Now that I’m working towards my 3rd year in blogging (May 2021 marks my 2nd Blog Anniversary), I wish that I have known these things before I started blogging. If only I knew these, I could have to speed up the growth of this blog.
Anyway, there’s no use in crying over spilled milk and I’d like to share these with you so you can have a better start than I had.
Let’s start, shall we?
Create Your Own Blog Basic Blueprint
Before a house is created, a plan is made by the architect and other relevant people right? Imagine building your blog similar to building a house. There should be a plan, a schedule and constant checking if you’re meeting the targets.
Before you start a blog, I highly suggest that you create a blog blueprint first. You blog blueprint should contain:
- Niche/Blog Title (Domain Name)/Content Strategy
- Overall Layout (Theme)
- Color Palette/Design
- Chosen Plugins
- Social Media Accounts
- Build Schedule
- Identify Launch Date
It doesn’t have to be too grand because you’ll definitely be making some modifications as you go along. You can just write this in your notebook.
The budget is for your hosting and domain services. For starters, I highly suggest not paying for anything else especially if you do not have any spare money for this. Hosting can be paid monthly if you can’t pay for the upfront cost. But usually, most savings can be had when you pay in advance for multiple years of service just like what I had with Hostinger.
You can create a barebone content strategy once you’ve chosen your blog niche, this will grow and improve as you go along. But the most important thing to think about is your domain name because this will serve as your brand. Choose a domain name that is:
- Easy to Remember
- Best represent you and the brand that you want to build
Regarding themes, There are so many FREE themes available on WordPress and you can also start with those. However, if you have some extra money, I suggest that you also buy a better theme. I’m using Studiopress and I like it a lot. And there are tons of other amazing Themes available in the market.
If you’ll be buying a Theme make sure that the developer has awesome after-sales support. Because once you set it up and once you start making modifications, you might encounter some issues, and it’s nice to have after-sales support to help you figure these out.
Choosing a Color Palette sounds simple right, but it’s one thing that I always spend my time on. I frequently changed the colors because I’m trying to find the perfect blend for my audience. I wanted something that won’t be annoying to the eyes and I want something that is also easy to the eyes and yet lively.
If you do a quick Google Search on color palettes, you’ll find many resources that can help you choose the colors that go well together.
I have written an article regarding starting a blog (link below) and I’ve listed the plugins that I use. However, there are a lot of options for plugins, and I always go for the plugins that are frequently updated by their developers and the ones that have tons of positive reviews from users.
And of course, create your social media accounts where you will be sharing your contents once they become available.
BTW, the build schedule is basically the timeframe of your blog setup. List down when you want to do each step of building your blog. This will ensure that you’re on track with your target launch date.
I didn’t have a solid plan when I created my blog, and this is the reason why I spent a long time building it because I didn’t create a schedule and structure to follow.
The build could have gone easier and faster if only I created this before I started.
Create Content and Content Strategy
Once you have set up your blog and social media accounts, then it’s time to create a few pieces of content before you launch your blog. There’s no required number, but for me, I created 10 articles aside from the static pages before I started marketing my blog. This is to ensure that once a reader finds my blog, he/she won’t find just a single piece of article on the whole website.
The basic static pages include:
After a year of blogging, once I have accumulated a lot of articles on my blog, then I created additional static pages that I feel are relevant to my blog.
The content strategy in simple terms means:
- Your Target Frequency of Posting
- Type of Articles Relevant to Your Niche of Course
In creating a content strategy, think about the type of content that will drive the most traffic to your blog.
And don’t forget to think of your target audience.
- What are they looking for?
- What type of information will they benefit from the most?
When I created my first few contents, I just wrote whatever I think was relevant to my blog without thinking much of my target audience. The result – those articles didn’t gain any traffic LOL!
Now, I’m mixing my content with a variety of articles. I still write a lot of articles that are not aimed to target traffic from search engines but just my way to share my learnings such as this article.
The key thing to think about is diversity and balance.
Keep in mind that there are millions of blogs out there and there are thousands more being created on a daily basis. Write articles that readers will get value from and you will definitely find the audience that will visit your blog.
SEO is Complicated But…
I’m not an expert in SEO, I find it complicated everytime I read about it. BUT… knowing basic SEO will help you drive tons of traffic to your blog.
There are tons of articles already written about SEO (heck, there are tons of blogs dedicated to discussing only SEO) and I suggest that in your spare time, focus on learning about this. And try to apply your learning on your blog as you go along.
So while you’re learning about SEO, create the best content that you could possibly create. You can always optimize your content later on.
Traffic Comes from Many Sources
SEO is the key to generating traffic from Google search. But Google is not the only source of traffic. You can also generate traffic from social media websites, from other blogs (via blog commenting), directly via your email subscribers and more.
Most of my traffic is from Google search and I don’t get that much from social media. But that doesn’t mean that you also won’t. Some people are generating more traffic from social media websites than from Google.
I guess it will depend on which one you will spend more effort and time on.
Again, the key to staying on top of the game is to learn how to generate traffic from multiple sources. It’s just like an investment, you can’t put your eggs in one basket, it’s just too risky not to diversity.
However, since time is limited especially if you’re not a full-time blogger such as I am (I’m just a part-time blogger), you may opt to learn and master sources of traffic one step at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself with too much information.
Stop Tinkering Your Layout Frequently
Hahahaha! OMG! I’m so guilty of doing this. On my first year of blogging, I spent so many times tinkering my blog. I changed my color palette until I found the right shade of color that I wanted. I changed my layout multiple times, etc.
If only I spent those times writing high-quality articles, then I could have grown this blog even more.
If you’re a new blogger I suggest that you focus on creating high-quality content first and just spend a fix amount of time on a weekly or monthly basis to tinker/improve your blog design.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in the power of an ‘amazing design’. However, people will find your blog because of your content and people will keep on reading your blog because of your content, so focus on creating the most kick-ass content for your target audience first.
Write, Write and Write
I should have spent most of my idle time writing especially in my first year of blogging. Again, there’s no use crying over spilled milk so I’m just gonna make the most of the succeeding months to make up for it.
If there’s one thing that you should do more especially if you’re just starting out, it is to write, write and write high-quality and helpful content.
The first reason is that, when you do something constantly, in this case, writing, then your writing skills will huuugely improve!!! This is the reason why I try my best to write as much as I can. I know that I’m not the best in writing and that English is just my second language but, I’m noticing that the more that I write, the easier it becomes (does not apply to all topics though LOL!).
The second reason is that when your write constantly, and when you check your Google Analytics every now and then, you tend to observe which type of articles perform the best in driving the most traffic to your blog. Do this frequently and it’ll be your second nature to write high-quality articles that have an actual demand in the market (SERP).
Blogging Burn Out is Real
Blogging burnout is real. It’s not really an easy-breezy walk in the park and then boom! you have thousands of readers. It will take a lot of time and effort to grow a blog, especially if you’re also busy doing something else in your life.
I experienced my first burnout when I created this blog because I spent long hours doing so. And then I had some minor burnouts when I was pushing myself so hard to produce a lot of content.
Now, I’ve learned my lesson well. I’m trying to observe proper pacing with regard to my other activities in life such as my main gig which is online selling.
Prepare Yourself to Get Frustrated Every Now and Then
When you’re building something and when you want it to be the best that it can be and for it to gain some sort of success (based on your own definition of success of course) and it’s not doing that, then it gets so frustrating. I frequently get frustrated when I’m not hitting my targets in my online sales and in my blog.
My blog target is actually basic, I just want to write at least two articles a week regardless if I’m busy with my online selling or not. However, there were times when my online selling gig and other activities in life eat up all of my time and I have no time left to write for my blog.
So, I channeled my frustration into creating solutions that will fit my problem. I’m constantly experimenting with my schedule to find the most optimal way of managing all of my day to day task.
Frustration comes and goes and the most important thing to know is that it can be managed and resolved just like everything else.
Collaboration with Other Bloggers
Collaboration with other bloggers is something that I was planning to do after my first year because I wanted to build some content and traffic first. However, since my traffic did not grow on the first year, I placed this plan on hold because I was so intimidated to contact other bloggers.
Looking back, I think that I should have pushed through with the plan on the first year even when I have small traffic because later on, I realized that fellow bloggers are very open and very welcoming in collaborating with others.
Having said that, I’m planning to launch something on my blog in collaboration with other bloggers. I will link it up here once it’s up and running.
Consistency is the Key
If only I was consistent enough in my pursuit to grow this blog then I would have probably achieved a bigger traffic than what I used to have.
Learn from my mistake and aim for consistency starting on Day 1 and you’ll be golden.
If you’re consistent in blogging then you will learn much faster and you will definitely achieve more.
As I always mention on my blog, there’s no use in crying over spilled milk because the past had already happened and we can only change the present to affect the future. Hopefully, you learned a thing or two from my past mistakes and use this to help your blog grow further.10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started a Blog Click To Tweet