I wrote a post recently about people hesitating on starting a blog, which let’s face it, many of us do when first starting out. This led to a few questions though on social media asking what people should actually do within their first week blogging. Well ask and you shall receive.
I’ve put together a simple 6 step plan for you to follow during your first week blogging. Now, this isn’t a strict “Day 1 do X, Day 2 do Y, Day 3 do Z…” kind of plan, it is more of a loose guide for you to follow. The main aim though is to highlight key areas that you should be focusing on initially so that you don’t get distracted by smaller, insignificant details that can wait for later.
So without ado, let’s get blogging!
1. Pick Your Niche
If you plan on starting a blog, THE most important decision that you will have to make is on what subject to focus on. This can/will determine whether your site will be successful or not almost from day 1.
I go into much greater detail in a previous post about picking a niche to blog about, but essentially you need to take some time to really think about and analyse your preferred subject. Rushing in and committing to a blog all about your favourite hobby may sound like a good idea to you, but does it appeal to a wider audience? Without a large enough group of people who would be interested in your site, it is doomed from the start.
On the other hand however, if you pick a subject that is too broad, you run the risk of being too generic and not attracting visitors. There is a definite balance that you need to find;
Blog niche is targeted at a large group of people.
Blog niche isn’t too generic that people won’t know what your site is about.
Blog niche is too small to appeal to enough people.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you had a passion for cheese cake and wanted to start a site on that. A blog that focused purely on cheese cake would probably be aiming for a much too narrow niche to attract that much traffic (and you’d likely run out of ideas pretty quickly). If on the other hand you broadened it out to include all types of cakes, that would appeal to a much broader audience. Take it to the furthest extreme though and broaden it out to “cooking” in general and you risk being too generic. If people know you as a “site about cakes” or “the cake blog” they know what they are getting.
2. Set Up Your Site
A pretty important part of setting up a blog online is to actually set it up. Now this is a lot easier than most people first think as all you really need is;
A domain name,
WordPress theme (optional).
A domain name is essentially the address of your site (e.g. www.ExampleSite.com) and every site needs one. If you can, always go for the ‘.com’ version as that is what 99% of people will type in without thinking about it. We would recommend you to GoDaddy* to get your domain, we use them for all of our sites and have never had a problem with them.
Web hosting is essentially the space where your site is stored online. In order for people to access a site 24 hours a day, all the images, text, website files, etc. need to be stored on a server somewhere. This is why you need web hosting. Bizzebee and the whole Bizzebee team use HostGator to host our sites online and would recommend them to you.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that makes it incredibly easy to setup and manage your blog, and what’s even better is that it is completely free! You simply install it onto your web host and then you can add posts, images, edit the look of your site, etc. without the need for any complicated coding.
You may want to install a WordPress theme for your site, as this can greatly improve the look of your site. There are plenty of free WordPress themes available online, but for a professional looking site you probably want to go for a premium one. There are lots of sites that offer high quality themes for you to buy, such as StudioPress.
3. Set Up Your Key Pages
Once you have actually setup your site online, it can be tempting to just start writing your blog and focus on that. You really need to setup some important pages before you do that though, including;
About page – Who you/what your site is about.
Contact page – Allowing people to get in touch with you.
Sitemap – Very important for the search engines to find all your content.
Subscription page – Allowing people to subscribe to your newsletter if you have one.
Legal page(s) – Affiliate disclosure, earnings disclaimer, privacy disclosure, etc.
Category pages – Allowing people to easily find all your content.
Home page – With a good, clear layout.
Creating these pages right at the beginning of your site will help greatly in the long run. You may need to come back and edit them now and again, but at least people will be able to navigate around your whole site easily.
4. Get Writing
You have started a blog, so at some point you are going to have to start blogging.
As this is your first week, there is no need to go mad and publish tons of content. One or two posts would be more than enough to launch your site with. After all, you will probably be spending most of your time this week on the other points that we have listed.
One thing that you should do, however, is to make a list of future posts that you want to write. This doesn’t need to be a definitive list of post titles, more like a list of ideas that you can pick from. You will need to produce regular content for your site every week (2-3 posts at least) in order to begin to build up an audience, so having a list of ideas to draw inspiration from is very beneficial.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan
Successful sites don’t happen by accident. Owners have planned out where they intend to take the site over the weeks/months/years and work towards achieving that. Since you are just starting out, planning is more important than ever, as without a plan you are destined to fail. As the old quote goes;
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
…or another of my favourites;
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Think about how you will;
Attract new traffic to your site,
Get people to navigate to your key posts/pages,
Compete with other sites in the same niche,
Make your site stand out against the competition,
Develop and grow your site over time,
…and much more.
6. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles
A massive part of attract traffic to a site and building a brand is linked with social media. This is why it is very important that you take the time to, not only, setup social media profiles for your website, but also take time to be active on them as well.
Again, as we are focusing on your first week blogging we shall just look at setting up your profiles. It is better to do all these at the beginning as then people will be able to find you on their preferred network.
Start by setting up profiles/pages on;
Depending on your site, you may want to create profiles on sites like Instagram and Flickr as well.
It is also important that you brand each of these profiles in the same way. A brand identity can be built by consistently using your logo for each profile picture. What you don’t want to do is create profiles that all look as though they are by different companies.
7. Get Involved
Lastly (and this links in nicely with our last point), you need to start getting involved online to help spread the word about you and your site. There are literally hundreds of ways that you could do this, but some methods would include;
Follow people within your niche on social media,
Get involved in conversations online to do with your niche,
Get involved in the comment sections of rival sites (don’t spam though),
Keep up to date on what is happening in your niche,
Join forums within your niche,
Essentially, just get involved with the community that you are aiming your site at. Ask questions, answer questions, be helpful to everyone and always remember that what you say online can (and will) reflect on you in the long term.
Go And Get Started!!!
There is no getting away from the fact that there is a lot of work to do to get your site up and running. If you are serious about starting a blog though, you will approach it in the right way.
Blogging is a fantastic industry to get involved in. It is great to, not only be involved in an online community that you are passionate about, but also to be at the heart of that community where people come for information. I am a firm believer that anyone can create a successful site online, they just need the right attitude and a good plan.
Are you thinking about stating a blog? What would you add to this plan to do in the first week of blogging? Do you have any questions that you would like to ask us? Please feel free to get in touch via the comment section below.
Matt Smith is a professional blogger and the founder of Online Income Teacher, a site that teaches you all about setting up a website and running it online. When not creating new posts and tutorials for his sites, Matt loves watching the latest sport and cooking up some tasty food.
You can follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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