Site Maintenance 10 Essentials to Starting a New Blog

10 Essentials to Starting a New Blog

Looking to start a blog? It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you have to do from choosing the right content management system, creating the perfect design, to finding a reliable host. But there are a few essentials that simply cannot be ignored if you want to start off your blog in the right direction. Here's a list that you can use as reference.

Essential #1: Identify Your Audience

A common mistake that new bloggers make is having a mindset that they're writing about a specific market. As a result, they end up creating a blog that covers that market's subject topics but alienates the audience. That's why it's a better idea to create a blog based on the audience within a market or industry.

Take the time to study your audience and various groups within your audience. That will give you better insight into how to approach your blog and come up with content that they actually want to consume.

Essential #2: Find a Theme You Can Use for Years

It's actually a smart idea to take the time to find a definitive theme for your blog. This saves the time you'll need to spend on importing all of your pages into a theme you change into later on. Do your research and find a theme that you think you can use reliably for many years.

There are many premium themes that serve as website builders. These themes have strong developer and community support. They are incredibly versatile and come with a large list of features so that you can use it for any kind of site and set up a wide variety of functionalities.

Essential #3: Install Must Have Plugins

Plugins (also called extensions depending on platform) allow you to install features and functions for your blog. When you start a blog, you won't have features that allow you to manage comments, instantly search engine optimize your posts, or add your social media feeds. You'll need to install individual plugins to add each of these features.

Think about what features and functionalities you'll need for your blog and find the best possible plugin you can possibly get. Many high quality plugins are available for free by the biggest CMS platforms like WordPress, Magento, Drupal and Joomla.

Essential #4: Develop a Content Strategy

To get you in a healthy flow of publishing content, you'll need to develop a content strategy. Create a system for researching content ideas. Find what competitors are doing, use Google Alerts for the latest stories, and research social media for popular posts. Then come up with a posting schedule that ensures you post regularly. Posting inconsistently will lead to your readers losing interest in your blog.

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Essential #5: Get Social

To support your blog, you'll want to set up social media accounts so that your readers can get updates to their platform of choice. Find audience relevant social media sites and start posting social updates for your blog. Depending on the platform, you may have to start posting original content to start getting traction (ie. Pinterest, Instagram). Software that allows you to schedule social media and blog posts will be incredibly helpful as you scale your activities.

Essential #6: Practice Your Headlines

The strength of your headlines literally defines whether your content and social media posts get read or not. That's why you want to practice writing headlines, titles and introductions. Study what kind of posts get the most engagement from other blogs and social media accounts. Challenge yourself to write better headlines. Constantly test new headlines to improve your results and get better insight into what works. You may even want to consider taking a copywriting course.

Essential #7: Set Up Security and Backup

You want to take proper steps to protect your blog in the worst case scenario. Start by researching the common and latest security exploits for your platform and release version. Find the fixes and implement them for your blog. Then take proper measures to set up a solution and plan for backing up your site so that your blog's files are protected if the database crashes.

Essential #8: Come Up with a Marketing Plan

It's a mistake to assume that your blog will grow organically with good content. You must have a marketing plan in place to ensure that your audience is constantly growing and your blog is getting more traffic each month. Come up with a strategy for generating traffic that's fit for your budget. Some bloggers will do incredibly well with content marketing and SEO while others will fare better with social media. You may even opt for paid advertising campaigns for quicker and targeted traffic.

Essential #9: Monetization

While monetization is not something you think of right when you start a blog, you still need to put some heavy thought into how you're going to make money from your blog. List all the ways you can monetize your blog and weigh the pros/cons of each. Don't just jump into something like Adsense before comparing it to another solution.

For example, you can set up ads for sponsorships but would it be better to use those placement to market your own affiliate offers? Ideally, you'll want to use multiple monetization solutions. It's just a matter of figuring out what's right for your blog and what will bring about the best results.

Essential #10: Measure and Test

Whether it's your content, marketing or monetization efforts, you won't know what's working unless you set up a system to measure and test your campaigns. Tracking which headlines and content topics result in the most views will allow you to make better content decisions. Testing and tracking marketing campaigns and monetization solutions will allow you to maximize your return on investment and allow you to scale your blog as a business.

While this list can be somewhat overwhelming to a beginner, you should work to implement all the tips if you are serious about succeeding as a blogger. Following these essentials will gear your blog up for success and future proof you from common blogging obstacles.

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