I’ve recently had several requests for advice on starting a blog. My first thought is similar to that of a famous preacher when a young man sought advice about becoming a pastor. He replied: If you can find anything else that would make you happy in life, do that instead.
The inverse as pertains to blogging would be, if there is nothing else that you can do, because the passion to blog is so strong, then get to it.
So what are the baby steps that a beginning blogger should take before they start a blog? Here are twelve.
- Define WHY you want to blog. Are you looking for money; fame; and status? Or do you want to help others? If you main goal is money, fame, and status, you’ll have a difficult time making it through the hard times. If however, you want to help others or are driven by a passion — you might actually earn some money and notoriety — at least among your “tribe.”
- Find a niche: Before you can blog, you need to have a topic that you can divide into several categories. It should be something you are knowledgeable about or something you intend to study. In addition, you should really like the topic. And it must be something that is helpful to others.
- See if anyone is interested in your niche. Talk to your friends; search the Internet; and look at magazines on your topic. If you can’t find anyone interested in your topic, you may want to find a different niche.
- Start a mailing list. By now you should have narrowed down your niche. Before you ever spend a penny on web hosting, domain names, or blogging platforms, start a free mailing list at MailChimp. Your mailing list is the most valuable tool in your blogging business.
- Get subscribers to your mailing list. Remember those friends you talked to in step 3? Ask them to join your list. Send out emails to your friends and family telling them what you are doing. Or better yet: call them on the phone. Ask them (without pressuring them) if you can add them to your list.
- Grow your list to about 100. Before you ever start blogging (which takes an investment to do right) find out if your topic will fly. Get 100 subscribers before you ever think about spending a penny.
- Set up your MailChimp account. This is a little tedious. If you have any questions, use Google. There is so much FREE information available online. But you’ll want to prepare your sign up forms so you can share them on FaceBook and other social media.
- Plan out your first 10 emails. Decide what you will be discussing in your first ten emails. Make a plan. Aim for excellence.
- Write out your first email campaign. Carefully edit your work; read it out loud to see how it flows; have someone else read over it for insight and errors. Listen to what others are saying. They are your audience. You are serving them.
- Find a quality image to add to your campaign. Pixabay offers quality FREE images. It is quick and easy to sign up. If you are a photographer, you can take and use your own images. And you can even upload them on Pixabay to share with others. Your image should match your topic.
- Start sending out email campaigns. Set a schedule to send out emails on a regular basis. Once a week is probably good to start. Once a month would be the bare minimum and three times a week is probably max (for now). Send the campaigns out at the same time and on the same days each week. This builds trusts with your audience and keeps you accountable to your writing schedule.
- Engage your audience. Ask questions of your audience to get them to engage in your topic. An engaged audience is a great sign that your blog will be successful and eventually turn into profit. An unengaged audience shows that you need to hone your skills.
If you can make it through these dozen steps then you probably have what it takes to blog. But if you struggle to make it through these steps, blogging may not be a fit for you.
Let me know where you are in the process. You can leave a comment below.
Also, I’d like to give you a FREE eBook to get you started. It has some great tips for achieving success on your journey.