1. Give Yourself Room to Grow –
When you first start out you may not anticipate how your blog will grow. I started mine as just a training journal for myself, a few friends, and family. However, I then discovered how enjoyable blogging was, and growing my blog into something special became a goal I was very interested in.
Unfortunately, when I started out I was on a free blogging platform and as I began to grow that just could not support my needs. This meant I had to do the work of moving my blog from one platform to another. It also meant I had to learn to use a completely different publishing platform.
Give yourself room to grow, and set yourself up for success from the beginning by starting on a self-hosted platform that will grow with you.
I suggest that you:
1. buy your domain name
2. use WordPress self-hosted (the .org version)
3. pick a theme/template that is versatile and can be changed over the years
This is actually does not cost as much as you think – and it is totally worth the money to save yourself the hassle in the long run. Start out ready to go and ready to grow.
2. Anticipate Changes –
Many blogs undergo changes as the author narrows down their niche, focuses on a new portion of their life, etc. However, if your blog is so specifically branded to your exact topic making it fit your new direction can be very difficult. This means that throughout the years many of the blogs I follow have to change their name and totally rebrand as they adjust their focus.
How can you save yourself the time, money, and hassle of having to rebrand your entire blog? Anticipate change from the start. Do this by picking a blog name that is not super specific to a very focused niche.
For example: If I had started a blog years ago during my cross fit days and named it something very specific to that cross fit niche, then when a year later I decided cross fit just wasn’t my thing, and that I wanted to focus more on fitness as a whole – running, Orange Theory, barre, mental fitness, etc. I would have had to do a huge rebrand.
Think about this when you start by choosing a name that fits, but is not too specific. Many people also use their own names because of this. This is a great one because your name doesn’t change and can help to personalize you blog a bit.
3. Find Your Niche –
You cannot blog to everyone. First, think about yourself and what it is that makes you special. Figure out what makes you stand out from the crowd. For example, if you have a recipe blog, what makes yours different from all the others? Focus in on the awesome, unique things about you and your blog and use these to help yourself standout.
Then, you need to think about who your target audience is – who it is you are trying to reach and speak directly to the wants and needs of that person. Imagine your reader:
– What do they do?
– What do they like?
– How will they interact with your blog?
4. Build a Community –
One of the best parts about blogging is the community atmosphere so begin working on building your community right away. The number one way to do this – make your readers feel valued, let them know you care. How can you go about making your readers feel like a valued important part of your community so they continue to return and participate?:
– reply to comments they leave on your blog
– ask questions on your blog/social media to encourage interaction
– acknowledge your readers on social media by always thanking them when they share your content
– respond to social media comments and interaction
5. Don’t Expect Perfection –
Don’t wait to start, or to make the next move, because things are not perfect. Let go of that idea of perfection and embrace the fact that your adventure as a blogger will grow and change as you go along. If we all waited to start until we were perfect there would not be a single website up on the internet. The truth is that if you want to go for it – jump in. Things will evolve and improve as you go. This goes for your blog, the services you offer through your website, etc.
Let me know –
What lessons have you learned from blogging?
What additional lessons would you add?
How long have you been at it?