There are a lot of things that can make or break your blog, and that is even more true in the beginning stages. Often, our success, how long it takes, the effort it takes, and more can decide whether we stay the course and see our blogs through to success, or whether we give up and decide we just don’t have what it takes to be a successful blogger. I’ve been blogging since 2012, and have started sharing my blogging tips for beginners, and beyond. I feel strongly that women today don’t necessarily need to be working outside the home 40 hours per week to help support their families. I remember the feeling I felt when I thought about sending my first little one off to daycare, and then the panic when I realized I couldn’t even afford it. It was then that I got into the trenches and learned about selling handmade items on Etsy, and then how to start a blog and make money through blogging.
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Honestly, saying that we “don’t have what it takes” is just an excuse we use to avoid doing the hard things, because successful blogging really comes down to just a couple of key elements- a niche topic or audience, a good strategy for promoting your content, a monetization plan, and consistency.
When you are just starting out it can be pretty overwhelming to think of everything that needs to be done for your blog, and this time period really is key, because blogging is a long game, and you don’t want to give up before you get started.
Blogging Tips for Beginners
Here are 7 tips for successful blogging from the start.
1. Start on WordPress
I wish someone had told me this sooner. I started way back in the day on blogger. One day I realized that in order to really blog and run my own website, I needed to be on WordPress. (This is wordpress.org, NOT wordpress.com) I also realized I couldn’t afford to pay someone $1,000 to switch my blog over. I read through DIY tutorials on switching yourself, and also realized I had zero tech knowledge, and certainly not enough to be doing this. However, I didn’t really have an option and had to tough it out, say a prayer, and switch it over myself. Somehow I managed, and I got myself set up on WordPress so that I could really turn my blogging into a profitable source of income. I also quickly realized that my blog name and URL were terrible, and had to DIY a rebranding for myself later, too, so please take my advice. Decide on a great name and URL first, and please, start your blog on WordPress from the beginning.
I’ve got a tutorial here on how to start your blog in 30 minutes.
2. Get a great theme.
First impressions are everything, and let’s be honest- what good does it do you, to work your butt off putting out content and growing your blog, just to have people click away because your site looks unprofessional? By getting set up with a great theme from the beginning, you can be sure that readers are going to get an accurate representation of your site and how your visitors to feel when they are checking out your content. I absolutely love Restored 316 themes, because they are beautiful, easy to install, and she includes the most comprehensive instructions for those who are like me, and out here DIY’ing our way to blogging, because when we are first starting out, again, we don’t have $500-$1,000 to hand someone to install a theme on our blog.
3. Start an email list
Before you even start to think about social media when it comes to promoting your blog, I want you to set up an email list for your blog. It took me years to really, truly realize that I needed to have an email list. I wish I had started from day 1 building that list, because you can look at all of the blogging income reports in the world, and you’ll see a recurring trend. These bloggers are making big bucks because their email lists are huge. Average conversion rates (that means the rate at which your readers and visitors are going to purchase something from you) are 1-2%, so if you can just imagine the difference between having 1,000 subscribers and 10,000 subscribers, and what that will do for your income, you’ll quickly understand why an email list is so important. You need to choose a great email marketing platform for your list. You’ve probably heard a ton about Convert Kit, but I’m here to save you a little bit of headache when it comes to setting this up. I have used both Convert Kit and my email marketing service that I use now, Mailerlite. This is purely my opinion, but I consider myself to be pretty tech-savvy now… and Convert Kit has a big learning curve. I feel that Mailerlite has all of the same features, in a much more user-friendly and easy to understand setup process. Plus, Mailerlite is significantly less expensive than Convert Kit.
You can learn more about how to grow your email list, here.
4. Focus on one social network
This might feel counterintuitive, but focusing on one social network at a time gives you the chance to really master that platform and jump-start your results and your traffic. When it comes to the question of which social network to start with, I highly recommend starting with Pinterest. However, another great alternative is to start building up Instagram. Pinterest is great because it provides you with another search engine (besides Google) with millions, maybe billions? of users searching for content, just waiting to find yours. This can be huge for your blog traffic. Learn everything you can about the basic functions of Pinterest, and how to use the platform. Then, start setting up boards, pinning to them, and consider a service like Tailwind, that will allow you to schedule out Pinterest content to your boards across the platform in advance. If you feel like your blog topic, or niche would do well with more of a community vibe, and you really love interacting with others and building those relationships, Instagram might be a great place for you to start.
5. Have a focus
I always recommend to new bloggers to find a niche for their blogs- that is a single focus that they can write about. Some examples are- health, kid’s activities, recipes, etc… and you can even narrow down those topics further. Maybe you want to focus on clean eating for health, or having a keto lifestyle, maybe you want to write about STEM activities for kids. When it comes to food, you could break that down into specific categories like instant pot recipes, desserts, recipes for families, etc… Multi-topic blogs can be more difficult to grow (ask me how I know, haha), and they can be harder to manage in general because you are focusing on too many different things. If you don’t want to start a niche topic blog, then try to start one that has a niche audience- that’s sort of where my site falls, even though I’m still working to narrow things down. I tend to write for moms, particularly stay at home moms who are looking for better home organization, help with running their households, goal setting and personal development, activities and fun things to do with their kids, and ways to save money and earn extra money. All of my blog topics are suited for that one individual. That’s not to say that others won’t find my blog and read it, of course, they will, but I try to tailor my content to that specific audience in order to stay focused. If you can’t write about a single topic, write for a single audience.
I have a list of some popular blogging niche ideas, here.
6. Quality over quantity
When it comes to writing blog posts, and I wish I had learned this so much sooner, it is more about the quality of your content than the quantity- that is how much content you have. It is better to have 10 high-quality blog posts that are really helping your target reader, than to have 100 blog posts that are fluff, and your reader could take it or leave it, it doesn’t have an impact on them, and they don’t have any real motivation to keep returning to your site. I recommend starting out with one high-quality blog post per week, then once you find that to be manageable, building from there to add more posts each week.
7. Learn everything you can about Google SEO
When you are taking a break from learning about Pinterest, I highly recommend shifting your focus to learning everything there is to know about Google SEO and how to master it for your blog. You need to know how to choose keywords, where to put your keywords, and what else needs to be done to get your site ranking on Google. At the end of the day, it is a few extra steps that could lead to lasting traffic for your site, without being left at the mercy of social media. Besides Pinterest, Google is one of my top traffic sources and I hope for it to be my top traffic source some day. This also goes back to having a niche site- it is much easier for Google to know what you are an authority on if you are writing about a singular niche topic.
Okay, so obviously I could talk about these tips all day, but this should give you a nice starting point and list of things to think about if you are looking to start a blog.
Don’t forget, I have a guide on How to Start a Blog in 30 Minutes that shows you step by step how to set up a blog with WordPress.
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