First, I want to congratulate you on deciding to start a blog!
This is a huge step but a seriously fun one!
But look, I’m going to level with you, blogging isn’t all sunshine and roses all the time.
It’s tough work and at times takes quite a bit of perseverance.
And I understand that there is a lot to learn when you begin blogging and it can be quite overwhelming.
Trust me, I’ve started five different blogs, most didn’t make it but some did.
That’s why I want to share with you how to kick off your first 30 days of blogging with a bang and start you off on the right foot.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.
If you would like to dive deeper into blogging and learn the exact actionable steps and strategies you need to start a blog that makes you money, check out my eBook, The Creative Girl Boss Guide to Starting a Profitable blog.
1. Pick a niche.
Yup that’s right, there’s actually a few things to do before we even dive into blogging but trust me, these steps are important.
First things first is to pick a niche for your blog.
There are usually two main goals of blogging, to help people with a problem and to make money.
If you are blogging to tell your story, write a journal of your life, etc. then you may fall into the hobby blog category.
I’m not saying you can’t make money or make a huge impact on people when you write about your story or your life because of course, it’s possible, but people tend to go back for more from blogs that solve a problem or make them a better version of themselves.
The fact of the matter is, if you want a successful blog or be like the big bloggers you hear about all the time then you need to be solving a problem with every single blog post.
That also means picking a niche that solves a problem and is profitable.
There are seven niches that have been claimed as the most profitable and the ones that solve the most problems.
Of course this will probably change over the years, but for now, they include:
1. How to make money
2. Lifestyle (specifically, home decor, survival, travel, organization, gardening, homesteading)
3. Food (vegan & keto)
4. Beauty and Fashion
5. Personal finance
6. Health and Fitness
7. Personal Development
Some of these niches do overlap and some can actually be sub-niches of the larger niches.
For example, how to live a vegan lifestyle can fall into the lifestyle niche or even vegan/cruelty-free makeup can fall under beauty.
The point here is to find a niche that helps your audience.
People want to go to a blog post, get an answer to a question they have, be better for it and move on with their day.
2. Create a plan for your blog.
Before you even begin writing you want to have a clear plan for your blog.
This will help you stay on track, resonate with your audience right away and help you build a community.
A few questions to ask yourself before you begin writing are:
Who are you writing for?
What problem are you solving?
How many days a week will you write?
How will you monetize your blog?
Blogging is all about solving a problem for your audience and the more questions you can answer for them within a blog post, the more likely they are to come back to your blog, join your email list and become a valued customer.
Understanding exactly who you are writing for will help you feel more genuine in your posts because it will feel like you are talking directly to this person.
Pretend you are talking to a friend with a specific problem.
How would you help them problem solve?
You also need to think about if you are going to monetize your blog and how you will do that as well as how often you will write.
While it’s up to you to decide if you want to make money from your blog, this is a great way to make money writing.
There are many different ways to monetize your blog but these four are the most common.
The really fun thing about affiliate marketing is that most companies and products you already use and love have affiliate links.
An affiliate link is simply a link you are given after signing up to be an affiliate that if someone clicks on and uses, you make a small commission from.
The biggest thing to remember about affiliate marketing is to disclose your links in your post to let your audience know you make a commission off of them and only use products you actually love and have used herself.
Trust is everything when it comes to affiliate marketing.
This is the most “passive” because you’re simply putting ads on your site, but I do recommend waiting a little bit on this one because you really need a lot of traffic to really bring money from ads.
The thing to remember with ads is to make sure you are flooding your blog/posts with too many ads as this can turn off your audience.
Similar to promoting affiliate products, sponsored posts are posts that are paid for by the company you are talking about in your post.
Basically, you write a review of a particular product and get paid.
Again, just make sure this is product/service that you have actually used and enjoy.
You always want to make sure you are being genuine with your audience when suggesting a product to them.
You also want to remember to disclose within each sponsored posts that it is a sponsored post.
This is to be transparent with your audience as well as abide by certain ad laws.
Your Own Products or Services
This is one of the best ways to monetize your blog because you have full reign over the payments and you already know you love these products and services because you made them.
Making your own products and services is the most rewarding but it is the most time-consuming.
It’s up to you if you want to start monetizing right away or not but I do recommend adding affiliate links to posts or sponsored posts.
You never know when a post will go viral and you don’t want to miss out on making some extra money from your blog.
3. Purchase a Domain and Hosting
This one is important and is really going to set the tone for your blog moving forward.
I know what you’re thinking, you’ll just go with a free WordPress blog or even go with a company like Wix or Weebly, but I highly recommend you think twice about this.
While the upfront cost of a self-hosted site and the task of setting it up may be daunting and expensive, it’s worth it in the long run.
I personally have used Wix, I’ve set up free blogs and none of them worked.
Literally, I got zero traffic, the customer service was awful, I wasn’t able to monetize my blogs the way I wanted to and I literally had no freedom.
Not only that, it actually cost me much more than purchasing a domain and hosting would have.
Okay, now that I got all that off my chest let’s move onto the company that I recommend for hosting.
The only blog hosting I personally recommend is SiteGround and it’s what I use and trust for both of my blogs.
Their customer service is incredible, they keep both of my blogs up and running perfectly and I found them extremely easy to work with.
They will also move your WordPress.com blog over to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog for free.
If you have any questions about SiteGround, don’t hesitate to send me at email via my contact page.
Set up your blog with SiteGround using this video tutorial >>
That being said, do your research.
The only company I don’t recommend is BlueHost which may be surprising because it seems like that’s the one everyone recommends.
But, because they are owned by a large company, their customer service is hit or miss and your site can very quickly slow down and become tough to manage.
Moral of the story, do your own research!
I also recommend starting a blog with WordPress.org.
Because it’s self-hosted which means you will purchase hosting through SiteGround or another hosting company, you have the freedom to monetize however you want.
You get access to thousands of plugins, you get nice themes to choose from and overall, it gives you room to grow and expand.
You also want to pick and purchase a domain name for your blog.
It’s recommended to purchase a domain name that ends in .com and you just want to make sure it matches the feel of your blog.
If you write about home decor, your domain could be decorgenius.com or homedecorfinds.com.
Something that is easy to remember, doesn’t contain weird characters or numbers and fits the feel of your blog!
>> Set up your brand new blog in less than 15 minutes with this step-by-step tutorial.
4. Set up Google Analytics
Now that your blog is all set up and made to your liking, its time to set up analytics.
And yes, I know we haven’t gotten to blogging yet but trust me, you need these foundation pieces set up first then we can dive into content.
Analytics are imperative to your success as a blogger.
This is how you will begin to understand your audience.
Analytics tell you how many people visit your site daily, weekly, monthly.
They also tell you where they came from, Pinterest, Google, social media. And they tell you which are your most popular posts!
Needless to say, analytics are important.
First, we need to set up a Google Analytics plugin that will basically read the information on our blog and send it to the Google Analytics page.
This plugin just makes everything a million times easier and it won’t count your views when you visit your own blog which gives a more accurate traffic number.
Go to your dashboard in WordPress.org and click on Plugins. Then click on “Add New”.
Type in Google Analytics Webkinder. And click, Install then Activate. This will activate this plugin on your WordPress.org blog.
Next click on Settings.
You will then need to type into Google Analytics tracking code.
Next, you need to set up a Google Analytics account.
Go to Google, and type in Google Analytics.
Follow the instructions to set up your blog with Google Analytics. It’s pretty straightforward.
Once you have your Google Analytics set up, to find this tracking code, log into your Google Analytics profile, and click on the gear-like icon at the bottom of the sidebar on the left.
Then click on Property Settings and at the top of the page, you will find your Tracking ID.
Just copy and paste that ID into the GA Tracking code as shown above.
Now you have analytics all set up for your blog so you will be able to log into your Google Analytics page, see how much traffic you are getting, see which posts are doing the best and what your best traffic sources are.
It may take a few days for Google Analytics to gather data from your blog.
5. Set up Email Marketing
Your email list is one of the biggest assets you can have on your blog.
You don’t want a whole bunch of traffic to come to your blog, read your amazing posts and then leave.
You want to continue to build the relationship with them right?
In order to do that, you need them to join your email list.
But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just putting a sign-up box on the sidebar of your blog that says, hey join my email list.
You need more than that.
People guard their emails like they would a phone number.
You need to give them more, an incentive if you will, for them to join.
You will also need a professional email as well as an email provider.
Okay, I know this is a lot of information but I’ll try to break this down simply.
You can purchase a professional email from G-suite.
It will look like, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This not only looks professional but it also helps you stay out of your client’s spam folder.
This costs $5 a month so it’s not expensive.
Next, you’ll need to sign up for an email provider.
This will also help you stay out of spam folders, it lets you set up automation and makes sending emails even smoother.
You can even create landing pages or sign up forms within your email provider that you can use on your blog.
The email provider that I recommend for beginners is MailChimp.
MailChimp can have a bit of a learning curve at the beginning but I’ve been personally using them for over three years now and would recommend them every time.
MailChimp is also free up to your first 2k subscribers.
Again, do your research and find which one will work best for you.
To create an email incentive you can create, a checklist, an eBook, a downloadable PDF, an email series, a mini-course.
Basically, the options are endless.
The point of an email opt-in/incentive is to give your audience something that gives them a quick result and of course gives them value.
Something like a checklist on knitting supplies for beginners is perfect because I know nothing about knitting and I don’t want to waste my time running around a knitting supply store…is that even a thing?
But, creating a checklist or a list of what to buy is extremely helpful, valuable and gives your audience a quick result.
If health and wellness is your niche, grocery lists are an incredible incentive for your email list.
You get the idea, provide value, a result and solve a problem.
To create these checklists, PDFs, eBooks or whatever you choose, you can use a free program called Canva.
6. Content, Content, and more Content.
Okay, whoo, we are finally onto writing.
It took us a while to get here but like I said, these are foundational pieces that will really help you be a successful blogger in the long run.
And these things are much easier to set up within your first 30 days than trying to backtrack down the road.
That being said, you can have the most gorgeous blog, the perfect email incentive, the best…everything but if you aren’t writing great content your blog will suffer.
So what makes content great?
Great content solves a problem, has keywords and answers questions that your audience has.
That’s the main point of great content and you want to have a solid mix of all that within each post.
Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about your audience.
What do they want?
And what are they getting out of your blog posts each time they come and read them?
Next, you also want to make sure your blog posts are easy to read.
It’s not a big block of text.
This is something I’m still working on as well because I took a large number of writing classes in high school and we were always taught to write paragraphs.
This doesn’t work so well in blogging.
People don’t want to look at a big wall of text.
We’re not in school anymore.
So break up your paragraphs.
Is it odd at first?
But you get used to it.
The rule of thumb is to try and keep your paragraphs no more than four sentences long.
There are no real rules for when to break up your sentences so just use your judgment.
But I like to break them up when I’m trying to make a point.
Also, use bolded text for things you want to stand out and when you are trying to make a point.
This will also help break up your text and be more pleasing to the eye.
Many questions I see are how long should your posts be and how often should you blog.
The answer is, it depends.
Your posts should be as long as it takes to answer the question/solve the problem your blog post is about.
Some posts are going to be longer than others and that’s okay.
But, the rule of thumb is to try and write posts over 1000 words.
This will ensure you are providing enough value to your audience, answering their questions and solving their problems but it will also help you rank on Google.
Google loves in-depth content.
And they want to show the most valuable content out there.
Now I don’t mean you should just ramble on for 1000, 2000 or even 3000 words.
Use your judgment and be as valuable as possible, then stop.
The more in-depth and valuable posts you do write, the less you will have to write throughout the week.
Because most of my posts are 1500-2000 words, I write one post a week on this blog.
If you are using WordPress.org for your blog I highly, highly, highly, recommend the Yoast SEO plugin.
This plugin will actually tell you how well your blog post is doing readability wise and with SEO.
Overall it’s a great plugin and it’s free so use it!
7. Create a Marketing Plan
Now that you’ve spent time writing all of this incredible content you’ve got to get out into the world, in front of your audience.
But how do you do that?
Where do you find them?
So many questions!
First, you’ve got to be on Pinterest.
Pinterest works, it’s awesome and I love it.
And if you’re in any of those money making, highly valuable niches that we talked about then you already know that those niches are doing really well on Pinterest.
Of course, Pinterest isn’t magic and you need a solid strategy for it to work.
Deeper Dive Into Pinterest
The Dare to Conquer Pinterest course takes you into the nitty-gritty of Pinterest to fully understand how to use it for your blog and business. And that way you learn everything you need to learn about Pinterest without having to read a 10,000-word blog post.
If you want people to read your awesome posts, you’ve got to show them they’re there.
They won’t know you even have a blog unless you tell them about it.
Like I said, Pinterest is the way to go but you can also utilize other platforms like Facebook and Facebook groups.
You’re going to want to target groups that are in your niche and looking for posts like yours.
This will help you get your posts in front of the right people!
The way I like to think about it is, my audience is very similar to me, so where do I hang out online?
Where do I like to find blog posts to read?
Go to those places!
If you would like a more comprehensive guide to what to do in your first 90 days of blogging, check out this post.
And 3000 words later we’ve made it to the end!
Now, of course, there are many other little tasks and things you can do along the way in your first 30 days of blogging but these are the ones that are going to make the biggest difference to your blog.
These are the tasks that are going to help you get ahead in the game because it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing this, you just need a solid strategy throughout.
If there is anything you’d like me to go more in-depth into in another post, please let me know. This is for you so I want to make sure I’m answering your questions.
And I just can’t give every single detail in a single blog post or we’d be here a very long time.
Now it’s time to get out and implement and create a successful blog!