So you are ready to start a blog and make money in 2022, but you need some help figuring out where to start and what tasks you should be focusing on first. In this post, I will be covering 10 essential things you must do before launching a blog.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more info.
You’ve heard it a million times… Know your why. I know you likely know this, BUT there is a big difference between knowing your why and really going deep with your why and locking it in.
It is not enough to say that your why is to make money or give you more freedom
Your why is where things get real.
This is where the motivation will come from on those days that you just don’t want to put in the work. And trust me, you will have those days.
Record your answers in a journal, notebook, Google doc, or whatever works best for you.
1. If your life had no limits, what would you do? How would you spend, share, and invest your time and money?
Dream big, there are ZERO limits. Do a big brain dump without editing yourself
2. Why do you want to start a blogging business?
If you want to make more money, why? Do you want to take that family vacation you could never afford before? Maybe you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck so you can lessen your chronic stress. What are the true below the surface reasons? Be honest with yourself
3. What impact do you want to make after launching a blog?
How will reaching your goals allow you to make an impact on your family? Friends? Community?
4. Why are you 100% committed to achieving these results?
This is a BIG one!!
Focusing on the reasons achieving these goals is a must is a powerful motivator.
Maybe if you don’t achieve your blogging goals, you will have to go back to working for someone else doing a job you dislike? No vacation this year? Wait another year to buy a house?
Whatever the reasons, write down why you are committed to achieving your desired results. Then, post it somewhere where you will see this every. single. day!
Next, you are going to need to come up with a topic or two that you are interested in blogging about. Then do some research to see if there is a market for this topic.
You may have an area of interest that you are very knowledgeable in, but you need to make sure that there is a profitable need for it before you start.
Market research will help you discover what people want. It is a crucial step to understanding what your audience needs and the pain points they are trying to solve.
For example, you may love making soap that looks like food and selling it for a profit on Etsy. This may lead you to think of starting a blog about this specific thing. You need to consider though, how many people are actually going to be searching for soap that looks like food.
A better, more profitable idea might be to focus on teaching people how to make their own soap or how set up their own Etsy business and successfully sell their own products like you have done.
* Spend some time viewing other competitors’ websites, books, social media channels, etc. How long have they been blogging? What topics do they discuss? What products do they offer? This will give you a better understanding of the current market.
* Competition should be viewed as a good thing. It means that there is a need for information in this area and that people are willing to invest in the specific niche market.
* If you are not finding any businesses related to the niche you want to blog about, then there likely is not a market for it.
Figure out your Why to keep you motivated on those hard days and compile your market research with my Blog to Business Planner. Take your blog from a hobby to a money-making business this year!
Once you have done your market research and have a few ideas, it’s time to choose one niche and narrow it down.
What is a niche?
A niche is simply a selected topic that you will focus your blog content around.
A broad niche category would be selling handmade items for profit. This broad niche would then need to be niched down further so that you can identify your ideal client.
A narrowed down niche from this broad category could be teaching Stay-at-home moms how to start a business on Etsy selling their own homemade items.
For more in-depth information on choosing a niche, check out my Blogging Business Bootcamp
Okay, once you get clear on your specific niche, it is important to figure out exactly who you want to help.
You can narrow it down by gender, but you will need to get more specific than male or female.
Will you be speaking to women under 30? Over 40? Stay at home moms? Working moms? Single moms?
What are their biggest struggles and specific pain points related to your niche? Revisit your market research to figure this out.
WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Squarespace, Weeby, Wix, Blogger..… There are a ton of blogging platforms out there, so how do you know which one to use?
The first thing you have to decide is if you prefer a hosted or self-hosted website building platform for your blog. Every platform is either hosted or self-hosted and your choice will make a big difference in the overall abilities of your site.
A host or web hosting service provider gives you space for your blog to live. When you sign up for hosting, you are essentially buying space on the Internet for people to visit your site. Just like you need a physical space to display your products and sell things in the real world, you need a physical space in the online world to store your files and code from your website.
I like to think of hosting as the equivalent to renting or buying a physical storefront property, only the online cost is a lot cheaper!
With self-hosting platforms you have to purchase your own hosting. This hosting can range anywhere from $3-$35/month. The price will depend on the length of time you are purchasing hosting for, the plan you chose and what host you go with. The longer you commit to hosting, the cheaper the rate becomes. Typically most people can get good hosting that meets their needs at a price ranging from $3-6/month.
The two self-hosting providers I highly recommend are Bluehost and Siteground. Siteground is faster in my opinion and good for those with a lot of information and graphics on their site, but for those just starting out, I strongly recommend Bluehost.
Bluehost offers a low, affordable price and great support for those just starting out. They also give you a free domain for your first year, which is an awesome bonus! You can learn more about Bluehost hosting and plans here.
Self-Hosted Blogging Platforms include: WordPress.org, Drupal, and Ghost
A hosted website building platform allows you to build your website with their software AND provides you with space for your site to live. Sounds like a great deal, right? So why wouldn’t everyone pick this option? Here are a few pros and cons to hosted website building platforms.
Hosted Blogging Platforms include: Squarespace, WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix, and Weebly
In my opinion, if you need a customizable business website that will grow with you or a blog that you want to monetize, you must have a self-hosted site.
I believe that WordPress.org is the best choice for this. This is what I use with my business websites (with Bluehost hosting) and highly recommend to my clients.
Want someone to walk you through the whole process of purchasing hosting and setting up your blogging website? Sign up for my FREE Blogging Business Bootcamp
It is SO easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis when deciding on a name and domain for your blog! I really don’t want you to spend too much time worrying about this though.
Check out my video and post, 7 Things you Need to Consider when Choosing a Domain name. Then brainstorm some ideas based on the tips provided and choose one.
A quick word of advice … Please don’t put off creating a blog and sharing your knowledge/ talents with others, because you are stuck trying to figure out the perfect name. Trust me, the content you create and share with others will matter far more than what you name your blog.
Did you know that you can choose your domain name after you set up your WordPress website. Bluehost will assign you a temporary domain name that you can change once you launch your site and they will give you a free domain for your first year when you sign up, so there are no excuses!
Branding should not be your top priority when you are starting out, but you do want to make sure that your site looks cohesive when launching a blog.
Branding helps people know who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. A clear brand will help attract the right audience and repel those who don’t want what you have to offer.
Your name is a part of your branding, but there are also a few other brand elements that you should think about before starting up your blog.
A theme is a basic design and layout your website uses. You need to install a theme before you can start customizing your site on WordPress.
Deciding on a theme is a very important step when setting up your blogging website. Every theme has its own unique layout, so the one you choose will determine your design abilities.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of new bloggers have no idea that not all themes are created equal.
The theme that I now use and recommend is Kadence.
Color is a foundational building block for your brand, but using the wrong colors can make your website look uninspiring, forgettable, or even a little tacky. I suggest picking 2-3 complimentary colors max.
There are a ton of sites that offer color inspiration and meaning, but my favorite is Canva. When you sign up for the free version, you get access to their color palette ideas list and their color palette generator that can match colors from a photo. Canva will also provide colors that compliment your selected colors and gives you the meaning of each color.
You want your blog to have a cohesive look. Your font choices are therefore just as important as your color palette. The most important thing is to make sure that your fonts are easy to read. I recommend choosing 1-3 fonts max.
One font should be a classic font for headlines and a secondary font can be used for standard text. If you choose a third, you could select something less traditional like a script font.
Canva also gives you the ability to test out different font combinations and preview recommended pairings.
A Few More Tips:
When you are in Canva click the “Learn” link and scroll to the very bottom to find these tools under “Resources.”
If you want to upload your own font, you will need to have the pro version of Canva. Click to sign up for a 30-day free trial of Canva Pro.
Don’t spend more than a few hours deciding on your color scheme and fonts when you are just starting out. You can always change it if need be.
If you want to get traffic to your blog and have repeat visitors (and who doesn’t) then you need to make sure that you are creating high-quality content consistently. Knowing what your reader wants and planning out your content for the year will be a huge help in keeping you consistent.
I suggest you start with making a list of posts that would be helpful to your reader while doing market research.
My post, 10 Essential Blog Posts Every Blogger Needs on their Site, will help you get some post ideas that you can apply to your niche.
I recommend having at least 4-5 blog posts already published on your blog by the time you officially launch and start sending people to your site. This way your visitors will be able to get a better idea of your knowledge and how you can help them.
Once you have a list of ideas, you can add them to a content calendar. A content calendar saves you time because when you sit down to write you don’t need to spend a bunch of time trying to figure out what to write! Planning out your content topics ahead of time will also allow you to keep a record of past posts and ensure that you have a good variety of posts each week and/or month.
The key is to be consistent. You really want to shoot for a minimum of 2 blog posts a month or every other week. If you find you can do more, great! Putting out new content once a week is ideal, but you also need to be realistic. When you are first starting out, it will likely take you a good amount of time to write a high-quality post, so I suggest starting with 2 blog posts per month.
No matter whether you are just starting and don’t have a website yet or you are an experienced blogger, you need to be collecting your readers’ email addresses.
An email list is essential for your business to grow and make money!
Learn more about why you need an email list here.
ConvertKit is the best email marketing provider (in my opinion) and they just made it even better by starting to offer a free plan this past year!
The free plan even allows you to create landing pages, so you can offer a freebie related to your niche. Plus you can start collecting email addresses while you are working on launching your blog!
Most business owners set quarterly goals, but when you are first starting out, you can begin with monthly goals.
You want to be setting goals that are:
Specific – What will be accomplished? What actions will you take? For example, I will get 50 people to opt into my freebie and get on my email list by the end of January.
Measurable – What data will measure the goal? I will look at my analytics page for my freebie to see how it is converting and look at my ConvertKit account to see if I received 50 subscribers.
Achievable – Is this goal doable? Am I able to do this with my current resources? I am signed up with the email provider ConvertKit and have a freebie up and running. I am promoting my site by doing X, Y, and Z and getting traffic to my site.
Relevant – Why is this result important? How will it help you down the line? Email subscribers are how I can build a relationship with my readers. I will continue to offer them value via a weekly email and I can go to them for feedback on product ideas. Then when I am ready to launch a product they want based on their feedback, they will be warmed up and ready to buy
Time-Bound – When will this goal be accomplished? A goal without a deadline is just a dream. You need to hold yourself accountable with a specific date you want to accomplish the goal by. I will achieve this by January 31, 2022.
You now know 10 essential things you must do before launching a blog! Will today be the day you start taking the first steps toward your dream?
If you need help…
Then check out my new Blog to Business Planner to help you take your blog from a hobby to a money-making business this year!