10 Essential Tasks When Starting Your Blog
You know those times where you think “If I could start all over again, I would do it a little differently”? Do you have anything that you would like to redo? There are several things that I would. I would have studied the cello instead of the violin, I would have majored in a math or science instead of sociology, and the list goes on and on and on. It’s not that I totally regret the things I have done, but if I were to go back, I would make some tweaks, and that’s definitely how I feel about this blog!
This post could easily be titled 10 Things I Would a Do-Over With Starting My Blog. There are probably more like 1,000, but for the sake of both of our sanity’s, I’ll share ten of the essential ones.
Don’t go through the same, time consuming hiccups I went through when I started blogging. If you conquer each of these tips from the get go, you will be well on your way to having your dream blog and website!
DEFINE YOUR NICHE
When I started blogging, I had a lot of ideas in my head, and it made it so confusing and frustrating when trying to find my niche. It’s nearly been a year, and I’m just know honing in that the purpose for my online space is to help creatives with their blogs and businesses by creating a resource hub and helping creatives take care of their well-being. Now that I have my niche, or content boundaries, and I have so much freedom to write and create things for you, my awesome audience!
Finding your niche takes some time and a lot of exploration. What are you passionate about? What are you an expert in? What value can you share that will bring an audience and cultivate community? Think about and answering these questions, and you’ll be on the right track.
You can’t become an amazing writer without practice. Don’t expect your first drafts to be good enough to publish, and always proofread your work. The idea behind writing more is to become practiced, find your voice, your style, and to get faster at communicating your ideas.
In the beginning, my posts were probably around 300 words, and they were little snippits of my thoughts around a certain topic. While short posts have their qualities, diving into a topic and being thorough holds so much weight and really positions you as the expert in your niche.
WORK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
When you are just starting, there are so many things to figure out, and social media is one of them. The sooner you jump in though, the better! My number one thing that I wish I had started sooner was Twitter chats! Often when you are just beginning on Twitter, it’s hard to talk to other people while only seeing their 140 character tweets. Twitter chats allow you to talk to real people, in real time, and it’s easy networking!
Some of my favorite Twitter chats are: #creativecoffeehour, #createlounge, #ellechat, #blisschat, #fireworkpeople, and #jennypurrchat. I promise that if you start putting yourself out there now, you will find success on social media!
As you can see, I love Twitter. If you want to more tips about how to use it, check out my 10 Commandments of Twitter post!
INVEST IN THE BASICS
Setting up a blog doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. If you’re just starting out, the bells and whistles are not needed. You don’t need a DSLR, Adobe Creative Suite, a fancy computer, or premium online tools. Get creative by accomplishing big things with what you have already! Let your needs and investments evolve as you realize that a task could be made easier with a particular tool. Otherwise, you’ll buy the fancy software, not really know how to use it, and it’ll sit idly on your desktop.
With that said, some basics that I would have invested in from the very beginning is a custom domain name and some ebooks / workbooks / courses on starting a blog, finding your niche, and developing your brand. All of these things will help your website look legit and amazing right from the get go.
START A SERIES
Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to come up with content to write about. Even with your categories and niche in place, your idea tank for posts can run a little dry from time to time. One of my biggest solutions for this is to always be brainstorming and thinking “with a blogging lense.” That is, to be going about your daily life and realizing that something can be turned into an epic blog post. Whether it be a conversation you had, a problem you experience, or what a lady at the grocery store was wearing, your blogging lens will allow you to always be thinking up content.
The other huge help with always having content is to come up with a series. Conduct interviews, write about your favorite books, do a travel series, etc. The point is, a series gives you certain bounds for every post you write each time. They are also great for giving your new readers something to look forward to, and helps build your brand even more by providing focused content!
KEEP A SCHEDULE
There’s always a lot of talk about making sure you keep a schedule, or editorial calendar, and it’s for a good reason! Consistency is the life-blood of your blog and business, and you need to keep it moving. Consider the time you can dedicate to creating and publishing your posts, and tailor your schedule around it. If that means one quality post a week, go with that! Nothing is worse than setting the bar too high, feeling overwhelmed, and producing little to no work as a result. Be realistic!
An editorial calendar also helps you plan out themes you want to write about, turning your blog into a cohesive hub of your values, messages, and insight.
SPEND LESS TIME CONSUMING CONTENT
I have literally preached this one social media. Consuming other people’s content distracts for you from creating your own. Spending hours on how-to’s, tips, and “shoulds” articles will only waste your time in actually doing the work. Be super selective in where you get your advise, and try to refrain from getting sucked in to consuming for too long.
Another area to consume less content in is other bloggers that are like you. When you are consuming too much of their work, you start to compare yourself, and that’s never a positive or productive activity!
FOCUS YOUR RESEARCH
The solution to spending less time consuming content is to go at it with a purpose. If you need to do some market research, only look at the blogs similar to yours then. If you need to figure out how to code something, or if you need some blog post ideas, research it then. Of course, have some time to just graze and read for fun, too!
WORRY LESS ABOUT DESIGN AND MORE ON CONTENT
I’ll admit, I’m one of those people that never feels settled with my logo, my color scheme, or my blog layout. Every few months I feel like I need to change the whole thing. This is counter productive. The best thing you can do from the beginning is to keep it simple and build from there. Incorporate plenty of white space, use easy to read fonts, and pick a couple of complimentary colors.
I am only just now getting a grasp on my design (ahem, you’ll be seeing stellar changes soon), and it has taken me a long time. Changes are okay, especially if you feel like it will better your user experience and brand! The point is, don’t waste time here in the beginning. Get something cohesive in place, and work your bootie off in the content department.
Want a stellar place to go to DIY your brand and blog? Check out the up and coming Garnishing Co.! This is an amazing resource that my friend is rolling about later this Summer. I’ve been clued in on some of the behind the scenes action and trust me, you’re not going to want to miss out!
If you feel like you want to start a website to use for your creative space, that is enough reason to do it! I wish that I hadn’t grappled with the idea of blogging and starting to create an online presence for so dang long. It has been an amazing experience!
The biggest thing that is keeping all of us back is fear. Fear of starting, fear of being good enough, fear of putting yourself out there, fear of following your creative dreams. Well, here’s what I have to say to that:
You are worthy of every single one of your dreams, so go get them. - click to tweet -
These are the ten things I wish I could have done better when I started thinking about blogging and creating this online space, and I hope that they are ten things you can do now as you start yours.