“How do I start a blog???”
I get asked this question all the time so I want to share some tips with you on how to start a blog, as well as some general blogging advice.
I started my blog back in 2009 when blogging was really more of an online diary of sorts.
I was an OG (Original Gangster)… blogging about my kids and our family adventures and my painting business.
Eventually, I used my blog as a way to grow my client base, show off my work for my Kansas-City-based painting business, share my DIY successes and FAILS (lol), encourage women and share my faith.
It was a fun outlet that started bringing new opportunities, speaking gigs, coaching clients and more.
So if you have ever thought of starting a blog… I highly encourage it!
I have some tips for you on how to start– and how to grow your online following:
(Some of these links may be affiliate links for products I use, love and recommend!)
Don’t know what to start or what Idea to go with? Listen to my podcast about deciding on a business idea. Know your audience and ask them what they want (if you already have social media. Think about your branding and goals. I encourage my creatives to market THEMSELVES aka their names. But you may already have a company or brick and mortar store you are marketing, which is a great start! Listen to this podcast about how Rachel Hollis got started HERE.
2. Host your Website.
A self-hosted blog allows you to make money. I started with a freebie blog for fun, and eventually needed to switch to a self-hosted site so I could bring in some revenue and grow my online business. So I would just start with a self-hosted one. Many website design companies will offer to host your site but you will be paying a premium. I recommend using BlueHost– you will save the MOST by using the 36-month option. Just click on the green “Get Started” button and BlueHost will walk you through everything you need to do. Definitely follow up a day later to make your site secure with HTTPS, which BlueHost includes FREE with your hosting account. This is important for your page ranking in Chrome, unsecured sites get dinged. Other hosting companies will charge you $70/year for a secure https site.
3. Buy your Domain
If you don’t already have one purchased from another company, like GoDaddy, you can do this when setting up your hosting with BlueHost. Bluehost includes it FREE with your hosting purchase. Score! So yes, having a Facebook page is a MUST. but you NEED to buy your own domain too, preferably a .com. Many small business owners want to skip this expense. You don’t have to have some crazy designer website – just get it done.
4. Build your Website
You can find WordPress themes that are inexpensive and easy to update without knowing codes. Or hire a web designer to help you… You can keep it simple and put more money into a custom site LATER. Just get started!!! Don’t get blocked on this step, creative people, I know you well. It doesn’t have to be PERFECT.
5. Blog Consistently & Authentically
Find your voice and style. You should write personal and authentic. Don’t try to copy anyone else. Be yourself. If you hate writing and sharing your stories, it will show. You also have to be consistent. This may be hard for creatives to set a blog schedule, but taking the time to write and publish blogs regularly helps build your following and your fans know what to expect. You don’t have to go crazy. If once a week is too much for you, try twice a month. You will find your loyal fans will really look forward to your emails and updates. Give away good content. Many of my clients ask if they are giving away too much for free. The answer is NO. You may plan on offering courses, tutorials or products down the road. Once you build your reputation for quality content, your diehard fans will buy from you because they TRUST you and they know what to expect from you. You’ll lose readers if your content is lazy or unoriginal. It does take effort.
6. Take Fabulous photos.
It’s a visual world. You have to take amazing photos to get above the noise on social media. If you take crappy photos, you will lose your readers and lose your credibility. Face it, for some people they may skim your content and JUST look at the photos. To make great DIY virals, graphics, and pins for Pinterest you HAVE to have good photos – before, afters, and process photos. I have listed my favorite camera, tripod, photo editing software and cellphone holders for live filming in my Free Biz Tools List HERE.
7. Grow your Social Media.
THIS.TAKE.TIME. I encourage the girls in my Inner Circle to do Facebook Lives to see better reach numbers. Network with other bloggers. Share virals. Join appropriate Facebook Groups. Use ideal hashtags. Learn how to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) aka us the right keywords that people are googling. I also LOVE to Pinterest to drive traffic. It’s a slow build and doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with you putting yourself out there. This is a whole other course in itself.
8. Grow your Email List.
Start capturing emails and build your email subscriber list. I always tell the girls I coach: “DO NOT put all your eggs in one basket.” You never know when Facebook will shut down. (Trust me, I had my page shut down for THREE EXCRUCIATING DAYS) You want to work on growing your own email list so you build your social proof and have a loyal fan base reading your blogs and eventually to sell your products to. I started off using Aweber and eventually outgrew it and switched to Ontraport. There are many email marketing programs to look into… ConvertKit, MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.. They can make your blog emails look pretty. Build your list with well-placed form fields on your homepage and individual blog posts, use effective pop-ups and create opt-ins (giving away something FREE in exchange for emails). One of my best opt-ins is giving away my list and video of my Favorite Interior Paint Colors — check it out here.
Don’t get upset when someone unsubscribes from your list. That person is NOT your diehard fan. You can’t take it personally. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. You should rather have a small list of readers who LOVE you and OPEN your emails, then a large list of subscribers who don’t even look at your content.
Also, pay attention to when your fans are online and which days of the week are better email open-rate days and times. Generally, Monday mornings are NOT the best time to send out an email when people are just starting out their workweek and swamped. But I find that Mondays at 2 p.m., and Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are great for me. You’ll have to find what works for your subscribers. Good open and click rates will help get sponsored posts down the line.
9. Add other Revenue streams.
My Creator’s Roadmap focuses on how to grow online using different review streams such as your own product offering, ad networks, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing – Get on the waitlist here! to learn more about how to make money blogging…
I really hope this blog helps you get started and encourages you to dive in. It won’t all fall into place at once. You can’t spend too much time trying to learn everything first. (Serial learners, you need to listen to this.) I also encourage you to hire help to get you where you need to be. You CANNOT DO IT ALL. If you find yourself needing extra coaching and help going online, consider joining my Inner Circle – a group for creative entrepreneurs who are passionate and eager to grow their biz, network, and learn! We discuss many strategies and tactics for accomplishing this goal! Or join the waitlist so you’re notified when Creators Roadmap opens and get the roadmap to going online in a six-week video course.
It’s a great time to join the online community, make your creative dreams come true, and start a blog.
PS- If you’re not already, find me on Facebook for more creative business talk!