Every Blogging Task You Need to Do (In Order!) to Build A Profitable Blog
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10 Things to do Before You Launch Your Blog
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Setting up a blog for the first time can be more than a little intimidating. But let me tell you, there has never been a better time than now to get started!
Compared to 10 years ago, setting up and running a blog today is really easy. There is so much software and tools out there that simply didn't exist in the early 00’s.
So, if you're nervous about setting up your first blog, don't be! You're going to learn and understand the big picture of creating a new blog by the end of this post.
1. Set up your web host, domain name, and theme.
This is the part that most new bloggers feel a little uneasy about. While the process doesn't take too long, it can get complicated if you've never done it before.
Thankfully, I've written a complete guide to purchasing your hosting and setting up your blog here.
2. Choose a niche and an angle.
Surprise, surprise, you should know what you plan to write about before you launch your blog.
So just to clarify... Your niche is your blog topic. It's a specific, reasonably narrow topic that serves ONE audience.
Here are a few examples of blog niches:
- Indoor gardening
- French cooking
- Running for women
Once you've chosen your niche, the next thing you need to do is figure out what your angle is. Your angle is how you position yourself. It's the twist in your blog topic.
For example, maybe your blog topic is green living. Your “angle” might be how people can live healthier lives without toxic products. Another angle could be how readers can help protect the environment with green products.
See how those are two completely different twists on the same blog topic?
If you're still not sure what your angle is, ask yourself why someone would want to read what you are writing about. What is the purpose? What do they get out of it?
3. Create good branding from the beginning.
There's a lot being said about branding online right now, and while I certainly don't think it's the be-all end-all of online business, branding does count.
On top of that, it's also one of those things that is a major pain in the butt to re-do later on.
Once you already have a ton of blog posts and Pinterest pins and other graphics out there, you really won't want to spend the time to rebrand. So it's important to take the time to do it now!
So what is branding?
Branding is... a lot of things. It's the “vibe” of your business. It's the voice behind your writing. It's your colors and fonts. It's the “you-ness” behind all of your work.
So how do you determine what your brand is exactly?
First, let's start with the easy stuff like colors and fonts. I highly recommend creating a mood board on Pinterest to help you figure out which color palette really feels like you.
Once you've done that, I would recommend playing around with Google fonts until you find a few that you like. you will need probably five to six different fonts. Try to nail down:
- Two bold fonts for graphics
- A script font
- A standard text font
- A subtitle font
Your brand voice is arguably the most important piece of your brand.
Are you the supportive best friend here to cheer your readers on? Are you the no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl? Are you brash and bold and unapologetic?
If you aren't quite sure what kind of voice you have or would like to have, the best way to find out is to simply spend a lot of time writing.
Your writing voice should come natural to you. Don't try to force a voice that isn't really yours- it will always come off sounding a little weird.
4. Check social media platforms for name availability.
While I really don't recommend trying to set up social media accounts on all of the different platforms at once, I do recommend making sure that your name is available before you register your domain name.
For example, it would really suck to choose littlegreenthumb .com as your domain name, only to find out later that the username LittleGreenThumb is already in use by someone else on Twitter and Instagram.
So whether your domain name will be your name in real life or it will be a “stage name”, make sure it's available on all of the major social media platforms first! Once you've found one that is, I recommend signing up on each platform with that account name to reserve it.
Just save the password somewhere where you'll be able to find it until later down the road when you are ready to start building your account.
5. Write 5 pillar posts to launch with.
Pillar posts are long, in-depth posts that talk about your core message on your blog. For example, a few of my pillar posts are:
- The Ultimate Guide to Creating A Profitable Blog
- 7 Things to do if You're Serious About Blogging for Money
I recommend writing at least five of them to get started with. This will give you a good feel for what it takes to be a blogger, and it will ensure that new visitors are impressed by your content (even if you don't have a lot of it!)
On top of that, it will also give you enough posts to get started on Pinterest when you're ready.
My Secret Weapon for Creating Incredible Blog Posts
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6. Download the plugins you need to organize and protect your blog.
The ability to install various plugins is one of the best things about setting up a WordPress blog. You have the world at your fingertips! There is a free plugin for just about everything.
That being said, it's important to not go too crazy with plug-ins. Too many of them running in the background can slow down your site.
Instead, it's best to choose the select few that will make the biggest difference on your blog. Here are a couple that I recommend:
Akismet is a free WordPress plugin that monitors and remove spam from your blog comments and contact boxes.
Yoast is one of the easiest and best SEO plugins out there. It's perfect for beginner and intermediate bloggers who don't know a ton about SEO and just want to make sure their blog is able to rank with Google in the future.
When you install the Yoast plugin, it will give you a lot of different criteria to follow as you are writing and uploading your blog posts. On top of that, it will correct you if you make a mistake!
WP Super Cache
This one is a little tricky to explain, but WP Super Cache caches your blog posts so that they can be served in the future without continually accessing the database.
In short, this plugin will speed up your website tremendously. Site speed is so important these days.
With people's attention spans getting shorter and shorter, they simply won't stick around for a slow site anymore.
On top of that, Google penalizes slow sites in their rankings, so it's important to keep on top of this.
7. Set up your email marketing service.
Want to know the number one thing most new bloggers don't do when they're first getting started, but should?
They don't set up an email marketing service.
Even if you are brand new, even if you have no traffic and nothing to sell, it's so important that you set up your email marketing service from the get-go.
It's not as complicated as you might think!
All you need is an opt in form, a freebie, a sequence and a welcome email to get started.
Here's how to get started.
I use and love Convertkit. It's hands down the best email marketing service for bloggers who want to make money from their blogs. (It was even created by a fellow blogger!)
Step 1: sign up for Convertkit.
Step 2. Set up your sequence.
Step 3. Write a welcome email for that sequence.
Step 4. Create your opt in form.
8. Create an opt in freebie and form.
The next step is to create a super awesome opt-in freebie that will tempt your readers into signing up for your email list.
This should be something that your readers can't wait to get their hands on. It could be a checklist, ebook, report, graphic pack, or anything else you think would make their lives easier. And of course, it should be closely related to your blog topic.
With freebie in hand, the final step is to create the opt in form. Your form connects to your sequence, so that when people sign up to your email list they're automatically transferred to your email sequence.
Your email sequence can be just a simple welcome email, or a series of emails that go out automatically to everyone who signs up.
I use Thrive Architect to create my forms. They are prettier and easier to design than Convertkit forms, so I simply connect the two using the Convertkit plugin. You can read more about how I design and set these up here.
9. Set up your Pinterest profile.
It's a really good idea to setup and establish your Pinterest profile before you launch your blog. This will help you to get traffic sooner rather than later.
Once you set up your Pinterest profile, you'll want to also:
- Add your profile photo
- Create a handful of boards
- Pain at least 50 high quality pins to each board
- Add keywords to each of your board descriptions
For a more detailed look at how I manage my Pinterest board, you can read my best strategies for winning on Pinterest here.
10. Create pins for your pillar posts.
Now, this isn't something you absolutely have to do before you launch, but it will certainly make your life easier.
I recommend creating two or three bright, easy-to-read pins for each of your pre-written pillar posts.
Save these in a folder on your desktop, and you'll be able to come back to them after launch to start bringing traffic back to your site.
If you've never created a Pinterest pin before, I use and recommend PicMonkey. PicMonkey is free, easy to use, and they have tons of tools and fonts available for you to create unique graphics.
Here are a few of my best tips for creating a pin that stands out from the rest:
- Use bright colors. Muted colors don't tend to stand out as well on Pinterest.
- Use an easy-to-read font. Make sure to avoid script fonts, as pretty as they are.
- Include your website name or logo on each pin so people can begin recognizing your pins instantly.
- Red, pink, and orange tend to do better than green, blue, and purple.
- Include keywords in your pain description! Keywords are one of the big ways Pinterest is able to “know” what your pin is about.
I really hope this post helped you figure out how to start your new blog!
I know it can seem super confusing right off the bat, but I promise if you keep putting one foot in front of the other you will get there.
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