A few very important things to do before you actually start blogging!
Trust me, doing these things now will save headaches in the future.
You have purchased hosting and installed WordPress. Then you chose and installed an awesome theme. (Right?) You are almost a blogger!
I’m sure that you’re down-right impatient, at this point, to get to the blogging, but really, do these things before you start writing and you will never regret it. Do these things before you even start clicking around in your WordPress dashboard! (Because you haven’t even tried to LEARN WordPress yet!)
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
Set up a blog email account (or two)
And not with gmail. You can get your firstname.lastname@example.org set up through your host. If you purchased hosting with Siteground (they are the host I recommend – and here’s why) then you can contact their customer support via live chat to have them help you set it up!
Forward your blog email account to your main email account, so you don’t need to be logging into multiple accounts through out the day.
You might not believe it now, but over the coming months you are going to have more ducks to keep in a row than … a momma duck with a big family of ducks.
Create a blog binder that will contain all your super important information in one place. (Maybe you’re really techy and you just wanna have a file on your computer, that’s fine too. But I’m computer confused and there is nothing better for me than having it written down. In one place.)
Have a page for user names and passwords (you are going to have site login info coming out your nose in the near future), a page for ideas for future posts, a page for which link parties you are linking up at (and what you linked there). A page for expenses, even if you haven’t spent much. Every time you do something on the blog that seems important – WRITE IT DOWN!
I have a gorgeous FREE blog planner available for you!
Set up your social media accounts
This could take you a few days right here. But burn this into your brain: without social media, you are just standing on a corner, yelling into the biggest crowd you’ve ever seen. NO ONE is finding your blog without social media. (And you need traffic, if you’re going to make money. At least SOME traffic). Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, You-Tube (if you’ll be making videos).
Get them all in a name coherent with your blog.
You don’t HAVE to use ALL social media. I don’t. But, you don’t know right now what you will want to use in the future, so setting up the accounts NOW is a good idea… that way if you DO want to use them, you will have reserved the right name.
If you can’t imagine ever using all the social media platforms (I STILL can’t imagine I’ll ever tweet – and I don’t have TIME for Instagram), then Pinterest is what you should focus on. Pinterest is so important, I’ve written a whole book on it.
Facebook would be my second platform of choice to set up.
Think about your Niche and how you will organize your topics… and understand the relationship between niche and earning potential
You will hear a WHOLE LOT of bloggers out there yelling “NICHE DOWN”.
I am not one of them.
Sure, you don’t want a blog so broad that you’re trying to cover everything ranging from candle making to horseback riding, but I think starting a little broad is a GOOD thing.
Also, understand that not all niches have equal earning potential for the average blogger. I REALLY need you to go read this article before you make up your mind what you will blog about: How to choose a blog niche that makes money. (Yes, even if you’re already pretty decided.)
Then come back and we can talk about organizing your topics.
I think starting broad with your niche gives you the opportunity to determine what you enjoy writing and what your audience responds to. Choose a general topic that can encompass many smaller topics – to give yourself some breathing room. Then, organize your topics into verticals.
My “general” topic is “helping mom’s create their best life and mommy like they mean it” (I went very broad – intentionally). My categories are mommy tips (this is mostly pregnancy + postpartum stuff), all about kids, life at home, and family finances. I can write about whatever I want as long as it (mostly) fits into these verticals.
If you take the time to organize your ideas in your head it will be much, much, easier for you when it’s time to organize your ideas on the computer. You will save countless confused hours if you have a plan for what will go where. And save all those post ideas – you’ll want them when you start writing!
Do some serious Blogging learning
Please do this. I know you want to blog, and it’s painful to have to wait. But take it from me, it’s more painful to have to re-do all your hard work because you made a stupid tiny mistake. I can not tell you how many hours I have wasted re-doing. The following are VERY affordable resources geared towards complete beginners:
Blogcabulary Plus is the ultimate beginners reference guide, at the ultimate beginners price – 34$. This is where I would start, because the price is right and the info is solid. This book alone will answer SO MANY questions and take you so much farther, without getting you into debt.
Amy Lynn Andrews Knowtbook – is also VERY good, it’s her own personal collection of online business and blogging how-tos, and it’s amazing (and ALSO cheap – 24$!).
Blog By Number is a GREAT comprehensive beginners course, a little more money at 97$ but this one includes videos, which is super helpful.
Also, once you have your blog set up and running, I love love love Lena Gott’s Traffic Transformation Guide – It’s one thing to create a blog, and whole ‘nother thing to get people to come TO your blog. Lena has some awesome strategies that I would absolutely never have thought of (and they work – she gets 400k page views per month!) I LOVE this book. I’ve read it twice, and will be going through it a third time. It’s one of my all time favorites!
(If you aren’t sure that it’s worth it to spend a little and invest in blogging learning, read my October 2016 Income report!)
Phew. There’s alot to starting a blog
When you get stuck somewhere, google google google. (Or just do what I do, and look up the answers to your questions in Amy Lynn Andrews Knowtbook – she updates it regularly, so the information is always current!)
And do some blogging learning. Seriously. (If you bought a theme membership with Elegant Themes, and you intend to use Divi, you should start watching the Divi module tutorials as well!)