Everyone wants to start a successful blog.
No one starts out saying that they want a blog that is going to fail.
But jumping right in without a plan is a recipe for disaster.
If you lay a strong foundation your blog will grow.
This is how you do it – step by step.
Just a note, there is a lot of information in this post. If you’d rather have it broken down into smaller, actionable pieces then use the form below to subscribe to our weekly blogging tips – and I will send you my free Blogging 101 Course.
Pick Your Blogging Niche
A blogging niche is basically what a blog is about.
But figuring that out is one of the hardest things to do.
The niche you pick should be
- Broad enough that you have lots of content to write about.
- Tight enough that you can rise above your competition.
- Monetizable. Your blog needs to make money – if that is how you define a successful blog.
Lay Your Foundation
Before you run out and buy your domain name, you should create a blog outline.
You’ve already picked your blogging niche. Now come up with five or six categories that are related to that niche.
Again, don’t go too broad with these.
You can always expand your blog into new areas later – as you start picking up traffic.
Seed Your Blog
Next, to start a successful blog, you should have a few posts ready to go.
Try and write one blog post for each one of your categories.
This is actually a great way to test out your blog topics before you make a commitment to the blog.
Was it easy for you to create content for your categories?
Do you feel like you could come up with new ideas on a regular basis?
Is the category too wide – do you need to narrow it down.
I know that you are probably itching to buy that domain name and go live, but if you haven’t started yet then this exercise is really great.
Patience, dear Watson, patience.
Pick Your Blogging Platform
Most people who are starting a blogging business, choose self hosted WordPress. Be aware that this is different from WordPress dot com.
Just like any business – funds are usually tight when you start out, so it might be tempting to go with a free blogging site like Blogger.
Now, I understand that self hosted WordPress might not be for everyone. You should be aware of the responsibilities that come with having a WordPress blog before you start.
Personally, I choose WordPress because of it’s power and flexibility.
Pick Your Hosting Plan
Assuming that you decided to go with WordPress – the next thing to do is pick a hosting plan.
Things to look for in a blog host:
- easy set up
- automatic WordPress backups
- great customer support
I have used many web hosting plans in the past and the one that I have stuck with is called SiteGround because they have all of the above features. Their pricing is also very competitive. You can get the Starter Plan for $3.95 per month paid on an annual basis.
You can see how easy it is to set up here – and I believe, that since the time that I wrote this SiteGround blog tutorial, the process has become even easier.
It really is a no brainer.
Whatever host you choose (Bluehost is another popular web host that I have used in the past), you want to make sure that your plan includes site backups. You don’t want to lose all your hard work.
Your Domain Name
Finally, we are getting to choosing your domain name. And you thought that this was the first step to start a successful blog. 😉
If you own multiple domains – then you can use a registrar like GoDaddy to purchase the one for your new blog.
So, the question is, if you want to start a successful blog, how important is your domain name?
There are many different opinions on this – but I think that your domain name is not as important as it once was.
Back in the day, people would use keywords in their domain names as a search engine optimization strategy.
Those days are gone.
Today I would keep these things in mind. Your domain name should:
- reflect your brand
- reflect your topic, if appropriate
- be easy to remember
- not infringe upon someone else’s brand
I still prefer the .com extension over any of the others.
And the shorter and simpler the better. Remember that your email address will likely be “your name at your domain dot com” – so you don’t want to have to type in this huge long email address all the time (for blog comments, contact forms, and everywhere else you plan to do business).
Your Social Profiles
Before you pull the trigger and buy that perfect domain name – check out the major social networks and see if you are able to create a Facebook page, or a Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest profile using your domain or a variation of your domain.
Your branding is very important. You want people to find you wherever you are.
Now go ahead and get that domain and set up your social profiles.
To Start a Successful Blog, Create Tons of Content
This is where people tend to put the cart before the horse.
You asked me how to start a successful blog – and I will tell you that the number one factor to your success is your content.
You need to create relevant, on topic, blog posts that help your reader and that are search engine friendly.
Building an audience is your first blogging goal.
You can’t make money without customers.
So, put monetizing aside, dabble with your social, but focus 100 percent on reaching your ideal customer.
Build an email list.
Through your content you will be showing people why you are unique – what sets you apart from the competition.
As your audience grows, you can start to focus on social and making money from your blog.
Want It in Bite Sized Pieces?
If you’ve tried your hand at blogging before, you know there is so much more creating a profitable blog than just writing articles.
I tried to cover all the bases on how to start a successful in this post – but it’s a lot to digest.
If you would rather receive it more bite-sized, actionable pieces, simply fill out the form below to subscribe to our weekly blogging tips and get our Blogging 101 mini course for free.