If you have been following along on the blog this year, I started doing a Blogging for Money series back in the spring and this included a series of posts about getting started blogging. With the busy summer I have not been able to get these posts out as fast as I would like with as much detail to them as I would like. I still plan on getting this series back up and running soon but for those following along who really want quick and easy info to get a blog up and running now, this is your quickstart guide to becoming a blogger. It is not meant to be an all encompassing guide, just the basic outline to get you going in the right direction.
- Decide on your blog niche. Finding a niche you are passionate about and narrowing your focus to more than just another “mom blog” will help you succeed.
- Come up with a domain name that is available. Domains are free with the Bluehost WordPress hosting below. Think easy to spell, memorable, and not too long.
- Choose a blog platform. We recommend Wordpress.org which needs to be hosted. BlueHost offers WordPress auto install with WordPress updates within 24 hours. This service right now starts at $12.49 for the first month with a 30 day money back guarantee.
- Decide on a blog design. Choose one of the many free or premium wordpress theme. Before getting started have a good idea of the look and feel you want your blog to have. Probably one of the most popular themes is the Genesis theme (which is what I use). The Thesis Theme is another really popular one among bloggers. Besides those, if you want to take a look around and find something specific to what you want then Elegant Themes, Studio Press, and Theme Isle are great places to look.
- Design a logo. Depending on the look of your blog you can go with a simple logo made yourself or hire a designer.
- Create social media accounts for your new blog. Remember to be consistent with branding including content and images across all of your social media accounts.
- Add any necessary plugins to get your blog ready. Popular plugins include WordPress SEO, Related Posts and some type of social media sharing plugin such as
- Make sure your readers have a way to subscribe. Email and RSS subscription options should be easy to find and you may even want to offer subscribers an incentive to subscribe.
- Start writing content for your site. Awesome, well written content on subjects you are passionate about. Without great content even if people find your blog, they won't come back.
- Add great images to your awesome content as you write your blog posts. For each piece of content that you write you should have at least one, probably several images to go with it. Learn about the different size images that work best with each social media platform. I recommend PicMonkey or Canva for designing images.
- Start monetizing slowly. You can add a couple ads to monetize at this point such as Google Adsense and Media.net. Hold off on other methods of generating income for now.
- Gain more traffic. Regardless of the ways in which you make money from your blog, the more traffic you have the more money you will make. Share across your social media platforms, join Pinterest collaborative boards to get your pins seen by more people, join link parties, comment on other blogs, and write guest posts.
- Gain even more traffic. Develop specific plans for continuing to grow your traffic. Check your Facebook insights constantly learning from them and developing a Facebook plan. Use BoardBooster or Tailwind to set up a Pinterest plan that will not take up all of your time. For those interested in consolidating your social media platforms into one tool, you may want to look at Hootsuite.
- Join blogging networks listed in my Ultimate Resource for Blogging for Money. These networks offer sponsored posts and other paid opportunities to work with brands. Some of them also run their own blog related ad network. You will also want to start networking with PR reps and getting your name added to all of their contact lists for paid opportunities. Brandi Riley has a great little ebook called The Blogger's Guide to Pitching Parnerships, Collaborations, and Sponsored Posts, it is well worth the money.
- Try out some of the other ad networks listed in the resource guide as well. Different ad networks work better for different style blogs. Some of the higher paying ad networks have a traffic requirement so check their requirements before applying. These networks can usually generate significantly more ad income though than something like Google Adsense.
- Join some of the affiliate networks listed in the resource guide. Find affiliate programs that work specifically for your niche. If it is a product that is not related to your blog at all then chances are your readers will not be interested. If there are certain products or services you know of that are a good fit for your blog try Googling “affiliate program for XYZ company”. They may have their own affiliate program not through one of the networks listed.
- Come up with your own products or services to sell. This could be an ebook you write, downloadable products, or offering services such as trainings or working as a virtual assistant on projects like graphic design or social media. Your blog can be a great showcase if you have strengths in these areas.
- Track your income. By doing this monthly you can see what monetization ways are working best for you and which ones are not and can be improved.
- Continue learning. As a blogger, there is almost always someone who knows more or has more experience than you. Learn from them. Brandi Riley offers great services such as a blog strategy report, 30 minute coaching sessions, or you can buy her book Pitch Session: The Blogger's Guide to Pitching Partnerships, Collaborations, and Sponsored Posts. I have worked with Brandi in the past and she is full of great advice and ideas. The Blogging on the Side girls also have a book called Blogging on the Side: Where Passion Meets Profit or check out Blogelina's free video tutorial series.
For those of you bloggers who are more experienced than me, what advice would you add to this list?
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