1. Just start
Sometimes this is the hardest part of all is to take that first plunge. To help direct you ask yourself these four questions
- What do you want to blog about?
- What are you an expert in?
- What makes you unique?
- What are you passionate about?
2. Pick a niche
By picking a niche this can do two things: picking a very specific niche can limit your audience but create a more loyal following or by broadening your niche can help reach a larger variety of people. For an example, the Sisters' have always been passionate about food and food that is delicious and easy to prepare for busy families. Food is a very large niche because everyone needs food to survive. So their niche has a broad audience. Another example is if you really like cats and making cat dresses, this is a very specific niche with not as big of an audience, BUT you can develop of very loyal following.
3. Blogger vs. Wordpress
This is an important decision and when you decide which one to go with, make sure you do all the research you can about which one is best for YOU. Here's some pros and cons of each:
- Free to start
- User friendly
- Fewer server problems
- Automatically geotags to posts
- Great way for beginners
- Increased traffic
- More plugins available
- Complex coding
- Complicated interface
- Many forums and communities for help
- Have to pay for monthly hosting fees, Wordpress template, and or design
4. Choose a domain name
Buy a domain name from sites like GoDaddy.com even if using Blogger, this is like $18 a year. This brings credibility to your site and allows you to monetize on Google AdSense. Pick a name that is brandable and easy to remember. Make sure to check to make sure the domain name you want for your blog isn't taken already. Your domain name should be catchy, easy to remember and unique.
5. Set up your social media
This is your most powerful form of marketing your blog. One thing I don't recommend is signing up with a new social media platform just because everyone is doing it. It's smart to start out small and slowly build. You will get burned out if you sign up for every social media platform and try to manage them all. You will hate your life. Try one, and if you don't get much interaction, try a different one. Give it some time before you decide to retire that social media platform. Before choosing which social media sites to use, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- How are you going to manage them? Managing social media takes up A LOT of time and energy. There's several programs and free sites you can use to help you manage your social media. I recommend Hootsuite for Twitter and Google +, for Facebook I recommend using the scheduling feature on Facebook, Statigram is great for Instagram (you cannot schedule posts, just see your analytics), and for Pinterest Viral Tag is life changing.
- How much time do you have to devote to each every week? You will find yourself spending more time managing your blog and social media then actually doing projects and writing for your blog, to avoid this you need to make sure you schedule an amount of time you will dedicate to your social media by either scheduling your posts, responding back to your followers, and finding new people to follow.
- What accounts do you want readers to interact with you on? It's smart to think through what the purpose of having each social media platform. For an example, Facebook is going to be used for branding my blog and for building a loyal community of followers, Instagram is going to be a glimpse of my personal life, Twitter is going to be used to connect with other bloggers and companies, Google+ is going to be used for finding new followers and sharing content, and Pinterest is going to be used for sharing personal posts and other blogger posts.
- What social media sites will your target audience be using most frequently? You won't know this right off the bat, it might take a while as your blog matures. One good way to find out is to take note which social media platforms receive the most interaction, likes, comments, and shares. If you find you're getting a lot more interaction on Instagram, then you should devote more of your time on there then the others.
The Sisters' have a TON more information on how to get started, but to listen and view their slideshow presentation, go here to purchase all of the audio and video recordings of the 2014 Build Your Blog Conference!
Written by Courtney Killpack. Courtney is the social media manager for the Six Sisters' Stuff annual Build Your Blog Conference and their recipe sharing website My Recipe Magic. She also blogs with her two redheaded sisters on their lifestyle blog called Fry Sauce and Grits. Between blogging, being a mom and a wife, she enjoys being active, writing about bras, anything Jane Austen, designing eclectic interior spaces, and eating cookie butter.