to step away for a good period of time to let your mind clear or, even better – fill up with more fabulous ideas. Jot them down if you come up with more and revisit that list on Day 2. Once you do that, research the hell out of that idea so you can armed with the details you’re going to need to include in your blog business plan.
IDENTIFY YOURSELF (CREATIVELY)
Now is where things get crazy. After you’re armed with your idea, you have to make it happen. And, if you can’t, you’re going to need to find really talented people that can. Number 1 on the list? Brand identity. This. Is. Everything. This is how people will see you and will encourage people to follow you wherever you go. Your brand identity will show the world what you and your blog brand are made of.
- These 10 steps are super helpful in getting those creative juices flowin’.
- How do you want your blog to look and feel? Vintage vibe? Girly? Colorful? Flat?
- What’s your color scheme going to be? If you need inspiration, this post is a great place to start.
- What will your logo look like? You’ll need to get that (and any applicable brandmarks) created. Canva is a great design resource.
- Think about fonts, sub fonts and a tagline (if any)
Whether you do it on your own or hire someone, you should have a brand kit, which will act as your base for everything you design. My brand kit keeps me from changing my look and feel every five minutes. When I go rogue creatively, my brand kit keeps me in check.
BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE.
Well, if you’re going to have a blog I guess you need a website, right? I’ve been blogging for over 5 years and have loved using WordPress. My blog is self-hosted, but you can always use a free platform. I prefer self-hosted and will dig into that and provide a list of other platforms you could use later. Another blogger (Jessica) has a pretty informative post about it here if you don’t feel like waiting!
Here’s some more paper and pencil points (you’ll probably fill a whole notebook after this!) Unless of course you’re doing things electronically like everyone else in the world except me 🙂
- Purchase a domain and hosting package (I use GoDaddy)
- Install blog platform (I use WordPress. GoDaddy has a WordPress specific hosting package which makes it WAY easy to set up)
- Purchase and Install your blog Theme (I use the Brixton theme from Envato Market, but there are millions of them out there. More on that later)
- Install Plugins which are awesome little tools that provide a bevy of awesome little features (Yoast is a must have for on-site SEO)
- Set up Google Analytics to keep tabs on your traffic (and a whole lot more)
- Design it
- Launch it
You have to share your posts somewhere! You’ll need to set up your social media accounts as a starter. The social media accounts you choose will likely depend upon what your blogging about. I also strongly recommend automating your social media posts. This has saved .my.life. I like Buffer, but there are tons out there.
SET UP YOUR ACCOUNTING SYSTEM
Oh sweet accounting. It’s not for everyone, but you have to have a method of tracking your expenses, income, profit and loss. Why? If you make over $600 bucks in a year (which I hope you do!) you’ve got to share that fab news with the IRS (and pay icky taxes on it). Freshbooks works great for me so far. You also may consider getting a blog specific credit card (to pay for any monthly memberships, office supplies, hosting, etc.) and opening up a blog specific bank account. When in doubt, ask your tax preparer. I’ll be sharing some other great resources for this in a follow up post.
BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BLOGGING RECAP
I could probably go on forever, but there will be plenty more posts for that. If you have any questions, let me know! In the meantime, arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Take a social media or design class to refresh yourself or learn something new (Creative Live is an awesome resource for this!) Join Facebook groups that are applicable to your vision, ideas and support entrepreneurs and online business (I’m a member of Creative Superheros and Blog + Biz BFFs to name a few). I have learned so much from the groups I’ve joined. The information is priceless. Pinterest is another awesome place to find info. Go there, type in key phrases that apply, such as “brand identity for bloggers“ and “accounting for bloggers”. It’s all there waiting for you. All you have to do is grab it.
Next time we’ll dive into the initial investment you’ll need (or want) to make, and get into some awesome tools out there that will make this journey a piece of cake (the chocolate kind…with sprinkles).
Oh, and p.s. I created a Blog + Small Biz Resource Directory which will list every single resource I share. I’m a sucker for a good directory. Tootles!