We work with bloggers every day, all in different phases of their blogging journey. There are commonalities between the things they wish they had done differently in the beginning, which is what we’ve listed here for you. Often times, bloggers want to fix these issues after the fact and go through costly development changes to do so. Because you don’t know what you don’t know, we hope this list will help you start your blog right!
choose the right domain
Put plenty of thought into what you want your brand or blog to be called before you purchase your domain. Whether you select your own name or a business name, be 100% sure it’s what you want long-term. The notion that you can just change it later down the line if you don’t like is easier said than done.
Choose a domain that isn’t hard to explain. Or spell.
select a cms
We recommend using the self-hosted version of WordPress, WordPress.org. You’ll also need to find a hosting company. If you haven’t already purchased your domain, some hosting companies both host and sell domains so you can do it all in one place. My recommendation to buy and host is Bluehost. With them you’ll also get a free SSL certificate. If you’ve already purchased your domain, you can transfer it to any hosting company. The top two recommendations from SHE Media Partners are Bluehost and SiteGround.
choose a theme
When selecting a theme for your site, the first consideration is usually how it looks. And while that plays a huge part in your brand perception, there are other important things to think about.
Make sure your theme is responsive, which means it adjusts to various screen sizes and looks good in each.
Clean and simple layouts are most appealing to users. You can get super complex layouts, lots of boxes and functionality but more often than not, it ends up looking overwhelming and cluttered.
Pick a theme that is built with SEO in mind.
Certain themes are heavier than others, causing slow load times.
pick a niche
Write about whatever it is you’re most passionate about. Bonus if you’re a total expert at it. Expertise + Passion is the right equation for picking your niche. Also doesn’t hurt if it’s family friendly (read: brand safe).
The most successful blogs are run by experts and enthusiasts of specific niches. The least successful blogs cover a multitude of niches with content written by non-experts. Google favors the niche, so we recommend knowing yours before you start. The competition is steep! There are over 600 million blogs on the internet today and each week we meet people who are just beginning their blogging journey. Another thing is that becoming a successful blogger doesn’t happen over night. It can take years to build an audience and grow your traffic to a meaningful income. If you’re not passionate about the content you’re writing you’ll get bored.
If you’re just starting your blog and you’re using WordPress, the blog post format will default to including the publication date. So instead of www.example.com/latest-fashion-tips, it would say www.example.com/2020/05/29/latest-fashion-tips. Later on down the line, when you’re trying to keep your evergreen content in the best shape for your users, you won’t be able to update the date without breaking the page.
To do this, once you’re set up in the WordPress dashboard, go to the black rail on the left. Find Settings and then Permalinks. Change it from day and name to Post name.
The content you’ve poured hours of time into won’t be worth much without an audience. As soon as you start publishing content, you should also have your traffic strategies in place. Publishers can get traffic through all sorts of ways, but not without effort. Make sure your posts and site are following SEO best practices, get your Pinterest strategy in place, start a Facebook page, build a newsletter. These are the things that will give your content legs and over time your audience will grow.