- Would you like to own a blog but have no idea where to start?
- Are you reading guides that tell you how to do the actual web work on putting your page online, but you still feel like something is missing?
- Do you want to finally uncover all the secrets behind starting a successful blog that no one is talking about?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are in the right place… Starting a Blog – The Pre-Work Secrets!
Because indeed, something is missing! There should be quite a bit of pre-work to consider before going ahead and publishing your site online.
This post contains affiliate links. Read disclosure.
Do you have what it takes to be a successful blogger?
If you are unsure whether blogging is for you, don’t worry. At this early stage, the most important is to try it and have fun.
Do you feel inspired and had an idea that you are looking forward to sharing with the world? Do you think you can keep that up for a year? Or maybe 10?
Write all of that down on a piece of paper before getting to work! Besides being creative minds, the most successful bloggers are well-organized people, who can multitask and plan their calendars ahead of time. On top of that, they would have a well-structured and specific mission and vision for their blog or business.
No problem, take baby steps!… Start with writing and maybe one day you’ll want more. But don’t worry, although these channels can help to put the word out there, it is not mandatory to have a video presence in order to grow your brand.
Step 1 – Define your “What?”
Starting a blog is not as easy as actually working on one and keeping it running. Often, people will feel the frenzy of joining the online community, becoming a part of something.
But if you aim to see long term results and maybe one day monetize your blog, you need to start off on the right foot. Because let’s face it, if you’ll actually dedicate yourself to such a time-consuming activity, you do deserve to be rewarded! There’s nothing wrong with that.
Your blog’s purpose will normally be the combination of your passion and skills. And don’t worry, just get started!
Believe it or not, what you have to say does matter to other people. We are all unique and each of us has something that others don’t. What you might think is common sense does not necessarily come naturally to others. And there you’ll find your purpose.
What is it that you have to share that might just be what I am looking for on Google?
Your purpose and your niche will probably come to you as one. Once you find that topic you are both knowledgeable and passionate about, you are in the right spot!
Do you see yourself still enjoying this topic in 5 years from now? Well, you must… because your niche is the specific topic you will write about, always having your purpose in mind while doing so.
Today, more than ever before, having a specific niche and a well-defined purpose is key to a successful blog!
While a few years ago you could simply have a “Lifestyle” blog, you probably find that more often than not, new lifestyle blogs will have yet a more specific niche (for example, motherhood or college life).
Because, you see, what is lifestyle? It can be virtually anything and you will probably get a different answer depending on who you ask, right?
Of course, there are still plenty of successful lifestyle bloggers that one day post an amazing recipe they tried at home and, the next, are teaching you how to use Mailchimp…
But those are probably well-established bloggers by now, trusted by their communities. And they do that because they can!
My suggestion to you though, as a beginner in the blogging world, is to narrow it down. Be as specific as you can be, while still having enough space to keep up writing about that one topic you have chosen.
For example, if you are a Chef and will start a recipe blog, you might not want to mix High-End Cuisine with Street Food, to begin with. That you can of course dive into later if you like. But for now, while you build your community and following, you might want to say that your niche will be ‘Street food in South-East Asia’. That would be your topical niche, well done!
Having said that, you should dive a little deeper and think of your aesthetic topic. We are visual creatures and you want your community to know who you are so that they spread the word and return to visit you.
Your aesthetic, or stylish niche if you will, is about the colors you use, the fonts on your website, the symbol people recognize your brand for. And you should keep that specific as well.
Whether I visit your website, Instagram profile, or Pinterest page, your goal is for me to know that’s you. To be recognizable! For example, if your website is all very plain, designed with white and baby-pink colors, it wouldn’t make sense to find that on your Instagram, all pictures are either extremely dark or super colorful.
I am not saying you can only use one color, not at all. I am suggesting that you find a style that you like and also suits your brand. Something that will naturally come to you when planning your feed or organizing your blog posts.
Just to make a point without using colors… if you saw the word Microsoft written in the font that Disney uses, what do you think would come to your mind in the first few seconds? Well, I can tell you about myself… I would 100% be reading Disney instead of Microsoft, or thinking “Oh, does Disney now have a movie about Microsoft?” Simply because I am a visual person and I know that font belongs to Disney only.
Think about your communication style too. As a non-native English speaker, for instance, I like it when bloggers speak (or write) as if they are sitting right here, next to me. And so I go for conversational posts.
I also enjoy a more personal approach rather than a technical forum. I want to know about real experiences.
And I would say most people feel the same way. But of course, your approach will depend on the kind of niche you are diving into as well as your personality. Therefore only you can tell what feels right for your blog.
Step 2 – Educate yourself
There is nothing wrong with not knowing it all, to begin with. More often than not, you’ll find yourself in a place where you have a great purpose in mind but no idea where to start.
Mastering your blog will come with time!
Before even thinking of your brand name, do your research and educate yourself. The internet nowadays is such a valuable tool! There are plenty of training opportunities and short courses that you can take, either at a cost or for free.
The benefit of subscribing to a paid training is that you will probably get it all in one place. But hey, that’s not always the case! So before spending crazy amounts of money, perhaps it would be a good idea to start exploring options and join some free online workshops. Find out what you lack as well as what you’d be interested in exploring further.
Here’s a 14-day-free offer I got from SkillShare to you, with no obligations to become a paid customer! You can always cancel your subscription after 2 weeks or, of course, you can also become a member of the community if you enjoy the content.
Another form of education is to follow fellow bloggers within your niche. Who are those companies or individuals that you admire? Maybe these are the ones who inspired you to be what you want to be, in one way or another. And those people, are great to keep around!
Just because you now started your own blog and may feel that they basically are your competition, they will never stop being your educators as well as a font of inspiration. And the internet is such a large world… there’s plenty of space for all of us still!
Know your competition
- Read other blogs within your niche,
- See how they have started,
- Engage with them,
- Find out who their audience is,
- Get to know them better and, if at all possible, engage in a conversation.
Step 3 – Define your “Who?”
Your “Who” will be the group of people that are most interested in what you have to stay. Since your blog is not established yet and you cannot look at statistics, you need to think about your ideal follower.
Is it a girl or a grown woman? Maybe it’s a man over 40? What does he like? Does he have any hobbies? What does he do for work? Does he have a family?
Defining your ideal audience will be key throughout your journey. As a blogger, you are not just sitting in front of a computer and tipping words. You are delivering a speech to a whole lot of people, an international community.
Where does your ideal follower live? How old is he/she? What do they spend money on?
When thinking about my target audience for my other blog, about houseplants, I came up with the following:
Houseplant lovers living in busy European capitals and building urban jungles in their homes. They will be mostly women, between 25 and 45 years old with an interest not only for houseplants but nature in general as well as home decor.
This is just an example, certainly not perfect and always subject to improvement. But it is a good start for you to have an idea of the kind of information you’d be looking for.
Step 4 – Define your “Why?”
Now, truly, after everything we’ve covered so far, even I am curious to know your reason.
If you’ve come this far and are still with me, please let me know what you’re up to in the comments down below!
Why are you starting this website, blog, or Pinterest account?
Why is your topic (your niche, or “what”) so important to you?
Let’s grab another example from my plant blog:
By sharing the development of the plants in my home and my best tips on their care, I want to inspire other young adults to bring their lives closer to nature while continuing their active routine. I aim that Officially Planted will contribute with moments of peace and quiet, for their readers to enjoy, in the comfort of their homes, after a busy working day.
Set specific goals
Unless you are a superstar and had an idea no one else has ever explored, you’ll probably be one out of a million bloggers posting different versions of the same type of content.
There is no problem with that, I am one of those too!
But to begin with, your goal is to get yourself out there and give your readers a reason to come back to you rather than any other blog.
Let them know YOU, so that they can relate, trust, and like you! That is the way you build up your community!
Also, think of the outcome…
Do you want to have 1000 subscribers within 6 months of blogging? Or do you aim to start your own business and sell products through your site?
How much time do you have? Will you be publishing a 500-word post every other day or will you write longer posts with all the important information you can provide on a certain topic, but only post twice a month? Whichever version sounds more like you, I wouldn’t worry about posting everyday for now but rather about being consistent.
Your readers need to know whether to expect news when they browse your page daily or that you will have a new post up every Saturday morning.
There is nothing better than having your readers include you in their routine! For that to ever happen, consistency is a must!
Of course, it is best if you can write at least once a week, but better yet is to have meaningful and valuable content. And if you only have time to provide that type of post once a month, then start with that.
This pre-work we are doing is meant to
- help you run your blog in a more efficient way
- possibly guide you through your writing when you don’t feel like doing it
- serve as a base to go back to whenever you feel like you are losing track
Because trust me, that happens to all of us! All bloggers have gone through stages when they are not inspired, don’t know what to write about, or even doubt the kind of impression they leave for readers.
And when that time comes, your best bet is to be armed with a clear vision of your “What?”, “Who?” and “Why?”.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to planning the kind of information we have been discussing throughout this post. The goal is simply to help you, as a new blogger, find a sense of organization and planning.
This page may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure to know more.