When I first started blogging back in 2017, I had no idea what I was doing. I started out by following a blog post on Pinterest- kind of like this one. The blog post taught me how to self host with Siteground and set up a WordPress.org blog.
I tried my very best to build a nice looking blog with one of the free templates on WordPress but it ended up looking really ugly. I hated the blog design. I wanted a pretty blog but I didn’t have any design knowledge what so ever.
I eventually found a WordPress theme that looked beautiful. I purchased it and guess what? After installing and looking at the theme…it wasn’t any different then the first one I had. I wasted my money. After that I purchased and tried several different WordPress themes each one STILL looked ugly.
Quickly, I learned that a lack of design knowledge was holding me back and I went on to switch my blog over to Squarespace.
Building a blog on Squarespace was a lot easier but I still had no knowledge of how to become a successful blogger. I blogged for 2 years and I had barely any income to show for it. I eventually quit.
You see…starting a blog for me was not easy. If only I had someone who could teach me how to start a blog without holding any important information back…then I probably would have had a successful blog a lot faster.
With all of that being said, I want to take you through a step by step guide that will show you EXACTLY how to build a blog strategically and with intention-the right way.
The goal here is to give you the guide that I wish I had when starting a blog and to show you how I create successful, money making blogs for my clients. SO let’s get started.
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Find Your Niche
The very first thing you should when starting a blog is to is find your niche and in this part of the blog post I am going to tell you why you should and how to find it.
A lot of different opinions circle around these days about finding your niche. I see bloggers talk about how your niche isn’t important when starting but I would beg to disagree.
Niching down in the beginning is extremely important because in order to write valuable content you are going to want to know who your ideal reader is, what content they want to read, what content they are searching for, etc.
You want the right eyes coming to your blog because at the end of the day…you want to build a community of readers who love your content. It’s better to have 1000 people who love you and your blog posts then 10,000 people who don’t.
Get specific and figure out who you want to talk to. What are they searching for? What are their interests? Age? Location? Female or male? Be descriptive about who you want to come to your blog because this is key to bringing in blog traffic. Google likes niched blogs.
Now that we got that covered, we are going to talk a little bit about HOW we can find our niche.
- Your Passions.
The first step to finding your niche is to identify your passions because in order to write about something every week for a lonnnnggg time…you obviously have to be passionate about it, right?
Write down your passions.
What are you doing in your free time? What do you love to do? What do you love to read about? Etc.
2. Your Skills
Make another list of things you are good at. What are the things that people ask you for advice on or to help them with? Ask the people who are around you what your skills are if you are unsure.
3. Compare the lists.
Now you should compare the list of passions and the list of skills.
What is something you are passionate about that you can help with your skills?
Example: I am passionate about blogging. I am skilled at blogging, teaching and web design which is why my niche is blogging and design.
Another example: You are passionate about cooking, you are skilled at it and know all of the best recipes. Your niche? Food blogging.
This is the most important step to starting a blog that I see almost ALL bloggers miss. It astounds me because it is one of the most important parts of starting a blog.
Your branding and design is the first thing people notice when they head to your site. They notice your colors, your fonts, and everything that makes your design amazing, just okay, or horrible.
If your branding is not on point, how can you expect to bring in readers, customers and clients if you don’t have a professional looking blog that makes you well respected?
If you know nothing about branding and design, you should hire a brand and website designer. Now, I am not just saying this because I am one. I am saying this to truly help you start a blog with intention and strategy.
You ultimately want to think of your blog as a money, making business one day, right? Well to start a business, you first have to start off with investing.
Now I know that everyone does not have the means to hire a website designer but hear me out…
Website designers know how to build a brand with strategy by building every inch of your blog for your ideal reader, customer, and client. They know how to build a brand that will be unique so that you can stand out from the crowd because when you stand out in a crowd full of people doing the same thing as you-that’s when you see the biggest success!
Designers know how to pick the colors, the images, and design a beautiful website that not only YOU will adore but your ideal audience will too.
Have you ever went to someones blog and hopped right off because you simply didn’t like the colors or web design? I have! Many times. Even before I was a designer it was just an instinct for me to go read a different blog because my first thought of their brand was negative. This is what you want to avoid and a designer can help you do that.
If you ultimately decide to build a web design and brand for yourself then I would like for you to follow this process so you can do it with strategy and intention.
- Define the 4 V’s
The first step to branding is to define the 4 V’s.
-Vision: The long term vision/goals you have for your blog.
-Values: What are the core values you want to portray with your brand?
-Voice: Each blogger has a certain voice when writing. What will your brand voice be? This shouldn’t be hard to find because it’s how you would talk to a friend.
-Visuals: The photography you wish to use. What kind of images do you want to use consistently in your brand? Visuals are very important because images will create some sort of feeling and mood in your readers.
2. Pick a blog name.
Now it is time to pick your blog name. What name is available to use? Check Google, social media, etc. Some people love using their own name.
Your name should show who you are, your vision and values.
3. Create a slogan or catchphrase.
I know not all bloggers do this but this is definitely an option for you to brand yourself. Whenever someone see’s your slogan they will know it’s you.
4. Develop your logo.
Create 4 different variations of your logo. This is another reason why you should hire a designer. A designer can make the perfect logo to help you stand out.
Now it is time to create a mood board. I like to do this on Pinterest.
Create a Pinterest board and save everything that catches your eye.
What colors are you most attracted to? What fonts do you love? What websites do you love? The design and layouts of the website? What images make you feel how you want your readers to feel?
Now you should take everything you saved and pick your colors. You should really study up on color psychology. Each color gives a certain mood and feeling. What kind of feelings do you wish your reader to have?
Pick the colors that best fit with your brand. There are several color palletes on Pinterest with the exact hex codes. However, I do believe you should try and be as unique as possible when starting a blog.
Then Pick the fonts for your blog. You should only stick to 1-3 font variations for your site so you can create a nice visual hierarchy on your website. You should also make sure the fonts are readable and correctly sized for your ideal client.
Ex: If you are speaking to a younger person they will probably be able to read smaller sans fonts and cursive. If you are speaking to an older person, they will most likely need larger and more readable fonts.
For Boss Lady Bloggers I chose one cursive font, one regular font with 2 variations. Normal and italics.
Now that you have your logos, fonts, colors, and visuals, it’s time to create a brand board like this one that I created for a new client:
There are several brand board templates on Pinterest and you can also go to creativemarket.com to find them as well.
Now I would get some feedback on your brand board. Ask family and friends what they think of them before you move forward. If they love it then we can finally start creating your website.
Designing the Website
There are a lot of key components to take into account when it comes to building and designing your website.
First of all, you should either hire a web designer or you can try to DIY it yourself. BUT think about the goals you have for your blog. Do you want to make money quickly? Do you want to have a beautiful site that will give your audience and clients the “WOW” factor? Do you want to get more clients and customers to your business?
Designing your own website can be quite challenging and slow but hiring a designer will help you overcome that AND help you get more traffic, clients and income.
But if you are all about DIY then girl that is completely okay.
First thing you want to do if you are DIY your site is to get web hosting. My favorite that I recommend is Siteground. I never had an issue with them what so ever. My site has always been fast and they have amazing customer service.
I’ve also tried other web hosting like Bluehost but Siteground was the better option for me.
Next you want to get a domain. This should be the blog name you chosen in your branding process. Sitegorund offers it for free for the first year.
After you get your domain and hosting you can now access the WordPress dashboard right through Siteground.
You will want to pick a WordPress theme. But remember when I said that the WordPress themes are really awful on WordPress? Well I truly mean that when I say it. If you have no design or WordPress experience before, this process can be extremely challenging and daunting which is why hiring a designer is better for your stress levels and time.
There are also WordPress themes you can purchase. I am pretty sure there are themes out there that look a lot better than the regular free WordPress themes but if you still have no WordPress design knowledge it can still be quite overwhelming. You just have to keep trying, keep playing with it until you can find something you like.
Remember this when building your site-You should have the basic pages for blogging. Homepage, About page, Contact page, and maybe even a Resources page.
Note: Please make sure it is a WordPress.org and not a WordPress.com site. Many new bloggers get these two mixed. You always want to choose WordPress.org.
Create an Editorial Calendar
You have a niche, your branding is on point, you have a website, and now it is time to think about content and editorial calendars.
First, let’s talk about what an editorial calendar is and why it is important.
An editorial calendar basically plans your blog content, social media content, your daily and weekly to-do’s, etc. It is extremely important to really get clear on what you need to do for at least 3 months ahead.
3 months ahead of content? Yes. Mhmm.
Now ask yourself, do you like digital planers or paper planners?
I like planning out all of my content in Asana. It’s free and easy to use.
Start by writing down a list of blog posts you would like to write for your readers. Then take those blog posts and pick 1 day each week to write a new post. If you think you can write more posts then plug in 2 days each week in your Asana calendar.
Theming your days allows you to be your most productive.
Example of my themed days:
-Mondays are for client coaching calls and client projects.
-Tuesdays are for Pinterest and other content marketing.
-Wednesdays are for email lists.
-Thursdays are for blog posts.
-Fridays are for creating new freebies, graphics, etc.
-And weekends are for relaxation.
Dedicating each day to one themed task is the way I have found balance in my blog and business. It has allowed me to get more done and become more successful because of it.
Planning out your content for each day will make blogging so much easier. It will allow you to stay focused on your goals and when you sit down at the computer you will always know what to do.
Get to Writing
Some of my most asked questions are about how many posts you should have before launching your blog and launching your blog in general.
The answer varies here.
You can either write 10 blog posts that aren’t perfected OR you can write 1-5 blog posts that are amazing and will make your new reader want to stay for forever!
I choose the second option every time because having long and valuable perfected content is key to blogging success.
Something I also see is new bloggers want to write about themselves. They tell their stories TOO much in their blog posts. This could actually really hurt your blog. Let me tell you why.
Blog posts are not written for you. They are written for your ideal reader, client and customer. If you want to write for and about yourself and your life…this is called journaling and you shouldn’t be a blogger if you are doing this.
Writing blog posts are made to serve your readers and to show them you are an expert in your niche. They are to help, serve, motivate and inspire.
So before you start writing your blog post, ask yourself – does my reader need this? Will my reader want to click on this? Will my reader love this piece of content? Can my reader get anything out of this?
Write for your reader, not you.
Get a Pinterest Business Account
Consider Pinterest your new BFF. It is place where you will bring in the most traffic to your site and the main place where your customers and clients are going to come from.
As a blogger, you will be spending a lot of time on Pinterest so learn it and get used to it. This is something I teach in my blog coaching program and I also teach you the best way to increase your blog traffic and bring more readers to your website. You will learn the best Pinterest strategies for you and your blog. If you are interest in blog coaching head over to my blog coaching page to learn more.
There are a few things you need to do when starting your Pinterest account.
#1: SEO Keyword Research- Go on Pinterest and search for something related to your niche. Underneath the search bar you will see some automated options Pinterest gives you. These are the things that are most searched for in Pinterest and you should write these keywords down.
The goal with SEO is to show up when someone is searching for what your writing about so using keywords everywhere on your Pinterest is important.
#2: Add your name with keywords– Example: Boss Lady Bloggers-Web Design, Branding, and Blog tips.
#3: Write a short little bio that sums up what content you will write about and who you help-using keywords.
#4: Create Pinterest boards with keywords. You want to create boards that are short tail keywords and then other descriptive ones. For example: A board title could be blogging. Another board title can be blogging tips and tricks and blogging freebies. Etc.
#5: Edit your board descriptions. You want to describe your board in a few sentences using keywords.
#6: Create 3-5 pins for each blog post using Canva. It’s free and easy to use. There are a lot of nice tutorials on youtube you can watch that will show you how to create pins using Canva.
#7: Create new pins every single day for best results. Then schedule all of your Pins using Tailwind. Tailwind makes your life easier since you want to post 30 pins/day to your Pinterest. Tailwind will automate that for you.
Create Other Social Media Accounts
Having a Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter can be another good way to bring traffic to your blog. Just always remember that Pinterest will Always be the #1 way to get blog traffic.
A few tips for social media:
#1: always use branding. Remember when we chatted a little about visuals, values, voice, and vision? You want to use these across all social media channels and anywhere you go with your blog and business. The same brand voice, photography, values and vision should be applied to this as well.
#2: Be consistent. It doesn’t matter how many times you post per week or month. As long as you are consistent and post at the same time each week.
#3: Plan ahead all social media posts. Make your captions interesting and valuable. Don’t be boring. Put your own personality into it. I use Later to plan out my posts ahead.
Managing an email list is the NUMBER ONE thing to prioritize as a blogger. However, it’s also the most intimidating. Let’s hash this out right now.
First why is an email list so important?
-Because it’s YOURS and you don’t have to beat algorithms and competition that tears you down.
-Because you have a better engagement rate through your email list.
-Because it’s a place full of the people who are interested and raised their hand to receive your content.
-It’s also the place where most of your income from products and services will come from. your subscribers will be the first to buy from you.
So how do you start an email list?
The first step is to choose a provider. There are free ones like Mailchimp but the one I am currently using is Flodesk. I hated Mailchimp and I think it’s a good investment to pay for one since it’s the most important thing to prioritize when blogging.
Flodesk has beautiful templates to use. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers transfer over lately. It’s very simple and easy. Very beginner blogger friendly.
Next is to create freebies for your subscribers. The freebies can be checklists, planners, quizzes, ebooks, workbooks, templates and anything else you wish to give away for free.
Now that you have your freebies created, it’s time to create sign up forms with your email provider and place them in relevant places all over your blog like your homepage and in the middle of your blog posts.
Tell people to sign up if they want a freebie and make sure the freebie is valuable and is on brand. I see a lot of bloggers creating freebies that don’t match their brand style at all and they wonder why no one signs up.
Last few Tips to Start a Blog
-Be consistent with everything and you will see success. It may take some time but if you are consistent and want it badly enough, you will get it and reach all of your blogging goals.
-Invest. I never seen blogging success until I invested time and money in my blog.
-Plan. Bloggers need to plan out everything to the T so we can stay on track and reach our goals.
-Know your why. Write it down. Why did you start a blog in the first place? Sometimes you will need this to motivate you to move forward and not quit.
That’s all I have for you today my lovely boss Lady bloggers. I hope this ultimate guide helped you star ta blog strategically and intentionally. If you have any questions you can ask these to me in the comment section below.
SAVE THIS PIN FOR LATER:
- How to Write a Welcome Email Sequence That Sells Your Offers
- The Best Blog Writing Workflow
- How to Look Like a Professional Blogger-From the Start
- How to Optimize Your Blog for SEO
- Mistakes New Bloggers Make When Monetizing their Blog