Starting a successful blog is not something that can be done in one hour, especially if you never create a website before. Several small steps should be done before you start promoting your blog posts.
* Please note that this post contain affiliate links. This mean that if you purchase something from that affiliate link, I will get a commission. I only recommend items that I use in my own business.
I create this step-by-step guide to bring you to your first income as a blogger. These steps are the foundation of a good blog and business. If you are here for the long run and want to make money doing what your love, you need to create a strong foundation
I don't want you to feel overwhelmed by all the tasks. Take one task at the time and schedule some time every day to work toward your goal.
Identifying the best option for your needs is important. I don't want you to make the same mistakes that I did before launching my blog: I change my brand three times and change my logo once. Those changes cost me way more times that it was supposed to.
Your don't want your site to look like you did it in an hour, but I also don't want you to waste your time on small details.
Decide which website platform you want
An important step for creating a profitable blog is to decide which website platform you want to use. I don't recommend to start blogging on a website like Bloggers, Blogspot or WordPress.com. Those platforms don't look as professional as other, and you are not the owner of the site. This means that you are blogging on their website and increasing their SEO. Also, most of them don't allow you generate income. If you want to look like a professional blogger, you need to use a professional platform. I recommend using WordPress.org or Squarespace. If you need help to choose between those two platforms, check this blog post (I used both platforms in the past, so if you need more help choosing your platform, let me know)
Make sure the name you want is available
It's important to know if the name you want is available. Create a list of five or ten different names you like. Type the URL for each name to see if they are available. From that list, go on Facebook and Twitter and see if someone use the names. If you need help deciding your name, ask a friend or even feedback on a Facebook group. When you choose your name, register your domain name right away. Someone sneaky could use the domain name you choose before you do.
Buy and register your domain
After you choose your name, it's time to register your domain name. If you are using WordPress, you will need to buy your hosting. I try several hosting and domain name provider companies and I definitively recommend Hostgator. I use them for a long time and I never add any problems with them. They offer affordable price and great support. Visit Hostgator for more information.
If you choose to blog on Squarespace, you can buy your domain name through their service or another company. With Squarespace, the hosting is done through them.
Choose theme or template
After you register your domain, you will need to install WordPress (If you use this platform). Every hosting companies are a little different; they usually offer great video tutorials and customer service if you need help installing WordPress. After you install WordPress, you will need to choose your theme. The theme is the template for your website. There are many different themes available. Choose a theme with a good reputation that allows you to customize your website. Make sure the theme is mobile friendly and easy to work with.
If you are using Squarespace, you will need to choose your template. Squarespace offers several templates that are customizable. Look at their list and test them.
Choose your brand color
A lot of new bloggers and business owners forget to take some time to identify the brand color that will represent their business. Try to pick 3-5 colors. One or two main colors, one or two neutral colors, and one accent color.
Create a logo/header
Also, you will need a logo. Your logo should be simple and easy to remember. If you look at the most popular brand like McDonald, Nike, Google, Apple, they all have a very simple logo.
You will need to create a header that will showcase on your home page. This can be a good picture of yourself or a picture that represents your blog. Try to be unique. I don't recommend to use a free stock image for your homepage. Do you have a friend that is a good photographer? Ask him or her to help you. At this point, I don't recommend to invest in a professional photographer (unless your want to or have the budget for it) Wait that you have a good income coming before your invest in a professional photographer.
Create important pages (home page, about, contact)
Now it's time to create the content for your about page, home page, and contact.
- Homepage: Do you want a static home page or you want to feature your recent blog posts?
- About page: The about page is an important part of your website. People like to learn more about the author of the website. Write a small description of who you are, share why you decide to start a blog and add a couple of fun information about you. Don't forget to add a picture of yourself.
- Contact page: Use the contact form 7 plugin for WordPress or the form feature in Squarespace to add a contact page.
Write three blog posts
Some people will say to create more than three blog posts before you launch your website. I recommend launching your website as soon as possible. Three blog posts will allow you to gain followers and subscribers.
Set up your email list
You need an email list if you want to monetize your blog or online business. Did you know more than 95% first-time visitors won't buy anything from your site? If you want to stay in contact with them and make money with your blog, you need an email list. Almost all my income come from my email marketing. If you want more information on how to set up your first email list, read one of my previous blog post.
Create a lead magnet
A lead magnet, opt-in or freebie are a gift you give in exchange for an email address and name. Don't add a sign-up box that says "sign here to receive more information about my blog". Not one will sign for your email list. Giving a freebie in exchange for an email address is the most effective way to increase your email list. You can give a small guide, a checklist, a discount... In fact, anything that do not take too much time to create and that your ideal client will want can be used as an opt-in.
Create a landing page or opt-in box
After you create a lead magnet, you will need to an opt-in box or landing page. I use Leadpages to create all my opt-in box and page. This service allows me to double my email list. I try other landing page providers, but I never had the same result as I have with this service.
Welcome, I'm Emilie Guerin. I help bloggers and online business monetize their passion using effective online marketing strategies. MORE ABOUT ME