If you’ve been researching on Pinterest about how to create a blog, you’ll probably have seen pins claiming you can start one in 30 minutes. The truth is, there are several things to do before starting a blog and launching it.
It will take you much longer to really get it all right from the start. Planning is key to a successful blog – one that you’ll love for a long time.
Stats from 2009 showed that 60% to 80% of new blogs were deserted within one month. I suspect that these stats are still true to this day.
I don’t want to scare you away with this little truth nugget. Blogs may seem easy to run, but in truth, there are many moving parts behind the scenes.
Great blogs take time to start and grow, that is unless you’re blogging full-time, obsessively. That’s not a good thing, as it can lead to blogger burnout.
So what are the things to do before starting a blog, that set you up for success?
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Key Things To Know Before Starting A Blog: Research And Creating A Plan
If you’re like many of my blog coaching students, you’re probably asking yourself: What are the key things to know before starting a blog?
You don’t want to make silly, time-consuming mistakes.
One of my clients took a few months from the initial plan to the actual launch of her site. Taking her time, her blog was amazing at the start and will continue to be successful as a promotion tool for her business.
In this post, I’ll share with you some of the key things to consider before starting a blog and the key steps you should take.
These steps will make it easier for you to organize yourself, and thoroughly plan your blog.
The key to launching a successful blog is PLANNING!
So before you get your credit card ready to purchase a self-hosted blog, ( NameHero is the best option for new bloggers with fast servers and great customer service), research hosting providers.
You’ll also need to get a notebook or notepad and start writing a plan.
I’m going to help you through the key steps of your plan and give you some tips to help you figure things out!
| RELATED: How To Balance Blogging With Being A Busy Mom
One Thing NOT To Do Before Starting A Blog
Before you start creating your plan, I want you to not do one thing:
Do not try to recreate somebody else’s blog.
For a number of reasons, this is a bad idea:
- You risk plagiarising, which can lead to legal issues down the road.
- If it’s in the same niche, people will notice the similarities.
- You have your expertise and knowledge to share. Build your own personal brand! Don’t try to be an “expert” on a topic that you know nothing about.
When you create a blog that’s about something you are passionate about and knowledgeable about, it will be a success!
Otherwise, you’ll start feeling like an imposter.
Learn how to write your first blog post like a pro and kick-start your blogging journey on the right foot.
Do Not Expect The Money To Roll In
The second thing you should know is that you won’t be making much money in the beginning, if not at all.
This is completely realistic and acceptable.
Starting a blog requires much time to get it launched and growing with content, traffic and a loyal audience.
Without time and patience, you’ll find yourself discouraged that you’re not making the thousands that you’ve seen promised somewhere on a Pinterest pin.
Based on my own experience, as well as that of many other professional bloggers, the first year is always one where you’re building the foundation for long-term success.
So, make sure you’re thinking realistically about your short- and long-term blog goals.
| READ MORE: Top Reasons To Stop Stealing Content From Other Bloggers
The Reality of Making Money With A Lifestyle Blog
What To Do Before Starting A Blog: 5 Steps
Grab your pen and notepad, and write these steps down.
You’ll want to make some notes as some of these tips will be thought-provoking.
My goal is to help you figure things out in advance so that when it comes to getting started, you’re feeling confident and ready to go!
Step 1: Determine Why You Want To Start A Blog
The first thing on my list of five things to do before starting a blog is to ask yourself some key questions.
Why do you want to launch a blog? What is its purpose?
I made the mistake of not really thinking this through for the long run. My purpose changed over time.
Most people begin blogging for three key reasons:
- They want to share their experience and inspire others. Sometimes bloggers want to do an “online journal” approach.
- They want to blog on niche topics they love, with the potential of monetizing it
- The blog is going to be a promotion tool for their existing business
Many people just want to share their thoughts and opinions with others.
This is fine. The reality is that these kinds of “journal” blogs get little traffic unless you are Seth Godin, and already a guru in your own field.
The second type is one that’s popular with many bloggers. They love a core niche topic, and can easily share tips with others. You can be a food blogger specializing in baking, or an expert in frugal DIY tips for home decor.
Or you can be focusing on reaching a key target audience (e.g. other moms) with a general lifestyle blog (which is tougher to do).
Your blog will answer questions your readers are looking for, and you can find ways of offering digital materials or services to monetize it.
The final reason is straightforward – you have a business and you need to get the word out about it.
Your blog becomes a way to generate awareness and interest in you and your business offerings. You do this by showing your readers that you can provide them with valuable insights and more if they decide to work with you.
Step 2: Decide To Self-Host…Or Not
Before launching a blog, you need to consider whether you want to make money with it, or not.
Why you want to blog will be the foundation for what comes next: determining what you’ll need for your blog resources and tools.
One of the initial things to do before you launch a blog is to figure out what kind of site you need.
Many bloggers make the mistake of starting off with a free blogging platform which ends up limiting them in the long run.
If you’re blogging for an online journal and NEVER plan to monetize your blog, starting on a free platform like Wordpress.com is fine.
However, if you have even a small bit of a desire to make money off your blog, the best way to start it is to create a self-hosted WordPress site using reputable hosting providers such as either of these:
- NameHero (A solid investment with great customer service, an independent hosting company with fast servers. For anybody serious about blogging long-term and willing to invest in their blog business.)
- BigScoots (For professional bloggers seeking a fully-managed hosting provider, proactively working on ensuring your site is running top-notch. Expensive for beginners).
Self-hosting a WordPress site is the best way to create future options for monetization.
Although there are other blog platforms such as Wix or Squarespace, WordPress has the most flexibility, tools and resources to help you monetize.
For example, you can create a shop online with WooCommerce that gives you the option of selling your services, and digital or physical goods.
The possibilities are endless.
Take your time to figure this out. Your decision will affect all of the other things to do before starting a blog.
Step 3: Choosing Your Niche, Blog Name And URL
This is one of the key things to do before starting a blog is to determine your blog niche. This leads to choosing a relevant blog name and URL.
You want to get this right. After all, it will be the name and URL you’ll have for a very long time.
I recently noticed somebody complaining about having to rebrand their blog several times. This shouldn’t happen.
Choose your blog niche first! This takes a bit of soul-searching. Ask yourself:
- What are you most passionate about?
- What do you consider yourself most knowledgeable about?
- What topic do you see yourself blogging about three years from now? Five years?
- Who do you want to help with your blog and how?
Try to niche down as much as possible. Google is more likely to rank your posts higher if you position your content in one key niche than many (i.e. a general lifestyle blog).
The next step after choosing your blog niche is your blog name. It should fit your chosen niche.
Once you choose a blog name and URL, plan to stick with it for the long run.
A minor rebrand that works with your existing name is fine, but a big overhaul, such as changing your niche completely, is not the best bet. Trust me, I tried doing it myself and it didn’t work out.
Read more on my tips to choose the BEST blog name for you as well as the perfect URL in my post on how to start a blog.
PRO TIP: Before starting a blog, check to see if somebody has already used your preferred name for their social media accounts. It’s easier for people to find you if you use the same URL and account handle.
| RELATED: The Best, Profitable Lifestyle Blog Niches And Their Sub-Niches
Step 4: Research Hosting Providers And Get Set Up With A Self-Hosted Site
The next thing to do before starting a blog is to actually get the site self-hosted and the basic plugins set up.
Just the essentials.
Choosing a hosting provider doesn’t mean you’ve started your blog. It means you intend to launch one. There’s so much more to do!
Once you’ve chosen whether you’ll go with NameHero, BigScoots or another hosting provider, and you have your blog name and URL, it’s time to NOW get the credit card out.
Each hosting provider will have instructions on how to set up your site.
Once you have your self-hosted WordPress site established, here are a few more key basics BEFORE you launch a blog:
- Customize your site with a theme – there are many options you can choose from. Start with a simple and easy-to-customize theme. Check out my favourite WordPress themes for female bloggers and online business owners or the many other options on my blog tools page.
- Get some of the key plugins uploaded to your site – check out these 10 free WordPress plugins that will speed up your site and make for a better user experience.
- Draft at least one blog post and learn how to use blocks.
The next step is key for keeping you and your blog legally protected.
Step 5. Set Up Your Legal Pages
The final step of the top five things to do before starting a blog is to understand what it takes to blog legally.
Before you can officially make your blog go live, you need to set up your legal pages. These are the:
- Disclaimer: lets the visitor know what they can or can’t do with your site’s information, and discloses affiliate programs, commissions or other third-party links on your site.
- Terms & Conditions: states the rules of your site – covering your intellectual rights, etc.
You can get easily customizable legal pages that work in the US, Canada and internationally from Amira at A Self Guru.
Read more about why you need legal pages (keep yourself from being potentially sued or fined for BIG $$), and about my review of the Legal Pages Bundle.
TIP: To create your legal pages, publish them as pages, not posts. These are static pages that you’ll probably not need to change at any time in the future (unless there is a new policy or legal requirement).
If you use Yoast or Rank Math SEO, make these posts “no index” so that Google doesn’t have them show up in searches.
Next Things To Consider Before Starting A Blog
Ideally, before you do your big splashy blog launch, you should have some content posted to the site.
How many posts do you need before you launch your blog? That’s up to you. You can have zero if you like. However, I always recommend having at least three blog posts on your site.
Need some help in writing blog posts? If you have a blog niche that’s in the lifestyle category, I’ve got some blog topics to get you started.
Over 100 Lifestyle Blog Post Ideas
300+ Mom Blog Post Ideas
60+ Travel Blog Post ideas
100+ Food Blog Post Ideas
Consider your blog categories before you start writing. Organize your site structure by creating category buckets and then write blog posts for each category.
To create AWESOME blog posts that people want to read and share out, there are some things to consider.
| READ MORE: How To Write Great Blog Posts That Engage Readers
And if you’re wondering how to end a blog post, there are many ways you can do so to generate an engaging result.
Launch Your Blog Successfully!
My hope is that this post has left you with a plan, activity list or general idea of the things to know before starting a blog.
I’m hoping you’re feeling less overwhelmed by all the nitty-gritty details. However, if you’re still stuck, you can always send me a note and I’ll see how I can help you get back on track!
If you’re still wondering if you should start a blog, there are at least 10 good reasons to do so!
One final thing, start learning about SEO. Reading up on it should be one of the things you do before starting a blog. When you do, you’ll have a better idea of how to fast-track your site optimization and get your post ranking in Google faster.
To learn the basics, check out my FREE SEO Boost course that gives you the basics. Get five lessons in your inbox!
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