You started a blog and it was actually pretty easy. You don’t get what all the fuss’s been about. Now all you have to do is google a bunch of stuff and make great content.
But what if that’s not all you have to do?
Starting your own blog can be an exciting experience. Running it is a whole different task and making it successful…well, let’s just say it’s not exactly fun. I say this knowing that the internet is rich with information on how to run a blog to make it successful (I mean, you’re reading this post on the internet).
However, the vast amount of information on the internet can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Which post can you trust? And how sure are you that you’re not just messing things up?
To help you get a handle on the blogging experience, I have compiled a list of 10 things you need to do to build a great foundation for your new blog.
- Set Blogging Goals
The first thing you need to be clear about before your blog gets too old is what you aim to accomplish. It goes without saying that before getting this far you must have had a goal in mind – to make money off your blog. But now you need to be more elaborate on the steps towards that goal i.e. the “mini goals” that will help you achieve that end goal.
Some people start a blog to help beginners set up their own blogs, to share their story or it could be that their blog promotes another business they’re running i.e. business blogging.
Once you’re clear on why you’ve started your blog, it won’t be hard to set short- and long-term goals for the blog.
Knowing these goals helps you stay focused and work smart towards achieving them.
- Create and Stick to an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is an elaborate system that outlines your content creation process. It helps you control how you create your blog content from idea generation right through publishing.
The editorial calendar also goes beyond the process of creating one piece of content to give you a look of your publishing schedule over a certain blogging period. For instance, you can have a calendar with topic ideas for the next two months, complete with the dates of publication.
This calendar doesn’t have to be the process you follow forever and ever. You can always tweak and change it up to accommodate you as your blog grows and your time shrinks.
- Start Building the Foundation to a Strong Social Media Presence
When you’re a new blogger, it’s not necessary to spend much time on social media. In fact, most experts list this as one of the mistakes they made in their early blogging days.
Spending too much time on social media could distract you from your main focus – your blog readers.
However, make sure to create social media accounts in all major channels plus all the areas where your audience is likely to hang out a lot. Meaning, Vine, for instance, might not count among the top 4 major social channels but if your content is very visual, you’ll want to create an account on Vine as you do YouTube and Facebook.
This helps you start gaining a following early enough so when you really need to promote your blog, you have somewhere to start. Also, include social buttons on your blog.
- Find and Join a Tribe
At any stage of your blogging career, you’ll want to connect with other bloggers. However, it’s paramount that as a new blogger, you connect and interact with both experienced and newbie bloggers.
This exposes you to a network of people who are going through the same thing as you and those of an older generation that can advise you. Besides, they can also promote you.
- Start Building a Community
You can’t blog successfully if you don’t interact with your readers. The best way to encourage this interaction is by building a community. Through this, you can show your real intentions – which are to help them – and get to know them and let them know that you really care.
In the first 3 months, this community will be small and that’s okay. It takes time to grow one and that’s why you need to start early.
- Set Up Your Email List
You probably didn’t see this coming. Most new bloggers put off email list building as a thing for later when they have a significant amount of readership.
But you don’t have to wait a year to start building your list. And having an email list is one of the best strategies to get that significant amount of readership. By starting early, you’re making sure that you don’t miss the chance to get your earliest blog readers. This gives you some kind of guarantee that you’ll have their attention for a long time. Without forgetting that if they find your content great enough, they’ll tell others about you and that’s how you’ll grow your blog.
- Move Over Rookie Content
This is probably a no-brainer but I feel like I should insist on it. As a new blogger, you have to earn credibility. And to do that, you have to put out above-average content that is really useful to your audience.
- Learn Some Photography
The popularity of visual content is growing by the day. It helps your written content get better exposure and readership.
Now, you don’t want to have to hire a professional photographer every time you need an original image for your new blog post, do you?
So, go and learn a few basic photography skills and take your own photos.
- Learn Basic SEO
Again, this shouldn’t be your main focus when you’re a new blogger. But for the sake of understanding the kind of environment you’re working in, learn the basics.
For instance, know about keywords and keyword placement as well as how to create SEO-friendly headlines.
- Set Up Google Analytics
As your blog grows, you’ll realize that Google Analytics is one of the tools you’ll need. It helps you track metrics such as the number of visitors, popular blog posts, how long your readers stay on various pages on your blog and keywords, among many others.
Why are these metrics important?
Because they help you know the direction you’re taking and if you’re achieving your goals.
The best thing about it is that Google Analytics is free.
Blogging can be fun. But even the most successful bloggers face challenges. In fact, challenges are what make successful bloggers. This list helps you anticipate future challenges by setting a strong foundation to your blog.
How old is your blog? How many of the above things have you already started doing? Any challenges so far? Let’s talk in the comments.