Starting a blog can help you build authority, attract more visitors to your website and get more customers if you already have an e-shop or an offline brand. Fortunately, it is not that complicated to start a blog. However, it is essential that you take into account some issues so that you also lay the foundation for a blog that can be successful. In this article you will discover which 5 steps are needed to start a blog and at the same time lay the foundation for future success.
Where is your blood flow?
Before you even start anything, I advise you to ask yourself this question first. The success of a blog will depend in no small extent on the degree to which you, as a blogger, have a passion for the topics you share through your blog. In the long term, this works in everything through:
- To the extent that you distinguish yourself as a blogger and the extent to which you are seen as authentic and authority
- To the extent that you are motivated and continue to create the best possible content for your readers
- To the extent that others see your blog as a valuable source of information
- To the extent that you can convert visitors to customers or brand ambassadors
With the above question answered and assuming you know where your passion lays and how to utilize it into an online presence, let’s look at how you start a blog in 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Choose a domain name and hosting
The domain name you choose preferably matches the niche you are going to focus on. It can help you and your domain name to use a keyword that matches this niche. This domain deliberately has the word “web” in the domain name, because it was initially a blog on which articles were published that were about web development and ways in which you can get more out of your website. The value given by search engines to an important keyword in the domain name has decreased compared to a number of years ago, but it can still help.
Make sure you combine your own domain name with your own hosting via a hosting provider. I am not a big fan of using blog services like wordpress.com or blogger.com for your main blog since you do not have full control (or any control) over your blog, plugins, scripts and hosting settings, let alone a custom email address. Choose a hosting provider that supports the WordPress scripts, so you can easily install it. Fortunately, the vast majority of hosting providers do this nowadays because most of the websites run on WordPress. A side note though that you do not necessarily need a managed WordPress hosting, despite the popularity of the term. I believe unless you have a really massive website with millions of visitors, a regular shared hosting (SSD – accelerated) would be more than sufficient.
Step 2: Do a keywords research and brainstorm the trends.
This step is one that is often skipped in practice or only taken when articles are actually written. My advice is to start with this:
– First, brainstorm the search terms where you write down as many topics as possible that have common ground with the central topic of your blog.
– Next, use Google Trends and the Google Keyword Planner to research which topics have the biggest potential in terms of search volume.
– Organize the results neatly in a spreadsheet with different columns where you put the keywords, the monthly search volume, the competitive level, and the recommended click price.
This way you can optimize your written content for the highest paying and most searched-for keywords, and not waste your efforts writing articles around keywords that have little competition, little search volume and are not paid good enough for.
Ideally, though not always possible in practice, you should plan ahead the blog writing at least a month ahead, based on keywords research you have conducted. This way you can see ahead, which topics and keywords you have already covered, and then, looking backward, analyze the profits and the traffic based on your spreadsheet.
The keyword research will help you to optimize the structure of your blog, and ultimately the profits.
Step 3: Design an optimal site structure
Grab your keyword research and add filters to the different columns of your spreadsheet. You can now filter by the monthly search volume. The monthly search volume is the average number of searches that are performed monthly in Google for a specific search term. Analyze the data and discover which topics have the most potential for your blog.
Tip: use an “Adgroup” structure:
Google earns money predominantly from the ads sold through the search giant’s advertising network. Advertisers can bid on specific search terms through Adwords. The algorithms of Adwords and the organic search results are different but have similarities in the way they give a ‘Quality Score’ to content. It can, therefore, help to structure the structure of your blog (menu items, categories, page hierarchy, and other navigation options) around an Adgroup structure. This means that you use navigation elements, categories and tags in WordPress in a consistent way to group topics in a logical way.
Step 4: Design and build your blog using a Premium WordPress theme.
I cannot stress enough about the importance of high quality, well optimized, good looking Worpdress theme. It gives your blog an entirely different feel and functionality. Search through CreativeMarket or ElegantThemes for a premium WordPress theme. For a few bucks, you have a slick design that fits the subject of your blog, that is responsive, been tested by millions and will provide a whole different experience to your readers. You can choose from dozens of themes and use the on-site handy filter options there is always something that fits well. You can always customize your blog or give a personal touch, especially if you opt-in for a DIVI theme that comes with an inbuilt website builder.
Tip: choose a theme with a high rating
By making use of the filter options on Creative Market you can make a pre-selection of themes that have received a high rating from users and are already fully developed. When a theme is absolutely new and has little user feedback, you run the risk that there are still a lot of bugs in it. Preferably go for a specific theme that is lightweight (for better performance) and optimized for search engines.
Step 5: Start creating content that adds value to your readers.
If you have arrived at this step then your blog is basically ‘ready to go’. Grab your keyword research again and get started with creating content that adds value to your readers. You can, for example, add value by the following methods:
- Solve a problem
- Answer a question
- Remove an annoyance
- Offer directly applicable information
Make sure you then develop a rhythm for yourself for content creation and at the same time take the space to write when you are inspired, so that your blog will have some frequency that readers can expect.
And then… You are finally here! After going through these 5 steps the journey finally begins. Blogging is not only about creating content and writing blog posts on a weekly basis. It’s also a lot of promotion, social media marketing, social interaction, and endless tweaks because you will never be fully satisfied with your outcome, there is always space to improve. But, also try out what does or does not work. As a blogger, you have never been taught. You cannot get a formal education and become a full time certified blogger. It’s a lot of trial and error, you have to evolve together with your blog, and that’s totally fine, since your blog is about topics that you have a passion for.